Southern Baptist Convention Fires Second-Largest Church Over Woman Pastors

The Southern Baptist Convention has expelled the second-largest congregation of its denomination. Tuesday, the convention voted to exclude Saddleback Church, a prominent California megachurch founded by celebrity pastor Rick Warren, because it had female pastors.

In 2021, Warren ordained three women as pastors, a decision he stuck by when he quit the previous year. The Executive Committee agreed to support the recommended expulsion, citing that Saddleback “has a faith and practice that does not closely coincide with the Convention’s official statement of faith, as evidenced by the church employing a female teaching pastor in the role of pastor.” The previous year, senior pastor Andy Wood defended his wife’s leadership position in the church and advocated for women in pastoral positions. Wood stated that the church should be a place where both men and women can exercise their spiritual skills. “My wife possesses the spiritual talent of teaching and is reasonably competent. People frequently tell me she preaches better than I do, and I’m thrilled to hear this.”

The convention also voted Tuesday to expel five other churches, four for the alleged offense of having female pastors and one for sexual abuse.