Saddleback Church went against the norm of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) when it ordained some female pastors for the first time, a surprising development that elated some and saddened others.

Calling it a "historic night," the congregation announced the ordination of three women ministers on May 8.

"We ordained our first three women pastors, Liz Puffer, Cynthia Petty, and Katie Edwards! We commissioned three new elders, Anthony Miller, Jeremiah Goley, and Jason Williams! And we appointed Pastor Johnny Baker as the new global leader of Celebrate Recovery!" the church shared on Facebook.

As of writing, the post has already received more than 1,600 reactions and a number of comments.

Posted by Saddleback Church on Friday, May 7, 2021


The Christian Post (CP) noted a sharp criticism from Owen Strachan, a professor of theology. He described the move as "unbiblical," citing 1 Timothy 2:9-15. He also urged Saddleback members to leave the congregation, suggesting a couple of churches to transfer to.

"You have options, praise God. Now is the time to leave and find a sound congregation. Do not delay. There is no spirit of competition in what I write here; what Saddleback is doing grieves me, and I have no doubt grieves many in the congregation. How sad! Nonetheless, God is graciously giving you an opportunity to leave an unsound flock, and to place yourself under the care of faithful shepherds who obey the Bible," he continued.

He added that assigning women in such position is not aligned with the Word of God.

"Churches that affirm women pastors are opposing the Word of God, and opposing the Word of God means opposing God himself," the theologian said.

"The time to leave is NOW," he further stated.

According to The Roys Report, the newly ordained women pastors have been serving in the church ministries for over two decades.

Petty has been serving Saddleback's children's ministry since 1998, Puffer in pastoral care since 1994 and Edwards in youth ministry since the late nineties.

Speaking to Live Good, Petty described the change as "revolutionary" and claimed that she "was honored and felt extremely humbled" with the new post.

She said that the role of women in the church has evolved in the last decade, adding that women have gifts that can be used, alongside their male counterparts.

Moreover, the new woman minister stated that she never pursued her current title. But the latest development on affirming women in pastoral leadership "greatly enhanced" young women's "desire to lead and be used to the fullest extent."

"This is a new day for women in ministry and I am honored and blessed to help carry the mantle of being a Pastor and have the title as NextGen Ministries Pastor at Saddleback Church!" Petty declared.

CP mentioned that in 2020, SBC pastors opposed the guesting of Hosanna Wong, a teaching pastor at EastLake Church in California, in the denomination's Pastor's Conference.

The SBC believes that women should be excluded from holding pastoral duties, established through its Resolution on Ordination and the Role of Women in Ministry, citing Paul's example.