Position Paper

(a position statement on SWBC and gender-based work )

So God created human beings in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them – Gen 1:27

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptised into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus – Gal 3:26-8

The South West Baptist Church stance on issues of gender in regard to ministry and leadership supports the equality of men and women, working together to fulfil the vision of SWBC being a ‘redemptive community, sharing the love of Christ in the world, by word, sign and deed, helping people become lifelong followers of Jesus Christ.’

There are two main positions held by evangelicals in regard to gender roles. One finds essential and enduring differences in roles between women and men, and advocates the headship of men over women in marriage and church. This is often known as complementarian theology. The opposite position, called egalitarian, affirms mutual submission of all believers in both church and family. According to this view, men and women are to serve according to each individual’s gifts and calling without discrimination on the basis of gender.

When speaking to these issues directly, SWBC promotes an egalitarian stance, as part of a kingdom theology, which sees societal change, including overthrow of injustice against women, as part of kingdom concerns.

In line with this, SWBC aspires to a genuine equality of women and men under God, including in our leadership. SWBC encourages lifegroups, ministries of the church and corporate gatherings to reflect the equality of men and women and to seek to equip the local communities to meet the needs of their people.