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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Georgia Baptists To Oust Women Pastors, FBC Decatur

Here's the story from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Georgia Baptists take aim at women-led churches

Georgia Southern Baptists approved a policy Tuesday aimed at diminishing the role of churches led by women pastors.

The policy is a broad one and provides the Georgia Baptist Convention the ability to refuse donations from entities out of sync with Southern Baptist beliefs. There is only one church that currently falls into that category: the 2,700-member Decatur First Baptist headed by the Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell.

Only men can hold the position as head pastor, but individual churches are independent and can call whom they wish as pastor, according to a Southern Baptist statement of faith. Decatur called Pennington-Russell in 2007.

Last year, there was talk of breaking ties with Decatur First Baptist over Pennington-Russell, said J. Robert White, executive director of the convention.

He and other leaders believed the new policy would be a more prudent move. If convention executives take action, that would allow Decatur First to remain associated with Southern Baptists, but would not accept donations from it. Churches whose gifts are not accepted lose their organization voting privileges and the ability to give to Southern Baptist missions and help programs.

Churches with women in lesser roles, such as deacons or youth ministers, would not be affected, White said. Church conference leaders also could turn down gifts from questionable sources, such as alcohol distributors.

Pennington-Russell was out of town and did not attend the convention.

“I kept waiting for someone from the Georgia Baptist Convention to call us or come visit with me and other leaders of our church to inform us that these matters were being discussed,” she said in an e-mail.

Decatur First Baptist has been in the convention since 1862 and provided leadership and millions of dollars in support over the decades.

“I assumed that a 146-year relationship was worth, at very least, a personal conversation,” she said.

“To me, the saddest ripple effect will be that some members of our church who have faithfully supported Southern Baptist ministries and missionaries through the years, often with money given from their monthly Social Security checks, will have to be told that the [convention] doesn’t welcome their support any longer.”
The headquarters for the GBC is in Norcross.  Robert White didn't have the decency to drive over to Decatur, from one Atlanta suburb to another.  No phone call.  No e-mail.  

Robert White has no shame.  Some of us have known that for years now.  

Not surprising that this has happened in Georgia.  Once you go fundamentalist, you don't go back.  The Georgia Baptist Convention became a thoroughly fundamentalist convention more than a few years ago.  

John Pierce of the Georgia-based Baptists Today has a post titled Isolation and Irrelevancy on this same subject.  Pierce writes:
In another deliberate and continuous move toward isolation and irrelevancy, the Georgia Baptist Convention (GBC) approved a policy yesterday that gives leadership the right to reject cooperation with congregations deemed to be out of line with Southern Baptists' ever-narrowing doctrine.

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Blogger Tom Parker said...

There are many days I have to pinch myself to see if such situations as the one you have described are really happening, but sadly they are.

I often wonder if more people had been involved in the SBC convention when the BF&M was being considered being ammended if we would have ever arrived at this point.

People in the SBC better wake up because today it is women preachers and tomorrow it will be ???????

11:54 AM

Anonymous John Doug said...

What do you expect from narrow-minded male biggots. I am so sorry to have been a part of the SBC. Frankly, I am ashamed.

2:45 PM


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