Southern Baptist Convention expels Virginia church over female pastor

One of Alexandria's largest churches has been expelled from the Southern Baptist Convention over a dispute involving women serving as pastors.

The First Baptist Church of Alexandria, a longstanding fixture since the 19th century, came under scrutiny due to a female pastor serving women and children. 

SBC doctrine prohibits women from pastoral roles. 

The issue ultimately led to a vote to expel the church following a recommendation from the credentials committee.

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Pastor Robert Stephens expressed disappointment over the decision in a statement sent to FOX 5. 

"First Baptist Church Of Alexandria Is saddened by the decision of the Southern Baptist Convention," the statement reads. "For nearly 180 years, we have maintained a fruitful partnership. Our mission for the gospel has not changed, and we are pressing on towards the future that the lord has for us."

The church has made clear it believes women can serve as senior pastors, too. 

Stephens says that FBC, as it's known in Alexandria, has had women in ministry for more than 44 years and wants to continue cooperating with Southern Baptists who disagree on this issue.