Home Christian News Rick Warren Surprises SBC Messengers at Annual Meeting; Reads ‘Love Letter’ in...

Rick Warren Surprises SBC Messengers at Annual Meeting; Reads ‘Love Letter’ in Wake of Disfellowshipping Controversy

Warren continued to emphasize the work God has done within Saddleback Church, praising the SBC for teaching him the value of church membership and stating that the church has had over 78,000 members sign their membership covenant after taking the church’s membership class.

The SBC also taught Warren to prioritize Bible study, and he shared that Saddleback Church currently has over 9,100 home Bible studies in 162 Southern California cities.

The value of church planting was also instilled into Warren by the SBC. Saddleback Church has planted 90 churches in Orange County alone, along with thousands of others around the world.

“Because Southern Baptists taught me to honor and love the local church, I’ve had the privilege, for 43 years, of training 1.1 million pastors,” Warren said. “Sorry, friends, that is more than all the seminaries put together.”

Warren emotionally thanked Southern Baptists for shaping his life, urging the Convention to consider a couple of questions.

“You’re never going to find another Baptist who agrees with you completely on everything,” Warren pointed out. “There are brothers here today who don’t believe Jesus died for the whole world.” Warren’s remark was in reference to differences in opinion within the Convention regarding Calvinistic and Arminian doctrines of salvation.

“But we manage to somehow get along with them,” Warren said. “So as Western culture grows more dark, more evil, more secular, we have to decide: are we going to treat each other as allies or adversaries?”

Warren then brought attention to the upcoming 2,000th anniversary of Christ’s death, resurrection, ascension, and the Great Commission, which is just 11 years away.

Joking that he won’t be at the next Convention, Warren said that he hopes someone will set forth a resolution “that Baptists take the next 10 years to finish the task of the Great Commission in our generation, before the 2,000th anniversary of the church. Are we going to keep bickering over secondary issues, or are we going to keep the main thing the main thing?”

Concluding, Warren stated, “We need to finish the task, and that will make God smile! Thank you everybody. I love you.”

Litton thanked Warren and said, “I think, in this moment, you feel the love, respect, and appreciation of Southern Baptists.”

Warren then walked behind the stage, which was guarded by security, instead of sitting down in the audience. Following Warren’s address, the Credentials Committee announced that they were rescinding their recommendation regarding the church, leaving Saddleback’s fate as an SBC church still uncertain.

Saddleback Church recently received backlash after announcing Echo.Church’s Andy Wood and his wife as Warren’s successors, due to allegations from former Echo.Church employees who claimed Wood has an abusive leadership style.

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Saddleback launched an investigation into the allegations and has cleared Wood.