Alabama pastors react to female-led churches being voted out during Southern Baptist Convention
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - Two churches are now expelled from the largest Protestant denomination in the United States for having female pastors.
On Wednesday, Southern Baptist Convention leaders voted to expel a church in Kentucky and upheld a ban on a church in California.
The decision now paves the way to ban women from most leadership roles in the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
“It makes me sad, and it makes me angry, and it makes me frustrated,” said Dixie Ford, lead pastor at Cross Creek Baptist Church in Birmingham. “Southern Baptist raised me. So I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church. And felt called to ministry from a young age so it saddens me that this is the direction that they are sticking to.”
The SBC claims female pastors go against its interpretation of the bible.
Lucas Dorion, the coordinator of the Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, the denomination for Cross Creek Baptist, interprets it differently.
“When I look at scripture, I see that it was women who were the first that were empowered by Jesus to go and to proclaim the good news that he had risen,” said Dorion.
First Baptist Church Huntsville’s senior pastor Travis Collins said the news left him conflicted.
His church falls under the SBC’s umbrella and he said it may fall out of good standing due to having four female ministers.
“On the one hand, it grieves me that I might lose my relationship with a group of people I’ve had a relationship with all my life,” said Collins. “On the other hand, it grieves me that the people within lie for the people with whom I serve feel a bit on the outs they feel disrespected.
If a church is removed from the convention, Collins said it loses its voice at the annual meetings.
Ford believes the solution lies at the beginning of the bible.
“In Genesis, God created men and women in the image of God,” said Ford. “God called men and women. God gifted them. And so if we’re going to follow scripture, let’s start there. Let’s start in Genesis. We are created in the image of God, let’s live that.”
Wednesday’s decision marks the SBC’s first vote on the issue. It will vote on the issue again next year. If a second vote passes, the Convention’s constitution would change to fully ban women from holding a pastoral title.
Collins said he sent out a request with the SBC to clarify if his church would remain in good standing or not with its female ministers.
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