| Southern Baptists on the Decline|
Ranks of Southern Baptists Are Still Growing Thinner
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 25, 2008
NASHVILLE. (AP) The number of people baptized in Southern Baptist churches fell last year for the third straight year to the lowest level since 1987. Total membership dropped by nearly 40,000.
Baptisms in 2007 dropped more than 5 percent to 345,941, compared with 364,826 in 2006, according to an annual report released Wednesday by LifeWay Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Total membership was 16,266,920 last year, down from the 16,306,246 the year earlier.
Southern Baptists make up the nations largest Protestant denomination. The drop in numbers reflects trends in other declining mainline Protestant churches, which are losing members as nondenominational and unaffiliated churches are growing.
Complete story [url=http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/25/us/25baptists.html?ref=us]here[/url]
| 2008/4/25 10:06||Profile|
| Re: Southern Baptists on the Decline|
Does this mean Luby's will suffer also? :-P
I had an old Preacher tell me probably over 25 years ago, that the bible says the walls of domination will be torn down, now is this Biblical or was that just his opinion? I have never found any scripture to prove this.
| 2008/4/25 10:21||Profile|
Think about this... Rick Warren, and a lot of the "modern church [b]growth[/b]" guru's are Southern Baptists...
This is very telling for those who have ears to hear...
| 2008/4/25 11:28|
It's odd to think that Piper, Warren, and Paul Washer are all in the same denomination - Southern Baptist.
| 2008/4/25 13:03||Profile|
According to Ephesians 4:11-15, God will eventually bring about an end to all denominations. For God will bring the body corporately to a place of unity and maturity. Where denominations exist, they stand as something that God must tear down. For denominations (divisions/factions) are ultimately a fruit of the flesh (Galatians 5), and not of the Spirit.
I think it a sad thing that so many men are wasting their lives politicking in denominations that God has no intention on preserving. Such works are wood, hay, and stubble, and are of no eternal value. While we have yet to realize it, I say by the grace given to me that much of the "non-denominational" churches you see these days is a move of God's Spirit. That's not to say it is all of God. But, generally speaking, it is.
It is very likely that if you live long enough, you may see the ultimate demise of many evangelical denominations. Should America suffer catastrophic judgment and devastation, you can expect many of these organizations disappear altogether, as many (if not most) internationally sized denominations are centered here in America.
| 2008/4/25 13:50||Profile|
Another angle to consider....I'm concerned that denominations are shrinking because people's investments in one another are shrinking. Being a Christian today means never having to cooperate with anyone that disagrees with your personal vision...which usually means everyone.
Even Christians zealously seeking revival, usually want the crisis and the ecstasy but not the long term commitment and investment. Revival rhetoric never seems to include a vision for a society or a body for the next 30-40 years...many want a new Kairos moment or we declare the Holy Spirit isn't present. (sic) Too many want the match-strike of Acts Chapter 2 over and over again without ever having to burn slow and steady like Romans 12. In fact, we have contempt for Christians who are the same for 30 years without having a recent Kairos crisis to talk about.
According to my interpretation of this trend, American Christians are restless, empty, and unstable because they are a reflection of our culture. As so much of this is stirred by the swirling fluidity of our transient economy, I don't know what the 'cure' is, but I think this trend shows a very substantial difference between our culture and the churches we see in the third-world.
Traditional denominations can certainly represent division in the church, but they also represented commitment. On the other hand, individualism that spurns all social commitment and finds no merit or interest in others, represents the ultimate subdivision of the church.
Just some thoughts.
| 2008/4/25 14:28||Profile|
| Re: Southern Baptists on the Decline|
One reason is dealth with here --- > [url=https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/mydownloads/visit.php?lid=15348] The Centrality of the Home by Voddie Baucham[/url]
And this is a much needed message to all of Christianity, this one is a must listen
| 2008/4/25 14:47||Profile|
Sometimes it is difficult to figure out just exactly what God is up to. Maybe he is thinning out the troops, as he instructed Gideon to do, in preparation for a great battle with the enemy.
Paul Washer would fit the Gideon personality. Warren would keep everyone for a bigger army, and don't know about the other guy.
| 2008/4/25 22:21|
Right now I may categorize myself as some kind of "New Covenantal Sovereign Grace Baptist", but in heaven I'll just look back and call myself a "Confused Christian".
| 2008/4/26 5:25||Profile|
As a Southern Baptist I can share a little from my own experience in order to maybe explain this trend.
As someone else already pointed out, Rick Warren and other Church Growth people have traditionally been Southern Baptist, the funny thing is that the church was growing just fine before they started their teachings, and the only thing they did was increase the number of 'Southern Baptists' who had no idea what they really believed, thats a real problem.
As Paul Washer pointed out in his famous sermon to the Southern Baptist youth, many are practical-atheists. They attend church because it is the culture they have been brought up in, but there is no real deep and abiding faith. They are no different than the world, and unfortunately, being the biggest denomination there are bound to be some nominal worldly people in there somewhere.
Sheep stealing. I'm not going to aim the blame at anyone, but other denominations have actually done out and out 'evangelism to baptists' particularly those from Pentecostal backgrounds, or cults like Mormons and JW's. I have been confronted over the years by more than a couple Pentecostals who have said that I am going to hell for being a Baptist -who knew. Pentecostals are the fastest growing group of Christians in the US, but a lot of their growth isn't new believers, its at the cost of thinning out other churches.
The Southern Baptist Convention has Plateaued. Frankly, there is a lot of liberalism and false doctrine among newer pastors. Because Southern Baptists have traditionally held the view that centralized power is bad, they give more power to the individual pastor, and there really aren't that many checks and balances to keep individual pastors from going stray of denominational doctrine or practice. Recently there has been a surge of interest in Reformed doctrine among young SBC pastors, and the denomination saw an all time low in evangelism as an outcome.
Frankly speaking, there is no other denomination in the United States as diverse as the Southern Baptists, there are few that allow as much freedom to individual pastors as the Southern Baptists, and there are few that have as much to lose as the Southern Baptists... there are so many reasons why this is happening, but I would simply say that it most likely comes down to the fact that most pastors aren't interested in simple old fashioned tried and true evangelism. Instead of going out there and meeting new people, we chase after every new kind of teaching or program that we think will attract people, we change our core convictions in order to be more people pleasing, and we've lost so much in the process.
| 2008/4/26 11:30||Profile|