“We’re not challenging the Executive Committee ruling for Saddleback’s benefit. No one wants to stay where they aren’t wanted,” Warren said. “Instead we are challenging the EC ruling for five reasons that involve others.” Those reasons, said Warren, are as follows:
1.We’re challenging the ruling on behalf of millions of SBC women whose God given spiritual gifts and leadership skills are being wasted instead of empowered for the Great Commission. We cannot finish the task Jesus gave us, with 50% of the church forced to sit on the bench. Great Commission Baptists believe that Jesus authorized every woman to go, to make disciples, to baptize, and to teach—just as he authorized every man.
2. We’re challenging the ruling on behalf of over 300 concerned pastors who have female pastors serving on their staff and have written to me. They are fearful and worried that their congregations will also be disfellowshipped when the new inquisition discovers them. (I’ve seen one list with over 1200 names of Baptist women in just Texas churches.)
3.We’re challenging the ruling on behalf of our IMB missionaries. Today our missionary force has almost 1,500 fewer missionaries than we had 23 years ago when the revised Baptist Faith & Message (BF&M) was approved in 2000. With a renewed emphasis on the restriction of women, we’ll lose more godly female church planters and couples serving as pastoral teams in the mission field.
4. We believe a decision this critical to the SBC’s identity and future should be decided by the Messengers, not a committee. The Messengers must decide if they want the Executive Committee to act like a Catholic Magisterium.
5. Our goal is to spark the thinking of messengers regarding the direction of the SBC, regardless of the outcome of the vote. If you really love something, you fight for it. But sometimes it takes years for people to consider an event before change happens. Wilberforce lost every vote for 17 years before the slave trade was eventually abolished. It took 10 years after the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955 for the Civil Rights movement of the ‘60s to coalesce. Note my prediction: The next generation of Southern Baptists will remove the restriction on women one day, because truth eventually triumphs over tradition.
Warren said that Saddleback has been “told by both the California Southern Baptist State Convention and our Orange County Southern Baptist Association, that the EC ruling will be ignored at their levels.”
Regardless of the ruling, Saddleback will “still cooperate” with Southern Baptists in their state, Warren said.
Concluding his statement to ChurchLeaders, Warren pointed out that both the state convention and the association presented Saddleback with plaques of support. “Then, the 167-year-old Spurgeon’s College in London inducted me as their Chancellor,” he said, “telling me that my views on ordination are identical to Spurgeon’s.”