Rick Warren, female pastors, and the textbook path to heresy. Pastor Mike Stone, a candidate for the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, joins us today right here on the Christian Worldview Radio Program, where the mission is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.
I'm David Wheaton, the host. The Christian Worldview is a non-profit, listener-supported radio ministry. We are able to reach believers and non-believers with that mission through the radio station, website, or app on which you are listening today because of the support of listeners like you.
So thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and support. You can connect with us by visiting our website, thoughChristianworldview.org, calling our toll-free number, 1-888-646-2233, or by writing to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Heresy is defined as, quote, belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine, unquote. For two millennia of church history, it has been the orthodox belief of Christians and churches who esteemed Scripture as the highest authority that men, not women, with character, quote, above reproach, are qualified to serve as pastors or overseers in the church. Scripture and church history are so clear on this that to propose that women should be pastors really is to willfully reject God in His design for His church. First Timothy 3 is one scriptural basis for male-only pastors. Notice the specificity of men as church overseers in the use of male pronouns.
Paul writes, it is a trustworthy statement. If any man aspires to the office of overseer or pastor, it is a fine work he desires to do. An overseer then must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, temperant, prudent, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not addicted to wine or pugnacious, but gentle, peaceable, free from the love of money.
He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity. But if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God? And not a new convert, so that he will not become conceited and fall into the condemnation incurred by the devil.
And he must have a good reputation with those outside the church so that he will not fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. That's First Timothy, chapter three, verses one through seven. God's word is just as clear in the previous chapter, First Timothy, chapter two, where Paul writes, I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived fell into transgression.
First Timothy two, verses 12 through 14. Rick Warren is arguably the most well-known pastor in the world. He was the pastor at the megachurch Saddleback in Southern California for decades.
He is the author of numerous bestselling books and speaks at major venues all over the world. Rick Warren is also the current chief proponent for the heresy of female pastors being integrated into the Southern Baptist Convention, which is the largest Protestant denomination in America and the one his own church was disfellowshipped from due to Rick Warren ordaining multiple women to pastoral roles. Rick Warren is not going silently into the night on this issue. The Southern Baptist annual meeting is coming up on June 12th and 13th in New Orleans, where the attendees or messengers, as they are known, will vote to confirm or overturn the disfellowshipping of Saddleback. In the lead up to that meeting, Rick Warren is using his formidable position and influence to persuade the Southern Baptist Convention away from biblical and historical orthodoxy on the issue of female pastors to heresy.
Again, heresy means, quote, belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious doctrine, unquote. Today on the Christian Rule of Your Radio program, Mike Stone, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Blackshear, Georgia, and a candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention, will join us to discuss this issue and others within the SBC and what his vision is for the denomination going forward. Mike, thank you for taking the time to come on the Christian Rule of Your Radio program today.
Just start out by introducing yourself. Tell us about your background and how and why you became a believer in Jesus Christ. Well, David, thanks for having me on the program.
I'm so grateful for the work that you do and grateful to be able to engage with the listeners for your program. I was raised in a Christian home. I'm a lifetime resident of the state of Georgia. I pastor a church here in the heart of Southeast Georgia. I think I probably heard the gospel in utero as far as just physically hearing the gospel. My parents have been devout Jesus followers for all of my life. And so I couldn't tell you the first time that I remember hearing about the Lord Jesus. My dad was a Sunday school teacher.
He and my mom are just faithful workers in a local church. But I was raised in a very small church of a different denomination. And I remember hearing and understanding the gospel when I was in the first grade. But it was one Sunday night, a typical Sunday night service growing up as a church kid, that my volunteer pastor preached the gospel faithfully. And I heard the gospel that night in a way I had never really heard it before.
And that is I heard it with the bottom of my heart. This Holy Spirit enabled me to hear and understand and receive the message of the gospel. It was a simple salvation message, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
I don't remember the text, but I remember that night. I knew that I was a sinner, that Jesus had died on the cross for my sin. And after his death, that he had been resurrected from the dead and promised repentance and faith for all who would come to him. And that night I prayed to receive Christ and I was gloriously saved by God's mercy. I've sought to live for the Lord all of my life since that time, never really gone through an extended season of disobedience from the Lord. I felt a vocational call on my life going back to the tenth grade and ended up going into the music ministry for several years, eight and a half years, and actually served as the minister of music at the church that I now pastor.
I served here on staff for five and a half years. And then in June, I will celebrate 21 years here as senior pastor. Well, thank you for sharing your story. I always just think it's amazing how someone can grow up in the church, be hearing the gospel. It's not penetrating, but all of a sudden the Holy Spirit works upon a person's heart and all of a sudden it makes complete sense. And that's when you come to repentance and true saving faith.
So thank you for for sharing your conversion story, how you came to saving faith. Pastor Mike Stone is with us today on the Christian worldview radio program. He's a candidate for president in the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention.
Let's get into that right away, Mike. You're you're running for the president of the Southern Baptist Convention. It's the largest Protestant denomination in America. How does your vision for the SPC differ from the current president, Bart Barber? Well, first of all, Bart is running for reelection, so having a different candidate be nominated in a typical reelection year is unusual for Southern Baptists, at least going back for several decades to what Southern Baptists call the conservative resurgence. So I want to reiterate that Bart is a fine man. He is a faithful pastor, loves the Lord, loves and preaches the Bible. But he and I have a different set of views as to some of the critical issues going on right now in the Southern Baptist Convention. I was a candidate for president of the SPC two years ago, and another brother was elected by basically a fifty two to forty eight percent vote. Following that time, David, I thought I would come back to Southeast Georgia and shepherd my family.
My wife and I have four wonderful children ages 10 to 20. The oldest is on the mission field today, spending the summer in Madrid, Spain, helping our international mission board plant Spanish speaking churches. And I thought I would spend the rest of my ministry shepherding my family and pastoring the wonderful congregation here at Emmanuel Baptist. But back in February at the meeting of what we call the Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee, that's the National Board of Trustees that helps to oversee the daily operations of who we are as Southern Baptists. And in that meeting, it was announced that our financial trajectory was unsustainable, largely because of the way the Southern Baptist Convention is responding to the sex abuse issues that have really stayed in the headlines for the last several years. It was also announced at that meeting that our leaders were recommending that we partner again with a corporation called Guidepost Solutions. That's a third party investigation group that we were had been using and were proposing to continue to use to assist Southern Baptists in dealing with the sex abuse issues.
And suffice to say that Guidepost Solutions has made it widely known of their support for the LGBTQIA plus movement. And I just feel that that is a bridge too far, that our leaders would call us to partner with a group that embraces sexual perversion from any biblical perspective to assist Southern Baptists in dealing with issues of sexual perversion, sexual crime, and sexual abuse. Those announcements made my phone start to ring from concerned like-minded Southern Baptists across the country. They asked me if I would pray about receiving a nomination this year. And obviously after consultation with my wife, our church staff, our deacons, and our congregation, the Lord has led me to be willing to be nominated again. And that brings us to this conversation today. Mike Stone with us today on the Christian worldview. Speaking of that issue of the allegations of sexual abuse within the Southern Baptist Convention, talk about the scale of that.
Because you're right, it's been a trickle, trickle, trickle over the last several years, all these different abuse cases alleged in the Guidepost Solutions investing, getting them and so forth. But is the incidence of this something that is remarkable or very high, considering the size of the Southern Baptist Convention and how many churches it represents? Yeah, let me begin by saying that I myself suffered sexual abuse at the hands of a perpetrator when I was from ages eight to 10. And I'd never shared that information with anyone for 40 years until I shared it with the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention.
As we began addressing these issues, I just felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to share my own personal story. So there's no one in your audience, no one in America, that holds a dimmer, stronger view about sexual abuse. There are no words strong enough to express my hatred of it, whether that's as an individual who has suffered in this way, as a husband, as a dad, as a pastor of a local church.
Sexual abuse is a horrible, horrible thing. However, when you look at the statistics that have taken place with some of the news stories that have come out, particularly over the last four years, many of these stories go back 25, 30 years and more, and they deal with the millions and millions and millions of staff members, pastors, and even volunteers that have ever served in the context of a Southern Baptist congregation. There are over 47,000 churches in the United States that are affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, but we are not a hierarchical, top-down kind of denomination. There have been attempts, I believe, to equate what's going on in local churches with what we saw happen in the Roman Catholic religion, and I believe that that is a misrepresentation of the facts.
I believe that is a misperception of who we are as Southern Baptists. So sexual abuse has occurred. Often it has occurred in local church contexts, and the only thing, David, that I think that makes sexual abuse any worse than it already is is when it's done under the banner of the name of the Lord Jesus, because then you have not only the sin and the crime and the abuse issue itself, but you have that which would seek to diminish the name of the Lord Jesus.
And as Nathan told David, you've given the enemies of God an occasion to blaspheme. The question is not, has abuse occurred? The question is, where did it occur, who did it, and who should be claiming responsibility for it? And I believe that our national leaders and the SBC over the last few years have taken us in the wrong direction by claiming some national collective responsibility for the bad, sinful, wicked acts of individual people in individual autonomous Southern Baptist churches. Pastor Mike Stone with us today, nominated for president here of the upcoming annual meeting at the Southern Baptist Convention. And so the justification for those kinds of allegations that there's just something wrong with the Southern Baptist Convention stems from the fact that all this abuse comes from the fact that the convention is a patriarchal based organization. In other words, it believes in male only pastors at churches, husbands to lead homes and so forth, they would draw a direct line, correct me if I'm wrong, Mike, between the issue of abuse and the fact that it's a patriarchal or biblical organization in regards to men being pastors and husbands being leaders in the home. But stay tuned, we're going to take a short break for some ministry announcements. But when we return, we're going to get into the big issue at this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting on the issue of female pastors. Rick Warren's former church Saddleback has been disfellowshipped by the Southern Baptist Convention for ordaining multiple women as pastors. And there's going to be a vote on that at this year's annual meeting. Mike Stone is going to talk about all that, including responding to the statement that Rick Warren has made saying why the decision by the Southern Baptist Convention should be overturned regarding his former church Saddleback.
Much more coming up on the Christian worldview. I'm David Wheaton. Have faith in God. Don't be intimidated by lines. If the world says back down, don't do this.
Fling open your windows. Pray openly, so to speak. That's what Daniel did. Don't be ashamed.
Don't be intimidated. A blind anemic need flee on crutches has more chance of defeating a herd of a thousand wild stampeding elephants than this world has of stopping the will of God. There's nothing they can do to stop God's will.
And if you're a Christian, you've aligned yourself with God's will. That was evangelist Ray Comfort exhorting believers to stand firm and speak boldly, just like Daniel. Ray's new book, So Many Lions, So Few Daniels is 192 pages, softcover and retails for $16.99. You can order the book for a donation of any amount to the Christian worldview. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. What is the Christian worldview radio program really about? Fundamentally, it's about impacting people, families, churches with the life and eternity changing truth of God's word. We know the gospel of Jesus Christ is the only message that saves us from God's wrath, by God's grace, for God's glory.
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Welcome back to the Christian worldview, I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website thechristianrealview.org where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print center, order resources for adults and children, and support the ministry. Our topic today is Rick Warren, female pastors in the textbook path to heresy, and Pastor Mike Stone is our guest. He's also a candidate for president at this year's Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting. Mike, I'm going to read a short column because this gets to one of the big issues going on right now in the SBC is the issue of female pastors.
This is going to be a front and center issue at the annual meeting for the Southern Baptist Convention coming up. According to the website protestia, the executive committee of the SBC released a list of five churches they deem not in friendly cooperation with the denomination due to their insistence on having women functioning in their office of pastor. One of those churches was Saddleback, who ordained several women as pastors in late 2021. And then they handed the church over to a husband and wife co pastor team. And then again, recently announced a new campus pastor for the Lake Forest campus, a woman named Katie Edwards. And so to respond to this and they were disfellowship as a partnering church with the SBC Saddleback was Rick Warren wrote a statement to the website called churchleaders.com and he gave five reasons why Saddleback is going to be appealing this decision by the SBC executive committee to disfellowship them.
And the reasons are this, and I'll just briefly go over those. He said, Rick Warren, we're challenging the ruling on behalf of millions of SBC women whose God given spiritual gifts and leadership skills are being wasted instead of empowered for the Great Commission, Warren said, quote, we cannot finish the task Jesus gave us with 50% of the church forced to sit on the bench. He added, Warren further challenged the decision by noting that quote, Great Commission Baptists believe that Jesus authorized every woman to go to make disciples to baptize and to teach just as he authorized every man, unquote. Number two, Rick Warren writes, quote, we're challenging the ruling on behalf of over 300 concerned pastors who have female pastors serving on their staff and have written to me, Warren said. He noted that many church leaders are quote, fearful and worried that their congregations will also be disfellowshipped when the new inquisition discovers them, unquote. So apparently, according to Rick Warren, this is a widely accepted practice within the Southern Baptist Convention for churches to have female pastors.
And this is kind of an inquisition to root them out. Number three, quote, we're challenging the ruling on behalf of our International Mission Board missionaries. Warren highlighted the decline in Baptist missionaries by almost 1500 people over the last 23 years. This decline, he says, began when the revised Baptist faith and message, that's the doctrinal statement of the SBC, was approved in the year 2000. Quote, with a renewed emphasis on the restriction of women, we'll lose more godly female church planters and couples serving as pastoral teams in the mission field, unquote, Warren argued.
There's two more. We believe a decision this critical to the SBC's identity and future should be decided by the messengers, not a committee, Warren asserted. Quote, the messengers must decide if they want the executive committee to act like a Catholic magisterium, unquote. And finally, the fifth point that Rick Warren made, quote, our goal is to spark the thinking of messengers regarding the direction of the SBC, regardless of the outcome of the vote, the pastor said, quote, if you really love something, you fight for it. But sometimes it takes years for people to consider an event before change happens, he continued. Pointing to the work of evangelical and abolitionist William Wilberforce, Warren highlighted the importance of change, quote, Wilberforce lost every vote for 17 years before the slave trade was eventually abolished.
It took 10 years after the lynching of Emmett Till in 1955, for the civil rights movement of the 1960s to coalesce. Note my prediction, the next generation of Southern Baptist, he says, will remove the restriction on women one day, because truth eventually triumphs over tradition, unquote. Lastly, Warren revealed that Saddleback has been told by quote, both of California Southern Baptist State Convention, and our Orange County Southern Baptist Association, that the executive committee ruling will be ignored at their levels, unquote. So Mike, Rick Warren is throwing everything against the wall here to see what will stick using racism, loaded words like women are restricted words like inquisition to describe the current state of affairs within the Southern Baptist Convention. And he's been on a real media tour heading up to the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, trying to make his case that not only has his own church started to ordain females in pastoral roles, but the entire Southern Baptist Convention should do so too. What's explicitly in the SBC's Baptist faith and message document, which states that while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by scripture.
So sorry for all that, that setup. But where do you see this going? And why is this such a critically important issue? Well, first of all, let me just say as kindly but as bluntly as I know how Rick Warren is no Wilberforce. And the issue of females violating the scriptural prohibition to pastor, or sit in places of authority in the local church over serving over godly men is nowhere near to be compared to the terrible issue of chattel slavery.
That is a gaslighting straw man argument if I've ever heard one, I saw the article that you referenced. So let me just quickly go through the five things that Rick mentions the idea that that prohibiting women from serving as pastors of churches means that their skills are wasted. First of all, you would actually be accusing God himself of doing that, because Southern Baptists did not come up with the issue of complementarian leadership, we see that pictured throughout the Word of God. And we see it clearly proclaimed in the apostolic teachings of the Apostle Paul, most notably, First Timothy, chapter two, verses nine through 15, as well as when you look at the scriptural criteria to serve as an overseer or a pastor in a local church over and over again, the text says, here's what he must be, he must be, he must be, he must be, including that he must be the husband of one wife.
And I'm sure there can be differences of opinion as to how the phrase husband of one wife should be applied. But if anybody thinks that a woman can be the husband of one wife, they've got bigger doctrinal issues than the idea of female pastorates. So the idea that these skills are wasted, is a non starter with me, the fact that there are 300 other churches in cooperation with the SBC that also are known according to Rick's calculations, to have female pastors has nothing to do with what we should do with Saddleback or with this issue.
Rick's ministry, quite frankly, has been driven by pragmatism almost from the very beginning, and uses the rising of numbers or the declining of numbers to be sort of the wind that sets the sail of his direction. And I just reject that, believing in the authority and the sufficiency of God's word. He mentions the decline in missionaries. Again, God is in the business of calling out men and women and teenagers to be on mission, many of them committing their lives to the foreign mission field. But the position of the scripture, you're never going to diminish the work of the Great Commission and the sovereign work of God by tying yourself to the authority of the scripture.
His notion, fourthly, that this matter should be decided by the messengers to the convention, it actually already has been. Rick is the one and the other churches that he references, they are the ones that are out of step with who Southern Baptists have already declared and decided ourselves to be. He is the one that is a statistical outlier and is trying to force his position upon the Southern Baptist Convention. And I've already addressed the idea that he wants to spark the kind of thinking to be a William Wilberforce type of figure in the Southern Baptist Convention.
In South Georgia, we would say very simply that that dog won't hunt. Southern Baptists have been very clear through the Baptist Faith and Message that we believe what the scriptures teach, and that's the ultimate authority, not the will of the messengers to the annual meeting of the SBC, and quite frankly, not even the doctrinal statement, the statement of faith of the SBC, which we call the Baptist Faith and Message. The ultimate determiner of this matter is God's infallible, sufficient and authoritative word. Amen to that. Pastor Mike Stone with us here on the Christian Real View today, a candidate for president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Their annual meeting is coming up very soon. Now Denny Burke wrote this about Rick Warren's leadership on this issue. He said, Rick Warren and Saddleback have done us the service of showing their hand. They adopted a faith and practice that are directly at odds with the Baptist Faith and Message. And I would add, in the Bible as well, instead of walking away amicably, in other words, Rick Warren did this at his own church, instead of just walking away amicably and without rancor, they have decided to introduce division and controversy into our convention. They want to persuade us to abandon what the Bible teaches on these things and follow them in another direction.
I think that was a very, very correct assessment of what's going on here. Rick Warren has said himself that the Saddleback network of churches do not need the Southern Baptist Convention. It's the other way around. The Southern Baptist Convention needs a Saddleback church. So he could have just walked away and said, well, I really don't need you. And we're just going to do what we want to do in our own network of churches.
But he hasn't done that. His goal here is to lead, as Denny Burke's saying, the whole convention away. And this is introduced division and controversy into it. And so the church leaders website, Mike, said that the three churches, three of the five, I guess, that were disfellowshipped will be given a brief time to speak before the message at the SBC annual meeting on June 13th regarding their removal from the convention. According to the statement, this opportunity will take place during the afternoon session in which one representative of the church that's been disfellowshipped will be recognized to speak and one representative of the credentials committee or executive committee shall be permitted to speak to the question. After the church representative speaks, a ballot vote will take place. And so as I think about this, I'm thinking, why is voting on an issue by just people, just those who attend the meeting?
I mean, anyone could really, not anyone, but you could recruit who you want to attend this meeting if you work hard enough politically behind the scenes. Why is voting on an issue that the Bible is very clear about that you've mentioned, the Baptist faith and message is very clear about? Is there something that's going on that they want to vote on this? Because I think that will somehow be the cementing of this throughout the convention. And if the credentials committee or executive committee's decision on disfellowshipping these churches gets turned down, the people vote no. What does that mean for the future of the SBC then?
Yeah, I think that would be a very troubling decision on the part of the messengers. I personally anticipate that the messengers will affirm the decision of the executive committee to disfellowship Saddleback as well as one other church with a female pastor that's coming to make this appeal. We as Southern Baptist believe in congregational government. We believe in what is called the priesthood of all believers. And we believe that the body corporate is the one to make ultimate decisions about the direction of that body.
And that's why it's ultimately the messengers to the convention who will decide to either support or overturn the decision already made by our executive committee. To the broader point, I agree 100 percent with what Denny Burke wrote. Denny is a professor at Boyce College and at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
He also serves on staff at a church there in Louisville, Kentucky. And he is one of the sharpest minds and writers on Southern Baptist issues. I agree the Southern Baptist Convention is not the one that is raising this issue and trying to force the issue. It's people like Rick Warren and churches like Saddleback that are forcing these issues. And I think if they find themselves with the faith and practice that is out of step with who we are as Southern Baptists, that does not mean that they're no longer Christians. It doesn't mean that they're no longer doing any work of worth or value for the kingdom's sake.
But they're the ones whose position has changed. The Southern Baptist Convention is still standing where we have been on this complementarian issue. I'll give you just a quick local church analogy. In the church that I pastor, we have a new members class that is required to complete the membership application and we lay out who we are in our doctrine and our practice. And I regularly tell those attendees that if you don't agree with these things, we're not angry with you, we're not going to be mad at you if you choose to go join another fellowship. But don't think that you're going to come in with a different set of views and change who we are.
We're not joining you, you're choosing to join us. And when churches begin to have a doctrine and practice that differs from who we are as a convention, the easiest and simplest what I think the right thing to do would be for them to withdraw themselves. And it is in that case, I'll just say simply, that I believe what the credentials committee and the executive committee has done in the case of Saddleback is not so much declaring them to be out of cooperation with the SBC as much as it is agreeing with them that their position is out of cooperation with the SBC. I think that the proper thing that churches like Saddleback should do is simply withdraw from the convention because they're the ones already out of step with who we are as a convention of churches. That makes perfect sense to me, Pastor Mike Stone with us today, a candidate for the Southern Baptist Convention presidency coming up at their annual meeting very shortly. And we have one more segment coming up with Pastor Mike Stone as we discuss another hot button issue, the issue of quote unquote gay Christianity that's making inroads into the Southern Baptist Convention.
So I hope you'll stay tuned for that. You are listening to the Christian Real View Radio program. I'm David Wheaton. Here's Christian journalist Alex Newman on why some of our fellow citizens are destroying our historic values to enact a great reset to globalism. They have no loyalty to the United States. In fact, I think many of these people at the highest levels absolutely despise the United States, partly because it has been a historically Christian nation. It has taken the gospel to every corner of this planet, like no other nation in all of human history. As I mentioned earlier, it's founded on these biblical principles, really a lot of the principles that are at the core of our republic.
These came directly out of scripture and our founding fathers made that crystal clear in their writings. You can order Alex Newman's 80 minute DVD presentation on how globalists are attempting a great reset for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Have faith in God. Don't be intimidated by lions. If the world says, back down, don't do this, fling open your windows. Pray openly, so to speak. That's what Daniel did. Don't be ashamed.
Don't be intimidated. A blind anemic need flee on crutches has more chance of defeating a herd of a thousand wild, stampeding elephants than this world has of stopping the will of God. There's nothing they can do to stop God's will.
And if you're a Christian, you've aligned yourself with God's will. That was evangelist Ray Comfort exhorting believers to stand firm and speak boldly, just like Daniel. Ray's new book, So Many Lions, So Few Daniels is 192 pages, softcover and retails for $16.99. You can order the book for a donation of any amount to the Christian Real View. Go to thechristianrealview.org or call 1-888-646-2233 or write to Box 401 Excelsior, Minnesota 55331. Welcome back to the Christian Real View.
I'm David Wheaton. Be sure to visit our website, thechristianrealview.org, where you can subscribe to our free weekly email and annual print letter. Order resources for adults and children and support the ministry. Our topic today is Rick Warren, Female Pastors in the Textbook Path to Heresy. And our guest is Pastor Mike Stone, a candidate for president at the upcoming Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting.
Mike, another cultural hot button issue that's also making inroads into the SBC that I'm sure you're very aware of, this idea of quote unquote gay Christians or same sex attractive disciples as they're often called. There's a young woman named Rachel Gilson, who is the director of theological development for CREW in the Northeast. She holds, she went to Yale. She's working on her PhD from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary right now, one of the seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention. She's the author of Born Again This Way. She was described by the Center for Faith, Sexuality and Gender. I think a man named Preston Sprinkle saying she's attracted to women married to a man and loves studying and writing about Jesus.
And she's a very soft spoken, intelligent speaker. And she's going to be featured at the Southern Baptist Convention in a meeting of, I believe it's a forum for pastors' wives, and also a session at the Southern Baptist Convention titled Reforming Gen Z, Technology, Sexuality and Human Formation. And she is totally in favor of the idea of a Christian being your same sex attracted Christian. You can be a gay Christian, you need to be celibate if you are, but there's a blurring of the lines that she's very effective at communicating.
And so the question for you, Mike, is where is the SBC headed on this issue? And how would you recommend listeners today discern through the carefully worded messaging that those in this same sex attracted movement or queer Christianity or gay Christianity movement are able to make in their videos and their speeches and so forth? I could do no better than to just remind listeners and other Southern Baptists of the words of the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul. Whether it's this issue or any other issue of ongoing lifestyle of sin, he warns us and cautions us with as strong words as you'll find in the New Testament.
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators or idolaters, adulterers, homosexuals, sodomites, thieves or covetous, drunkards or revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And listen to this, David, and such were, past tense, such were some of you, but you were washed, you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. To suggest that someone could be in a lifestyle of sin and their very nature has not been transformed by the power of the gospel just strikes at the very heart of the gospel message and the doctrine of regeneration. I cannot think of very many other sin issues that we would accept this kind of flawed theological thinking on.
And I know the illustration I'm about to use is a third rail issue. It's a hot topic if there ever were one. But imagine someone who said, before I came to Christ, I was attracted to minor children. Before I came to Jesus, I was a pedophile.
And now I still have attractions toward young children, but I'm choosing to sacrifice those pedophilic affections by being married to an adult. We would laugh that to scorn and rightly so. The idea that someone is in a heterosexual marriage while still having same-sex attractions and saying that is consistent with the doctrine of regeneration and the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is something that Southern Baptists should not accept at all. And I have been greatly concerned and troubled, not only by her position, but by the fact that she is being propped up, promoted, and even defended by some of the leading voices in our Southern Baptist Convention. I think it's just one of several unhealthy headwinds that we're beginning to see in the SBC, where we seem to be, in many cases, more concerned about getting the applause of the leftists in the culture than being faithful to graciously but boldly proclaim what Jude called the faith once for all delivered to the saints.
We're just so thankful for you, Mike, that you are standing on scripture and not going sailing with those cultural winds. And so, final question for you is, as you've discussed these things going on within the Southern Baptist Convention, you've talked about the sexual abuse, the allegations of that. You've talked about the big issue of the churches that have had female passage being voted on, whether they're going to be brought back into fellowship or not.
You talked about the issue, the hot-button issue of quote-unquote gay Christianity, an oxymoron if I've ever heard one. You've been in leadership at the Southern Baptist Convention, so this is obviously quite a big tent. There's lots of movements going on within the Southern Baptist Convention in opposition to each other, pulling it one way or the other, even going out to seminaries and colleges and so forth within the convention. How are you able to navigate working with other leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention who have diametrically opposed doctrinal viewpoints than you do?
Well, it certainly can be a challenge at times. As Southern Baptists, we do believe that we can do more together than we can do individually. When you look at the potential Great Commission potential of the network of churches called Southern Baptists, I believe it's something worth staying in and fighting for. I've had a lot of like-minded pastors over the last few years who have led their churches to withdraw from the Southern Baptist Convention. But when I look at the work of our International Mission Board, the North American Mission Board, six world-class top-tier Southern Baptist seminaries that educate more than one-third of the seminarians on the North American continent, when I look at what we're able to do through disaster relief, and I could go on and on about some very worthwhile things going on in the family of churches known as Southern Baptists, I believe it's something worth staying involved in and invested in, as the Spirit of God would give us freedom to do so. I do find that within the Southern Baptist Convention, there are plenty of people who hold different views than I hold. But where we can rally around our agreed-upon doctrinal statement, the Baptist faith and message, I believe these other areas are places where we can agree to disagree and still partner together in fellowship. The greater concern that I have are on issues such as the sexuality issue, when there are churches and key leaders who are operating outside of our agreed-upon statement of faith.
That's not enlarging the tent. That's actually pulling up the stakes, and the tent is going to collapse on us. So as long as we can come together around our agreed-upon doctrinal statement, I don't believe that God has necessarily made us as twin brothers or twin sisters, but brothers and sisters in the family of faith, and would be grateful to partner with like-minded Baptists through the work of the SBC. Well, Mike, we thank you for taking the time at a very busy time of your life, heading into this annual meeting for the Southern Baptist Convention, to come on the Christian Wheelview radio program and talk about some of the issues going on within the convention. You've given listeners to this program several things to pray for, including your candidacy, your nomination for presidency, and we'll be looking very eagerly to see where the Lord leads this convention going forward. So thank you once again for coming on the program. We just wish all of God's best and grace to you and your family in Emmanuel Baptist Church in Georgia. David, thank you.
It's been a privilege to be with you. Let's remember to pray for Pastor Mike Stone as he heads into the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, that the Lord would lead the hearts of those messengers to vote for someone who has the commitment and conviction to God's Word as He does. Now, as for Rick Warren and the textbook Path to Heresy, he has produced a number of videos leading into the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting that are ostensibly focused on church and denominational revitalization. He sees that there's been a lot of loss of members within the Southern Baptist Convention over the last couple decades, so he talks about that. But ultimately, one of the big issues that he sees driving that is the fact that the Southern Baptist Convention holds to a conviction on female pastors that he thinks is not correct.
Here's the audio. I'm Rick Warren, just one of thousands of pastors who serve our Savior, the Southern Baptist Church. I have no power or position or authority in our denominational family.
And like most of you, I've just tried to serve God's purpose in my generation, like David did in Acts 13, 36. Of course, this is disingenuous for him to say he has no power or position or authority within the convention. He is the most popular, well-known, influential pastor within the Southern Baptist Convention, despite the fact that he probably doesn't hold any official position at this point. Now, this is part one of a short video series that I'm calling the SBC at the Crossroads Denial or Revival. And in this first video, I want to talk about what our leaders seem to be unable to admit or to talk about at the annual convention. And that is our continued 17-year decline, where we've lost over three million members. You have to remember that this is how Rick Warren determines success in ministry by numbers, churches planted, professions of faith, number of pastors trained, number of missionaries sent, number of members within a denomination.
But of course, numbers do not tell the whole story. Success in God's eyes is obedience to him and letting him take care of any results. Now in the third video, part three, I want to take you through all of the New Testament passages that support the great commission ministry of women.
Notice how he didn't describe the issue fully there. No Christian should be against women in ministry. The issue is whether women should be pastors in churches. Now, I don't expect to change many minds because honestly, it took me years of Bible study. But I just want to show you that there are biblical alternatives.
Listen, biblical alternatives to both complementarianism and egalitarianism. Now, while both of those positions have strengths, they both, in my opinion, have unbiblical weaknesses, and they ignore important Bible verses. So actually, I'm neither. I'm neither one of them. I reject them both.
This is a kind of dialectical materialism argumentation he's using here. I'm neither one of the extremes, the egalitarians who believe that women can and should be pastors, or I'm not one of those complementarians, which says that men only can be pastors. So here he is finding a third way, the truthful way, according to Rick Warren, that he found through extensive study in the Bible and uses the word biblical over and over again. Now, if you're honest, you'll have to admit that Paul often says things about women in Scripture that appear to contradict each other. So tell me what you want to believe, what you want to believe, and I'll show you the verses you have to ignore or rationalize away.
Because I was raised with a cultural view that probably most of you were taught about women. It took me three years of serious biblical exegesis, comparing Scripture with Scripture to change my mind. I knew the four prohibition passages, but honestly, I'd never personally studied each Greek word, the background, the context of why Paul wrote it and then compared it with the passages where Paul says the exact opposite. What he's doing here is just injecting doubt into the orthodox interpretation of Scripture that's been around for millennia, that men only qualified men are to be pastors in the church.
And there are many other very important roles in the church for women, just not that of pastor. So I'll be honest, for me, this is a difficult journey. It was a difficult journey to have my biases and cultural traditions blown away by the word of God.
But when I was confronted with the truth, I had to humbly repent, no matter what my friends would think of me. And what finally converted me on this issue was a question of Jesus. You know, the Pharisees were the fundamentalists of Jesus' day. They love making rules. They love being legalistic. They love protecting traditions, and they love judging others. And they come to Jesus and they say, Lord, why do you break the traditions of the elders? And Jesus asks them a question back in Matthew 15, verse three. He says, and why do you break the commands of God for the sake of your traditions? Well, that did it for me.
That was the thing that pushed me over. Okay, so this is the textbook path to heresy right here. He vilifies the opposition, calling them the Pharisees, the hypocrites, the fundamentalists. In other words, those who believe the Bible teaches that men only should be pastors, they're like the Pharisees who are just keeping their traditions of men as if it's not a conviction based on actually what scripture says. Do you see how he does that? Now, just as comparison, let's hear how Pastor John MacArthur preaches on this particular issue with a lot more clarity and firmly grounded right in scripture.
Now, there's no lack of clarity. Again, I say, go back to 1 Corinthians 14, that Paul's words could be mistaken is impossible, as in all the churches of the saints, the women are to keep silent in the churches. They're not permitted to speak. It's disgraceful for a woman to speak. Now, I'm going to guess that this is one of the, quote, prohibition passages against female pastors that Rick Warren was talking about in his soundbite. But how can you take that passage any other way, especially when you compare it to other passages of scripture, like in 1 Timothy that say the exact same thing? There is no contradiction that Paul is making against himself by other passages saying that women should be pastors and preach. In the face of that, it might be shocking to you to know this, but in a survey conducted in 2017, about 80 percent of Americans are comfortable with a female pastor. Sixty-two percent of practicing Christians are open to women pastors. Forty percent of evangelicals are fine with women pastors. In pastoral training there's a degree, a graduate degree, called a Master of Divinity.
It's generally speaking a three- or four-year degree to prepare you for pastoral ministry. Fifty percent of women enrolled in seminaries, fifty percent of, I should say, MDiv students in seminaries are women preparing for pastoral ministry. Twenty-five percent of seminary faculties are women. That means you have women faculty members teaching women students to be pastors. Eleven percent of seminary presidents are women. Twenty-seven percent of pastors across this country are women.
This is an explosion. In 1960, two percent of clergy were women. The women's movement has basically just erupted in the church, and the last frontier for the movement is the evangelical church, the last frontier to fall victim to the rebellion of feminism, along with cultural Marxism. Perhaps women pastors and women preachers are the most obvious evidence of churches rebelling against the Bible. I can't think of anything that's as far-reaching and transcends all denominations as the women's rebellion against the Word of God with regard to women preachers. Women who pastor and women who preach in a church are a disgrace, and they openly reflect opposition to the clear command of the Word of God.
This is flagrant disobedience. It has been acceptable in our culture and now acceptable even in the evangelical world. I'm not sure how recent this message was by Pastor John MacArthur. I think it was within the last few years, though, and I think it's sadly inevitable that this is going to become bigger and bigger, and now it has come in to evangelicalism.
The Southern Baptist Convention is representative of the largest swath of evangelicalism, and now it's here. I read an article this week written by a woman. The title is Have Em Div Will Preach, and this woman writing this article said the article is designed to answer this question. How does sexism play a role as your congregation works to embrace the pastoral leadership of women? So if you're not willing to embrace the pastoral leadership of women, you're not biblical, you're sexist. And that is part of the implicit argument that is taking place within the Southern Baptist Convention and broader evangelicalism right now. The culture has swallowed feminism, and now so has the evangelical church.
If you don't believe women should be pastors, you're sexist and you're part of the patriarchy. Brothers and sisters in Christ, the Word of God is very clear on this issue, and we should not depart from what it says. Thank you for joining us today on The Christian Real View. Let's anchor our faith in what Scripture says. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever, and so is His Word.
So until next time, think biblically, live accordingly, and stand firm. The mission of The Christian Real View is to sharpen the biblical worldview of Christians and to proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ. We hope today's broadcast encouraged you toward that end. To hear a replay of today's program, order a transcript, or find out what must I do to be saved, go to thechristianrealview.org or call toll-free 1-888-646-2233. The Christian Real View is a listener-supported nonprofit radio ministry furnished by the Overcomer Foundation. To make a donation, become a Christian Real View partner, order resources, subscribe to our free newsletter, or contact us, visit thechristianrealview.org, call 1-888-646-2233, or write to Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. That's Box 401, Excelsior, Minnesota, 55331. Thanks for listening to The Christian Real View.
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