Rick Warren made a surprise appearance and the SBC 2022 convention and spoke for several minutes uninterrupted, using his time to list all the accomplishments he has done as the largest Southern Baptist church in the world in order to stave off criticism he has received for ordaining women pastors, bragging about all his accomplishment while telling attendees that they need to stop “bickering over secondary issues” like what gender the pastor is, and instead focus on the Great Commission.
This came after the Credentials Committee revealed that they were not going to remove Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church from their roles after he famously and unapologetically started to ordain women pastors, at least for now, and that they had to study the issue, resulting in resolutions being brought to the floor rebuking him and demanding that his church be removed.
By way of context, Rick Warren is the outgoing Lead pastor and overseer of the 25,000 members, 14 campus Saddleback Church who announced he was stepping down to be replaced by a husband and wife pastor team.
He is famous for peddling to the church the poison and spiritual strychnine that is The Purpose Driven Life for over four decades- a damaging and unbiblical theology that has seeped into tens of thousands of churches, becoming part of their identity.
Over the last few he raise eyebrows for announcing his church was having a “Blacks Only worship service” where no white members were allowed in, so the “black fold” could have a “safe space” to “heal,” and for blasting white Christians for having no discernment and not caring about black people.
In his speech, he tells the convention that he has no intention of defending himself against questions they might ask that would inevitably expose his biblical infidelity and inconsistency, comparing himself to Jesus being questioned by Pilate. He brags that he’s started two-thirds of SBC churches in his county, but if they’re anything like his church with his theology, that’s probably not a good thing.
Welcome to Orange County. Southern Baptists have 149 Southern Baptist churches here, 90 of them started by Saddleback Church.
You know, it’s customary for a guy who’s about to be hung to let him say his dying words. I have no intention of defending myself. I have taught my kids and grandkids for years: I am most like Christ when I refuse to defend myself. The Bible says ‘Jesus spoke not a word unto them’ when Pilate accused him of all kinds of things. So I have no intention.
I have most of you on my mailing list anyway, and I can write you and tell you what I believe about the ‘gift’ of pastoring as opposite from the ‘office’ of pastoring.
He then gives his credentials and pedigree- all done in a very Pauline way.
But I’m not here to talk about that…I wrote you a love letter and I’d like for my possibly, likely, last convention to read it to you. Kay and I could have not built Saddleback Church to its size and influence in any other denomination. I love Southern Baptists. I am a fourth-generation Southern Baptist pastor. My great grandfather was led to Christ by Charles Spurgeon and sent to America as a church planter.
Saddleback was sponsored by the North American Mission Board. I served on the staff of the California State Convention and the Texas state convention as a teenager. Billy Graham picked me up when I was 18 and for the next 52 years mentored me, because I started at 16 years old, hired by the California Convention to preach youth revivals, and I had preached over 120 harvest crusades before I was 20. Billy took this long-haired, skinny Californian and mentored me for the next 52 years.
Here’s my love letter to you, Because I really am grateful if this is my last convention, because of Southern Baptist polity, I was allowed to serve one church for life- that’s not possible in those denominations- and grew it to become the largest church in this convention.
Warren goes on to list all the numbers. Notice that he gets real specific here. When he announced he trained over a million pastors, he waited for applause, but didn’t find one, until a few people began awkwardly and uncomfortably clapping. More than anything, this supposed SBC pastor training a mullion other pastors explains the pathetic state the convention is in.
Because Southern Baptist gave me a passion for evangelism and mission, we baptized 56,631 new believers and as a Southern Baptist Church, sent 26,869 members overseas to 197 nations. Because Southern Baptist taught me the value of a membership covenant, 78,157 members of our church signed our membership covenant after taking a four-hour membership class.
Because Southern Baptist taught me to emphasize the priority of Bible study, we now have 9173 home Bible studies in homes in 162, southern California cities. Because Southern Baptist taught me the value of church planting…we planted 90 In Orange County alone, and literally 1000s around the world.
Because Southern Baptists taught me to honor and love the local church, I’ve had the privilege for 43 years of training 1.1 million pastors. Sorry, friends, that’s more than all the seminaries put together.
This is the twist. After Warren has listed his pedigree and accomplishments, he makes his pitch that ordaining women is not worth something dividing over, and that they’d be foolish to do it. The attitude is “given all I’ve done, and all I represent and bring to the table, do you REALLY want to divide with me over this? Kick me out and have this be my last convention?”
Warren chides them for bickering over “secondary issues” when Southern Baptist identity is shaped by secondary issues. His rebuke of “we need to keep the main thing the main thing” is what theological ghouls do in order to justify their aberrations and deviations from the scripture. The fact that Warren got up there and defended his defiance of the BFM2000, and people clapped for him, shows the sad state of downgrade the convention is in.
I owe you all so much, so I sincerely say ‘thank you, Southern Baptist, for shaping my life’. And in closing, I want to ask you to consider a couple of questions. You’re never going to find another Baptist who agrees with you completely on everything. There are Baptist brothers here today who don’t believe Jesus died for the whole world, but we somehow get along with them. So as Western culture grows more dark, more evil, more secular, we have to decide, are we going to treat each other as allies or adversaries?
Second, since this is the year 2022 That means we are 2022 years from the birth of Christ. Now we know Christ started his ministry at 30 years of age, Luke tells us that. Had a three and a half year ministry, Christ died in Ad 33. He was resurrected in AD 33. He gave the Great Commission in AD 33. He sent the Holy Spirit and started the church in AD 33.
That means in 2033, just 11 years from today is the 2000 anniversary of the Great Commission. I hope one of you -because I won’t be here next year- will make a resolution that Baptists take the next 10 years to finish the task of the Great Commission in our generation, before the 2000th anniversary of the church.
Are we gonna keep bickering over secondary issues? Are we gonna keep the main thing the main thing? We need to finish the task and THAT will make God smile. Thank you, everybody. I love you
This was not a love letter at all, but rather a note to remind the SBC that he doesn’t need you.