The Southern Baptist Convention's executive committee is asking the denomination to cut ties with a Texas church, saying it had not taken a clear enough stance on homosexuality.The denomination's constitution declares that any church that acts "to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior" is not in "friendly cooperation."
The issue will go to convention representatives at their annual meeting beginning Tuesday, June 23 at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center.Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth drew convention scrutiny last year after an internal controversy went public -- whether to put pictures of gay couples in a church pictorial directory, which traditionally included family photos. The church decided not to include family pictures at all, but the convention executive committee was seeking a stronger statement from the church against homosexuality.
The committee recommended "that the cooperative relationship between the convention and the church cease, and that the church's messengers not be seated, until such time as the church unambiguously demonstrates its friendly cooperation with the convention under" the constitution's clause.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The Southern Baptist Convention this morning voted out one of its member churches.The convention voted to declare Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, to be not in "friendly cooperation" with the denomination over allegations of being accepting of homosexuality. The convention is meeting in Louisville at the Fair & Expo Center.
The church issued the following statement:
"We are disappointed with the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). Broadway Baptist Church has been affiliated with the SBC for over 125 years. Our mission at Broadway is and will continue to be consistent with the SBC's stated enterprise of reaching the world for Christ. Like other SBC churches, membership at Broadway is by acceptance of Jesus as Savior and Lord and the experience of believer's baptism by immersion."We do not believe Broadway has taken any action which would justify its being deemed not in friendly cooperation with the SBC. It is unfortunate that the Southern Baptist Convention decided otherwise and has severed its affiliation with Broadway Baptist Church."
The SB C's executive committee contends that the church has failed to condemn homosexuality in the fallout of a controversy over whether to include photos of gay couples in the church's pictorial directory, which traditionally includes family portraits.According to Associated Baptist Press, this would be the first time a church was ousted over the mere perception that the congregation is gay-friendly. The church hasn't made any policy statements to that affect, although Southern Baptist officials say their actions show that they appear to condone homosexuality.Baptist Press reports:
Stephen Wilson, a member of the Executive Committee and vice president for academic affairs at Mid-Continent University, emphasized to Baptist Press that the denomination encourages churches to reach out to people struggling with homosexuality. The issue with Broadway Baptist, though, is over a church allowing members who are homosexual and unrepentant.'If churches are ministering to homosexuals, they are doing nothing more than what our own convention's task force has asked us to do,' Wilson told Baptist Press. 'But in Broadway's case ... the church was in effect saying that it was OK to have members who are open homosexuals.'