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SBC amendment to bar female pastors fails without needed votes

Messengers voting on a motion at the annual Southern Baptist Convention meeting Associated Press/Photo by Doug McSchooler

SBC amendment to bar female pastors fails without needed votes

Attendees at the Southern Baptist Convention meeting did not adopt a constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would have excluded churches that appoint women as pastors. Despite about 61 percent of the convention’s messengers voting in favor of the amendment, the vote did not reach the two-thirds supermajority necessary for adoption. The SBC is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States, with nearly 13 million members and over 45,000 affiliated churches in 2022, according to Lifeway Research.

The amendment would not bar women from holding leadership in churches, it would exclude churches with female pastors from joining the SBC. The measure was heavily supported during the first vote at last year’s meeting, and it may be up for discussion again next year. Some SBC churches approve of women serving as pastors to women and children only, while other churches entirely reject the idea of women as pastors.

Who will lead the SBC going ahead? Messengers appointed Clint Pressley as the group’s president for 2024-2025. The North Carolina megachurch pastor gathered about 56 percent approval from the conference in the run-off vote against Tennessee pastor Dan Spencer. Six candidates were considered as replacements for sitting SBC President Bart Barber, who reached his term limit.

Who is Clint Pressley? He has served as senior pastor at Hickory Grove Baptist Church in Charlotte, N.C., since 2011. His church affirms the SBC’s Baptist Faith and Message and The Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood’s Nashville Statement on Biblical gender and sexuality. Pressley served as the SBC’s first vice president in 2014 and was vice president of the SBC Pastor’s Conference in 2013. Pressley has also served as a trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary since 2015.

What other decisions did the SBC make? The convention approved a resolution about  in-vitro fertilization. The resolution raised ethical concerns about IVF while not condemning the practice outright.

Dig deeper: Read Leah Savas’ report on doctors promoting IVF alternatives to patients when addressing infertility.

Christina Grube

Christina Grube is a graduate of the World Journalism Institute.

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