The Southern Baptist Convention, the world's largest Baptist denomination, has disfellowshipped an unaffiliated Georgia-based church for having a female pastor.
Gwennette Watson, the pastor of New Faith Mission Ministry in Griffin, Georgia, shared that her church was one of several congregations across the U.S. recently ousted by the SBC executive committee for having female pastors.
"When I got the news, I was in shock," Watson told WSBTV.
"We are not affiliated with any organization. Been self-sufficient since 1999," she said.
While it is unclear why the church was named, Watson says that it bears no impact on the congregation since it was never affiliated with the SBC. At the same time, she feels for other churches that were impacted.
"As a woman, it's very insulting, we can lead in other areas, but we can't lead the church?" Watson questioned.
As Christian Headlines previously reported, the SBC disfellowshipped the California-based Saddleback Church, launched in 1980 by pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren, for ordaining women as pastors. It also cut ties with Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi, St. Timothy's Christian Baptist Church in Baltimore, Maryland and Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky, for the same reason, The Christian Post reports.
"As stated in the Baptist Faith and Message Article VI, the SBC holds to the belief that the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture," SBC's Executive Committee Chairman Jared Wellman said in a statement. "These churches have been valued, cooperating churches for many years, and this decision was not made lightly. However, we remain committed to upholding the theological convictions of the SBC and maintaining unity among its cooperating churches."
Warren, who retired last year, appointed his successor Pastor Andy Wood and his wife, Stacie Wood, who was named as a teaching pastor.
"The Credentials Committee cited Stacie's role as teaching pastor of the church as the reason for the removal of cooperating status due to the church's lack of a faith and practice that closely aligns with the Baptist Faith and Message, which states in Article VI that 'while both men and women are gifted for service in the church, the office of pastor is limited to men as qualified by Scripture,'" Wellman's statement reads.
The churches, including Saddleback and New Faith Mission, can appeal their expulsion at the SBC's Annual Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, June 13-14.
Southern Baptist Convention Disfellowships Saddleback Church over Female Pastor
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.