Rick Warren, well-known for his controversial approach, once led Saddleback Church. Now, Andy Wood, who’s no less contentious, is in charge. Yet, they’ve stirred up a real hornet’s nest within the Southern Baptist leadership. Why? Because they’ve dismissed the traditional Baptist Faith and Message to give women pastoral roles.
Before he retired, Warren’s controversial decision to ordain three women was a magnet for attention. The Southern Baptist Convention’s credentials committee felt compelled to investigate. After a lot of delays, public squabbling, and soul-searching, they decided to give Saddleback the cold shoulder.
This drawn-out process was made even more ridiculous by the Southern Baptist Convention’s struggle to clarify what they mean by “pastor” in 2022. Add to that the whiff of political gamesmanship throughout, and you’re left with more head-scratching questions than concrete answers. What’s worse, many in the SBC are bewildered and worried about this shift in priorities. Saddleback is barely getting a wrist slap for its stance on female pastors and other, possibly even more disturbing issues, like SBC churches openly baptizing practicing homosexuals, are being swept under the carpet altogether.
But don’t think for a minute that Saddleback is taking this lying down. They’re preparing to fight back at the upcoming annual SBC meeting in June 2023. And Rick Warren, the founding pastor of the church, isn’t pulling his punches either. He’s directly challenging the Southern Baptist view on female pastors—a stand that’s causing a real stir amongst a small minority of SBC moderate leaders, like Denny Burk. He’s convinced that Warren is knowingly trying to change Southern Baptist doctrine.
The fact remains that a handful of these moderate leaders, mostly from the Southern Seminary wing, who are making a public defense of the Southern Baptist Convention, putting out videos promoting the SBC under the hashtag “#WhySBC,” are desperately trying to rebrand themselves as the “voice of reason” over and against the far left in its attempt to save this sinking ship. But it’s a futile attempt and the fact remains that these same people are the primary cause of the leftward shift in the denomination. Saddleback should have been disfellowshipped decades ago—not after the damage has been done.
Justin Peters explains why he believes that Saddleback should be reinstated to the SBC, and I think you may find his reasoning quite compelling.