SBC Excludes 4 More Churches, Including 2 That Support Women Pastors

SBC Excludes 4 More Churches, Including 2 That Support Women Pastors

SBC Excludes 4 More Churches, Including 2 That Support Women Pastors

SBC Excludes 4 More Churches, Including 2 That Support Women Pastors

Four additional churches have been disfellowshipped by the Southern Baptist Convention for various reasons. One of the churches, Immanuel Baptist Church in Paducah, Kentucky, was removed from fellowship due to having a female senior pastor, Pastor Katie McKown.

This goes against the denomination’s bylaws and their adopted statement of faith. Another church, New Hope Baptist Church in Gastonia, North Carolina, was disfellowshipped for not reporting financial participation for the past five years and for not cooperating to resolve a question of faith and practice.

Despite not having any females listed on their pastoral staff, New Hope Baptist Church believes in equality in ministry and does not discriminate between sexes. It is important to note that these disfellowshippings were carried out based on the recommendations of the SBC Credentials Committee and the decision was made by the Executive Committee of the denomination.

Grove Road Baptist Church in Greenville, South Carolina, and West Hendersonville Baptist Church in Hendersonville, North Carolina, have both faced consequences due to concerns related to sexual abuse.

The SBC EC stated that Grove Road Baptist displayed a lack of willingness to address the pastor’s mishandling of a sexual abuse allegation. Grove Road Baptist has a small congregation of around 20 people, with an average of 12 attendees in Sunday worship for 2021. The church is led by Pastor Terry Greene.

On the other hand, West Hendersonville Baptist Church is accused of going against the beliefs of Congress regarding sexual abuse by retaining Pastor Jerry Mullinax, who the Credentials Committee claims is “biblically disqualified.” Mullinax was hired part-time in 2020, and it is noted that his teaching license was revoked in 2004 for sending inappropriate emails to a student.

In response to the SBC’s decision, Immanuel Baptist Church defended their choice to appoint Pastor Katie McKown as senior pastor. They stated on Facebook that they were informed of their removal from SBC membership because of this decision.

Immanuel Baptist Church emphasized their adherence to Baptist principles such as the autonomy of the church and the priesthood of all believers. They expressed their affirmation and support for calling Rev. Katie McKown to serve alongside them. The church also offered prayers for the SBC, hoping for wisdom and discernment as they move forward.

Brandon McKoy, the senior pastor of New Hope Baptist Church, informed BP that he believed the church had already been excommunicated long before the Credentials Committee sent his team a letter of inquiry.

“We have not identified ourselves as Southern Baptist since the time when Southern Baptists began excluding women from the pulpit,” McKoy stated. “We have not been Southern Baptist for quite a while.”

As of June 2019, when the SBC Credentials Committee was renewed, a total of 18 churches have been disfellowshipped, as reported by The Tennessean.

A year ago, the denomination expelled Saddleback Church, one of the largest churches in America formerly led by renowned Pastor Rick Warren, along with four others. Saddleback appointed Stacie Wood to serve as the congregation’s teaching pastor.

During the 2023 SBC Annual Meeting, messengers passed a resolution that would prohibit women from serving as “priests of any kind,” bringing the denomination one step closer to solidifying the rule as an amendment.

Approximately 80% of the 12,000 messengers approved the resolution to establish a requirement for churches to join the SBC, which states that no woman can hold the title of pastor. To incorporate the resolution into the SBC constitution, the initiative must be approved at the 2024 SBC Annual Meeting.

Following Saddleback Church’s ordination of three women pastors in 2021, Chuck Kelley, Al Mohler, and Richard Land, theologians who authored the study guide for the 2000 Baptist Faith & Message Confession, issued a statement clarifying the definition of the term “pastor” as “one who fulfills the pastoral office and carries out the functions of the priest.”

According to the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, Article VI explicitly states that the roles of priests and deacons are reserved for men who meet the qualifications outlined in Scripture. Mohler, the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, firmly believes that appointing women as priests goes against the teachings of Scripture. Mohler asserts that these recent developments are not up for debate or negotiation, but rather an attempt to redefine and reshape the fundamental principles of Southern Baptist faith and collaborative ministry. He emphasizes that the theological concerns remain unchanged since 2000 when Southern Baptists expressed their stance in the Baptist Faith & Message. Furthermore, Mohler emphasizes that the Holy Scriptures have remained constant and unchangeable.


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