A South Carolina Baptist Church has
been pushed out from Baptist organizations over the wedding of a gay
Pastor Greg Dover of the Augusta
Heights Baptist Church in Greenville officiated the wedding outside
the church on October 10.
Dover told The Greenville News
that he received permission from his deacons to perform the ceremony.
He also said that the church itself did not take a position on the
“Essentially, [church leaders] gave
me the freedom to follow my convictions, which is a very Baptist
thing to do,” Dover said. “I did not expect or ask everybody
else to agree with me. I did not want to have our church take a vote
or take an official position.”
The couple he married are longtime
friends of his and have been together eight years, engaged for four.
The Greenville Baptist Association and
the larger South Carolina Baptist Convention voted to sever ties with
Augusta Heights. Both say the church is not welcome until it
“Jesus always offered grace, but he
always demanded repentance from sin,” Al Phillips, director of
missions for the Greenville Baptist Association, told
News. “There are a lot of things you can agree to disagree
on, but this isn't one of them.”
“Marriage is so holy and so important
that it warrants the breaking of fellowship with a church that leaves
the Biblical teaching that marriage is between a man and a woman,”
Dover said that he was prepared to
stand by his actions.
“[I]f I'm going to be damned for
anything, it's going to be for including someone who God might
exclude rather than excluding someone who God would include,” he