Towne View Baptist
Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia, was one of four churches disfellowshipped by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee on Feb. 23, 2021. (Photo by Maina Mwaura)

Southern Baptists Expel Four Churches for Abuse and LGBTQ Membership

By Bob Smietana

Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee today disfellowshipped four congregations—two for employing known sex offenders and two for affirming homosexuality.

The denomination’s credentials committee determined that four congregations are “no longer in friendly cooperation” with the denomination. Those churches are Towne View Baptist Church in Kennesaw, Georgia; St. Matthews Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky; Antioch Baptist Church in Sevierville, Tennessee; and West Side Baptist Church in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania.

Meeting in executive session, the Executive Committee voted to remove all four churches.

Towne View and St. Matthews were removed for “affirming homosexual behavior” in their standards for members and leaders.

Antioch Baptist Church “knowingly employs as pastor a man convicted of statutory rape,” according to the credentials committee. That committee also told the Executive Committee members that West Side Baptist “knowingly employs as pastor a registered sex offender.”

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St. Matthews was previously removed from the Kentucky Baptist Convention in 2018 for its support of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, after the CBF decided to allow some gay employees, according to the Louisville Courier Journal.

Towne View was notified earlier this year that the Executive Committee would review its status. At issue is Towne View’s decision to affirm an openly gay couple, John and John M. Reynolds, as full members. 

 “We felt strongly that we wanted our boys to have the opportunity to attend a Bible-based church,” John M. Reynolds told Religion News Service earlier this year, “to have the best opportunity to develop their own personal relationship with God.” 

The Reynoldses have since moved and are no longer at the church.

Executive Committee members also received a report from a task force that investigated the SBC’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. That report concluded that the ERLC was a distraction for the SBC and its actions had led to a loss of donations. The committee took no action on the report.

Executive Committee member Rod Martin, a noted critic of ERLC President Russell Moore, asked if the agency was still needed, given that the denomination faces division on a number of issues and the ERLC does not focus primarily on evangelism or missions.

West Side, St. Matthews and Antioch did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

Bob SmietanaBob Smietana is a national reporter for Religion News Service.

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7 thoughts on “Southern Baptists Expel Four Churches for Abuse and LGBTQ Membership”

  1. When will the SBC expel hireling and fake “Dr.” Bryan Loritts of Summit Church, and adequately deal with J.D. Greear, who hired this chronic liar, deceiver, and abettor of serial sexual predator/abuser Rick Trotter in an unfathomably foolish, ungodly decision to again put Loritts in a place of leadership in a church?

    Others have added more specifics to the list of garbage the SBC needs to take out if it wants to stand for truth and integrity. Julie’s excellent podcast interview on 1/27/21 gives more helpful insights regarding this.

  2. From what I have seen of the Neo-Pharisees that run the SBC that hiring a convicted sex offender has suddenly become taboo even though that has been going on for all my lifetime. However covering up a scandal related to this is not a sin. With enough bad press that might change with the next big personnel shuffle. Still the telling story is the loss of Mammon due to other issues. Pharisees always have been lovers of Mammon their true God. Touch that and they react. But who gives a damn about child abuse and sexual abuse? They do nothing until the Mammon starts coming up short of their vile lusts for it…

  3. “The Reynoldses have since moved and are no longer at the church.”

    What a disaster!

    Revd. Conrad of Towne View Baptist Church has clearly just had what would be called – in the UK – a major pratfall. He fell into an obvious spiritual trap. He should have sought the Holy Spirit’s guidance in this matter, rather than his colleague’s: that same Holy Spirit who would have pointed him to relevant scriptures, and challenged him to trust in Him and say ‘no’ to the Johns Reynolds, not ‘yes’.

    Rev. Conrad has acted so as to cause his flock to scatter. The two troublemakers have already moved on; and the church has just been kicked out by the SBC. You couldn’t make it up!

    This is what being taken in by the Enemy looks like, everyone: and it can happen all too easily, if one leans upon one’s own understanding, rather than trusting in the Lord (Proverbs 3:5-6).

    Go forth, and do ye not likewise.

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