In the midst of controversy surrounding a Pike County church and their vote to ban interracial couples from becoming members of their church [original article], the National Association of Free Will Baptists have released a statement noting the contrary.
Below is the official statement regarding Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church:
From the National Association of Free Will Baptist For Immediate Release December 1, 2011
Free Will Baptist Executive Office Statement Regarding Interracial Couples Antioch, TN — Recently, the action of a Free Will Baptist church in the state of Kentucky raised questions regarding the position of the National Association of Free Will Baptists on interracial couples. This statement is intended to bring clarity to the subject.
The National Association of Free Will Baptists does not have an official policy regarding interracial couples because it has not been an issue in the denomination. The Free Will Baptist Treatise neither condemns nor disallows marriage between a man and woman of different races.
Free Will Baptists have historically championed the rights and dignity of all people, regardless of race. The denomination’s leadership in the abolition movement is evidence of that fact. Free Will Baptists currently spend millions of dollars each year to take the good news of Jesus Christ to people of every race. Many interracial couples are members of Free Will Baptist churches. They are loved, accepted, and respected by their congregations.
It is unfair and inaccurate to characterize the denomination as racist. It is our understanding that steps are being taken by the church in question to reverse its decision. We encourage the church to follow through with this action. Leaders from the local conference and state association in Kentucky are working with the church to resolve this matter.
Contact: Executive Secretary Keith Burden: firstname.lastname@example.org Keith Burden, CMP Executive Secretary National Association of Free Will Baptists, Inc.
According to Kentucky.com, Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church, said he will seek a new vote on the issue, perhaps as early as Sunday.
Stepp said he is confident members of the church, which has about 45 members, will overturn the earlier decision.
"We're going to get it resolved," Stepp said.
What are you thoughts, given the NAFWB's official statement in response to our original article? Sound off in the comments below.