Several days ago, progressive gadfly Erin Hardin announced she had graduated from the Southern Baptist Conventions’ Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. This would not be that surprising, except for the degree she got: her BA in Pastoral Ministry.
When asked how it was that SEBTS was graduating ladies with a pastoral ministry degree, seminary president Danny Akin explains that they only train and teach them to be pastors, but don’t recommend them to be pastors. If however, an autonomous local church ‘assesses the biblical qualifications and the fit’ of a woman pastoral candidate and hires her on as a pastor, in part based on her pastoral ministry degree, that is their business- SEBTS just equips them.
In many ways appealing to the Danvers Statement is a return to 1979, this practice of pointing to their statement of faith while doing the exact opposite. Akin is literally arguing that the position of SEBTS is that women should not be pastors, all the while training them as pastors- able to pursue any degree program. To quote Landon Jones: “If it’s true that ‘a degree isn’t an endorsement of biblical fit for a position’ then why allow women to get the degree in the first place if they are not fit by nature? It’s basically an ecclesiological war against his denomination, with Akin readily acknowledging they may go and be pastors elsewhere, it just won’t hopefully be with the SBC, even though the SBC currently has hundreds of women pastors on staff within their churches.
Furthermore, Akin says that “Men or women who meet the qualifications for admissions to @SEBTS/@CollegeSE can pursue any degree program.” But that is not true. Take for example a Master of Arts in Ministry to Women. According to the school, admission is limited to WOMEN, and not men, showing that he’s willing to do it for some courses, but not others.
Given the many ways SEBTS has become the red-headed stepchild of the SBC on account of their progressive view, this should not surprise anyone.