On May 15, London-based Spurgeon’s College announced that pastor and author Rick Warren has become the school’s first-ever honorary chancellor. An installation took place in California in April, and the ceremony can be viewed online.
The school was founded in 1856 by Baptist preacher Charles H. Spurgeon, who personally led one of Warren’s great-grandfathers to Christ.
Warren, who recently said he has been in poor health, gave his final sermon last August at Saddleback, the California megachurch he founded in 1980. Earlier this year, Saddleback was ejected from the Southern Baptist Convention for ordaining women as pastors.
What Rick Warren Will Do as Honorary Chancellor
While introducing Rick Warren and his new position, Vice Chancellor Rev. Philip McCormack described it as “an official and ambassadorial role.” Warren will speak at, preside over, and present awards at graduation each July; he’ll also represent the college at other significant events.
Being honorary chancellor, McCormack said, involves serving “as a vital advocate for the vision, gospel mission, and values—nationally and internationally—of Spurgeon’s College.” It’s “also an invitation to be the chancellor of a group of disciples,” he said, “serving Almighty God and seeking to further the Great Commission in the U.K. context and beyond, following the example of our founder.”
Warren, 69, also serves as coordinator of Finishing the Task, a global coalition working to meet several Great Commission goals by the year 2033.
“The primary aim of the College and Pastor Warren in their aligned missions,” a press release states, “is to make Jesus known, in part to respond to the most recent census data showing that less than 5% of the UK population identify as practicing Christians, yet 33% said they wanted to know more about Jesus.”
Rick Warren Has a Personal Connection to Spurgeon’s College
In a brief video, Rick Warren explained his “deep personal family connection” to Spurgeon and the school. One of Warren’s great-grandfathers, who was born in London, came to faith thanks to Spurgeon, he said. After attending Spurgeon’s College, the relative was sent over to America to plant churches. Warren, standing in his library amid “rare items from church history,” said he read Spurgeon’s “The Sword & the Trowel” publications as a young boy.