Kentucky Pastor’s Affirming Gays and Lesbians Splits from Baptist Association

By Melanie Nathan, February 25, 2012,

In an article by Jim Warren posted on, Lexington’s Central Baptist Church withdrew from the Elkhorn Baptist Association after its minister’s supportive position on gay and lesbian issues was questioned by a pastor in another association church.

The article goes on to note that Rev. Mark Johnson, pastor at Central Baptist, said his church unanimously decided to split from the association in December. Johnson said the move stemmed from questions raised over comments he placed on his blog last fall suggesting that Jesus would have been supportive of gay and lesbian people.

Central Baptist Church’s decision is drawing praise from the Kentucky Equality Federation, an advocacy group for gays and lesbians.

Federation president Jordan Palmer said in a statement, “We need more churches like this across the commonwealth. Everyone’s relationship with God is personal and not for any one person or any association of churches to condemn or frown on.”

The Elkhorn Baptist Association, includes more than 80 Baptist churches in Lexington and Central Kentucky.  Johnson said events leading to the split began in October, when the Rev. David Prince, pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, wrote to the Elkhorn Baptist Association membership committee questioning statements Johnson made Sept. 23 on his blog, in a post: “Who Stole Jesus,” where he applauded a church in Indianapolis that believes Christ “would be a strong advocate and defender of equal rights for all persons, including those in the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.”

Supposedly once outside the doctrine of  the Association one is disqualified and so Elkhorn’s Prince commented “A church sadly and tragically disqualifies itself by certain practices, conduct, preaching or doctrine contrary to the doctrinal statement,” Prince said. “In my mind, that alone at least clarified that the pastor (at Central Baptist) was outside the bounds of our shared doctrinal commitment.”

And so it seems that clearly said not all of God’s children are welcome in Kentucky if the Baptists of Elkhorn  have anything to do with it; after all if there was no Church such as Johnson’s, affirming of all God’s creation, then gay and lesbian community Baptists would have nowhere to go in Kentucky and why am I not surprised?

Back in 2010 I was contacted by a destitute lesbian couple living out of a motel room in Kentucky, together with the family dogs and a young teen. They had  run out off money. They were hungry, had one night left and they did not have the 50 cents needed to purchase a tampon at the hotel.

They knocked on the doors of numerous of these churches and were told to leave because they were lesbians.  Other than Kentucky Equality Federation, no one in Kentucky offered any help, to the point where I provided my own debit card to the hotel manager and a neighboring restaurant  and solicited some of my friends nationwide, who chipped in too.  The couple was on the verge of having to head into the fields to sleep at the time and it seems that the so called Elkhorn Church doctrine excluded them from Christ’s appointed mercy keepers! 

While Johnson said in a statement that Central Baptist was faced with a choice of “should we fight to stay or graciously and quietly just go,”   there may be some uncertainty as to whether the question was properly examined at all. It seems odd to me that Johnson would want to be associated with a Church that does not truly embrace all of its flock.   It seems to me that Johnson may well be  in a position where he can start Christ’s real work – one that is all inclusive, just like his blog had suggested.

“When we were informed that one church was perhaps asking the membership committee to look into what was going on, we felt that given the nature of how Baptists go about this, it probably wouldn’t be a very nice experience,” Johnson said. “We just felt, since we’d left the other two organizations, maybe it was time to leave the third.”

Johnson said Central Baptist wanted to be “identified as an open and inviting fellowship for God’s people.”

Maybe now if other LGBT people find themselves destitute in Kentucky, they will indeed know exactly where to go and have shelter in a place where the could be a ‘little more of Luke and a little less of Leviticus.’
Reminder to the negative commentators on the original post – “Stop eating shell fish it is an abomination.”

Call to Reader Action:
Kentucky Equality federation has its work cut out for them, in a region that has so few allies. Please visit their website page at and see if there is a way that you can contribute to their extraordinary work.

Original story sources here:

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6 Comments on “Kentucky Pastor’s Affirming Gays and Lesbians Splits from Baptist Association”

  1. khaag February 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM #

    Excellent story and being from Kentucky I fully support Kentucky Equality Federation and their efforts but they have a major uphill battle. Thank you also for everything you do.

  2. DarthEVaderCheney February 25, 2012 at 3:12 PM #

    It needs to be remembered that no church denomination …ESPECIALLY any conservative Baptist denomination… can save souls, and unfortunately don’t want to, unless ‘their’ conditions are met. Jesus would find find abhorent today the actions of the Baptist churches that act in this way. Let them keep their ‘jesus’ and let the true Christians do what Jesus and the Good Samaritan would do.
    I served 10 years in the Baptist convention… liberal church, conservative congregation… retired, and shredded my ordination papers in total disgust for the entire cult.

  3. Ed Ford June 15, 2012 at 10:22 PM #

    To be a consistent follower of Jesus, it is required to disfellowship those who claim to be Christians but persist in sexual immorality, 1 Corinthians 5-6.

    Many other commandments of Christ make it plain that you must obey Jesus if you claim to love Him. “He that saith I know him, and keepeth not his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”, 1 John 3:3.

    If you detest Christianity and reject it outright, that is at least better than claiming to believe in Jesus and be a follower, but disobey what He taught. I was once a sodomite, and am now a follower of Jesus and have repented of that sinfulness. God requires repentance–“repent and believe the gospel”.

    What is truly tragic here is not that this group was disfellowshipped for outrageous support of what the Word of Christ plainly teaches is major sin, but that anyone who claims to be a follower of Jesus would even think of saying that sodomy is acceptable in God’s eyes! There several New Testament passages which specifically point to homosexuality be right in there with murder, witchcraft, greed, deception, etc, as major offences against the Almighty–Rom 1 and 1 Cor 6 for example.

    Here’s from 1 Cor 6:

    “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    An overall reading the New Testament reveals a consistent message from God that every man is a sinner and must repent and believe in Jesus to be saved from endless punishment, AND that true belief in Jesus will be demonstrated by a life of holiness, AND that disobedience is to be dealt with.

    Everyone likes to quote Jesus saying, “judge not”. However the same people seem to loose focus of where Jesus said “teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded”. Which includes “turning over to Satan” those who claim to be Christians but are in unrepentant immorality–check it out–1 Cor 5 and 6. Everyone likes the Lamb of God–many cringe before the Lion of the tribe of Judah!

    As to the sad case of the sodomite couple looking for a home. Well, that’s a nice left-wing example. But lets turn to a sin the left-wing recognizes as a sin. Perhaps you can’t relate to Christians being revulsed at the thought of hosting people who would commit perverted sexual acts in their bed. Well, imagine it was a couple of Neo-Nazi, KKK skinheads, and you knew that if you hosted them they would find the nearest Negro or Jew and assault him? Would YOU host people whose lifestyle flaunts the most vile desecration of YOUR moral code?

    So, finally, I don’t know how consistently this denomination follows the Lord Jesus. But on this point they are right: homosexuality is forbidden by God. Anyone, no matter how outlandish their lifestyle, can be forgiven–but they must repent and turn from their sin, or their profession of faith in Jesus is vain. And those who do such things while claiming to be Christians are to be–well, let me just quote Jesus, speaking through one of His chosen messengers: “If any man obey not our word in this epistle, note that man, and have not company with him.”

    My hat’s off to this group that has the guts to stand for what the Bible plainly teaches.

    To those who are so upset with them–I ask you, do you really understand what the Bible is teaching? Fish or cut bait. Either take all of what God has said, believe and obey, or else just admit you don’t believe it and at least give people who do follow it with their whole hearts some credit for consistency.

    • Melanie Nathan June 16, 2012 at 11:28 AM #

      No amount of thumping and punching a bible derogates from the fact that your are plain wrong….
      1. Show me where G-d or Jesus said it is a sin to be a homosexual.
      2. I do know its a sin to commit adultery and eat shell fish, but nowhere does it say in the Hebrew Bible or is it said by Jesus that same-sex relationships are sinful
      3. The Bible and Jesus promotes love and not hate
      4. God says that people must worship only one God and in that context speaks about the revelry of man and man and woman and woman giving up God and not focusing on God.
      5. People like you have forsaken God in the name of Jesus Christ, a man who only some in the world consider the messiah,But what about other religions.

      Why do some Christians like ED FORD here think that freedom of religion means only their religion? Give credence to other interpretations of the biblical material you so freely toss around. Many rabbis and many other christians will not agree with you.

      Have you read the Book Holy terror by Mel White – Have you read the Torah in Hebrew and understood what it means? Have you rad the talmud and other interpretations.

      Ed Ford you spread your ignorance.

      Fundamentalist Christians see homosexuality as a threat to their church and use it as a means to keep peole engaged and paying to the coffers.

      The depictions and references to sodomy in the Bible have little to do with the relationships of same sex couples, in the same way as sodomy between a man and woman have little to do with straight relationships. Thinks about that and give your Bible a re-read buddy!!

      • Melanie Nathan June 16, 2012 at 11:29 AM #

        forgive my spelling typing from my cell phone

    • Melanie Nathan June 16, 2012 at 11:35 AM #

      Why do you think Jesus Christ is the Messiah? I think we have yet to see the Messiah. Did the Torah – the Book of G-d’s word as you suggest Ed Ford – not say that when the Messiah does indeed come the world will be a changed place? No more war – no more starvation, no more suffering? Was that not the promise of the Messiah? So who was Jesus? Is the New testament a bibliography about some guy claiming to be the son of G-d? How do we know it has anything to do with G-d? Where is the proof.? I dont see anything great going on the world sinnce his supposed arrival? I mean there has been a genocide even against Christians in some parts of the world. The very believers in teh messiah? whats going on? I am so confused.

      Okay get my point?

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