Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth.
The Washington Post published this story on the Southern Baptist Convention’s decision yesterday to sever ties with Fort Worth’s Broadway Baptist over the 125-year-old congregation’s acceptance of gays. Unlike other reports I’ve seen, The Post makes a clear link between the SBC’s views on gays and its declining numbers in recent years. The story notes that for the fourth year in a row, Southern Baptist churches baptized fewer people in 2008 than the year before. In 2008, SBC churches baptized one in every 50 church members. In 1950, they baptized one in every 19. Here’s an excerpt:
Two years ago, then-SBC president Frank Page said the declining numbers can be blamed, in part, on a perception that Baptists are “mean-spirited, hurtful and angry people” and that the denomination has been known too much in recent years for “what we’re against” than “what we’re for,” Page said.
“Our culture is increasingly antagonistic and sometimes adverse to a conversation about a faith in Christ. Sometimes that’s our fault because we have not always presented a winsome Christian life that would engender trust and a desire on the part of many people to engage in a conversation on the Gospel,” he said.
“All Southern Baptists should recommit to a life of loving people and ministering to people without strings attached so people will be more open to hearing the Gospel message.”