The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has faced several uphill battles over the last decade fighting an influx of progressive ideologies and so far, any conservative resistance has proven futile. Beginning in 2013 under the leadership of Democrat operative, Russell Moore as head of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the denomination eventually succumbed to cultural Marxism and adopted Critical Race Theory as one of its official positions as Resolution 9 during its 2019 annual meeting. Attempts to repeal the resolution have failed.
The denomination has also faced progressive ideologies on human sexuality, with many churches, pastors, and leaders adopting a softened stance on homosexuality and other aberrant sexualities. While the SBC still officially maintains that homosexuality is sin, it has largely moved to a decidedly centrist position and has allowed room for non-practicing “celibate” homosexuals to hold pastoral and leadership positions.
And its current battle, which has heated up exponentially over the past year since the 2022 annual meeting, has been whether or not the denomination will allow women pastors. And at the center of the controversy is Saddleback Church, which was formerly pastored by Rick Warren.
In 2021, shortly before announcing his retirement, Rick Warren and Saddleback Church ordained three women to pastoral positions at Saddleback. Brought to the floor during the 2022 annual meeting, Warren gave an impassioned, self-congratulating speech bragging about how many tens of thousands of people he baptized and how he led more people to Christ than the Apostles or Jesus Himself. Saddleback remains the subject of dispute and during the 2023 meeting, the denomination will decide whether or not the church can remain in fellowship with other Southern Baptist churches.
Warren, now retired, has been replaced by Andy Wood who, immediately after taking the reins at Saddleback, announced his wife, Stacie, as “teaching pastor” of Saddleback. Wood also announced that he would fight to remain Southern Baptist and had no plans to leave the denomination. Despite this controversy, Wood and Saddleback continue to lift their proverbial middle fingers to God and to the handful of remaining conservatives in the SBC by ordaining more women to the pastorate.
Last weekend, Wood and Saddleback announced a new “campus pastor,” of the Lake Forest campus which will be filled by a woman named Katie Edwards. “This weekend we celebrated the start of two new chapters in our church,” Saddleback wrote on Instagram.
“We welcome our new Campus Pastor, Katie Edwards! She has faithfully served in Student Ministries for the past two decades and we are overjoyed to see her lead us in this new season of our church. We celebrate this transition as Pastor Jason Williams steps into his new role as Executive Pastor of Ministries. Our church is forever better because of his obedient leadership of our Campus.”