During a meeting next week, the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee will discuss a recommendation that a Kennesaw, Georgia church be ousted from America’s largest Protestant denomination because it accepted LGBTQ people as members. (Feb. 19)
JIM CONRAD: I was baptized in a Southern Baptist church, licensed to ministry in a Southern Baptist church, ordained by a southern Baptist church, so I am a product of the Southern Baptist system. When we made the decision to welcome LGBTQ persons who had professed faith in Jesus, had been baptized, we knew that that was setting us outside the bounds of that particular place. One of the challenges facing the Southern Baptist Convention right now is it’s difficult for them to work with people who don’t agree at every point.
JOHN MCCLANAHAN: Pastor Jim is very, you know, honest with us. This is the first, you know, same sex couple he’s had in his church approach him. Rather than just labeling us as LGBT, he got to know us as a couple, as a family.
JIM CONRAD: To say that you could come and worship with us and, sort of, operate on a don’t ask, don’t tell policy didn’t seem right. A Southern Baptist Convention will make a decision that we are no longer welcome as a member of their family because we have welcomed LGBTQ believers as members of our family. They’re free to make their decision, but we are also free as a church to make our decision and we feel quite good about it.
JIM CONRAD: I came to the party late. I’m a 60-year-old, straight, white, Baptist preacher, but if this old dog can learn new tricks, if this old Baptist church can make sure that all means all, then have hope.