I encourage you to read the letter for yourself. You will find that there is nothing new there. The doctrine expressed in it is boilerplate egalitarianism—a teaching Southern Baptists have time and again repudiated. What is new is that so many outside personalities are now taking such an interest in manipulating the SBC into abandoning its biblical beliefs about pastoral ministry. Scot McKnight, Beth Allison Barr, and over a thousand others have already added their signatures.
Earlier today, I saw that Scot McKnight posted an invitation to sign a statement affirming women as pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The group hosting the letter is called Baptist Women in Ministry (BWIM). Although I’m not aware of this group having any meaningful ties to the SBC any longer, this group has a history that was forged during the crucible of the SBC’s conservative resurgence. One early member of the group was Molly Marshall, former professor at Southern Seminary a well-known advocate for female pastors, and an advocate for “theological hospitality” toward those who affirm homosexuality.
BWIM tweeted about the letter before its release and gave a bit of a rationale for it:
BWIM is supporting and advocating for women on the SBC pastors list & is encouraging Baptist women to know that there is a bigger and more inclusive gospel than the one that promotes patriarchy as God’s design. Stay tuned for more details.*
The letter and signatures are designed to support the women and churches who dissent from what Southern Baptists believe. The SBC’s doctrinal statement says that the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by scripture, and this group doesn’t agree. Signers of the letter mean to express their disapproval and to show solidarity with those who have opposed the SBC’s beliefs on this matter.