The District of Columbia Baptist Convention will soon have a critical decision to make regarding its stance on homosexuality.
The Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) executive committee has given the state convention three months to dismiss from its fellowship any churches that affirm homosexual behavior. If any church remains in friendly cooperation with the DCBC after that time, then the convention's ties with the SBC will be severed.
The stipulations come in light of Calvary Baptist Church of Washington, D.C., deciding last year to hire a legally "married" lesbian couple as co-pastors of the congregation. Jeff Walton with The Institute on Religion & Democracy says the church's liberal actions have led to this denominational decision point.
"There's an irreconcilable understanding of what the gospel is between the leadership of Calvary Baptist and the leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention, and I would say probably a majority within the D.C. Baptist Convention," Walton submits. "So there's a lot going on here between a congregation that is very activist and very theologically progressive."
He believes the sexuality issue will continue to be a flashpoint in denominational polity, and he suspects it will also extend to issues such as gender identity and the trustworthiness of Scripture.
The DCBC has until May 20th to make its decision.