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Rick Warren's Saddleback Church Makes Bold Move by Appointing Its First-Ever Female Pastors

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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."

Another user wrote, "Didn't think I'd ever say this, but I'm proud of Saddleback Church."

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."

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." 

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."

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' ( ). Let's stick with God on this one."

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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About The Author

Andrea Morris

Andrea Morris is a Features Producer for The 700 Club. She came to CBN in 2019 where she worked as a web producer in the news department for three years. Her passion was always to tell human interest stories that would touch the hearts of readers while connecting them with God. She transitioned into her new role with The 700 Club in August 2022.