Baptisms drop in the Southern Baptist Convention!
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Southern Baptist churches baptized fewer people in 2008 for the fourth year in a row to reach the lowest level since 1987, and membership in the country's largest Protestant denomination fell slightly as well.
Baptisms dropped just over one percent to 342,198 last year, compared with 345,941 in 2007, according to an annual report released Thursday by LifeWay Christian Resources, the Southern Baptist Convention's publishing arm.
Total membership of Southern Baptist churches was 16,228,438 last year, down nearly 38,400 from 2007.
Why is that good news? After we came to Christ, we spent the majority of our church life in Southern Baptist churches and by and large they were baptizing enormous numbers of people, many of them small children (essentially late infant baptism) based on decisions garnered through altar calls and in deceitful luring of children to repeat a prayer that they don't understand. With rolls full of "members" who haven't shown the least sign of regeneration, it it little wonder that the total numbers of "members" keeps declining.
The whole "church membership" thing leads to churches that see the Great Commission being fulfilled by preaching an invitation and getting people to make a "decision" for Christ.
"The numbers simply tell us that Southern Baptists are not reaching as many people for Christ as they once did," said Thom S. Rainer, president and CEO of LifeWay.
Actually Thom it probably just means that SBC churches baptized fewer unregenerate people last year. Many, many SBC churches are not "reaching people for Christ" or preaching the Gospel, they are preaching decisions aand getting people to repeat rote and unBiblical "sinners prayers". When the SBC won the battle over the inerrancy of the Bible, unfortunately many of the old guard were replaced by a new old guard that is just as implacable. For every Al Mohler there is a Johnny Hunt, men who don't seem to understand how men are saved and what Christ has done. One can only pray that the men being taught by Dr. Mohler and others can impact the SBC so that the focus is no longer on numbers: decisions, baptisms, "members" and instead is on preaching Christ crucified for sins. Faithful preaching of the Gospel accompanied by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit leads to people that are truly Christians. Getting people to "make decisions" leads to false converts with a false security.