Saturday, June 18, 2005

Southern Baptists in Doldrums?

Denomination challenged to meetevangelistic mandate

The Southern Baptist Convention, the nation’s biggest Protestant
denomination and the largest gathering of evangelical Christians in the world,
is in the “doldrums” and faces a challenge to determine whether it is on the
right path, its leader said Thursday.

Convention president Bobby Welch also said:

...the annual number of baptisms in the convention had been largely
unchanged for decades — a worrisome sign because baptism, he said, was “the
first giant step in discipleship, a relationship with the Lord and

As a Southern Baptist myself, I certainly don't like to hear words such as "doldrums." At Promise Keepers a few weeks ago one speaker said that "a rut is a grave without the ends."

What I love about being a Southern Baptist is that it doesn't sway with societal whims and changes in so-called values. It does seem that our denomination is divided between the "haves" and the "have-nots." The bigger churches are growing...those that can provide a wide variety of ministries and services and deliver a dynamic worship service. Those smaller churches just can't keep up.

Our church averages around 500 and we're in the midst of a building program. We still seem baptisms almost every week. Still, it IS tougher now to keep those who touch base with us for awhile and then move on. We're working on it and praying for God's help so that we can keep those he brings into our family.

He also commented on a subject we've discussed on this we shouldn't abandon public schools:

“We are not suffering today from bad people doing bad things,” he said. “We
are suffering because of good people doing good things at the exclusion of the
main thing ... getting outside of the walls of the church and reconnecting in
New Testament Jesus terms with the people of the world and meeting them at the
point of their greatest need. That’s the greatest cry.”

Welch said the need to reach out to people was why messengers at next week’s convention should not adopt any resolution that called on Southern Baptist families to pull their children from the public schools.

Like I've said, if you feel led to put your kids in private school or homeschool them, that's great. We should not, however, declare that all Christians pull their kids from public schools. Just as we are to be the light in our worlds, our kids are to be the light in theirs.


At 9:55 PM, Blogger Matt Brown said...

Children are children and not Evangelists. Don't get me wrong, there are a few young ones who are sold out for Christ, but thousands of children have 'itching ears' for the world. And the secular influence is immensely strong, especially when your own children are at risk. I believe every Christian parent should try and make the financial sacrifice to send their children to a Christian private school and separate from the cesspool of secularism. We can buy that new car or TV anytime, but you only have one shot at raising your kids.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2).

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Talon said...

If the only people in the world who can influence it for Christ are evangelists, then very few people would ever come to know Christ. I'm not an evangelist. That's not my giftedness. But I CAN have an influence on my culture by living my life in such a way that others will see the difference.

My daughter has that same opportunity. So will my son when he gets to school. They don't have to stand in the halls and preach to the unconverted. But they can make friends and live out the kind of lives that shows other kids how to behave. They can also invite their friends to church.

Our church has seen a lot of its growth through our massive AWANA program. How does it grow? Friends inviting un-churched friends. How does that impact our church growth? The parents of those kids seeing a difference in their kids and wanting to become a part of it.

If we lived out that Psalm in the way you are using it, we'd all have to get jobs in churches...and even then we'd still be walking in the counsel of the ungodly, standing in the way of sinners and sitting in the seat of scornful people.

At 10:26 PM, Blogger Matt Brown said...

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

Friend, I beg to differ with you, public schools have all of the distinctive marks for "walking in the counsel [guidance] of the ungodly". Where evolution, humanism, sex education, liberalism, and the homosexual agenda are aggressively being promoted . Where Jesus, the 10 commandments, and prayers have been banned. Keeping Christian children in public schools for the sake of soul winning is defeated purpose. Polls indicate that baptisms are significantly down in Southern Baptist churches. Does this reduce our efforts to win souls for Christ if we pull our kids out of public schools? Heavens NO. Our children need to be prepared, reared and trained (Jude 1:3, 2Tim 3:14-15) in our own schools. We need to equip ourselves with the Word of God without the influence of the secular world. As for soul winning, the harvest will always be great (Luke 10:2) and we have many, many opportunities elsewhere to preach the gospel.

Other Verses to consider...

Jermiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

Hosea 4:1 Hear the word of the LORD, ye children of Israel: for the LORD hath a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.

2 cor 6:14-17 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.

Ephesians 5:6-11 Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

2 Timothy 3:14-15 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

At 5:27 AM, Blogger Talon said...

Maybe our public schools aren't as rotten to the core as others...Kansas still is a somewhat rational state. No, they don't talk about Jesus in class and teachers aren't leading the students in prayer, but I wouldn't want them to delve into religion thank you very much. As long as my child isn't prohibited from praying or inviting friends to church on the playground, I just want my kids' school to teach them about reading, writing and arithmetic.

First of all, Christians get upset because prayer and the ten commandments have been taken out of schools, but to me if you allow a teacher to proseletyze in the classroom, who knows what god they are talking about (nature, Buddha, Alla, etc.)...or even if it's OUR God they could really screw things up. No, please leave spiritual instruction to parents and churches. As long as religious liberties aren't squashed, I'm fine with basic education.

Second, if our schools are turning into hell holes, it's because Christians haven't taken control of them. It starts at the grassroots level. Christians need to run for school board, get jobs as teachers, and do whatever it takes to shape the schools in the image they want. Kansans elected a conservative statewide Board of Education, which is why we just got a bunch of mostly negative publicity for re-opening the Darwinism discussion. Bring it on! At least we still get to debate those issues.

Third, if we didn't have kids in public schools, who would we be preparing them to witness to? Kids need to be saved before they turn 18 or they are most likely lost. The vast majority of kids who come into our church through AWANA are invited from friends at school. Our kids aren't evangelists? I beg to differ. They are more successful at it than I am.

Thanks so much for the great discussion!


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