A Well-Known Pastor Changes His View About Women Pastors

Let's look at the Scriptures Rick Warren uses to justify changing his view about female pastors.

Recently Rick Warren explained why he has changed his beliefs and now affirms female pastors in his church (source). 

According to Warren:

1. Because the Great Commission was given for all Christians (Matthew 28:19-20), women can be pastors. 

2. Because the Holy Spirit caused both men and women to speak in tongues and prophesy at Pentecost (Acts 2; Joel 2:28), women can be pastors. 

3. Because Jesus told Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples about his resurrection in John 20, he "chose her to be the first preacher of the Gospel." Therefore, women can be pastors.  

It’s true that both men and women are commanded to share the Gospel. It’s true that God’s Spirit caused both men and women to speak in tongues at Pentecost. It’s true that Mary told the disciples that Christ was alive. 

But none of these passages say anything about church leadership and other passages directly address church leadership. 

Scripture specifically explains the different roles of men and woman in the church. 

Women are every bit as valuable and capable as men (Galatians 3:28; Philippians 4:3), but certain leadership roles are reserved for men (1 Timothy 2:11-15; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3).

We may not fully understand the purposes behind these roles, but we can trust God to know what's best for us.


Note: Warren's conclusions are based on what theologians call “eisegesis.” This means a person starts with a belief and tries to find Scriptures to fit that belief. This is the opposite of “exegesis” which means we start with Scripture and formulate our beliefs according to what it teaches.

Conclusions reached by eisegesis usually contradict the straightforward messages in Scripture. This is certainly true in Warren's case (1 Timothy 2:11-15; Titus 1:5-9; 1 Timothy 3). 

Eisegesis typically involves reading something into the text that's not there: e.g. If the giving of the great commission and the giving of the Spirit to both genders means both genders are supposed to be pastors, then we could say that since only men are mentioned at the Last Supper, women are not supposed to take communion (Matthew 26:17-30).

Eisegesis often creates doctrine from situations not meant to create doctrine. If Jesus asking Mary to tell the disciples He was alive creates a doctrine affirming female pastors, we might just as logically claim that men who follow Christ are supposed to get their tax money from fish mouths because that's what Christ told Peter to do (Matthew 17:24-27).

For another example of eisegesis see False Teachings about Sodom and Gomorrah

For one-minute devotions about God's design for men and women:

It's time for Christian men and women to acknowledge God's purposes and reject cultural values! 

Let’s appreciate the blessing of being a women according to God’s design! 
Why these 3 Feminist Arguments fall flat on their face. 

Image of Rick Warren: Creative Commons.

Let's look at the Scriptures Rick Warren uses to justify changing his view about female pastors.


  1. TY, Gail. I am of the opinion that 'women's lib' is the worst thing that happened for women. They were lied to when they were told that they'd be much more fulfilled and happier going to work every day rather than working at home and raising their children. They were essentially robbed of that Joy and now history has shown that it was all part of an evil design. Take the Mother out of the Home by enticing her and what has now happened to the children? They are being raised by total strangers and taught horrific things in many schools, displacing Moms and usurping their authority.

  2. The rapture is a good example of eisegesis. Reading something into a text that's not true.