NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Southern Baptist Convention's Executive Committee expelled a Texas church Tuesday for employing a pastor who is a lifetime registered sex offender.
The 80-plus member body, which acts on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention when it is not in session, took a vote to disfellowship Ranchland Heights Baptist Church in Midland, Texas, during its regularly scheduled meeting in Nashville.
Ranchland Heights is "no longer to be considered in friendly cooperation with the Southern Baptist Convention," said the Rev. Mike Stone, chairman of the Executive Committee.
Stone did not share why the church was being removed during Tuesday's meeting, but the official Twitter account for the Executive Committee detailed the reason.
"The EC has moved to disfellowship Ranchland Heights Baptist Church in Midland, TX, because of its employment of a lifetime registered sex offender as pastor," the post stated.
That's remarkable. It would be interesting to know what prompted the congregation to call that particular pastor.
Luke 12:35-48 has Jesus telling a great parable about knowing the Master's will but not doing it, and instead shirking one's duties & even mistreating those under them. I often hear the end of verse 48 quoted, but I like to consider a whole section to know what I'm reading. It all fits in this case, but I'll quote the end of verse 48 as a summary: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more."
Psalm 121:1-2 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.
Ranchland Heights pastor Phillip Rutledge was convicted of sexually assaulting two preteen girls in 2003. A deacon at the church told the local CBS affiliate in 2016 that “the vast majority” of members knew about Rutledge’s child sex offender status. The deacon added that the church ensures children “are never by themselves” with the pastor. Ranchland Heights’ Facebook page, which was removed following the decision, had listed its motto as “the church of second chances.”