Dr. Ed Stetzer has helped publish a very telling and new reseach project from LifeWay Research on the beliefs of Southern Baptist pastors. I encourage you to read through it if you are interested. Here are the excerpts Dr. Stetzer provided over here at his blog:
Concern about Calvinism
Among Southern Baptist pastors, 27 percent strongly agreed and another 36 percent somewhat agreed with the statement indicating that they were “concerned.” Sixteen percent strongly disagreed with the statement and another 17 percent somewhat disagreed. The remaining 5 percent indicated they “don’t know.”
Speaking in tongues
In a LifeWay Research release in 2007, half of Southern Baptist pastors answered “yes” to the question, “Do you believe that the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of a special language to pray to God privately? Some people refer to this as a Private Prayer Language or the ‘private use of tongues.'” In a follow-up to that question, LifeWay found that practice is much less common than the belief in its existence. Among Southern Baptist pastors, only 4 percent said they “personally speak in tongues or have a private prayer language,” while 95 percent said they did not and 1 percent “don’t know.”
Pastors were also asked about their church’s practice of receiving members who were baptized in other churches. The question was, “Our church admits people into membership of our church who have been sprinkled or baptized in the following ways (without requiring baptism in OUR local church).”
A full 92 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism of new members who were immersed after conversion in another church that has the same beliefs as a Southern Baptist church.
If the candidate for membership had been immersed after conversion in another Southern Baptist church, 84 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism.
If the prospective new member had been immersed after conversion in another church that does not believe in eternal security, 26 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism.
If the prospective new member had been immersed after conversion in a church that believes baptism is required for salvation, 13 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism.
If the prospective new member had been baptized by sprinkling or pouring after conversion, 3 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism prior to admittance into membership.
If the prospective new member had been baptized as an infant by sprinkling, pouring or immersion, 1 percent of Southern Baptist pastors said they would not require baptism.
“Baptism is always an important question for a denomination that values baptism so much that the word ‘Baptist’ is included in their name,” said Ed Stetzer director of LifeWay Research. “The results here are interesting. First, there is a small percentage of SBC churches that do not accept the baptism from other SBC (or like-belief) churches. Second, more than one-fourth of SBC pastors indicate they would receive into membership someone baptized in a church that does not believe in eternal security, possibly including such churches as a Free Will Baptist or an Assemblies of God church.
“Finally, and I am guessing most surprising, one-eighth indicate their church would accept a baptism from churches that believe baptism is required for salvation, possibly including such churches as a Church of Christ,” he said.
‘Southern’ in the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’
Among Southern Baptist pastors, 7 percent strongly agreed – and another 20 percent somewhat agreed – with the statement, “Having the name ‘Southern’ in the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ is a hindrance to the work of SBC churches.” Forty-one percent strongly disagreed with the statement while 27 percent somewhat disagreed and 5 percent “don’t know.”
To further clarify opinions on the denomination’s name, Southern Baptist pastors were also asked their level of agreement with the statement, “Having the name ‘Southern’ in the ‘Southern Baptist Convention’ is a hindrance to the work of SBC churches outside of the South.” As the focus shifted to Southern Baptist congregations outside the convention’s historic strongholds, 16 percent of Southern Baptist pastors strongly agreed and 26 percent somewhat agreed, while 29 percent strongly disagreed and 21 percent somewhat disagreed. The remaining 9 percent “don’t know.”
Who makes decisions
In churches with average primary worship attendance of 250 or more, 8 percent identified “staff-led,” compared to 2 percent in churches under 250 in attendance. By the same token, only 24 percent of churches with average primary worship attendance of 250 or more identified “congregation-led” as the primary decision-making process, compared to 45 percent of churches under 250 in attendance.
From James Grant:
I finally got around to reading iMonkâ€™s rant on the ten year focus on evangelism in the SBC. It is well worth the read. I agree with him. The last thing the SBC needs to do is focus on evangelism. There are a lot of other things the SBC should be focusing on, and Spencer mentions some of them. For example,
- We need to have healthy churches.
- We need to have a clear Gospel message.
- We need meaningful church membership.
- We need pastors who can grow disciples.
- We need Christians on mission in the world where Godâ€™s placed them.
We need to love people.
- We need to live authentically human lives.
- We need a missional mindset for going into the world.
- We need to see our prevailing sins, like materialism, classism, racism and involvement in the prosperity Gospel.
- We need to repent of our pragmatism, because itâ€™s not true that if just one walks forward, everything we did was right.
I agree 100% and would add several other problems. But Spencer goes on to say, â€œWeâ€™re like a hospital with real problems. Doctor problems. Staff problems. Quality problems. Effectiveness problems. People arenâ€™t getting well. Some are getting a lot worse. Some arenâ€™t making it. And we are concernedâ€¦â€¦about getting more patients.â€ Take a moment and read his whole rant.
Today, I received an E-mail from Enjoying God Ministries by Sam Storm. It is entitled “Piper, Grudem, Dever, et al, on Baptism, The Lord’s Supper, and Church Membership (just how “Together for the Gospel” are we?)“. I am reposting the entire E-mail below, but first some comments…
I fully agree with the thoughts of Sam Storm on the situation that he is addressing regarding the “Together for the Gospel” conference. Though I believe that John Piper holds an untenable view regarding his view of baptism and church membership, I at least admire the fact that he desires to be consistently inconsistent through this whole “Together for the Gospel” project by desiring to practice all the conclusions that this meeting would have for his Baptist convictions. Let me clarify…
John Piper wants to work towards a greater unity for the universal Church that supersedes denominational boundaries. In doing this, he has put aside some of his Baptistic convictions (this is how he’s being inconsistent) and begun to work together with other ministers who believe and preach the same Gospel, yet are not rightly baptized (according to Baptist views). Since he has started down this road, he has taken part in the above noted conference that seeks to bring Gospel preaching ministers, both paedobaptist and credobaptist, together under the same banner of ministry and worship. With this background information I would now like to clarify where the title of my post is going…
Mark Dever and Al Mohler just DO NOT get it. If you read the article below by Sam Storms it will deal sufficiently with their position and what is wrong with it. How can Dever and Mohler even start to take part in this kind of conference with such sectarian points of view? I just don’t see how it is possible! If they are not willing to take communion with their paedobaptist brothers, then they are just as Landmarkist as any of the other historic Landmark Baptist that has ever lived. But I thought most Baptists today were past the times of Landmarkism? And if most Baptists are past their Landmark heritage, then all of us who are Baptists must call for a new paradigm when thinking about Church Membership and the Sacraments/Ordinances and the unity of the broader, visible Church of the living God. Please read Sam’s E-mail below to get the full picture of what I’m talking about.
I would love to hear your comments on this, so please leave them!
In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,
Mark Dever has finally finished his series on answering the question above. It’s very interesting and thought provoking. Below you will find the top 10 reasons that have spurred on the Calvinistic resurgence over the past several years. Read them and let’s discuss!
1 ) Charles Spurgeon
2 ) Lloyd-Jones
7 ) JI Packer
9 ) John Piper
In Christ and In Defense of the Faith,
[HT: Unashamed Workman]
This past week on the Jerry Johnson Live radio program, two debates took place between Southern Baptist ministers. First, a debate over the doctrine of salvation with respect to Calvinism was held between between Dr. Mark Coppenger and Dr. Danny Akin. Second, a debate on the doctrine of Tongues was held between Dr. Russell Moore and Pastor Dwight McKissic.
Here are the audio files from the Jerry Johnson Live radio program: