Home Christian News Andy Stanley Criticizes the SBC for Removing Rick Warren, Saddleback Church

Andy Stanley Criticizes the SBC for Removing Rick Warren, Saddleback Church

Andy Stanley
Screengrab via YouTube @Andy Stanley

In a sermon on Sunday (June 30), Pastor Andy Stanley of North Point Community Church criticized the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) removal of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church from the denomination for ordaining women as pastors.

Warren, Saddleback Church’s founder and former senior pastor, pleaded with SBC messengers to allow Saddleback Church to remain in the SBC during the denomination’s 2023 annual meeting in New Orleans.

Warren was appealing a ruling of the SBC’s Executive Committee that Saddleback Church was no longer “in friendly cooperation” with the SBC after the church ordained three women on its staff as pastors in 2021.

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Of the 11,000-plus messengers present during the time of the vote, 9,437 messengers (88.46%) voted to uphold the removal of Saddleback Church, with 1,212 (11.36%) voting to allow the church to remain in the SBC.

While preaching a sermon titled “Broken and Grateful,” Stanley shared that the thing that breaks his heart is that the church “always gravitates toward insiders.”

Stanley continued by telling the congregation that North Point Community Church is part of a movement that began approximately 29 years ago to reverse the “focus of the church” that “naturally gravitates toward insiders rather than people who are outside the faith.”

The movement has been referred to by many as the seeker-sensitive church movement.

“For years, huge progress was made. Brand new churches popped up all over the place that were organized around being outsider-focused, community-focused,” Stanley said. These churches focus on loving “people well,” and they “serve the community well.”

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The “churches [were] organized around reaching, not keeping. And the good news became good again. And for ‘all people’ began to mean ‘all’ again,” he added.

As a result, many of those churches began to grow in attendance at rapid rates, Stanley said. This growth was specifically true of North Point Community Church, and Stanley shared that in the early years of North Point, critics accused the church of not “preaching the true gospel of repentance” in order to achieve such growth.