Wednesday, November 16, 2005

North Carolina Baptist State Convention votes to reject "pro-gay" churches

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According to an article and video published by WXII Newschannel 12 (Winston-Salem, NC), the North Carolina Baptist State Convention has adopted a policy on homosexuality. Meeting at the Lawrence Joel Veterans' Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem, the Baptist State Convention adopted a policy that rejects churches which allow homosexuals within their churches. According to the article:
The convention said any church that allows homosexuals in their churches are not considered "friendly to the convention." Several ministers voiced an opinion on the issue. Some voted in favor of the policy, hoping it will side-step conflicts other denominations have faced in the last year. But others told WXII 12 News that it's not right to create a policy for one sin and not others. "If we single out one sin and write a policy which eventually may or will exclude not only people from membership in a Baptist Church but also exclude the church's membership in an association, then it only makes sense that we would have to do the same thing with every sin," said Rob Helton, pastor of Cherry Point Baptist Church in Havelock. The convention said no church will be forced out for supporting homosexuality, but the vote means churches that do are not in good standing with the convention's principles.
====== I must say that as a native of Winston-Salem I am very embarassed that such an anti-gay move by the Convention had to be made in my hometown. Many people across the nation will now hear of the anti-gay vote of the Convention and come to associate the City of Winston-Salem with the homophobic, hypocritical and un-Christianlike rejection of other Christians by what used to be seen as one of North Carolina's greatest faith institutions. It is sad that the Baptist State Convention which held up such institutions as Wake Forest University and Baptist Hospital for generations has now become one of the most anti-gay religious institutions in North Carolina. Rejection? Jesus never rejected anyone... even if he did think they were living in sin. Whatever happened to Christian love and acceptance, even in the midst of what one may believe to be wrong or sinful?


I am not Baptist. But I think the State Baptist Convention did the right thing. It is one thing to have practicing homosexuals as your neighbors, and being kind to them and loving them as neighbors. It is one thing to have practicing homosexuals visiting your church and checking you out, and being kind to them and befriending them accordingly. It is another thing to have them join you church and being received as Christian brothers. To join a church means that you have a credible profession of faith in Jesus Christ. It means that you are committed to walking in obedience to Jesus Christ together.

Unless you are following a hermeneutic that rewrites Christianity into the image of the liberal value system of Western culture of today, cuts out the Pauline epistles, maybe accepts the so called Gospel of Thomas as being on the same plane as the other traditional gospels, maybe follows the practice of the Jesus Seminar in getting rid of the many uncomfortable passages from Jesus’ mouth, one cannot in good conscience be a practicing homosexual and a disciple of Jesus Christ. It is one thing to have a disposition or a desire to do a thing, and another to willingly do the thing.

It doesn’t mean you’re perfect. It doesn’t mean you won’t mess up. It means that you have committed yourself to a life of obedience to Jesus as your Master and King and to living as has been commanded in His word. In our church, among other questions, we ask new members the following:

Do you now promise, in humble reliance upon the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that you will endeavor to live as becomes the followers of Christ?

Do you promise, with the Lord’s help, to be faithful in the performance of your Christian duties, both in private life and in the work of the Church?

Now, if we knew that a person was cheating on his wife, or living with his girlfriend, or cheating on his taxes, or lying about his past, and had no intention by God’s grace and help and grace to change, no intention to repent, we would not open the door to membership to him.

The people who join our church are all fallible human beings who by God’s grace everyday of their lives are striving to live faithfully before Him; everyday there are victories and defeats. But they on the road. They are not living a lie. It is a serious call to a devout and holy life.

If a man who struggled with having an attraction to men and not women, yet who desired by God’s grace to be obedient to God, and remain chaste until he could be in a married heterosexual relationship, even though his disposition was “gay,” then that person could join. He would be fully encouraged, supported, offered accountability, and his burdens borne and lifted. Everybody struggles, fighting against inner impulses which go against the will of God. Read Galatians 5; it’s called the flesh verses the Spirit. It’s war. We’re all fighting it. It’s not a matter of picking on homosexuals.

This decision is neither homophobic, hypocritical, or un-Christian. It is overdue.

As to Chriatian love and acceptance, read First Corinthians 5, well, if that's included in your canon.
posted by Blogger Joel at 11/16/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Joel, by your version of Christianty you have told it exactly as you believe it and I think no one is going to tell you that you are wrong. (Even though many of us will disagree with you.)

You have your private christian club, the babtist have theirs, I have mine, and Matt has his. I could probably join yours, and Matt could definately join mine, but neither Matt or I could join the Baptist Convention. I am ok with that. The NAACP won't take me either.
I'm a Baptist, but I disagree with the decision. I attend church to worship God. If your intention is to stand at the door of the church and let only certain people in, then you're there for the wrong reason.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 11/18/2005 01:26:00 PM  
Thanks Anonymous... at least you know the real reasons for being a part of the Church and a believer in Christ.

If people really do think homosexuality is a sin, why do they want to keep them out of the church? Wouldn't it make more sense to let gays in and try to "change" them if you think they are doing wrong?