Baptist General Convention of Texas Votes to Remove Three Churches Due to Their Views on Same-Sex Relationships

The Baptist General Convention of Texas Executive Board declared three congregations “outside of harmonious cooperation” with the state convention because of their views on same-sex relationships.

Carrying out a policy adopted at the BGCT annual meeting last November, the board voted 63-6 to consider Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, First Baptist Church in Austin and Lake Shore Baptist Church in Waco outside the bounds of harmonious cooperation.

Churches welcome and include LGBT members

Prior to the 2016 BGCT annual meeting, First Baptist in Austin already had performed same-sex weddings and ordained LGBT deacons.

Wilshire voted in mid-November to permit all its members to participate in congregational life on the same basis as other members, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Soon after the BGCT annual meeting, Lake Shore approved a change to its bylaws declaring the church a “welcoming and affirming community of Christians” that allows all people into its membership and permits them to participate fully in the life of the congregation.

David Russell, board chair and member of First Baptist Church in Amarillo, noted resolutions approved at BGCT annual meetings in 1982, 1992, 2005 and 2009, as well as motions approved at the 2016 annual meeting and at Executive Board meetings in 1996, 1998 and 2010 all indicate “Texas Baptists have consistently held that the Bible teaches that any sexual relationship outside the bounds of a marriage between a man and woman is sin, including same-sex sexual behavior.”

“The 2009 annual meeting resolution reaffirmed that ‘churches should seek to minister to all persons’ and that ‘the love of God embraces all persons and instructs all Christians to share God’s love with others,’” he said. “Sharing God’s love with others requires speaking the truth.

“This (removal of churches) is not something we expect to have to do often. It is not something we relish doing.”

Russell, an attorney, likened the board’s position to the role of jurors who are asked to render a verdict according the law regardless whether they “like the law.”

Even so, some board members expressed concern about voting to remove congregations from the BGCT.

Grant Lengefeld from First Baptist Church in Hamilton emphasized he could not speak for his congregation or the region of the state he represents, but said he could not “in good conscience” vote in favor of the motion.

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SOURCE: Baptist Standard
Ken Camp