Southern Baptist Convention Faces Showdown Over Treatment of Women

The Southern Baptist Convention is set to face issues over treatment of women that could affect the future of the convention, the largest U.S. evangelical denomination,

Delegates at the denomination’s annual meeting in Dallas will decide on approving a resolution that acknowledges during the church’s history that male leaders and church members "wronged women, abused women, silenced women, objectified women," the report said.

"Many women have experienced horrific abuses within the power structures of our Christian world," wrote evangelical teacher Beth Moore in an open letter in May.

"The #MeToo movement has come to American evangelicals," wrote Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in May.

Recently, that seminary  a preeminent figure in the denomination, citing allegations that Patterson counseled a female seminary student not to report that another student had raped her, NBC News’ report said.

The resolution, "On Affirming the Dignity of Women and the Holiness of Ministers," was written by the president of the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and signed by the outgoing president of the convention, seven former convention presidents, and both nominees for the presidency in the election at the meeting, the report said.

"Whereas sinful men have in Scripture and the history of the church wronged women, abused women, silenced women, objectified women by ungodly comments and ungodly acts, preyed on women, left women unprotected, failed to report injustices and evils committed against women to civil authorities established by God, and failed to act out of the overflow of the image of Christ," the resolution said.

Some Southern Baptist thinkers have said that women have become second-class citizens within the church due to a philosophy that says a wife’s submission to her husband is an act of grace, the report said.

The policy is likely to remain because the convention’s leadership has grown more conservative, and those who would resist have left the convention and formed their own denominations, the report said.

Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center for evangelical training, said the sexual abuse resolution shows that the church can learn from the #MeToo movement.

The problem isn’t the policy, it’s when the policy is "mixed with misogyny," Stetzer said.

"If the Southern Baptist Convention, as a large conservative denomination, can address some very real issues that have brought harm to women and survivors of abuse, that would be a good thing," Stetzer said, NBC News reported.

"If the church founded by the Jesus Christ is not the safest place (for women), we’re doing it wrong," Stetzer said, NBC News reported.