Some Members Outraged At Church For Baptizing Gay Man

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(Memphis) Ronnie Hester wears his sexuality and faith out in the open.

"I don't quite keep it a secret," Hester said.

He moved to Memphis eight months ago, and part of building a new life included finding a church to call home.

Hester looked for a church that accepted and loved him for who he was.

That's what led him to The First Baptist Church of Memphis, where he was baptized two weeks ago.

Several people claiming to be members of the church called WREG Wednesday, outraged.

They said they were not asked it was OK with them for a gay man to be baptized at their church, adding he does not believe as they do.

"I was, you know, shocked to hear it," Hester said.

He was shocked because he considers First Baptist Church of Memphis to be supportive and accepting of all people.

"But I don't guess all of the members are on board," Hester said.

WREG asked the pastor what he thought.

While he wouldn't talk about a member, Pastor David Breckenridge sent us the following statement:

"We at First Baptist respect the privacy of all of our church members, so we do not comment on our members’ private lives. While our church has never formally adopted a policy concerning sexuality, for many years we have had straight, gay, and lesbian members serving in our church. We have never had any qualifications for baptism or membership other than profession of faith in Christ. First Baptist has always been a church whose doors are open to anyone who seeks to follow Christ."

Hester said he still loves the church, but is deciding whether on not he will go back following the incident.


  • Michael

    I’ll bet the “outraged” people are either themselves divorced and remarried, serial adulterers, or happily sit next to them every Sunday. Believing that certain people can’t be Christians has got to be the biggest abomination of them all.

  • church member

    We love you Ronnie and fully support you at FBC!! :) Don’t let them get you down! I loved seeing you and scott up there as you were baptized! We are your family!

  • John Snow

    I find it interesting and honorable that the church would celebrate Lent. FBC must really be coming out of the closet to recognize the holy days of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

  • Terri Weaver

    I suspect that the “people claiming to be members” who called the media are not in fact a part of FBC since the first most of us who actually ARE church members at FBC heard of this supposed “controversy” was when WREG came on the air tonight. Ronnie Hester is my friend and a member of my Sunday School class. I was one of the people who invited him to FBC in the first place. At every step along this path these supposed outraged members had an opportunity to make their voices heard. When a person comes forward for membership there is a vote taken…no one voted no at that time. In the ceremony of baptism there is a place to affirm the congregation’s support of the person being baptized…at no point did anyone refuse to do so. To then call the media anonymously is not only a grotesque violation of Ronnie’s privacy but a cowardly act in violation of Matthew 18 which requires a person who has a problem with another person to come to that person directly. Every FBC member is or should be aware of what is on our website’s ABOUT US page: That “we welcome all, no exceptions”, is right there in print for all to see. Throughout our 175 year history we have consistently made decisions that were considered “controversial”: welcoming African American members in the 50’s, calling female clergy, and having active members of all sexual orientations. Welcoming ALL who come has long been a core value of FBC Memphis…it was so before this it will be so after this. Thanks be to God.

    • Ric


      Sounds like First Baptist needs to drive out the riffraff missionaries from Westboro Baptist trying to influence their flock …..

  • D

    let those without sin cast the first stone. Really!!! a church is a hospital for sinners of all types and is there to share what God’s word says and to help people in the decisions they make in there every day life. A sin is a sin no matter what and is forgiven through the blood of Jesus and your acceptance of him as your personal saviour. Do the right thing First Baptist and reach out your arms to everyone. If you are going to be selective then how can you be a church that is ran by Gods authority?

  • Joe

    “He was shocked because he considers First Baptist Church of Memphis to be supportive and accepting of all people.”

    Supportive and accepting of all people in this scenario would also mean that First Baptist Church would baptize those currently members of Westboro Baptist, those who are convicted felons, those who are classified as terrorists, and many more.

    “All people” is a very broad term, and it speaks volumes to say the church should not have standards in serving God among its membership.

  • I believe in GOD

    We are required by GOD to love the SINNER but not the SIN! None of us have a right to judge a person; but we do have the right to judge the SIN! There is certainly a difference. No church open in GOD’s name should turn away a person because of their lifestyle. If there is any hope for change and re-direction in their lives; the WORD of GOD being taught at the church is the most powerful weapon that can be used to transform someone’s heart. Only GOD can change a man’s heart; but the WORD will penetrate that heart and prepare it for change. Openly segregating a person because of their lifestyle or what you may perceive as being wrong shows a lack of compassion and love for your fellow man. You can’t take the parts of GOD’s word you like and agree with and use it to hurt someone. One of the greatest commandments we have is to “LOVE” one another.

  • Melanie

    So sad. This was never what Jesus intended. This condemning, self righteous behavior is exactly what drives so many people from the church. Who are any of us to cast any stones at all? So sad.

      • upaces88

        By NO means am I a Bible Scholar…I do seem to remember that it said, (paraphrased…someone help me out here!): Something about…”better burn in hell” than to be homosexual”…
        To me…meaning, life will be much more complicated, and painful.
        IF you Google: What happens to the embryo that causes some to turn towards homosexuality?
        There are even animals that are homosexual. It has to do with the hormonal bath that the brain gets at a specific time that somehow happens at the wrong time.

        And, No, I don’t want to be around them. It upsets me and at times I have to leave their presence if they are openly demonstrative.

  • Voice

    So a church has to vote on who can join or to be baptized!!! Oh my! Where does it say try that others are responsible for My salvation. If I want to be baptized in the name of Jesus then I shall be baptized. We don’t know everybody’s demon they face, his sexuality was obvious to them. The Pastor is the shepherd over his life so the Pastor has to see to it that he is fed the Word of God with out blemish. Everyone has to go through something to get to where God wants them to be and it don’t happen over night. If baptizing him is a part of his professing his faith so be it. Shame on the members especially the position carrying members (Mother board, deacons, ministers, etc) anyone with credentials. God loves the person, but hate the sin, we don’t know what God has planned for that man’s life!

    • Joe

      My church and every church I’ve ever attend votes on membership by Baptism. Have you been living under a rock the last 40 years?

      • Voice

        Uhhhh Joe maybe your church or ignorant churches you belong to vote just to baptize, but I have never heard of such a thing. Can you support that in the Bible or is that their made up doctrine?

    • Freedomwasawesome

      Please explain with your vast knowledge of scripture. You obviously as well as others commenting have no clue

      • Freedomwasawesome

        And after saying that The Son Of God said to the woman. Go and sin no more. As in repent and no longer commit adultery

        One has to repent from their sin not live it to receive salvation And Baptism is an outward sign of obedience to God. Living in sin with no intent to turn away from it is not very obedient.

  • Daniel

    It is not my job to condem the sin of others. However, I will not celibate the sin. It is my duty as a Christian to show the path to forgiveness and everlasting life. If you are confused; just read the bible. Marriage is created by GOD for man and woman not man and man not woman and woman. This does not mean that these people are going to hell. They are no different than the rest of us sinners. Just remember what is written in John3:36!

  • HaterLover

    Wreg you haters hate anything that’s good like GOD and good people. Who got your back when Wreg put you down? GOD that’s who and ain’t nothing wreg can do about it. North East West South News wreg can’t keep making this ish up.

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