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rhutchin

The decline in baptisms seems to be following the decline in church attendance. The better question to ask is whether attitudes toward church are changing leading to less church attendance and fewer baptisms.

It may be that the efforts of secularists (notably atheists) to gain greater control over the beliefs of children through public education is achieving results. With prayer and Bible reading removed from the schools and the teaching of evolution and the denial of God dominant, more young people are leaving the church once they graduate from high school.

It may also be that the church is not viewed as unique from society. With the church compromising on social issues and remaining silent for fear of being viewed negatively by visitors, maybe fewer people see the need for church.

    Max

    “It may also be that the church is not viewed as unique from society.”

    I was young and now am old. In my 50+ year Christian journey, I’ve observed a sad transition of the American church. The organized church (not the Bride of Christ – the Church within the church) has moved from being counter-culture to the world to a sub-culture of the world (at least in my neck of the woods). It’s as if we are trying to drag as much world into the church as we can and still appear Christian. I’m all for being “culturally relevant” (after all, Jesus is the eternal contemporary); but as Greg Laurie noted at SBC-Houston, we need to be careful in our attempt to cross-over that we remember to take the Cross over.

    Norm Miller

    Hutch: Your question is valid, but probably not better. That’s because evangelism has numerous other venues than inside the church. If you or anyone else knows of a church that is concerned about declining baptisms, clue them to this. http://bit.ly/10ZqcM5
    Thx. — Norm

      Max

      Thanks Norm – a good piece that should make us all think about our feeble efforts to “do church.” I particularly liked your reference to Dr. Rogers’ comment about being satisfied with the status quo: “I’ve seen the status, and it ain’t much to quo about.” And everybody said AMEN!

      At the root of the conversion/baptism decline in SBC ranks and elsewhere, is a diluted message from the 21st century pulpit and pew which is Cross-less, prayer-less, and power-less. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.” That’s it – we have settled for the less, while Christ still pleads “Never … the … less.”

Luke

I often wonder how much decline is linked to churches not reporting numbers. I know I heard many leaders lamenting this at the SBC in Houston, and my anectdotal expereince proves the same. Additionally, with the rise of churches that dual-alligned, they may be reporting to their other entity, or perhaps just not all.

I am not saying that if everyone reported it would all be hunky dory, but I do think it would be different, at least.

    Norm Miller

    Thx for your comment, Luke. ACP reporting has always been a problem. And statistically speaking, I would expect that the ratio related to non-reporting churches hasn’t changed. Like you, I believe the raw numbers would improve, but I also think this drastic downward trend would not appreciably changed by that.

Max

Why? … Denominational gifting of evangelism on the wane, displaced evangelists, proliferation of “easy” church, passionless pulpit, apathy in the pew, failure to effectively disciple the last two generations, etc.
And what should be done about it? … 2 Chronicles 7:14.

JimP

SOMEONE said, “because of the increase of wickedness the love of many will grow cold…”

An appropriate and timely thought..

    Norm Miller

    Good comment, Jim. My born-again, Jesus loving sister lives in a major US city; and as a single, middle-aged woman, she refuses to date because she says ALL the Christian men she previously dated expected sex after the second or third date. She also said ALL her Christian acquaintances embibe alcohol. And despite the varying opinions about the latter, our witness before the world is beginning to be wicked and look wicked. Why would God add to our number?

Norm Miller

Joel Sutherland of the Georgia Baptist Convention offered answers to the question in an article titled, “The Responsibility of Southern Baptist Decline and What to do About it.”

In the article, he states:
“Here’s the cold hard fact: Unless the pastors of our churches, the men who stand in the pulpit week after week, take responsibility for the decline nothing will happen to change it.”

Read the entire article, here. http://bit.ly/1603AKv

    Max

    Yep. From the White House to the Church House, accountability floats up.

Bob Cleveland

Perhaps if our churches purposed to make disciples of every member who joined the church, God might resume sending the numbers He did 10 or 15 or 20 years ago. Until we do that, we will have no one to blame but ourselves.

Norm Miller

Where does making disciples start?

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