3 steps to save a denomination

A Southern Baptist writes about the decline of his denomination:

In recent years, I’ve watched my denomination fight vicious battles over issues of little importance. I’ve seen them dive head first into divisive partisan politics. And I’ve witnessed how anyone who doesn’t bow down to the institutional machine or even dares to question the status quo is not-so-kindly shown the door. No wonder the denomination is shrinking.

A new day is dawning in American religious life in which Christians of many stripes seem to be running fast and hard from denominations, particularly those whose behavior mirrors the descriptions listed above. If the Southern Baptist Convention wants to survive in this era, I believe they must learn to do at least three things:

See what those three things are by reading the original post.

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5 thoughts on “3 steps to save a denomination

  1. My immediate thought was that you could replace every reference to the SBC in the article with practically any denomination, including the UMC, and it would still be valid.

    Even the UMC has gotten caught up in the battle over the smaller things and have ignored what happened the last time they did that. I was watching “The Missiles of October” last night and President Kennedy said that the problem with the generals is that if there were wrong (in arguing for bombing Cuba), the result would be that there would be no one left to tell them that they were wrong.

    I am working on a message (“Where are you headed?” – http://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/where-are-you-headed/) for Sunday and keep thinking about how Elijah was headed in the wrong direction. We have that opportunity to change the direction we are headed but it will take us understanding where God wants us to go and not where we may necessarily want to go.

  2. I think you will find it is true that many young people question authority, the establishment and the way things are done. That is a natural part of growing up. The young look for excitement and change. The mature seek stability and do not move change along fast enough for the young.

    Most long term established Christian denominations are showing a decline in numbers from what I have read but some are growing in numbers.
    John MacArthur has a thriving growing church.and always has had. The Roman Catholic Church is still the largest denomination worldwide. New start up churches like the NALC, the Evangelical Presbyterian Church and the new Anglican Church are birthed by controversy. The members (who number in the thousands) that have left the ELCA, the Episcopal Church and others are reflected in the totals.

    What is killing the Christian Church is the fighting., bad teachers and a lack of understanding of what the Christian Church is,and why they believe and practice what they do. People tire of the fighting. The Christians that leave denominations tangled in division do not disappear. They go to a church that more closely fits their beliefs. Most of the breakaway churches build bridges and co-operate with their “mother church” in outreach and community service only. They restrict other areas.

    It is interesting to note the RCC is still the largest denomination in the world and is having an upswing in membership today even after the big controversy.
    The RCC still does not accept female priests or popes, does not support abortion and still teach homosexual practice a sin and yet they survive and grow. What they have is a strong doctrinal base, a strong sense of community and a great educational system.

  3. One final comment?
    I spend a lot of time studying any and all history that relates to the Early Christian Church and more.
    My initial goal was to get a better understanding of the world Christ was born into, what the world the apostles lived in looked like and what the apostles must have seen. The period I am interested in is the 1st-5th century.

    Recently I read Juvenal (Decimus Iunius Iuvenalis) who was a Roman Poet of the late 1st and early 2nd century AD. He wrote the Satires and gives us a description of the time period and the events he witnessed He writes of the bald headed Nero, (also named in scripture) hypocrisy, abuse of the poor, immorality, sexual perversion ,obsession with riches, the state of marriage, abandoned children, abortion filth, stench, dangerous streets and much more. All the things the Apostles wrote of and warned against.

    What I walk away with is a better understanding of the world Jesus was born into and the world Peter, Paul and the apostles struggled to change. All the issues the Christian Community is divided on today are included in some historical account that expand over a number disciplines and are included in the writings of The Early Church Fathers. They wrote of abortion, pedophilia, living together, abuse, prostitution, slavery, the effeminate, and where the church stood on the issues. Maybe we can find some answers to some concerns by looking back before we jump forward.

    “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” .Ecclesiastes 1:9
    Something the young need to learn and the mature need to remember.

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