skip to main content
Southern Baptists Pass New Statement of Faith Based on Literal Interpretation of Bible. Where Do Americans Stand?

Southern Baptists Pass New Statement of Faith Based on Literal Interpretation of Bible. Where Do Americans Stand?

Americans' views on the Bible and women as ministers

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- In its annual meeting in Orlando, Florida this week, the Southern Baptist Convention adopted a change in its statement of faith that states "the office of pastor is limited to men, as qualified by Scripture." This change does not address the issue of ordination directly, but more specifically prohibits women from serving as the head of a congregation. While the Southern Baptist delegates voted overwhelmingly in favor of this change, it has met with strong reaction from other quarters.

The vast majority of the American public support female religious leaders. When Americans are asked whether they favor or oppose women acting as pastors, ministers, priests or rabbis, most who have a religious preference favor the idea, by a 71% to 23% margin.

In 1998, the Southern Baptists also sparked controversy with their statement that wives should "submit graciously" to the "servant leadership" of their husbands. At that time, when asked if they concurred with that statement exactly as quoted, 69% of the public disagreed.

The declarations and statements of faith made by the Southern Baptist Convention are grounded in a literal interpretation of the Bible. In a 1998 survey, 33% of the public believed that the Bible is the "actual word of God," while 47% indicated they thought it was "the inspired word of God, but not everything in it should be taken literally." Another 17% said they thought the Bible was a "book of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man."

Survey Methods
The results below are based on telephone interviews with randomly selected national samples of 1,016 adults, 18 years and older, conducted June 22-23, 1998, and 1,032 adults, 18 years and older, conducted May 23-24, 2000. For results based on these samples, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Do you favor or oppose having women as pastors, ministers, priests, or rabbis in your own faith or denomination?

BASED ON -- 924 -- WHO HAVE RELIGIOUS PREFERENCE; +/- 3 PCT PTS

 

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

       

2000 May 23-24

71%

23

6

       

1977 Mar 4-7

42%

27

31







Which of the following statements comes closest to describing your views about the Bible -- READ 1-3: 1) The Bible is the actual word of God and is to be taken literally, word for word, 2) the Bible is the inspired word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally, 3) The Bible is an ancient book of fables, legends, history, and moral precepts recorded by man?

BASED ON --1,016-- NATIONAL ADULTS; +/- 3 PCT PTS

 

 

Actual

Inspired

Fables

No opinion

 

%

%

%

%

         

98 Jun 22-23

33

47

17

3

         

93 Jun

35

48

14

3

91 Nov

32

49

16

3

84 Nov

40

41

12

7

84 Sep

37

46

12

5

83 May

37

43

11

9

81 Dec

37

42

11

--

80 Aug

40

45

10

6

78 Apr

38

45

13

6

76 Aug

38

45

13

5





Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: "A wife should submit graciously to the servant leadership of her husband"?

BASED ON -- 498 -- FORM A RESPONDENTS; MARGIN OF ERROR ± 5 PCT PTS

 

Agree

26%

Disagree

69

No opinion

5

Total

100%





Subscribe to receive weekly Gallup News alerts.
Never miss our latest insights.


Gallup https://news.gallup.com/poll/2815/southern-baptists-pass-new-statement-faith-based-literal-interpr.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030