Why I Left Saddleback Church

Before I explain why I left Saddleback church, let’s delve into a brief overview of the church.

Saddleback Church is a large Evangelical Baptist cathedral based in Lake Forest, California. It ranks as one of the biggest churches in the United States of America and the biggest church in California.

The church operates various campuses in California as well as throughout the world. Every week the church has an attendant of over 23,500 people in 2020. The senior minister is Andy Wood.

It was an affiliate of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) from its establishment up until February 21, 2023, when the denomination’s executive committee cast votes to dismember the church over its selection of women to the post of pastor.

Why I Left Saddleback Church

There are many reasons why people leave Saddleback church, most of which are unbiblical. We will analyze the most crucial ones:

Female Pastors

That’s 100% correct. The saddleback church appointed three ladies as pastors on May 6, 2021.

“What’s wrong with this?” you might ask.

The truth is that South Baptists, which is the largest Baptist denomination and the second biggest denomination in the United States, disapprove of women pastors because it is unbiblical.

The bible frowns against these women pastors. Even though it is a controversial issue today, it is a straightforward matter. If you think there is no problem with women being pastors, You should never analyze the bible through the prism of your personal worldview and philosophy. Instead, analyze your personal worldview and philosophy through God’s world. The Bible should be the basis of all Christain beliefs and not fuse it with what they think is right.

To explore this issue, read this detailed article from Christain.com. It is concise and imbued with Biblical truth, explaining why women shouldn’t be preachers or pastors. Let’s continue.

The wife of Rick Warren, Kay, made matters worse by preaching in the church during Mother’s Day. Most liberal churches use Mother’s Day as an opportunity to undermine the rigorous biblical instruction of pastoral duty. Take the case of Beth Moore.

However, this isn’t the only time Kay Warren has preached in the church. Initially, the Southern Baptist Convention left Rick Warren to do whatever he liked with the church.

But as Saddleback appointed women as preachers, SBC had no other option but to confront women preaching. If SBC had done nothing about it, ten SBC and Saddleback churches would have been called out for unbiblical doctrine.

The Purpose Driven Life

The popular best-selling guide, The Purpose Driven Life, has been read by millions across the world. It was written by Pastor Rick Warren and published in 2002. It is well-liked by many. But for what reason? Why is it that Christians will be at odds with one another, especially regarding translations of the bible but make this book their favorite?

Most biblical scholars have criticized the book, including Tim Challies and Jason Harris and Robert Price.

But here are some objections about the book:

Not based on the Bible

The book is not biblically based, even though it has more than a thousand quotes from the scripture. The guidelines contained in the book are inspired by Warren’s experience. This implies that the book is secular in all senses.

Untrue Scripture

In The Purpose Driven Life, Warren quotes numerous passages from the Bible, but he often employs eisegesis. So, he examines the Bible using a filter of his own opinions and uses Scripture without regard to its correct context and meaning to back up those ideas.

Challies provides an instance of Warren using Job 22:21, “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.” In his book, Warren makes good use of this verse. But when viewed in its proper context, we see that this is poor advice from a friend of Job. Warren reportedly took it out of Job without considering the text’s true context. It seems to be quite prevalent in The Purpose Driven Life.

Missing Gospel

There is no gospel present, but he encourages the reader to believe in Jesus. The book makes not one reference to sin, the dire need for a Savior, the ministry of Jesus, or His crucifixion or resurrection. What Christ does Warren advise people to believe in? Without those details, it is definitely not the Jesus of the Bible.

Why, then, does Warren urge people to believe in Jesus? In Rick Warren’s book, we can discover purpose if we trust in the Lord, and purpose is what matters most.

Another lacking gospel, a fixation on a concept besides Jesus, and ignoring Scripture make for a different gospel failure.

Final Words

Even if a church is large, prosperous, and led by a well-known pastor, it may not be what is best. The books of that pastor may be extremely popular. His church may have a hugely successful ministry. Church growth can soar to incredible heights. Don’t be fooled by all of that.

Be cautious. Be extra careful. My own rule of thumb is this: if the church, book, etc., is adored by everybody, then I have to examine it carefully for the problem. That might come off as cynical. Perhaps it is. However, Saddleback and other churches entice people with their hospitality and self-help preaching. Instead of concentrating on biblical truths, they dilute the message of the gospel, mitigate sin, and pander to pop-cultural preferences.

Churches like Saddleback guarantee people their eternal life when they’ve not received the whole gospel. Before they hear Jesus tell them, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” (Matthew 7:23), we have to expose these deceitful ministries and show people the truth.


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