L-R – Stacie Wood, Rick Warren, Andy Wood, Kay Warren, Pastors at Saddleback Church

The Southern Baptist Convention will gather on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

One of the first items on the agenda will be the messenger’s approval of the motion to remove Saddleback Community Church, Lake Forest, California, from SBC affiliation.

Twenty-thousand messengers will vote on whether to kick Saddleback Church out of the SBC.

The crime of Saddleback Church?

Stacie Wood, wife of Lead Pastor Andy Wood, sometimes will teach on Sunday mornings at Saddleback.

Rick Warren, the author of Purpose Driven Life, served as Pastor of Saddleback until his retirement in 2022. During Warren’s tenure, Saddleback became one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the national convention.

In 2022, Saddleback called Andy and Stacie Wood to shepherd the church.

Now the SBC is voting to kick out Saddleback.


A Verb of Service, not a Noun of Status



New Testament churches are local collections of Spirit-gifted followers of Christ who gather regularly to study the Scriptures, encourage one another, and work to fulfill God’s call to build His Church.

Christians who shepherd God’s people are actively serving others.

I like to put it this way: “Pastor is a verb of service, not a noun of status.”

Teaching, prophesying, administrating, showing mercy, encouraging, etc…  – all the gifts of the Spirit are intended for service to others, never for authority over others.

Nowhere in the sacred text are the gifts of the Spirit qualified by gender.

Men and women fulfill their role in the Kingdom as they serve others as gifted by the Spirit.

Lydia held the local church meeting in her home, serving as the host shepherd (Acts 16:40). The four daughters of Philip prophesied (e.g., ‘taught people God’s Word’) in the early church (Acts 21:8-14). Priscilla (female) taught Apollos (male) the things of God (Acts 18:26).

Mutual service is the Kingdom way.

However, in the world’s system, whether it be radical feminism or male patriarchy, men and women seek to exert power and authority over other people.

This is not the way God designed His Kingdom.

When the Southern Baptist Convention builds an institutional system of ministry independent of the principles of God’s Word, problems will arise.

In 2005, I cautioned the SBC’s International Mission Board about their new policies forbidding a “private prayer language” among its missionaries.

I don’t have the gift of tongues, either spoken or private.

Still, I warned the SBC that forbidding prospective missionaries from exercising the gift of tongues is a direct violation of I Corinthians 14:39, which states, “Forbid not the speaking in tongues.”

Implementing unbiblical policies always leads to unintended, harmful consequences.

It took ten years, but eventually, the IMB trustees reversed the ill-advised, unbiblical policies I’d warned them about.

In 2007, I proposed to the Southern Baptist Convention the tracking “of sexual predators” in Southern Baptist ministry. The proposal was rejected at the 2008 SBC by the Executive Committee.

I warned after the rejection of the Sexual Predator Database Proposal that a day of reckoning was coming.

We all have a moral obligation to ensure sexual predators are held accountable. No matter how costly or complex, the SBC should keep a database of sexual predators in ministry,  making public those who’ve been “convicted of, confessed to, or credibly accused of sexually predatory behavior”  that those men (or women) could not be passed off to churches unaware of the minister’s past.


In 2022, the SBC finally recommended adopting my Database Recommendation. It took fifteen years of much pain. Implementation came after some massive national embarrassment for the Southern Baptist Convention.

Eventually, the SBC responded to its erroneous ways.


A Third Warning



In 2023, I’ll warn the Southern Baptist Convention for a third time.

For years, I’ve written articles about women and men shepherding God’s people as gifted by the Spirit.

If the SBC kicks out Saddleback Community Valley Church over a woman teaching the Scriptures, the precipitous numerical and financial decline of the SBC will accelerate.

The SBC, by its action against Saddleback, will take an unbiblical position on the Spirit’s giftings of His people, establishing a preference for structures and systems that are more blatantly pagan than biblically principled.

Spiritual gifts are never gender qualified.

Strangely, some Southern Baptist Convention pastors, LGBQT+ activists, advocates of radical feminism, and proponents of radical politics all struggle with the same issue:


People fascinated with taking authority over others demand conformity in accepting their IDENTITY.

SBC pastors want an IDENTITY of authority, and SBC women are taught their IDENTITY is surrender to that authority.

The SBC needs to realize the biblical teaching of spiritual giftings rejects the pagan teaching of authority and promotes the Christian practice of humility and service.

SBC pastors who demand an acknowledgment of – and submission to – their spiritual authority should be confronted with their unbiblical  Fraudulent Authority.



The Problem with Spiritual Authority in the SBC


The New Testament teaches that a Christian leader is to be the greatest servant. No Christian is to seek a title or position to exert moral authority over another Christian.

“Jesus called His disciples to Himself and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them.

It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant.’” (Matthew 20:25-26)

Pagans (e.g., ‘rulers of the Gentiles who lord over others’) seek offices that grant them power and authority to exert their leadership (lordship) over others.

Jesus said His disciples are called to serve others selflessly.

When a church succumbs to Fraudulent Authority, Christ’s people become more pagan in practice than Christian in their behavior.


A Lesson from the Life of Charles Stanley


The Southern Baptist Convention loves Charles Stanley.

The long-time pastor of First Baptist Church, Atlanta, Georgia, died on April 18, 2023.

The 2023 Southern Baptist Convention will honor Charles Stanley for his years of ministry to the Kingdom of Christ through the SBC, serving as President of the SBC in 1985 and 1986.

Few Southern Baptists know the story of Charles Stanley’s conversion to Jesus Christ.

Young Charles Stanley decided to follow Jesus while listening to a woman preach. Pastor Stanley describes it in his own words:

“As Mrs. Wilson preached, the Spirit struck me to the core… When she gave the invitation, I was the first one down the aisle and on my knees.” The Baptist Reflector

Ironically, the 2023 SCB may kick out Saddleback Church for a woman preaching while, at the same 2023 Convention, honoring a two-time President of the SBC (Charles Stanley) who was converted to Christ listening to a woman preaching.

You may differ in your interpretation of women and spiritual gifts from Rick Warren, me, and other Southern Baptists. However, before you vote, I would caution all messengers to the 2023 SBC to remember that our Southern Baptist Convention exists on cooperation, not conformity.

I’ve seen the enemy, and the enemy isn’t us.