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‘Global Women’ come out swinging against SBC, Woman’s Missionary Union

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (BP)–The “Global Women” mission group seized the opportunity of the first annual “Mainstream Baptist Network” convocation to identify itself as explicitly pro-feminist and vigorously anti-SBC. In perhaps the boldest move yet toward self-definition, the group’s leader addressed the Feb. 15 meeting of the “moderate” political coalition, denouncing the Southern Baptist Convention as holding to a “misogynistic missiology.”

Texas Mainstream leader Phil Lineberger introduced Global Women treasurer Catherine Allen who wasted little time in turning her attention to the conservative leadership of the SBC.

In an apparent reference to the Woman’s Missionary Union, Allen said Global Women will not “reinvent broken old wheels.” Allen and other Global Women leaders, such as Carolyn Weatherford Crumpler and Alma Hunt, both of whom were present at the convocation, previously served in WMU’s top leadership position.

WMU’s current executive director, Wanda Lee, in a statement on the formation of Global Women released in mid-December noted in part:

“While there are commonalities between Woman’s Missionary Union and Global Women, there are distinct differences in our purposes. WMU’s desire for 113 years has been to create the kind of environment through missions education in the church that enables individuals to hear God’s call to serve in whatever way He leads, and to support our missionaries.

“While the formation of Global Women has generated questions and concerns for many of our constituents, WMU’s commitment is to remain true to our founding purpose. We will not become distracted from our calling to share Christ with a lost and hurting world. Woman’s Missionary Union is looking ahead to a future filled with bright hope. Just as indicated by our Vision Statement, we will continue to challenge believers to understand and be radically involved in the mission of God.”

Allen, during her comments to the Mainstream gathering, also stated, “One of the leaders of the SBC had made a public edict that missions must be de-feminized.” She said only “a few decorative feminine names [are] left on the SBC marquee when fundraising is at stake, but the SBC no longer represents women.

“A misogynist missiology is at work in the SBC,” she said.

Misogyny is a term meaning the hatred of women.

Allen denounced recent years’ revisions to the SBC’s confession of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message. Allen said she found particularly objectionable the 1998 BF&M article on the family. The article, reaffirmed by the convention in the adoption of the 2000 BF&M, affirms the Pauline teaching in the Book of Ephesians that husbands are to protect and care for their wives and families while wives are to “submit graciously” to the “servant leadership” of their husbands.

Allen likewise lashed out at the 2000 BF&M affirmation that the office of pastor is limited to qualified men, saying that restrictions on women in the pulpit leave only “partial good news” for women.

“Women called to preach the gospel are not sent,” she said of the SBC’s mission boards.

Allen said the Global Women group “will cooperate with any missions agency that treats women decently.”

She pointed to the need for the new organization by referencing her granddaughter Lane’s response to the film, “The Prince of Egypt.” Saying that Moses had the “opportunity” to “lead his people,” Allen quoted her granddaughter as asking when she would have the opportunity to “lead my people.”

Allen said Global Women is a new “baby” organization needing “baby gifts.”

“It seems like whenever the world is in crisis, God sends a baby,” Allen said.

The Global Women presentation was part of a larger emphasis on women in ministry at the Mainstream meeting. Almost every speaker criticized the SBC for the Baptist Faith and Message articulation that men and women have distinct roles in the church and home. In addition to Allen, two female ordained ministers spoke to the gathering, arguing for their right to serve as pastors. Additionally, the Baptist Women in Ministry organization had a booth at the meeting, which included literature advocating women as pastors and deacons and defending BWIM’s controversial worship of “Mother God” at the 2001 General Assembly of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.

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  • Russell D. Moore