The troubling decline in SBC baptisms has entered its 7th year, per the 2013 Annual Church Profile. Kate Tracy with Christianity Today writes:
According to a recent report by a special task force of pastors, the baptism drought in America’s largest evangelical denomination—which counts 15.7 million members and 5.8 million Sunday worshipers—is worst among millennials.
In last year’s Annual Church Profile, 60 percent of the more than 46,000 churches in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) reported no youth baptisms (ages 12 to 17) in 2012, and 80 percent reported only one or zero baptisms among young adults (ages 18 to 29). One in four Southern Baptist churches reported zero baptisms overall in 2012, while the “only consistently growing” baptism group was children under five years old.
The task force report acknowledges five weaknesses:
Walter Hamilton writing for the LA Times:
College graduate heads-of-household under 40 with student debt have a median net worth of only $8,700, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center. That’s a fraction of the $64,700 the same group without college loans is worth.
They’re not all drowning in student debt–the median student debt for this group is about $13,000–it’s that “because of the other loans they’ve taken out, the median total indebtedness of college graduates under 40 with student loans is $137,010…compared to $73,250 for their counterparts with no college debt.”
A great discussion between David Plant, director of youth ministry at Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City; Cameron Cole, director of youth ministries at the Cathedral Church of the Advent in Birmingham, Alabama; and Liz Edrington, who is pursuing her master’s degree in counseling from Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando.
HT: Collin Hansen, who has more info.
At least academically, it’s an incontrovertible fact that Asian-Americans outperform their white peers (and every other ethnic group). But why such dominance? That’s what sociologists Amy Hsina and Yu Xie set out to uncover, scouring data from two long-term surveys covering more than 5000 U.S. Asian and white students. The answer? It’s a shocker: They work harder.
There is, however, an interesting element: ”Students from all Asian ethnic groups put greater importance on effort than on natural ability.” Continue Reading…
Hunter Baker offers insightful reflections from his time attending the Q conference in Nashville. An excerpt:
When I look at Q, its hosts, and the young people participating in it, I suspect I am seeing the cultural stance of those who have grown up in pervasively Christian subcultures. For them, rebelling means rebelling against Massive Baptist Church or Church Related University or Clearly Wealthy Famous Preacherman. Those are the holders of power in their world. It is little wonder to them that the dominant culture dislikes us. We are hypocrites. We don’t measure up to our own standards. And we are judgmental while the secular world is more understanding. Or so it seems to them.
Vishal Mangalwadi, author of The Book That Made Your World: How the Bible Created the Soul of Western Civilization, writes:
The branding or perception of Christianity as a religion of faith, disconnected with truth, is tragic given that the Judeo-Christian tradition is the only reason why any medieval, modern, or postmodern person talks about “Truth” that can be stated in rational words and propositions (creeds or equations). The secular academy and science acquired the truth-brand only because Secularism is a Protestant heresy. The university exists because the Church was committed to knowing and believing truth. Secularism didn’t create the university. It obtained that Christian institution because, liberal Protestantism surrendered to Rationalism and evangelicalism abandoned the life of the mind. That enabled Secularism to walk away with the brand Truth. The fact is that secular atheism and materialism leave no room for rational/propositional truth. That is why Secularism is dogmatic about relativism.
Read the whole thing. It’s quite long, but you’ll benefit even if you read just one or two sections.
Fantastic post by Michael Patton, author of Now That I’m a Christian: What It Means to Follow Jesus. Patton writes:
The central claims of the Bible demand historic inquiry, as they are based on public events that can be historically verified. In contrast, the central claims of all other religions cannot be historically tested and, therefore, are beyond falsifiability or inquiry. They just have to be believed with blind faith.
1. Don’t say Jesus died when he was 33 years old.
2. Don’t explain the apparent absence of a lamb at the Last Supper by only saying Jesus is the ultimate Passover Lamb.
3. Don’t say the same crowds worshiped Jesus on Palm Sunday and then cried out for his crucifixion on Good Friday.
4. Don’t bypass the role of the women as witnesses of the resurrected Christ.
5. Don’t focus on the suffering of Jesus to the extent that you neglect the glory of the Cross in and through the Resurrection.
Read the whole thing.