In 2023, during the annual meeting, several churches were disfellowshipped from the Southern Baptist Convention for openly defying the denomination’s statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000 (BFM2K). Among these churches was the infamous Saddleback Church, one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the history of the denomination, formerly pastored by Rick Warren and currently led by Andy Wood. At the meeting, the SBC adopted a motion to select a committee to study the BFM2K and “clarify” the denomination’s already abundantly clear stance on women pastors.
SBC President Bart Barber was tasked with appointing the members to this committee which included the appointment of Jason Paredes. The committee, named the “cooperation group,” is tasked with exploring the nature of “friendly cooperation” within the SBC and is set to address issues and dynamics previously uncharted in the convention’s history. This committee’s formation and the inclusion of members like Paredes, who is the pastor of Fielder Church in Arlington, are particularly scandalous against the backdrop of the SBC’s ongoing debates around doctrinal purity, especially concerning the role of women in pastoral positions.
During an interview with Heath Lambert yesterday, Barber told the audience that the controversy surrounding his appointment of Jason Paredes was unfounded and that Paredes was complementarian, did not have women pastors, and only had women “children’s ministers” and “pre-school ministers” and “things like that.”
Of course, that was an outright lie. Not only are the children’s and pre-school “ministers” ordained as “pastors” in Paredes’ church, but the “college pastor” too is a woman. Here are just a few of the women “pastors” on staff at Fielder Church.
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And here is Paredes himself bragging about having women pastors in his church while complaining about the decision to disfellowship Saddleback and other churches with female pastors. “One thing you’re gonna hear about that concerns me it is the disfellowshipping, the removal of Saddleback Church in California from the Southern Baptist Convention, because they have female pastors,” he told his church in the clip below. “And I want to just say publicly that I am in disagreement with that decision. I voted against that decision”
He later told his church that “We unwaveringly, unequivocally, gratefully have female pastors in this church. And we believe that that decision is scripturally accurate.”