fear of the word "Baptist"

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by SolaSaint, Sep 12, 2010.

  1. SolaSaint

    SolaSaint
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    Do you all see the same thing where you live? I've noticed over the last 10-15 years that many Baptist churches are changing their names to names without the word baptist. What once was 1st Baptist Church is now "the Oasis" or "the Bridge". Does this mean the word baptist scares people away so we must have our church renamed to be seeker friendly. Am I mistaken or do feel the same way on this?
     
  2. Salty

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    Many of the new SBC churches in the Central NY area are not putting the name Baptist on the church doors.

    I for one am not a fan of that theory. I want to know what - at least - generally what a church believes.

    Some will say, "Well, we just believe the Bible" My answer - so do the Roman Catholics - do you teach what they teach?

    Years ago when the GARBC had a approval system in place for schools and mission boards - one stipulation was that "Baptist" must be included in the name or sub name. For example - Ceadervill College - a Baptist school of Arts and Sciences.
    Another GARBC school Grand Rapids Baptist was renamed Cornerstone College

    Is this the begining of the falling away?

    Salty
     
  3. Tater77

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    Because Baptist churches have too many members that have ran the name into the ground.

    Innumerable idiots have assumed the title of Baptist without ever actually living up to it. Where I live a lot of smaller Baptist churches have gained a terrible reputation and most lump all Baptist churches together into one category. Even if your Baptist in doctrine, you have to leave it off the name to get quite a few people through the doors.

    Its a complicated subject.
     
  4. matt wade

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    It's a shame that some people feel like they need to leave the name Baptist off their church name in order to attract people. I wonder if someone in their family committed some serious crimes, if they would go out and change their last name?

    How about this...instead of leaving Baptist off, leave it on and show the community what true Baptists are like?

    There's been some serious atrocities done in the name of Christianity over the years....should we also stop calling ourselves Christians?
     
  5. Jon-Marc

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    I haven't noticed Baptist churches dropping Baptist from their name.
     
  6. Zenas

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    Like it or not, we have the reputation outside our walls of being a little bit fanatical and sometimes a little crazy. If you spend a lot of time around non-Baptists you will hear it.

    Annsni has a thread going about her husband's new start up church on Long Island. Its name does not contain the word Baptist. That's because it would be an automatic turn off to a large number of people who might consider going to a start up church.

    Can you say Westboro Baptist Church?
     
  7. nodak

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    It isn't a Baptist thing, and it isn't about Westboro.

    It is happening in many denominations and is a church growth movement tactic.

    The idea is to remove any obstacle to getting folks through the door.

    Water down the lyrics of the music and the preaching so that you have only generic evangelical styled services.

    That way you can sheep steal from the other denoms around you, raise your attendance, and wind up with more nickels and noses.

    And you won't make unbelievers uncomfortable talking about sin and salvation, so even more nickels and noses.

    God forgive us.
     
  8. Jeffrey Dean

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    Taking "baptist" out of a church name

    will bring more people in the door. So yes it is pragmatic. And yes it is very much about the "baptist" reputation.

    Baptists are generally known more for their condemnation than their love of the sinner. Baptists church are often born out of splits and contention. To the lost - a baptist church will be the last place they seek out answers because of the behavior of its members. Don't believe it? Get out of the bunker and interact with non-believers and non-baptists.

    If your a born-again, Holy Spirit filled believer, getting the gospel to the lost is a good thing. If jettisoning the baptist name helps get them in the door, its a good thing. There's nothing sacred about "baptist". Unfortunately, non-believers and believers are having a harder time finding the positive attributes.

    I'm a baptist. And when I am asked where I attend I have to deal with all the baggage that association brings. Getting to the heart need of a sinner sure is difficult when so many walls come up because of the name "baptist."
     
  9. preachinjesus

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    As we move into a post-denominational world we will see this more and more. It isn't, imho, fear but just a reflection of an ecclesiological and missiological decision about the nature of our churches.

    If its any consolation for those who like the Baptist term, about 85% of new church starts use specific Baptist polity in their make up.

    While I understand the desire for identification with a specific denominational brand, nobody identified themselves with a specific denomination for the vast majority of Church history. This is just another example of how the dynamic church shifts to address needs in our unique times.

    I have absolutely nothing wrong with attempts to practically reach out to those seeking Christ. I have nothing wrong with churches looking to present a contemporary music program. I have nothing wrong with churches seeking to use different methods to reach out to those who would otherwise miss Jesus. You can do all of this and remain lashed to the Cross and faithfully preach the Bible.

    Maybe labels and titles aren't that important.
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    Tempest in a teapot by some more interested in a "name" than in the "message". Denominational tag often does more harm than good.

    Here's a quiz. What most famous/leading church (largest in England) did these men pastor?

    Benjamin Keach
    John Gill
    John Rippon
    Charles Spurgeon
    A.T. Pierson

    If you know the answer, the present topic is seen in historic perspective as ludicrous.

    Bob Griffin, Elder/Pastor "Sovereign Grace Church" (Reformed Baptist)
    My son Joshua Griffin, High School Pastor "Saddleback Community Church" (SBC)
    My son Jeremiah Griffin, Elder/Pastor "Living Stones Fellowship" (SBC Reformed Baptist)

    Following in a wonderful tradition
     
  11. NiteShift

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    This week I found a very slick and well made political brochure in my mailbox. 2-3 pages long and nowhere in there could I find the party affiliation of the candidate. He claimed to be both conservative and progressive, and I thought well if you're trying to fool people maybe you'll get away with it but you won't get my vote.

    When you see a church associated with the SBC you know what you're getting, and to me it means something positive.
     
  12. Tom Butler

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    Well, let's see if we can create an interesting scenario. You're Southern Baptist, for purposes of discussion.

    Let's say you eliminate the word Baptist from your church sign, as a marketing strategy.

    Do you also eliminate the Baptist Hymnal from your pews?
    Do you also quit using Lifeway Sunday School literature?
    Do you junk your support of the Cooperative Program?
    Do you quit your ties to the local Baptist Association, your state Baptist Convention and the SBC?
    If someone asks, do you say you're not Baptist, but are baptistic?

    If you stop calling your church Baptist, but keep the rest of those ties in place, what happens when that new member who joined your fellowship finds out you're really Baptist in everything but name only? Is going to think you were less than honest?

    Seems to me that you drop Baptist, you have to drop the other stuff, or you're getting people in the door under false pretenses.
     
  13. abcgrad94

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    I haven't seen Baptist churches in my area doing this. It seems to be mostly the charismatic folks and they are removing "church." Instead it's a "family life center" or "The Word assembly," "The Cross" or "The Roc."
     
  14. preachinjesus

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    Okay, this will be fun! :)

    Well I disagree with term "marketing strategy." When the church where I serve got started it was a missiological and ecclesiological decision not to include Baptist.

    Also, if we are a "Southern Baptist" church, why not require these churches to note that they are specifically Southern Baptist. Since there are:
    • Fundamental
    • National
    • American
    • General Association
    • Free Will
    • Reformed
    • etc
    Baptist churches out there and to limit our name to just "Baptist" would be lying. We should ideally, under this logic, be identified by our specific denominational moniker.

    Now that I think of it, I have never seen this logic consistently applied. :)

    We don't stock hymnals, we use point displays in all worship venues.

    Our small groups use a variety of literatures. We find Lifeway literature to not be the best out there at addressing significant issues and thus have done away with it as a primary source for our groups curriculum.

    No, this is one of things that makes us an SBC church. You can do away with all your "criteria" above and below and you still aren't SBC if you neglect this. We have increased our CP giving, but don't just support SBC causes.

    We aren't involved in our local association or state work beyond missions and church planting work. Over the past five years we've had a number of very bad experiences with other SBC churches attacking us and trying to belittle our ministry efforts. Thus we made the decision that meetings are trifling wastes of time and just find opportunities to work for missions and church planting exclusively.

    Actually, we talk about being part of the SBC frequently (and in services from time to time) and in our (covenant) membership class we openly talk about why we support the convention and what good it is doing around the world for the Gospel.

    If they join they are go through our membership process which openly talks about the SBC. That said (and we've run these stats) about 75% of our new membership doesn't come from a Baptist denomination background. We've only had about ten or twelve people in the past 6 months ask about our denom...and they were almost all from an SBC background.

    I disagree with your characterization of how churches like ours and others make this decision and how we move forward.
     
  15. tinytim

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    Our association is in the process of planting a new church "Comunidad Luz y Vida"
    On the banner that advertises the services we decided NOT to put "Baptist" on it for the first 6 months... and see what happens. After 6 months, we are going to put it on it..

    It is a test of sorts...

    To me it doesn't matter...
     
  16. Tom Bryant

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    Tom,
    Does your name say everything about you? We're the First Baptist Church... not the first southern baptist church or the first southern baptist, florida baptist southwest florida baptist church or ... you get the picture.

    But on the larger point, are alot of non-Christians coming to church because it's a baptist church? Not many in my area. There are Christians who come because we're named baptist. I think to Christians the name baptist means something good. But to some of the people we may be trying to reach baptist is not a good name.

    There are lots of churches that don't use the name baptist, but are very clear about it in their doctrinal statements. Of course, I also know alot of churches with baptist in their name and that's the only thing baptist about them.
     
  17. William Price

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    You know what, I think I am gonna vent for a few minutes. I am a member of an independent BAPTIST church. When I departed Oneness Pentecostalism, I searched for a good reformed Baptist fellowship. In a city the size of Houston, I am traveling 25 miles one way to a church that preaches expositionally and whose hermeneutics are biblical. Let me reiterate, I am attending a BAPTIST church.

    I find these seeker sensative churches are more concerned about becoming more appealing to the carnally minded man than to the extreme scandal of the Gospel message. We should be seeker sensative, but the true seeker is Jesus Christ and we should be sensative to Him. This is why I am where I am, and I am not ashamed to be called Baptist.

    OK... rant over.
     
  18. Jerome

    Jerome
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    Here's the church Dr. Bob is referencing:laugh:
     
  19. Alive in Christ

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    I know lots of christians around here who say they will never set foot in a baptist church again. Personally, I love my church (Baptist} and have had good experiences at a couple of others years ago.

    Some Baptist churches around here are way too legalistic...that might be what turned some off...but most arent legalistic.

    One guy told me..."you cant shout, you cant clap, you cant jump and yell praises to the Lord. They stifle the joy."
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Yes.... Its happening all over Northern New Jersey. They are either changing the name or if its a new church, they arent using the name. There is also an active group visiting with churches & lobbying for name change.
     

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