The Baptist Union of Great Britain has accredited women for ministry since 1918. This is not universally the case in Europe though Baptists in Denmark, Georgia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and in some other regions support this stand. In other European countries it is clear women exercise leadership and ministry even if Unions do not always acknowledge this fact publicly.
The Baptist Union of Great Britain has recently reaffirmed its stance and this has provoked lively debate – at least on the sites of British Baptist bloggers! For example, here and here.
At IBTS we have been privileged in that many EBF Unions have sent exceptionally gifted women to study with us and develop their gifts as leaders, missiologists, theologians and preachers. To help them develop and hone their gifts is an immensely satisfying aspect of our ministry.
What causes me concern is that having supported, affirmed and recommended young women to us for further formation some Unions seem not to know how to use such God-gifted women when they return to their home situations. At this point I am a classic Anabaptist believing God calls women and men into His service and that gifting, not gender, is key. We now need Union leaders to carefully think through what they are doing when they write such letters of affirmation.