In Case You Missed It

Dr. George Robinson posted at the Center for Great Commission Studies discussing how the SBC has a baptism problem, and it’s not what you think. Dr. Robinson writes:

The SBC has a baptism problem – and it’s not what you think it is.  For several years Southern Baptist leaders have noted and lamented a decline in baptisms.  To the degree that baptism signifies life transformation by the power of the gospel, that is a problem.  However, the real problem may actually be hidden under the surface of current stats.  The real problem may in fact be what we’ve been counting all along.

 

The following quote from a 2014 Christianity Today article reveals the real problem few people are talking about.

 

“In last year’s (2013) Annual Church Profile, 60 percent of the more than 46,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reported no youth baptisms (ages 12 to 17) in 2012, and 80 percent reported only one or zero baptisms among young adults (ages 18 to 29). One in four Southern Baptist churches reported zero baptisms overall in 2012, while the ‘only consistently growing’ baptism group was children under five years old.”

 

Yes, it is sad when churches go an entire year without baptizing anyone.  But it is even more sad when many of the churches that are seeing baptism seem to be abandoning a key distinctive of what it means to be Baptist in the first place – regenerate church membership.  In our clamor to address one problem, we may actually be creating a larger one!  Timothy George refers to this as “the downgrading of baptism” in SBC circles.  He goes on to hit the proverbial nail on the head stating, “One can mount a robust biblical defense of believers’ baptism as a conscientious act of repentance and faith, and there are well-reasoned arguments in support of infant baptism, but ‘toddler’ or preschool baptism is something different, and relatively new in Baptist circles.”

The questions we ask will drive the response and subsequent strategy we follow.

 

Keelan Cook posted at The Peoples Next door asking: “Is your church part of the movement?

There is a growing movement concerning local missions in North America, and I saw evidence of it this past weekend.

 

The Reaching the Nations in North America summit was a high-water mark for me, because it demonstrated a swell of concern for what can only be seen as the providence of God providing Great Commission opportunities to our churches. The nations are in North America. People from all over the world are moving into our communities, approximately 45 million of them. So many of these people are coming from places where there is little-to-no access to the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

It is no coincidence that God is plucking up millions from the hardest-to-reach places and placing them in the shadow of your church steeple.

 

Dr. Danny Akin posted at his personal blog explaining that changing the world begins with prayer. Dr. Akin writes:

The work of reaching and changing the world is, indeed, a work done on our knees. And, it is a work that takes on the nature of fierce and intense warfare. After all, one of Satan’s chief weapons is to cut off communication with God, communication that takes place in prayer. John Piper is certainly correct when he writes, “Prayer is meant by God to be a wartime walkie-talkie, not a domestic intercom … not for the enhancement of our comforts but for the advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.”

 

Dr. Bruce Ashford published an article earlier this week giving four principles for political witness in our American Babylon.

The past decade has made one thing clear to evangelicals: the social, cultural, and political ground is shifting beneath us. We are not “winning the day” with our vision of the good life. Although we have seen some incremental progress on the pro-life issue, we are experiencing consistent regression on other issues that matter most to us, such as religious liberty, human dignity, gender and sexuality, and free speech.

 

In this moment of uncertainty as we find ourselves marginalized in an increasingly pagan public square, the Old Testament offers important lessons for us. Especially prescient is the story in Daniel 3 about three Jewish men—Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego—who are Babylonian captives under King Nebuchadnezzar. From these mid-level government officials, we learn four significant lessons about being faithful witnesses in a pagan public square.

 

Dr. Ashford also spoke last weekend in Nashville at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission’s national conference. Dr. Ashford’s speech was quoted in an article from The Tennessean:

A Southern Baptist seminary professor called the current election cycle a “nearly unmitigated disaster” and a “colossal dumpster fire,” but he’s found a silver lining.

 

The polarizing 2016 presidential election has pushed some evangelical Christians to care less about what political parties and news outlets say they should believe and care more about how their views reflect the gospel, said Bruce Ashford, of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in North Carolina. Ashford shared his frank but hopeful remarks Thursday during the national conference for the public policy arm of the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention.

 

“I say nearly unmitigated because I think it has taken something of this magnitude maybe to awaken many of us or most of us to the fact that we should not be beholden to any narrative,” Ashford said. “As I see it, every modern political ideology has idols working underneath it … I think this election has been unsettling enough that we might once again realize the gospel transcends and calls into question all of those things.”

 

Finally, last but not least, be sure to check out The College at Southeastern’s new website!

THE COLLEGE AT SOUTHEASTERN IS MORE THAN JUST A COLLEGE—IT’S A CALLING. Whether you become a lawyer, business professional, English teacher, missionary or pastor, God has a plan for you to be involved in his mission. This is a place where you can be trained both theologically and vocationally. Whatever you choose to study, we can equip you to live out the gospel in any career path.

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