The unlikely argument of a Baptist fundamentalist: John Roach Straton's defense of women in the pulpit.
Since becoming the pastor of New York's Calvary Baptist Church in 1918, Straton had attracted national attention as a leader in the fundamentalist movement, stridently proclaiming the doctrine of biblical inerrancy and the literal interpretation of scripture while lamenting Christian civilization's descent into immorality. Utley was a fourteen-year-old girl from California, who had experienced a divine call to preach the gospel. The two had met at a Bible conference earlier in the year, and now the fiery fundamentalist and the girl preacher stood together before an estimated crowd of over 10,000 in the heart of New York. (2)
Despite Straton's reputation, he was not the main attraction that night. For four weeks in the fall of 1926, Utley preached daily at Calvary, winning hundreds of souls for Christ and attracting great publicity in the process. In June, news of her first appearance in New York was mentioned on page one of the New York Times. (3) Favorable press coverage continued into the fall. For this final meeting of her October evangelism campaign, Utley moved from Calvary's spacious sanctuary to the larger venue of Madison Square Garden. She packed the house. In a celebrity-addled Jazz Age, Utley was a star.
She was also a girl who preached the gospel to men and women alike, calling them to commit their lives to Jesus. For this reason, above all others, her relationship with the fundamentalist Straton troubled many of his fellow Baptists. Indeed, far from condemning her preaching activity as unbiblical, Straton encouraged Utley, much to the dismay of conservative Baptists who believed that a woman--much less a teenaged girl--did not belong behind a Baptist pulpit. Nevertheless, Straton refused to compromise his support for Utley's preaching ministry.
During the mid-1920s, the lives of this Baptist fundamentalist and this girl preacher overlapped considerably. Straton's endorsement helped catapult Utley to prominence as an evangelist. Utley's spirited preaching, meanwhile, forced Straton to reconcile his appreciation for her homiletical gifts with his interpretation of scripture as inerrant and infallible. From their relationship emerged not only a fascinating story but an illuminating instance of how the seemingly divergent paths of Baptist fundamentalism and women in ministry intersected and, for a time, merged, in the 1920s.
The "Fundamentalist Pope"
Straton's endorsement of Utley departed dramatically from standard fundamentalist doctrine that emphasized a biblical mandate of female submission and silence in religious matters. (4) A flair for the dramatic, however, came naturally to Straton. Along with his "unreserved devotion to fundamentalism," wrote historian C. Allyn Russell, Straton gained notoriety for his "sensational methods and techniques which constantly kept him in the headlines." (5) In 1926, one journalist somewhat facetiously--but not without reason, in light of Straton's prominence in conservative evangelical circles--dubbed him "The Fundamentalist Pope." (6) Despite his reputation as a defender of the Bible and the old-time religion, Straton only gradually and relatively late in his life emerged as a leading fundamentalist and social critic.
The son of a Baptist pastor, Straton was born in Indiana in 1875, but he spent his formative years in the South. After attending Mercer University and the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, he pastored churches in both the North and the South between 1903 and 1917. (7) During these years, like the majority of his fellow Baptist pastors, Straton leaned toward conservative interpretations of the Bible and Christian doctrine. Yet, he was not dogmatic about his convictions, and at times entertained liberal ideas regarding scripture, at one point calling the Bible part of God's "progressive revelation" to humanity. (8)
Straton's theological orientation underwent a decisive transformation following his move to New York City in 1918. Before becoming the pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, Straton had been relatively untroubled by the challenges that modernism, higher criticism, and evolution posed to traditional Christian beliefs. In New York, however, he confronted a spiritual wilderness unlike anything he had previously experienced, and he soon became a crusader against modern ideas regarding religious truth and human nature. America, Straton concluded, had abandoned God and the eternal verities of the Bible, with predictably disastrous results; only by returning to the solid foundation of scripture could Christian civilization as it had developed in the United States hope to survive. (9)
Straton railed against the sins of the city both from the pulpit and in the newspapers, frequently comparing New York to Babylon or Sodom and Gomorrah. "Between New York and hell, which have so much in common," mused one writer in 1926, "stands the gaunt, fierce figure of that Christian gladiator, the eloquent and erudite John Roach Straton, D.D." (10) Few forms of vice in the metropolis escaped either his notice or his wrath. In his book The Menace of Immorality in Church and State (1920), he denounced the corrosive influences of fashion, theaters, promiscuous sex, greedy plutocrats, and gambling upon the moral health of society. (11) His puritanical sensibilities clashed famously with the Zeitgeist of New York during the Jazz Age. The Baptist preacher "seems a bizarre figure in the big city," observed a journalist in 1927, "like Oliver Cromwell in a nightclub." (12) Nevertheless, he admitted, Straton's influence and success could not be ignored: he was "the only genuine Fundamentalist of whom one ever hears in New York--the sole preacher who appears ever to have any hope that the six million will someday hit the sawdust trail." (13)
Straton approached theological issues with the same sensational mentality that he brought to the social problems of New York. In 1922, he established the Fundamentalist League of Greater New York and Vicinity for Ministers and Laymen, which sought to remove "unsafe" teachers from Baptist schools and put conservatives into positions of denominational leadership. (14) He freely expressed his contempt for liberal interpretations of scripture and theology as well as for the liberal interpreters themselves. Liberals "are animated question marks rather than fearless prophets of God," Straton wrote in 1920. "These dear brethren ... are preaching a milk and water theology, when they have any theology at all." (15) During a July 12, 1922, sermon at Calvary, he called seven prominent Baptist educators "infidels," citing quotes from their published works to establish their credentials as dangerous liberals. Those Baptists "who are teaching these things have departed from the faith," he charged. (16) Rather than living off of the contributions "given by faithful Baptists of the past who believed their Bibles and who gave their money in order that the Bible might be taught in its simplicity," Straton suggested that liberal Baptist scholars resign from their positions and establish their own theological schools. (17) At the Northern Baptist Convention in 1923, Straton denounced W. H. P. Faunce, president of Brown University and one of the aformentioned "infidels," from the floor as unfit to deliver the convention's keynote address. (18)
Later that year, Straton engaged Unitarian minister Charles Francis Potter in a series of debates in New York City. (19) In the first debate, Straton defended the Bible's integrity. "If the Bible is the final and complete revelation from a wise, powerful, holy, and loving God," he maintained, "then it must be infallible and authoritative." (20) Against liberals who believed that certain "inconsistencies" or "errors" could be excised from scripture without damaging its message, Straton insisted that the Bible must be considered as a whole and either stand or fall intact. (21) To do otherwise implied that some parts of scripture were more authoritative than others--an idea that the fundamentalist Straton dismissed as ludicrous.
Straton's sensational style eventually created friction within his congregation that hampered his ministry. Throughout his tenure at Calvary, however, he never wavered in pursuit of his primary objectives: preserving the Bible's integrity as the infallible, inerrant Word of God, and defending Christian civilization against the decadent trends of modern American culture. Ultimately, the volatile blend of shameless self-promotion and staunch Baptist fundamentalism that defined Straton's ministry in New York all but ensured that his support of the girl evangelist Uldine Utley would create a stir.
The Girl Evangelist
By the time Straton met Utley at a Bible conference in Cove Springs, Florida, in the spring of 1926, she had already been preaching for two years. Initially skeptical of the girl evangelist, Straton revised his opinion after hearing her preach. He had expected her to recite cliches about Jesus and salvation. Instead, to his "great amazement," Straton realized that Utley was "a great extemporaneous Bible preacher. She held the crowds that assembled there with such ease, and she led them into the deep things of God's Word" as easily as, if not better than, men of international reputation who also preached at the conference. (22)
Utley's appearance in Florida represented the latest stop in a journey that began at a revival meeting in Fresno, California, four years earlier. Gripped by the emotional appeal of charismatic evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, Utley stumbled down the aisle, knelt at the altar, committed her life to Jesus, and returned to her seat transformed. She began witnessing to her classmates at school, reading from the New Testament during recess and, in her own words, "winning souls on the playground." (23) As her reputation spread, Utley began receiving invitations to speak at churches and revivals throughout the Fresno area where evangelical crowds welcomed her warmly.
Nevertheless, Utley refused to consider herself a preacher. "Who ever heard of a girl preaching?" she asked. "I had not, that was certain, and I'm sure it would have seemed even foolish, to me, to think of a little girl doing it." (24) An act of divine intervention finally persuaded her otherwise. "One afternoon I was praying as usual," Utley recalled, "and I heard [Jesus'] voice come to me from the Bible: 'As ye go, preach, saying the kingdom of heaven is at hand'" (25) Convinced that she had received a commission from God to preach the gospel, she embraced her calling. "I was compelled to be a preacher," Utley confessed, because of the "love of Christ and by my love for His will and pleasure. That's why I am a preacher ... although I'm a girl, and some people think I'm not supposed to be a preacher." (26)
Utley's performance at the Florida Bible conference so impressed Straton that he immediately made arrangements to bring her to New York. Well aware of the enormous boost that media coverage of any sort could bring to his efforts to evangelize the sinful city, he promoted Utley to the New York press. He orchestrated an East Coast preaching tour that took her from Savannah to Philadelphia. In April 1926, a sympathetic profile of Utley appeared nationally in The American Magazine, estimating that "ten thousand persons, mostly men, have expressed a desire to lead Christian lives as the result of her preaching in fifty-odd cities." (27) Anticipating a fall revival campaign in New York, Straton invited Utley to preach at Calvary often during the summer of 1926; each time, a report of her sermon appeared the next day in New York Times.
Utley's evangelistic message and her aura of youthful innocence agreed with Straton's theological and cultural fundamentalism. Moreover, such a unique combination enabled her to touch the hardened hearts of thousands in New York and beyond. Not everyone, however, welcomed her work as a preacher. Many of Straton's fellow Baptists vehemently protested the "unbiblical" presence of a girl behind the pulpit. More vexing was the fact that Straton, of all people, acted as Utley's chief patron. How a reliable defender of traditional Baptist doctrines could support a girl preacher baffled conservative Baptists, who chided Straton in their newspapers. Had his habit of publicity-seeking finally overwhelmed his judgment? Never one to back away from a fight, Straton responded to his critics with a defense of women preachers that rested upon an unlikely (but, given his theological convictions, hardly surprising) principle: biblical inerrancy.
Baptist Criticism and Straton's Unlikely Argument
"Senex," the anonymous editorial gadfly of Kentucky's Baptist newspaper, the Western Recorder, observed in June 1926 that a fourteen-year-old girl was preaching in Straton's church. Is this practice, Senex asked, consistent with the teachings of scripture? "No, it is absolutely unscriptural," he answered, "and for an out-standing 'defender of the faith' it is indeed a strange performance." (28) Senex continued: "Dr. Straton has made a good fight against Modernism in the past, but in his endorsement of this girl-evangelist he denies the authority of the scriptures, discredits Paul and in doing so deals a heavy blow at Genesis for which he has fought against the 'liberals." (29) Senex considered any suggestion that Utley could have been called to preach by God as being beyond the realm of possibility. "The Holy Spirit never leads against the teaching of the Bible," he wrote, "and the claim of any individual to be Spirit led when they are violating scripture is false, no matter how sincere they may be nor what results may seemingly follow." (30)
Echoing Senex's criticism, the Baptist editors of Virginia's Religious Herald feared the worst about Straton's heretofore impeccable conservative credentials. "We assume, of course, that our good friend, Dr. John Roach Straton, was beyond all doubt," they wrote in July 1926. (31) Yet, the activities sanctioned by Straton made them uncomfortable. The editors of the Western Recorder agreed. "We admire Dr. Straton for his brave defense of fundamental truth," they wrote, but his decision to put a young girl in his pulpit defied rational explanation. (32) "One of the large assets of Dr. Straton in his defense of fundamental truth has been the confidence that Southern Baptists have in him. But Dr. Straton knows very well that Southern Baptists do not stand for that sort of performance," the editors noted. "Our fundamentalist brethren need to be fundamentalists. We sincerely regret that Dr. Straton should weaken his position as a Baptist voice of fundamental truth by putting a woman preacher into his pulpit--we beg pardon, not a woman, a girl child." (33)
Straton answered his detractors directly. "Many of my Fundamentalist friends have taken me severely to task and have quoted scripture against me," he said on September 19, 1926. "They have searched for scattered and isolated passages which, taken by themselves, would seem to bar women from official activity in the church." (34) As a Bible teacher and a preacher, Straton believed that assisting Utley in her work for God was neither unbiblical nor "unbaptistic," and he asked for "an open minded consideration of the whole trend of scripture teaching instead of taking one or two isolated verses that are usually quoted without their context and which made the admonitions they contain obviously applicable only in the localities to which they were addressed." (35)
Straton elaborated upon these convictions in a lengthy exegetical essay, "Does the Bible Forbid Women to Pray and Preach in Public?" Years of study, he wrote, "have convinced me absolutely that, seen in the large and taken as a whole, the teaching of scripture is clear that woman has her rightful place ... in the proclamation of the saving truths of the Gospel." (36) Adhering to the cardinal rule of fundamentalist exegesis that the Bible cannot contradict itself, Straton claimed that the handful of biblical texts "which may upon the surface seem to be contrary to the general teaching of scripture, must be interpreted in harmony with the whole, in accordance with the accepted principles of sound Biblical exegesis." (37)
Straton began his argument by offering precedents of women in both the Old and New Testaments who either prophesied or prayed in public. (38) He then turned his attention to Joel 2 and Acts 2, texts he considered "absolutely determinative in connection with the question of women speaking in public." (39) Joel had declared that God would pour His Spirit upon all people, and that both "sons and daughters" would prophesy. In Acts 2, Peter interpreted the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost as a fulfillment of this prophecy, quoting from Joel in his first sermon to the crowd in Jerusalem. If God inspired the prophet Joel to envision women preaching under the power of the Holy Spirit, and if God guided the apostle Peter to declare that the coming of the Holy Spirit had fulfilled Joel's prophecy, then, Straton reasoned, Bible-believing Christians must not dare to silence a woman called by God to preach. As additional evidence in support of the preaching ministry of women, Straton cited 1 Corinthians 11:5, where Paul took such activity for granted, and Galatians 3:28, where Paul declared that in Christ all distinctions based upon gender disappear.
For Straton, the issue of women serving as preachers rested upon the integrity of the Bible as God's inerrant, infallible, and holy Word. Given the fact that, in his reading, the broad sweep of scripture endorsed women as legitimate preachers of divine truth, Straton maintained that texts like 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12, which command silent submission from women, "must not really so teach but, properly understood, and given their due setting ... must be in harmony" with general biblical truth. (40) The 1 Corinthians passage, he claimed, must be read as a prohibition intended to protect Christian women in Corinth from the slanders and innuendos associated with prostitutes. (41) Straton interpreted the verses from 1 Timothy, meanwhile, as a defense of male authority, as established in Genesis 3, against the encroachments of female usurpers in the church. (42)
Straton's fundamentalist perspective ultimately proved the decisive factor in his exegesis. "Unless this interpretation is true," he wrote, "then scripture is broken and one part of it is to contradict another, which is contrary to all the rules of Bible exposition that I learned in my training days at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and elsewhere." (43) His study of the Bible had persuaded Straton that, since scripture generally supported public preaching by women, any interpretation of specific biblical texts that suggested otherwise needed to be re-examined, for such a reading distorted God's revealed truth. To those "dear brethren ... who may have shared their prejudices against women speaking in public," Straton recommended that they "give themselves anew to the study of God's Word--not in spots, but as a whole--in order that they may know what is in the mind of God in this connection, and what are the wishes of the Holy Spirit." (44) Straton, in other words, claimed to have "out-fundamentaled" his fundamentalist critics, using nothing but "the accepted principles of sound biblical exegesis" to prove his point. As such, Straton's defense of Utley proved perhaps the most unlikely product of their unlikely partnership: a fundamentalist argument in support of the preaching ministry of women.
Denouement: Straton, Utley, and the Uncertain Precedent for Baptist Women
However unlikely Straton's argument may have been, it seemed to have satisfied or at least silenced his critics. The issue disappeared from the pages of Baptist newspapers, and Straton continued his support of Utley's evangelism campaigns into the fall of 1926 and the following summer as well. The respective careers of Straton and Utley, however, soon declined precipitously. Conflicts over his heavy-handed leadership style and accusations of "financial irregularities" at Calvary diminished Straton, who suffered a series of debilitating strokes before dying in 1929.
Utley, meanwhile, suffered a more tragic fate. Rapidly approaching young adulthood and no longer a precocious novelty, she drifted into obscurity without the promotional talents of Straton behind her. Although Time magazine considered both her ordination as a Methodist Episcopal deacon in 1935 and her marriage in 1938 to be newsworthy events, the evangelist once described as the "Garbo of the Pulpit" never regained the celebrity she enjoyed as a teenager. (45) Indeed, after 1939, Utley disappeared from the public eye. Stricken by what historian Edith Blumhofer has described as "a complete mental collapse," Utley spent the rest of her life sequestered in California state institutions. In October 1995, she died alone in a San Bernadino County mental hospital. (46)
What should be made of this story of the Baptist fundamentalist and his teenaged protege? If nothing else, Straton's willingness to endorse the preaching ministry of a girl--not to mention his ability to construct a substantial biblical defense of the practice within the rigid framework of scriptural inerrancy--suggests a diversity among fundamentalists, Baptists and otherwise, in the 1920s that often goes unrecognized today. Contemporary Baptists, particularly those of more moderate theological inclinations, would do well to consider this precedent when describing conservative Southern Baptists. As historian Barry Hankins has observed, underneath broad commitments to biblical inerrancy and a conservative cultural program, a good deal of diversity continues to exist among Southern Baptists, at least at the leadership level. (47) Shorthand references to "the fundamentalists" of any era in Baptist history tend to perpetuate caricatures at the expense of more thoughtful reflection.
The story of Straton and Utley remains relevant to contemporary Baptists on a deeper level as well. It is, perhaps, ironic that today's moderate Baptists justify the ordination of women to pastoral ministry with the same arguments articulated in 1926 by Straton, a rigorous fundamentalist. (48) Among his conservative descendants in the Southern Baptist Convention, meanwhile, questions persist about the "proper" role of women in the preaching work of the church. Straton deliberately distinguished between the roles of pastor and preacher: in accordance with scripture, he believed, only men could serve God as pastor, but anyone whom God calls could serve Him as a preacher of the gospel. (49) Southern Baptists, however, have frequently ignored this distinction, conflating the pastoral and preaching ministries of the church into the one office of pastor to which biblical restrictions upon women apply. (50) Moderate Baptists, in fairness, do the same thing, only in reverse--applying applying the Bible's apparent endorsement of women as preachers to the pastoral office as well. Nevertheless, as seen, for example, in the evangelism ministry of Anne Graham Lotz, who carefully refers to herself as a "Bible expositor," Southern Baptist women do, in fact, preach the gospel. (51) Semantic distinctions notwithstanding, the continued emergence of gifted and effective preachers like Lotz may move conservative Southern Baptists to reconsider--or, at least, state clearly--their position on women in the pulpit. To this end, the clear and decisive example of Straton may be instructive.
Among the most recognizable voices of Baptist fundamentalism in the 1920s, Straton departed from fundamentalist orthodoxy when he took up the issue of women in the pulpit. His defense of Utley's preaching ministry, grounded in scripture and crafted according to basic principles of fundamentalist exegesis, bestowed his public blessing upon her work. Perhaps more importantly, his encouragement propelled her toward national prominence as an evangelist. Given the freedom to preach, Utley drew large audiences and won many converts wherever she spoke. Many of those who came to listen undoubtedly did so out of curiosity. For Baptists, though, the unlikely partnership between Straton and Utley represents more than a historical sideshow. Their story, instead, represents an all-too-brief convergence of Baptist fundamentalism and the female preaching voice, one that still awaits a second coming.
(1.) Thanks to Priscilla Pope-Levison, Kris Pratt, and Hargus Taylor for their contributions to this essay.
(2.) New York Times, 1 November 1926, 16.
(3.) New York Times,, 14 June 1926, 1.
(4.) For an examination of how fundamentalists have understood the role of women in society and the church, see Margaret Lamberts Bendroth, Fundamentalism and Gender, 1875 to the Present (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1993).
(5.) C. Allyn Russell, Voices of American Fundamentalism: Seven Biographical Studies (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1976), 50. See also Frederic Szasz, "John Roach Straton: Baptist Fundamentalist in an Age of Change, 1875-1929," Quarterly Review: A Survey of Southern Baptist Progress 34 (April-May-June 1974), 59-71.
(6.) See Stanley Walker, "The Fundamentalist Pope," American Mercury 8 (1926): 257-65.
(7.) Russell, Voices of American Fundamentalism, 48ff.
(8.) See John Roach Straton, "Is the Bible a Revelation From God?" in The Salvation of Society: Messages of Judgment and Wrath (Baltimore: Fleet McGinley Company, c. 1908), 121-42.
(9.) For more on the cultural dimension of fundamentalism in the 1920s, see George Marsden, Fundamentalism and American Culture: The Shaping of Twentieth Century Evangelicalism, 1870-1925 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 153-64.
(10.) Walker, "The Fundamentalist Pope," 257. Walker's profile of Straton suggests a "sophisticated" New York perspective on the fundamentalist crusader. Bordering on sarcastic, the essay likely reflected the prejudices of H. L. Mencken, an atheist and the editor of the American Mercury.
(11.) See The Menace of Immorality in Church and State (New York: George H. Doran, c. 1920).
(12.) Stanley Walker, "The Meshuggah of Manhattan," The New Yorker, 16 April 1927, 25.
(14.) Russell, Voices of American Fundamentalism, 52. Norman E Furniss describes the fundamentalist movement in both the Northern and Southern Baptist Conventions in The Fundamentalist Controversy, 1918-1931 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1954), 103-26.
(15.) Straton, The Menace of Immorality in Church and State, 15-16.
(16. New York Times, 3 July 1922, 13.
(18.) The Watchman-Examiner, 31 May 1923, 683.
(19.) The four debates dealt with following issues: biblical inerrancy, evolution, the virgin birth of Jesus, and the divinity of Christ. For the full transcripts of these debates, see Fundamentalist versus Modernist: The Debates Between John Reach Straton and Charles Francis Potter, ed. Joel A. Carpenter (New York: Garland Publishing Company, 1988).
(20.) Fundamentalist versus Modernist, 15. Straton's defense of biblical infallibility and inerrancy became a model for later generations of Baptist fundamentalists. The structure of W. A. Criswell's Why I Preach That the Bible is Literally True (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1969), for example, almost exactly paralleled Straton's argument.
(21.) Ibid., 67-68.
(22.) John Roach Straton, "Does the Bible Forbid Women to Preach and Pray in Public?" in Janette Hassey, No Time for Silence: Evangelical Women in Public Ministry Around the Tam of the Century (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Academic Books, 1986), 205-06. For more biographical information on Utley, see Edith Blumhofer, "A Little child Shall Lead Them: child Evangelist Uldine Ufley," in The Contentious Triangle: Church, State, and University, eds. Rodney L. Peterson and Calvin Augustine Pater (Kirkville, MO: Thomas Jefferson University Press, 1999), 307-17; and Priscilla Pope-Levison, Tam the Pulpit Loose: TWo Centuries of American Women Evangelists (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004), 222-33.
(23.) Uldine Utley, Why I Am a Preacher (New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1931), 28.
(24.) Ibid., 49.
(25.) Ibid., 51.
(26.) Ibid., 77.
(27.) John Clarkson, "This child Has Moved 10,000 Men to Lead Better Lives," The American Magazine 101 (April 1926): 71.
(28.) Western Recorder, 24 June 1926, 21.
(31.) The Religious Herald, 1 July 1926, 11.
(32.) Western Recorder, 1 July 1926, 13.
(33.) Ibid., 16.
(34.) New York Times,, 20 September 1926, 26.
(36.) Straton, "Does the Bible Forbid Women to Preach and Pray in Public?" 190.
(38.) Ibid. Straton defined "prophesy" as "proclamation of the saving truths of Jesus" and thus considered the words "preach" and "prophesy" to be synonymous.
(39.) Ibid., 193.
(40.) Ibid., 194.
(41.) Ibid., 198.
(42.) Ibid., 199-200.
(43.) Ibid., 194.
(44.) Ibid., 205.
(45.) "Reverend Miss," Time, 30 December 1935, 19; "Terror's Troth," Time, 10 January 1938, 49.
(46.) Blumhofer, 315.
(47.) Barry Hankins, Uneasy in Babylon: Southern Baptist Conservatives and American Culture (Tuscaloosa, AL: University Press of Alabama, 2002), 276-77.
(48.) See Jann Aldredge Clanton, "Why I Believe Southern Baptists Should Ordain Women," Baptist History and Heritage 23 (July 1988): 50-55.
(49.) Blumhofer, 314.
(50.) See Article VI of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message statement. Dorothy Kelley Patterson, professor of theology in women's studies at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has offered a more nuanced conservative answer to the question of women in ministry, suggesting (as did Straton) that the Bible permits women both to pray and to prophesy. Unlike Straton, Patterson equates "prophecy" not with preaching but, rather, with inspirational speaking. See Dorothy Kelley Patterson, "Why I Believe Southern Baptists Should Not Ordain Women," Baptist History and Heritage, 23 (July 1988): 56-62.
(51.) Christian Science Monitor, 7 June 2000, 1, 9. Lotz's response to her critics recalls that of Utley: "I searched my heart and asked the Lord to show me what the answer was. He said, 'Anne, you're not accountable to your audience. You're accountable to me. You go where I tell you and you say what I tell you." See Dallas Morning News, i May 2004, 3G.
Lee Canipe is pastor of Murfreesboro Baptist Church in Murfreesboro, North Carolina.
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|Publication:||Baptist History and Heritage|
|Date:||Mar 22, 2005|
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