Deception: Wade Burleson and Al Mohler

Back in February I published an article entitled “Conservative? Prove It – Disfellowship Wade Burleson” in which I challenged conservative Southern Baptists to report Emmanuel Enid Baptist Church (which is pastored by notorious egalitarian Wade Burleson) in Oklahoma to the SBC credentials committee for employing female “pastors,” Marisa Sauls and Lori Westfall.  A couple of men took me up on the challenge and reported the violation of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.  However, they received the same disappointing response that I did from the SBC credentials committee:

Dear Mr. Dunn,

Thank you for reporting your concern that Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma may not be in friendly cooperation with the Convention as described in the Southern Baptist Convention Constitution, “Article III. Composition.”

Your submission has been reviewed by the SBC Credentials Committee. Based upon the information available to us, our committee declines to give further consideration to your submission at this time.  If you have additional concerns we encourage you to submit those for consideration.  Please be assured of our prayers for those affected by the matters you have raised.


The SBC Credentials Committee

It seemed like an open and shut case.  Emmanuel Enid listed two female pastors on the “leadership” page of its website.  Nevertheless, the credentials committee declined to “give further consideration to the matter”. When informed about my challenge on Twitter, Wade Burleson responded with defiance, writing “Bring it on!”

As of now, all of the “pastors,” male and female, have disappeared from the Emmanuel Enid website. Wade Burleson and Emmanuel Enid have responded with word games, with everyone on their pastoral staff now carrying the title of “servant.”

This is nothing but outright deception. Yes, it’s true that pastors are servant leaders, but this title change is clearly an attempt by Burleson’s church to fool the Southern Baptist Convention at large into thinking that Emmanuel Enid is in compliance with the BFM 2000 (which prohibits female pastors) and is therefore in friendly cooperation with the Convention. The Wayback Machine reveals that Emmanuel Enid has been listing its leaders as “pastors” for at least three years. Furthermore, Wade Burleson’s profile at his personal website lists him as a “pastor.” It should also be noted that other office of the local church, deacon, if translated (not transliterated) from the Greek means “servant”. So, is Burleson’s staff pastors, deacons, or both?

The title changes at Emmanuel Enid were clearly precipitated by its being reported to the SBC credentials committee.

Sadly, Wade Burleson is not the only prominent Southern Baptist misleading the masses about the problem of female “pastors” in the Southern Baptist Convention. Just last Friday, Al Mohler (the President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) made the bold claim that zero out of 40,000 Southern Baptist Churches had a female pastor. This claim is plainly false. This website published an expose this past February which identified at least fifty large SBC churches with female pastors. Not only is Albert Mohler unfamiliar with the (heretical) staffing of some of the SBC’s biggest churches, he doesn’t even know what’s happening in his own city of Louisville. Fern Creek Baptist Church is 12 miles from Al Mohler’s House. It is “pastored” by a woman who refers to herself as “Rev. Linda Barnes Popham”.

12 miles from his house, 12 miles from his seminary, there is a female pastor. Yet, Al Mohler indignantly claimed that there were “zero” SBC churches with female “pastors.” Is it any wonder that so many claim that critical race theory is being taught under Al Mohler’s nose? He is either intentionally deceiving Southern Baptists or he is woefully obtuse.

Neither option is a very good one.

*Please note that the preceding is my personal opinion. It is not necessarily the opinion of any entity by which I am employed, any church at which I am a member, any church which I attend, or the educational institution at which I am enrolled. Any copyrighted material displayed or referenced is done under the doctrine of fair use.

Seth Dunn

Masters of Divinity in Christian Apologetics, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary Member of the Evangelical Theological Society Certified Public Accountant