Last month, the Southern Baptist Convention finally disfellowshipped Saddleback Church after a nearly two year struggle following his ordination of women in blatant violation of the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, a faith statement drafted to curb egalitarianism in the denomination. Saddleback Church is the most influential church in the Southern Baptist Convention with long time pastor Rick Warren as its purpose driven leader. Last year Rick Warren successfully handed over the reigns to Andy Wood, a notably compromised pastor, and his wife to replace him.
On a recent interview with Russell Moore, the editor-in-chief at the liberal Christianity Today, Rick Warren defends the ordination of women citing the Great Commission and Acts 2. Russell Moore asks whether his church will appeal the decision. Rick Warren states that they’ll do so to fight the Southern Baptist “inquisition.” In the beginning of the podcast, Rick Warren laments how Southern Baptist are free to disagree with Calvinism and dispensationalism, but not the ordination of women, a common complaint among openly liberal Southern Baptists.
The appeal would presumably go before the messengers perhaps during the Credentials Committee report or even its own time slot. The fight between Rick Warren and the Southern Baptist Convention, so far, is the most compelling storyline going into the Annual Southern Baptist Convention of 2023. Last year, the Christians got trounced by the platform and lost on every seemingly every issue, as the convention moved left. Though messengers objected to the Credentials Committee claiming to not know what a pastor was, Rick Warren would be cheered after being given a chance to bloviate.
Will the Southern Baptist Convention sustain the disfellowshipping of Saddleback Church? That is the most compelling reason to go to SBC23. Neither the Conservative Baptist Network nor Founders Ministry fielded a candidate for SBC President where its widely assumed Bart Barber will run for a second term. The Conservative Baptist Network and Founders Ministry have failed to articulate the downgrade of the SBC, and thus have not succeeded to win any meaningful elections. They also waited until Megan Basham to put up a meaningful resistance to the MeToo Movement dominating the SBC.
Rick Warren parlayed Rachael Denhollander theology to justify ordination of women during the interview, a likely tactic he would employ on the floor in June. Only time will tell if the Christians will put up a fight this year against the liberals.