Time will say nothing but I told you so.

Time only knows the price we have to pay;

If I could tell you I would let you know.

W.H. Auden

Wade and Paul Burleson’s 34-page book The Bible and Church Authority is available as a PDF download for printing and free distribution.


Throughout history, Baptists have been “people of the Book.” The Bible alone has been the foundation for individual, autonomous Baptist churches.

“No creed but the Bible” has been the motto of Baptists who have sought to follow the New Testament since separating from the Church of England in 1607 because English institutional churches did not look like the New Testament churches of Acts.

The Church of England, the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and the Roman Catholic Church of the Vatican see the church as an institution of hierarchal authority.

Baptists see churches differently.

Christians with Baptist convictions seek to fulfill the Great Commission through humble acts of service from Spirit-gifted people and not any higher authority of status.


The 2024 SBC Law Amendment

Sadly, some leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention with Calvinistic Presbyterian and Anglican tendencies wish to revert the SBC to an institutional religious hierarchy of authority. 

On the popular Gospel Coalition theological speaking circuit, unanimity of belief in male pastoral authority over Christians is required. Those who believe in it can speak; those who do not cannot.

I would love to debate any one of them and have made the offer.


Let me be clear. I respect Al Mohler, Tom Ascol, Tom Nettles, the Gospel Coalition, Acts 29, and all my Calvinistic brothers who are turning the Southern Baptist Convention into a hierarchy of spiritual authority (male church leadership only).

I respect them, but I’m warning them and the SBC that they are leading this Convention down a trail of exclusionary impotence.

Their belief in male pastoral authority is ancient Ayrianism wrapped in a three-piece suit for SBC pastors over 50 and tennis shoes, jeans, and an untucked shirt for SBC pastors under 50.

My Calvinistic SBC friends who hold to fraudulent male pastoral authority have found Arminian allies in the SBC, brothers who agree with them on male pastoral authority but are far apart from the Calvinists soteriologically.

Al Mohler has found an SBC pastor named Mike Law to propose a Constitutional Amendment at this year’s Indianapolis Southern Baptist Convention (June 9-12, 2024),

The so-called Law Amendment, now in its second and final vote as a Constitutional Amendment, proposes to kick out of the Convention any autonomous SBC church that has women in leadership roles. The Law Amendment:

“Affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor as qualified by Scripture.”

Children’s pastor? Worship pastor? Women’s pastor? Teaching pastor? Benevolence pastor? Administrative pastor? Finance pastor? If a woman serves in any of these capacities, the church where she serves will be booted out of the Southern Baptist Convention, just like Saddleback Church was kicked out last year.

The Law Amendment will pass because Southern Baptists have been trained for the last five decades to believe in the fraudulent, unbiblical pastoral authority of males.

Presbyterians, the Church of England, Roman Catholics, and other worthy denominations hold male pastoral authority over others in their Confessions.

We’re supposed to be Baptists who believe in the Bible.

The Bible teaches that “pastor” is a verb of service, not a noun of status.

Stunning Resistance to the Scriptures

I have often written about biblical leadership in Christ’s Kingdom.

Christian leadership is based on gifting, not gender;  on character, not control; and on the persuasion of principle, not any position of power.

There are some striking similarities between churches that practice same-sex leadership and men who enter into same-sex marriages. The Bible teaches that God designed marriage to be a shared blessing between a gendered man and a gendered woman, just as the Bible teaches that God creates church servant/leadership to be a shared blessing between gifted men and gifted women.

There are no “render by gender” spiritual gifts in the body of Christ. Both men and women receive the gifts of teaching, prophecy, knowledge, wisdom, etc.

Because of an SBC infatuation with an unbiblical doctrine called “male pastoral authority,” Southern Baptist leadership works hard to silence gifted females.

Homosexuality, radical patriarchy in the church, and political feminism are all about dominance, authority, power, and submission, with one human identified as dominant and others as submissive.

New Testament churches thrive under the gifted, shared leadership of both males and females.

Jesus taught His disciples not to ask, “Who is in charge?” Instead, we are to inquire, “How may I serve?”

For three decades, I’ve cautioned Southern Baptists that the significant issue within our Convention revolves around authority: Men have it, especially men in “the so-called office of the pastor,” and women don’t.

The great crisis in American evangelicalism today is male infatuation with authoritarianism in the home and church.

Dr. Tom Nettles of the Founders Ministries writes of my biblical position:

“(Wade) Burleson asserts the idea of a ‘submissive attitude’ on the part of a woman is a violation of the New Testament standard, a direct contradiction ‘to the infallible and inerrant teaching of the New Testament.'”

That’s not correct, Tom.

I have never said a woman’s assertive attitude violates the New Testament standard.

Christ calls women to have a submissive attitude.

What you seem, Tom, to have difficulty understanding is that Paul, in Ephesians 5:31-32, teaches that Christian MEN and women are both to have submissive attitudes.

In 1998, the Baptist Messenger, our state Baptist paper, published my following letter about an impending amendment to the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message that called women to be submissive and men to be leaders. Notice what I said a quarter of a century ago.

Tom, I remain consistently, historically, and personally biblical – I remain a Baptist.

Perhaps Dr. Tom Nettles and other Southern Baptists can’t fathom how a male Christian can have a submissive spirit toward a female Spirit-gifted Christian, be it his wife or a servant/leader in the church. If so, remember this:

Political liberal feminism is as unbiblical as ecclesiastical male patriarchalism.

Both want authority over other people.

Jesus taught His servants to be servants of all people.

Jesus said to His disciples, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-27)

Time Will Say Nothing But I Told You So (Auden)

Lauren Daigle leading worship at Emmanuel Enid, the church where the author served as a teaching pastor for 30 years.


  1. In 2005, I warned the SBC about the International Mission Board’Board’sees narrowing the doctrinal parameters for the appointment of SBC missionaries in violation of the SBC Constitution. Ten years later, the Southern Baptist Convention heeded my warnings.
  2. In 2006, I warned the SBC about the dangerous practices at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary that put it at fiduciary risk. Ten years later, SWBTS trustees listened to my warnings and removed leadership.
  3. In 2007, I warned the SBC of the dangerous practice of not tracking sexual predators within the Convention by creating a database to share with churches. Fifteen years later, after much pain and tribulation, the SBC did what I suggested.
  4. Since 1998 and a proposal to change the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message, I have warned the SBC that micro-amending a broad confession of faith to “weed out” participants in a cooperating Convention is the surest way for the SBC to die.
  5. Since 1992, I’ve warned the SBC that an infatuation with fraudulent male pastoral authority is the surest way to lead the Southern Baptist Convention into oblivion.

If the Law Amendment passes next month at the SBC, time will tell you I told you so.



For a free PDF download on the biblical basis for church leadership based on giftedness, not gender, download and distribute Wade and Paul Burleson’s 34-page book,The Bible and Authority in the Church.”


Wade and Rachelle Burleson, May 10, 2024