Rick Warren, Saddleback Church’s former pastor, is attempting to cloak his unbiblical false teachings in the legacy of Charles Spurgeon. Despite the fact that Saddleback is facing disfellowshipping from the Southern Baptist Convention—a scenario well-known and anticipated—Warren has chosen to double down on his views, but not without twisting the words of one of Christianity’s most respected figures.
“We’re not challenging the Executive Committee ruling for Saddleback’s benefit. No one wants to stay where they aren’t wanted,” Warren said in an article at Church Leaders explaining his reason for contesting the Southern Baptist Convention’s move to disfellowship the church after ordaining several women to the pastorate over the last few years. “Instead we are challenging the EC ruling for five reasons that involve others.” Those reasons, said Warren, are as follows:
What’s worse, though, is Warren’s attempt to justify his unbiblical views by misrepresenting Charles Spurgeon and attempting to paint Spurgeon as one who would approve of ordaining women to the pastorate. As justification for his aberrant views, Warren told ChurchLeaders that “the 167-year-old Spurgeon’s College in London inducted me as their Chancellor, telling me that my views on ordination are identical to Spurgeon’s.”
However, let’s examine Spurgeon’s own words. In a sermon delivered on April 19, 1885, Spurgeon stated,
“Women are best when they are quiet. I share the apostle Paul’s feelings when he bade women be silent in the assembly.”But notice that what this good woman did was very appropriate. Peter’s wife’s mother did not get out of bed and go down the street and deliver an address to an assembled multitude. Women are best when they are quiet. I share the apostle Paul’s feelings when he told women to be silent in the assembly. Yet there is work for holy women, and we read about Peter’s wife’s mother that she arose and ministered to Christ.”
Spurgeon was clear in his adherence to traditional gender roles within the Church’s leadership, a stance rooted in his unwavering commitment to Scriptural truth. Spurgeon, like complementarians today, does not discount the ministerial roles of women in the Church, but he does uphold the biblical truth that women should not hold the office or function of a pastor.
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In stark contrast, Warren, a vocal proponent of female ordination, seeks to falsely align himself with Spurgeon, a man whose beliefs starkly contradict his own. This blatant misalignment is not a mere misunderstanding or difference in interpretation; it is a bald-faced lie.
Warren’s claim is not only a gross distortion of Spurgeon’s views but also an affront to the evangelical tradition that Spurgeon so passionately upheld. It is an attempt to hijack Spurgeon’s legacy to lend credence to his own godless stance, a move as transparent as it is arrogant.
This distortion becomes more grievous in light of Spurgeon’s College’s decision to name Warren as its first honorary Chancellor. What a lamentable way to honor the legacy of Charles Spurgeon, a man unwavering in his commitment to Scriptural truth and the traditional understanding of Church leadership. By endorsing Warren, the College has done more than just tarnish Spurgeon’s name – it has abandoned the very principles its namesake stood for.
The stark reality is that Spurgeon, stalwart in his convictions, would have nothing to do with such a presumptuous false teacher as Warren. Warren’s actions and teachings would, instead, position him as a figure of Spurgeon’s scorn: a clown preoccupied with entertaining the goats, rather than embodying the dutiful role of a shepherd devoted to feeding the sheep.