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Larry King Live

Should Women Be Pastors?

Aired June 14, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET


LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, a Baptist battle over whether women should be pastors. Joining us from Greenville, South Carolina, Dr. Bob Jones III, president of Bob Jones University; from Nashville, the Reverend Raye Nell Dyer, president of Baptist Women in Ministry; with me in New York, radio talk show short Janet Parshall of "Janet Parshall's America," and the Reverend Stan Hastey, executive director of the Alliance of Baptists. It's all next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Meeting in Orlando today, the delegates of the huge Southern Baptist Convention amended the Faith and Message Statement originally written in 1925, revised in 1963, and basically it covers many areas, but it's also says women can't be pastors, and Janet Parshall, a woman herself, agrees with that concept. So we'll start with you.

Why should you not be allowed to be a minister?

JANET PARSHALL, HOST, "JANET PARSHALL'S AMERICA": Well, Larry, it goes back to one very simple question, and that is, does the Bible contain the word of God, or is the Bible the word of God? And I'm too small to argue with God. He says it quite clearly, that in this particular case, the head of the church should be a man, because the church is supposed to be reflective of the relationship that we have with Jesus Christ. He is head of The Church. The Church defined as the followers of Jesus Christ. So he's the God of order.

KING: We don't know the gender of God, do we? Does God have a gender?

PARSHALL: No, that would be what we call an anthropomorphic argument, where because he's a spirit, he doesn't have a gender, but Jesus Christ did. He came into the world not as woman, but as a man, and as a result of that, that headship is reflective of not only who Christ Jesus is over us as believers. It's repeated again in the home, the husband as the head of the home. Doesn't mean I walk five steps behind my husband. Means that there has to be a head, a leader here, and that we work in tandem together. And that is the key to this argument, Larry. When God's plan for perfection was made in he the garden, it wasn't completed until he made a woman. A lot of people think that we're an afterthought, a hiccup in God's economy. We're not. His plan for perfection wasn't completed until he made a man and a woman, and when he made us women, he didn't take us from foot to be stomped on. He didn't take us from the head so we'd be arrogant. He took us from the side so we would work side-by-side with the men in our lives. KING: As equals?

PARSHALL: As equals, 100 percent.

KING: Why do disagree with Janet, Reverend Dyer?

REV. RAYE NELL DYER, PRESIDENT, BAPTIST WOMEN IN MINISTRY: Because I believe when we look at all the Scripture, it's real clear that God calls men and women to equality, and Jesus was an incredible example of that. Jesus related to women and affirmed women in every event of his life. And, we believe, many of us believe, that if you look at the way to interpret the whole Bible as a whole and not take Scriptures out of context, then you can see clearly that God calls us to be equal partners in ministries of servanthood and grace.

KING: And are a -- you a you are reverend, right?

DYER: I am. I'm a hospital chaplain at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

KING: I see. Are you a Southern Baptist?

DYER: I'm a former Southern Baptist. I grew up Southern Baptist, but I'm no longer Southern Baptist.

KING: Who ordained you?

DYER: South Main Baptist Church in Houston, Texas.

KING: And how could they do that if they don't ordain women?

DYER: Well, some church do. many churches do, and...

KING: This is not a law then; this is sort of voluntary?

DYER: Right.

KING: The thing they did today.

DYER: One of the important things about historic Baptist distinctives (ph) is that as a Baptist, we adhere to the local church having autonomy.

KING: What is the Alliance of Baptists?

REV. STAN HASTEY, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ALLIANCE OF BAPTISTS: The Alliance of Baptists is an association of progressively inclined Baptist churches, former Southern Baptists, nearly all of us.

KING: And you left the church, your original church why?

HASTEY: Well, congregations leave conventions of churches and Baptist life technically. As an individual, we do not belong to a convention of churches, but congregations do. And some of our congregations have withdrawn from the convention.

KING: Because?

HASTEY: And I expect others will, because of the action today.

KING: OK. And you say you're the progressive element.

HASTEY: That's correct.

KING: Why...

HASTEY: I prefer that term.

KING: Why is Janet wrong?

HASTEY: Well, as a Baptist, let me say that I respect Janet's point of view. I respect her absolute God-given right to read the Scriptures and interpret them in her own lights under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It's important to say that because that is the first theological principle for Baptists, and that is the radical notion of human individual freedom. Now that is not -- that can turn into anarchy very easily, clearly, if there is no sense of authority. We both claim the Bible for the basis of our opinion. And the reason for that is that Baptists are notorious about proof-texting one another when we come into these debates. Each of us can pull out text from Bible to support an opinion.

KING: Which one of the things, Janet, that bugs agnostics, or questioners, or believers or -- who say that every time we have someone on, they can quote something that backs up what they say. So how do you know your right and he's wrong when he can quote another chapter that says you're wrong?


KING: How do you know.

PARSHALL: He said two words that were extremely important, and that was the Holy Spirit. You see this isn't just another book. This is the inspired, inerrant, immutable word of God. It's not just best the best seller that was ever printed, it is God's love letters to us. And under direction and the authority of the Holy Spirit, I get my tutorial, if you will. Now sometimes, absolutely, I will be first to tell you I make mistakes, and what I love so much about this relationship I have with the living God -- see, Larry, this isn't a religion, this is a relationship. As I can go back to him and I say, father, I didn't get it, go back and teach me again. And I open up his word, and I dig some more it, and it comes back, and it teaches me and teaches me. I came to know Lord as my personal savior when I was 6 years of age. I just turned 50, so I've been walking with this Jesus of Nazareth for a long, long time, and I have to tell you, I'm probably in the bottom half of his graduating class and have a whole lot to learn, but he teaches me continuously. So yes, we do make mistakes.

But Raye Nell said something that was important, and she talked about the totality of Scriptures. That's a wonderful thing about our father, is that he's not the author of confusion, he's a God of order, so what he says in Genesis, and what he says in Matthew, and what he stays in Revelation all works together; God doesn't contradict himself.

KING: You say there is no contradiction in the Bible?


KING: None at all?

PARSHALL: None whatsoever, and that's the wonder of that book, is that it is so complete and it is so total.

So going back to what Raye Nell said, in the totality of Scripture, I see where God used women in powerful ways. The question before the Southern Baptist Convention was, should they be the pastor, the shepherd, the leader of the church? And I believe, as did folks who voted today, that that is that absolutely a resounding no, predicated on what the word of God says.

KING: This is LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.


KING: If you just joined us, let's reintroduce our panel. In Greenville, South Carolina is Dr. Bob Jones, the president of Bob Jones University; in Nashville, Tennessee is Reverend Raye Nell Dyer, the president of Baptist Women in Ministry; and here in New York is Janet Parshall, the radio host of Janet Parshall's America; and also in New York, Reverend Stan Hastey, executive director of the Alliance of Baptists.

Since Bob Jones is just joining, Reverend Dyer and Reverend Hastey, Dr. Jones, believe -- nice seeing you again, by the way -- believe that women should be allowed to be ministers in any faith, and Janet Parshall opposes it based on Scriptures. What are your thoughts?

BOB JONES III, PRESIDENT, BOB JONES UNIVERSITY: Well, that's the only thing we can base our opinion on at all. The question is, what does God say about his church? And who does he want to pastor his church? If we don't go to the Scriptures for our answer, we have nothing left but a church that is culturally shaped, and the culture changes from day to day and year to year, so we have no sure authority if we don't have Scripture on the matter. So we stand exactly where the Scripture stands, and that is that the leadership of the church is to be in the hands of men, and that does not show any disrespect for women at all. There are lots that women can do in the church. In fact, until Christianity came along, women in Judaism, and heathenism had very low roles, and the church really exhausts the women and gives her an awful a lot do.

KING: In the -- do you agree with Janet Parshall that's there's no contradictions in Bible at all about this?

JONES: Yes, absolutely. It's very clear, and until the feminist movement of our present day came into existence, this was something that people didn't even debate. They just took the Bible's word for it.

KING: All right, also -- I'm spending a little time with you because the other guests have made their point, and then we're going to get into a round-robin discussion, and we thank you for joining us.

Dr. Jones, we all know women who are better at certain things than men and more acumen than men. Why wouldn't you take advantage as a church of having a woman who might well be a better leader than a man? I mean why wouldn't you logically take advantage of having more people included in your leadership?

JONES: Well, Larry, it's not a matter of being able to give you my opinion and my logic. The issue is that we are circumscribed on this by the word of God. The word of God tells us what the pastor is supposed to be, and it says that he is to be the husband of one wife. That's pretty hard for a woman to do, and it tells us in first Timothy 2 and in first Corinthians 14, among other places, that the woman is not to say anything in the church that has to do with doctoral matters or that gives her leadership of the man in doctoral matters, and we just simply have to take the Bible position on the matter, or else we don't have a Bible-directed, Bible-believing church.

KING: Reverend Dyer, does what Dr. Jones just said offend you?

DYER: Well, sure, I mean, I think we could debate Scripture all day and all night. The -- I think the real point of what's going on in the Southern Baptist Convention has to do with power and politics, and the hierarchy of the convention orchestrated itself in a way to really impose its fundamentalist values on the whole -- the rest of us, and it's about having domination over women, it's about control, and I think part of it has to do with when people are afraid and living out of fear, they try to take power away from other people, and that's part of what's going on here.

KING: The new president, Janet, Reverend James Merit (ph), says "We're one of few denominations to stand strong in sharp winds of political correctness and to call sin, sin." It is sinful for Reverend Dyer to lead a pulpit?

PARSHALL: I don't know if he would subscribe the word "sin" to that. What he would say is it's disobedient, and he would say that that is out of the purview of what Scripture says.

And by the way, Larry, as a qualifier, this really is kind of a tempest in a teapot. There is 15.9 million members of the Southern Baptist Convention. There are over 41,000 churches. And the women who pastored churches in the Southern Baptist Convention make up 1/10 of one percent. So this is really the same old, same old. This is sort of like last year, when "The New York Times" heralded the news that women are supposed to submit to their husbands. Well, those of us who read the word of God know that's been around quite sometime, and that wasn't news, but they didn't go on to finish the rest of the story, which said, and husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church. Well, Christ died for the church. That's the best news, and "The New York Times" didn't print that one.

KING: Wouldn't you want to be -- as a person, wouldn't you want the right to have anything a man can have?

PARSHALL: You know, what I want is what God wants for me. What I want -- my life doesn't belong to me.

KING: God regards you are as not able to lead.

PARSHALL: Well, let me tell you what he does. He gives me a ministry. In fact, not too not long ago, you had a wonderful conversation with Anne Graham Lotz, and she talked about her meetings called "Just Give Me Jesus. Ann is a precious friend. I love her, and I love what she's doing.

KING: She leads meetings?

PARSHALL: Yes, she sure does. And let me tell you what she does. She something very similar to what we did at "Focus on the Family." For three years, we had meeting called "Renewing the Heart," specifically for women. We had 20,000, 30,000, 50,000 women who showed up, I had the very humbling privilege being part of that, and it was an opportunity for women to teach other women. As it clearly talks to us, later in the New Testament, in book of Titus, it says that that's exactly what we're supposed to do. Those now conventions, those gatherings have stopped, and we now have decided we want to minister to women -- there is the operative word -- vis-a-vis radio programs. So now once a week, we do a program called "Renewing the Heart," specifically done by women -- I have the privilege of being the host for that -- ministering to women. That doesn't put me outside of God's plan. That puts me in the center of God's plan, ministering...

KING: But you're ministering?

PARSHALL: Absolutely, but the difference is I am not a pastor, and I'm not ministering to men, I am specifically teaching women.

KING: We'll pick up with Reverend Hastey thoughts and continue with our panel on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE, right after this.


KING: Reverend Stan Hastey, is it a tempest in a teapot?

HASTEY: Well, statistically speaking, it is. But I don't think that's the issue. If I might come back a moment to a point Janet made, I, too, saw your interview with Anne Graham Lotz, wonderful, wonderful television. She pointed out that in her current preaching tour she is preaching both to men and women.

KING: correct.

HASTEY: And you asked her about the anticipated action of the Southern Baptist Convention. Her response was very interesting. She said I answer to a higher authority. I think that's bottom line. What she meant by that is she answers to the Holy Spirit, who moves like wind, unpredictable, without discrimination, and calls whom God wants to be called in to all offices of the church.

So the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is very neglected in this debate. We need talk about that.

KING: Dr. Jones, how will you respond to that?

JONES: Yes, I would love to talk about that, because the truth is that the Holy Spirit is the one who wrote the Scriptures, the Bible say, as all Scriptures given by inspiration of God, that is profitable for a doctrine, and correction, and instruction and righteousness says a holy men of old speak as if they were moved by Holy Ghost. So what we have in the Scriptures is the record of what the Holy Ghost has says. And if the Holy Ghost is going to tell us in the Scriptures that a woman is not to usurp authority over a man and is not to pastor a church and be the religious teacher of men, and then he's going to turn around and tell somebody in our generation that it's all right to, then we have God contradicting himself, and that's not any kind of a God who is in control of anything and certainly not the god of the Bible, and so I totally reject the idea that we can have a made-for- today kind of faith. Our faith is eternal, because it's in the eternal word of God. So the Holy Spirit is not going to lead somebody contrary to the world of God, which the Holy Spirit has written.

KING: Bob, isn't an eye for a eye, a tooth for a tooth contradictory to thou shalt not kill?

JONES: God gives to government the right to wage war, the right to take life. He doesn't give it to any human being.


KING: But a government is a collection of human beings. The government goes to war with people killing people.

JONES: Yes, that's true. But God has established human government, along with the family and the church as the three institutions in the world for the good and safety of mankind and for civilization to function, and the bible tells us that we are to give the Caesar what he -- if Caesar wages war, that's a government function. But thou shalt not commit murder is a prohibition against killing given to an individual, not from government.

KING: Not a contradiction to you?

JONES: Not at all.

HASTEY: May I jump in here for a moment please, Larry, because you're mentioning of the eye-for-an-eye saying of Jesus brings to mind I think a very important point not made thus far, and that is the Southern Baptist Convention in its revised version of the Baptist faith in message has also removed a statement from the preamble stating that our final authority is not the Bible, but Jesus the Christ, and that is very underpublicized, but that, too, happened today in that vote, in that statement.

KING: And what is the difference to you?

HASTEY: Well, Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, used the very phrase that you have cited. He said you have heard that it was said of old and eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I say to you, love those who despise you. The love ethic of Jesus in the Christian theological construct supersedes the eye-for-an-eye revenge theology of the Hebrew nation. Jesus asserted himself as an authority over Scripture. When he left the world, Jesus said there was much yet to be learned that he had not taught the disciples, but he would send the Holy Spirit to teach them all things.

I happen to believe that the Achilles heel of fundamentalism, Christian fundamentalism. and I do not use that pejoratively, but in a historical sense, the Achilles Heel of Christian fundamentalism is a fear that the Holy Spirit will go where men cannot predict the spirit will go, and therefore, upset human systems of authority.

KING: Janet?

PARSHALL: Well, no, because the Scripture says that God hasn't given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind. So I'm not fearful at all. In fact, I don't know what the future holds, but I sure know who holds future, and I put my hand in his, and I'll have him guide and direct me along the way. I don't ever want to step outside of his classroom, so I'll go wherever he goes. But here's what I know: He is a consistent God, he is a God of order and he does not contradict himself.

KING: And he is he?

PARSHALL: Again, in the anthropomorphic sense when we talk about God. Our father who art in heaven hallowed be thy name. We speak of him in the gender specific of he, and the reason we do that, again, is because that's how he refers to himself in the Old Testament and also in the New Testament. God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, not daughter. Now if that kind of gender specificity is what God wants, it's perfectly fine with me.

KING: We'll take a break, and we'll be right back with more. Don't go away.


KING: Reverend Dyer, in First Corinthians, it says "Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate as the law also said. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. It is shameful for a woman to speak in church.

As a believer, what do you make of that in Corinthians?

DYER: Well again, I think when we look at that verse by itself, it's taken out of context, and...

KING: Every time I ask questions in this, everything is out of context. I don't mean to criticize you, but every religious interview, every time we talk to members of faith, they always say what you got to look at chapter two or chapter six. Go ahead, I'm sorry. DYER: Well, you do, you have to look at the whole, not just pieces and parts of it, to look at all of Scripture and the way God calls men and women and uses men and women.

KING: But this is a very definitive statement, isn't it? They are not permitted to speak is a very definitive statement. What out of context is that?

DYER: It's out of context because at that time in the society, women were not permitted to speak in that kind of setting, but they were also told to cover their heads, and they were told that their salvation would come from childbirth, and we know that is not you know that is not what we believe.

KING: Yes. How do we deal, Dr. Jones, with that very point, growth, things change? Women were taught to cover their head; they don't do that now in your church, do they, they don't come in with heads covered, so are they breaking the law of covenant of the spirit?

JONES: Well, the Bible, we believe, in that passage, in first Corinthians is teaching about the head covering being the hair, and not an external covering. But you know, a while ago, Mr. Hastey said that the Lord set himself above his word. You know, he really didn't. He said I didn't come to set my word aside, but to fulfill the Old Testament. He was a fulfillment, not a setter aside of it, not a depreciator of it. And the Bible said -- the Lord said, if you love me, keep my commandments. You can't separate love of God for obedience to word of God.

So I just have to keep trying to bring us back to the point that the word of God governs, its restricts, it limits, it limits God himself. And the Lord said, "Heaven and Earth may pass away, but my word will not pass away." And we are bound today in the 21st century by the word of God as members of the Bible-believing churn, just like the early church was.

KING: So you agree, Reverend Jones, you interpret it, every word literally written in that Bible?

JONES: Yes, I believe the word of God is inerrant, it is infallible, it is completely sufficient, plenary, verbally inspired word of God.

KING: We're only halfway through. We'll be right back with more on this edition of LARRY KING LIVE.

Peter Jennings will be our guest tomorrow night. Don't go away.


KING: We're back with our panel discussion. They are Dr. Bob Jones, president of Bob Jones University. He is in Greenville, South Carolina. In Nashville Tennessee is Reverend Raye Nell Dyer, president of Baptist Women Ministry. In New York here with us is Janet Parshall, the radio host of "Janet Parshall's America." And in New York as well is Reverend Stan Hastey, executive director of the Alliance of Baptists.

By the way, Baptists aren't the only one. Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox permit only male priests, and the Orthodox Jewish Temple permits only male rabbis.

You then believe, Janet, there's no such thing as growth from this, things don't change, as written as is

PARSHALL: You mean word of God?

KING: Yes.

PARSHALL: Oh absolutely. It's not an in last elastic document.

KING: But in an evolving, changing world -- God never said world was round. He never wrote about penicillin.

PARSHALL: He never wrote about electricity, but it didn't mean...


PARSHALL: ... that in his world those things didn't exist. But the wonderful thing about the word of God is that it wasn't about whether or not the world was round. It was God's way of letting us know that He loves us unconditionally and that man is separated from Him because of sin. And he so loved the world that he sent his son, Jesus of Nazareth, the messiah, the (UNINTELLIGIBLE) one to come and give His life for us on the cross.

KING: So can you say that you love feminists, you love liberals, you love communists, you love them?

PARSHALL: And I'll tell you why.

KING: Unequivocally.

PARSHALL: Unequivocally. And I'll tell you why: because there but for the grace of God go I. And when I sing "Amazing Grace," it's because I've gotten something I don't deserve. I've gotten this unconditional love. I didn't do anything to earn it. I got it just because God so loved me.

Now, if you had that news, and it's the best news that mankind has ever been given, how can you keep that to yourself?

KING: So Reverend Dyer, with all of that, the blessings that you have and the beliefs that you have, so what? You can't be a pastor, so what?

DYER: Well, that's exactly right. Women are going to continue to respond to God's call in their lives and find ways to live out that calling. I'm a hospital chaplain. Women do other things. But women will also continue to be called as pastors because there are congregations out there in Baptist life who very much affirm and bless the gifts of women. And there -- we have partner organizations. The Alliance of Baptists that Stan has talked about and represents today. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the North -- Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America. Those are wonderful partnerships organizations with all of us, who are made up of Baptists that believe as we do about equality and grace and that God calls men and women equally to ministry and to leadership.

KING: Reverend -- Dr. Jones, are you -- you're not a Southern Baptist, right? You're an independent Baptist? Is that correct?

JONES: Yes, an independent Baptist.

KING: Meaning?

JONES: Meaning that every church, each church is autonomous, and therefore, not governed by a hierarchy, a denominational headquarters. Baptist polity is Baptist polity, whether it's independent Baptist polity or Southern Baptist or northern Baptist, American Baptist polity. Baptist belief having to do with church governance is the same. It's just a matter of whether there is a higher structure over each church or each church is answerable itself to the Lord.

KING: Is change, do you think, Dr. Jones -- this will be an opinion now, not your own certification in a sense. Do you think that change is working against you? That I mean in 50 years from today there are going to be a lot more women pastors? The tide is turning against your concept?

JONES: Well, that depends. It's not my concept, in the first place.

KING: Your view.

JONES: I didn't bring this up, and you know, it wasn't my idea. I just go to the Bible and find out that it was God's idea and God's eternal plan that his church should be pastored by a man. And that's not meaning that women don't have a lot they can do in the church. They were very important to the New Testament church. And I thank the Lord for women in today's church that are doing so much in the calling of God that they have. But they are not called of God to pastor a church. That would be a contradiction...

KING: But do you think that's changing, though?

JONES: ... of what the Lord has said himself.

KING: Do you think, though, do you think that's changing? Do you think 50 years from today you're going to see a lot more women leading churches?

JONES: I think it might happen, but I think it would be a great pity if the church allows culture to determine its structure rather than letting the Bible determine its structure. That would mean that the church is a great deal more enfeebled and a great deal more without the blessing and presence of the Lord than it is today, because the Lord can't bless that which is contrary to His word.

KING: So you feel out of touch, Reverend Hastey, with your Lord?

HASTEY: No, in humility I don't. And by the way...

KING: Because Janet and Bob think you are.

HASTEY: Well, that's all right.

KING: They love you.


HASTEY: I know that. I know that, in spite of certain views, and that's OK. Perhaps it would be good to make the point that what the four of us share in common is a commitment to the lordship of Jesus Christ.

If we approach Scripture differently, we can do that respectfully and still acknowledge our differences. And I would suggest respectfully to Dr. Jones, for example, that when the New Testament letters of Paul were written, the Acts of the apostles referred to earlier, the four Gospels, that they were not written in a vacuum. Those were not treatises dropped out of heaven. They were written by flesh and blood. Men, yes, I agree with that. By men. But they, too, were colored necessarily, by their culture.

Jesus was countercultural in his treatment of women, else he wouldn't have allowed women to be the first evangels of the good news of his resurrection, perhaps the first instance of women preaching in church history.

He would not have allowed women like Priscilla, Paul the apostle's business partner, to be called as a deacon. He would not have called Phoebe to preach. And in our Baptist tradition, even in the Southern Baptist tradition, a famous missionary like Laudi Moon (ph) of China in today's Southern Baptist Convention would never have been sent there because she was a preacher.

KING: Let's hear what they think about that on the other side. We'll do that right after this.


KING: All right, Janet. How do you respond to what Reverend Hastey just said?

PARSHALL: Well, let me concur...

KING: Women have led.

PARSHALL: Absolutely, they have. And what they've done -- and here's where we juxtapose I think the word. You can take a look at the Greek and you can say they -- "prophesy" (ph) doesn't necessarily mean preach. It also means teach. And when we look a lot of the women that are named in both the Old and New Testament, they were teachers and they were expositors. And that, by the way, is a word that Anne Graham Lotz will use to describe herself. She won't call herself a preacher. She'll call herself an expositor.

KING: Is that hair-splitting?

PARSHALL: In some respects that might be, but again that's why this is becoming a tempest in a teapot, because all kinds of wonderful committed women out there are teaching classes, they're serving on mission boards, they're serving as missionaries. Laudi Moon would have been joined by all kinds of women who are servings as missionaries today.

It isn't a matter of saying to a woman in the Baptist Church sit down, cover your head and be quiet. It's a matter of saying God loves you, God has a plan for your life, seek Him, find out what it is He wants you to do, and go do it. With some parameters, and God's book is filled with parameters.

KING: Janet, if men wrote this, weren't they dealing with self- interest?

PARSHALL: Oh absolutely not, no.

KING: Not?

PARSHALL: Not at all. They were writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and God chose to use those men to write His word.

KING: Doesn't the Holy Spirit inspire my writing as well as your writing and his writing and her writing, just their writing (UNINTELLIGIBLE)?

PARSHALL: Well, I would like to think about it, but Larry, we don't get to add any amendments to the Scriptures. They're done. From Genesis to Revelation it's done.

KING: We don't know where an idea comes from, do we? So if we say it comes from God, my inspiration is as good as yours.

PARSHALL: I believe that God who is the God of all creation can make us very creative people. I wouldn't argue with that at all. If fact, I think when we look at beauty, I think it's terribly reflective of his palate.

KING: All right. Reverend Dyer, why don't you just call yourself a teacher?

DYER: Because God has called me to be a minister and I'm responding in that way, and one of the important things that I want to get across today is that Baptist Women in Ministry is an organization, an autonomous organization out there made up of men and women all over this country -- lay and clergy, ordained and unordained -- who are affirming and supportive of women and men being called to ministry equally, as well women being leaders in the church.

And women will continue to respond to that call, and our organization will continue to offer the support that they need and look for. We offer counseling and mentoring and networking. We offer education, and in 15 days, we are having our annual meeting and worship service in Orlando at College Park Baptist Church. And we would invite anyone to come and join for us that. We meet every year in conjunction with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. We also meet in conjunction, for our board meeting, in conjunction with the Alliance of Baptists. And we see those as partnership organizations, and that's very important to us.

KING: Dr. Jones, why does it bother you if a woman leads a church? I mean, in the realm of things, if she's bringing people to good -- to your God, why would that bother you?

JONES: Larry, it only bothers me because it's unscriptural, and that which is contrary to the Scripture has to bother a Christian whose whole life and whose church and who's ministry and reason for existence is governed by the Scripture.

You can't be always fashioning the church according to your own instincts, or by culture and the changes that come from time to time in society. The church is Jesus Christ's church. He died for the church. He's the Lord of the church. And we're regulated by what he has said in his word the church is supposed to be.

It's just like the Constitution. It regulates the laws of America -- or is supposed to, and the Bible is the law that regulates, and governs the church of Jesus Christ.

KING: But they amend the Constitution to allow for change, growth, error, things -- you know the world moves on. Can't we amend the Bible?

JONES: Yes, but -- you don't amend that which is bedrock. I mean, if you want to have revisionists on the courts, who say federal public policy takes precedence over the Constitution -- federal public policy, ever-changing ideas of the judiciary -- then you have no basis for law. It's ever-changing, and it's whimsical.

KING: But someone has to interpret the law, right? I mean, you could interpret it one way, I might interpret it differently. You could -- we could take the Second Amendment and argue it forever about how you interpret "militia."

JONES: That's correct, but it still is the Constitution. We still have to keep coming back to that in the of law our society, like we have to come back to the Bible as the God-given law, the unchanging law of God, for the governance of our faith.

KING: Would you agree, Reverend Hastey, that...

JONES: There has to be a standard, and that's the Bible.

KING: ... that the Bible is not negotiable?

HASTEY: I agree that the Bible is not amendable. But I also believe that Jesus meant it when he told his disciples that there is yet more truth to break through that the Holy Spirit would guide them to see.

I think really what we're talking about are different approaches to interpreting Scripture. For example, the very use of the phrase "word of God" -- nowhere in the Bible is the Bible referred to as "word of God." Jesus is the word of God, according to John the evangelist in the prologue. In the beginning was the Word, not the Bible. Jesus the Christ.

So with respect to interpretation, while we can respect one another, I don't think we should write one another off, because, for example, in reading that text from Corinthians that you did earlier, which appears on the surface to be an absolute prohibition. The fact is Paul was talking to a church where two women had divided the church into factions. They were destroying one another. They were consuming one another. In that context, he commanded them to be quiet. That was a prescription...

KING: So that...

HASTEY: ... such as just as a medical doctor would issue a prescription to that place to that time. It was more prescriptive than descriptive for all time. That would be my point. And that's not the way perhaps Dr. Jones approaches the Scripture, but...

KING: By the way, things have changed, haven't they? The Lord said you can't eat pig's meat, didn't he?

DYER: In the Old Testament law.

KING: Who changed that?

DYER: Jesus did. He came and said...

KING: And so he could change things?

DYER: He came and he said "I have come to fulfill the law."

KING: So how do you know he didn't change women preachers?

DYER: Because he would have told us that. That's the wonderful thing about our Savior. He made himself perfectly clear.

KING: As we go to break, well she's been referred to a few times, here's one of the things she said when she appeared on this show. This is Billy Graham's daughter, Anne Graham Lotz...


KING: Don't think a woman should be a preacher, right?


KING: There are some in the old Southern Baptist fold think that that's -- how do you respond to them?

LOTZ: Well, you know, I have -- I feel like I'm not accountable to them. I'm accountable to God and his call in my life. And I think each of us needs to study the Scriptures for ourselves and determine what we believe the Bible is saying.

And I think there are a lot of things out there that have been passed down from generation to generation that are not true. And so the thing about blacks not coming into church, that somehow they're not equal. That wasn't true. It never has been true. But it just got passed down and -- within the church, and it's a shame.

And so what I'm trying to do is teach the Scriptures in such a way that people who call themselves by God's name would know really what God says: that we could live according to his word.



KING: Dr. Jones, correct me if wrong, but don't they -- wasn't the Sabbath in the Old Testament Saturday? Who made it Sunday?

JONES: The Lord made it Sunday.

KING: He changed.

JONES: The Lord -- he reigns on the first day of the week, and he met with his disciples and worshiped with them on the first day of the week, the day of his resurrection, And the New Testament church, in honor of his resurrection, established the first day as -- established Sunday as the day of worship.

KING: But that was a decision of the church in opposition to what the Old Testament said, correct?

JONES: Well, the church represents the redeemed, both jew and gentile, both Old Testament jew and New Testament gentile or pagan converted. And now they're in the body of Christ, the church of Christ. And they took the Lord himself as the example for when they should meet with him as he met with his disciples.

The church, of course -- the New Testament church -- was a new thing, and they began to develop. That's what the book of the Acts is all about. It's a history book recording what they did -- some of what they did they kept, and some they didn't. And then the epistles came along, and Paul, under direction of the Holy Spirit, gave direction, a doctrine, if you will, to the church. And the church is still bound by the New Testament doctrine.

KING: And nowhere in...

JONES: The book of Revelation -- pardon?

KING: I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt, though but just in the interest of time.

Reverend Dyer, nowhere in that New Testament does it say women can be pastors, right? DYER: Not exactly those words, but it clearly communicates that women are called of God to be in positions of leadership. And I think one of the things that people are looking for today is how to understand what this means and the kinds of questions and conversations we are having today. You know, what is it all about?

And there are churches and there are individuals out there who are living, also, under Scripture, and in -- very much in unity with the Holy Spirit, who are living out those callings.

KING: Janet, wouldn't you agree...

DYER: One of the things...

KING: I mean, obviously, they're living out different callings than you. And they believe just as much as you do. They care just as much as you do.

PARSHALL: That's right. And ultimately, you know what's wonderful, Larry? They're not accountable to me. They're accountable to the Lord. That's why, again, this is not a religion...

KING: But maybe you're wrong.

PARSHALL: I could be wrong, but, you know what? I've gone back to his word again and again and again and I see continuity. I see no errors. I see the same message from beginning to end.

And more importantly, I see that as a woman God has a place for me. And that's why I'm so glad that the issue of the Constitution was brought up before, because my observations, as a pilgrim on this Earth is that there really is a parallel here. While the Constitution is not the inspired word of God, when we sat as a culture and watched the confirmation hearings of Judge Robert Bork, at issue was really something known as the doctrine of original intent. Did the Constitution mean what the Constitution or is it an elastic document to be redefined and pulled and stretched?

KING: Still argued today.

PARSHALL: And you know what, I think that is probably the crux of the discussion of what's going on, not just with the Southern Baptists, but between the men and women who believe that the Bible is what the Bible says it is, or it is an elastic document to be pulled and stretched, redefined and amended. And that's the bottom line.

If you can take such an important discussion and distill it down, that's the bottom-line message.

KING: Do you agree with that, Reverend Hastey?

HASTEY: Well, both the Constitution and the Bible have to be interpreted. If the founders...

KING: What else can you do if they're not here? HASTEY: Well, if the founders had not intended for the Constitution, to change, they wouldn't have set up the federal judiciary. There would have been no need for it.

KING: There would be no amendments.

HASTEY: These are not criminal courts. The federal judiciary was set up specifically to interpret the Constitution.

KING: Correct.

HASTEY: The founders wise enough to know that things would change and that the Constitution would evolve. And so it has.

Our savior was wise enough to know that in 2 1/2 years of public ministry he hadn't had time to reveal the whole truth of God to His disciples. So he promised them the Holy Spirit, who would come with great power. And that is the same power we have inherited by the grace of God.

KING: And how...

HASTEY: That does not mean that we are lone rangers. There is an accountability not only between one's own conscious and the Lord of that conscious, but in the community of faith there is an accountability.

In our Baptist polity, that means every congregation is accountable. And on this point, some congregations, admittedly a minority, have chosen to differ with the norm.

KING: But to the strict interpreters, that is a difference which they can't permit, because...

HASTEY: And I understand that, and they may choose to throw all of us out on account of this issue.

KING: We'll take...


But they love you. We'll take a break and be back with our remaining moments, final thoughts of each of our guests right after this.


KING: Only have about four minutes left, so we'll have a wrap-up statement. And Dr. Jones, since we had to go to you last, we'll go to you first this time around. Do you think your way is fading?

JONES: No. Larry, if it were my way, I could say it probably is fading because I'm fading (UNINTELLIGIBLE)...

(LAUGHTER) But it's God's way. It's God's way, and it's forever settled in heaven. It's eternal. It's going -- in fact, the Bible tells us that we're going to be judged one day, in that final day when we all stand and give an account to the Lord, we're going to be judged by his word. So it's going to be around for all of eternity. So it's not fading. It's going to be there forever even as the Lord, who's the author of it, is forever.

He's given it to us to be obeyed and He's given it to us to be a protection and a help. He's given it to us in His love. And we who love Him can't trample it under profane feet. We have to submit to it.

KING: And you never doubt it, right?

JONES: Not at all.

KING: All right, Reverend Dyer, what do you think the world is going to be like 50 years with regard to this issue?

DYER: Well, I think it's going to be hopefully a better place. I think there are going to continue to be men and women called to ministry as God would call him. There are some of us right now who are working on a book about this subject, about women, the church and the new millennium. And we're hoping to submit manuscripts and find a publisher and get it published this summer. It's a collaborative effort that very much deals with this whole issue.

And again, Baptist Women in Ministry will continue to grow and include people, and we hope that people can find us out there when they are tired of being marginalized and being devalued as women in the church. And so I would just give our phone number, 913-321-6864. If anyone would like to be in touch with us, we would love to respond and welcome you into our fellowship.

KING: Janet, where do you think it's going? Your way or the other way? Well, again...


KING: I'm asking you as a reporter now.

PARSHALL: All right. I'm going to be a reporter. First of all, we're so sorry, we interrupt this broadcast because Janet Parshall is no longer here. She's in glory standing before the throne of grace. But if I were here, if I were given a special assignment to come back and report, I would see that basically the world would have been divided into two camps: those who looked and said: "Jesus Christ is exactly who He said He was -- He is the son of God, He came to die for man"; and the other camp that said: "Haven't a clue, don't care, He's a liar." He's a man, as C.S. Lewis said, "worse than a man who's got poached eggs for brains."

The world will be divided into two camps period. I know what camp I'm in, and as long as there's breath in my body, I'm going to tell the rest of the world. It's not Larry's opinion, it's not Janet's opinion. Get into that book and get the answers

KING: Is the camp going to be swayed one way or the other?

PARSHALL: Well, I think once you know Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior you would never turn away from that. You would never walk away from that.

KING: And you might know at death, though, right? You might know it...

PARSHALL: Oh, at that moment? Oh, I think so. But the problem is, Larry, He didn't tell me exactly when that time's coming, so I want to be ready whenever it is.

KING: Which way it's going, Reverend Hastey?

HASTEY: Well, with respect to women in ministry, in all honesty, I think it will continue to go very slowly.

KING: Slowly?

HASTEY: Because cultural patterns change slowly. But there will be men, as well as women, who support God's call of women into pastoral ministry, into missionary service, into the kind of chaplaincy work that Raye Nell Dyer is doing so effectively at a great hospital like Vanderbilt.

That will go on. That cannot be stopped by the power of men. It is the power of God who calls out women as well as men, and that will go on.

KING: Thank you all very much: Dr. Bob Jones, Reverend Raye Nell Dyer, Janet Parshall, and Reverend Stan Hastey.

By the way, Peter Jennings is our guest tomorrow night for the full hour. We'll talk about lots of things in the news, but Peter has a special coming about Jesus. Peter Jennings, and that's the main topic of discussion tomorrow night with Peter Jennings.

Stay tuned now for CNN "NEWSSTAND." Thanks for joining us. Thanks to our guests. Good night and God bless.



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