BREAKING: The Southern Baptist Convention just broke with Saddleback Church for ordaining female pastors
· Feb 21, 2023 ·

The Southern Baptist Convention just disfellowshipped its second-largest congregation because of that church's insistence on ordaining women as pastors, in contradiction to Baptist teaching.

Saddleback Church in California was led for decades by recently retired bestselling author Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life fame.

From Baptist Press:

The SBC Executive Committee affirmed a recommendation from the SBC Credentials Committee Tuesday (Feb. 21) to deem Saddleback Church as "not in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention."

The move comes less than a year after founding pastor Rick Warren left the helm of the church and was replaced by Andy Wood and his wife, Stacie. While not co-pastors of the church, Andy serves as lead pastor of the church while Stacie serves as a teaching pastor.

The new pastor, who replaced Warren, also had his wife ordained in the church as a teaching "pastor," among other females appointed as pastors.

The Credentials Committee cited Stacie's role as teaching pastor of the church as the reason for the removal of cooperating status due to the church's lack of a faith and practice that closely aligns with the Baptist Faith and Message which states in Article VI that "while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture."

In October 2022, Andy told Baptist Press that the two "are not co-pastors but rather have unique roles on staff." However he added that "we believe pastoring and teaching are functions and spiritual gifts to be exercised in the church by both men and women."

Warren told messengers at the 2022 SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim that he believed there is a difference between the office of pastor and the gift of pastor but declined to explain in his comments from the Convention floor referring messengers to his mailing list.

Because of Saddleback, the SBC put together a committee to define what the term "pastor" means.

Conservatives have pushed back against Saddleback for some time now, and after dragging their feet, the convention has finally taken action against the church.

Saddleback is not alone among SBC churches in ordaining female pastors – the issue continues to divide the denomination, along with many other denominations in Western churches.

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