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KY Church Ousted From SBC Claims To Be ‘More Southern Baptist’ Than Most Ahead of Appeal

Further, since the church is still aligned with the 1963 version of the BFM, something that has long been deemed acceptable in the Kentucky state and local Louisville Baptist associations, Popham has expressed that Fern Creek’s ousting from the SBC is unfounded.

“It’s like being kicked out of the family,” she told the Baptist Press (BP). “On another level, it makes me very angry because I believe this is happening because of deeds done in darkness. I truly do, and I don’t understand them.” 

“There’s a missing link in all this, because why now, when we have served faithfully all of these years, extremely involved in our state and our association, a partner in just about anything the state and association do,” Popham said. “And why, why us?”

The Kentucky Baptist Convention and Louisville Regional Baptist Association have indicated that discussions regarding Fern Creek’s standing with them are ongoing. 

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Nevertheless, Todd Robertson, associational mission strategist for the Louisville association, has spoken highly of Fern Creek. 

“Our leadership is in regular communication with the leadership of Fern Creek Baptist Church and do so built on 63 years of associational relationship with the church and 40 years of relationship with Linda Popham,” Robertson told BP. 

“I will simply say that Fern Creek Baptist Church is highly engaged on mission in their community and is very fruitful in their Gospel ministry,” Robertson added. “They participate through service and attendance with associational activities and partnerships, and they give regularly and generously to the work of the association of churches as we strive together for Kingdom impact in the Louisville Region.”

According to BP, Fern Creek gives 10% of its undesignated receipts to partners in missions and ministry, including 2% to the SBC’s Cooperative Program.

“We have all the programs,” Popham said in defense of the church’s Southern Baptist bona fides. “We have a strong music program. We still have the full missions program—GAs (Girls in Action), RAs (Royal Ambassadors), Mission Friends, Acteens, Challengers. … That’s why when I tell you we’re more Southern Baptist than the average Southern Baptist church, I’m not joking.”

Fern Creek even recently held a special Mission Recognition Service, honoring Southern Baptist ministers in the mission field.

“We want to see Southern Baptists raise up other women to answer God’s call,” Popham said. “We hold fast to the Baptist tenets of the priesthood of the believer and the autonomy of the local church. We think that deeds of darkness need to be exposed.”

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The annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, where Fern Creek’s appeal is set to be heard, will be held in New Orleans on June 11-14.