What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Testcase

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What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Testcase

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 03, 2019 10:46 am

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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Rvaughn » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:34 am

Interesting article.
Among moderate Baptist influencers, what I would consider “centrist” perspectives seem increasingly scarce. Voices from the very left edge of the Baptist family, however, are referenced and quoted frequently. The moderate center apparently has shifted leftward. (By the way, this shift seems to be more on the part of clergy than the persons in the pew. And that’s a whole ‘nother conversation.)
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Dave Roberts » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:55 am

Moderates, I am afraid, have never made news regularly. Being moderate means you don't get headlines regularly. You may be strong and reliable, but you don't create joy or anger readily which are the fodder for attention.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:58 am

I thought this was very interesting. Will comment at length later.

Seems to me that Dave severely underplays the difficulties presented.
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Trevor Collins

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 03, 2019 1:35 pm

I posted on FBK wall of FBC Huntsville seeing if I could stir some discussion there. Will share later.
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On Facebook FBC Huntsville

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 03, 2019 2:32 pm

I want to have a public conversation about Pastor Travis Collins opinion piece up at Baptist news today. I applaud him for speaking to the elephant in the room. Still for folks at FBC Huntsville, I can not imagine the current SBC as an option. Come on their leading scholar in residence these days is Rick Burgess of the Rick n Bubba show. Seriously I hope the administrative staff and senior pastor, including leading laity in the congregation will take a look at UNA, newly minted PHD of Vandy Ansley Quiros new book which takes a strong look at lived theology as it played out in the Civil Rights era. While this is a different moment her strong and exhaustive scholarship about how local church autonomy plays out in real time eras, is most apropo to the dilemma Collins has raised now in Baptist life. Take a look. I hope Collins conversation is engaged. The light, the insights of Quiros are imperative for this moment


My comment above
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Re: On Facebook FBC Huntsville

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 4:21 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:
I want to have a public conversation about Pastor Travis Collins opinion piece up at Baptist news today. I applaud him for speaking to the elephant in the room. Still for folks at FBC Huntsville, I can not imagine the current SBC as an option. Come on their leading scholar in residence these days is Rick Burgess of the Rick n Bubba show. Seriously I hope the administrative staff and senior pastor, including leading laity in the congregation will take a look at UNA, newly minted PHD of Vandy Ansley Quiros new book which takes a strong look at lived theology as it played out in the Civil Rights era. While this is a different moment her strong and exhaustive scholarship about how local church autonomy plays out in real time eras, is most apropo to the dilemma Collins has raised now in Baptist life. Take a look. I hope Collins conversation is engaged. The light, the insights of Quiros are imperative for this moment


My comment above


...in which it is demonstrated that stephen is incapable of a fruitful and illuminative exchange even on important topics for which he has some level of understanding.
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Thornton and meaningful conversation

Postby Stephen Fox » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:18 pm

I believe there are some books that matter. And even folks, maybe especially folks like Trevor Collins can learn from books. If he reads some of the latest insightful scholarship, given his platform and is joined by others like him, Barry Howard for instance at FBC Pensacola, then the conversation begins at a better place rather than rewinding doing remedial work for sluggards and remain inthe quagmire of ten years or before years ago.

I had to drag you pulling and screaming to read Molly Worthen.Now Quiros comes along with insights into how real people in the pew in real Baptist churches reacted to Brown V Board and the White Citizens Council in 65. I think that is a template for how folks are reacting to similar culture forces today.

So there, if Bruce Gourley and David Gushee and Buddy Shurden think I'm a flake with that explanation, then God Help Me
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Thu Jan 03, 2019 5:59 pm

Travis Collins wrote: And I find myself increasingly at home among some groups that don’t have “Baptist” in their names – people who believe Jesus is the Savior and the Bible is divinely inspired and aren’t so far to the left or right of me that the relationship feels forced.


So have I, and they are far more committed to things I was taught that were foundational beliefs to Baptist identity, like soul freedom, and church freedom. Terms like "Baptist distinctives" were commonly used to point out that Baptists are "closer" to the truth of the gospel than other Christians and that belief rested on a foundation of principles that many non-Baptists seem to be more genuinely committed to uphold than the venom spewing anger generated by Baptists fighting with each other.

The pastor of the church in which I grew up said, in the years before he died, that Southern Baptists would regret replacing their missions education programs with AWANA and letting Training Union die out with Sunday night worship.
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Re: Thornton and meaningful conversation

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:16 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:I believe there are some books that matter. And even folks, maybe especially folks like Trevor Collins can learn from books. If he reads some of the latest insightful scholarship, given his platform and is joined by others like him, Barry Howard for instance at FBC Pensacola, then the conversation begins at a better place rather than rewinding doing remedial work for sluggards and remain inthe quagmire of ten years or before years ago.

I had to drag you pulling and screaming to read Molly Worthen.Now Quiros comes along with insights into how real people in the pew in real Baptist churches reacted to Brown V Board and the White Citizens Council in 65. I think that is a template for how folks are reacting to similar culture forces today.

So there, if Bruce Gourley and David Gushee and Buddy Shurden think I'm a flake with that explanation, then God Help Me


You're making my case, stephen.
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Re: Thornton and meaningful conversation

Postby William Thornton » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:16 pm

Stephen Fox wrote:I believe there are some books that matter. And even folks, maybe especially folks like Trevor Collins can learn from books. If he reads some of the latest insightful scholarship, given his platform and is joined by others like him, Barry Howard for instance at FBC Pensacola, then the conversation begins at a better place rather than rewinding doing remedial work for sluggards and remain inthe quagmire of ten years or before years ago.

I had to drag you pulling and screaming to read Molly Worthen.Now Quiros comes along with insights into how real people in the pew in real Baptist churches reacted to Brown V Board and the White Citizens Council in 65. I think that is a template for how folks are reacting to similar culture forces today.

So there, if Bruce Gourley and David Gushee and Buddy Shurden think I'm a flake with that explanation, then God Help Me


You're making my case, stephen.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Thu Jan 03, 2019 8:20 pm

Interesting article.

Some points I know from being in Huntsville (interesting for me at least):

Travis Collins is known to have moved FBC Huntsville to the right since he arrived in 2016. I have not seen any interest in his participating in the SE Clergy Group or the Interfaith Mission Service activities as his predecessor David Hull did (as he was able); but may be just time related. FBC Huntsville who used to be my church's (Weatherly Heights BC) closest congregation did not support us in our forced departure for the Madison Baptist Association. Collins wrote book about the LGBT issue soon after he arrived, calling his view as “welcoming” but not “affirming”. Previously the people I know at FBC were more “affirming” (but I’m sure I did not and do not have view of the whole congregation on this matter). I have this book (not available on Amazon) and it is not too bad, imo (it was in fact “welcoming”). Apparently he has published a new book What Does It Mean to Be Welcoming?: Navigating LGBT Questions in Your Church August 14, 2018 that I’ll have to get and read. {some stuff deleted}.

All this was fairly clear to me personally as well as I talked with Mike Pearce (Minister of Missions) throughout the transition from David Hull (a bonafide CBF supporter) to the selection of Travis Collins in 2016 (more a straddler between SBC and CBF). Namely, the tact of the search committee was to select someone more conservative. I know this from when (1) I talked about doing a New Baptist Covenant program called “Covenant of Action” aimed at joint ministry between white an black local churches in the 2015 timeframe, and (2) another time when I tried to advertise my initial “Discovery Center” classes. Mike was cordial but he had no interest in any cooperation in (1) and (2) because he knew FBC was most likely 'going a new direction'. One guy (a laymen and previous work associate - I know his name but will not give it here) stared unapprovedly at me in the office area on one of these occasions - not sure why. The Receptionist (who I also knew from previous membership at our church) apologized for the cool treatment. It was fairly clear that the fix was in the 2015-6 timeframe. Later after Travis Collins was in-place, I tried to advertise Bruce Gourley’s lecture series at our church about the Jesus WorldView. Bruce had written a history of FBC Huntsville in 2009 and I thought many there would be interested in hearing him again. They did not advertise the lecture series although I did not give them much notice (a week IIRC).

The Music Ministry at FBC Huntsville has stayed strong under Billy Orton.

Travis Collins, my Pastor David Freeman and 3rd minister who is a prominent CBF oriented guy (but whose name escapes me right now) all grew up together in the same schools, and I believe the same Baptist church in Anniston, AL. I plan to ask David about Travis and FBC tomorrow morning (I need talk with him on other matters).

I may also call Deb McDaniel (previously very active at BL here as “Deb") what she thinks about these changes at FBC Huntsville - if she sees them. I might also call Austin Boyd (a work cohort and fiction writer I know) who I'm sure is on the conservative side.

Apart from this local stuff about FBC Huntsville church politics, I found Collins's article insightful. It is ashamed that clergy and laypeople cordon themselves off from each other due to certain controversial primarily theological stances. It is also clear that the clergy at the larger churches tend to be more liberal than the laypeople.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Haruo » Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:37 pm

Maybe the church (and pastor) should apply to join Evergreen. ;-) We could use a southeasternly outlier.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jan 04, 2019 7:53 am

When I read the title with the buzz phrase, "centrist Baptist", I expected another self-serving, virtue signalling, anti-SBC screed about how the writer hasn't moved but everyone around him has moved; however, I thought it was an interesting piece.

Welcoming but not affirming.
Genuine Gospel evangelism that aims for conversions, not social gospel evangelism that aims at everything but.
OK with female deacons.
Supportive of female pastors.
Conservative but not BFM2K
Agreeable with a mix of liberal relgious conference speakers but not to the exclusion of any conservative.
No same sex relationship folks in church leadership or to be married in the church

I'd say Travis Collins was expressing about the same concerns that a few mods I know would express. Yeah, SBC would be an uncomfortable place but with less hard lines than the CBF if one goes down his list.

Looks like the national CBF has wholly embraced social gospel matters to the almost total exclusion of evangelism and discipleship. Dan Vestal was an evangelist. The outgoing ED is an activist warrior who did not seem to have viewed her role as leading anything much in the direction of traditional, orthodox evangelism and discipleship. Point me to anything that would prove me wrong.

CBF has reimagined itself away from people like Collins. The train has left the station and he and his type are left on the boarding platform watching it head leftward. The best thing about the CBF is BNG which will air out differing opinions.

If SBC state conventions follow that of the KBC and disallow dually aligned churches, I'd speculate that more of those churches that are somewhat friendly towards CBF, maybe have some people who prefer to give in that direction, will drop CBF formally and stick with SBC. I mean, how many Baptist churches are like Keith's or FBC and one other in Athens? Not many.

The CBF, seems to me, has deliberately moved leftward with Paynter, and has succeeded in narrowing its market, Collins bearing witness to that, so what's the consequence? I'd guess it is that churches pastored by folks like Collins would be lukewarm about supporting CBF causes, not that there's anything new about this. Other than that, looks like independant churches choosing from the buffet of ministry causes.

I defer to Keith on the local situation. Evidently, FBCH made an autonomous decisions that once their prominent mod/lib pastor was gone, they would like to move rightward.

In another generation will the CBF exist? Can't think of a good reason why it should, frankly. There are better choices on both the left and the right.
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Nathan Deal member of CBF congregation

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 04, 2019 10:02 am

Thornton and his SBC are struck mute, cooperative with the Freedom Caucus legislators Mark Meadows of nC and and Jeff Duncan of SC. Were George Truett alive today and never left NC for Texas, Mark Meadows would be his congressman.

WilliamThornton's SBC is struck mute in the face of FBC Spartanburg's Truth for a New Generation conferences of the last two decades.

So Willie Tee, lets look at it from that perspective for what is a "centrist" congregation to do.

For sure if their literacy rate is high, and they acknowledge there are gay folks in their congregation or neighboring ones, and all of them know somebody's daughter who had an abortion, then the hypocrisy of the SBC is not for them.

Doug Dortch and Barry Howard remain CBF as does my Rhodes scholar nominee Friend Richard Kremer.

So there aint no going back.

CBF has workshops and conversations at their national gatherings to talk through these things. T

Hope you understand.

I have shared , Willie Tee, your post to the facebook wall of CBF and Baugh Center for Baptist Studies where I'm sure after my phonecall Dan Vestal will read in a few days.

I hope to be in the room in Bham this summer where this is chatted up. Another Sweet Time in Jesus to be sure.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:00 am

Stephen, the rest of us have to live in the real world and deal with issues and people as they present themselves, not as we think they ought to be.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:04 am

The CBF has made hard choices, part of their "journey." If leaders led them down the wrong trail, it's not the SBC's fault.

Count on me to delete every post you make that has Helms, JBS, etc. in it.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:13 am

KeithE wrote:Travis Collins, my Pastor David Freeman and 3rd minister who is a prominent CBF oriented guy (but whose name escapes me right now) all grew up together in the same schools, and I believe the same Baptist church in Anniston, AL. I plan to ask David about Travis and FBC tomorrow morning (I need talk with him on other matters).

I may also call Deb McDaniel (previously very active at BL here as “Deb") what she thinks about these changes at FBC Huntsville - if she sees them. I might also call Austin Boyd (a work cohort and fiction writer I know) who I'm sure is on the conservative side.

Apart from this local stuff about FBC Huntsville church politics, I found Collins's article insightful. It is ashamed that clergy and laypeople cordon themselves off from each other due to certain controversial primarily theological stances. It is also clear that the clergy at the larger churches tend to be more liberal than the laypeople.


Talked with David Freeman. David confirmed how close he was with Travis Collins growing up but does not know who that third person would be unless it is someone from Seminary. My guess was George Mason from Wilshire BC Dallas but David said that as wrong. It was a guy I met at a CBF golf tournament.

David saw this article just this morning but not has not read it yet. He knows that it will be "well written and reasoned” because that is the way Travis always was. He discussed the same-sex marriage at length with Travis during our battle with the Madison Baptist Association. He agreed to disagree with Travis and remains on good terms with him. David's view is that there is no such thing as being Welcoming and Affirming within the LGBT community - not affirming is equivalent to being non-welcoming.

An aside: David feels that joint missions with FBCH would be strained since so many families (about 10) who left WHBC went to FBCH and we have received 3 families from FBCH because of their stance on “the issue”. I'm not so sure about that and connived with David to meet with a group of men (ROMEO) at Target next Friday at 8:00 am where I can approach that subject with some key ex WHBC now FBCH men.

For now we have teamed up with a large black Cumberland Presbyterian church in Huntsville (FCPH) in joint ministry/meetings. Then David and I connived to try to get a New Baptist Covenant (NBC) “Covenant of Action” (a few bucks and national exposure to help in 3 specific ongoing local ministries). We talked about the CBF and he is not particularly impressed with what they are doing lately and feels better about the NBC. But mostly he felt like being a local church presence kinda like Collin's second to last paragraph:
Maybe I’ll focus solely on the amazing people of FBC, Huntsville, and the wonderful city in which I live. No, that feels too provincial.


I told David I’m in the mood for more political action/recruitment to make the world a better place (“bringing on the kingdom”) - that's what “accepting Christ’s" message means to me (along with repentance) from reading the gospels more than traditional saying you accept some belief package/joining a church (re-read the Gospels in that light!). He thought I should run for office - which I’m not going to do (too old and controversial to win). Thus was our telecom this morning along with some other church stuff.

Called Deb but no answer. Cannot find Austin Boyd’s phone number.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:50 am

William Thornton wrote: Looks like the national CBF has wholly embraced social gospel matters to the almost total exclusion of evangelism and discipleship. Dan Vestal was an evangelist. The outgoing ED is an activist warrior who did not seem to have viewed her role as leading anything much in the direction of traditional, orthodox evangelism and discipleship. Point me to anything that would prove me wrong.


I think that's a good assessment. Even under Vestal, it didn't seem like evangelism and discipleship were priorities. Most of the news pieces I've seen of Paynter has a picture of her behind a podium or pulpit giving some kind of guest address about some issue. She was hired from the executive directorship of the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission, which was probably more socially activist than that of any other state convention and that does give some insight into what CBF's newly reshuffled and reorganized leadership structure was looking for in an executive.

William Thornton wrote: CBF has reimagined itself away from people like Collins. The train has left the station and he and his type are left on the boarding platform watching it head leftward.


The train isn't nearly as long as it was at the beginning, and I think more people have been left at the platform than got on the train.

But it's not like they couldn't see this coming. In all of the shuffling, re-structuring, re-organizing, "re-imagining" that CBF has done, it has done things very much like the SBC. The coordinating council was downsized and replaced with a much smaller group, mostly from the churches that had cut ties with the SBC. The staff in the national office went through a downsizing as well as budget issues led to combining and vacating positions. Most of the new people brought in were connected to those on the left fringe of the fellowship. General assemblies aren't business sessions, never have been really, but the boundaries placed on what CBF can do as a national body and on how decisions are made, all based on intentionally avoiding open controversy, has put the responsibility for the fellowship's vision, mission and purpose, and the direction it goes, in the hands of relatively few people who mostly share the same vision for CBF. And it's a different vision than exists in the majority of CBF churches that have remained affiliated with the SBC as well. FBC Huntsville is one of hundreds of congregations in CBF in a similar position.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:04 pm

Sandy wrote:
William Thornton wrote: Looks like the national CBF has wholly embraced social gospel matters to the almost total exclusion of evangelism and discipleship. Dan Vestal was an evangelist. The outgoing ED is an activist warrior who did not seem to have viewed her role as leading anything much in the direction of traditional, orthodox evangelism and discipleship. Point me to anything that would prove me wrong.


I think that's a good assessment. Even under Vestal, it didn't seem like evangelism and discipleship were priorities. Most of the news pieces I've seen of Paynter has a picture of her behind a podium or pulpit giving some kind of guest address about some issue. She was hired from the executive directorship of the Baptist General Convention of Texas' Christian Life Commission, which was probably more socially activist than that of any other state convention and that does give some insight into what CBF's newly reshuffled and reorganized leadership structure was looking for in an executive.


Have not been too aware of what Paynter did - so no comment there.

I would agree about National CBF has not been into classical “evangelism” (more on that in next paragraph) but to say it has not been involved in “discipleship” I would argue. The whole Naturing Faith magazine and SS programs is best called discipleship. As is the Reflections devotional. They are popular in our church at least (especially the Reflections devotional). And most books published by Smyth and Helwys are of the Christian Living variety (aka discipleship). I would agree that a more program approaches to spirituality and to learning are needed, but discipleship has been a focus in the CBF as well as social ministries.

Most “centrists”, “mods”, or “libs” see classical Walk-the-Aisle, Just-as-I-Am conversions (a form of American evangelism) is usually quite superficial and/or temporary. Overseas missionary efforts are down for sure (both CBF and SBC, I think) and often are no more than Americanizing people groups. I for one do not bemoan the lost of these forms of “evangelism”.
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A question for the moderators

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 04, 2019 2:50 pm

Please answer before Dr. Thornton gets out of his lane. This forum is moderated by Dave Roberts. So I am under the notion Thornton cannot Delete Jesse Helms name on this forum. There is a matter of settled discourse about the fundamentalist takeover that Thornton has not embraced, and just because almost every scholar of note that I'm aware of I don't see how in the beejeesus a fundamentalist pastor from NE Georgia can get out of his lane on forums concocted by a former chair of the Baptist History and Heritage society and cavalierly frustrate me when I as a matter of course remind folks of something that is settled history in the takeover.

If I am mistaken Dave Roberts, Bruce Gourley and Haruo please tell me now. Thanks
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby William Thornton » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:21 pm

PM Dave Roberts on this, Stephen.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Stephen Fox » Fri Jan 04, 2019 3:57 pm

Listen Winder friend. We go through this about every year or so. The PM does not work for me. All of you have my email address including Dr. Gourley or you can pm me on facebook Stephen M. Fox.

On many fronts you think and administer soundly, but you are very stubborn on this matter, almost a subject of press freedom and truth about a very significant political movement of the last half century.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby Sandy » Fri Jan 04, 2019 11:00 pm

KeithE wrote: Most “centrists”, “mods”, or “libs” see classical Walk-the-Aisle, Just-as-I-Am conversions (a form of American evangelism) is usually quite superficial and/or temporary. Overseas missionary efforts are down for sure (both CBF and SBC, I think) and often are no more than Americanizing people groups. I for one do not bemoan the lost of these forms of “evangelism”.


To be honest, I haven't seen much of that for a while now, though with the exception of serving locally in an ongoing SBC-related mission ministry while I lived in Pennsylvania, what I've seen has been in a couple of other denominations. Outside of the Baptist circle, the emphasis in evangelism is on relationships and on missions work that "draws the net," putting people in contact with other people through various service opportunities. The SBC-related ministry I've served in is similar in that regard.
I haven't been a member of a church for going on nine years now that does an "invitation" at the end of the service. Evangelism and the resulting baptisms are done relationally, sort of like a confirmation class or catechism session.
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Re: What is moderate Baptist these days. FBC Huntsville Test

Postby KeithE » Sat Jan 05, 2019 10:08 am

Sandy wrote:
KeithE wrote: Most “centrists”, “mods”, or “libs” see classical Walk-the-Aisle, Just-as-I-Am conversions (a form of American evangelism) is usually quite superficial and/or temporary. Overseas missionary efforts are down for sure (both CBF and SBC, I think) and often are no more than Americanizing people groups. I for one do not bemoan the lost of these forms of “evangelism”.


To be honest, I haven't seen much of that for a while now, though with the exception of serving locally in an ongoing SBC-related mission ministry while I lived in Pennsylvania, what I've seen has been in a couple of other denominations. Outside of the Baptist circle, the emphasis in evangelism is on relationships and on missions work that "draws the net," putting people in contact with other people through various service opportunities. The SBC-related ministry I've served in is similar in that regard.
I haven't been a member of a church for going on nine years now that does an "invitation" at the end of the service. Evangelism and the resulting baptisms are done relationally, sort of like a confirmation class or catechism session.


At our church there is always an opportunity to walk the aisle every Sunday for either:
1) 'acceptance of Christ as their personal savior’,
2) joining our church or
3) receiving a blessing for some new ministry (often a group).

I’d say most are category 2)

What do you say about churches doing “discipleship” (SBC, CBF or whenever you have gone). I hope that churches are doing that in all denominations and faiths (along with social ministries). God wants results in people’s individual and collective lives from our churches with or without “confessions".
Last edited by KeithE on Fri Jan 18, 2019 8:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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