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Rick Warren Says Scripture Changed His Stance on Female Pastors — Not Culture

Rick Warren Says Scripture Changed His Stance on Female Pastors — Not Culture

Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church, has shared that Scripture led him to change his mind on female pastors, not  the culture.

“I’m a Bible guy,” Warren said during an interview on The Russell Moore Show. “Culture could not change me on this issue. Anecdotes could not change me on this issue. Pressure from other people would not change me on this issue.”

Warren’s stance on the issue of female pastors has caused some controversy within the Southern Baptist Convention. Back in February, the convention’s Executive Committee disfellowshipped Saddleback Church because of their hiring of a female pastor, which conflicted with the denomination’s statement of faith. The Baptist Faith and Message states that “the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture.”

But Warren isn’t backing down. He shared that Saddleback will appeal the decision to the SBC messengers this summer. He also cited three Bible passages that changed his mind on the issue of female pastors.

The first passage was the Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20), which commands believers to “go, make disciples, baptize and teach.”

“Women are to go, women are to make disciples, women are to baptize, and women are to teach – not just men,” he said. “Who authorized women to teach? Jesus.”

The second passage was Acts 2:17-18, which describes the day of Pentecost.

“On that day, at Pentecost, we know women were in the upper room. We know women were filled with the Holy Spirit. We know that women were preaching in languages that other people couldn’t hear to a mixed audience. … Everybody gets to preach, everybody gets to prophesy,” he said.

The third passage was John 20, which tells the story of Mary Magdalene witnessing the risen Christ.

“I noticed that the very first sermon, the very first Christian sermon, the message of the gospel of good news of the resurrection, Jesus chose a woman to deliver it to men,” Warren said. “… He had Mary Magdalene go and tell the disciples. … Now, that clearly wasn’t an accident. It was intentional.”

Warren also asserted the issue of female pastors is a secondary issue and believers should approach Scripture with humility, recognizing that their interpretation could be wrong.

“A conservative Baptist believes in the inerrancy of Scripture, [and] a fundamentalist Baptist believes in the inerrancy of their interpretation,” he said. “That’s a big difference.”

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