This summer members of the Southern Baptist Convention will convene in Nashville, TN for the SBC Annual Convention. Last week I saw a Facebook post from our State Convention’s Ministry Wives leader encouraging us to reserve our place at the Oklahoma Convention’s table at the popular Ministry Wives Luncheon. However, when I saw that Jen Wilkin is to be the speaker I knew I would not be attending.
When I first heard Jen speak at our State Convention’s Annual Women’s Retreat in 2015, I could never have imagined that in 2021 I would decline to attend an event where she was at the podium. However a lot has changed in those 6 years.
At that retreat she taught a breakout session over being “Women of the Word. ( Also the title of her book ) I had never heard of her but she had me hooked when her lesson revealed her passion about women not only loving God, but loving Him by getting to know Him through regular and in depth study of scripture. At her church, The Village Church in Flower Mound, TX she taught spring and fall expository bible studies that went straight through books of the bible. Verse by verse. No fluff. FINALLY I had hope that there was a women’s bible study teacher I could get behind!
However, in recent years, her focus has sadly shifted from women needing to know the word, to women needing to be placed in church leadership. At first this may not seem like a big deal, but when you look deeper you begin to see the problems. First of all, her use and abuse of scripture has become extremely troublesome. The video clip below is from a 2017 conference called “Advance the Church.
There are several problematic issues with this short clip. The first is that Jen awkwardly tells her mostly male audience: “I want you to think for a second about what the implications might be about the way that women understand the gospel as a result of being embodied females. Women’s bodies every 28 days tell them a parable about the shedding of blood for the renewing of life.”
In this bizarre statement she completely misquotes Hebrews 9:22, which says:
Indeed, under the law almost everything is purified with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.
Christ shedding His blood was for the forgiveness of sin. Not the renewing of life. She says that because of this bleeding, women have a different understanding of the gospel. This is weird, ridiculous, and completely unbiblical.
Then when saying that churches need women’s unique perspectives in church leadership, she dreadfully mangles Genesis 2:18 by saying of women:
“The Church needs their unique perspective, it needs it in decision-making. Women think differently than men do. The idea that it is not good for man to be alone is something that we should pay attention to.”
Did you catch that? She is making the comparison of God’s saying that man needs to be in a marriage relationship with a woman, to the Church needing women alongside the men making the decisions. While I DON’T disagree that there are situations where a woman’s perspective can be useful in certain aspects of church ministry, it is completely unfounded to argue that the Church needs to put women in leadership roles simply because they are women. She doesn’t back up any of her assertions with a biblical source, unless it is one taken wildly out of context. She is so desperate to make her point that she has stooped to a place that I at one time never thought she would go. She misrepresents the text. Almost deceptively. So throughout all of the church’s history, was it all a failure because there were no women leaders? Were men incapable of ministering to the entire body? Of teaching and leading both men and women? And just because a woman was abused by a man, doesn’t mean that her pastor cannot minister to her. I don’t know of any pastor who would not bring in his wife or another female church member to help counsel in these kinds of delicate situations. But PASTORS are the overseers and caretakers of their churches, and ultimately he has to answer for the care given those in his fold. Today the Church is being treated more like a corporation than a shepherd and a flock.
In the video Jen also brings up how women have gained ground by now being allowed to vote and to be on juries, which was not always the case, as we know. However, one cannot equate women’s roles in the Church with progress for women in the historical context. They are not the same. This is feminist jargon and it is dangerous. God has clearly laid out the hierarchy for the Church.
1 Timothy 2:12.
“I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.”
If a woman is in a leadership role in the Church that has her in authority over men, she is in rebellion to scripture.
Jen has become THE VOICE today in evangelicalism when it comes to women’s roles in the Church. She is everywhere.
Another cause for my concern is this. I’m sure all of us in SBC circles are familiar with the sermon from JD Greaar where he told his congregation concerning homosexuality,
“‘We ought to whisper about what the Bible whispers about, and we ought to shout about what it shouts about.’ And the Bible appears more to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to its shouts about materialism and religious pride.” (From a sermon on Romans 1:24-32, January 27, 2019 at The Summit Church) “
When he said this there was a huge uproar, and rightly so. But did you know that he was quoting Jen Wilkin? Here is the exact quote from that sermon:
“Jen Wilkin, who’s one of our favorite Bible teachers here and who’s actually leading our women’s conference, says we ought to whisper about what the Bible whispers about, and we ought to shout about what it shouts about. And the Bible appears more to whisper when it comes to sexual sin compared to its shouts about materialism and religious pride.”
Most take issue with what was said, but overlook the fact that he was quoting Wilkin.
Esteemed bible teacher and blogger Michelle Lesley has given a thorough review of Jen Wilkin and does not recommend her as someone women should depend on to be reliable. One of the numerous reasons is that she participates in conferences and appears on the stage with several known false teachers such as Christine Caine and Jennie Allen. And she is cozy with very liberal-leaning Beth Moore, even affirming and sharing Beth’s now infamous “Letter To My Brothers” among others.
So, while I will be attending the 2021 Annual Meeting, these are a few of the reasons I will not be attending, nor recommending the Ministry Wives Luncheon in Nashville in June. While I used to be an admirer of Jen Wilkin, she has diverted onto a feminist road that I refuse to travel. I have no desire to be part of a women’s empowerment rah-rah session, or participate in an hour of the lament over the lack of women in church leadership. I will attend the convention to be able to be informed on the business of the SBC, to maybe hear a few good sermons, and to hopefully meet up with some very amazing Twitter friends who are also concerned about the trajectory of the Convention. But until the SBC gets off the progressive “woke wagon”, don’t save a seat for me, girls. I am not on board.
For further reading I suggest: