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‘God Is Greater Than the Southern Baptist Convention,’ Says Pastor Whose Church Was Ousted

The recent uproar about female pastors, Popham said, is due to “deeds done in darkness and power-hungry men, people who were trying to purify the Southern Baptist Convention to their standard of purity, which doesn’t match biblical standards of purity.”

Fern Creek members voted to retain Popham as pastor, rather than switch leadership to remain in “friendly cooperation” with the SBC. As of now, Popham said she’s unsure whether the congregation will stay independent or join a different body. Being kicked out of America’s largest Protestant denomination “kind of feels free,” she admitted. “God is going to do something big, and God is greater than the Southern Baptist Convention.”

Due to the autonomous nature of SBC churches, Fern Creek’s removal won’t lead to many changes for the congregation. The SBC “will just cease to get our offerings, and we will no longer use their literature,” said Popham. “So we’re not really losing. They’re losing.”

Fern Creek also might be expelled from the Kentucky Baptist Convention.

‘Satan Loves Dividing Us,’ Pastor Warns

During her three minutes of allotted floor time at last week’s SBC Annual Meeting, Popham described Fern Creek as “a very conservative, evangelical, mission-minded, Great Commission church, like many of you.” And she described herself as a lifelong Southern Baptist who is “personally more conservative than most Southern Baptist pastors I know.”

Popham said, “We don’t all interpret every Scripture the same way. We believe that the Bible allows women to serve in ways in which all of you do not agree. But we should still be able to partner together.” The issue, she said, is not “to convince any of you to allow your church to have women pastors.”

In fact, she noted, she and members of Fern Creek “disagree with some of you in your faith practice. I mean, look at your extreme Calvinists. I don’t agree with you. Look at all of you who closed your churches during COVID. I don’t agree with you. But I don’t wanna kick you out, because you are a part of the family, and we at Fern Creek Baptist Church love you very much. We want to partner together to share the good news to the ends of the earth.”

To conclude, Popham warned attendees, “Satan loves dividing us. He’s tearing this Convention apart. He loves deeds done in darkness. He loves seeing religious leaders…being consumed by traditions and opinions and power and non-salvific issues.” Before her time ran out, she added, “There are millions of people groping in darkness needing to know the good news of Jesus Christ, and you know what Jesus is saying, ‘Woe to you Pharisees, hypocrites, teachers of the law…”

Pastor Rick Warren, Saddleback’s founder, also had argued that the issue of women pastors is nonessential. But SBTS President Dr. Albert Mohler disagreed, saying “It’s not just a matter of church polity. It’s not just a matter of hermeneutics.”