LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A church in St. Matthews was expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) on Tuesday due to policies deemed too inclusive of LGBTQ people.
During a meeting in Nashville, the SBC's executive committee voted to oust St. Matthews Baptist Church and Towne View Baptist Church, in Kennesaw, Georgia, for "affirmation of homosexuality," said Albert Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville and a member of the convention's executive committee, in a tweet.
"Anyone who argues that the Bible — OT and NT — is not clear about the sinfulness of homosexuality is either very confused or deliberately dishonest about the structure of biblical theology and the clear meaning of the texts," Mohler added in a later tweet.
In a statement sent to WDRB News, the church said, in part, "Nothing in the Southern Baptist Convention's decision changes St. Matthews Baptist Church's deep commitment to carrying out what God calls us to do in our worship and spiritual growth, as well as in ministries to those in need and fellowship within our Church family."
St. Matthews Baptist was among more than 12 churches that lost their affiliation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2018 because they made financial contributions to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which had recently lifted a ban on hiring LGBTQ employees.
"I enjoy being a member of St. Matthews Baptist Church and I would like for my neighbor to have that privilege," Russell Bennett, a longtime member of St. Matthews Baptist Church, said. "The self-righteousness and ignorance of people about this matter is appalling."
The SBC's executive committee on Tuesday also voted to expel two churches for employing pastors convicted of sex offenses.
"We take no pleasure in recommending that a church is not in friendly cooperation with the convention," SBC Credentials Committee Chairman Mike Lawson told Baptist Press. “We would like nothing more than for all our churches to be in harmony on such vital issues. But when the available information shows clearly that we are not, it is necessary to take action.
"We are grieved, but we believe it was the right decision to recommend and will continue to pray for all involved."
The SBC's two-day executive committee meeting opened Monday, with a schedule featuring speeches by convention President J.D. Greear and Executive Committee President Ronnie Floyd bemoaning the multiple acrimonious divisions within the denomination.
"This sound of war in the camp of Southern Baptists is concerning to me, and I know it is also concerning to many of you," Floyd said. "While we hear and see how the American culture is so out of control, my friends, our own culture within the Southern Baptist family is also out of control."
Floyd noted that the divisions mirror ideological, political and racial differences nationwide.
"In this fever-pitch environment, each of us needs to be very careful with the words we write, speak, tweet or post,” he said. “As SBC leaders and followers of Jesus, our public behavior matters."
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