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Nation’s Largest Baptist Denomination Expels Church for Hiring Sex Offender as Pastor

The Southern Baptist Convention’s Executive Committee expelled a Texas church Tuesday for employing a pastor who is a 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.

The church’s pastor, Phillip Rutledge, must register as a sex offender for life for aggravated sexual assault of a child, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Ranchland Heights leadership did not immediately respond Tuesday to The Tennessean’s request for comment.

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