Ouster of Saddleback and Fern Creek from SBC over women pastors is affirmed

by | Jun 14, 2023 | Religion

NEW ORLEANS (RNS) — Delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting affirmed a decision to expel two Southern Baptist churches, including Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, because they employed women as pastors. The churches had appealed to the meeting, the denomination’s ruling body, to be allowed to remain. Both churches were denied by a strong majority of the delegates, known as messengers. 
The body affirmed the ouster of Saddleback by a vote of 9,432 to 1,212. The vote went against Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, by 9,700 to 806. 
A third church, Freedom Church in Vero Beach, Florida, was also voted out after the SBC’s credentials committee had recommended it be expelled for its “lack of intent to cooperate in resolving concerns regarding a sexual abuse allegation.”
After the drama of Tuesday’s session at the annual meeting, when representatives of the church were given three minutes to appeal the decisions made by the SBC’s Executive Committee earlier this year, the announcement of the vote totals on Wednesday was greeted with muted applause, but mostly silence, from the meeting floor.
Former pastor Rick Warren makes an impassioned plea for reinstatement of Saddleback Church at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, La., on June 13, 2023. RNS photo by Emily Kask
Saddleback, whose case was argued by founding pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren, had been ousted for naming Stacie Wood, wife of Wa …

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