In England, at that time, voting in parliamentary elections was restricted to about 5% of the male population – all landowners, of course. For a church to take this symbol of cultural privilege and, in prophetic parody, put it in the hands of every member, of every social class, women as well as men, was a piece of genius. A poor woman voting on the call of a pastor was a profoundly powerful visible sign of the Kingdom.
and Tim Bulkely
I am (still) a Baptist precisely because of the congregational and Christ-centeredness of Baptist life. The picture of “voting on everything” simply misunderstands. In an ideal church meeting (which does not exist, see Genesis 3) we would vote on nothing. The Church (the local gathered community of Jesus followers) would pray, discuss, argue, debate, and finally recognise, which way the Spirit is blowing and follow.
I am a recent addition to the baptist denomination and this issue, problematic though it is is the very reason I went baptist as opposed to the other options that presented themselves. I'm going to be a panelist soon at a Carey Baptist College leadership day on the topic, so I'll save my own thoughts till after that. But I do have to admit that as an idealist on this issue, the on the ground practicality of it is not so straight forward.
Let me know what you think :-)