Saddleback Church one of the biggest churches in the Southern Baptist Convention has ordained three women as pastors, but a leading figure in the SBC says that consecration violates its men only rule.
Saddleback Church in southern California is home to prominent pastor Rick Warren.
The church announced the May 8 ordination on its FaceBook page.
"Yesterday was a historic night for Saddleback Church in many ways!
"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."
The three newly ordained pastors are longtime Saddleback staff members, Religion News Service reported with Petty has worked with children's ministry and Edwards serving in youth ministry.
R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote an article on his website titled, "Women Pastors, Women Preachers, and the Looming Test of the Southern Baptist Convention."
Mohler is a candidate for president of the SBC at the denomination's upcoming annual meeting, Religion News Service reported.
"There is no doubt that these three women are considered to serve as pastors and in the teaching office. Southern Baptists are clear, through the Baptist Faith & Message, that this is contrary to Scripture."
KATE WARREN'S MESSAGE
On Mother's Day, which fell three days after Saddleback's ordination, the Sunday morning online message was given by Kay Warren.
Although she is not among the newly ordained, Warren's delivery of the Sunday morning message in worship was sure to further alarm the strictest of male leadership advocates within the SBC, who insist women should not preach sermons to men, Baptist News Global reported.
Mohler wrote that the issue of women serving as pastors and preachers in churches "roiled the Southern Baptist Convention from the 1970s until the Conservative Resurgence in the Convention clarified the question conclusively in the Baptist Faith & Message revision of 2000."
"The result has been the feminization of liberal Protestantism. Put bluntly, there are just not that many males left. Actually, there are not many people left in those churches. Liberal theology is the kiss of death for any church or denomination. Little remains but social justice activism and deferred maintenance," said Mohler.
Saddleback draws more than 28,000 in attendance and is the second-largest church in the Southern Baptist Convention, according to the latest 2019 data available from LifeWay Research, wrote RNS. Only Second Baptist Church in Houston is larger.