Sunday, October 12, 2014
Southern Baptist Convention Takes A Strong Stand Against The Sin of Homosexuality
Division within the Christian church is nothing new. Since the establishment of the faith in the 1st century AD differences in the interpretation of scripture have fostered debate and disagreement among Christians. Today, that division continues as a centuries old interpretation of scripture is being questioned and ultimately reinterpreted by some believers.
Consider the case of the New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, California. When faced with a Pastor who, in his own words, “realized I no longer believed in the traditional teachings on homosexuality,” the church affirmed the Pastor’s decision and essentially turned its back on 2000 years of orthodox understanding of the Bible’s prohibition on the practice on homosexuality within the body of Christ. New Heart Community Church has adopted what they call a “third way”, which allows church leaders to hold differing views on the issue of homosexuality and same sex unions.
The deacons of the New Heart Community Church admitted, in a letter to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, that although the church has not taken an official stance on the issue, their pastor has officiated at a same sex union. Also, as the deacons noted, there does exist a division in the congregation with some affirming the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman, and another segment of the church that believes same sex unions can be” blessed by God.”
In response to the stance of the New Heart Community Church, the Executive Committee, acting on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention, voted on September 23, to withdraw fellowship from the church. The SBC Constitution, Article III states that churches which” affirm, approve, or endorse homosexual behavior”, are not in cooperation with the SBC. SBC President Ronnie Floyd emphasizes that the decision represents a matter of conviction, not a lack of compassion for homosexuals in the church.
Asserting Biblical authority and a determination to uphold that authority, Shane Hall, chairman of the EC’s administrative committee, stated in an interview with Baptist Press that “once we allow the undermining of scripture in one area, then we open up a door to the undermining of scriptures in all areas.” He further stated that this ruling represents an effort to keep the top on a “Pandora’s box” of issues threatening the authority of the Bible.
Danny Cortez, the pastor of New heart Community Church first admitted his reversal of opinion on the subject of homosexuality and same sex union in a one hour video posted on his church website, followed by a February 2014 sermon in which he admitted to his congregation that his stance on the subject had changed. Cortez acknowledged this change as a “radical shift” from what the church and the SBC has historically upheld.
In what the Executive Committee chairman Mike Routt deems as a “reinterpreting” of scripture, Cortez argues that Romans 1 only condemns violent , lustful homosexuality and that homosexual relationships today are somehow different than they were when Paul penned Romans. Believing that the issue involves more than just homosexuality but in fact represents a “collision of orthodox faith and radical theology”, Routt advocates, as did Paul in Jude 3,” earnestly contending for the faith that was once entrusted to the saints”, rather than reinterpreting that faith.
Reiterating the SBC’s love for all people, including homosexuals, the Southern Baptist Convention’s EC President Frank Page, stated that” when you love someone, you tell them the truth about their actions.” He further emphasized that the SBC has and will continue to pray for the repentance of the church and all practicing homosexuals, urging them to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Albert Mohler, Jr. President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, called the decision, by the SBC, to disfellowship the church,” a solemn moment and perhaps a moment to be repeated any number of times in the coming months and years.”