Vol. 2, No. 3 July 1999
Online Readers Give Reasons for SBC DeclineAssociated Baptist Press reports that Southern Baptist churches lost 162,158 members last year. The number of baptisms and the number of SBC churches also declined. This information comes from statistics compiled and released for the denomination by LifeWay Christian Resources (formerly the Baptist Sunday School Board).
The decline in membership in the SBC is the first since 1926. After the string of 72 successive years of increases in membership was broken, Mainstream Baptists began to suggest some of the causes for the reversal and downward trend in the SBC. Mainstream Baptists from around the country have participated in an online poll that was conducted on our website.
While our poll can lay no claim to scientific objectivity, we do believe it reflects the sentiments of those Mainstream Baptists who are Internet savvy.
Here are the results from the 254 readers who responded to our online poll between April 20 and July 15, 1999:
95% say Fundamentalists took over the SBC and excluded Mainstream Baptists.
95% say Fundamentalists diverted the SBC's attention from evangelism and missions to politics.
94% say Fundamentalists turn people away from the gospel by emphasizing law over grace.
93% say the Fundamentalist emphasis on pastoral authority has undermined the Baptist conviction that every believer is a priest and should be personally involved in ministry.
89% say the Fundamentalists restructured SBC Mission boards -- siphoning resources from missions and evangelism and giving it to a political action committee in Washington, D.C.
81% say the Disney boycott made being a Southern Baptist look ridiculous.
79% say the SBC family statement alienated people who believe husbands and wives are equal partners in marriage.
76% say Fundamentalists undermined the work of Women's Missionary Union.
59% say Calvinism in our seminaries has undermined Baptist's commitment to the Great Commission.
56% say the Fundamentalist emphasis on inerrancy makes the Bible an idol.
37% say the Fundamentalist practice of promoting a few mega-churches rather than planting and strengthening smaller churches is proving to be a failure.
37% say Fundamentalists are focused on the past and are unable to reach forward looking generations.
37% say Fundamentalists have abandoned ministries to ethnic peoples, minorities and immigrants.
If you would like to participate in our online poll, visit our website at http;//mainstreambaptists.org and click on "Whats New?" Poll results will be updated on a weekly basis.
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