Stewart-Allen Clark, a pastor at the First General Baptist Church in Malden, Missouri, has "taken a leave of absence" and was asked to seek "professional counseling" for the controversial remarks he made on women in his February 21 sermon.
Artist Reagan Williams first grilled Clark's sermon through her Feb. 28 Facebook post expressing her disgust.
"On this lovely Sunday morning, I spent my time getting ready listening to a head pastor in Malden who so nonchalantly decided to exercise pastoral abuse toward women," she captioned over the video sermon.
Clark's sermon circled on the "needs" of men, specifically husbands, and how good it would be for Christian women could meet them. He emphasized the necessity of staying physically "attractive" in order to keep the marriage healthy. Clark, however, only laid the burden of protecting the marriage on the wives and no word for the husbands to do the same.
"I want you to know a need that a man has that he won't ever tell you about, but since I'm the preacher man, I'll say it. Your man needs an attractive wife," he was quoted saying.
Using the rhetoric that men are visual beings, the pastor questioned why women would stop caring about their physical beauty after the wedding. Ignoring other marital factors like postpartum after giving birth and the stress of child rearing, he proceeded to give his simplistic understanding on women's psyche.
"Why is it that so many times, women, after they get married, let themselves go? Here's how way too many women are - 'I've got him now the chase is over.' Hey, that's where you're wrong. The chase ain't never over," he said.
In most parts of the sermon, Clark repeatedly stressed how crucial in a marriage for wives to remain beautiful in the eyes of their husbands.
"I really don't think women understand how important it is for a man to have a beautiful woman on his arm. It's really important to a man to do that," he said.
Clark argued that although not all women could become trophy wives looking like Melania Trump, they could at least try to not look like a "butch."
"But you don't need to look like a butch either," he said. "Men have a need for their women to look like women. Sweatpants don't cut it all the time. Wearing flip-flops and pajamas to Walmart, that ain't gon' work. Ain't nothing attractive about that. Men want their wives to look good at home and in public. Can I get an Amen?" he asked, expecting validation from the audience.
To further drive his point, Clark pinned this insatiable 'wiring' of men for physical beauty on God.
"God made men to be drawn to beautiful women. We are made this way. We can't help ourselves. We are like that. That's how God made us. Do you think Eve wasn't attractive in the garden? He made men to be attracted to beautiful women," Clark claimed.
"You can call it juvenile, you can call it immature, you can call it sexist, whatever you want to, but here's another secret for you to know. ... Men are going to look; you want them to look at you," he said.
On the area of marital sex, Clark urged women to make themselves 'sexually available' for their husbands by virtue of 1 Corinthians 7:4 which states,
"The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife."
"So whenever she's not in the mood [take out your body]," he said.
With his sermon video out for anyone online to hear, these remarks invited ridicule and backlash. As the overseer of their members, the General Baptist denomination released a statement on Monday saying that Clark's message was "not consistent with their values."
"The Executive Committee of the General Baptist Council of Associations met today, March 1, 2021, to address concerns related to a sermon from Stewart-Allen Clark at the Malden First General Baptist Church that has received significant exposure. The sermon included comments that are not consistent with the positions and values of General Baptists," they said.
They added that they will "research" on the statements and will "take appropriate action." They also asserted their position on women's status.
"General Baptists believe that every woman was created in the image of God, and they should be valued for that reason. Furthermore, we believe that all individuals, regardless of any other factors, are so loved by God that Christ died for them."
Although they noted Clark's resignation as moderator for the General Association of General Baptist meeting next year, the denomination, however, explained the limits of their authority. They could not ban Clark from preaching on a pulpit should a church or congregation allow or accept him in the future.
"Each General Baptist church has autonomy from the national organization, and as a result, General Baptist Ministries does not have authority related to the employment of any pastor or church leader in a local congregation," was their disclaimer.