Jezebel or servant of God?: how Julie Pennington-Russell became the first female pastor in Texas.
In 1998 Calvary Baptist Church, in Waco, Texas, appointed Julie Pennington-Russell: the first female Baptist pastor in Texas. This thesis will show the dynamic relationship between the conservative and moderate Baptist groups in Waco, and how each group responded to the question of whether women should be allowed in the pastorate. Many moderate Baptists in Waco came from the local Baylor University, which had a strong influence on the community.
The appointment of the first female Baptist pastor in Texas came at a time when the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) was fully in control by fundamentalist leaders, who were against women pastors. The SBC had been controlled by moderates until the late 1970s when fundamentalist Baptists had taken control of the Convention. Pennington-Russell’s appointment shows that not all Baptists were conservative or agreed with the SBC’s interpretation of women in ministry.