“God’s assignment is that no souls are lost and all are saved,” Bennett said. “Gender is not how God sees it. We are about winning souls, period.”

— Pastor Tamara Bennett of California, in Gospel Today magazine

Not if you have a vajayjay, says the Southern Baptist Convention.  The more than 100 strong Lifeway Christian Bookstores chain, owned by the SBC, obviously believes that the faith of its customers is so weak that it had to pull the current issue of Gospel Today from the stands.  Why? Because the cover features five female pastors, and in SBC land, women are still on the back of the bus when it comes to serving the flock from the pulpit.

You can still get a copy, of course, you just have to ask for it, as if it were some sort of porno rag. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

Teresa Hairston, owner of Gospel Today, whose glossy pages feature upbeat articles about health, living, music and ministry, said she discovered by e-mail that the September/October issue of the magazine had been demoted to the realm of the risque.

“It’s really kind of sad when you have people like [Gov.] Sarah Palin and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton providing encouragement and being role models for women around the world that we have such a divergent opinion about women who are able to be leaders in the church,” Hairston said. “I was pretty shocked.”

Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, which runs the stores for the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “It is contrary to what we believe.”

…Southern Baptists are not the only ones to frown on women preachers. Catholics, the largest Christian denomination in the nation, do not allow women priests. And some conservative evangelical groups, such as the Presbyterian Church in America, do not ordain women.

Churches within the SBC are independent and a few have bucked the reps at the national meetings who are desperate to keep women in their place. Gospel Today’s Hairston notes that the article takes no position on whether women should serve as pastors, it merely covered one of many emerging trends in churches.

Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding