The Southern Baptist Convention has ousted its second-largest congregation. The convention voted Tuesday to oust Saddleback Church, the California high-profile megachurch started by celebrity pastor Rick Warren, because it has women pastors. The controversy began brewing in 2021 when Warren ordained three women pastors, a decision he stood by when he resigned last year. But the Southern Baptist Convention hasn’t budged on its opposition, the Executive Committee voted to approve the recommending ousting, saying that Saddleback “has a faith and practice that does not closely identify with the Convention’s adopted statement of faith, as demonstrated by the church having a female teaching pastor functioning in the office of pastor.” Last year, lead pastor Andy Wood defended his wife’s leadership position in the church and advocated for women in pastor roles. “The church should be a place where both men and women can exercise those spiritual gifts,” Wood said. “My wife has the spiritual gift of teaching and she is really good. People often tell me she’s better than me when it comes to preaching, and I’m really glad to hear that.” The convention also voted to oust five other churches Tuesday, four for the apparent crime of having women pastors—and one for sexual abuse.
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