Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), announced Thursday that it ordained three women as pastors.
The church shared the news in a Facebook post, proclaiming that it was a "historic night."
"We ordained our first three women pastors, Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards! We're so grateful to share this moment with you. Our best days are ahead of us!"
Appointing women to the position of pastor goes against the traditions of the strictly male leadership within the SBC.
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Saddleback lists more than 24,000 members and 18 campus pastors, all of whom are male. Even though the newly ordained women are long-tenured staff members, the selection has garnered support and criticism.
Ashley Easter tweeted her support: "I'm glad Saddleback Church ordained 3 of their first women pastors. But don't forget these women have been with the church since the 90s. That's how long it takes for a church to say 'oh, these women are pastoral.' That's the hill women have to climb. p.s. still no women elders."
I’m glad Saddleback Church ordained 3 of their first women pastors.
But don’t forget these women have been with the church since the 90s. That’s how long it takes for a church to say “oh, these women are pastoral.”
Thats the hill women have to climb
p.s. still no women elders
— Ashley Easter (@ashleymeaster) May 8, 2021
Another user wrote, "Didn't think I'd ever say this, but I'm proud of Saddleback Church."
Didn’t think I’d ever say this, but I’m proud of Saddleback Church. https://t.co/nBy429ofZb
— Dr. Greg Coates (@NotesByCoates) May 9, 2021
And Matthew Bevere tweeted, "May the day soon come when a church's recognition and affirmation of women called to be pastors will no longer be extraordinary news."
May the day soon come when a church's recognition and affirmation of women called to be pastors will no longer be extraordinary news.https://t.co/Ge4dVAcrNl
— Matthew H. Bevere (@mbevere) May 8, 2021
On a negative note, Jason Keith Allen with Spurgeon College called it "a disappointing departure from the clear teaching of Scripture, the BF&M, & long-held SBC consensus & practice."
This is a disappointing departure from the clear teaching of Scripture, the BF&M, & long-held SBC consensus & practice.
I Tim 3 & Titus 1 list qualifications, not suggestions. Let’s hold fast to Scripture.
Saddleback Church ordains first female pastors - https://t.co/XoFU1xvBoY
— Jason Keith Allen (@jasonkeithallen) May 9, 2021
User Jamaal 4 Jesus wrote, "Definitely not biblical. The scriptures doesn't support female pastors. More confirmation to me that Rick Warren's church is not a true church."
Definitely not biblical. The scriptures doesn't support female pastors. More confirmation to me that Rick Warren's church is not a true church.https://t.co/gDvo7g1Yvg
— Jamaal4Jesus (@Jamaal4Jesus) May 8, 2021
Then user Bryan Fischer shared what he believes God would say toward the move.
"Rick Warren: hey, ordaining women pastors is way cool! God: 'I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man' (1 Timothy 2:12). Let's stick with God on this one."
Rick Warren: hey, ordaining women pastors is way cool! God: "I do not permit a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man" (1 Timothy 2:12). Let's stick with God on this one.
'Historic night': Saddleback Church ordains first female pastors" https://t.co/72wyT6JV9D
— Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) May 9, 2021
The news comes just two months after evangelist Beth Moore announced that she no longer feels at home in the SBC. The shift ended her professional partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing, and distribution division of the SBC.
As CBN's Faithwire reported, the split between Moore and her affiliates ended on good terms.
"I am still a Baptist," Moore clarified, "but I can no longer identify with Southern Baptists. I love so many Southern Baptist people, so many Southern Baptist churches, but I don't identify with some of the things in our heritage that haven't remained in the past."
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