The debate over women in ministry has always existed. Some denominations allow it; others not so much. Since Rick Warren’s retirement and the Southern Baptist Convention’s removal of Saddleback Church from its denomination, Warren has had a change of heart towards women in ministry. Today, he went so far as to issue a public apology via Twitter.
After 53 years, Warren is looking back and expressing regret that he never performed his own exegesis (in-depth Bible study, translation, and interpretation) on the passages of Scripture that speak about women in ministry. There are four specific passages he referenced that many Bible scholars have agreed on prohibit women from being in church leadership.
“My biggest regret in 53 years of ministry is that I didn’t do my own personal exegesis sooner on the 4 passages used to restrict women. Shame on me.” Warren stated on Twitter.
Warren explained that for 50 years he was comfortable with the way he and others have interpreted the text. While Warren doesn’t expect to convince everyone of his new point of view, he now realizes he is accountable to God and knows he is being led by the Holy Spirit in this change.
“I don’t expect to win in New Orleans and I certainly don’t expect to change the mind of any angry fundamentalist. They are responsible to God, not to me. I’m doing this as a act of obedience to the Holy Spirit.”
Then Warren got to the heart of the matter – issuing a bold, public apology to “every good woman in my life.”
“But I DO want to do this: I PUBLICLY APOLOGIZE to every good woman in my life, church, and ministry that I failed to speak up for in my years of ignorance. What grieves me is that I hindered them in obeying the Great Commission command (And Acts 2:17-18) that EVERYONE is to TEACH in the church. I held them back from using the spiritual gifts and leadership skills that the Holy Spirit had sovereignly placed in them. That breaks my heart now, and I am truly repentant and sorry for my sin. I wish I could do it all over. Christian women, will you please forgive me?”
My biggest regret in 53 years of ministry is that I didn’t do my own personal exegesis sooner on the 4 passages used to restrict women. Shame on me.
I wasted those 4 yrs of Greek in college & seminary. When I finally did my proper “due diligence”, laying aside 50 years of… pic.twitter.com/yz3HjNUFw6
— Rick Warren (@RickWarren) June 10, 2023