Southern Baptist Leaders Vote for Controversial Changes at Annual Convention

June 15, 2000

Source: The Washington Post

On June 15, 2000, The Washington Post reported that Southern Baptist leaders for the 15.8-million member denomination overwhelmingly voted to ban female pastors and change the Baptist Faith and Message Statement at their annual convention, held this year in Orlando, Florida. Although the ban on women pastors has caused the larger controversy outside of the denomination, the change to the Message Statement was the larger controversy within the denomination. In the 150-year history of the Baptist denomination, the Message had only been changed twice before, both times by a cross-section of church leaders. A 15-person committee appointed by the fundamentalist leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention enacted these changes. The new version of the Message Statement drops language that says the faith is "rooted and grounded in Jesus Christ," as well as a passage calling the truth something that must be "continually interpreted and related to the needs of each generation." It emphasizes the inerrancy of the Bible and drops the concepts of "the priesthood of the believer" and the "soul's competency before God".