A church which has refused to condemn
gay unions has been expelled from a statewide affiliate of the
Southern Baptist Convention.
According to the Baptist
Press, the California Southern Baptist Convention voted last
week to withdraw fellowship from New Heart Community Church in La
The move comes in response to Pastor
Danny Cortez's declaration that he no longer believes that being gay
is a sin. Cortez cited his son's coming out in announcing his change
Instead of removing Cortez, the
congregation at New Heart voted on May 18 to become a “Third Way”
church, which is neutral on the issue.
Baptist pastor reverses opposition to homosexuality; congregation
votes to keep him.)
In a statement, Cortez reiterated his
congregation's desire to remain within the SBC denomination.
“We understand that some of our
leaders' actions have been perceived as moving away from the Baptist
Faith and Message, and we affirm that the California Southern Baptist
Convention leadership has had to make a difficult decision,” Cortez
said. “At the foundation of our discernment has been to take
seriously Jesus' high priestly prayer regarding the unity of the
church. Our congregation, then, desires to hold our disagreements in
tension as we seek fellowship with one another, and as we have sought
fellowship with our denomination. We want to make it clear that
while our hope has been to stay within the SBC denomination, we
nonetheless hold them dearly as our brothers and sisters in Christ.
We ask that God bless them, and bless us, as we all attempt to
navigate this very difficult period of church history. May God help
National leaders are considering
similar action. According to the Baptist Press, a decision
could be made next week when the SBC Executive Committee meets in