College Park Baptist Church in Greensboro, North Carolina was the center of some controversy the last week of August when the Southern Baptist Convention voted to remove it from its rolls because it is an LGBTQ affirming church.
In a statement from the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee, the release read they were removed because of their “open affirmation, approval and endorsement of homosexual behavior.”
No one quite knows what’s going on with the Southern Baptist Convention, but it appears they have fallen a bit behind in their paperwork. College Park Baptist Church requested to be removed from the Southern Baptist convention 23 years ago.
Reverend Michael Usey, the lead pastor at College Park Baptist confirmed SBC officials were accurate in their assessment of the church’s policy towards the LGBTQ community.
In an interview carried by Fox News, Usey told the network the church’s executive committee wasn’t surprised by the action of the SBC. He confirmed they had received registered letters from SBC officials indicating the church was still listed on its roles and requesting details about their stance on various positions.
Said Usey: “It’s good when people reject you because they understand clearly who you are. They irony is, they’re excluding us for not excluding people.”
According to Usey, North Carolina’s Baptist State Convention initially inquired with specific questions, demanding to know the church’s attitude towards the LGBTQ community.
“I just don’t really want to engage in that. There [are] hungry people in Greensboro. This is what call God calls us to do – something for the children who are half a mile from our building who are hungry.”
Based on community challenges church leaders deemed as far more important and in need of immediate attention, College Park Baptist opted not to respond to the inquiries and allow the SBC to follow whatever course they decided upon, especially since the congregants had already made their decision decades earlier.
The SBC claims they have no record of a request from College Park Baptist Church to disaffiliate from the Southern Baptist convention and the church’s interactions with the LGBTQ community were brought to their attention by an outside source.
In 1996 the Southern Baptist convention declared in their “Resolution on a Christian Response to Homosexuality” that even an unacted upon “desire to engage in homosexual relationships is always sinful, impure, degrading, shameful, unnatural, indecent and perverted.”
As if that mouthful wasn’t enough they came back in 2000, with their ‘Baptist Faith and Message Statement,” which declared, “in the spirit of christ, Christians should oppose all forms of sexual immorality, including adultery, homosexuality and pornography.”
Despite SBC’s claim, College Park Baptist Church confirms they did, in fact, vote in 1999 to leave the SBC, after the convention’s annual meeting approved a statement insisting that wives should “submit themselves graciously to their husbands authority.”
On College Park Baptist’s website, the congregation makes their acceptance of diversity quite clear by pointing out the church is an LGBTQIA affirming Baptist Church, which fully welcomes and affirms all persons without distinction regarding race, ethnicity, national origin, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other human category.”