SBC Executive Committee proposes ouster of church over homosexuality LOUISVILLE, Ky. (ABP) -- The Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee is recommending that the denomination sever ties with a prominent Texas church over homosexuality. If messengers to the convention's annual meeting, set for June 23-24 in Louisville, Ky., agree to the recommendation on Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, it will be the first time the SBC has ejected a church simply because denominational officials perceive that the congregation is in violation of a policy prohibiting affiliation with pro-gay churches. At last year's SBC annual meeting in Indianapolis, Bill Sanderson, pastor of Hephzibah Baptist Church in Wendell, N.C., made a motion to declare Broadway not "in friendly cooperation" with the convention -- the SBC's constitutional language describing affiliation. A work group of the Executive Committee met with church leaders Feb. 17 and asked for more information to clarify whether the church complies with an article in the SBC constitution banning churches that "act to affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior." In late 2007 and early 2008, Broadway was embroiled in a controversy over whether to include photos of gay couples who are church members alongside other family portraits in a new church directory. The congregation eventually reached a compromise, agreeing not to family-by-family photos, but rather group and candid shots of all church members. The controversy -- and others involving the leadership of then-pastor Brett Younger -- were highly publicized by bloggers as well as local and national media outlets. Sanderson made his motion for Broadway's ouster several months after the compromise vote. Meeting on the eve of this year's convention, the full Executive Committee voted unanimously and without discussion to report to messengers June 23 that the church failed to "establish its compliance" with the membership requirement. The committee recommended "that the cooperative relationship between the Convention and church cease, and that the church's messengers not be seated, until such time as the church unambiguously demonstrates its friendly cooperation with the convention" under the constitution's article on membership. August Boto, the Executive Committee's executive vice president and general counsel, sent an April 21 letter to Broadway officials. It said members of the committee had received information from people with firsthand knowledge of the church showing "rather pointedly that there is a clear divergence between the prevalent views of the Convention on the topic and those of your church." Boto said the church needed to respond to a series of questions about the church's stance on homosexuality in order to "protect the reputation of the Convention." Click here to read the rest of the article Hmm... I'm no fan of Broadway Baptist Church (I've visited there on a number of occasions and know a few of the members), but this recommendation completely violates the autonomy of the local church. To my knowledge, the membership of Broadway has never taken a stand affirming inappropriate sexual relations (including homosexual ones) and there is a significant number (possibly even a majority) that believe homosexual sexual relations are sinful. I find it particularly galling for August Boto to claim the action is necessary to "protect the reputation of the Convention" when the SBC cites the autonomy of the local church in order to deflect responsibility to set up strong safeguards against ministers who are sexual predators. In my opinion, Baptists have at least as much of a problem as the Roman Catholics, yet we refuse to be accountable. For example, there's a music minister serving in Southeast Texas that is publicly known (it's on video and has been through the legal system) to have practiced predatory behavior toward a woman. He was dismissed from a Baptist General Convention of Texas church for his documented actions, was graciously sent to counseling (paid for by the church where he abused his position) and asked to leave the ministry. A few months later he was hired by a Southern Baptists of Texas church 10 miles down the road (the Southern Baptists of Texas congregations allegedly "believe the Bible" like the current SBC leadership). His new congregation has documentation of his issues, yet they gladly have him serve in a position of trust and leadership! I guess I need to add that I actually grew up in the same church with this minister, know him, his parents and his brother and sister, and was in their home growing up. I also know, and am in contact, with his first wife. (All of us grew up together.) I also heard rumors (about 30 years ago) that he was making the same moves on teen girls as is described in the newspaper accounts, including the older teen sister of a good friend, resulting in a severe beat-down by her brother. I didn't know whether to believe it then, but the accusations seem to be very consistent. Documentation from the local newspaper: (WARNING: The description of his actions are explicit) The Examiner - June 9, 2005 - Page 1 The Examiner - June 9, 2005 - Page 1 The Examiner – July 21, 2005 The Examiner – December 30, 2005 - Page 1 The Examiner – December 30, 2005 - Page 2 So tell me why should Broadway get booted for allowing sinners in the congregation when another Baptist church knowingly has a sexual predator in leadership?