INDIANAPOLIS (BP) — Southern Baptist messengers voted down the required second two-thirds approval for what has become known as the Law Amendment on Wednesday morning.

With 8,298 messengers voting, the 5,099 ballots to pass the amendment reflected 61.45 percent approval, falling short of the required two-thirds vote required for adoption.

The amendment would have defined a cooperating church as one that “affirms, appoints, or employs only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”

The vote received the necessary votes last year in New Orleans.

The June 12 vote followed approximately 10 minutes of debate from the floor.

Ryan Fullerton, lead pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Louisville, Ky., spoke in favor of the amendment’s passage and said it was not in the spirit of opposing women serving in roles such as a children’s minister.

“All of us support women flourishing in the ministries God has called them to,” he said. “The amendment narrowly focuses on the office of pastor and it calls for biblically-qualified men.

“… Affirming the truth of God’s Word as clearly as possible is the best way to ensure unity as we cooperate together for the Great Commission.”

Spence Shelton, lead pastor of Mercy Church in Charlotte, N.C., said Southern Baptists have made clear their collective stance on complementarianism. That came last year by voting to rule two churches – including the biggest one in the convention – out of fellowship as well as voting this year in the same manner toward a “legacy” SBC church, First Baptist in Alexandria, Va., whose 1803 founding predates the convention itself.

“We have an effective mechanism,” he said. “It allows us to act with the conviction and unity. … We have shown that the mechanisms we currently have are sufficient to deal with this question.”

The amendment’s original author, Pastor Mike Law of First Baptist Church in Arlington, Va., expressed his support “because it is faithful to God’s inerrant Word.”

“Southern Baptists love the Bible and long to be faithful to the Bible,” he said.

“Our culture may see this prohibition as harsh, but our God is all-wise and He wrote His Word for the flourishing of both men and women. Our Baptist Faith and Message agrees. While both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor/elder/overseer is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,” he said. “Let’s be exceptionally clear.”

Ending what was expected to be a lengthy debate, Law finished his comments by calling the question to lead to a vote.

This article was originally published to the Baptist Press.