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Church’s wedding vote stirs KBC opposition

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (BP) — A Kentucky Baptist Convention committee has voted to recommend severing ties with a Louisville congregation that voted to ordain people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and to perform same-sex marriages.

The KBC’s Committee on Credentials took the action Oct. 9 in regard to Crescent Hill Baptist Church.

“We’re grieved by Crescent Hill’s departure from biblical teaching and Baptist beliefs,” KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood said. “We’re prayerful that they will return to the truth of Scripture on this issue and seek to be restored.

“We’re thankful that Kentucky Baptists remain grounded in the Bible as our culture continues to rush headlong toward chaos with regard to human sexuality and gay marriage. Our love for all people, including those who practice homosexuality, requires us to speak the truth about sin even when we are speaking it to one another,” Chitwood said.

KBC leaders were alerted to Crescent Hill’s vote by the following statement on its website:

“The congregation overwhelmingly voted to be open to grant ordination, hire, or perform wedding ceremonies for LGBTQ individuals. In other words, sexual identity or orientation will not be a factor in determining whether the church will ordain, hire or perform a wedding ceremony.”

Credentials chairman Kevin Smith said committee members found Crescent Hill to be no longer “in friendly cooperation” with Kentucky Baptists. That, he said, led to Thursday’s action, which was taken only after a series of private discussions between KBC and Crescent Hill leaders.

Jason Crosby, minister of preaching, pastor care and administration at Crescent Hill, told Associated Baptist Press that he was saddened by the KBC committee’s decision.

“However, I am glad to serve a Baptist church in Kentucky that is striving to communicate to all people, whether they be LGBTQ or KBC folks, that there is room for them at God’s table where love and grace abound,” Crosby said.

Crescent Hill, which was involved in organizing the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in 1991, joined the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Baptists, a group of likeminded churches and organizations, last October, according to ABP.

KBC President Chip Hutcheson said the decision to sever ties with Crescent Hill will be presented for discussion and a vote at the convention’s annual meeting in Bowling Green Nov. 11.

Hutcheson called it “incredibly sad” that Crescent Hill has abandoned scriptural guidance on sexuality.

“For those of us who consider biblical teaching quite clear on this issue, for any church to, in essence, declare that teaching null and void, it breaks your heart, as it would any doctrine of Scripture,” Hutcheson said.