Thursday, November 17, 2016

Baptist Churches allowing openly gay leaders

Baptist Churches allowing openly gay leaders

The Baptist General Convention of Texas has sent a warning letter to a congregation in Dallas that recently voted to allow open homosexuals as members and leaders. According to reports, Wilshire Baptist Church passed a motion 61 percent to allow those in unrepentant homosexual behavior to serve in the house of worship.

While the resolution didn’t specifically mention homosexuality, an explanation on the Wilshire website outlined its intent.

“[T]his resolution would permit all members to participate in congregational life on the same basis as any other church member regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity,” it reads. “This affirms the ability of the church’s committees and lay and staff governance structures to consider all members for leadership, ordination, baby dedication and marriage based upon individual merit and the discernment of those duly elected to governance positions.”

But the matter did not sit well with the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which oversees an estimated 5,000 Baptist churches in the state.

“Should your church choose to publicly affirm same-sex sexual behavior, the BGCT will no longer be able to accept funds from the church, seat its messengers to the annual meeting, allow the church to express affiliation with the BGCT or allow its members to serve on the BGCT boards, committees or other roles,” it warned in a letter to leader George Mason.

The Convention holds to the belief that sexual behavior between those of the same gender is a violation of the law of God.

“This is a painful time for Texas Baptists,” it said in a statement. “We have deep respect and appreciation for the churches involved. While Texas Baptists are loving, respectful and welcoming to all people, we have a longstanding and often reaffirmed biblical position on human sexuality.”

“As in the past, when a church chooses a position outside of the BGCT position, that church effectively withdraws from harmonious cooperation,” the Convention continued. “The BGCT values the autonomy of the local church and the harmony which is vital to the Convention’s purpose of fostering cooperative missions and ministries.”

The organization also sent a warning letter to First Baptist Church of Austin, which likewise welcomes openly homosexual members.

“This bridge has lead us to perform same-sex weddings, ordain LBGTQ+ deacons, and has helped create a safe space in the Baptist world for a group that was often excluded,” leaders wrote in a recent newsletter, according to the Baptist Standard. “Crossing that bridge has not come without cost. We have lost folks who did not agree and have begun to understand this stance may cost us our place in some of our affiliations.”

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