Monday, March 12, 2007

A Baptist By Any Other Name

Dr. Russell Moore recently commented on the 2007 Yearbook of American and Canadian Churches, an annual study produced by the National Council of Churches in the USA. For a mere $50 you may purchase your very own copy. I won't be buying one, shocking I know.

Moore referenced a blog post by a religion editor for a paper in Arkansas. I read that guy's post and found something interesting among the statistics. Basically the subject of the post was growth among various churches/denominations. Although some show slight growth, most have experienced little growth or even decline. Where do Baptist fit in? Funny you should ask. Southern Baptists, of which I am one, are said to be "treading water" with only marginal growth. Total "members" listed for the SBC is 16,270,315 second only to the Roman Catholic Church with just about 69 million adherents. However, when you combine all of the "Baptists" into one group (there are only about 27 different flavors these days, four short of B&R) there are a whopping 32,367,015. Not too shabby boys!

If it were only that simple. Let's just sign up a few more. I bet we could scrape up another 37 million folks somewhere that are not too busy 1 or 2 Sundays a year. Then the "Dunkers" would be right up there with the RCC. Think of the potluck dinner we could have.

Sad really. How many of those millions of church members, Baptist and all the rest, have never truly experienced God's transforming grace. What kind of change would we see in our country if spiritual awakening came to the church pews of our nation? I pray that it does.

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