Baptist21 would like to make our readers aware of several noteworthy GCR articles and a series of blog posts at Between the Times.
Recently, Ed Stetzer released a blog entitled, “Will Southern Baptists Ignore the Ongoing Decline?” In this article he writes:
A LifeWay report released today showed that overall SBC membership continues to decline—for the third straight year. Despite adding 162 churches across 42 state conventions, total membership slid from 16,228,438 in 2008 to 16,160,088 in 2009, a net loss of 68,350 members. The decline has occurred in spite of an increase of 7,539 baptisms year over year. The Annual Church profiles revealed a tiny (.36%) rise in total number of churches and a .37% increase in primary worship attendance… Sometimes it is hard to know what to celebrate and about what to be concerned. The increase in baptisms is good news. Every baptism is a person being obedient to the teachings of Christ, publicly professing new life in Christ. The fact that there are more baptisms is a good thing, as is the slight increase in attendance.
Yet . . .
Bob White, Executive Director of the Georgia Baptist Convention, wrote an article entitled, “Open Door.” In this article, Dr. White discusses “Great Commission Giving.” He writes:
There is a lot of misinformation circulating and no small amount of emotion wrapped up in current discussions. I would like to speak to clarify for you some of the most discussed issues in the report… As you read the report you find very strong statements of support for the Cooperative Program as the way Southern Baptists support mission work at home and across the world… Second, we have always had designated mission gifts. Good examples would be the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong Offerings, World Hunger Offering, State Missions Offering, Hospital Offering, Children’s Home Offering, etc. The interesting thing about designated mission gifts is that the current system allows churches to count as “other mission gifts,” in the “designated” category of the ACP, contributions that are made to non-Southern Baptist parachurch mission organizations. (Please read that again. That is amazing.) The new plan eliminates that practice and narrows designations that may be reported to only the mission causes of the Southern Baptist Convention, state conventions and associations. I believe this is a huge improvement.
In addition, Between the Times is in the middle of a series entitled, “Why We Believe the GCRTF Report is Good for the Future of the SBC.” Some of these blog posts will be co-authored by Baptist21 contributors. Check out the blogs in this series so far, the most recent detail Dr. Akin and Finn’s response to Morris Chapman: