A church formerly associated with the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to fully welcome gay and transgender individuals, even allowing them to be ordained in the church.
First Baptist of Greenville, South Carolina was formerly part of the Southern Baptist Convention, but has since given up its conservative roots to join the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship.
The church’s pastor, Jim Dant, stated that the church went through a six-month trial period in which it explored the possibility of ordaining gay and transgender individuals, and after that time, asked its members to affirm the decision to make people of all sexual orientations and lifestyles eligible for a leadership role.
"What I heard was, 'We need to do the right thing, regardless of what anybody thinks or says about us,” Dant told Greenville Online.
Dant added that some congregants expressed concern over what the community would think of the decision, but overall, people were positive.
"Thank you FBC Greenville. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8," one commenter wrote, according to Charisma News.
The Southern Baptist Convention, of which First Baptist of Greenville used to be a part, is saddened over the church’s decision.
President of the Convention Ronnie Floyd stated "We pray that this church will one day return to be biblically driven in their belief about marriage and family, rather than culturally driven as they have testified in the reported story."
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Publication date: August 14, 2015