Say What Now? Southern Baptists Vote to Expel Two Churches Led by Female Pastors

The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention voted to affirm a decision made earlier this year to remove Saddleback Church, a major southern California congregation founded by the pastor and author Rick Warren, due to its having women pastors.

via: NBC News

And the vote wasn’t even close, according to the SBC’s tally.

Spurred on by arch-conservatives in the SBC, the 12,000 or so “messengers” who had gathered at their annual meeting in New Orleans voted by a 9-to-1 ratio to seal the exit of California’s Saddleback Church and a smaller congregation in Kentucky.

The vote, which was conducted Tuesday, set the stage for another vote Wednesday to amend the SBC’s constitution to specify that Southern Baptist churches must “affirm, appoint or employ only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.”

That, too, passed with a two-thirds majority, and it will go into effect after it is approved at the next annual SBC meeting.

Sarah Clatworthy, a member of Lifepoint Baptist Church in San Angelo, Texas, who has called on the SBC “to shut the door to feminism and liberalism,” said she supported the ban on female pastors.

“We should leave no room for our daughters and granddaughters in the generations ahead to have confusion on where the SBC stands,” she said. “Let them know Scripture is our authority and not the culture.”

Earlier, SBC President Bart Barber defended the vote to expel the churches and noted that the Roman Catholic Church also does not allow women to serve as pastors or priests.

“We believe that every believer is a priest,” Barber said. “We have women who served as messengers. It’s just the Scriptures say the office of pastor is limited to men.”

Saddleback Church, a megachurch based in Southern California with a flock of around 23,000, was founded by Rick Warren, the author of the bestselling phenomenon “The Purpose Driven Life.”

The church drew the ire of the SBC when it ordained three women as pastors in 2021.

Share This Post