Ginter Park Baptist Church in Richmond has been affiliated with Baptist General Association of Virginia(BGVA) for almost 100 years, but that may soon come to an end. In September, Ginter Park Baptist Church, ordained an openly gay man. This doesn’t quite sit well with the BGVA. “We’ve asked them to withdraw because we prefer they make that decision by the end of the year, but if not we would stop receiving their contributions,” said John Upton, Executive Director of the Baptist General Association of Virginia (BGAV) and the Virginia Baptist Mission Board.
The BGVA provides outreach services and mission work to its members in Virginia. The BGVA has given Ginter Park Baptist Church until December to cease affiliations with the organization, because the organization does not want to support their decision. “We also highly esteem the Biblical view of marriage,” explained Upton. “And the way that most of our churches view that is they affirm the Biblical principles of marriage being between one man and one woman. There’s no celebration here at all. There’s deep grief in this and we’re losing some friends here.”
Although the BGVA does not support Ginter’s decision, there are others that do. “I think it very unfortunate that the BGAV continues to uphold an archaic understanding and judgmental interpretation of scripture -that in the end says very little and is certainly inconclusive about this issue,” said Rev Warren Hammonds, who is on the Board of the People of Faith For Equality in Virginia. Hammonds goes on to say, “Its stance and action along with Dr. Upton’s statement basically presumes to decide for God whom God calls, and places the notion that all of God’s children being created in God’s image into a small, confining, comfortable box. The action also goes against the long-known Baptist principle of the autonomy of the local church.” It is also important to note that he is also a former minister and employee of the BGAV.
Do you think the church should have ordained a gay man? Also, is the group being archaic in their thinking?