I grew up in an independent Baptist church years before I knew what any of those words meant. I’ve heard virtually every stereotype about the Baptists: they’re legalistic, ultraconservative, narrow-minded, and even forbid dancing. I became convinced that for all their faults, both real and imagined, we could at least be sure that the world would never see a liberal Baptist. How wrong I was; Wilshire Baptist Church of Dallas Texas, which has a history of taking leftist positions, recently cast a 577-367 vote to grant LGBT people full church membership.
Essentially, this vote allows practicing LGBT members to be “considered for leadership positions, and grant same sex marriages.”
This issue surfaced when a homosexual congregant was repeatedly nominated for a deacon position, only for said nomination to be obstructed by church bylaws. This, combined with the number of out-of-the-closet gays and lesbians in the congregation’s ranks, compelled the church to devote itself to fourteen weeks of study of the topic, which culminated in the aforementioned vote.
So far this seems like a rank-and-file episode of apostasy in a local church that has been consumed by the homosexual agenda.
However, there are two items that stand out about this case.
First, this decision to allow the ordination of unrepentant LGBT congregants did not come without backlash. The church lost “more than a few” members for merely studying the issue of LGBT ordination.
Wilshire Baptist also took heat from the Baptist General Convention of Texas (BGCT), who threatened to sever ties with Wilshire for its departure from the scriptural position. While the autonomous character of Baptist churches insulates Wilshire, this threat can obstruct Wilshire’s ability to participate in mission work with the BGCT.
Second, the Wilshire leadership echoed two common – but false – memes that must be addressed.
Senior Pastor George Mason explained that the vote displays the truth that “the Gospel is open to all and closed to none.”
The implication of this statement is that churches are not making “the gospel open to all” if they do not bend scripture’s clear teachings on ordaining people who unrepentantly engage in biblically prohibited sexual conduct (1 Timothy 3:1–13).
This is ludicrous. Wilshire Baptist Church was open to LGBT persons prior to its decision to allow the ordination of LGBT congregants, as evidenced by the fact that it allowed gays and lesbians to occupy its doors. Furthermore, one makes the Gospel open to everyone with the universal call to repentance, rather than telling people their sin is acceptable to God (I Cor. 6:9-11, Acts 17:30-31).
The Wilshire leadership’s second meme is articulated in Associate Pastor Mark Wingfield’s lament that BGCT is willing to “turn away our direct contribution of hunger offering money because they disagree…on the inclusion of persons who identify in the LGBT community.”
Wingfield is essentially saying that conservative Baptists would let the poor go hungry before they would “include” the LGBT community in the church.
This is a common accusation the Religious Left lays at the feet of conservatives and it is not only false, but can be easily flipped on them.
First, nothing is stopping Wilshire from taking up its own hunger offering and using it for the local ministry to the poor.
Second, the Religious Left in general and Wilshire in particular shoot themselves in the foot with this argument.
If anyone is responsible for trampling the poor in this situation it is they.
The conservative believers were more than happy to work with Wilshire Baptist Church to help the poor. It was the latter party who broke the relationship.
By Mason’s own admission, Wilshire Baptist Church “knows that there are consequences of [their] decision.”
This is not a case of conservatives stubbornly holding to personal traditions at the expense of the LGBT community. This is Wilshire Baptist Church attempting to slander God by putting words in His mouth at the expense of the poor.
Put simply, they sacrificed both the word of God and their chance to help the needy on the altar of LGBT “inclusiveness.”
God gave strict orders in Romans 16:17 (NASB) to “keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.”[Emphasis Added]
Orthodox Bible-believing Christians bear no responsibility for the tragic consequences of excommunications of and separations from apostates who attempt to replace the clear teaching of scripture with heresy, be it leftist or otherwise.
Blaming conservatives for the tragic consequences of Wilshire’s apostasy is like blaming a father for grounding his son for his disobedience.
The guilt in such matters falls solely on those who broke from God’s word. May they repent so they can again join hands with their Baptist brothers in aiding the downtrodden.Google+