Local News

Christian magazine pulled from some bookstores’ shelves

Posted September 21, 2008
Updated September 22, 2008

— A national Christian magazine featuring a Durham pastor is causing controversy after it was pulled from the shelves of a major book chain.

For nine years, pastor Sheryl Brady has used her enthusiasm and energy to inspire her congregation at The River Church, 4005 Holt School Road. So when she was chosen to be on the cover of Gospel Today magazine, as one of the fastest growing women-led congregations in the United States, she jumped at the chance.

“It was a huge honor. I was just blessed to be there,” Brady said.

However, soon after the magazine's September-October issue was published, all 150 Lifeway Christian Bookstores pulled the issue from its shelves because of its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention.

The group says women pastors go against its beliefs, according to its interpretation of the New Testament.

“I'm shocked. I'm shocked that you're here (and) that we're having this conversation. I'm shocked that in 2008 that there's still a gender prejudice in the church,” Brady said.

Published for nearly 20 years, Gospel Today is the largest and most widely distributed urban Christian publication in the country, with a circulation of 240,000. The magazine's publisher, Dr. Teresa Hairston, said she was just reporting on a trend, not trying to promote female pastors.

“I look at this and I think it's humiliating. I think it's degrading that they would take this magazine and yank it off the shelves because women are in leadership,” Hairston said.

Nationally, the Southern Baptists have adopted statements discouraging women from being pastors, but their 42,000 U.S. churches are independent and a few have selected women to lead their congregations. The denomination was organized in 1845 in Augusta, Ga.

Chris Turner, a spokesman for Lifeway Resources, said the cover was not the reason the magazine was pulled from Lifeway's shelves.

"The buyers said the statements that were in it took positions that were contrary to what we would say," Turner said. "It wasn't so much that there were women on the cover."

Pastor Bill Sanderson – a staunch supporter of the Southern Baptist Convention – said in a statement Sunday,  " We go by scripture and what the word of God teaches." 

Sanderson added, "A man holds the position of pastor not a woman."

“You can't tell me I'm not a pastor. I'm a shepherd of these people,” Brady said.

Featured on the cover are Brady; Pastor Tamara Bennett of This Is Pentecost Ministries in Sacramento, Calif.; Bishop Millicent Hunter of The Baptist Worship Center in Philadelphia, Pa.; Pastor Claudette Copeland of New Creation Christian Fellowship in San Antonio, Texas; and Pastor Kimberly Ray of Church on the Rock in Matteson, Ill.


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  • Xiaoding Sep 29, 2008

    "Joseph married an Egyptian woman, but the sons were Jewish."

    Jewish decendency is matralinial, thru the mother.

    Again, ONLY THE TRIBE OF JUDAH IS JEWISH. Why do you find this so hard to understand? Somethng about it bugs you, don't it?

  • lavenderose Sep 24, 2008

    WEll if Lifeway (SBC) does not support women preachers/pastors, they need to pull all the books written by women preachers/pastors such as Paula White, Juanita Bynum, Joyce Myers, and Beth Moore, just to name a few. If they are going to stand on their belief of women not caring leadership roles in the church, then they need to be true to their beliefs, not just when it is convenient for them.

  • LuvLivingInCary Sep 24, 2008

    i went in that bookstore and found an anti-catholic book. it shook me up so bad that I had to go to the bathroom. while in there i placed the book betweeen the handicap rail and wall. i guess i didn't do a good job jamming it in cause it just happened to fall and i couldn't believe my eyes that it landed squarely in the toilet bowl water and all.

  • Dr DatacIerk Sep 24, 2008

    1 Corinthians 1:18 (NIV)

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • Dr DatacIerk Sep 24, 2008

    I'm glad that they are taking a stand. If they said one thing, yet did another (simply to make a few bucks) that would be hypocritical.

  • Beach4Me Sep 24, 2008

    Congrats to Lifeway and other stores who will not support this. I used to work at Lifeway and I know their criteria to determine what is appropriate and what isn't. The Bible makes it clear that a man is supposed to be spiritual leaders. In chapter 2 and 3 of the book of I Timothy, it is apparent what roles men and women should take in the leadership of a church. It is not that women are inferior, it is just that God made us for different purposes.

    No church I have ever belonged to will have a female pastor. People just have to accept that some things have to be and stop taking things so personal. My support is for Lifeway. Keep standing up for basic Bible doctrine and don't be intemmidated in to changing your stance.

  • ice cream Sep 24, 2008


  • merrywidow Sep 23, 2008

    And I know where I stand. I am one with the Creator and all of creation. Save your prayers for those who are in need of hope.

  • BruiserB Sep 23, 2008

    Godschild - there is no convincing the non-believer on this post. All we can do is lift them up in prayer. They may not believe, but we do and know where we stand. God bless.

  • rogerkneebend Sep 23, 2008

    Wow, all this complaining about a bookstore that isn't selling a particular magazine.