By Sam Dorman
A Kentucky church’s letter caused an uproar on social media this week. The letter, posted to Facebook, told some church members they could no longer be members because they weren’t performing their “duties” as defined by the church.
“Cave City Baptist Church cherishes you as a member of this fellowship,” the letter read. “Some circumstance has kept you from performing your duties as defined in the by-laws of Cave City Baptist Church,” it said before listing several duties:
- “to attend habitually the services of His church”
- “the give regularly to its support and its causes”
- “to share in its organized work”
While the letter wished recipients a “life of faith,” it also had a message that might have been hard to swallow. “This letter is to inform you that your name has been removed from the membership roll of Cave City Baptist Church,” it said.
On Facebook, Jason Pedigo, who obtained the letter from someone else, shared the letter, signed by pastors Ryan Broers and Steven Wilson. Pedigo told followers they were welcome to attend “Rowletts Baptist Church” as well as the ones people mentioned in his comments section: Many lampooned the church as divisive or not following the Christian spirit: The letter’s last sentence offered a welcoming message, perceived as insincere by many. “The doors of Cave City Baptist Church will always be open to you,” it said.
In an interview with WBKO, Pastor Broers said he intended to use the letter as a “wake-up call”:
“A lot of the people that the letters were sent to are not attending church anywhere, and this was kind of a wake-up call to them ‘you’ve broken fellowship with God, you’ve broken fellowship with this church, you need to come back and repent and get your relationship with Him.’”
One member, Samantha Esthers, said she was in shock. “I was in shock that they could kick somebody out, especially after I had just been there a couple Sundays ago,” she said. “It’s actually God’s church, not your church,” she also said.
Beth Gentry Carder, who previously attended the church, said she felt upset about the way the church handled the issue: “Made it kind of seem like they only wanted your money. Kind of makes you feel sad. No church should make you feel this way.”
Pastor Broers, as the Lexington Herald-Leader noted, initially responded to the complaints but eventually stopped, saying “They didn’t want to have a conversation. They went into attack mode and made very personal comments to me that were hurtful and untrue.”
The episode seemed to evoke questions of how best to communicate to fellow believers, as well as how far is too far in the way Christians push each other to meet their obligations to God.