Rick Warren's Church draws the ire of Southern Baptist Convention after ordaining 3 women

(Photo: Saddleback Church)

Saddleback, the megachurch headed by Rick Warren, has provoked criticism from the head of the Southern Baptist Convention after it ordained three women as staff pastors.

JD Greear, the denomination's president, said it was "disappointing" that the SBC-affiliated Saddleback ordained the women. 

Saddleback ordained Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards last week in what it called a "historic" moment for the California-based church. 

They are the first women to be ordained as pastors by the megachurch. 

Greear, who pastors The Summit Church in North Carolina, responded in a blog post on Monday by calling on Saddleback to "stand on the bedrock of God's Word", which he said upholds a complementarian view of the roles of men and women. 

"The Summit Church is unashamedly and uncompromisingly complementarian. What's more, we consider the complementarian position not merely a box to be checked, but rather a biblical truth to be celebrated," he said. 

"Above all, we believe that God's Word is good and trustworthy, and that his design for the church will stand throughout time and prosper the church, now and always.

"We need godly, strong women to step up and use the gifts God has given them.

"We need these women in the home, speaking courage into their family's lives.

"We need them in ministry, calling us to give and pray and go and sacrifice.

"We need them in society, leading with wisdom, courage, and faith.

"And may we stay faithful to stand on the bedrock of God's Word—whether the issue is the role of pastor or any other issue."

Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has also criticized the ordinations and said the denomination needs to clarify the standards of affiliation. 

"In an increasing number of cases, it is now clear that some churches, including quite large and well-known churches, are placing women in the office of pastor in direct violation of our confession of faith," he said.

"Further, a number of churches that are at least listed as Southern Baptist welcomed and advertised women preaching in the morning service. 

"The Southern Baptist Convention must not be unclear about our theological convictions and the ground of our cooperation. We cannot afford to be. Attempts to deny the issue will not work.

"Right now, Southern Baptists will decide if we will redefine the doctrine of the Southern Baptist Convention. I do not believe that Southern Baptists will allow this to happen. I do not believe that Southern Baptists will retreat from the truth."