Click on each topic below to view answers. If you have any further questions, please contact us.

In order for a church to be recognized as a cooperating church with the SBC, it must "be in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work,” and be "a bona fide contributor to the Convention's work during the fiscal year preceding" (Article III, Southern Baptist Convention Constitution).

The standard method of contribution is through the Cooperative Program, our unified method of supporting SBC mission causes, and the most common avenue for contribution is through the church's respective Baptist state convention office. You can locate the convention office in your state by clicking here. The staff in that office will be happy to assist you.

The Southern Baptist Convention meets once each year in June. A church would be qualified to send messengers to the annual meeting during any June if it has taken formal action to cooperate (such as a vote of the church body) and has contributed to the work of the Convention during the preceding fiscal year (which ends each September 30).

Actually, there is no standard process or policy concerning ordination in the SBC. In fact, the SBC cannot ordain anyone. The matter of ordination is addressed strictly on a local church level. Every Southern Baptist church is autonomous and decides individually whether or not to ordain, or whether to require ordination of its pastor. When a church senses that God has led a person into pastoral ministry, it is a common practice to have a council (usually of pastors) review his testimony of salvation, his pastoral calling from the Lord, and his qualifications (including theological preparation and scriptural qualifications according to 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:7-9) for pastoral ministry. Based upon that interview the church typically decides whether or not ordination would be appropriate.

Some SBC churches require seminary training from an SBC seminary, while others may not, such a requirement is entirely up to the church.

Of course, every SBC church is free to approach ordination in the manner it deems best.

If you are a member of an SBC church and sense the Lord may be leading you into ministry, you may want to speak to the pastor and ask for his assistance.

Once again, because of the autonomous nature of SBC churches, there is no policy within the Convention that addresses these matters. Each church directs its own affairs apart from outside intervention, deciding for itself how to deal with such matters.

Some Southern Baptist churches have called pastors or elected deacons who had been divorced, but there is no way of knowing how many have done so. There are Southern Baptist churches that would not base their decision on the issue of divorce. Others would want to know if the divorce fell within the parameters of what some refer to as a "biblically allowed" divorce. Still other Southern Baptist churches view I Timothy 3:2 as barring any divorced man from pastoral or deacon ministry. Again, there is no way for us to know the actual numbers, but there likely is a significant number of churches representing each view. Most churches probably fall into either of the last two categories.

Once again, because of the autonomous nature of SBC churches, there is no policy within the Convention that addresses these matters. Each church directs its own affairs apart from outside intervention, deciding for itself how to deal with such matters.

Some Southern Baptist churches have called pastors or elected deacons who had been divorced, but there is no way of knowing how many have done so. There are Southern Baptist churches that would not base their decision on the issue of divorce. Others would want to know if the divorce fell within the parameters of what some refer to as a "biblically allowed" divorce. Still other Southern Baptist churches view I Timothy 3:2 as barring any divorced man from pastoral or deacon ministry. Again, there is no way for us to know the actual numbers, but there likely is a significant number of churches representing each view. Most churches probably fall into either of the last two categories.

Actually, the Southern Baptist Convention is not in a position to take any disciplinary action regarding pastors or churches. Again, because of the autonomy of the local church, each SBC church is responsible before God to set its own policies regarding pastors or problems in the church. Such policies are entirely up to the individual congregation.

According to our constitution, if a church no longer makes a bona fide contribution to the Convention's work, or if it acts to "affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior," it no longer complies with the Constitution of the Southern Baptist Convention and is not permitted to send messengers to the annual meeting. These, however, are the only explicitly stated instances in which the SBC has the prerogative to take action. Failure to remain in "friendly cooperation" would also disqualify a church from sending messengers, and is obviously more of a subjective test.

Most SBC churches would look to their own constitutions and bylaws for the answer to this question, often these documents address this very issue.

We recognize that in the New Testament there was no centralized ecclesiastical authority over the churches that forced the churches into any form of compliance. There was encouragement, exhortation, and admonition, but there was never enforcement. We strongly adhere to that principle. Jesus Christ is the head of the local church - we are not. Each church is responsible before God for the policies it sets and decisions it makes.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on either Calvinism or Arminianism. If you surveyed Southern Baptists across the nation you would likely find adherents at both ends of the spectrum with plenty at each point in between.
There is no official SBC view or stance on the issue. If you polled SBC churches across the nation on the topic of "charismatic" practices you would likely find a variety of perspectives. Probably most believe that the "gift of tongues" as described in the Bible ceased upon the completion of the Bible. Some may view speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift given to some Christians enabling them to communicate the Gospel to foreign cultures in a language the speaker had not known previously. A very small minority might accept what is commonly practiced today in charismatic churches as valid.

Southern Baptists have long valued the priceless contribution of women as they have ministered to advance God's Kingdom. The Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) affirms the vital role of women serving in the church. Yet it recognizes the biblical restriction concerning the office of pastor, saying: "While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture." The passages that restrict the office of pastor to men do not negate the essential equality of men and women before God, but rather focus on the assignment of roles.

The Southern Baptist Convention also passed a resolution in the early 1980s recognizing that offices requiring ordination are restricted to men. However the BF&M and resolutions are not binding upon local churches. Each church is responsible to prayerfully search the Scriptures and establish its own policy.

We've included links below to the BF&M ("Article VI: The Church" applies), as well as a link to an article that we ran in SBC LIFE several years back addressing this issue. These should prove helpful in studying the topic.

The Southern Baptist Convention has not addressed the issue of all the available avenues through which a woman may serve, only the biblical restrictions concerning pastoral ministry and ministry requiring ordination. The potential opportunities for women to serve in vocational ministry within the SBC are indeed vast.

The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.
The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on these matters. Because each church is autonomous, each issue is addressed and determined by the local church.

Because of its autonomy, each Southern Baptist church determines such policies for itself--there is no denominational requirement in this regard. However, Southern Baptists have historically held to the mode that we believe to be the most consistent with the Bible - believer's baptism by immersion. When Jesus gave His command in Matthew 28:18-20 to make disciples, the directive was to baptize those new believers/disciples, and the word for baptism was literally "to immerse." It was a practice reserved for those who had decided to follow Him.

Baptizing a believer by immersion conveys the picture of a person dying with Christ, being buried with Him, and being raised with Him in a new life (Romans 6:3,4). This act is a voluntary declaration to all witnesses that the person has openly and unreservedly placed his/her faith in the Lord and will follow Him.

When a person is baptized as a baby, he/she has no knowledge of the Lord, repentance, salvation, discipleship, or any of the essentials related to following Him. This baptism may be meaningful to the family and may convey their deepest desire to dedicate that baby fully to the Lord, but because a baby cannot make such choices, baptism could not convey these essential truths directly associated with a believer's baptism.

When a Southern Baptist church requires baptism by immersion for membership, it is not inferring that a person who has been baptized by sprinkling is in any way inferior, or second class, or unsaved. It is not attempting to insult anyone or elevate itself as superior; it is merely striving to be faithful to the Lord and His command, and asking those who wish to be members to do the same. For the church to do otherwise would be compromise. Even worse, it would be disobedience.

According to the Encyclopedia of the Southern Baptist Convention, the version most common among Southern Baptists dates back to 1833, when J. Newton Brown is said to have attached it to his confessional statement which he submitted to the New Hampshire Baptist Convention. He reportedly published the confession and covenant in 1853 under the title "the New Hampshire Confession of Faith." That larger document served as the model for the first version of the Baptist Faith and Message in 1925.
There is no official stance in the SBC beyond what you find in the Baptist Faith and Message. The views among Southern Baptists regarding the end times are broad. If you surveyed Southern Baptists, you would likely find many who hold to the "Pre-Tribulational" view of the rapture, others who hold to a "Mid-Trib" view, some to a "Post-Trib" rapture, some who hold to historical premillennialism, and perhaps even a few who don't agree with any of these views.

The SBC passed a resolution in 1992 opposing membership and participation in organizations that contradict the Bible, but these resolutions are not binding upon local churches.

In its 1993 report, the SBC stated that there were aspects of Freemasonry that are incompatible with Christianity. The main conclusion of the report states:

We conclude that many tenets and teachings of Freemasonry are not compatible with Christianity or Southern Baptist doctrine.

We share concern over the unbiblical views and offensive tactics of those at the Westboro (Independent) Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas. Westboro does not have now, nor has ever had, any relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention. His extreme positions not only stand in contrast to the SBC, more importantly, they stand in contrast to God's Word. Scripture clearly teaches that homosexual behavior is sinful in the eyes of a just and holy God; but the Bible also clearly proclaims God’s love for all sinners, including homosexuals, and that He offers forgiveness to all who repent and place their faith in the atoning death of Jesus Christ for our sins.
The Southern Baptist Convention makes official statements regarding specific issues by means of resolutions passed at our annual gatherings each June. Southern Baptist polity views these resolutions as expressions of opinions or concern which are representative of the messengers attending the meeting, but are not binding upon any individual church or successive Convention. Generally speaking, resolutions are snapshots of views widely held among Southern Baptists at the time and in the social contest in which they are passed, but they are not deemed to be doctrinal or creedal (tests of fellowship). Click here to access our archive of resolutions.