Earlier this year, Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville was among the six churches the Southern Baptist Convention disfellowshipped for having women functioning in an office of pastor.
Now, messengers representing more than 2,300 churches affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention have affirmed a recommendation of the convention's Committee on Credentials to disaffiliate Fern Creek, where Linda Popham has been pastor for more than 30 years.
"For 2,000 years, Protestant, Catholic, New Testament churches, Christian churches, have followed the New Testament guidelines for ecclesiology, or the structure of the church," Dr. Alex McFarland notes.
I Timothy 2:12 states that no woman is "to teach or exercise authority over a man," so historically and biblically, the pastoral leader has been male.
"Since the feminist revolution of the 1970s, people have fought against that," McFarland says. "But the bottom line is if a church is going to enjoy the benefits of being a part of an affinity group or denomination, that would imply compliance with what the group is about."
So, if a church insists on carrying on in a way that goes against the Bible, then it should not expect to remain in "friendly cooperation" with its Bible-based denomination.
"I don't disagree with the Baptist denomination's choice to do this," the apologist states.
He explains that complementarianism, the philosophy that men and women – equal before God – are complimentary but unique in function, is rightly prominent in Bible-believing churches. But over the last 30-50 years, the philosophy of egalitarianism has crept in.
Egalitarianism, from the Latin word "equal," says there must not be any distinction of roles, that men and women are equal in function. And with transgender ideology dominating the culture today, many people assume that males and females are not biologically different.
But that is both biblically and scientifically inaccurate.
Dr. McFarland asserts that Jesus Christ is the head of the Church, and it is for Christ – not social architects pushing the envelope of progressivism – to lay the guidelines on how His body operates.
Churches aiming to function the way the Bible outlines "have to look to the Bible, not current sociological trends, for how spiritual leadership is to be organized," he concludes.