The vote at our Fellowship convention takes place today. I have no idea how it will go. I’ve always doubted that they will get enough support (two-thirds) to pass the by-law, but now I’m not so sure. Here’s the motion they will attempt to pass:
In the New Testament, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is gender specific. Therefore, in Fellowship Baptist churches, this office is for qualified men recognized by the local church for oversight of the doctrine and practice of the church.
At first glance, this looks like a vote on the gender issue. It’s really not. It’s actually a vote on whether or not we want to exclude churches that hold a different view on the gender issue. As I’ve said before (let’s not go over all the arguments again), I just can’t see why it makes sense to be so exclusive on this issue. I’m still not sure what the fallout from the first vote will be. Our leadership team is great. We met last night. While discouraged, they showed real character following a pretty disappointing vote. The vote on Sunday reflected a lot of things. It partly reflected theological concern, which I not only welcome but encourage. But it also reflected much more unhealthy things as well – issues of structure and issues of heart – and these will have to be dealt with if Richview is going to thrive, or even survive, long term. But then again, it’s all about being a dying church full of people who have died to themselves, isn’t it? It’s not about us, and the Kingdom is much larger. Still, I’d appreciate your thoughts and prayers today. I’ll let you know what happens.