20 January 2006

SBTC removes church over homosexuality controversy


Jan 17, 2006
By Jerry Pierce
Baptist Press
BAYTOWN, Texas (BP)-—The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention’s executive board has acted unanimously to disaffiliate a church for violating the convention’s constitutional provision concerning churches that “affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”

The SBTC credentials committee and two SBTC staff members met Dec. 20 for one hour and 45 minutes with the pastor of Faith Harbour -- previously an SBTC congregation in Baytown -- with a redemptive aim, SBTC minister-church relations director Deron Biles wrote in a summary of the meeting.

Biles recounted that the committee hoped to clarify Faith Harbour’s stance toward a church it is helping sponsor and allowing to meet in its facilities, which bills itself on its website as welcoming and affirming of homosexual, bisexual and trangendered people.

Additionally, the new church, Eklektos, has a female senior pastor. Biles said the committee and Faith Harbour pastor Randy Haney were unable to resolve their differences over Faith Harbour’s involvement with Eklektos.

SBTC board chairman Joe Stewart, pastor of First Baptist Church of Littlefield, said the board followed the biblical guidelines of Matthew 18 in confronting an erring brother with hopes of restoration.

“The credentials committee went through that process,” Stewart said, “and sat down and talked with the pastor about what constitutes a church that they are hosting in their building which has a female pastor and basically affirms the homosexual lifestyle.

“One cannot be presenting the life-changing Gospel to homosexuals and at the same time affirm the lifestyle,” Stewart continued. “When we sign an agreement to be a part of the SBTC, we have those theological parameters that we live and abide through and that is part of what makes us unique and distinct.

“The door is still open for them to reconcile if they will just agree to abide by the theological parameters of the SBTC,” Stewart added. “Although we want to reach out to people caught in sin, at the same time we can’t affirm the lifestyle.”

Article III of the SBTC’s constitution states: “… Among churches not in cooperation with the Convention are churches which act to affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior.”

South Texas Baptist Association, of which Faith Harbour was a member, presented the church a letter notifying them of the association’s intent to disaffiliate them the same day the SBTC credentials committee met with Haney.

Haney appeared to allude to the situation on the church’s Internet blog Jan. 10.

“It always amazes me how much people hate those who try to get out of the box and take the message of Jesus Christ to those who are considered unclean,” Haney wrote. “Now that I think about it, that was part of what the Jews hated about Jesus. How dare we defile the sanctuary by inviting sinners to come and be a part of hearing the message of Christ! Doesn’t the Bible make it plain and clear that we are all sinners? Isn’t our righteousness only found in Christ and Him alone?”

The Eklektos website states: “This community of Christians is especially called to welcome and affirm people who are gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgendered. We are a diverse group of disciples -- diverse in age, race, gender, ideology and sexual orientation. We are united in Christ and in the affirmation that all people are loved and called by Christ to be His disciples and to be a part of His healing/reconciling work in the world.”

The SBTC consists of more than 1,700 churches in a confessional fellowship with one another -- a unique arrangement among the 41 state and regional conventions that cooperate as Southern Baptists.


The Harbour is the 'other' church of which I am a member in Baytown. And we are so totally pwning the SBTC. I'm really annoyed that part of their argument against Randy is that he was allegedly letting a woman be a senior pastor. Come out of the dark ages already, people (for this reason, I am glad that I am primarily Lutheran).

The AP has picked up this story, and it's been on the news in Houston. This is going to be huge, and the couple that have the vendetta against Randy and Nelda and started all of this mess are going to feel like total idiots.

BTW, this is me gloating and not being a good Christian. That is my disclaimer. I'll attempt to be charitable about it later. Right after I finish laughing/cringing at the irony that this particular couple are the people who I let stay with me in my apartment during the evacuation when I already didn't like them. I don't think they took kindly to receiving kindness from a homo. I could point out that I only did it to alleviate the suffering of their children, but I don't think it would help.


Anonymous Ferrari said...

No, I think that if you took them in, regardless of motive, that you earned some gloat points, and are free to use them with no blackout dates. Just be sure your gloat account does not wind up overdrawn.

11:21 AM  

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