Religion News Service, May 3, 2003
A Southern Baptist church was been expelled from a regional group of
churches after its pastor baptized two gay men and welcomed them into the
The Rev. Randy Wadford, missions director for the association, read a
statement after the vote in which he said, “The homosexual lifestyle is
contrary to God’s will and plan for mankind. … To allow individuals
into the membership of a local church without evidence or testimony of true
repentance is to condone the old lifestyle.”
The Rev. Steve Ayers, pastor of the 800-member church, responded:
“The kingdom of Christ is about love, about God’s grace and mercy. When a
church becomes so judgmental that it can’t accept people into their
fellowship, it is a sad, sad day.”
I see a parallel to Exodus here. Exodus and its religious-right allies (all dominated, as it happens, by Southern Baptists and the Assemblies of God) minister to people by kicking them out of their churches and threatening their jobs and relationships.
A genuinely New Testament-minded ex-gay ministry would adopt Ayers’ approach.