How has the Southern Baptist Convention changed over the years?

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  • How has the Southern Baptist Convention changed over the years?

    It was 1994 that was the last year I regularly attended the Baptist Church of my childhood. The Bible studies were very much into reconciling faith and science and the sermons dealt with moral and ethical Christian issues. At the end of every sermon, there was an altar call and sometimes people actually went forward. Has the Convention changed over the decades, how has it changed and what do I have to look forward to when I attend services this Sunday?

  • #2
    Last Christmas I went to my dad's church, a former church I attended over a decade ago. The church was formerly Baptist, and still till this day has a strong Baptist leaning mixed with an "I hate denominations" ideology. Talk about confusing. Anyways right in the middle of the Sermon when the Pastor was speaking of God's salvation, the Pastor said, "I hate Reformed", he then proceeded through several of his own points. Each point either aligned with Calvinism or quite frankly, he contradicted himself or just plain erred if not misrepresenting the Reformed doctrines which demonstrated his own lack of understanding.

    During a prayer, a prayer leader basically addressed man's free will and gave thanks. To me, I was quite confused by the prayer which seemingly suggested that we had as much to give thanks to us as to God which seemingly puffed me up from a cheer leader. After the sermon the prayer leader approached me, seeing a face that he did not recognize. He asked me how I liked the sermon? The only thing I could say, "rather interesting", still, a little surprised that the Pastor said that he hated Reformed. I was so tempted to introduce myself and my wife as Reformed Presbyterians.

    After the church service, before we got into the vehicle, I asked my wife, are you still in doubt? I told you in the past how Calvinist are hated by the majority of Christiandom. She only shared that she was shocked. Then we quieted down before my dad jumped in the vehicle.

    With my dad I feel more comfortable, and pretty much hold nothing back. I speak of doctrine, and then he refers to it as man's doctrine. That always gets to me, Apostolic Doctrine is very important to me. I am sorry to say, that I am incapable of sitting there for worship and hearing someone compete with the Glory of God through prayer and the sermon.

    On the topic of Altar Calls, and the Sinner's Prayer, there are some in the Baptist denomination that I have great respect for. Here's a quick video by David Platt on the subject of Altar Calls and the Sinner's Prayer. David Platt is not only a Calvinist, but was also elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board.


    And here's another Cavlinist's take on Altar Calls. Paul Washer:



    God bless,
    William
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    • #3
      Neat. When I was still Baptist, I very much considered myself a Calvinist. Maybe I was too hasty in dumping M. Chauvin overboard..
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      • #4
        Each Baptist congregation is an autonomous organization and none can be considered typical of Baptists as a whole. There is a lot of variety among them. If you find one unsatisfactory just try another one.
        Clyde Herrin's Blog
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        • #5
          Originally posted by theophilus View Post
          Each Baptist congregation is an autonomous organization and none can be considered typical of Baptists as a whole. There is a lot of variety among them. If you find one unsatisfactory just try another one.
          At this point, I just want the Lord to lead me where I can do the most good. I've been searching Scripture and praying, following the lead of my heart and I think that this experience might be a good one. Where there is the Holy Spirit, there is also Jesus and our heavenly Father. Not my will, but His be done.
          Comment>

          • #6
            Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
            Neat. When I was still Baptist, I very much considered myself a Calvinist. Maybe I was too hasty in dumping M. Chauvin overboard..
            For me it was a moment that I'll never forget:

            Click image for larger version

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            God bless,
            William
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            • #7
              Here's a fairly early Baptist Confession of faith:

              Helwys Confession, 1611

              A Declaration of Faith of English People Remaining at Amsterdam in Holland.

              Hebrews 11:6.
              Without Faith it is impossible to please GOD. Hebrews 11.

              Romans 14:23.
              Whatsoever is not of Faith is sin.

              To All The Humble minded which love the truth in simplicity, Grace and peace. [This is followed by two pages of preface.]

              A Declaration, Etc.
              We Believe and Confess

              1. That there are THREE which bear record in heaven, the FATHER, the WORD, and the SPIRIT; and these THREE are one GOD, in all equality, (1 John 5:7; Philippians 2:5, 6). By whom all things are created and preserved, in Heaven and in Earth. (Genesis 1).

              2. That this GOD in the beginning created al things of nothing, (Genesis 1:1) and made man of the dust of the earth, (Genesis 2:7), in his own image, (Genesis 1:27), in righteousness and true Holiness. (Ephesians 4:24); yet being tempted, fell by disobedience. (Ephesians 3:1-7). Through whose disobedience, all men sinned. (Romans 5:12-19). His sin being imputed unto all; and so death went over all men.

              3. That by the promised seed of the woman, JESUS CHRIST, [and by] his obedience, al are made righteous. (Romans 5:19). All are made alive, (1 Corinthians 15:22). His righteousness being imputed unto all.

              4. That notwithstanding this, men are by nature the Children of wrath, (Ephesians 2:3) born in iniquity and in sin conceived. (Psalm 51:5) Wise to all evil, but to good they have no knowledge. (Jeremiah 4:22). The natural man perceives not the things of the Spirit of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14). And therefore man is not restored unto his former estate, but that as man, in his estate of innocence, having in himself all disposition unto good, & no disposition unto evil, yet being tempted might yield, or might resist: even so now being fallen, and having all disposition unto evil, and no disposition or will unto any good, yet GOD giving grace, man may receive grace, or my reject grace, according to that saying; (Deuteronomy 30:19) I call Heaven and Earth to record. This day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: Therefore choose life that both thou and thy seed may live.

              5. That GOD before the Foundation of the World hath Predestinated that all that believe in him shall-be saved, (Ephesians 1:4, 12; Mark 16:16) and al that believe not shall be damned, (Mark 16:16) all which he knew before. (Romans 8:29) And this is the Election and reprobation spoken of in the Scriptures, concerning salvation, and condemnation, and not that GOD hath Predestinated men to be wicked, and so to be damned, but that men being wicked shall be damned, for GOD would have all men saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, (1 Timothy 2:4) and would have no man to perish, but would have all men come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) and wills not the death of him that dies. (Ezekiel 18:32). And therefore GOD is the author of no mans condemnation; according to the saying of the Prophet. (Hosea 13). Thy destruction O Israel, is of thy self, but thy help is of me.

              6. That man is justified only by the righteousness of CHRIST, apprehended by faith, (Romans 3:28. Galatians 2:16) yet faith without works is dead. (James 2:17)

              7. That men may fall away from the grace of GOD, (Hebrews 12:15) and from the truth, which they have received &acknowledged, (Hebrews 10:26) after they have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the HOLY GHOST, and have tasted of the good word of GOD, &of the powers of the world to come. (Hebrews 6:4, 5). And after they have escaped from the filthiness of the World, may be tangled again therein &overcome. (2 Peter 2:20). That a righteous man may forsake his righteousness and perish (Ezekiel 18:24, 26). And therefore let no man presume to think that because he hath, or had once grace, therefore he shall always have grace: But let all men have assurance, that if they continue unto the end, they shall be saved: Let no man then presume; but let all work out their salvation with fear and trembling.

              8. That JESUS CHRIST, the Son of GOD the second Person, or subsistence in the Trinity, in the Fullness of time was manifested in the Flesh, being the seed of David, and of the Israelites, according to the Flesh, (Romans 1:3 and Romans 8:5) the Son of Marie the Virgin, made of her substance, (Galatians 4:4) by the power of the HOLY GHOST overshadowing her, (Luke 1:35) and being thus true Man was like unto us in all thing, sin only excepted. Hebrews (4:15) being one person in two distinct natures, TRUE GOD, and TRUE MAN. 32/84

              9. That JESUS CHRIST is Mediator of the New Testament between GOD and Man, (1 Timothy 2:5) having all power in Heaven and in Earth given unto him. (Matthew 28:18) Being the only KING, (Luke 1:33) PREIST, (Hebrews 7:24) and PROPHET. (Acts 3:22) Of his church, he also being the only Law-giver, hath in his Testament set down an absolute, and perfect rule of direction, for all persons, at all times, to be observed; Which no Prince, nor any whosoever, may add to, or diminish from as they will avoid the fearful judgments denounced against them that shall so do. (Revelation 22:18, 19).

              10. That the church of CHRIST is a company of faithful people (1 Corinthians 1:2. Ephesians 1:1) separated from the world by the word &Spirit of GOD (2 Corinthians 6:17) being knit unto the LORD, &one unto another, by Baptism. (1 Corinthians 12:13). Upon their own confession of the faith (Acts 8:37) and sins. (Matthew 3:6).

              11. That though in respect of CHRIST, the Church be one (Ephesians 4:4) yet it consists of divers particular congregations, even so many as there shall be in the World, every of which congregation, though they be but two or three, have CHRIST given them, with all the means of their salvation. (Matthew 18:20. Romans 8:32. 1 Corinthians 3:22). Are the Body of CHRIST (1 Corinthians 12:27) and a whole Church. (1 Corinthians 14:23) And therefore may, and ought, when they are come together, to Pray, Prophecy, break bread, and administer in all the holy ordinances, although as yet they have no Officers, or that their Officers should be in Prison, sick, or by any other means hindered from the Church. (1 Peter 4:10 &2:5).

              12. That as one congregation hath CHRIST, so hath all, (2 Corinthians 10:7). And that the Word of GOD comes not out from any one, neither to any one congregation in particular. (1 Corinthians 14:36). But unto every particular Church, as it doth unto al the world. (Colossians 1:5. 6). And therefore no church ought to challenge any prerogative over any other.

              13. That every Church is to receive in all their members by Baptism upon the Confession of their faith and sins wrought by the preaching of the Gospel, according to the primitive Institution, (Matthew 28:19) and practice, (Acts 2:41). And therefore Churches constituted after any other manner, or of any other persons are not according to CHRISTS Testament. 33/84

              14. That Baptism or washing with water is the outward manifestation of dieing unto sin, and walking in newness of life. (Romans 6:2, 3, 4). And therefore in no wise appertains to infants.

              15. That the LORDS Supper is the outward manifestation of the Spiritual communion between CHRIST and the faithful mutually (1 Corinthians 10:16, 17) to declare his death until he come. (1 Corinthians 11:26).

              16. That the members of every Church or Congregation ought to know one another, so that they may perform all the duties of love one towards another, both to soul and body. (Matthew 18:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 12:25). And especially the Elders ought to know the whole flock, whereof the HOLY GHOST hath made them overseers. (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:2, 3). And therefore a Church ought not to consist of such a multitude as cannot have particular knowledge one of another.

              17. That Brethren impenitent in one sin after the admonition of the Church, are to be excluded the communion of the Saints (Matthew 18:17; 1 Corinthians 5:4, 13) &therefore not the committing of sin doth cut of any from the Church, but refusing to hear the Church to reformation.

              18. That Excommunicants in respect of civil society are not to be avoided, (2 Thessalonians 3:15. Matthew 18:17).

              19. That every Church ought (according to the example of CHRISTS Disciples and primitive Churches) upon every first day of the week, being the LORDS day, to assemble together to pray, prophecy, praise GOD, and break Bread, and perform all other parts of Spiritual communion for the worship of GOD, their own mutual edification, and the preservation of true Religion, &piety in the church (John 20:19. Acts 2:42 and 20:7, 1 Corinthians 16:2) and that ought not to labor in their callings according to the equity of the moral law, which CHRIST came not to abolish, but to fulfill. (Exodus 20:8 &c).

              20. That the Officers of every Church or congregation are either Elders, who by their office do especially feed the flock concerning their souls, (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 5:2, 3) or Deacons Men, and Women who by their office relieve the necessities of the poor and impotent brethren concerning their bodies, (Acts 6:1-4). 34/84

              21. That these Officers are to be chosen when there are persons qualified according to the rules in Christ’s Testament, (1 Timothy 3:2-7. Titus 1:6-9. Acts 6:3. 4) by Election and approbation of that Church or congregation whereof they are members, (Acts 6:3. 4 and 14:23), with Fasting, Prayer, and Laying on of hands, (Acts 13:3. and 14:23). And there being but one rule for Elders, therefore but one sort of Elders.

              22. That the Officers of every Church or congregation are tied by Office only to that particular congregation whereof they are chosen, (Acts 14:23, and 20:17. Titus 1:5). And therefore they cannot challenge by office any authorities in any other congregation whatsoever except they would have an Apostleship.

              23. That the scriptures of the Old and New Testament are written for our instruction, (2 Timothy 3:16) &that we ought to search them for they testify of CHRIST, (10:5. 39). And therefore to be used withal reverence, as containing the Holy Word of GOD, which only is our direction in al things whatsoever.

              24. That Magistracy is a Holy ordinance of GOD, that every soul ought to be subject to it not for fear only, but for conscience sake. Magistrates are the ministers of GOD for our wealth, they bear not the sword for naught. They are the ministers of GOD to take vengeance on them that do evil, (Romans 13). That it is a fearful sin to speak evil of them that are in authority, and to despise Government. (2 Peter 2:10). We ought to pay tribute, custom and all other duties. That we are to pray for the, for GOD would have them saved and come to the knowledge of his truth. (1 Timothy 2:1. 4). And therefore they may be members of the Church of CHRIST, retaining their Magistracy, for no Holy Ordinance of GOD debars any from being a member of CHRISTS Church. They bear the sword of GOD, — which sword in all Lawful administrations is to be defended and supported by the servants of GOD that are under their Government with their lives and al that they have according as in the first Institution of that Holy Ordinance. And whosoever holds otherwise must hold, (if they understand themselves) that they are the ministers of the devil, and therefore not to be prayed for nor approved in any of their administrations, — seeing all things they do (as punishing offenders and defending their countries, state, and persons by the sword) is unlawful.

              25. That it is Lawful in a just cause for the deciding of strife to take an oath by the Name of the Lord. (Hebrews 6:16; 2 Corinthians 1:23. Philippians 1:8). 35/84

              26. That the dead shall rise again, and the living being changed in a moment, - having the same bodies in substance though divers in qualities. (1 Corinthians 15:52 and 38. Job 19:15-28. Luke 24:30).

              27. That after the resurrection all men shall appear before the judgment seat of CHRIST to be judged according to their works, that the Godly shall enjoy life Eternal, the wicked being condemned shall be tormented everlastingly in Hell. (Matthew 25:46).
              Comment>

              • #8
                Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post
                It was 1994 that was the last year I regularly attended the Baptist Church of my childhood. The Bible studies were very much into reconciling faith and science and the sermons dealt with moral and ethical Christian issues. At the end of every sermon, there was an altar call and sometimes people actually went forward. Has the Convention changed over the decades, how has it changed and what do I have to look forward to when I attend services this Sunday?
                The Baptist Faith & Message, which is the SBC Statement of Faith was changed in June of 2000. Some like the small changes others not so much. There is a deeper explanation how a Christian home should be with final authority placed on the husband. For some who have an equalitarian marriage this was of some concern.

                I see in some SBC Seminaries Calvinism is taught over any other view. The problem I see is there are some who take Calvinism to a Hyper Calvinism, which I do not agree with. I have seen a pastor which eliminated alter calls altogether as he felt God would have those interested to respond to the message by contacting him somehow.

                The SBC denomination has moved towards a more conservative position, as it was in the eighties more liberal and a correction was needed as the Church members saw Seminaries were teaching Amillennialism rather than Premillennialism. Many of the older Pastors were in the Pretribulation camp or the Historic Premillennialism position. This is not the huge battle is once was, but there are still a mixture of all these thinkers in the SBC.

                These are the biggest changes I have seem, perhaps others have different view points.
                Comment>

                • #9
                  Originally posted by ConfessionalLutheran View Post

                  At this point, I just want the Lord to lead me where I can do the most good. I've been searching Scripture and praying, following the lead of my heart and I think that this experience might be a good one. Where there is the Holy Spirit, there is also Jesus and our heavenly Father. Not my will, but His be done.
                  There are differences from one SBC church to the next, someone once told me that "SBC churches are tied together by a rope of sand" and to some extent its true. But to be a SBC church they do agree with the "Baptist Faith & Message" which is a statement of faith we agree with. No one translation of the Bible is used in all SBC churches, as much of what the each church is depends largely on what the Pastor preaches, and emphases. Say if a Pastor really backs missions, or youth ministry, or older adults, that may well be where the church spends its money and time on. If a Pastor has a Seminary degree, or has not much Biblical training, all depends upon the type of church and people are in the church. Many rural churches don't have a M.Div. for a Pastor, and the bigger the church the likelihood for more well educated pastor, and the more activities you can be involved in.

                  My opinion is the smaller the church the more possibility of a family run church, which may not be the best choice for spiritual growth.
                  Comment>

                  • #10
                    Originally posted by justme View Post

                    The Baptist Faith & Message, which is the SBC Statement of Faith was changed in June of 2000. Some like the small changes others not so much. There is a deeper explanation how a Christian home should be with final authority placed on the husband. For some who have an equalitarian marriage this was of some concern.

                    I see in some SBC Seminaries Calvinism is taught over any other view. The problem I see is there are some who take Calvinism to a Hyper Calvinism, which I do not agree with. I have seen a pastor which eliminated alter calls altogether as he felt God would have those interested to respond to the message by contacting him somehow.

                    The SBC denomination has moved towards a more conservative position, as it was in the eighties more liberal and a correction was needed as the Church members saw Seminaries were teaching Amillennialism rather than Premillennialism. Many of the older Pastors were in the Pretribulation camp or the Historic Premillennialism position. This is not the huge battle is once was, but there are still a mixture of all these thinkers in the SBC.

                    These are the biggest changes I have seem, perhaps others have different view points.
                    Well, if the Southern Baptist Convention's turn in the eighties was a liberal turn, that explains a lot. It explains why the kids in my Sunday School class posed like overly- intellectual professors aged 5 to 18. It was really a turn- off. People seemed to have cared more about looking good than they did about the theology they were supposed to be teaching. Ah, yes, social justice, race- relations, scientific explanations of Biblical explanations at the expense of learning about the history of Christianity. I got my theology fixes at church retreats like Summit Lake in Maryland ( where TULIP first came up). Ultimately, I fled to the Catholic Church in 1995 because I needed solid theology and a conservative ( not making parables and metaphors out of almost everything in the Bible), liturgical base.

                    Boulevard Baptist Church was very much a family run church, as in there were two families who pretty much ran the entire show ( my family wasn't one of them) and when the church merged with another Baptist Church in the mid 1990s, the " dynasty" soon left( some drama dealing with finances). I disappeared into a huge Catholic parish for the next couple of decade, then Lutheranism ( another small, family run church with a heavy emphasis on finances), now, here I am reconsidering the Baptist faith. I've been listening to some of the Pastor's Messages ( prerecorded on the website of the local Baptist Church) and while they can run to over a half an hour, they present some excellent points on living out the Christian life.
                    Comment>

                    • #11
                      Having been raised in the SBC I can speak to a few things. However after having been reformed presbyterian the last 18 years I see some things now when I visit a SBC that I didn't see or realize then. This only applies to a recent visit in one particular SBC church and since each one can be slot different I'd say it depends on the church and the pastor. First thing I noticed after two visits the preaching was long and really shallow definitely aimed to the lost not really the congregation. Then there was a long alter call begging people to come forward to choose Christ. The other thing I'd say that is different is the structure of the local church. Basically the pastor is in charge of all things and the deacons may or may not have much voice. Unlike the presbyterian structure where there is an accountability of the pastor between the elders, deacons and the presbytery. Because we are all Human and can and do sin I like this accountability so each person in leadership stays in check and no one person or group or family can run the church.
                      Comment>

                      • #12
                        Todd, I am just wanting to see if your understanding of Reformed is the same as what most consider it to be. Reformed is saying they are a 5 point Calvinists church. Is that your understanding?

                        Here is one of my issues with "reformed" churches. They do not believe a Christian can be carnal, or backslide at all. I have experienced a time or ???many times where I was in a sinful life style. To reformed would say you were never saved in the first place.

                        I would argue that in Matthew 18:12-14 and James 5:19&20 do show that a saved person can wander and be brought back to the "fold".

                        What are your thoughts on this? Anyone else care to jump in?





                        justme
                        Comment>

                        • #13
                          For one thing, the Southern Baptist Convention has certainly become a bit more laid back, especially now more than in any other time in recorded human history of the Southern Baptists since their beginning. This can be both a good thing or a bad thing. For example, now is when the church needs to keep the flame the most. Now is when grace needs to reign as well....
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                          • #14
                            efrainlva1: I have not see it that way at all in Missouri. I see the SBC as being much more right then left liberal. I am concerned that the SBC has of the eight od the heads of the major leadership areas that five are all headed by Calvinists, which can kill the heart of Missions.


                            justme
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