J.D. Greear, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, called a California megachurch's decision to ordain three women "disappointing."
According to The Christian Post, Greear was responding to Saddleback Church's recent appointment of three female pastors at the church. Saddleback Church was founded by Rick and Kay Warren and is affiliated with the SBC, which prohibits female ordination.
Greear said he has "long respected Saddleback's ministry impact and heart for getting the gospel to the nations" but advised that the church needs to "stand on the bedrock of God's Word — whether the issue is the role of pastor or any other issue."
In a blog post, Greear wrote he agreed with Pastor James Merritt, who has previously said it's possible to affirm "both (1) that God calls men and women to vital ministry in the church and (2) that God's Word clearly reserves the office of pastor/elder/overseer for qualified men."
I affirm both that God calls all men and women to vital ministry in the life of the local church as well as God’s clear word on a man only being a pastor, elder, overseer which is grounded in creation. These truths are not contradictory. They are indeed complementary.— James Merritt (@drjamesmerritt) May 10, 2021
“Equipping and platforming women to thrive in ministry is not a passion we share because of personal opinion or preference," Greear added. "We are convinced that there is no such thing as a healthy church in which the men flourish, and the women do not. Thus, by cultivating an atmosphere where our sisters can thrive, we cultivate an atmosphere in which our brothers will thrive as well.
"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." Greear continued, noting the importance of having "godly, strong women" in the home, ministry and society.
"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."
The three women ordained at Saddleback Church are Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards.
Saddleback Church has not responded to questions about whether the church will remain affiliated with the SBC.
Photo courtesy: ©J.D. Greear Facebook
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.