Rick Warren campaigns for Southern Baptist reinstatement of Saddleback Church

by | Jun 5, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — Days before the Southern Baptist Convention’s annual meeting, former megachurch pastor Rick Warren has appealed to his fellow Southern Baptists to overturn a denominational decision to oust his Saddleback Church because it permits women to serve with the title pastor.“This should be the moment where 47,000+ autonomous, independent, freedom-loving churches say NO to turning the Executive Committee into a theological Magisterium that controls a perpetual inquisition of churches and makes the EC a centralized hierarchy that tells our congregations who to hire and what to call them,” Warren wrote in an open letter released Friday (June 2).
The SBC’s Executive Committee voted in February to oust Saddleback, approving a recommendation of its credentials committee that determined the congregation was “not in friendly cooperation” because Stacie Wood, wife of Warren successor Andy Wood, had the title of “teaching pastor.”
On Mother’s Day weekend in 2021, Saddleback ordained three women who were longtime staffers. Nearly two years later, Katie Edwards was announced as the new campus pastor of the church’s Lake Forest, California, location.
In May, Saddleback announced it would appeal the decision. Since that time, Warren has mounted a campaign that includes the open letter, a website and a video series detailing why he thinks the church should be permitted to remain within the Southern Baptist fold.
“Your own family members often hold opposing opinions, but you don’t disown them for that,” he wrot …

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