Charlotte church leaders weigh in on potential ban for women pastors

CHARLOTTE — The largest Protestant denomination in the United States is deciding whether to kick some churches out.

The Southern Baptist Convention could ban churches that allow women at the pulpit.

Channel 9′s Almiya White spoke to pastors in Charlotte about the impact of the decision.

“We proudly stand with women in ministry at all levels,” said Pastor Chris Richardson of Pritchard Church.

Richardson told White he just ordained a woman pastor last month, but he says the diversity in leadership came at an interesting time.

“Baptists have ordained women in ministry for a very long time. This was kind of a recent turn where they said, ‘No, we’re not going to do that anymore,’” Richardson said.

Pritchard Church is affiliated with the SBC. At an annual meeting this week, thousands of delegates will vote whether to remove churches that have women pastors.

Twenty-four years ago, the Southern Baptist Convention said only men could be pastors, but they didn’t enforce it. If Wednesday’s vote passes and a church has a woman pastor, they can no longer be affiliated.

“This particular proposal would say that a church must have a pastor that meets the Biblical qualifications,” says Pastor Micheal Pardue of First Baptist Icard.

Pardue says he supports the proposal.

“I think we should hold to what God’s word has said. And I think the amendment that we’re looking at reflects that,” Pardue told White.

Churches within the denomination help fund each other. Richardson says if larger churches lose their affiliation, smaller churches will feel the impact.

“This is the Baptists leaving behind their identity and it’s it’s deeply disappointing to me as a lifelong Baptist,” Richardson said.

“I think for me is that I believe this amendment reflects the Biblical truth of God’s word,” Pardue said.

Both pastors said women play a vital role in the church.

The final vote is expected Wednesday. We’ll update this article when the results are available.

(WATCH: Former Charlotte mayor honored for 70s baptist church design, grant)

Almiya White

Almiya White, wsoctv.com

Almiya White is a reporter for WSOC-TV

Comments on this article