Andy Wood has become a popular name in recent weeks in Evangelical circles as he was recently selected to replace Rick Warren as the lead pastor of one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the nation, Saddleback Church. After Warren announced his retirement, The Dissenter began to look into some of the teachings and practices of his successor and found quite a bit that places him outside of the realm of sound teaching and he makes #53 on our False Teacher of the Day series.
Andy Wood and his wife, Stacie, planted Echo Church in 2009 where he served as lead pastor and his wife served as a “teaching pastor” in contradiction to the biblical teaching on women pastors. While pastoring Echo Church, we found that Wood, as most compromised pastors do, took an extremely soft stance on homosexuality stating that homosexual desire isn’t sinful unless it’s “acted upon.”
The problem is that these people never define what it means to “act upon” homosexual desires, but Jesus was clear in Matthew 5:28 that it isn’t just the sexual act, but the desire itself that is sinful. Andy Wood, much like other compromised Evangelical pastors, attempts to distinguish between desire and lust by claiming that lust carries thoughts with it where “desire” does not. But this is absurd as how can one desire something without thinking about it? This is a false teaching that must be rejected and all aberrant sexual desires must be acknowledged as sinful and repented of.
Wood is also a proponent of women pastors. In an article at the Baptist Press, Wood made it clear that he and his church not only had every intention to remain in the Southern Baptist Convention but that he would also continue to allow women to pastor at his church and encourage other women to seek similar roles within the denomination.
“Stacie and I are grateful to be called to serve at Saddleback Church,” Wood told the Baptist Press. “We are not co-pastors but rather have unique roles on staff. I’m serving as the lead pastor and one of our Saddleback overseers while Stacie is serving as one of our teaching pastors.”
“We believe pastoring and teaching are functions and spiritual gifts to be exercised in the church by both men and women,” said Wood told the Baptist Press. “The function of teaching and pastoring is not necessarily synonymous nor exclusive from the office of overseer.” However, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35 says that it is a universal church requirement for women not to serve as pastors:
As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.
Yet, here Andy Wood is introducing his wife as a pastor who will be preaching her first sermon at Saddleback Church.
Not that these aren’t bad enough, but what really makes Wood a false teacher is the false gospel that he preaches. Wood appears to be some kind of modified universalist who denies the necessity of repentance and faith for salvation. Much like his predecessor, Rick Warren, Wood preached a sermon recently claiming that Jesus came to eat with sinners not for the purpose of calling them to repent and believe, but in order to “show his true heart” for these people and accept them, love them, and “invite them to the party.”
“Some of the best parties are parties with a purpose, and some of the worst parties are parties where we were trying to avoid reality,” Wood said. “But what I want to tell you today is that God actually wants to invite you to a party. And from the beginning of time, God has been working to throw one massive party for humanity to experience his heart.”
Wood then offered three ways that you could come to the party, none of which included repentance, faith, or the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. The three ways included “reconsidering my understanding of God,” “re-evaluating my source of fulfillment,” and “return to my heavenly father” which included “coming to him” and “recognizing that there is love and compassion.” Not a single word about sin, repentance, faith, or being born again, which Jesus says one must do to enter the Kingdom of God.
Jesus said not once, but twice, that unless you repent, you will perish in Luke 13:2-5:
And he answered them, “Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans, because they suffered in this way? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them: do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who lived in Jerusalem? No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.”
Andy Wood has clearly demonstrated that he is unable to handle the text in a way that honors God and instead perverts the text in the name of pragmatism. According to his bio on Saddleback’s website, “Andy’s passion is to create environments that engage unchurched people. Along with leading the church, Andy enjoys investing time in helping church planters and leaders think more innovatively and strategically to reach people in the most unreached areas of North America.” The Bible doesn’t call us to “innovatively and strategically” water down the gospel in order to reach people, it calls us to preach the unadulterated Word of God and those who refuse to receive it are blinded by the god of this world:
We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God. 3 And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. 4 In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. —1 Corinthians 4:2b-4
Therefore, Andy Wood should be avoided.