Opinion: Losing the Bible

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    The story is at http://www.abpnews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=4185&Itemid=9

    The "Battle for the Bible" is over, and the Bible lost.

    Sometime within the past 33 years since Harold Lindsell fired the first public shot in the Bible battle, fundamentalist Christians (including not a few Baptists) quietly placed their holy book behind a protective firewall, pledging allegiance to modern inerrant interpretations. Feigning conservatism, they sacrificed the historical Jesus on the Western altar of religious creeds and small government.

    Today, the agenda of the Religious Right, including many prominent fundamentalist Baptists, lies outside the Bible. That their politically conservative but extra-biblical agenda is a construct of modernist thinking seems to be of no concern: they proudly pledge overarching loyalty to the human construct of inerrancy and fidelity to unrestrained capitalism.

    Yet in Southern Baptist circles, denominational leaders and many pastors now openly fret over the shrinking fruit of their labors. Baptisms are at their lowest level in decades, missionary appointments are down some 40 percent, church membership and denominational finances are on the skids, and annual June SBC meetings of recent years have tried in vain to construct a formula to stop the hemorrhaging.

    Baptist historian Bill Leonard, examining the bigger picture, recently argued that "demographics and sociology" are largely responsible for SBC woes, indicating that unless Southern Baptists move beyond their white, rural, Southern, politically conservative loyalties, the decline will continue.
    Some Southern Baptists agree with Leonard's basic assessment, but hold out hope that fundamentalism yet has a bright future. In corresponding fashion, political observers on both sides of the aisle are offering the same judgment of today's Republican Party.

    Rising hand-in-hand, Baptist fundamentalism and small-government Republicanism are adrift together, struggling to stay above water. Unable to reverse the demographics, Republicans hope to "increase their share of the minority vote" (including Southern Baptists), while one fundamentalist Baptist response to denominational decline focuses on making more Baptist babies and Liberty University recently banished Democrats from campus. For some Baptists, procreation and political correctness offer hope where an inerrant theology has failed.
     
  2. Magnetic Poles

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    Interesting points. My belief is that blind allegiance to the Republican Party; coupled with clinging to so called "fundamentals" that in reality are little more than demonstrably false interpretations of the Bible; have put many Baptists on the wrong side of history. The impression of the general public has become that Baptists are backward-thinking, hard-nosed fundamentalists, who are known more for what they are against rather than what they are for. Then there was the anti-woman publicity from the whole "submission" to the husband's "servant leadership" thing. This perception is reinforced by so-called Baptists like Fred Phelps, and the clown who held a high position in the SBC who was praying for the death of the President.

    For example, why did the SBC's "Bold Mission Thrust" fail? They took their eye off the ball of spreading the gospel, and became part of a political movement. Many abandoned the time-honored precept of separation of church & state, and became theocrats. My feeling is that unless Baptists begin to embrace a more progressive view, they will remain anchored in the 18th Century and continue to see atrophy until they become a minor group of folks on the periphery of society.

    CLICK HERE for another good analysis, this one from The Baptist Standard. It is a post mortem on Bold Mission Thrust written in 2001.
     
  3. gb93433

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    Your post reminds me of the time the Christians in Germany supported Hitler on the basis of an economic platform. Many times I wonder who even reads their Bible when I see such actions.
     
  4. OldRegular

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    From one of the referenced sites:

    From Here

    Seminary President Says Smaller Families Hurting Baptism Totals

    By Bob Allen
    Tuesday, June 09, 2009

    WAKE FOREST, N.C. (ABP) -- A seminary president calling for a "Great Commission Resurgence" in the Southern Baptist Convention says reversing the denomination's declining baptism totals is a matter not merely of evangelism, but also birthrates.

    <snip>

    In an April 16 chapel address at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary that started the discussion, seminary President Daniel Akin was more explicit.

    "Southern Baptists have been seduced by the sirens of modernity in a very important place," he said. "We have been seduced in how we do family and how many we should have in the home."

    "For example, we have been seduced with respect to the gift of children, who often now even in our churches are viewed as a burden, not a blessing," Akin said. "Less is best, or at least less is better. The result is we have less children."

    Akin said another seminary president, Albert Mohler of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, showed him statistics that declining baptisms paralleled the trend toward Southern Baptists having smaller families.

    Akin said he remembered when he was a seminary student and Bertha Smith, an iconic Southern Baptist missionary who died in 1988, "scared the daylights" out of seminarians by telling them that using birth control is a sin.

    "God killed Onan for it and he might kill you too," Akin recalled her as saying, a reference to story from Genesis about a man whom God kills for refusing his obligation to sire a child for his sister-in-law after his brother died. "Then she said this, 'Listen, we will never win the battle against the religion of Islam, because they have children and we don't. And it's a very simple matter of mathematics. Eventually they will outnumber us.' She was a prophetess."

    Akin said that is demonstrated by looking no farther than Europe. "Islam will take over Europe and it will never fire a shot," he said. "They will simply outnumber them as white Europeans have less or no children, and Muslims continue to have them at a very large, healthy rate."

    "You say, 'What are you saying?' I'm saying you need to have a bunch of kids," Akin said. "It has a missiological motivation."


    Please note that Ms. Smith made the highlighted remarks prior to 1988. Those remarks are prophetic of what is happening in Europe and perhaps the United States, particularly in light of our slaughter of 50 million babies since 1973.
     
  5. Magnetic Poles

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    So are you saying that Baptist baptisms are down because Baptist women are having abortions? Do you think contraception is anti-God?
     
  6. rbell

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    The points espoused by Akin and Mohler are cop-outs. They are easy answers to a problem whose answer is more difficult, and harder to accept.

    We're not baptizing the kids we are having. Our problem is spiritual, not reproductive.

    With our current spiritual condition (on the whole) as Southern Baptists...more kids would simply mean more unsaved kids, and more casualties with the broken homes we have...that pretty much mirror, percentage-wise, the national trend.

    Don't misread this as in any way condoning birth control that ends life. I don't. And furthermore...priesthood of the believer, baby: If God tells you to have a bunch of munchkins, then by all means have a bunch (or have fun trying...with the spouse, that is). :eek: :D

    Methinks Akin (especially) and Mohler should remember this quaint little concept of Priesthood of the Believer...on an issue such as this (one in which Scripture doesn't give the ver batim answer, like it does with "thou shalt not kill"), they should let God do the convicting.

    I respected "Miss Bertha's" opinions on many issues...and no one could ever argue about her tremendous faith, passion, and efforts for sharing the Gospel. But she ain't infallible...and passionate doesn't always equal right. The explanation she gives for the sin of Onan is out of context. We no longer take the dead brothers' wives...and Onan's sin was a direct disobedient act to a specific command from God. Scriptural mis-application.

    Summary: Smaller families does not equal murder by abortion. An SBC decline is not because we're not cranking out eight kids per couple. And suggesting it is misses the point, IMO.
     
    #6 rbell, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2009
  7. gb93433

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    That is a sad commentary on the state of evangelism in America beyond the immediate family. It is also a sad commentary on the state of prayer in America.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    What is the reality is a focus on pragmatism is no longer as popular as it once was. Baptisms account for nothing and do not even suggest who sits in the pew on a regular long term on going basis. Pragmatism has no place in the church for it is a measure of nothing.

    When our motivation becomes the numbers on a status sheet we have lost all site of the Kingdom of God. Noah was a better boat builder than a preacher by pragmatic standards. Jeremiah neither had the right message nor the right temperament to do the job by all current personality tests. John the Baptist would have failed all pre-screening for church planting and been left to some corner considered a screaming idiot by both the culture of his day and in our times as well.

    Such mindsets overlook passages of scripture like Matthew 7:13,and 14, and places a higher priority on results than the glory of God. But the offense against God id taken even further because so many have used God as a means rather than and end. God has become the means for social justice, He has become the means for, righting all wrongs, He has become the means for economic change and climate change and even the means for the salvation of men.

    God is not the means for anything but the end of it all. The salvation of men is not the end of the ball game but a tool to fulfill a purpose. Social justice is not the end of anything it is not even the purpose of anything. The glory of God and that alone should be the motivation of everything and the salvation of men is simply the means by which to attain that.

    This world has become to focused on being saved from something rather than being save to something. Hell is to be preached, sin is to be preached, repentance is to be preached, heaven is to be preached all of it should be preached for all of it points to the grace of God which put together shows the glory of God. Did you come to God because you wanted to be saved from your sin or did you come to God because He is glorious and He deserves all honor and praise.

    The church has become so focused on the means that we have failed to shine the light on the ends, which is God's glory and that alone. These petty little arguments we see today fail to even come close to desiring that the glory of God be shown to anyone.
     
  9. Tom Butler

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    Bruce Gourley is a nice guy. But he's regurgitating the liberal line from those who lost the battle for the soul of the SBC. All SBCers are wild-eyed religious fundamentalists, political rightwingers, racist and Republican--all of which are bad, of course.

    To Bruce, reversing the declining SBC numbers is a simple matter of giving up all those things--oh, and the idea of inerrant scripture as well.

    I will agree with him that SBCers shouldn't be blindly loyal to the Republican party. To do so is to be regularly disappointed. On the other side of the coin, the Democrats are even less of a bargain.

    What's the answer to the declining numbers? I don't know. It just may be that churches are now baptizing actual believers instead of dunking everybody who'll say some magic words.

    Let's not forget, too, that if the SBC is declining, it's individual churches which are not getting the job done. The policies of the SBC as a denomination are not to blame for the decine. Remember, we're local churches. The SBC will never be better than its churches.

    I tell you what. How about this? Preach the word. Teach the word. Evangelize the word. Stand for the word. Be salt and light wherever you are. And pray that God will save sinenrs. If your church dies anyway, then it dies. If it grows, give God the glory.

    Quit trying to make the gospel attractive. For most of the world it's offiensive. Only God can make it come alive in a human heart. Preach it anyway.
     
  10. OldRegular

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    I said nothing about Baptist women having abortions. I said nothing about contraception. I merely copied some remarks regarding the emergence of Islam in Europe and my opinion that the same thing could happen here.
     
  11. OldRegular

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    Yet we read this on another OP.

    Ir seems to me that part of the problem is that churches are trying to make the Gospel attractive by conforming it to todays culture. I am of the opinion that the Gospel will always be an affront to the culture of any age.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    More specifically utilitarianism has crept in and salvation is all about the happiness of man rather than the glory of God.
     
  13. Amy.G

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    Maybe I'm just crazy (no comments :tongue3:), but if we are being discipled at church and have a good working knowledge of the Bible and have a genuine love for God, witnessing for Christ will be a natural expression of that.

    Have you ever tried not to talk about someone you love? You can't help but share with others the relationship you have with your children, spouse or friends. Talking about them is just a natural result of sharing your life with them. If we have a relationship with the Lord, it will be evident to others as we will speak of God in a natural, loving way, just as we do our friends and family. How can we not share God with others if we truly love Him and have a real relationship with Him?


    So all the doo dads we implement in church is meaningless. What attracts others to God is seeing for themselves the love and devotion to God that true believes have and hearing the word of God from Christians who have studied their Bibles and know how to give an answer to everyone who asks the reason for the hope that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15)
     
  14. saturneptune

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    So lets get back to reality. First of all, the entire purpose of this thread is to trash the SBC, and will use any article, number, or opinion for an opportunity to do so. Secondly, the reference in several posts bringing in the Republican Party as wild-eyed conservative maniacs is ridiculous, given that the Republican Party is a group of liberal, moral dengenerates, differing little from the Democrats, so people, get your facts straight.

    If the best you can do is site some numbers to make your case that the SBC is satanic, as you said in the other thread, then your understanding of the Bible and significance of the numbers game to God is in gross error. God uses each local congregation as He sees fit, and it may or may not include increasing its population. How many converts did Isaiah have in his 40 year ministry? Maybe you should bring him back from the dead and kick him out of the office of prophet. It seems to me there is a general trend of downward attendance in most churches. The ones that are growing rapidly seem do not seem the model of Godliness to me.

    Maybe you should spend all of the time you do in anger against the SBC and use it to increase converts in your own local church.
     
  15. gb93433

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    That depends on how they are growing. If they are growing because they are making disciples that is much different than if all they are is a spectacle.

    Look at how the early church grew and what the early church did to grow in the book of Acts. I do not see the same obstacles to Christianity such as persecution and being executed in America.
     
  16. saturneptune

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    Most of the growing churches are growing because of worldly trappings. You are right, the church grew in God's plan in Acts and the early history of our nation. There may be no obstacles today to such church growth based on persecution compared then to now, but then again, the Bible says that people's love will grow cold in the latter days. Maybe the general population today is more apathetic today than the two historic periods you mentioned. I do not know.

    I do know this. God is not failing in His plan for His church because numbers do not meet your goals. You focus on the SBC, and say not one word about other Baptist stripes or other Protestant faiths that have just as much if not more decline. God is working as He sees fit, and maybe now, at this point in time, numbers are not His number one goal. Maybe is is preserving a remnant.
     
    #16 saturneptune, Jun 30, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 30, 2009
  17. gb93433

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    Many may call that growth but I call that using God for our plans. They do not want God, they want God to want them.

    Excellent!! I agree with you 100%. If I read my Bible right that problem is easily solved. However I do not see that being applied.
     
  18. Bro. Curtis

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    I would say that liberalism, the teachings that the bible may not be telling the truth about creation, Noah's ark, Jonah & others, have done just as much damage as this "fundamentalist" thing you are talking about. Fundamentalists that add to scripture are not really fundamentalists, are they ?
     
  19. gb93433

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    I agree.

    No, those kind have made the Bible teach something it did not. In effect presenting a lie.

    I always like to ask those who claim to be literalists in every case about which is correct

    Matthew 2:4, "Being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying."

    or

    Luke 5:19, "But not finding any way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down through the tiles with his stretcher, into the middle of the crowd, in front of Jesus.

    I also like to ask that if the day was 24 hours after Gen 1:7 then how many hours was it before Gen 1:6?
     
  20. Revmitchell

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    And such ignorant questions are a result of not knowing what it means to interpret the Bible literally. Maybe you should actually research the issue before asking any more foolish questions.
     

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