Louisville pastor reacts to her church being kicked out of National Southern Baptist Convention

Fern Creek Baptist Church was officially kicked out of the National Southern Baptist Convention for having women as pastors on Wednesday.
Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 11:22 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Fern Creek Baptist Church was officially kicked out of the National Southern Baptist Convention on Wednesday for having women as pastors.

Last fall, the church was told they were under investigation by the Southern Baptist Convention credentials committee for not being in friendly cooperation with the convention.

In February, Fern Creek was officially disfellowshipped. They appealed but were denied.

Pastor Linda Barnes Popham and seven other people from the church traveled down to New Orleans to appeal the decision.

She said they received just three minutes to try and persuade them.

“It’s not a loss for us in anything, instead it’s a loss for them in the fact that they don’t get funds from us anymore,” Barnes Popham said. “They don’t want us to be in the family anymore. We got kicked out of the family.”

According to the Associated Press, church representatives voted 9,700 to 806 to deny Fern Creek’s appeal.

All for having a woman pastor.

“They feel like it violates the 2,000 Baptist Faith and Message,” Barnes Popham said. “That which was adopted 23 years ago. Why didn’t they do anything about it then?”

Barnes Popham has been a part of Southern Baptist Churches since she was 16. That was 51 years ago. She’s been the pastor at Fern Creek for 30 years.

“It’s sad on one level, like being kicked out of the family is a sad thing,” Barnes Popham said. “It’s sad for our church that is steeped in Southern Baptist tradition.”

The church will have to find new literature, but for the most part, things won’t look much different.

However, the situation isn’t over yet.

“We did receive a letter from the state convention a week or so ago saying that they would be voting in November to kick us out of the Kentucky Baptist Convention,” Barnes Popham said.

For the same reason of having a female pastor.

“A lot of that has to do with the leadership,” Barnes Popham said. “The people who are in control now have sought to get rid of women in any sort of pastoral roles.”

As the Southern Baptist Convention continues to distance itself from Barnes Popham, her congregation is sticking behind her.

“We believe that God is greater than the Southern Baptist Convention,” Barnes Popham said. “He’s a lot bigger than that. And he has wonderful opportunities awaiting us. We’re bound for greater things.”

Fern Creek wasn’t the only church disfellowshipped for having women pastors. A church in California’s appeal was also denied.