A Dallas Baptist church has voted to allow LGBT members, a decision that could lead to disaffiliation from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, WFAA-TV reports.
Wilshire Baptist Church in northeast Dallas voted Sunday on whether to allow LGBT people full membership to the church, which would include leadership positions, baby dedications and marriage. The vote passed by a 61 percent majority, according to WFAA.
The Baptist General Convention of Texas, which is affiliated with more than 5,000 churches in the state, learned of the vote and sent a letter to the Dallas church last week, according to a Fox 4 News story.
“They made a firm stand that any church that would be affirming of same-sex sexual behavior in any manner would be excluded from relationship to the convention,” Wilshire pastor George Mason told Fox 4.
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The BGCT also sent a letter to First Baptist Church in Austin over a similar vote, the Baptist Standard reported.
The BGCT doesn’t hold authority over its member churches. The convention’s goal, according to its website, is “to awaken, stimulate and coordinate” evangelism and other activities among its members.
The BGCT on its website says “the homosexual lifestyle … is a sin,” an opinion the convention has formally held since 1982.
In 1998, when a Baptist church was discovered to have ordained a gay deacon, the BGCT decided to “decline any financial contributions from the church” and ask the church to remove the BGCT name “from its website and other materials.”
David Hardage, executive director of the BGCT, told the Baptist Standard that the decision to send letters to the churches in Dallas and Austin was “painful for us.”