Coming together, coming apart

Embattled Baptists in Texas

As baptist historian Walter Shurden once noted, Southern Baptists are "not a silent people." Their battles are often very intense and very public. The divisive issues of 1998 were merely a continuation of a long tradition. In June, messengers (delegates) to the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention gained national attention when they added a new article on the family to the denomination's confession of faith. The amendment, now an article of denominational faith, states that "a wife is to submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband even as the church willingly submits to the headship of Christ." Southern Baptist leaders said they were simply articulating the "biblical mandate" whereby men exercise "headship" over their families just as Christ is the head of the church.


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