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Rick Warren explains decision to ordain female pastors

Rick Warren, author and founding pastor of Saddleback Church, recently elaborated on his decision to ordain female pastors.

“I’m a Bible guy,” he said. “And I actually had to change because of scripture. Culture could not change me on this issue. Anecdotes could not change me on this issue. Pressure from other people would not change me on this issue.”

In February, the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee disfellowshipped Saddleback Church, citing the congregation’s hiring of a female pastor as conflicting with the denomination’s statement of faith. That statement of faith says, “while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by scripture.”

Last year Saddleback Church hired Andy Wood to succeed the retiring Warren. Andy Wood is the lead pastor, and his wife, Stacie, is a teaching pastor. Warren said Saddleback will appeal the decision to the SBC messengers this summer. He mentioned three Bible passages that changed his mind on the issue of female pastors.

  • The first passage is the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20). “Go, make disciples, baptize and teach,” Warren said. “Women are to go, women are to make disciples, women are to baptize, and women are to teach — not just men. Who authorized women to teach? Jesus”
  • The second passage is Acts 2:17-18, which describes the day of Pentecost. “On that day, at Pentecost, we know women were in the upper room,” he said. “We know women were filled with the Holy Spirit. We know that women were preaching in languages that other people couldn’t hear to a mixed audience. Everybody gets to preach, everybody gets to prophesy.”
  • The third passage is John 20, which involves the story of Mary Magdalene witnessing the risen Christ. “I noticed that the very first sermon, the very first Christian sermon, the message of the gospel of good news of the resurrection, Jesus chose a woman to deliver it to men,” Warren said. “He had Mary Magdalene go and tell the disciples. … Now that clearly wasn’t an accident. It was intentional.”

“I believe in the inerrancy of Scripture,” he said. “I do not believe in the inerrancy of your interpretation, nor of mine, for that matter, which is why I have to say I could be wrong. We have to approach scripture humbly, saying, ‘I could be wrong.’ A conservative Baptist believes in the inerrancy of scripture, and a fundamentalist Baptist believes in the inerrancy of their interpretation. That’s a big difference.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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