PIKEVILLE, Ky. (BP) — The Kentucky Baptist Convention will cut ties with a small group of churches that remain dually aligned with a missions network that took steps earlier this year to allow the hiring of LGBT staff members.
Messengers to the KBC annual meeting voted today (Nov. 13) to accept a recommendation from the Credentials Committee, the Administrative Committee and the Mission Board to terminate affiliation with congregations that choose to remain a part of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF).
The CBF was founded in 1991 as a fellowship of churches that objected to the ideology and methods of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Conservative Resurgence.
Dually aligned churches will be given up to a year to comply before they’re removed from the KBC’s list of affiliated congregations.
The matter was debated for about 20 minutes before the motion passed overwhelmingly.
KBC Executive Director Paul Chitwood said the move by messengers should be seen as “a call to those congregations to safeguard biblical teaching and maintain their historic relationships, understanding that the Bible speaks clearly on the issue of homosexuality and that they would not want to support groups that embrace unscriptural lifestyles.”
Bob Fox, CBF Kentucky executive coordinator, issued a statement in response to the KBC’s decision.
“It is with great sadness that we learned that the Kentucky Baptist Convention has chosen to end its relationship with churches who have been in dual alignment with CBF and CBFKY,” Fox said.
“The Baptist witness in our state and in the world is weaker because of this decision by the KBC today related to our collaboration for the sake of Christ,” he noted. “Whenever the relationship between parts of the body of Christ are broken it is a tragedy.”
Last year, KBC messengers had essentially put dually aligned churches on notice when they directed the Committee on Credentials to monitor the situation and return with a recommendation at this year’s annual meeting in Pikeville. See related Baptist Press report.
Members of the KBC Committee on Credentials have reached out to dually aligned congregations to ask if they were aware of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship’s new hiring policy and to ask if they intended to remain affiliated with the group. Some have broken ranks with the group while others have not.
The Western Recorder, newsjournal of the KBC, reported the state convention’s move affects about 25 KBC-affiliated churches that have given financial support to KBC in the past two years and are currently supporting the CBF financially.