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Rick Warren's church loses appeal battle over women in leadership

by Premier Journalist

Rick Warren's church, Saddleback, has lost its appeal to be allowed back into the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The Californian megachurch was kicked out in February over the role of women in leadership.

Saddleback Church, which represents the denomination's second-largest congregation, had launched an appeal over the decision, and Rick Warren, the church's founder, took to Twitter to argue the case. He posted a personal "apology to Christian Women" and accused the SBC of hypocrisy, saying former SBC President, the late Charles Stanley, was brought to faith after hearing a sermon preached by a woman.

A few days later, he told his Twitter followers that at the heart of the conflict was a change to the church's constitution with regard to adherence to its confession of faith.

A vote at Tuesday's Southern Baptist church annual meeting in New Orleans rejected the appeal by 9,437 votes to 1,212.

At the time of the expulsion, the SBC stated that Saddleback, along with three other churches, had a faith and practice that did 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". The denomination said this was demonstrated by the churches having a female teaching pastor functioning in the pastor's office.

Warren, who's now retired, is a lifelong Baptist who became famous for his bestselling books and teaching series 'The Purpose Driven Life'. Speaking to Premier Christianity in March, Warren explained how scripture had changed his theology on women in leadership.

Referencing Matthew 28, Warren said: "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."

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