Members of First Baptist Church Jacksonville are now having to sign what’s called the “First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality” in order to remain members of the church. The statement sent out by First Baptist Church Jacksonville requires a signature by all members of the congregation and to be returned no later than March 19, 2023 in order to “secure membership.”
The statement is attached below:
“As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression.”
This agreement has already created backlash towards First Baptist Church. Around the time this agreement was approved back in early October, Senior Pastor Heath Lambert of First Baptist detailed that when he made a video explaining this “Statement on Biblical Sexuality,” the venue he used to film it in later lashed out. This was all detailed in an article titled “The Hateful Hypocrisy of Militant LGBTQ Activism.”
Now, other churches are speaking out as well.
“We don’t think that anything other than faith in Christ should be what determines membership,” says Brian Lays, Senior Pastor at Riverside Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville. “To anyone who has been ostracized by their church on account of their self-understanding or sexual orientation, I would first offer an apology on behalf of my fellow Christians for the ways in which we have pushed people away.”
However, Lambert says First Baptist’s document and message is not intended to be hateful, but loving. Additionally, Lambert says there’s no reason for controversy regarding the agreement.
“If you put a swimming pool in your backyard and you say to the toddlers, have at it, and you don’t ever put a fence up … If you only talk about the good things and you don’t talk about the dangers, people are gonna die,” Lambert explained to Action News Jax. “The reality is, our city is dying or drowning in sexual sin.”
Action News Jax also reached out to JASMYN, Equality Florida and the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality for statements on this decision by First Baptist Church Jacksonville. However, JASMYN and the Jacksonville Coalition for Equality declined to comment, while we received no response for statement from Equality Florida.
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