Shallow Preaching, Cultural Adaptability Behind Baptist Decline, Says Leader

The problem of “Shallow Preaching and Cultural Adaptability” is in no way limited to the Southern Baptists, but transends every denomination. It seems that far too many of today’s pastors have become more concerned with building a large congregation than building the Kingdom of God through the preaching of Jesus Christ and sound doctrine. Here’s an informative story from The Christian Post.

By Audrey Barrick Christian Post Reporter

Weak preaching and cultural adaptability are just two of many reasons Southern Baptists give to explain the decline of membership and baptisms.

“[T]he shallow state of preaching has exacerbated the lethargy of the church and left the lost with no real Word from God,” said Paige Patterson, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, in a column in Baptist Press.

“The pastor ought to be the major source of theological understanding and the most able teacher of the Bible,” he added.

“Anemic pulpits create anemic churches and denominations.”

Since the release last month of the latest data on Southern Baptist membership and baptisms, both of which declined, Southern Baptists have speculated why the largest Protestant denomination in the country has been seeing lower numbers.

“Well, the time has come to identify the real problems,” said Patterson.

Many church leaders have been calling for change to respond to what many identify as a shift from modern to postmodern culture. And the latest statistics showing shrinking numbers has made that call even more urgent. But cultural relevance has led many churches to lose the holiness of God and a thirst to be like God, Patterson noted.

A prominent conservative Southern Baptist, Patterson said he is the first to admit that “dullness and ‘Baptist tradition’ were too often the rule in our churches.” But the suggestion that churches must chase after culture in order to be effective in evangelistic efforts is “misguided,” he said.

“The more attune to culture Southern Baptists have become and the more we have incorporated the world into our worship, the more our baptisms have dropped!” Patterson noted. “Although I am not certain that there is a connection, as will become evident in what follows, I admit that I am suspicious. continue reading

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