Faith, particularly Christian faith, is an irreplaceable force for good in society. Its decline will leave America less healthy, less charitable, less connected, and less capable of dealing with major social ills without government intervention. Evidence suggests it already has.
At the same time, it is essential to remember that these benefits are byproducts of faith, not the main point. Anyone who hopes to halt and reverse church decline must remember what that main point is.
Pastor and Former president of the Southern Baptist Convention, J.D. Greear, has expressed his support for the National African American Fellowship's challenge to a recent vote at the SBC's Annual Meeting to ban women pastors "of any kind."
North Carolina-based megachurch Elevation Church, led by popular preacher Steven Furtick, has ended its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention after more than 20 years of partnership with the world’s largest Baptist denomination.
The annual gathering of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) concluded last week, having dealt with much on their plate: the election of a president, reporting (and lack thereof) of sexual abuse, and the financial mismanagement of seminaries.
But without a doubt, the most attention was given to the disfellowshipping of a handful of churches that had women serving as pastors. One church was front and center: Saddleback Community Church, one of the largest and most influential SBC churches in recent history, pastored by arguably the most well-known SBC pastor in recent history until his recent retirement, Rick Warren.
Messengers to this week’s Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in New Orleans passed a resolution labeling gender transition a “direct assault on God’s created order” and urging states to ban the procedure when it involves children.
When Southern Baptists met in New Orleans this week for their annual convention, a number of important issues were on the docket. The SBC’s primary focus, however, was rendering a verdict on whether Saddleback Church, a megachurch in California started by Rick Warren, would be able to remain affiliated with the SBC due to the issue of women pastors. The Convention decided to disfellowship the church back in February because it had ordained three women as pastors in 2021 and “assigned pastoral titles to all women in pastoral roles” last December. And while more than 88 percent of those who came representing their home churches voted to uphold that judgment, it’s unlikely that the matter is settled for good.
But why was the topic of women in the role of pastors such a big issue for the SBC? And why is this discussion relevant to you, regardless of your belief on that subject or your denominational affiliation?