Rick Warren has spoken out on his biggest regret after one of the most successful terms in modern day ministry.

Warren, the former senior pastor at California’s Saddleback megachurch, has issued an apology to women in the process, stating his biggest regret was holding women back from leadership positions.

“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,” Warren stated. “Shame on me. I wasted those 4 years of Greek in college seminary. When I finally did my proper “due diligence”, laying aside 50 years of bias, I was shocked, chagrined, and embarrassed. So many hermeneutical rules were being violated including: ‘Never build a doctrine on a single word that is used only once in scripture!’

“I’m doing this as a act of obedience to the Holy Spirit. 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? Regardless of attacks and the vote result, I want a clear conscience before my Master … that I repented, and that this sinner did what he asked me to do.

“With that I am completely content to let Him be the judge and evaluator of my life and ministry. We must live for an Audience of One.”

Warren issued the apology given that as a member of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), the nation’s largest denomination, he was not able to elevate women in to leadership positions.

Warren has voiced his support for women pastors in March following the SBC’s expulsion of five churches that ordained female pastors.

Warren, who recently stepped down as the senior minister of Saddleback Church in Orange County, California, spoke out after Saddleback was one of the churches expelled from the SBC denomination.

Saddleback was expelled by the SBC for appointing a woman as a teaching pastor. The SBC Executive Committee, which acts on behalf of the nation’s largest Protestant denomination in-between the convention’s annual meetings, made the ouster official during its winter meeting Feb. 21 in Nashville.

Just last week, Warren spoke out after news broke that the Southern Baptist Convention lost another half million members in 2022.

The Southern Baptist Convention saw a massive decline in membership, with 2022 seeing its biggest decline in the denomination’s history.

Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of to your inbox.