Southern Baptists at the Crossroads, Thomas K. Ascol

On May 8, 1845, two hundred ninety-three “delegates” (as they were then called) from Baptist churches in the South assembled in Augusta, Georgia, to form a new denomination. From that first meeting to the present, the Southern Baptist Convention has been marvelously blessed by our Lord. Missions, education, benevolence, social concerns―these are among the many avenues of service which Southern Baptists have cooperatively traveled during the last 150 years.


During our century-and-a-half pilgrimage Southern Baptists have made great strides in many of these areas. We have seen our foreign missionary force swell to over 4,000 men and women serving under the Foreign Mission Board in more than 175 countries. Through the Home Mission Board we have an almost equal number of appointees serving in our own nation. Approximately 10,000 students are currently being trained in our six seminaries. The 1995 goal for gifts to support our various mission efforts through the Cooperative Program is $150 million.


Indeed, Southern Baptists have much for which to be thankful as we approach the sesquicentennial anniversary of our convention. However, and with due appreciation for the many outward signs of growth and prosperity, all is not well in Southern Baptist Zion. Spiritual life and vitality cannot be measured simply by large numbers and growing organizations. Otherwise, we would be compelled to give a clean bill of health to the Mormons, Moonies and Jehovah’s Witnesses, all of whom have experienced phenomenal growth over the last two decades.


It does not take much analysis to discover that all across the convention churches are infected with some serious maladies. One of the most obvious is meaningless church membership. Every serious-minded pastor is aware of this.

Meaningless Membership


Southern Baptists have in recent years topped the 15 million mark on our membership rolls. Our fastest growing type of member, however, is of the “non-resident” variety. Add to this the fact that 20% of our members are “inactive” (they are resident―they have not moved away―but they neither attend nor contribute to their church). What this means is that only half of our 15 million members can in any sense be counted as active (that is, they contributed financially or attended at least one service last year)….. continue reading Southern Baptists at the Crossroads, Thomas K. Ascol | The Reformed Reader.


About John
A follower of Christ and sinner who needs his grace everyday.

One Response to Southern Baptists at the Crossroads, Thomas K. Ascol

  1. Brian says:

    So true in the church today…we see that by the way we live our lives. We go to church on Sunday and maybe wendsday but live the rest of the week doing all the very things God hates!! People don’t see a problem with that. That’s our fault because of over the years of watering down the Gospel of our Lord.

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