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Rick Warren hits out at Southern Baptists for ‘hypocrisy’ over women in leadership

by Heather Preston

Renowned pastor and author Rick Warren has accused the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) of being hypocritical in its condemnation of female pastors, after he claims its former president came to faith through a woman preacher.

The founder of Californian megachurch Saddleback posted the accusation on social media.

“HYPOCRISY: The 2023 SBC will kick out churches for having a woman preach WHILE honoring Charles Stanley, SBC President who was saved through a WOMAN PREACHING! ‘As Mrs. Wilson preached, the Spirit struck me to the core! When she gave the invitation I was the first down’ Stanley,” Warren tweeted.


Charles Stanley, former SBC president and television preacher died on 18th April 2023. He served two one year terms as SBC president from 1984 – 1986.

The topic of female ordination has sparked discord between Warren – who supports women in church leadership - and the SBC in recent months, after the body expelled Saddleback and four other churches from the convention for appointing women as senior or lead pastors.

At the time of the expulsion, the SBC stated that the church "has a faith and practice" that does not align with the Convention's adopted statement of faith that “while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

"[This is] demonstrated by the church having a female teaching pastor functioning in the office of pastor,” the SBC said.

Speaking to Premier Christianity in March, Warren explained how scripture has changed his theology on women in leadership.

Referencing Matthew 28, Warren says “There are four verbs in the Great Commission: go, make disciples, baptise and teach. Men and women are to do all four things. Women are to go, women are to make disciples. Women are to baptise and women are to teach.

“Secondly, on the day of Pentecost we know that women were in the Upper Room. It wasn’t just men who received the Holy Spirit. Women were preaching on the very first day of the Church, to that huge crowd that had come from all over the world.”

Warren, who says he has been “denied access” to all SBC communications since the expulsion, took to Twitter to share another post regarding the convention and its supposed links to female leadership.

“WB Johnson founded the #SBC in 1945: He wrote the Constitution! He preached the Founding Manifesto. He was the first President. He wrote the book that unified diverse Baptists into the SBC. He also founded Johnson Female Seminary in 1848 in North Carolina!”

Premier has contacted the SBC for comment.




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