Good for Them!

The Kentucky Free Will Baptist church that banned interracial marriage as well as the public use of the gifts of said persons has reversed its decision:

An eastern Kentucky church under a firestorm of criticism since members voted to bar mixed-race couples from joining the congregation overturned that decision Sunday, saying it welcomes all believers.

Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, told The Associated Press that the vote by nine people last week was declared null and void after it was determined that new bylaws can’t run contrary to local, state or national laws. He said the proposal was discriminatory, therefore it couldn’t be adopted.

Stepp said about 30 people who attended church services voted on a new resolution that welcomes “believers into our fellowship regardless of race, creed or color.”

Now two more suggestions for the church: (1) Nulling that decision because it’s against the laws is a tepid reason, friends. You should reverse the decision because it’s contrary to gospel inclusion (thus, Galatians 3:28, to name but one text). (2) I would also encourage them to re-think not discriminating on the basis of “creed.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://www.pastormattblog.com Pastor Matt

    I’m glad they reversed the decision but, as I posted earlier (http://pastormattblog.com/2011/12/02/when-a-church-is-not-a-church/), I refuse to consider them a church.

  • http://thinklaughweepworship.blogspot.com Emily

    At the risk of making light of a serious situation, I just want to point out that this reversal constitutes a “leftward” turn. They better watch out for the “slippery slope” to liberalism!

  • Pat Pope

    Amen on doing it because it violates the gospel. Because based on their reasoning, if interracial marriage was still against the law, they’d still be against it.

  • http://www.kingdomseeking.wordpress.com K. Rex Butts

    I’m glad the church reversed its decision too but as I tried to suggest on my own blog, their decision to ban interracial couples is simple the outworking of a social-denial of the Gospel which is a problem more wide spread among Christianity than just this one church. If you like, you can read my blog post (=shameless plug in): http://kingdomseeking.wordpress.com/2011/12/04/a-church-bans-interracial-couples-and-why-im-not-surprised/

    Grace and Peace,

    Rex

  • Travis Greene

    Scot,

    Baptists have generally shunned creeds. So it’s not that weird.

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    Scot, is creed just differences in Christianity for you?

  • Scot McKnight

    Travis and DRT, it sounded to me like a dog-eared expression (and I doubt too they are really distinguishing between “race” and “color” — so it seems like an expression they thought sounded right).

    Are they really accepting Covenant Reformed theologians? Orthodox? that’s what went through my head with that term.

  • Pat Pope

    This is an example of what happens when people become apathetic and/or disgusted with the church and don’t exercise their voice and their vote. I believe originally many of the members left the meeting and didn’t vote, which happens in churches all the time. People become fed up with the politics and feel they won’t be heard. Usually it’s over less controversial matters, but nonetheless, matters that can create division. What would have happened had people stayed and voiced their opinion in the beginning and urged prayer and discussion on the matter until unity could be reached?

  • http://LostCodex.com DRT

    I had a run in at a job a few years ago when one of the people from the Indian subcontinent (behind the scenes) contended that I was not giving her adequate prestige because she was a fair skinned Indian and not one of the dark skinned ones. Race and color, hmmmmm.

  • jim

    Scot,

    you articulated exactly what I thought when I read the article a couple of days ago.

  • Ann F-R

    Have you ever known the sensation of stepping in something, only to smell it long after you pulled your foot out? I suspect the smell of no-good-news is going to take a long while to go away. I pray the community repents the error and seeks to love their neighbors, better, rather than just regrets the poor publicity.

  • tjr

    Creed is from the Latin credo-I believe , so it looks like they welcome believers into their fellowship regardless of their beliefs.

  • Matt L

    I may be wrong, but don’t certain laws not apply to churches regarding discrimination? For example, the government can’t force the white supremecist churches to allow non-whites. If this is true, then their reasoning is void. Which leads to the question, what is their real reasoning?

    To be clear, I would like to state that I do not approve of racism by churches or anyone else, regardless of whether laws protect them or not.

  • http://theletterdrawer.wordpress.com Caroline

    Yup. I think you hit the nail on the head. That’s exactly what I was thinking when I read all that in the news. Um, well done, but for the wrong reasons and then you swing that good ol’ pendulum right on back the other way and open up your congregations to any old creed? I don’t know. We are a hopelessly flawed image of Jesus (myself included) and He knew this when He set us about this work, but it saddens me so when we reflect who I call stupid jesus instead of Jesus of Nazereth.

  • Kristen

    #13. Some anti-discrimination laws don’t apply to churches. For instance, the Catholic Church can restrict its priests to males without running into problems with employment discrimination laws.

    However, churches and other religious institutions can (and do) lose tax-exempt status for racial discrimination. Big big case on that in the 1980s with Bob Jones University.

  • Dave

    I’m glad they have changed their outward stance on the issue of mixed race marriages. Of course, they did it because of the publicity backlash and to avoid legal issues. Sadly though, while they may have changed their outward stance on this issue, my fear is that a genuine inward change will be much longer in coming. My suspicion is that mixed race couples will feel just as marginalized in that congregation as they have prior to this decision.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X