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Southern Baptist Convention Boots Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church for Lady Pastors

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Last year, Saddleback Church, a Southern Baptist megachurch formerly pastored by Rick Warren, made headlines after Warren ordained three women to the pastorate at his church. Warren justified his actions by pointing to Acts 2:17-18 which has nothing at all to do with the office or the function of a pastor or elder in a local church.

Since then, Warren retired and has been replaced by Andy Wood, former pastor of Echo Church—another Southern Baptist megachurch of a similar mind as Saddleback. Like Saddleback, Echo Church also ordained women to the pastorate and as soon as he took over the pastorate at Saddleback, he named his wife, Stacie, “teaching pastor.”

This has led to an uproar by the conservative minority in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over the roles of women in churches. Denny Burk, a professor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary said that the SBC had to make a decision: “We can either do what Saddleback wants and declare that female pastors are consistent with SBC cooperation, or we can take the Bible and our own statement of faith seriously and part ways with Saddleback.”

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.

Since then, it has come to light that Andy Wood is not only disobedient to Scripture when it comes to the pastorate, but also extremely confused when it comes to homosexuality. In one video surfaced by The Dissenter, Wood and his “pastor” wife, Stacie, said they didn’t know if a gay couple who comes to Christ should get divorced because “God hates divorce.”

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Well, he got the boot, apparently, and the SBC for once did the right thing. According to a report in the Tennessean, Saddleback Church was disfellowshipped from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) due to its stance on having a woman serve as head co-pastor.

The SBC Executive Committee considered a recommendation to break ties with Saddleback, along with five other churches, four of which had women serving in senior pastor roles, and one for a sex abuse-related issue. The SBC’s statement of beliefs, called the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, limits the office of pastor to men as qualified by Scripture, which led some Southern Baptists to try and oust Saddleback from the SBC.

The Credentials Committee, which evaluates whether a church is in friendly cooperation with the convention, recommended disfellowship, and the Executive Committee voted on that recommendation. Despite a discussion on Saddleback’s permanent status in the SBC at the 2022 SBC annual meeting, the decision to disfellowship Saddleback was ultimately made.


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