The First Baptist Church of Jacksonville was spotlighted on Sunday after local media reports caught wind on the church’s “biblical sexuality” statement set to take effect in March.
The “First Baptist Statement on Biblical Sexuality” detailing the church’s support for binary gender roles as well as the belief that marriage is only between a man and a woman was originally approved in October.
“As a member of First Baptist Church, I believe that God creates people in his image as either male or female, and that this creation is a fixed matter of human biology, not individual choice. I believe marriage is instituted by God, not government, is between one man and one woman, and is the only context for sexual desire and expression,” the statement read.
According to the church, all members of the congregation are required to sign the statement and return it by March 19 in order to maintain their membership.
Backlash grew against the statement in the previous week, leading up to an open mic event at the church to listen to and discuss concerns from audience members. One included a queer woman named Katie who opposed the statement and condemned the church for supporting it.
“Yesterday, an acquaintance messaged me and told me about this forum. Their family has made the decision to stop attending this church considering recent events, which is something I encourage all existing congregants to follow,” Katie said.
“The decision to have your members sign any form of contract to attend turns your church into an organization, a club,” she added. “This church is no longer a religious place of worship welcome to all. These sexuality oaths are drawing a clear line in the sand, showing us who you truly welcome, which is by no means all.”
Senior Pastor Heath Lambert defended the statement against these allegations, emphasizing that the statement does not solely condemn homosexuality but all sins regarding sexuality. (SOURCE)