This morning (May 16), the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Credentials Committee announced that they have received written appeals for consideration from three of the eight churches the Executive Committee (EC) announced were no longer in “friendly cooperation” during their meetings that took place between September and February.
The EC explained during their February meeting that they had determined five churches, one of which was Saddleback Church, to be “not in friendly cooperation with the Convention due to the churches continuing to have a female functioning in the office of pastor.”
The Credential Committee’s statement explained that “SBC Bylaw 8 provides that ‘a church which has been found not to be in cooperation may appeal the decision to the Convention by submitting a written appeal…at least 30 days prior to the Convention’s annual meeting.’”
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With the deadline now passed (May 15), the Credentials Committee said that Fern Creek Baptist Church (Louisville, Kentucky), Freedom Church (Vero Beach, Florida), and Saddleback Church (Lake Forest, California) were the three churches that appealed.
The three churches will be given a brief time to speak before the messengers at the SBC Annual Meeting on June 13 regarding their removal from the convention. According to the statement, this opportunity will take place during the afternoon session in which “one representative of the church will be recognized to speak and one representative of the Credentials Committee or Executive Committee shall be permitted to speak to the question.”
After the church representative speaks, a ballot vote will take place. “A ‘yes’ vote will affirm the decision of the Executive Committee and Credentials Committee. A ‘no’ vote will overturn the decision of the committees and allow the church to immediately be registered and to seat messengers in accordance with Convention rules,” the Credentials Committee explained.
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SBC Executive Committee Chairman, David Sons, said, “SBC bylaws plainly outline the process for churches determined to be not in cooperation with the Convention to appeal their cases before messengers cast their votes.”
“Since this is the first time in SBC history for this particular item of business to come before the Convention,” Sans continued. “It’s important for everyone coming to New Orleans to be prepared and informed about the process.”
Saddleback Church Founder Rick Warren Responds
Saddleback Church’s founder and former lead pastor, Rick Warren, told ChurchLeaders why the church is challenging the EC’s ruling.