The Southern Baptist Convention is preparing to expel a member church for affirming the membership of individuals openly practicing homosexuality. The SBC executive committee is scheduled to meet Monday and Tuesday to discuss the issue that arose with Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia.
Contrary to major media reports, the SBC is not preparing to expel Towne View for "accepting LGBTQ people" into their worship services. Multiple guests and visitors regularly attend SBC services around the country despite the fact that their public life choices likely violate church doctrine. The issue with Towne View Baptist, according to the SBC, is that the church is accepting those who are living in contradiction of the denomination's statement of faith to become actual members of the church, not just attend.
The pastor of the Kennesaw church, Jim Conrad, says he accepts that his church is likely to be "disfellowshipped" by the SBC.
"These are folks who love Jesus and they want to serve Jesus," Conrad says of a gay couple that wants to become members. "They just happen to be gay or lesbian or transgender and we want them to know there's a place here where we'll love Jesus and we'll serve Jesus together. We wish the folks at the SBC well; we hold no ill will towards them, but we're ready to move and see what God's future for our church is going to be."
The Southern Baptist Convention's statement of faith labels homosexuality a sin. Therefore, those engaging in unrepentant, intentional acts of sin could not be, according to the SBC, truly "loving Jesus" or "wanting to serve Jesus" as Conrad asserts.
That appears to be the impetus behind the church's coming ouster from the denomination.