A Southern Baptist church announced this past Sunday that it would warmly embrace homosexual church members or leaders. Following what Reformation Charlotte calls the logical conclusion of The Gospel Coalition’s promotion of celibate gay Christianity, this church is now embracing practicing gay Christianity.
Forgive the lack of “scare-quotes” in the above paragraph; it would require just too many.
Pastor Jim Conrad of the Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw Georgia announced the changes to the Southern Baptist Church’s polity on Sunday. The Southern Baptist Convention has been softening its tone on homosexuality since Russell Moore broke bread with homosexuals in 2014 (Albert Mohler embraced the language of ‘orientation’ and “repented” for having support ‘reparative therapy’ at the same conference). Since then, SBC employees and fellows for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) have even publicly supported the pro-gay Christian Revoice Conference.
In the sermon audio released on the church’s website for August 18, Pastor Conrad began with a reading from John 3:16 and the accompanying passage, before turning his attention to the topic of sodomy.
The pastor said that addressing the sin of homosexuality was “not on his list” until someone asked if they could become a member while being a homosexual, at which point he decided that “silence is not golden.”
Subsequently, because the struggle “had a face,” Conrad began to “study and pray,” at which point he began to question the teaching he had since a child, that “homosexuals were sinners.”
Then, Conrad complained about ‘reparative therapy’ and that the church had abused homosexuals, trying to “pray the gay away.”
Ultimately, Conrad said that his personal experience outweighed the Scripture, and quoted David Gushee as this being a “transformative experience.”
The sermon also preached egalitarianism, the belief that women and men do not have separate gender roles in the home or the church, a growing belief in the SBC which its feminist leaders call “soft complementarianism.”
Conrad ensured the congregation that he was “Christocentric” in his faith and that he reads the Bible through the lens of Christ, citing the 1963 Southern Baptist Faith and Message.
After citing the SBC doctrinal statement, Conrad explained to the congregation that homosexuals would be fully embraced as members and leaders in the church, celibate or practicing.
The ERLC and its liberal employees and research fellows should be proud of its work because it has been effective.
In the sermon, Conrad claimed that the sin of Sodom was only “gang-rape” and not sodomy, and then went on to reference the Levitical Holiness Code that forbade things like blended fabrics or issued dietary restrictions (this code in Mosaic Law was abolished in places like Acts 15, while all of God’s Moral Law – like those dealing with sexuality – remain unchanged according to Bible teachers since the 1st Century).
Conrad claimed that New Testament passages forbidding homosexuality only refer to male prostitution and orgies.
You can watch the video here.
Some Southern Baptist pastors like Bart Barber, pastor at FBC Farmersville who is a contributor for the leftist ERLC, said that it was not a big deal, and it didn’t imply a leftward turn in the SBC. Barber echoed the sentiments of Danny Akin and Albert Mohler, who claimed in the Baptist Press only weeks ago that there was no liberal trend in the Southern Baptist Convention.
Responding to Pastor Tom Buck, who tweeted out the video, ERLC acolyte and contributor to SBC Voices, Barber, claimed, “No downgrade here.”
No downgrade here.Bart Barber, in reference to this SBC Church embracing homosexuality
“Downgrade” refers to Spurgeon’s claim of doctrinal compromise, which he was insistent was present in England’s Baptist Union. The Baptist Union kicked Spurgeon out for making the suggestion that any such “Downgrade” existed.
Barber’s point, ostensibly, is that Southern Baptist Churches have been liberal before. However, this is new and it’s newsworthy (watch the news in coming days) because it hasn’t been common since the days of the Conservative Resurgence when the denomination, led by men like Paige Patterson, removed liberals through savvy political maneuvering and with the power of sheer will.
Patterson was fired by Barber and other trustees at Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary (SWBTS), for what later was discovered to likely be wrongful termination as an over-reaction to the woke #churchtoo movement orchestrated by Southern Baptist liberals, like Beth Moore and Karen Swallow Prior. Patterson’s portraits and images have been removed from both SWBTS and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) where he also served.
Jerry Falwell Jr. took this move – along with a decision to remove the legacy markers of virtually all the Conservative Resurgence leaders – to be illustrative of a liberal takeover of the SBC.
The Southern Baptist Convention messengers passed a resolution several months ago to make it easier to remove churches they perceive to be insensitive to ethnicity or abuse but the SBC seems fairly disinterested in removing churches who embrace sodomy.