A Baptist church network has expelled two Texas churches for openly allowing members of the LGBTQ community to be actively a part of their congregations and, serve in leadership roles.
“We have performed gay weddings, we have done dedications of gay leadership, we have celebrated children on gay couples and we will proudly continue to do all of those things, said Rev. Dr. Griff Martin, senior pastor of First Baptist Church Austin.
That is what the Baptist General Convention of Texas has a problem with. Tuesday they passed two motions describing why a church should be removed from their fellowship.
One was the longstanding view on biblical sexuality. They say marriage outside of a man and woman is outside of harmonious cooperation.First Baptist in Austin believe same sex marriage is acceptable, therefore they are withdrawn from the BGCT.
“They said there are churches withholding funds from our convention, until a church like yours who welcomes everybody is excluded from our fellowship. That was disheartening because what a church has to do is stop listening to money, said Martin.
The convention says they are welcoming and loving but ,while they welcome, they don't agree with the same sex lifestyle.
“When they came and said your stance on this, you won’t fit anymore in our convention, I wasn't surprised I was sad. It's just one more example in my opinion of the church doing the wrong thing,” said Martin.
The church says it wasn't easy for the congregation to accept their affirmation for the LGBTQ community at first.
“We were scared we were going to lose a lot of people and we did lose some. But we didn't lose a lot and those we lost, hurt,” said Natalie Vaughn, member.
First Baptist says regardless of their expulsion, they hope to move forward with their missions and teachings.
“When we say come as you are, we truly mean that. We don't mean come as you are because we're going to change you,” said Martin.
The BGCT says this has long been their stance on same sex marriage, so it is nothing new.
First Baptist and the other church in Dallas, Wilshire Baptist, both got letters last week ago threatening their expulsion. First Baptist says it is looking at joining another church fellowship at this time.