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Fourth-Generation SBC Pastor Rick Warren Appeals to Messengers at Annual Meeting of the Convention

Challenges Voters to 'Act Like Southern Baptists'

A. Larry Ross Communications
June 13, 2023

NEW ORLEANS, La., June 13, 2023 /Christian Newswire/ -- Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, best-selling author of The Purpose Driven Life and Coordinator of the global Finishing the Task coalition, today delivered an impassioned appeal from the Convention floor the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Annual Meeting in New Orleans.

In his highly anticipated remarks, Warren boldly asked more than 12,000 SBC voting Messengers to overturn a ruling to disfellowship the Church he pastored for 43 years after ordaining three women as pastors. The results of the hand-counted ballots are expected to be announced from the platform at 8:43 am CDT tomorrow. Pastor Warren will give his response and answer questions from credentialed press at a Media Availability at 9:05 am CDT, available to the public via livestream at www.SBCStand.com.

"For 178 years, the SBC has been a blend of at least a dozen different tribes of Baptists," Warren explained. "If you think every Baptist thinks like you, you're mistaken. But we share a mutual commitment to the inerrancy and infallibility of God's Word, and to the Great Commission of Jesus."

Warren then challenged his denominational peers, "No one is asking any Southern Baptist to change their theology. I am not asking you to agree with our church. I am asking you to act like Southern Baptists who have historically 'agreed to disagree' on dozens of doctrines in order to unify around a common mission.

"Since Baptists have always allowed disagreement on dozens of doctrines — including the essential doctrines of salvation, why should this one issue cancel our fellowship?" Warren challenged. "In 2013, when Calvinists were under fire, Baptists agreed to disagree, and the split was averted. Now ten years later, will we treat egalitarian Baptists with the same grace we showed the Calvinists?

"We should remove churches for all kinds of sexual sin, racial sin, financial sin and leadership sin — sins that harm the testimony of our Convention," Warren continued. "But the 1,928 churches with women on pastoral staff have not sinned. If doctrinal disagreements between Baptists are considered sin, we ALL get kicked out! You'll never get 100% of Baptists to agree 100% on 100% of every doctrine.

"That's why our constitution says churches must closely identify not completely identify with our confession. The Baptist Faith and Message is four thousand and thirty-two words. Our church disagrees with only one word. That's 99.99% in agreement. Isn’t that close enough?"

Warren concluded his remarks by calling upon his peers to vote "no," indicating that Saddleback Church is in friendly cooperation with the SBC and should not be disfellowshipped from the Convention with which it was founded.

Following Warren's abbreviated remarks when he reached the allotted time, Al Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary responded. Mohler initiated the campaign against Saddleback Church two years ago in launching his failed bid for President of the SBC.

"In the year 2000, the words 'the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture' was inserted because 30 years ago this issue threatened to tear this denomination apart," Mohler said. "The definition of 'friendly cooperation' came down to the fact that it was an issue that would endanger the cooperative cohesion and faithfulness of the church, of the Southern Baptist Convention."

This is the first time in SBC history for Messengers to vote on whether to disfellowship a church from the Convention.
To learn more about the nature and background of Rick Warren's appeal, its implications and the reasons he is advocating for renewal, revitalization and revival within the SBC, visit SBCStand.com.

About Pastor Rick Warren
Rick Warren is the founding Pastor of Saddleback Church in Southern California, which grew to more than 30,000 weekly attendees across 19 locations, including four international campuses and via streaming online, hosting listeners from around the world. He currently serves as Coordinator of Finishing the Task, a global coalition of churches, denominations, Christian organizations, mission agencies and media working together toward the Great Commission goal of ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to a Bible, a believer and a body of Christ by 2033 A.D., which will be the 2,000th anniversary of Jesus' resurrection and the foundation of the Christian church.

In May 2023, Warren was installed as first-ever Chancellor of Spurgeon's College of London, the leading evangelical college in the United Kingdom, founded by esteemed Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Warren has a Bachelor of Arts degree from California Baptist College, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

SOURCE A. Larry Ross Communications

CONTACT: A. Larry Ross, alr@alarryross.com