Letter from the denomination’s National African American Fellowship says vote on Saddleback and Fern Creek could “disproportionately impact” minority congregations.
Earlier this year, Southern Baptists expelled five churches from the nation’s largest Protestant denomination for having women as pastors.
Now, the leader of a fellowship of African American Southern Baptist pastors wonders if their churches will be next.
In a letter last week, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s National African American Fellowship asked to meet with the denomination’s president, saying the SBC’s recent decisions to expel churches with women pastors had caused “division within the SBC and may disproportionately impact NAAF affiliated congregations.”
“Many of our churches assign the title ‘pastor’ to women who oversee ministries of the church under the authority of a male Senior Pastor, i.e., Children’s Pastor, Worship Pastor, Discipleship Pastor, etc.,” wrote the Rev. Gregory Perkins, pastor of The View Church in Menifee, California, and president of the NAAF.
He also said a proposed amendment to the SBC’s constitution to bar churches with women pastors violated the autonomy of local churches—a vital Baptist belief.
During the recent SBC annual meeting, local church delegates, known as messengers, voted to affirm the decision to expel Saddleback Church in Southern California—one of the denomination’s largest churches—and Fern Creek Baptist Church in Louisville. Those two churches had appealed an earlier decision made by the SBC’s Executive Committee that they were no longer in “friendly cooperation” with the convention.
Three other expelled churches—including two predominantly Black churches where women had succeeded their late husbands as pastors—did not appeal.