Southern Baptist Convention is 'in crisis', says Rick Warren

Rick Warren speaking at the African Biblical Leadership Initiative.(Photo: Bible Society)

Purpose Driven Life author Rick Warren says the Southern Baptist Convention needs to be more honest about its current trajectory after years of declining membership. 

Warren has launched a new four-part video series, "SBC at the Crossroads", in which he addresses the denomination's "unprecedented decline". 

He says that SBC leaders should be worried about the falling membership.

"The SBC is in crisis," said Warren.

"Over the course of 17 years, the denomination has lost 3 million members. This isn't a glitch or the result of a pandemic; it's a trajectory we've been on for a while.

"Some SBC leaders seem unable to admit it or talk about it, but denial is dishonesty. We should be worrying about it."

In his video series, the Baptist pastor makes a number of recommendations to reverse the decline and revitalise the denomination. 

One of the episodes makes the "New Testament case for the ministry of women". It was the ordination of women that got the church he founded, Saddleback, expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention earlier this year. 

Saddleback is appealing its expulsion and Warren is due to address the Southern Baptist Convention from the floor of its next Annual Meeting when it takes place in New Orleans in June. 

"If something is worth saving, you fight for it," he said.

"My Southern Baptist roots are deep. I have Southern Baptist pastors on both sides of my family going back four generations. They brought me to Christ, they educated me in college and seminary, and they supported me in ministry.

"I urge the SBC to reflect on Revelation 2:5, which says, 'Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first.'"

Earlier this month, Warren was installed as the first-ever Chancellor of Spurgeon's College, the largest evangelical college in the UK, which was founded by esteemed Baptist preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

Part 1 of Warren's video series is available to watch now online.