Christian Bookstore Pulls Girlie Magazine Off Shelves

This is great stuff. From an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Smiling women on the cover of a slick magazine. Sold from under the counter. Must request it from store clerk. That’s not something a buyer would typically find in a Christian bookstore. Not unless it’s one of the more than 100 Lifeway Christian Bookstores across the United States, including about six in metro Atlanta.

Gospel Today, the Fayetteville-published magazine, was pulled off the racks by the bookstores’ owner, the Southern Baptist Convention. The problem? The five smiling women on the cover are women of the cloth — church pastors.

Southern Baptist polity says that’s a role reserved for men.

Teresa Hairston, owner of Gospel Today, whose glossy pages feature upbeat articles about health, living, music and ministry, said she discovered by e-mail that the September/October issue of the magazine had been demoted to the realm of the risque.

“It’s really kind of sad when you have people like [Gov.] Sarah Palin and [Sen.] Hillary Clinton providing encouragement and being role models for women around the world that we have such a divergent opinion about women who are able to be leaders in the church,” Hairston said. “I was pretty shocked.”

Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, which runs the stores for the Southern Baptist Convention, said, “It is contrary to what we believe.”

It bases those beliefs on their interpretation of New Testament Scriptures.

Southern Baptist representatives at national meetings have adopted statements saying women should not be pastors, but each church is independent. A few churches have selected women, such as Decatur First Baptist, where the Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell preaches each Sunday from the pulpit.

Pastor Tamara Bennett of California is one of the featured pastors on the magazine cover and talks in the article about the challenges of breaking through the stained-glass ceiling.

“God’s assignment is that no souls are lost and all are saved,” Bennett said. “Gender is not how God sees it. We are about winning souls, period.”

Southern Baptists are not the only ones to frown on women preachers. Catholics, the largest Christian denomination in the nation, do not allow women priests. And some conservative evangelical groups, such as the Presbyterian Church in America, do not ordain women.

“We weren’t trying to pick a fight,” Hairston said. “We just did a story on an emerging trend in a lot of churches.”

Uh-oh. There’s that word again….

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  1. #1 by Mark on September 24, 2008 - 11:23 pm

    hidden under the shelf . . . probably the same place the SBC would like to see all women.

  2. #2 by Alan on September 25, 2008 - 10:07 am

    My wife is a pastor and we shopped at Lifeway… we probably won’t anymore.

    That’s just wrong! What’s next a brown paper cover on whatever they consider offensive? SHEESH!

  3. #3 by Christian Beyer on September 25, 2008 - 10:53 am

    That’s right. Your wife has no ‘authority’ to teach or lead, does she? And I guess that means that we found no value in Patsy’s ministry either. Hmm.

  4. #4 by nate on September 25, 2008 - 12:06 pm

    I’m glad they put it under the counter…those hot babes on the cover were causing me to lust every time I ran to Lifeway to purchase another self help book by a big shot pastor.

  5. #5 by Christian Beyer on September 25, 2008 - 1:45 pm

    Yeah, they might consider a combined marketing campaign; package this magazine with something by Arterburn or McDowell.

    I get a kick out of it when I find my favorite heretics on the shelve of these stores; Manning, Willard, Chalke, Wright et cetera. They are very diligent about keeping the well know bad guys out (McLaren, Sweet, Padgitt, Jones) that they miss the smaller (yet often tastier) fry sneak in. I feel the urge to gleefully point this out at the register but then these author’s would be banned as well.

    But I have found a great Christian bookstore that allows the reader to make up their own mind about authors; Cokesbury. You can find books by authors who completely disagree with each other right on the same shelf.

  6. #6 by ric booth on September 26, 2008 - 9:06 pm

    @Nate: LOL

    I am sure the concept of “the Christian bookstore” began with good intentions.

  7. #7 by BillG on September 28, 2008 - 9:49 am

    Yeah. You know what they say about good intentions! There is a long history of very questionable things done in the name of the Christian religion!

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