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Church Ousted From Baptist Association for Sharing Worship Venue With Gay-Friendly Group

A Kentucky pastor has accused a Baptist governing body of ousting his church from its association for showing "too much grace" after board members took issue with the ministry sharing its place of worship with a gay-friendly group.

The Daviess-McLean Baptist Association (DMBA) voted 242-24 in favor of dropping Journey Fellowship Church in Owensboro, Ky. from its credentials committee due to members of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) being allowed to hold meetings at the church.

While Journey Fellowship's pastor, Bob Coons, sees the issue as a matter of grace, Jerry Tooley, executive director of DMBA, sees the board's decision as a matter of orthodoxy.

Tooley told The Christian Post Thursday that members of the association ruled that Journey Fellowship's position toward PFLAG, which he called an "activist group," clashed with members' views regarding homosexuality.

DMBA discovered in October 2010 that members of the local PFLAG had been meeting at Journey Fellowship.

DMBA leaders viewed Coons' reluctance to ask the PLFAG group to meet elsewhere as an endorsement of homosexuality. Board members handed down their decision on Monday, August 15.

"The board ruled that they were disorderly in conduct and that they were unorthodox in doctrine," Tooley said, referring to the sinfulness of homosexuality.

Coons, disappointed by DMBA's vote, told The Christian Post that Journey Fellowship had been hoping for a different result.

The pastor explained that Journey Fellowship is "welcoming and affirming" of homosexuals and that his ministry will "continue to reach out to those who have been alienated, shunned, and rejected by the church."

After Monday's vote, Journey Fellowship posted on its Facebook page: "GRACE TAKES IT ON THE CHIN. Alas, the hoped for headline is not forthcoming. DMBA votes 242-24 (yep, you read that right) to DIS-associate themselves from Journey Fellowship for practicing TOO MUCH GRACE. How sad!"

Visitors to the Owensboro Church's Facebook page shared Journey Fellowship's disappointment with DMBA's decision, with commenters calling the vote "sad" and "hateful."

The Daviess-McLean Baptist Association includes 56 member churches, all of which are located in Kentucky.

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