A Woman in “Pastoral Ministry” at my Seminary Graduation

Two weeks ago, I had the joy of graduating from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS) with a Master’s of Divinity in Christian Apologetics. Studying there for the last eight years has been a blessing. During my time at NOBTS, I have learned a great deal about understanding, teaching, and defending the Christian faith. The school’s faculty has taught each of my courses in accordance with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM 2000) and each one of my instructors and professors has exhibited a genuine faith and a love for the Lord and His people. Additionally, my tuition was affordable and a variety of class offerings made earning a degree through a distance learning program feasible. Sitting in the chapel on December 16, 2017 with my fellow graduates was a very happy occasion indeed. Unfortunately, it was marred by my school’s implicit denial of (biblical) Southern Baptist doctrine in the form of one of the graduates in the Church Leadership Certificate Program.

At face value, the Church Leadership Certificate Program is great. According to the school’s website, the program “was founded to respond to the needs of church by preparing believers to serve more effectively in their church and their community.” Certificates are offered in Biblical Ministry, Biblical Teaching, Church Music, Church Ministry, Pastoral Ministry, Preschool and Children’s Ministry, Advanced Preschool and Children’s Ministry, Ministry Wives, Christian Education, Church Planting, Women’s Ministry, Advanced Women’s Ministry, and Pastoral Ministry in African American Church Studies. I would personally recommend that those serving in various ministry capacities obtain this type of training if getting a full degree is not convenient or affordable for them. My own wife has taken several courses in the “Ministry Wives” program, from which I believe she benefited. Unfortunately, the Leadership Certificate Program has not exhibited biblical fidelity in the area of Pastoral Ministry.

During this month’s ceremony, I witnessed a female graduate from the Pastoral Ministry Program. This came as a shock to me given that women are not biblically eligible to hold the pastoral office. Article VI of the BFM 2000, entitled “The Church,” states:

“A New Testament church of the Lord Jesus Christ is an autonomous local congregation of baptized believers, associated by covenant in the faith and fellowship of the gospel; observing the two ordinances of Christ, governed by His laws, exercising the gifts, rights, and privileges invested in them by His Word, and seeking to extend the gospel to the ends of the earth. Each congregation operates under the Lordship of Christ through democratic processes. In such a congregation each member is responsible and accountable to Christ as Lord. Its scriptural officers are pastors and deacons. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.

The New Testament speaks also of the church as the Body of Christ which includes all of the redeemed of all the ages, believers from every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation.”

Although the Southern Baptist Convention’s official statement of faith denies that women are eligible to fill the pastoral office, its own seminary has granted a woman a certificate of leadership in “Pastoral Ministry.” At NOBTS, teachers are required to teach according to the BFM 2000. In fact, students are surveyed at the end of each course in order to ensure that their teachers have done so. How is it that a woman was allowed to earn a leadership certificate in Pastoral Ministry? There is of course no requirement for students at NOBTS to be Southern Baptist, or even Baptist, to enroll. It is understandable, in academic setting, that there will be a diversity of theological views even among evangelical students. There is certainly nothing wrong with a Southern Baptist Seminary granting an earned degree to a Methodist or Presbyterian student in subjects such as Counseling or Biblical Languages. However, it is downright unethical for a Southern Baptist Seminary to certify a woman as fit for “pastoral ministry” no matter what her denomination. What is the message in doing so? “We don’t believe you are fit to be a pastor but here is a certificate in pastoral ministry.” These women don’t need to be encouraged but corrected. How does certifying unequivocally unqualified “pastors” fulfill the great commission? The BFM 2000 is clear (as is the Bible): women are not to be pastors. Training them to be such, to the point of granting them a leadership certificate makes no sense. It is the acceptance of plain and simple liberalism. Southern Baptists did not fight the battles of the Conservative Resurgence so that its seminaries could train women for the pastorate. NOBTS needs to stop this practice immediately. There are a variety of opportunities and roles for women to train for in the church. Pastor is not one of them.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

186 thoughts on “A Woman in “Pastoral Ministry” at my Seminary Graduation

      1. Kathryn Johnson

        Poor guy, he’d never have survived being in seminary with me! I graduated from Southeastern with an MDiv in pastoral ministry and did my best to politely and lovingly smash as many poor interpretations concerning women in ministry as I could.

    1. Rhondajeannie

      Carol I couldn’t agree more. The Baptist Church I attend has 3 female pastors and 2 male pastors. 3 female elders and 1 male elder. The women preach often to the whole congegration. Holy Spirit filled church so God definitely doesn’t have a problem with what we are doing.

  1. leahmichelemorris

    First of all—CONGRATULATIONS! I think I read somewhere that you did this online while working full-time. That is truly an inspiration.

    That being said, I want to share a brief testimony. I am a Baptist minister, but from a tradition that’s probably similar to the one of the poster above. I was on my way to seminary to be trained in the Pastoral ministry. I moved to a new city and state to be closer to the seminary and to work in ministry with a friend, conducting worship services and Bible studies at a local senior assisted living residence. But a number of things happened during this time.

    One of those things is that I found Pulpit & Pen. And through Pulpit & Pen I found Michelle Lesley. Michelle’s teachings convicted me. The other thing is that I joined an SBC church. My new pastor wisely encouraged me to find the truth on my own. After much study, prayer and fasting—and many tears—I finally sat myself down.

    I miss preaching. Every once in a while my flesh rises up and tries to deceive me into thinking that I am not doing what God created me to do. I’ve been told that in making this decision that I did not rightly divide the Word of truth, that I misinterpreted what Paul wrote in what are now seen as controversial passages. I struggle with my flesh when opportunities come my way to preach and/or teach. But I turn them down because in those settings I would have spiritual authority over men—something the Bible clearly prohibits.

    I know that God will not let my year of preaching and teaching go to waste. So I am just humbling myself under his mighty hand, taking advantage of a few opportunities to serve in my local church as a teacher, and hoping to go to seminary for training in another ministry. I’m looking at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. As far as I know, they are standing firm on Article VI of the BFM 2000, and I pray that they do not waver, that they do not succumb to the wisdom of the world where Pastoral ministry is concerned.

    1. Jonathan Aigner

      I hope and pray you are able to one day be set free from the poor exegesis that leads to restricting women in the church. If you preach as well as you write, I imagine God has given you much to say that men and women need to hear.

      1. stephanie louise fisher

        Dear Troy: It is not any woman suffering form poor exegesis, although it is women who are the victims of Seth’s poor exegesis. I think Jonathan was directing his comment to Seth.

      2. stephanie louise fisher

        Dear Troy, I was confused by the comment thread and replies corresponding with which previous comments. I see now that while you were addressing Jonathan, he was commenting on Leah’s spiel and not that of the poster. I think if she preaches as well as she writes, its probably better she doesn’t and perhaps it is just as well that her exegesis is so twisted she believes the distorted view of the Southern Baptist Convention that limits the office of pastor to men. For that is clearly poor exegesis and the antithesis of the example given by the historical Jesus.

      3. spiritplumber

        You know, whatever else, I appreciate Seth’s willingness to not delete comments that disagree with him. That puts him miles above people like Eric Hovind and Ken Ham.

    2. Rhondajeannie

      Sad for you and I can discern your sadnes. If you are gifted then you should be using those gifts not retraining especially in a theological college that see women as less than equal.

  2. Kathi

    I’m having a difficult time understanding why you are upset about a woman receiving a certificate. It’s not even a degree – these are only worth 12-18 credits. No one could get a job off of these certificates.

    Thankfully, the Holy Spirit does not apply gifts of preaching and teaching based upon gender.

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      Well, the Bible doesn’t require anyone to have a degree or certificate to pastor.

      I imagine the people earning these certificates are already involved in some way at their churches. Hopefully no women are serving as “pastors” and coming for formal training.

      1. Kathi

        Then why even bother to pursue a ministry degree? And, if the certificate is not required to be a pastor, why be concerned about a woman taking classes that may interest her?

      2. Mel

        How does your wife feel about your view that women are inferior to men and therefore not allowed to lead men, simply because they have a vagina. Does she cry herself to sleep or has she internalized the misogyny like a lobotomized Stepford Wife?

      3. Kathi

        A theological degree is good for two things: 1) preaching and 2) teaching. If you are not going to be doing either one of these as a profession, then there is no point in spending thousands of dollars for a theology degree. One only needs to read books to be educated in theology.

        Now, back to the question of why would it be of concern to you that a woman study the courses that are applied toward the certificate of pastoral studies? If a woman (or a man) is not able to use this certificate in order to obtain a pastoral position then why was your graduation ceremony marred by a woman receiving this certificate? If you think that a theological education is important, than a woman should have every opportunity to take the courses that men take – including courses in the pastoral study certificate.

      4. spiritplumber

        Nope, paid in full two years ago.

        Would you like instructions on how to glitch the White Throne Judgement out? I wrote a story about that a while back.

    2. Kathi

      Yes, you have been clear of your objection, but you have not been clear about why a woman should not be able to take these courses if she is interested. Many times people who pursue these certificates are not actively working in ministry. They take courses due to interest and gaining a better understanding of the Bible or theology, or in what a denomination teaches.

      The reason why I am pushing on this is because I have a bachelor’s in ministry with a minor in biblical studies. The university I went to was very supportive of women in ministry – at the time there were only two of us in the ministry program. We were viewed by our male peers as equals and worked and studied along side them for four years. However, when it came time to actually pursue a ministry I could not find one church that would support women. So, the talk was cheap when it came down to the churches who supported our university and the role of women in the church.

      I understand why you do not think women should be in ministry in the church. I do not agree with you, though, as I do not think this is biblical. The Bible states very clearly that the Spirit gifts people to serve the body, and that gifting is not based upon gender. I think that when a church states that a woman is not able to serve as a pastor, that church is clearly hindering the work of God in its life.

      I Corinthians 12: 4-11 There are different kinds of gifts. But they are all given to believers by the same Spirit. There are different ways to serve. But they all come from the same Lord. There are different ways the Spirit works. But the same God is working in all these ways and in all people. The Holy Spirit is given to each of us in a special way. That is for the good of all. To some people the Spirit gives a message of wisdom. To others the same Spirit gives a message of knowledge. To others the same Spirit gives faith. To others that one Spirit gives gifts of healing. To others he gives the power to do miracles. To others he gives the ability to prophesy. To others he gives the ability to tell the spirits apart. To others he gives the ability to speak in different kinds of languages they had not known before. And to still others he gives the ability to explain what was said in those languages. All the gifts are produced by one and the same Spirit. He gives gifts to each person, just as he decides.

      1. sethdunn88 Post author

        As I understand it the certificates are designed for people to be more effective in the area of ministry for which they are certifying.

        If you look at the other certificate courses, much of the study overlaps. So it’s not as if I’m arguing that the women shouldn’t learn.

        I object to training them for the pastorate.

  3. Larry Overstreet

    If that’s what your education has taught you, you’re not only sexist, but you wasted 8 years of your life. Holding views like this, somehow derived from a twisted, improper reading of scripture that completely misses the point, makes you fully unqualified for ministry. Go find another line of work where you won’t inflict any of this drivel to the rest of humanity.

      1. Paul Cottingham

        Yeah, OK. You wrote a strange little review of his laymans work. You clearly didnt learn a thing from it. Try “Biblical Exegesis” or one of his commentaries that has sections that deal with women in leadership.
        You should seriously stay away (in the public arena) from subjects you haven’t rearched properly.

      2. Paul Cottingham

        So what if either of them is Pentacostal. Fee is a highly regarded scholar. You, as far as i can tell, are not.
        To presime you are more authoritative on this subject reflects either a lack of humility or profound hubris. Or perhaps you are just seeking attrntion.

      3. sethdunn88 Post author

        It makes a difference. (I googled, Fee is the Pentecostal). In the Pentecostal world people are more open to Holy Ghost feelsies (like a woman claiming God called her to pastor). In other parts of evangelicalism, people are less likely to let Holy Ghost claims influence how they interpret scripture.

        I’m not saying I’m a better Bible scholar than he is but I’m not some hack either. I never claimed to be “more authoritative” than Fee. I don’t know why you went there.

        We could both sit here and quote scholars after scholar who support our positions. I’m not going to play “but Al Mohler says” with you.

        My denomination has a clear position with which I agree. I’m unaware that other studied people disagree with it. Clearly, I’m familar with Fee.

      4. Paul Cottingham

        Yeah, sorry, if you hold this position, you are not “clearly familiar with Fee.” He is a world class scholar (whom i studied under) that refutes your complementarian views in any of his scholarly works on the passages you cite. Again, to ignore this while blithely noting “I’m familiar with Fee” is hubris.
        You either arent familiar with his work, or you think you are smarter than him, and know more. You aren’t and you don’t.
        You need to get control of your arrogance and your ego, or your career will be a short one.

      5. sethdunn88 Post author

        Let me get this straight, if I’m familar with Fee then I must agree with him.

        So, the entire faculty of my complimentarian seminary must therefore be unfamiliar Fee (even though they assigned me to read his book).

        Are you sure I’m rhe one being arrogant here.

        Like I said, I’m not going to play the my dad can best up your dad with me game with you.

    1. Paul Cottingham

      Yeah read all your comments. Tell me again who is being arrogant? At least i actually put a great deal of academic (under grad and post grad) effort into this, as opposed to just quoting the dogma of my church. I attend a church of Christ. Needless to say we differ on this.

      1. sethdunn88 Post author

        Dude, I got an MDiv. It’s not like I’m just reading the Baptist beliefs off of the internet.

        Are you a Campbellite Church of Christ guy that beleives Baptism justifies?

  4. Jayson

    “During this month’s ceremony, I witnessed a female graduate from the Pastoral Ministry Program. This came as a shock to me given that women are not biblically eligible to hold the pastoral office. Article VI of the BFM 2000, entitled ‘The Church,’ states:”…
    That M.Div. apparently didn’t teach you the fundamental difference between the Bible and the BFM 2000. In your goofy missive, you state that women are not “biblically eligible” to serve as pastors, and immediately follow that by citing BFM 2000.
    I have a feeling that many debates in which you may see yourself situated will involve lots of similar errors in thinking and reasoning on your part.
    Good luck with that degree in utter uselessness.

      1. Paul Cottingham

        The problem that you seem incapable of seeing is that you quote the “BFM 2000” as if it were as authoritative as the Bible. Of course that is easily as heretical as anything you accuse women of doing. I’m beginning to suspect that this whole thing is a troll for attention.

      2. sethdunn88 Post author

        I quote the BFM because the incident took place at a school that subscribes to it.

        Do you get that this article is not about arguing for complementarianism? It presumes it and examines whether or not the complimentarian school acted ethically.

        As for trolling, you’re on my blog.

    1. Troy

      The term Bishop/elder/Pastor is synonymous. The Scripture speaking of “lay hands suddenly on no “MAN” is referencing what we would call an ordination.

      1. spiritplumber

        So what’s the issue exactly? What would you have done differently, told her “Sorry, you must be at least this male to enroll”?

      2. spiritplumber

        Okay, I’ll bite…. what certificate programs are available that are only open to women at the same institution?

      3. sethdunn88 Post author

        Only open to women?

        I guess the ministry wife certificate program. But women could enroll in almost any of the other programs (listed in the article)

      4. spiritplumber

        You know, “separate but equal” ain’t equal. We as a society had that argument around 50 years ago.

      5. spiritplumber

        I do, unless you can give me some metrics as to why a women’s program would be equally prestigious and lead to equivalent opportunities. You specifically say that it could not lead to employment as a pastor, so, what else does one do with a theology degree? (I went to seminary for 3 semester before switching to electrical engineering. It was interesting and I do not regret it…. but in retrospect, that program has the same issue).

      6. sethdunn88 Post author

        Well, in the SBC, all the churches forbid female pastors (and the ones who don’t get kicked out eventually). So that specific type of employment is known to be infeasible at the get go.

        But a woman could work in counseling, academia, as some sort of children’s ministry director (preschool or Sunday School).

      7. sethdunn88 Post author

        How many female Southern Baptist pastors do you think there are in the state of Louisiana right now?

        Yeah, it’s not feasible for a woman to pastor an SBC church (not for very long anyway).

  5. Jezebel

    I love how the Southern Baptists are perfectly content cashing in on women like Beth Moore while still pedaling this women-can’t-be-pastors garbage. And by “love” I mean this is one of the main reasons I walked away from the Baptist/Evangelical church 10 years ago. People like you confirm that it was the best decision I ever made

  6. Jezebel

    How are you in any way qualified to know what is on my bookshelf? But enough about me. While I have your attention, perhaps you could address the blatant hypocrisy that I’ve brought up.

    1. sethdunn88 Post author

      I wasn’t implying that you had a shelf full of Beth Moore books. I was merely implying my desire to leave the SBC and the Baptist bookstore. Her influence on SBC women is tragic.

      I deplore Beth Moore and have written many articles about her.

      1. Jezebel

        While I have your attention, perhaps you could address the blatant hypocrisy in the SBC that I brought up in my original post.

  7. Chris Shrewsbury

    Mr. Dunn,

    Let me begin by saying that I sincerely hope that every woman you encounter in the course of your ministry be able to read your above-stated opinion. Regardless of their status with/without the church, All should know of the limitations imposed by your interpretation of others’ words.

    And speaking of words, you seem to place a high value on them, especially those within BFM. The fact that you quote an organization’s doctrinal statement and not scripture itself is very telling. (And let’s not overlook the fact that the revered KJV that I expect you proudly carry has passed through enough human-held pens as to forestall any claims of infallibility.)

    While I know that at your ripe-old age you may think you’ve got it all figured out. But doing His work in this world is far from what you’ve experienced in the classrooms of academia. You’re going to have to minister to women, the same people you believe that have been created in a position of less-than.

    Or, for you, even worse, you may have to attend or participate in events wherein female ministers lead. Will you then turn your back upon someone who shares the same call of God as you? Or will you outwardly smile, giving bald lie to the beliefs in your heart? WWJD, indeed.

    Tonight you are in my prayers, for the sake of your relationship to our Father, as well as for those women and men who may one day sit under your ministry. May God open all our hearts, not to divisiveness nor predjudices nor the many forms of “other-ism”, but to His matchless love, grace, and mercy.

    Remember, the veil was rent from TOP to BOTTOM, and no Post-Its with a list of conditions were attached.

  8. Todd

    I long for the day when God gets through to those that claim to be followers. I am fully confident that these times are short. The passages commonly used to continue promoting misogyny just like those to condemn alternative sexual lifestyles thankfully do not stand alone. That day I long for will come as God continues to work and build Thier Kingdom. Yet, in the meantime we pray for patience & understanding of our brothers & sisters that continue to put God in a small box.

  9. Rebecca Trotter

    Complimentarianism is Satanic and your father in hell is no doubt happy for your help oppressing God’s daughters. Just plain evil. Hubris to the nth degree. Spitting right in the face of God’s Holy Spirit and urinating on the gifts God so graciously bestows on us. I hope you preach your Satanism loudly so that people will continue to flee the whore church you revere and find God’s love and freedom instead. In case you were wondering what an actual Christian thinks.

    1. spiritplumber

      So, what of those of us who would really like to tell both God and Satan to sort themselves out internally, before they try to work with humanity?

      1. Rebecca Trotter

        I think God’s got it worked out. It’s just us humans who are playing catch up. We’ll get there eventually. Thank GOD that the gross evil of men who blaspheme God by using his name to oppress others is waning. Freedom and God’s ways can only be delayed, but not stopped.

    2. sethdunn88 Post author


      I guess you mean the devil by my “father in Hell”. The devil isn’t in Hell right now. So that’s a thing from the Bible you need to understand.

      Now, let’s talk churcg history. In what time or time periods during church history have their been female pastors?

      1. Rebecca Trotter

        I was speaking figuratively, first off. Second off, chapter and verse on the Satan’s not in hell thing. I’ve read the bible front to back a handful of times and studied it extensively and must have missed that tidbit. Never even heard it before, in fact. And every position found in the epistles was also associated with a woman at some point in scripture. There’s ample archeological evidence of women holding leadership positions in the church for centuries. Until the 11th century, church liturgies existed for the ordination of women. Unfortunately the demonic teaching of the unique subordination of women and restrictions on female human beings in leadership was so deeply entrenched in human cultures that it infected the church. But thankfully, God’s ways win out and now in the parts of the world where Christianity has the deepest, most long standing roots, female equality is rising up again. God is good. Complimentarianism is not and is doomed to well deserved rejection and ignomy.

      2. Rebecca Trotter

        Using 1 Peter 5:8 to argue that Satan isn’t in hell is like saying you don’t live in your home because you go to work every day. And Revelation says that Satan is cast into the “lake of fire and theio”. Not hell. Theio is translated as “sulpher” or brimstone, but as you will notice, it is derived from the word “Theo” which, of course, is Greek for God or the divine. Theio was a sulpherous incense used in the ancient world to purify and consecrated objects for serious purposes. For example, in the Illiad theio is used to purify and consecrated a goblet which is used to make a drink offering. At any rate, the lake of fire is not synonymous with hell. So I don’t find your interpretation well found much less compelling.

      3. Rebecca Trotter

        Well, there are 4 words which have, at times, been translated as “hell”/. The Hebrew word “sheol” which is more properly translated as “grave” and is rarely translated as hell any longer. In the Greek Septuagint, the word “sheol” is always translated as “hades”. Hades is, of course, the mythological abode of the dead where all souls went went they died. It had no connotation of punishment. Hades is used several times in the NT and is another word which has sometimes been translated as hell. but given what we know about the actual role of hades, it doesn’t fit with the idea of hell. The third word which gets translated as hell is Tartarus. Tartarus is only used in 2 Peter in reference to angels, not dead humans. Tartarus is also from Greek mythology. The final word which gets translated as hell is Gehenna. Gehenna is an actual place in Jerusalem which played a central role in the book of the prophet Jeremiah where it is called “Tophet”. It was the place where the Hebrews sacrificed their children to Molech. We know that the Gehenna was not recognized as being associated with an unpleasant or punishing afterlife in Jewish teaching until the 6th century AD. So it is almost certain that when Jesus spoke of Gehenna, he was speaking of the depravity which humans are capable of and the devastating consequences of indulging that depravity (the Hebrews were sent into exile in Babylon in the book of Jeremiah). So Jesus’ audience wouldn’t have understood him to be warning about hell as we moderns understand it. So, biblically speaking, hell really isn’t much of anything.

      4. sethdunn88 Post author

        Oh, okay.

        Hades/Sheol is where the souls of the departed go until the ressurection after which they are cast into Hell.

        That’s how I see it.

        The way you see it, Satan is in Hell but at the same time Hell isn’t anything.

        So….I’ll go with the one that makes sense.

      5. Rebecca Trotter

        The original Greek does not support your interpretation. Also, you should really familiarize yourself with what “figurative” means. You simply cannot speak of spiritual or religious matters without speaking figuratively. The reality is that the bible has damn near nothing to say about the afterlife or about the cosmological structure of reality. Because we do not have information on those things in scripture and they are beyond what we can define, we rely, like the writers of scripture sometimes do, on figurative language do speak of these things. It is foolish in the extreme for humans to attempt to define the spiritual and cosmological reality of existence definitively or in detail.

      6. Rebecca Trotter

        The text says that they were in Hades where Lazarus was welcomed into the bosom of Abraham but the rich man experienced only torment. So, same place, different experiences. And the story is quite obviously a parable or allegory, not a literal description of the afterlife.

      7. Rebecca Trotter

        Do you think that if you keep asking questions, you’ll finally get to a “gotcha”? Obviously I’ve studied extensively and I’m not making things up out of thin air or on the basis of the teachings of men. But the text in Revelation says that the dead will be given up by “the sea”, “death” and Hades. So I guess that death is different for those who drown at sea and death is what – a place? The text doesn’t explain why the dead come from those three places (?) or what the differences between them might be or what the condition of the dead in the sea, death and Hades are. Probably because it’s figurative language.

      8. sethdunn88 Post author

        That’s not at all obvious to me.

        I’m asking in the hope that you’ll figure out the dead are in Hades right now but everything seems to be figurative to you.

        So, if the devil figuratively in Hell? What’s that mean?

      9. Rebecca Trotter

        And, I truly don’t mean to be offensive, but don’t you feel silly telling someone who has obviously studied scripture in fine grain detail that you’re hoping I’ll “figure out”. If the text were clear, obviously I would already know that. But its not. At all. And you’ve ignored a solid 80% of what I said while putting on this pretense of having a grasp of things which you simply cannot demonstrate. You sound more than a little ridiculous.

      10. sethdunn88 Post author

        Rebecca, generally speakikg, where is Satan right now?

        Is he in Hell, like you said or is Hell not even anything like said.

        Which of your contradictory statements is true?

      11. Rebecca Trotter

        Do you actually think that Satan has a physical location? That’s . . . weird. So like does he travel around the planet at super sonic speeds in order to stick his fingers into everything? Or does he just send his demons out? Does he have a mailing address? Do you suppose he lives in a thermal vent somewhere? Maybe he has a home base under the sea that he works from. Trying to figure out how you think this works.

      12. Rebecca Trotter

        What are you, five? You actually think that verse means he’s literally roaming around like a lion????? Seriously- how does that work? Lions don’t move too fast over distances and stick to temperate climates, so do you think Satan can’t travel to the north in winter? And you’re pointing to Job? Really? Where is the throne room? Not in the material, I assume, so obviously Satan can move between spiritual and the physical realm, rendering your whole “Satan must be in one place or the other” nonsense even more ridiculous. Wow.

      13. sethdunn88 Post author

        To where was Satan cast down?

        Was he in the garden of Eden or not?

        You said he was in Hell. Is he in Hell or not? Do you have any biblical evidence to back that claim or would you like to retract it?

      14. Rebecca Trotter

        I already did. Repeatedly. But I’m not sure you have the mental capacity to understand. And here you are out here arguing that you can be a pastor but I can’t by virtue of our genitals. So much absurdity.

      15. Rebecca Trotter

        You have to be trolling me. Stop it. No one capable of typing sentences is genuinely that obtuse. You’d die the first time someone failed to bring you food. So not only are you teaching demonic theology, you’re an ass to boot. But I suppose that’s to be expected. Oh well. You’re a dying breed, thank God.

      16. sethdunn88 Post author

        This is my blog. I don’t think I can troll my own blog.

        It’s like you can’t admit that you were wrong even when presented with your own contradictory statement.

        You’ve come to my blog, with a cartoon, devil in Hell, understanding, of Satan and called me a child of the devil for holding the predominant view of church history with regard to gender and the pastorate.

        And you make some weird statement about me not being able to find food. That’s just silly.

      17. sethdunn88 Post author

        While you’re calling me and complimentarianism demonic, consider this:

        “And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.”

        Perhaps the devil is deceiving you about the roles of men and women.

      18. spiritplumber

        Looks like you can’t agree about where Satan is. How much would it be worth it for you to do R&D on detecting equipment? I can probably design some, and my rates are very low if you agree to open-source the design afterwards.

      19. Paul Cottingham

        There were female leaders in the NT. Junias, and Priscilla are a couple of examples. The early church has many examples as well. This is a subject you clearly did not resesrch, and now lack the humility to face squarely. Time to admit your hubris, and your error. Not holding my breath though.

      20. sethdunn88 Post author

        Yeah, I know who those women are. Nowhere in the biblical text are they called “pastors”.

        Don’t presume I’m ignorant because I don’t make the same hermeneutical and historic leaps that you do.

        Listen, my denomination doesn’t take those leaps. It’s not as if we have seminaries full of professors who have never heard of these women.

        Is that what you think?

      21. Paul Cottingham

        The Greek clearly defines one of them as an elder. Of course, you likely won’t like that, so you will change directions yet again. I did my masters worm on this, so your weak understanding of this subject isn’t helping you. Your utter and complete lack of humility over this subject which you clearly did no research on, (-again- Paul does greet a female leader in at least on letter, and never rebukes Priscilla, despite her being the more authoritative of Priscilla and Aquilla) reflects poorly on your choice of vocation. I can go on. But I doubt you are actually interested.

      22. sethdunn88 Post author

        “The greek”

        What else would, it’s written in Greek? What Greek word? Which case? How? Why?

        You seem unreasonably agitated.

        Also, you don’t know what my job is. I’m a CPA.

  10. Troy

    I appreciate Set Dunn”s answers. They have been Biblical, sound and in context. May I ask those who oppose his view’s (and those of the original author) a few questions. I read a lot of “your exegesis is poor”. No one has explained to him how it’s poor. Also for a group of super tolerant folks you are very intolerant of his view and some have accused him of being a child of hell. I also have noticed that you are fine with some Scriptures but totally ignore others. That tells me you don’t believe in the inspiration and infallibility of the Scriptures. So my question is this…Why even discuss Scripture? Especially if you have the view if it feels good do it?

  11. Lynn

    Rebecca—you are awesome. And educated. And intelligent. To think God wouldn’t want you (or any woman) to preach or teach—well, that’s a God I would never bow down to.

      1. spiritplumber

        You seem a bit salty because your losing an argument with a woman, invalidates your point. Hey, I am an engineer, I discover that I am fundamentally wrong about stuff about once a week 🙂 there is no shame in it, there is only shame in not learning from it. Gambatte, and happy new year!

      2. sethdunn88 Post author

        It’s fallacious to posit that losing an argument with a women means that a woman is somehow qualified to be a pastor.

        So, there’s one more thing you are fundamentally wrong about.

      3. spiritplumber

        You call it a fallacy, I call it a data point….

        Tell me this: If it was statistically significant that men lose theological arguments to women (I don’t think this is the case, we’d have to do a proper study, but let’s go with the thought experiment) or if it was otherwise measurable that women are, on average, better at doing the “pastor” job than men are, would you still be against women pastors?

      4. sethdunn88 Post author

        That’s like saying a triangle is better at being a sqaure.

        Women, by their nature, can’t be pastors since a pastor is essentially male. There is no data set of women filling the pastoral office. There are zero of them.

        Here’s your argument:

        1. If a women wins a theological argument with a man, women are qualified to be pastors.
        2. A woman wins a theological argument with a man.
        3. Therefore, women are qualified to be pastors.

        Valid, but unsound. 1 is just your bare assertion.

      5. spiritplumber

        Okay, let’s take the operational approach then – what do pastors do? What skillset defines a pastor? (And no, “having a male brain” is not a skillset. You could argue that “peeing upright” is a skillset, but I know plenty of girls who do that). I was using theology as a partial example because it was visible on hand.

        There are plenty of female pastors, you can probably talk to one in less than five minutes if you use a search engine and a telephone.

      6. spiritplumber

        It’s what works both in engineering projects and in setting up crew org charts… you’ve got to find the optimum in mixing the skillset (or technology) for the job.

        Being a pastor is a job, ultimately: one that can make a big difference in a community, whether for good or for ill. There are a few instances in which you don’t want the most competent person (the situation is calm and someone needs practice, you always want a full bench) but even those happen because you’re optimizing for the long term.

        If you cut yourself off from half your HR bench arbitrarily, how can you hope to keep up?

      7. sethdunn88 Post author

        I don’t think God needs a full bench. He can raise up as He sees fit and I can adhere to his word without lapsing into humanistic pragmatism.

      8. spiritplumber

        Okay. If you choose to pursue a strategy that you know to be subotpimal, after understanding that it is suboptimal, hey, hooray for free will 🙂

      9. spiritplumber

        On the surface, I have so many counterexamples… However, digging a bit deeper, I realize we haven’t decided what we are optimizing for; maybe that’s why we are disagreeing.

        So, WHAT are we optimizing for? You’re the person with the problem, so you should indicate what you want out of the solution 🙂

      10. sethdunn88 Post author

        Think of if it this way. Read the sermon on the plain and then do a finance study where one group loans without expectation for repayment.

      11. spiritplumber

        Interesting, one of my 2018 resolutions is to break my vow of hospitality that I made in 2010. I can attest that not locking your door, freely giving food to anyone who asks, letting transients in for a night in a real bed and a shower, and loaning without expecting repayment is a drain on one’s finances. However, it’s also a way to collect stories that one otherwise couldn’t, so… it’s really a matter of how one can monetise the incidental benefits?

        We’re finally getting to the point, civilization wise, where UBI schemes are becoming feasible.

        What does this all have to do with the existence or non of women pastors?

      12. spiritplumber


        So, any one person on Earth will do a better or worse job of being a pastor. Most people will do a terrible job for reasons of being too young, too old, too stupid, too illiterate, too Atheistic, or too nonChristian. That’s okay. Your contention is that EVERY human male will place ahead of EVERY human female for doing that job. Do I absolutely have to prove that wrong, or is it sufficiently self-evident?

      13. spiritplumber

        Yes, but you want to disqualify every female…. So now we’re introducing another element in our model: There is a bar that has to be cleared.

        An omniscient being would instantly know the effectiveness-in-a-pastor-job score of every human. Let’s agree with you and say that this being has decided that the score must at least be X, with everyone’s score being irrelevant if it’s below X.

        You are saying that every female would score below X, based on the metrics, and that on top of that every female that is yet to be born would score below X, based on the metrics, regardless of any advances in technology or psychology or ability to emphatise (Note that this litmus test is trivial to trick once your civilization’s clock hits the 1930s and gender reassignment surgery becomes available…. or 2030 and gender reassignment gene therapy becomes available, if you want to simplify and pretend that there’s just XX and XY in humans).

        At this point, we have to start defining metrics, so… what must a would-be pastor be able to do?

      14. spiritplumber

        Clearly it’s a bit more complicated than that since not all males are equally qualified to be pastors. Are all females equally qualified to be pastors in your model?

      15. spiritplumber

        I have. Are you saying that in order to reach your conclusion, I have to start with it?

        On my end, experts disagree about whether the “is female” multiplier for the score is 0 or not, so I’m going to mark it as an unknown and complete the rest of the model, with the option of revisiting it.

        Engineering often necessitates working from incomplete data 🙂

      16. spiritplumber

        Yes, if it was shown to me that it is not even theoretically feasible for women to do the job of “pastor”, I would exclude women until there’s a significant paradigm shift in what the job entails or in what being a woman entails.

        For example, if I was unaware of the difference between sex and gender, I would exclude the category “women” from the job of “biological father”, until a paradigm shift occured (such as me learning about the difference between sex and gender).

      17. spiritplumber

        Of course at that point you have to consider that you might just be playing with definition… you can’t say that, for example, rectangles are disqualified from the job of “being a square” because square is something that something is, not something that something does 🙂

        (In other words, if it walks and swims and quacks like a duck, but is labeled pigeon, what is it?)

      18. spiritplumber

        If you are a CFA you should know better than that. Your education has put powerful mathematical and statistical tools at your disposal, so you do everyone a disservice by not deploying them.

      19. spiritplumber

        He might just need a starship one of these days though 🙂 Jokes aside, possibly not, but you do. You aren’t God. You do not have the full picture from the start, so the best you can do – same as the rest of us – is approach it asymptotically.

      20. spiritplumber

        Clearly not since there’s disagreement about it, see the contents of this page…

        Then again, you could also say that there is disagreement about general and special RELATIVITY, see all the flat-earth and young-universe weirdos for an example.

        In that case…. welp, what do you know? Looks like we’re back to experimental metrics to figure it out. Funny how that works out 🙂

      21. spiritplumber

        I grew up Catholic (and yes, I’m not very happy about the whole male-only priesthood there either). Then i was an Atheist for a while, after living with some otherwise wonderful Evangelicals. Then I started believing in God again when I got a job at NASA working for astrobiologists. I go to church about once a month, but strictly to volunteer.

      22. spiritplumber

        I don’t, there’s a beautiful Episcopalian church near me that I do a bit of unpaid labor for, because they have a senior ministry and I miss my grandparents back across the ocean.

        However, I am very interested in theology, if nothing else because if there are supernatural entities out there, we should make sure that we can get along with them, or failing that, neutralize them. Humanity must endure, and all that 🙂

      23. spiritplumber

        I accept my sins as part of who I have been, and deal with them by reimbursing the offended parties. I will gladly work with the risen Christ if the occasion arises and he either can pay market rate or he’s doing a project that I find interesting enough to work pro bono, but strictly on a contract basis, nobody gets to be my boss.

        It’s important to be professional and establish boundaries from the start, don’t you think?

        Also, there’s nothing I need to be saved from. If you are suggesting some form of mutual aid system, it’s why I pay my taxes, volunteer in my community, and have kept my vow of hospitality (although I think that 7 years feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, clothing the naked and visiting people in the psych ward is enough for now, I have spacecraft to help build).

      24. sethdunn88 Post author

        You need to be saved from God’s wrath. Your good deeds warrant you no credit with him. Your sin is against him.

        Repent of your sins or you wull perish.

        Christ paid for sin. You’ll be under judgement for your “market rate” comment about the man who died on the cross to atone for sin unless you repent.

      25. spiritplumber

        I do. You however seem to think that He is, except that he’s bigger and stronger than you so you should be scared of Him.

        Someone wanting me to pay a price, or perform a service, to save me from a problem that he made, is ipso facto running a protection racket.

        Hint: Might doesn’t make right, right makes might 🙂 and we’re all better off for that.

      26. sethdunn88 Post author

        Jesus paid the price.

        Maybe you understand the gospel to be a protection racket because you came up Roman Catholic.

        God doesn’t need you. Nor does he need the best you can do. He doesn’t need to skim off the top of your action.

        Your righteous deeds are but filthy rags before Him. He doesn’t need a cut of that.

      27. spiritplumber

        Two for two on rejecting data, it looks like 🙂 Well, like I said upthread, you do you! Just make sure you don’t hurt anyone, OK?

      28. spiritplumber

        Also, no, I own my house 🙂 slept on the floor until a year ago because no furniture, but I paid it in full at age 35!

        If you need instructions on how to glitch the White Throne Judgement out, let me know, it’s actually an interesting exercise in game theory. I wrote a story about it a while ago.

      29. spiritplumber

        More or less, yes. Anything less would imply that God does not have free will.

        Besides, you should consider it a good thing if God attempts to send me to Hell and I agree to it 🙂 I am an engineer.

      30. spiritplumber

        “great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ.”

        I posit as cirucmstantial evidence as to which is which when it comes to me and your friend, the achievements in engineering and the achievements in theology within your own lifetime.

      31. sethdunn88 Post author

        You put a lot of stock in yourself and your achievements.

        The Bible says “I the Lord do not change”.

        I wouldn’t expect to see “achievements” in theology as time marches on.

        Do you think God, who made the river and the land is impressed when an engineer builds a bridge?

        Read the Bible, believe it, repent.

      32. spiritplumber

        It’s actually pretty easy to tell apart rivers and mountains that formed naturally (with processes that are well understood) from rivers and mountains that were made artificially (which we’ve been able to do for about a hundred and fifty years now).

        As for engineering achievements, I would like to defer to a far greater engineer than I: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=0&v=6aQlbqHZuYk

        I’ve read the Bible in several language, found it interesting and educational, and kept working. As for God not changing, the Bible itself goes back and forth a few times about it… which is good: change is a prerequisite for life. Surely you do not think that God is dead?

      33. spiritplumber

        It’s a fascinating cultural history of two people, and contains some good ideas.

        It also has a lot of blood, violence, injustice, drama, intrigue, and poetry.

        Definitely recommended, but don’t let this be the only book you care about 🙂

        I’m a big fan of Revelation, personally. An excellent guide on how to stop the end of the world.

  12. marciglass

    Luckily, God’s call on my life isn’t limited by your lack of approval.
    Blessings to you in your ministry. May you learn in a kind and humble way that God can speak through all sorts of people you would never endorse.

    1. Paul Cottingham

      Its funny, young fellow. I remember graduating from seminary and thinking i knew everything as well. Unlike you, I quickly matured out of such arrogance.
      Make no mistake, the only thing that you are proving with your screed, and tbe way you have responded to everyone here is your lack of humility.
      Of course, you will prove my point by attacking me. And you wont even recognize the irony.
      Is your degree really in apologetics? How do you define apologetics? Starting fights and insulting everyone who disagrees with you? Sigh.

      1. Paul Cottingham

        Older than you, Mr. Dunn, 7and nowhere near as immature. Imagine the hubris, you are the sole person correct here, and everyone who disagrees with you is wrong.
        Seriously, your degree is in apologetics? What a waste of time and money. You aren’t “standing boldly for the faith.” You are merely being an arrogant, inflexible ass. My apolgetics prof (Michael Green) would be horrified by your approach.
        (Don’t bother with another screed, attacking M Green. I doubt you could recognize it, but you would be proving my point.)

  13. DJR

    “During this month’s ceremony, I witnessed a female graduate from the Pastoral Ministry Program. This came as a shock to me given that women are not biblically eligible to hold the pastoral office.”

    Why is this a shock?

    Baptists can be freemasons and be Baptists in good standing. Some Baptists have female pastors. There are Baptist “gay” congregations. Before you were born, the Southern Baptist Convention was a pro-abortion organization.

    Witnessing a female graduate in such circumstances should not be a shock to an informed person.

  14. A sister in the Lord

    Bless your heart Seth, with more of Him and His Holy Spirit… I keep praying that all of God’s people, the entire priesthood of believers will be continually filled with His Holy Spirit… I hope that’s acceptable as I hope you believe that’s biblical (Eph. 5:18) even though your position with charismatics seems to throw the baby out with the bathwater… I truly believe women should have pastoral training, at least to minister with women… can you agree with that? because there are many situations where male pastors have added to the harm that women have already experienced at the hands of a man… and that harm is not biblical… in fact that is the exact opposite of what God calls His leaders to do… God abhors abuse… and He abhors the devaluing and diminishing of anyone created in His image… we are all fearfully and wonderfully made in His image… and what has been happening far too often is that women have been diminished and objectified via patriarchal beliefs dba in the name of complemenatarianism. It is very deceptive…


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