Archive for June, 2009

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I’m thinking this may lead to some negative backlash but I hope it serves as a wake-up call. Thanks to Steven Camp for the link.

 

Although the Southern Baptists claim 16,287,494 members, on average only 6,024,289 people (guests and non-member children included), a number equal to only 37% of the membership number, show up for their church’s primary worship meeting (usually Sunday morning). This is according to the Strategic Information and Planning department of the Sunday School Board (2004 statistics). If your church is anything like normal, and is not brand new, your statistics are probably similar. In other words, if you have 200 in attendance on Sunday morning, you likely have 500-600 or even more on your roll. Many churches have an even worse record.

Discerning who among us is regenerate is not an exact science, but a closer look at these numbers will at least alert us to the fact that most Southern Baptists must certainly be dead spiritually. That is so, unless, of course, you claim that there is no difference between a believer and a non-believer.

In the average church you can cut the 37% Sunday morning attendance by about two-thirds or more when counting those interested in a Sunday evening service, or other gatherings held in addition to the principal meeting of the church. In 1996, the last time the SBC kept these statistics, the number of Sunday evening attenders was equal to only 12.3% of the membership (in churches that had an evening meeting). One might ask what makes us claim that the rest are Christians, if they involve themselves with God’s people only on such a minimal, surface level? How are they any different from the people who attend the liberal church down the street—the “church” where the gospel is not even preached?

And remember that the numbers of those attending include many non-member children and guests, often making up a third of the congregation’s main meeting attendance. When all factors are considered, these figures suggest that nearly 90% of Southern Baptist church members appear to be little different from the “cultural Christians” who populate other mainline denominations.  Read the rest of the article here

Here is a wonderful and thoughtful article from Eric Redmond on Michael Jackson and the state of Christianity in the African-American community.

 

The syncretistic practice of Christianity within the traditional African American church is well known, and in some settings, cherished. The line between “Christianity” and secular African American culture is not blurred; it does not exist. Positively, some sociologists and historians have suggested that, historically, this is due to the inseparability of the slave church and slave culture. Slaves were able to survive the brutality of antebellum slavery due to their Christian faith, and the slave church was the rallying and unifying point of the slave community.  Negatively, the gray matter of African American Christianity is most evident in the democratic process of Presidential elections: My Christian position on the life of the unborn and the Biblical teaching on marriage have no place in my decision-making when it comes to the election of a President. He is African American, I am African American; nothing else matters.

The blurred nature of what is distinctively Christian and what is African American is commonly displayed at our national, non-Christian music and video award shows. It would be typical for an African American artist, who is receiving an award for a song or video full of lyrics and/or scenes completely contrary to the moral standards of the Gospel, to receive the award with the words, “First, I would like to thank my Lord Jesus Christ for…” giving something related to the talent of the singer or the award itself. The thanksgiving, though obviously hypocritical, is received with great acclamation, seemingly without the hosts or audience being put off by the references to the Lord among the secular throng.

Yesterday, I watched the last hour of this year’s BET Music Awards show, a show I had never previously watched. Compared to what I have seen on other awards shows in the past, somewhat expectedly I found the BET show very much affected by the passing of Michael Jackson. There were many tributes given to the King of Pop. They ranged from snippets of his music before commercial breaks, to words of tribute from the various artists and emcees on the program. Some of the tributes honored the enduring nature of his race-transcending music. Other tributes virtually deified him.

For example, the legendary Soul Train host, Don Cornelius, referred to the artist as the “immortal Michael Jackson.” To this my oldest daughter immediately retorted, “Well, I think this week we found out, clearly, that he was not immortal.” Yet many in the BET audience expressed agreement with Cornelius. Read more here!

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“I am glad of any signs of life, even if they should be feverish and transient, and I am slow to judge any well intended movement, but I am very fearful that many so called revivals in the long run wrought more harm than good. A species of religious gambling has fascinated many men, and given them a distaste for the sober business of true godliness.
But if I would nail down counterfeits upon the counter, I do not therefore undervalue true gold. Far from it. It is to be desired beyond measure that the Lord would send a real and lasting revival of spiritual life.
We need a work of the Holy Spirit of a supernatural kind, putting power into the preaching of the Word, inspiring all believers with heavenly energy, and solemnly affecting the hearts of the careless, so that they turn to God and live. We would not be drunk with the wine of carnal excitement, but we would be filled with the Spirit. We would behold the fire descending from heaven in answer to the effectual fervent prayers of righteous men. Can we not entreat the Lord our God to make bare His holy arm in the eyes of all the people in this day of declension and vanity?”

WOW, what a whirlwind past couple of weeks! God has been gracious to us, as He always is. I  just want to take a second and give my 3 readers a little update on things. As most of you know, our family had the opportunity to visit Boyce College and Southern Seminary last week. I can’t begin to describe what an awesome time we had. The people there treated us great and I spent most of the time just walking around being in awe of the place. My favorite part of the whole trip was the one evening that the whole family walked around the campus. We were just taking everything in, discussing all the things that we are going to have to do before we move, how much we were going to miss our friends and family etc…..We found a table and some chairs outside and sat down and I felt such a peace, like this is where we are suppose to be. It was great to hear my kids say they didn’t want to go back home. I still don’t fully understand what God has in store for us or why He would even want a worm like me to do anything for Him but I’m very excited and ready to take that “next” step. I hope that you all would continue to pray for us.

Just a couple of more things about our trip real quick. 1) If you have never been to the Creation Museum you have to put that on your “must-do” list. I could try to describe it but I don’t think I could give this place its just due with my words. Trust me on this one. 2) Another highlight of our trip was catching up with our old friends Jamie and Eric. They are a wonderful Godly couple that we will be leaning heavily on as we make our transition. 🙂 (I hope they’re prepared) 3) We had a good day at Kentucky Kingdom. I only got to ride 1 rollercoaster because the others were either broken down or the lines were too long. If you get a chance ask Mystie how those motion sickness pills worked out for her…..lol. All in all though we had a great time and look forward to making Louisville our home.

 Also as most of you all know, God chose to save Ryne (my son) two weeks ago. I am still amazed at how God has moved in Ryne’s life and awakened him. A few years ago Ryne made a “profession” of faith and was baptized. He has grown up in church his whole life (all 15 yrs of it) so he had a head knowledge of what is meant to get saved, in other words he knows the routine. And as a father that desperately wants to see his children saved I often encouraged him to make a “decision” and he did. But two weeks ago as soon as Brother Josh got done preaching he looked at me with tears in his eyes and ask me to go to the alter with him, and I knew right then God was bringing him to repentance and faith. This only deepens my conviction that salvation is a supernatural thing that only God can do. I agree with my friend, Shane, that Christians are not made, they’re born. Several years ago we tried to make a Christian out of Ryne, but today we are praising God for allowing the new birth to become a reality in his life. I’ll never forget this Father’s day because I had the privilege to see my son get baptized for real!!

Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I know it’s 45 seconds of your life that you can never get back. 🙂 Have a wonderful and blessed rest of the week!

OK I promise this will be the last of the music for awhile, but I’ve been waiting for someone to put this on YouTube for a long time now. This is an awesome song full of doctrine and theology. I feel compelled to share with you. I think that the Historic Protestant will even appreciate this one :).