Readers of the Baptist Standard’s opinion section in 2019 most frequently accessed articles about women in ministry, in particular Beth Moore, as well as articles about sexual abuse in Baptist churches and articles featuring individuals in BGCT churches and leadership.
Most-read Baptist Standard article of 2019
Todd Still, dean of Baylor University’s Truett Theological Seminary, responded to John MacArthur telling Beth Moore to “go home.” Still’s op-ed—MacArthur on Moore and women in ministry—was the most-read article published in the Baptist Standard during 2019.
In place of the question posed to MacArthur during a panel discussion that elicited his two-word response, Still wrote: “A less personal, more insightful question (Todd) Friel could have put to MacArthur would have been: ‘What roles did women play in the respective ministries of Jesus and Paul?’ In order to answer biblically, MacArthur would have had to respond, ‘Any number.’”
Still then laid out a biblical response to the theology espoused by MacArthur and his colleagues. He cited instances in Luke, Acts, Paul’s letters and the Old Testament in which women were called and prophesied, preached, led and ministered to Jesus.
Moore preached in November at the inaugural National Preaching Conference hosted by the Kyle Lake Center for Effective Preaching at Truett Seminary.
Women in ministry a key topic in 2019
In addition to Still’s response to MacArthur, the following Voices op-eds were among the top read articles of 2019:
• “Beth Moore, women preaching and the SBC” by Steve Bezner, senior pastor of Houston Northwest Church in Houston, who discusses the complementarian view of the roles of men and women.
• “Why I support women in ministry” Part 1 and Part 2 by Joshua Sharp, a Master of Divinity student at Truett Seminary, who provides a lengthier exposition of biblical passages cited by Todd Still in his op-ed.
• “Reflections on the legacy of Rachel Held Evans” by Meredith Stone and Myles Werntz, professors at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary, in response to Held Evans’ death on May 4, at the age of 37.
Women in ministry likely will continue to be a key topic for the BGCT and the Southern Baptist Convention during 2020.
BGCT ministers, leaders and laypersons
Deep in the Hearts of Texans has been a favorite column since its beginning in 2017. The column has featured over 170 ministers and leaders, including: pastors; music, youth and children’s ministers; directors of associations, camps, student ministries and institutions; and university presidents. In 2019, leaders in business, the marketplace and public service were added.
Whitten described Curry as a “North Star” rather than a “shooting star.” He wrote: “With Eddy, every person was seen, heard and known. From the youngest babies in our daycare to the most senior saints, everyone mattered to Eddy. A teacher’s teacher, life and the things of God were his subject.”
Baptists celebrated and lost significant leaders during 2019.
Important ongoing issues reflected in op-eds
Some op-eds were overshadowed—a statement of fact—and deserve further consideration—a statement of opinion. The following opinion articles, some of which were in top-read content, reveal issues Baptists wrestled with in 2019 and will continue to address in 2020.
• “Editorial: Heaven’s wall, a border wall, and our call” by Editor Eric Black.
• “Voices: The response to hostility” by Dr. Michael Evans, president of the BGCT and senior pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Mansfield.
• “Voices: Atatiana Jefferson matters, and so does the church’s response” by Dr. Michael Bell, senior pastor of Greater St. Stephen First Church in Fort Worth.
• “Voices: Native Americans at Thanksgiving: Understanding the whole” by Mariah Humphries in Waco.
• “Editorial: When sex tops the list of denominational issues, it’s past time to talk” by Editor Eric Black.
• “Talking about sex with our children and churches” by LeAnn Gardner, a lecturer at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work.
• “Tell someone: There are more than 700” by Editor Eric Black.
• “Editorial: Texas Baptists: It’s time for us to rise to the circumstances” by Editor Eric Black.
• “Voices: Sexual abuse: A time to mourn, a time to repent” by Ali Corona in Marble Falls.
The series on sexual abuse and the church written by Scott Floyd, director of the Master of Arts in Counseling program at B.H. Carroll Theological Institute, was translated into Spanish and published in the Falling Seed resource column in 2019. Falling Seed was added to the Baptist Standard in 2018 for the purpose of enriching ministers and ministries.
• “Voices: Peace and PTSD at Christmas” by Eric Whitmore, associate endorser for Chaplaincy Relations of the BGCT.
• “Voices: Dark and deep: Living with mental illness,” “Voices: Finding hope in depression: A song for lighting the darkness” and “Voices: Dealing with anxiety, panic attacks, fear and tension by John Hereford, pastoral ministry associate at The Woodlands First Baptist Church in The Woodlands.
• “Voices: The shadow of grief” by Zac Harrel, pastor of First Baptist Church in Gustine.
• “Falling Seed: Grief, the holidays and the church” by Julia Wallace, a student at Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work and Truett Seminary.