Southern Baptist Leaders Cut Ties with California LGBT-Affirming Church

Executive Committee chairman Mike Routt presides over the Sept. 23 plenary session. Photo via Bob Allen, ABPnews/Herald/RNS.

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee voted unanimously Sept. 23 to break ties with New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., after determining it was condoning “homosexual behavior.”

“We believe that, following the lead of Pastor Danny Cortez, New Heart Community Church has walked away from the Southern Baptist Convention’s core biblical values,” said Roger Oldham, a spokesman for the committee.

Oldham said Cortez attended the meeting and indicated that he had officiated at a same-sex wedding.

The denomination has cut ties to churches that endorsed homosexuality before, but this may be the first time that its Executive Committee has withdrawn fellowship from a church on behalf of the denomination. The move came less than two weeks after the California Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Board voted unanimously to withdraw fellowship from the congregation because of Cortez’s announcement that he affirmed gays — including his teenage son — and his church had taken a “third way” on homosexuality.

Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., watches proceedings from the visitors’ gallery. Photo courtsy of Bob Allen, ABPnews/Herald

Danny Cortez, pastor of New Heart Community Church in La Mirada, Calif., watches proceedings from the visitors’ gallery. Photo courtesy of Bob Allen, ABPnews/Herald/RNS.

Cortez could not immediately be reached for comment about the SBC Executive Committee vote.

After the California convention board’s vote on Sept. 11, he said: “We want to make it clear that while our hope has been to stay within the SBC denomination, we nonetheless hold them dearly as our brothers and sisters in Christ. We ask that God bless them, and bless us, as we all attempt to navigate this very difficult period of church history.”

Adelle M. Banks is production editor and a national correspondent at RNS. Via RNS.

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