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Southern Baptists disfellowship churches over sexuality, discrimination issues

Two Southern Baptist churches were disfellowshipped by the denomination this week

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee approved recommendations from the Credentials Committee to disfellowship College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, N.C., for “open affirmation, approval and endorsement of homosexual behavior,” and Amazing Grace Community Church in Franklinville, N.J., for its “lack of cooperation demonstrated to resolve concerns regarding alleged discriminatory behavior.”

“The Credentials Committee determined that these churches were outside the bounds of fellowship with Southern Baptists,” Chairman Jared Wellman said. “The Executive Committee discussed that in executive session and approved those decisions.”

College Park Baptist says on its website that it is a “welcoming, LGBTQIA-affirming Baptist Church. Our LGBTQ-friendly church has many LGBTQ members, in addition to gay/lesbian ministers, deacons and staff members. We perform same-sex weddings and welcome many that have been beaten up by the Bible at other churches.”

The SBC’s statement of belief, the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, says Christians should oppose “all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and pornography” which are explicitly outlined in the Bible.

But while they oppose the behavior, the SBC still welcomes the LGBTQ community to visit churches and opposes demeaning treatment by anyone towards the individual.

Southern Baptist messengers in 2012 passed a resolution stating, “We express our love to those who struggle with same-sex attraction and who are engaged in the homosexual lifestyle. We stand against any form of gay-bashing, whether disrespectful attitudes, hateful rhetoric or hate-incited actions toward persons who engage in acts of homosexuality.

“We encourage our fellow Southern Baptists to consider how they and their churches might engage in compassionate, redemptive ministry to those who struggle with homosexuality. We proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness of sin for those who turn from their sins and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin.”

The Southern Baptist Convention is a network of churches and doesn’t have a strict hierarchy like other denominations. As a result, the ultimate punishment for churches that do not follow Southern Baptist beliefs and standards is disaffiliation. The SBC Credentials Committee makes recommendations on whether churches remain in cooperation with the SBC.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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