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Greenwood Forest Baptist Church in Cary, N.C., voted Sunday to escrow contributions to the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina after two church members were denied nomination to convention boards of trustees.

A nominating committee reportedly rejected Pastor Randy Sherron and church member John Hatcher as trustees of two Baptist institutions in the state because the congregation is identified with the Alliance of Baptists, a Washington-based group that has issued statements supporting homosexuals.

According to the Biblical Recorder, state convention president David Horton said the Alliance’s “pro-homosexual stance” is out of line with North Carolina Baptist churches.

The state convention doesn’t accept funds from churches that publicly endorse or condone homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle. Last year the convention removed McGill Baptist Church in Concord, N.C., for baptizing two gay men.

Greenwood Forest Baptist Church voted unanimously to accept a recommendation from its congregational affiliations committee to withhold funding to the state convention. If the convention in November votes to adopt the committee-nominated slate of trustees, excluding the two church members, the committee pledged to bring another recommendation concerning the church’s long-term relationship with the Baptist state convention.

The affiliations committee “felt this was a violation of the most basic Baptist belief; the autonomy of the local church,” according to an article prepared for Greenwood Forest Baptist Church’s newsletter.

But the committee also objected to the process that was followed. No one on the nominating committee contacted anyone at the church, but instead excluded the two individuals because Greenwood Forest is one of 21 churches in North Carolina listed on the Alliance Web site as supporters.

On its church Web site, Greenwood Forest lists affiliations with both the Alliance of Baptists and the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, along with Raleigh Baptist Association and the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina.

The church in North Carolina is paired with a sister church in Cuba through the Alliance’s partnership with the Fraternity of Baptist Churches in Cuba.

Bob Allen is managing editor of EthicsDaily.com.

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