Southern Baptist Convention

WHEREAS, The President and Congress have moved the United States military services to abandon their historic policy of limiting combat military service to males, and are now recruiting, training, and assigning women to combat roles; and

WHEREAS, God created male and female with specific and complementary characteristics (Genesis 1:27), declaring them “good” (Genesis 1:31) so that male and female in relationship constitute a complete expression of the divine order for humanity, yet without blurring or denying the meaning or significance of gender-based distinctions established by God in the created order; and

WHEREAS, The equality of male and female as to dignity and worth, following from their creation in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), is fully consistent with gender-based distinctions as to roles and responsibilities which are also established in the created order; and

WHEREAS, God, by creating Adam first (Genesis 2:18; 1 Corinthians 11:8) and also by creating woman “an help meet for him” (Genesis 2:18, 20, 22; 1 Corinthians 11:9), has set the gender-based role and responsibility of males in the most basic unit of society (the family) to be that of leader, provider and self-sacrificial protector (also cf. Ephesians 5:25; 1 Peter 3:70, and likewise has set the gender-based role and responsibility of females to be that of help and nurture (Genesis 2:18) and life-giving (Genesis 3:20) under male leadership and protection (cf. 1 Peter 3:7); and

WHEREAS, The purpose of military combat is to inflict deadly harm upon an enemy, and the essence of combat is to use force against an enemy in order to kill, damage or destroy—a purpose and essence aligned with the male role but opposed to the female role; and

WHEREAS, The moral justification for combat service is the duty to protect and defend vital national interests, including the welfare, security, and good order of families, which justification is essentially linked to the divinely assigned role and responsibilities of self-sacrificial male headship of the family (Ephesians 5:23-24); and

WHEREAS, The pattern established by God throughout the Bible is that men, not women, bear responsibility to serve in combat if war is necessary (Genesis 14:14; Numbers 31:3, 21, 49; Deuteronomy 20:5-9; 3:14; Joshua 1:14-18; 6:3, 7, 9; 8:3; 10:7; 1 Samuel 16:18; 18:5; 2 Samuel 11:1; 17:8; 23:8-39; Psalm 45:3-5; Song of Solomon 3:7-8; Isaiah 42:13); and

WHEREAS, Biblical examples that record women serving in combat (Judges 4:4-23) are presented as contrary to proper and normal gender-based distinctions, and result from a shameful failure of male leadership (Judges 4:9-10; Nahum 3:13); and





WHEREAS, Willful rejection of a gender-based role distinction that limits combat military service to males is a foolish social experiment that: (1) threatens good military order and discipline by unnecessarily escalating sexual tensions among combat warriors, (2) weakens unit cohesion, (3) exposes female warriors taken as P.O.W.s to the special trauma of rape and sexual abuse, (4) places a major new strain on marital fidelity, and (5) risks the nation’s military security by scrambling the moral framework defining male/female relationships.

Therefore, be it RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting June 9-11, 1998, in Salt Lake City, Utah, do, with loyal respect and deep concern, warn against and oppose the training and assigning of females to military combat service because: it rejects gender-based distinctions established by God in the order of creation; it undermines male headship in the family by failing to recognize the unique gender-based responsibility of men to protect women and children; and it subordinates the combat readiness of American troops, and the national security of the United States, to the unbiblical social agenda of ideological feminism; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we give deepest gratitude and honor to those courageous women who have served their country in military support roles; and

Be it further RESOLVED, That we commit our prayer support to all military members and families serving this great nation around the world.

Be it finally RESOLVED, That we call upon the President, Congress, and all military leaders to reverse the present policy and to restore the historic limitation of military combat service to males only.


View all 1998 Resolutions.