Are Old Fashioned Baptist Churches shrinking?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by IfbReformer, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Recently the former Pastor of a Church we use to attend who is now on a mission board wrote an article dealing with this. He basic premise was that missions support was waining because conservative baptist churches were shrinking.

    I believe there is a difference between conservative Baptist churches and "Old Fashion" Baptist churches.

    First let me just say that I think both types of Baptist church believe and preach the Bible is the Word of God and believe in the fundamentals of the faith.

    But the difference is really an addition or subraction, depending on your point of view.

    "Old Fashion" Baptist Churches insist on using the same order of service they have for the last 50 or 100 years. The same Bible translation(obvisoulsy the KJV) and no change in how the do Sunday school or Wednesday night services. They have their Revial meetings at exactly the same time each year and refuse to change almost anything about their ministry.

    Conservative progressive Baptist churches on the other hand, seem to what to change whatever they need to(without compromising the fundamentals of the faith) resulting in modern music, modern translations and different approaches to Sunday school and evangelism.

    It is these Conservative progressive Baptist churches that I see seem to be growing while the "Old Fashion" Baptist Churches seem to be dying out.

    Believe me, I have Pastor friends on both sides of the aisle on this. The friend of mine who are in "Old Fashion" Baptist Churches " seem to have trouble with church growth and any growth they get seems to be simply transfers in of existing believers from other "Old Fashion" Baptist churches.

    While I think they will always be around, I think the age of larger "Old Fashion" Baptist churches is coming to a close.

    What do you think?

    IFBReformer
     
  2. Joshua Rhodes

    Joshua Rhodes
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/jrhodes.jpg>

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2003
    Messages:
    3,944
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree that they are thinning down. I predict that they will continue to dwindle, not because what they are preaching and teaching is incorrect, but that it isn't relevant to a society that changes gears every few moments. Churches that evaluate things like VBS, Sunday School, and other institutions of the church are not change for change's sake, but are evaluating whether or not those things still reach people the way they used to. "Fixing" something to work is not always a bad thing. Not always.
     
  3. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I agree completely. The church where I get to serve is a conservative Baptist church in doctrine and belief...but exceedingly progressive in methodology and practice. "Old Fashioned" Baptist churches to me says something about their methodology (three points and a poem, piano and organ only, hymnal, tons of faultering programming, etc.) where they are stuck in the past and aren't vibrant, growing fellowships. They have been come private country clubhouses instead of open public communities.

    That right there explains why they refuse to grow. Inspite of what God would have them do, they selfishly hold onto ridiculous practices that negate the movement of the Spirit in their midst.

    Change, methodological, helps create momentum and adapting to current needs shows that you care where people are at in their lives. Most of these churches also have compotent systems in place to welcome, assimilate, train, and plug-in new members into their ministris. It's huge.

    yep. The dying out is probably the best term to use particularly because there isn't a younger, recently regenerate membership available.

    Old Fashioned died out ten years ago...just takes a while to catch up with reality. :)

    Honestly I don't care what you do, old or new or middle or whatever, just do it with excellence. Most old fashioned churches that I've known (including the one I grew up in) don't accomplish excellence in their churches and thus will not capture people.
     
    #3 preachinjesus, Mar 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2007
  4. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    8,123
    Likes Received:
    1
    Well, I don't know about that.

    But, the church I used to go to in Columbia, Maryland has been around for nearly three hundred years, preaching the same Doctrine of Grace, singing the same songs, holding services on basically the same day, observing the same "order" of worship (singing, praying, preaching, singing), have not introduced musical instruments, or Sunday School, and seems to me like they'll be around for another hundred years.

    Now, membership wise, true, the church has been like an accordion.

    But I don't think Old Fashioned Baptist churches per se, are on the way out.

    A particular local old fashioned Baptist church may die out, but the churches as a whole will still be around.
     
  5. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    pinoybaptist,

    I agree they will probably never die out. But they certainly will not have the growth that progressive conservative Baptist churches have.

    I have friends back home in Michigan who attend Primitive Baptist churches and know just the sort of church you describe. I have not known of any large size Primitive Baptist churches though. It seems to go against their setup anyway.

    I was not really talking about Primitive Baptist churches though, I am more refering to the Sunday School at 9:45, Sunday Service at 11:00, Sunday night, Wednesday night, same hymns, same methodology they have had for the last 50 to 100 years.

    I agree by Primitive Baptist standards these churches would still be progressive.

    IFBReformer
     
  6. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,879
    Likes Received:
    0
    The only thing that I can find in scripture that reaches people is the Word of God and the Holy Ghost. Add anything else to that and the message gets waterd down.
     
  7. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I would wholeheartedly agree that the above mentioned are the two absolutely essential ingredients.

    I might have some trouble on what constitutes "adding anything else." We used a very powerful video from Facing the Giants a few months ago to illustrate wholehearted commitment. IMO that doesn't "water down" the Gospel; rather, it becomes an object lesson to illustrate it.

    God seems to be a fan of object lessons. Look how he used them with the prophets. As long as we don't worship the method, and the method does not detract from God's glory or message, have at it, IMO.
     
  8. Rufus_1611

    Rufus_1611
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have become one of those "old fashioned Baptists". Could you describe for me specifically which practice I adhere to that is "ridiculous"?

    • Is the old AV ridiculous?
    • Is having Sunday school ridiculous?
    • Are Wednesday night services ridiculous?
    • Is the timing of revival meetings ridiculous?

    What changes would you require so that we were not engaged in ridiculous practices?

    Further, I believe that my brethren and I hold to these practices not out of selfishness but because we believe this is what God would have us do and that we are more God-centered than selfish. What makes you think you understand our motivation as being selfish whereas your motivation to change abounds in selflessness?
     
  9. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2002
    Messages:
    8,123
    Likes Received:
    1
    The Dictionary defines progressive as:

    1.favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement, or reform, as opposed to wishing to maintain things as they are, esp. in political matters: a progressive mayor. 2.making progress toward better conditions; employing or advocating more enlightened or liberal ideas, new or experimental methods, etc.: a progressive community.


    And Conservative as:


    1.disposed to preserve existing conditions, institutions, etc., or to restore traditional ones, and to limit change.
    2.cautiously moderate or purposefully low: a conservative estimate.
    3.traditional in style or manner; avoiding novelty or showiness: conservative suit.



    Now, how on earth could there be a Conservative Progressive church ? I don't care which way you cut it, but one has to weigh more than the other, or eventually one gives way to the other.

    Either you're Old Fashioned, or you're Progressive.

    Least ways that's how I look at it.

    If there is a decline in church membership today it is because the days are evil, and the love of many has waxed cold.

    If there is a tremendous growth in church membership among the liberals and the "progressives" could it be because they ceased to rely on the Holy Spirit and instead rely more on methodology and systems, charisma and modernism ?

    I'm not saying that's it, but could it be ?
     
  10. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amen brother! Who was the greatest object lesson teacher of all - Christ himself.

    IFBReformer
     
  11. Salty

    Salty
    Expand Collapse
    20,000 Posts Club
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2003
    Messages:
    22,069
    Likes Received:
    216
     
  12. Rufus_1611

    Rufus_1611
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    0
    How many prophets or disciples went to the theater to understand those object lessons?
     
  13. pastor_brad

    pastor_brad
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2006
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am a pastor who recently planted a new "Old Fashioned" Baptist Church. While there is nothing sacred about keeping the same schedule and the same hymnal, I see no need to throw out tradition simply for the sake of being "progressive." Tradition is not a bad thing especially if the tradition is based on Scriptural principle.

    My burden is for the preaching of God's Word to be the focus of our services. Though we live in a much different time than the believers of the 1800's, the truth of Scripture remains the same. His truth is what will change lives.

    Not only am I a Old Fashioned Baptist pastor(age 27), but I am also a web developer. I mention this to explain that I see nothing wrong with changing our methods to fit the culture we live in, but our standard can never change. I will utilize whatever I can to be most effective in my service for Christ, but I must not compromise truth for the sake of relevancy.

    For example: There is nothing wrong with using newly composed music in our churches, but it must meet certain Biblical standards of 'good music.' I cannot take the world's music, change a few lyrics and hope to please Christ.

    Anyways, back to the topic; In my personal experince of planting an 'Old Fashioned' church three and a half years ago, there is a great need for and interest in our church. People are looking for a church where the people humbly live separated holy lives and are not ashamed to be recognized as Christians. They want to sing the old hymns, and hear the directly applied preaching of the Word of God(There can be nothing more relevant).

    While we have had several families 'transfer' from other Baptist Churches, there have been just as many newly saved young(mid 20's) families added to the church and discipled. They are excited about our church, and I am excited to be a small part of what the Lord is doing.
     
  14. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    First let me answer your most important question:
    "Now, how on earth could there be a Conservative Progressive church ?"

    Thats easy when we understand what conservative and progressive refer to. Conservative refers to Doctrine and practice on those things which the Bible is very specfic on. The same Gospel is preached and the same Baptism is administered the same way as it was 50 years ago. The progressivness has to do with methodology. How do we reach others with the Gospel, how do we disciple.

    We may use the Yellow Pages and Internet today to let people know where our church is and when our services are. We may show Christian movies or play Christian contempory music to illustrate Godly principles. But we are still conervative in doctrine, but progressive in methodology.

    And really "Old Fashion" is a relative term. What is considered old fashion today was considered brand new 50 or 100 years ago. When Wednesday night services and Sunday school were introduced in the 1800's they were considered new.

    When regular scheduled Revival meetings were first introduced in 1800s they were also considered new. When the altar call was first introduced it was considered new.

    When the King James Version was first introduced, it was considered new and many opted the previous version of the Geneva Bible.

    The point is that all these things that "Old Fashioned" Baptist churches are doing, was at some point fairly recently(in the last 100 to 400 years) considered new.

    I agree the church should always proceed with caution, but yet it cannot be afraid of something just because it is new. In the same token, I and those like me who favor a progressive approach in methodology do not want to throw out all the old items, we simply want to introduce new ways of doing things that do not violate the Scriptures.

    I love singing the old hymns and believe a church should have a blending of modern and traditional Christian music. One connects us to our past, the other points toward the future.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. Rufus_1611

    Rufus_1611
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    The same number that used electric lighting and indoor plumbing. :rolleyes:
     
  17. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I don't believe God inspired the KJV more than any other version. To suggest otherwise negates the nature of the text. I do believe God wholly inspired and inspired men and women to write the original texts in Hebrew, Aramiac, and Greek and in those original languages we find our extant texts for translation. The KJV is a great text for its day, but no one uses that language anymore. I can't remember the last time I heard someone using the KJV in their services or messages. More current versions are better equipped to communicate God's words to the masses in our contemporary verbiage imho.

    No, as long as it is full of open classes that are willing to grow and divide into new groups and aren't small, clustered groups representing the holy huddle.

    We don't do them b/c we aren't in an area that allows us to have easy flow of traffic in and out. If your program methodology is that you have Wednesday night service have them. Just don't say that everyone must have Wednesday night services.

    The only thing about these is that all of the "revival" meetings that I've been to, led, attended, etc. aren't true revivals but just a group of spiritual emphasis meetings where the fellowship is encouraged greatly. Good stuff, I think we need to figure out where they fit into our strategy for growth and impact and use them (and term them) appropriately.
     
    #17 preachinjesus, Mar 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 8, 2007
  18. Rufus_1611

    Rufus_1611
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Messages:
    3,006
    Likes Received:
    0
    Do you get object lessons from those devices as well? :rolleyes:
     
  19. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Apparently Christ did not have a problem comparing himself and John the Baptist to street performers.

    The absense of an example does not forbid that type of example being used.

    Just because we don't see an ancient play being used as an object lesson in the scriptures does not mean it is forbiden to be used.

    Yet I will grant you that the early church fathers(not the Apostles) were very hard on the acting community in general. They forced all new converts to Christianity to give up their careers if they were an actor or musician. The held celebicy in the highest regard and even had married couples take vows of celebicy. However this behavior like many of the early church behaviors was not supported by the Scriptures.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. rbell

    rbell
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2006
    Messages:
    11,103
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can think of two or three GREAT object lessons from indoor plumbing.

    But they'd probably get edited.

    Now...since you've cast a judgemental eye...tell me from scripture: What was wrong with my using a clip from Facing the Giants to illustrate a scriptural point?
     

Share This Page

Loading...