Why Are Many Baptists Losing Their Children?

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JC's picture

"Many are told what to do, but not taught why to do it, or what not to do, but not why. They have been told that baptism is by immersion only, that the KJV is the Word of God in English, that women should be modest, etc.  But, these things are not taught to them from the Scriptures."

 

Maybe "Baptists Aren't Losing their Children", but the Children are "Finding Baptists that don't read their preferences into Scripture".

Rob Fall's picture

with the first and third points.  Baptism means immersion.  If it doesn't, why am I a Baptist?  And the Bible does teach women (and men) should dress modestly (for varying definitions of modesty).

Hoping to shed more light than heat..

Lee's picture

Is it just me or is this guy sounding like a 1-note banjo?  This is about the 4th filing in the last 10 days or so bashing Independent Baptists as the forerunner to the anti-christ (hyperbole alert!).

We all understand that Independents got issues.  Always have; always will.  But I have been around the independent movement before it was cool, while it was cool, and, now that the Southern Baptists and the non-denom, YRR, mega wannabes are the "Who's Who" in churchdom I am still independent, warts and all.  That being said, the IFB that he seems so intent on torching is not the IFB that I've been part of for close to 60 years.

I'm not going to assign motives for why his consistent blogging on the matter. However, he does himself a disservice and his church a disservice by pushing this relatively narrow viewpoint.  Warts? Yes, definitely.  But in spite of the warts, the Independent Fundamental Baptists as a whole got and still have a stinking lot of things right.

Lee

mmartin's picture

I agree with Lee, the author needs a new hobby horse.

Most of the author's "arguments" could be said of any church, anywhere.  Not really sure how most of his arguments are Baptist-centric problems.

 

Jay's picture

I seem to remember a Bobby Mitchell on SharperIron from a couple years back; I think he kept popping online to argue on one specific topic.  Anyone know if this is the same guy or if my memory is faulty?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

Jim's picture

Jay wrote:

I seem to remember a Bobby Mitchell on SharperIron from a couple years back; I think he kept popping online to argue on one specific topic.  Anyone know if this is the same guy or if my memory is faulty?

I don't recollect that he is or has been a member. 

Greg Linscott's picture

Yes, Bobby Mitchell (along with Kent Brandenburg) were SI members back in the day (I'm estimating 2007 or thereabouts).

Greg Linscott
Marshall, MN

JD Miller's picture

Lee wrote:

Is it just me or is this guy sounding like a 1-note banjo?  This is about the 4th filing in the last 10 days or so bashing Independent Baptists as the forerunner to the anti-christ (hyperbole alert!).

When I first saw his postings and the promotion for the book on a pure church, I noticed that one of the authors was Erich McCandless.  I noticed that name because he is the son-in-law of Ron Tottingham, a pastor here in the Sioux Falls area.  McCandless is now the senior pastor of that church and Tottingham is still on staff.  Back in the late 1990's I took a few night and weekend classes at the Bible College they had in their church basement.  I had been a Christian for years, but had only recently become an independent Baptist in 1996.  I did not realize how different independent Baptists could be, but that experience opened my eyes.  I was soon hearing in their classes that unless your baptism could be traced all the way back to the apostles, you were not a real baptist.  I was soon hearing of whole churches that were being rebaptized the "right" way so they they could be part of this group.   Soon I was being told that "other baptists" and even other Christians could still get to heaven, but the best places in heaven (like the Holy of Holies) were only accessible by the right kind of baptists with the right kind of baptismal succession.  When I heard these things and that you should get the pastor's permission if you get a different car, I decided I better stay clear of this group (I had never even heard of Baptist Bride before that).

I have never met McCandless or Mitchell as far as I know.  I also am not certain that they  hold to the same doctrines as Tottingham did; however, if they do, this might explain Lee's concern.  I do not think they view other baptists- even other independent baptists- as the anti-christ, but perhaps they view us as second class citizens of heaven.

TylerR's picture

Editor

** Original post deleted **

I posted a comment about a Q&A session from Bro. Brandenburg's Word of Truth conference. Bro. Brandenburg took issue with the comment, and says I misinterpreted the comment and was mean-spirited and rude in my original comments. I have therefore taken down my original comment and I apologize if the comment did not reflect Biblical grace.

I stand by my condemnation of a Baptist-only, exclusivist Gospel in general terms. Anybody who teaches that there is a correlation between a "true" Baptist church and the "true" Gospel is mistaken. 

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and works in State government.

Ron Bean's picture

Repeated Themes:

- Hyper-separatism that includes separation from anything considered false teaching including not being their kind of Baptist, their kind of dispensationalist, and/or using their kind of music.

- The failure to see the difference between new-evangelicalism and apostasy, sometimes to the point of considering new evangelicals as non-Christian.

- Preaching and posts like this one that propose various reasons for their declining membership, usually including numerous sermons on their being "the remnant".

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Jay's picture

- Preaching and posts like this one that propose various reasons for their declining membership, usually including numerous sermons on their being "the remnant".

And that concept of being the 'remnant' or the 'godly seed' is self-reinforcing as people drop away for whatever reasons - sickness, death, 'compromise' (real or imagined).  It's a brutal cycle.

Greg, thanks for the note - I was pretty sure we'd had a member by that name, but I couldn't find any posts in the archive.  I'm fairly sure even then he was criticizing SI for not being separated "enough" for a couple of reasons.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

dcbii's picture

EditorModerator

I think we would all agree with the point that our kids should be taught *why* things are so from scripture, and not just the "what," even if we might disagree in some of the specific positions held by the blog author.

More interesting was the line from #3 "There is an open or even silent disagreement with what is taught by the church concerning entertainment, dress, roles in the home, etc."  The fact of the matter is there will be times (even if minor) where what is taught by the church and what we understand from the Bible are not exactly the same.  In this case, I think "silent disagreement," at least to those outside the home (inside, the parents will need to teach) is the way to go.  Open disagreement I would personally find to be divisive, but if we really want to follow the scripture, we have to be willing to stand on the Bible before standing on the words of men, even the leaders of the church.

I'm sure that some will say in that case you should just find a different church, but of course, there is no perfect church (or perfect family), so even if you did leave because of such a disagreement, you might be just as likely to be trading small problems for larger ones as to find a better church.  Further, I think it would be wise to give at least some time to see if God changes one's own heart on an issue.

I taught my kids that the scripture comes first.  I taught them to evaluate everything they hear in its light.  I might be wrong, or their teachers or church leaders could even be wrong -- the stand is made on the Bible.  Of course, care must be taken here, but men are fallible where the Bible is not (and yes, I know that applies to me as much as to anyone else).  However, since we are talking about "Baptists" here, or those who might be baptistic in belief, we believe in the priesthood of the believer instead of in some magisterium or priesthood that will interpret the scriptures for us.  Hence, while I think point #3 is generally a good one, there will be times that it must be broken to be in line with scripture.  Thankfully, most of us won't have to deal with things like "indulgences" as Martin Luther did, but the principle is the same.  In my view, at least, it could be just as dangerous to a child's faith to do something "because the church does" (if you don't see that in the Bible) as some of the other behaviors mentioned by the author.

Dave Barnhart

josh p's picture

I guess I still don't understand. I don't see how you could take the question any other way than you did. If he is right and the question speaks to evangelizing people that might not be saved why would there be any question about how to evangelize them? It would be different if the questioner asked about nominal "new evangelicals" but he didn't. I also don't see anything mean about your response Tyler. I even tried an experiment and asked the question of my wife and she said she thought I was implying that "new evangelicals" are not saved.

Paul J's picture

I've seen several posts from this individual over the past few weeks and am wondering why SI feels what he has to say is important? Out of the hundreds of blogs why is this one that gets represented?  It doesn't seem like he has and credentials to merit that.  Small church in the backwoods of Maine, no educational credentials listed for jr or sr. 

Jim's picture

You probably know that Filings are most often submitted via our own membership via the contact form. 

We used to have a blurb about what a filing represents.  I cannot find it right now but the general idea is that a filing is not necessarily the position of S/I (as a matter of fact we recently had a filing from the Archdiocese of Washington DC that lamented about couples not marrying).

About "small  church ... backwoods ... no educational credentials"

  • I once pastored a small church. Once I had a large church pastor come to our church for a Bible conference. I apologized to him for the smallness of our church and the pastor gently rebuked me.
  • Backwoods: seems like a perjorative expression. I mean to Maine ... it's someplace nice to them (I've been to Maine!)

Filings vs Articles:

  • It's dangerous to speak for another so don't take this a from Aaron, S/I Publisher. I would say that articles probably represent the position of Sharper Iron. 
  • Filings, to me, are like the proverb to "eat the meat and spit out the bones" (Sounds like a recent church potluck Smile

Conclusion:

  • I hope this helps
  • As the Filings Editor, I take direction from our Publisher
Paul J's picture

Thank you Jim.  I in no way wanted to demean my friends from Maine though during my time in Rhode Island we did have comments about those from Maine and Massachusetts... well and as I think about it New Hampshire and Vermont too, it looks like Connecticut was the only one that got a pass. Smile

Though it was appearing to me that he had developed some sort of voice on SI with a post of his blog happening more frequently.  I was failing to make a connection as to why we would be that interested with the many blogs out there.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Point by point-

#1 I agree that the Gospel is often watered down, and kids make professions without a true understanding of salvation will eventually do what is in their nature to do, probably wondering why the Christian life is so hard for them. 

#2 I agree in the sense that if we are going to teach our kids what is right/wrong, we need to do so from a strong Scriptural basis. We are obviously going to teach our kids our preferences, and what is important to us as parents might not be important to someone else. I remember a friend who was horrified that I read books like The Lord of the Flies and Fahrenheit 451 to my kids, and she considered me apostate for doing so. Modesty is important, but everyone has an idea of what that looks like. I also once had a conversation with a woman who believed bras were vain and immodest. Also watches, rings, and shaving. 

#3 Inconsistency is a problem for all of us, so I prefer the term 'unstable', which carries a different connotation of being double-minded and without firm Scriptural roots.

#4 It depends on the criticism. If we hear something questionable from the pulpit, we do not salute and say "Because he said so". We discuss and study. Too many preachers say the most inane things from the pulpit, and I think we have to address these things with our kids, and with the preacher if possible.

#5 I've never seen this, and I think that would be very creepy.

#6 Sounds like an elaboration on #5, and is still weird and creepy, but I get it - we want our kids to succeed, and in our culture, success has many materialistic trappings.

#7 As I have said before, so say I now again - I generally do not like youth groups, and I really don't like it when it is assumed that kids need to serve God regardless of whether or not they are saved, and woe be to the poor teen who admits they are not saved. They will not get another wink of sleep until they do. 

#8 True of all of us at times.

#9 Left a church a few years ago because of this - we did not want our kids to grow up in a church that hid some people's sin and scapegoated others.

 #10 True of our culture, period. 

#11 Definitely need a balance. I think we had a generation that was motivated solely by fear that is now marinating in love and grace in order to recover, only they've stayed so long their fingers and toes are pruny.

#12 Preaching is an issue, period. Three verses and 45 minutes of stories and illustrations. Angels forfend.

#13 As I have said before. . .  I don't recommend college as an extension of parenthood or adolescence.

#14 I've seen this. It seems to be more difficult to maintain a balance of family life, job, community, and church, but worship with a local physical congregation is not 'optional'.

If I were to take issue with this article, it would be to place the responsibility for the 'loss' on the children themselves. At some point, regardless of the influences in their lives, they will or will not choose to listen to the Holy Spirit, to accept Christ, and to grow in grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. 

Larry Nelson's picture

Susan R wrote:

I remember a friend who was horrified that I read books like The Lord of the Flies and Fahrenheit 451 to my kids, and she considered me apostate for doing so.

Good for you for exposing your kids to classics such as those.  There are reasons that some books transcend so many others in time & influence--reasons that too often are ignored or overlooked (to their inestimable loss) by many Christians.

Twelfth-grade Literature class (in a Christian school) was a milestone for me.  For an assignment, we read George Orwell's Animal Farm.  For me, that led to immediately reading 1984 outside of class.  Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea was assigned.  Outside of class I devoured The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms.  Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby would have been verboten as an assignment; outside of class I read and then re-read it.  Sinclair Lewis' great series of novels from the 1920's were toppled one-by-one before me: Main Street, Babbitt, Arrowsmith, Elmer Gantry, Dodsworth.  (These are just a few of the many unassigned books I read.)

Over the course of my senior year I'm sure I read probably five times as many novels as were assigned in Literature class.  Many of the books I electively read then would not have met with the school's approval, but each of them has stuck with me to this day in ways both tangible and intangible.

Susan R's picture

EditorModerator

Thanks, Bro. Nelson. I think parents who weren't readers or taught how to teach/analyze literature don't understand that just because something 'objectionable' happens in a book, it doesn't mean immorality is being promoted or excused. One of the things I discuss with my kids is the consequences of the characters' actions. I love dystopian lit in particular because it often shows a world at the bottom of the 'slippery slope', places characters in worst case scenarios, and a few usually emerge as brave and noble in spite of the obstacles and danger. We also deal with bad people succeeding and seeming to not reap any harm, but then as we examine the story, the true cost of their choices is revealed. 

One of the messages I think Bro. Mitchell may have been trying to convey is that parents need to remember their role/responsibility as the primary influences on their children, and as such need to spend time communicating with their kids. We teach and lecture and scold and give commands, but do we ever just shut up and listen to them, let them ask questions, and help them deal with their struggles? IMO literature is a great way to open doors of communication, exploring hypotheticals and learning about what and how our kids are thinking about life issues.