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The SBC votes in 2023 to keep women from leadership positions. Photo: vide.

Southern Baptists disfellowship churches

Four more churches have been disfellowshipped by the Southern Baptist Convention. One was removed for having a female senior pastor, another for allowing women in church leadership and two for issues related to sexual abuse.

Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., which hired the Rev. Katie McKown as its senior pastor in 2023, was deemed to have a “faith and practice that does not closely identify with the convention’s adopted statement of faith, as demonstrated by the church having a female lead pastor functioning in the office of pastor.”

New Hope Baptist Church in Gastonia, N.C., was formally disfellowshipped over a “lack of reported financial participation for at least the last five years and its lack of intent to cooperate to resolve a question of faith and practice.” Although the church doesn’t list any females as part of its pastoral staff, New Hope’s website states, “We believe in equality in ministry and we do not discriminate between genders.”

Grove Road Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C., and West Hendersonville Baptist Church in Hendersonville, N.C., both were disfellowshipped in connection with concerns related to sexual abuse.

Since the revamping of the SBC Credentials Committee in June 2019, a total of 18 churches have been disfellowshipped. A year ago, the denomination expelled Saddleback Church, one of America’s largest churches that previously was led by popular Pastor Rick Warren, and four others. Saddleback had hired Stacie Wood to serve as the congregation’s teaching pastor.

After Saddleback Church ordained three women pastors in 2021, Chuck Kelley, Al Mohler and Richard Land, theologians who wrote the study guide for the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message Confession, published a statement clarifying the definition of the word “pastor,” which they said means “one who fulfills the pastoral office and carries out the pastor’s functions.” They wrote that Article VI of The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 states that offices of pastors and deacons are “limited to men as qualified by scripture.”

Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, believes hiring women as pastors violates scripture.

“This is no longer a point of tension and debate,” he said. “These moves represent an attempt to redefine and reformulate the convictional foundation of Southern Baptist faith and cooperative ministry. The theological issues have not changed since the year 2000 when Southern Baptists spoke clearly and precisely in the Baptist Faith & Message. More importantly, the Holy Scriptures have not changed and cannot change.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice



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