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Southern Baptist leaders remove Georgia church over LGBTQ inclusion

Shelia Poole, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on

Published in Religious News

ATLANTA — The Rev. James Conrad, pastor of Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, said the church will not appeal a decision Tuesday by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee to disfellowship it for affirming LGBTQ members.

“We’re not going to try to convince them to change their position” said Conrad, who has lead the congregation for 27 years. “That’s just not going to happen.”

The decision followed the recommendations of the denomination’s Credentials Committee and was reached during an executive session in Nashville, according to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the SBC.

In addition to Towne View, St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, was also disfellowshipped for supporting the inclusion of LGBTQ congregants.

Conrad said in an interview Tuesday night that the church has not been officially notified by the Nashville-based SBC, which is the largest Protestant denomination in the United States with more than 14.5 million members nationwide.

However, “we know it happened and we knew it was going to happen,” he said. “Had they decided not to, that would have really made the news.”

 

He said the church was moving forward and said in a previous interview that it may be independent for a while. He did not rule out joining join another group at some point in the future.

The SBC opposes same-sex marriage and believes that homosexuality goes against biblical teachings.

Tuesday’s decision means Towne View will not be allowed to send messengers to the denomination’s annual convention.

Messengers are very influential in the Southern Baptist Convention, and can elect officers, approve trustees and vote on the direction of the convention until the next annual meeting. The 2021 annual meeting will be held in June in Nashville.

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