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Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church Withdraws from Southern Baptist Convention

Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church Withdraws from Southern Baptist Convention

Elevation Church, a prominent congregation in North Carolina led by pastor Steven Furtick, has announced its decision to sever ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Although the church did not make an official public statement, a letter published online on June 26 revealed that Elevation Church informed the SBC Executive Committee of its immediate withdrawal.

“This letter is to inform you that Elevation Church is withdrawing its affiliation with the Southern Baptist Convention effective immediately,” wrote Elevation’s chief financial officer Chunks Corbett. “You will find that our Statement of Beliefs on our website is very much in line with the Baptist Faith and Message — we have no intention of changing those core beliefs.

“We have no plans to make a public announcement on this decision — we have too much to do in reaching a world that needs the love of Jesus,” he continued. “Should your Credentials Committee decide to make this decision by Elevation public, we will only respond with a copy of this letter in anyone inquiring about the notification.”

Although the letter did not provide a specific reason for the withdrawal, some Southern Baptists speculate the decision was made following the recent SBC Annual Convention vote to prohibit women from serving as pastors. The proposed amendment to the SBC constitution, which passed with a vote from over 12,000 messengers on June 14, garnered attention for its stance on gender roles within the denomination. The vote came just hours after messengers approved the removal of Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California for allowing a woman to serve in the role of teaching pastor.

The SBC’s Baptist Faith & Message 2000 specifies that the office of pastor is limited to qualified men according to Scripture. The proposed amendment prohibiting women from serving as pastors will become permanent if it gains majority support at the SBC annual meeting in 2024, according to the SBC Constitution.

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