Here is the Associated Press:
The Southern Baptist Convention on Tuesday ousted its second-largest congregation — Saddleback Church, the renowned California megachurch founded by pastor and best-selling author Rick Warren — for having a woman pastor.
The vote by the convention’s Executive Committee culminates growing tension between the nation’s largest Protestant denomination — which officially opposes women as pastors — and a congregation whose story has been one of the biggest church-growth successes of modern times.
The committee cited Saddleback’s having “a female teaching pastor functioning in the office of pastor,” an allusion to Stacie Wood, wife of the current lead pastor of Saddleback, Andy Wood.
But the controversy began in 2021, when Warren ordained three women as pastors, prompting discussions within the denomination about possibly expelling the megachurch.
Warren retired last year after more than 42 years at Saddleback. He made an emotional speech in June 2022 at the Southern Baptists’ annual convention in Anaheim, standing by his ordination of women. He told delegates who debated the issue, “We have to decide if we will treat each other as allies or adversaries.”
But the Executive Committee took the vote Tuesday without public discussion after meeting in executive session.
It voted to approve a recommendation from the denomination’s Credentials Committee that Saddleback be deemed “not in friendly cooperation with the Convention” — the terminology used for ousting a church. While Southern Baptists’ statement of faith officially opposes women as pastors, each congregation is self-governing, so the main enforcement mechanism is to oust it from membership.
The Executive Committee’s motion said that Saddleback “has a faith and practice that does not closely identify with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith, as demonstrated by the church having a female teaching pastor functioning in the office of pastor.”
Saddleback has the right to appeal the decision at the Southern Baptists’ next annual meeting, scheduled for New Orleans in June. It did not respond immediately to requests for comment on the Executive Committee decision.
Mike Keahbone, an Executive Committee member and Oklahoma pastor, said an appeal “appears likely.”
Read the rest here.
Christianity Today coverage here.
Denny Burk is happy:
No victory lap yet from Al Mohler, but stay tuned.
UPDATE: Feb. 22. 2023 at 9:00am
Former president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary:
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