Stacy Stepp, pastor of the Gulnare Free Will Baptist Church in Pike County, told The Associated Press that the vote by nine people last week was declared null and void after it was determined that new bylaws can't run contrary to local, state or national laws. He said the proposal was discriminatory, therefore it couldn't be adopted.It was the right decision to reverse an unbiblical standard for church membership. The problem is that the right decision was made for the wrong reason. The mere fact that the church's position was "contrary to local, state or national laws" was not sufficient to overturn it. What if local, state, or national laws should require what God forbids or forbid what God requires? What if...oh, I don't know...say an evil tyrant should be intent on exterminating the Jews and should pass a law prohibiting the church from coming to the aid of their Jewish neighbors? Should we sit on our hands and do nothing, so as not to act contrary to local, state or national laws? Scripture is pretty clear on this point: "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29, see also Acts 4:19-20).
The pastor recognizes that a ban on interracial marriage is discriminatory, and that such discrimination is contrary to the laws of the land. But does he not recognize that it is also contrary to the word of God? This should be the real reason for reversing course.
Sadly, the story gets even worse. In an effort to undo the damage,
Stepp said about 30 people who attended church services voted on a new resolution that welcomes "believers into our fellowship regardless of race, creed or color." (You can find the story here.)Regardless of race or color? Yes and amen! Regardless of creed? Not so much. Apparently they are unaware of the contradiction. They welcome believers regardless of their creed, which is the same as saying, they welcome believers regardless of whether or not they believe. Believers are identified by their creed (what they believe). Churches are defined by their creed. Will they welcome into membership someone who denies the deity of Christ? The inspiration and authority of Scripture as the word of God? Substitionary atonement? The necessity of conversion? If they welcome people regardless of creed, they must. But to do so is to destroy the church.