By Bob Allen
Southern Baptist Convention leaders have been asked to consider removing a Texas church that supports a local chapter of Planned Parenthood of America.
Messengers to the 2013 SBC annual meeting in Houston voted June 11 to refer a motion to the SBC Executive Committee to sever ties with Lakeshore Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, for active support of “the abortion provider Planned Parenthood.”
Pastor Dorisanne Cooper said Lakeshore Baptist Church already withdrew from the SBC 12 years ago and notified convention leadership at the time. “The church felt that the leadership and direction of the SBC were increasingly moving in ways that we did not consider to be true to our identity as Baptists,” she said.
Lakeshore Baptist Church conducts missions through “mission groups” formed if three or more people have a common interest in a particular ministry they want to be “officially” supported by the church, according to the church website.
One of 17 current mission groups supports Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas as a way to “assure that quality, comprehensive reproductive health care and education are available to all.”
Because of that, Steven Ball, pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Childress, Texas, made the motion to “withdraw fellowship” and “disaffiliate Lakeshore Baptist Church from the Southern Baptist Convention.”
In 2000, then-pastor Brett Younger wrote convention officials saying Lakeshore “can no longer, with integrity, maintain ties given the leadership and direction of the SBC.”
“Our reasons are the ones you would expect,” he wrote. “Lake Shore Baptist Church is committed to the equality of women, the separation of church and state, social ministry and ecumenical cooperation.”
“We know that you will get along fine without us,” Younger wrote. “We wish you well, because we recognize that God’s work is large enough for all of us to have plenty to do.”
In 2009, the Executive Committee responded to a similar motion by recommending dismissal of Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, for violating the convention’s constitutional ban on homosexuality.