LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) – The Kentucky Baptist Convention will be reaching out to a small group of churches that are dually aligned with a liberal religious organization to encourage them “to return to their biblical roots.”
The Kentucky Baptist Convention’s Credentials Committee, the Administrative Committee, and the Mission Board have endorsed a recommendation that could lead to a cutting of ties to the churches that support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, which took steps in February to allow the hiring of LGBTQ staff members.
“We’re hoping that, through this process, these churches will decide they want to remain affiliated with the KBC,” said KBC President Charles Frazier. “We want those congregations to understand this recommendation isn’t intended to be punitive.”
KBC messengers directed the Committee on Credentials to review the situation and to make a recommendation at the annual meeting on Nov. 13 in Pikeville. The recommendation will come in the form of a motion that reads:
“The Committee on Credentials moves that churches making financial contributions to the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (be it budgetary or forwarding member’s contributions) are no longer considered to be in cooperation with the Kentucky Baptist Convention.”
Committee on Credentials members have already been reaching out to dually aligned congregations to ask if they’re aware of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s new hiring policy and to ask if they intend to remain affiliated with the group. Some have broken ranks with the group while others have not.
“This isn’t an effort to force these congregations out of the Kentucky Baptist Convention,” said KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood. “It is a call to those congregations to safeguard biblical teaching and maintain their historic relationships, understanding that the Bible speaks clearly on the issue of homosexuality and that they would not want to support groups that embrace unscriptural lifestyles.”
The Committee on credentials produced the following information sheet containing frequently asked questions so that Kentucky Baptists would know the rationale behind the decision:
1.What is the issue of concern?
In February, the CBF governing board changed its hiring policies to open employment to a host of CBF positions. According to CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Painter, 80% of CBF national office positions are now open to LGBTQ applicants, including positions at every level of the organization, up to and including 5 of 11 positions on the national CBF leadership team. Dually aligned KBC/CBF churches are now supporting an LGBTQ affirming network and funding the employment of LGBTQ persons. The Bible defines homosexual practice as sinful. Leviticus 18:22 states, “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” In Romans 1:27, Paul writes, “men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” The Baptist Faith and Message states: “In the spirit of Christ, Christians should oppose…all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality, and pornography.”
2.What about the autonomy of the local church?
KBC fully affirms the autonomy of the local church and is making no attempts to interject itself into the affairs of local churches. Just as local churches are autonomous, the Convention of churches is autonomous and those churches can determine their basis of partnership as a convention and with what churches the convention will partner.
3.Why address homosexuality when there are so many other sins not addressed?
By affirming homosexual behavior, the CBF is at odds with biblical teaching. The issue is not “picking and choosing” sins but redefining sin. If the CBF began to affirm the behavior of pastors in adulterous heterosexual relationships the KBC would be just as concerned.
4.What process has the committee undertaken to arrive at this recommendation?
Committee members and KBC staff members reached out to every church listed by the CBF as a partnering church to be sure those churches were aware of the CBF’s new hiring policy and sought input from those churches. The committee then approved its motion.
5.How will this decision be communicated to churches that currently give through the CBF?
The committee plans to reach out to the churches before the KBC annual meeting to let them know about the motion they are presenting. If approved by convention messengers, the committee will again reach out to the churches to give them an update and see if they still plan to provide financial support to the CBF and be sure they know that individuals can send donations directly to the CBF instead of asking their church to send them.
6.How many KBC churches will potentially be impacted?
Approximately 25 KBC affiliated churches that have given financial support to KBC in the past 2 years currently provide financial support to the CBF. Thirteen other KBC affiliated churches that have not supported KBC in at least 3 years are listed as CBF partnering churches.
7.What if a church stops giving to CBF in the future?
If that church has been a KBC affiliated church in the past, it would once again be considered a cooperating church.
8.What if a church starts giving to the CBF in the future?
Such a church would no longer be considered a cooperating church.
9.Why does the motion address churches that forward contributions from individual members?
Churches that forward contributions are viewed by CBF as partnering churches and are a willing conduit for support of a church network that affirms homosexuality. A church forwarding donations to the CBF is unnecessary since individuals can give directly to the CBF.
10.What does this motion suggest about the KBC’s feelings towards those who practice homosexuality?
In the spirit of Acts 2:38, where Peter declares, “Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins,” Kentucky Baptists love sinners enough to tell them the truth about sin and its consequences with the hope they will repent, trust Christ, and be saved. Kentucky Baptists hope that anyone enslaved by any sin, including those enslaved by the sin of homosexuality, will attend a biblically faithful church to sit under the preaching of the gospel so they might believe and experience liberation and redemption, as Paul writes in Ephesians 1:7, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”