SBC tells Saddleback to saddle up

SBC tells Saddleback to saddle up

SBC tells Saddleback to saddle up

The Southern Baptist Convention has broken fellowship with six churches, including its largest one, mainly for having women functioning in the office of pastor.

In its meeting this week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee ruled that the six churches were no longer in friendly cooperation with the denomination. Included in the list is Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California, which ordained three women when founder Rick Warren was pastor and named a woman as teaching pastor after Warren retired.

Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist-Dallas – also an SBC church – says the committee did the right thing.

"The Bible is clear. There is one thing women are not to be, and that is senior pastors," he affirms. "I Timothy 3 is clear: A pastor is to be the husband of one wife."

Warren defended his church's ordination of women at the SBC Convention in Anaheim last summer, but the messengers this year were unconvinced.

Jeffress adds that the biblical doctrine does not demean women.

Jeffress, Rev. Robert (FBC Dallas) Jeffress

"When [my daughter] was a nine-year-old girl, one time she asked me, 'Dad, why can't women be pastors?' And I said, 'Well, why can't men have babies?' It's not that they're inferior to each other," he asserts, "The fact is God has different roles for sexes."

New Faith Mission Ministry in Griffin, Georgia, St. Timothy's Christian Baptist in Baltimore, Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, and Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky join Saddleback in being deemed unfriendly with the SBC on this issue.

The sixth church -- Freedom Church in Vero Beach, Florida -- was removed because of its failure to cooperate with the Credentials Committee regarding a sexual abuse allegation against its senior pastor.

All six churches have the opportunity to appeal the decision at the SBC Annual Meeting in New Orleans on June 13-14. Fern Creek has already stated its intent to do so.