Fern Creek Church Faces Removal From Southern Baptist Convention As Female Pastor Sparks Controversy

Female Pastor

Removal of Churches from the southern baptist convention as the issue of having female pastors persisted. Fern Creek Church is only one of the five churches expelled from the convention, and the common thing about their removal is they have female pastors.

Linda Barnes Popham, the Pastor of Fern Creek Baptist Church, the recent ruling has left her in shock. Barnes Popham has been the church pastor for the past thirty years and has dedicated her life to spreading the gospel and bringing people to Jesus. Despite her shock, Barnes Popham remains committed to her passion and mission, stating that she will continue to live for Jesus and spread his message.

Expulsion of Fern Creek Church from the Southern Baptist Convention

According to a report by WLKY, there has been a recent expulsion of five churches by the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) for not being in friendly cooperation. One of these churches is Fern Creek Baptist Church, where Linda Barnes Popham has been the pastor for the past thirty years. Barnes Popham questions the timing of this decision, given that the SBC adopted the Baptist Faith and Message in 2000, 23 years ago.

The Baptist Faith and Message Article VI states that the pastor's office is limited to men, as qualified by Scripture. However, Fern Creek Baptist Church had a female pastor for many years, which led to its expulsion.

The decision was not made lightly, according to the Executive Committee chairman, Jared Wellman, who stated that the SBC is committed to upholding its theological convictions and maintaining unity among its cooperating churches. Barnes Popham sees this decision as a rejection from the SBC, stating that they are not a part of the family anymore and are not wanted.

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) has seen six churches not in friendly cooperation, five of which had female pastors, including Saddleback Church in California, one of the largest churches in the convention. According to Baptist Press, the SBC Executive Committee did not name the Woods, the couple hired as pastors at Saddleback, in its decision, but the church was deemed to have faith and practice that does not closely identify with the convention's adopted statement of confidence because of having a female teaching pastor.

Also Read: Can Women Be Pastors? What the Bible Says About Female Church Leaders 

Long-Standing Debate on Having Female Pastors

There has been a long-occurring debate regarding having female pastors in the SBC. According to a story in NPR, SBC has historically been conservative and resistant to societal change, including issues related to LGBTQ rights and the civil rights movement, according to Matthew Gabriele, the Department of Religion and Culture chairman at Virginia Tech.

Four other churches with senior female pastors were also considered not cooperative-friendly. One church was expelled for failing to cooperate with the Credentials Committee regarding a sexual abuse allegation against its senior pastor. The SBC's statement of faith, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, limits the pastor's office to men as qualified by Scripture.

Related Article: Saddleback Church Expelled by Southern Baptist Convention Over Women Pastors Debate