Known as Southern Baptist Convention’s largest church, the Saddleback Church has been removed from the denomination because of its decision to ordain female pastors like Stacie Wood, the wife of Andy Wood, the new lead pastor of the church. Stacie was declared a teaching pastor of the church after Wood assumed the position of lead pastor in September 2022. Jared Wellman, the Executive Committee chairman of SBC, has stated that according to the Baptist Faith and Message Article VI, “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,” which is followed by SBC, and thus the denomination cannot continue to be “in friendly cooperation” with Saddleback Church.
Church Leader reports:
Saddleback Church, the largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, has been ruled to no longer be “in friendly cooperation” with the denomination because of its decision to ordain women to the title of pastor, most notable among them Stacie Wood, the wife of the church’s new lead pastor, Andy Wood.
Wood took over for Rick Warren, who founded the church four decades ago, in Sept. 2022. When Wood assumed the role of lead pastor at Saddleback, whose flagship campus is in Lake Forest, California, Stacie was named one of the church’s teaching pastors, a role she also filled at the couple’s previous congregation, Echo.Church in San Jose, California.
On Tuesday (Feb. 21), Executive Committee chairman Jared Wellman said in a statement, “In its meeting today, the SBC Executive Committee determined five churches to be not in friendly cooperation with the Convention due to the churches continuing to have a female functioning in the office of pastor.”
“As stated in the Baptist Faith and Message Article VI, the SBC holds to the belief that the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,” Wellman continued. “These churches have been valued, cooperating churches for many years, and this decision was not made lightly. However, we remain committed to upholding the theological convictions of the SBC and maintaining unity among its cooperating churches.”
Saddleback’s disfellowshipping came alongside the removal of several other churches from the denomination, one for issues related to sexual abuse, and four others who have a woman serving in the role of lead or senior pastor.
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