Kansas City, Mo.—Future professors of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary will be required to teach not only in accordance with the Southern Baptist Convention’s official faith statement, but also must affirm different but “complementary” roles for women and men in the church and home.
Midwestern trustees recently added the Danvers Statement, a document drafted at a 1987 meeting in Danvers, Mass., outlining core beliefs of a group called the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood as a guiding document at the SBC seminary in Kansas City, Mo.
Seminary President Jason Allen said in a press release the intent is to “emphasize mission clarity” at a time when “so many entities and institutions in North America are negotiating away their convictions or projecting intentional ambiguity on the great doctrinal and moral issues of our generation.”
The Danvers Statement, previously affirmed by Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., interprets the Bible to teach, “Adam’s headship in marriage was established by God before the Fall, and was not a result of sin.”
The Fall, the statement says, introduced distortions into the relationships between men and women:
“In the home, the husband’s loving, humble headship tends to be replaced by domination or passivity; the wife’s intelligent, willing submission tends to be replaced by usurpation or servility,” the statement says.
“In the church, sin inclines men toward a worldly love of power or an abdication of spiritual responsibility, and inclines women to resist limitations on their roles or to neglect the use of their gifts in appropriate ministries.”
The rationale behind the Danvers Statement, first published in final form by the CBMW in Wheaton, Ill., in 1988, included “widespread uncertainty and confusion in our culture regarding the complementary differences between masculinity and femininity.”
It opposed “promotion given to feminist egalitarianism with accompanying distortions or neglect of the glad harmony portrayed in Scripture between the loving, humble leadership of redeemed husbands and the intelligent, willing support of that leadership by redeemed wives.”
The statement also addressed “widespread ambivalence regarding the values of motherhood, vocational homemaking, and the many ministries historically performed by women,” and “the growing claims of legitimacy for sexual relationships which have biblically and historically been considered illicit or perverse” and the “upsurge of physical and emotional abuse in the family.”
“In the family, husbands should forsake harsh or selfish leadership and grow in love and care for their wives,” it says. “Wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership.”
“In the church, redemption in Christ gives men and women an equal share in the blessings of salvation,” it continues. “Nevertheless, some governing and teaching roles within the church are restricted to men.”
A May 12 report by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood said adopting the statement requires all Midwestern faculty and instructional staff to believe and to teach in accordance with the Danvers Statement.
“The Danvers Statement was already a referenced and affirmed document,” Allen said. “But, we thought formally adopting it and codifying it into our confessional expectations was an imperative.” (BNG)