A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 2

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  This is the second part.  The first part ran Wednesday, June 4th.  Relevant updates and emendations [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

From the Archive In light of the upcoming annual meeting of the largest (for now) Protestant denominations taking place in Baltimore, MD next week, it seemed appropriate to re-run my two-part series from last summer, “A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention.”  The first part will run today, the second will run on Saturday, June 7th.  Relevant updates [Read More...]

What Can Stop Southern Baptist Decline?

In anticipation of the 2014 annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, the SBC’s LifeWay Christian Resources issued its annual report on church statistics, and for the seventh straight year, the SBC’s overall membership declined. (Here’s my coverage of the 2013 report and annual meeting for WORLD Magazine.) The University of North Carolina’s Molly Worthen, [Read More...]

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

[This week's post comes from my Patheos archives.] Many an evangelical pastor has concluded a sermon by asking non-Christians to “ask [or receive, or invite] Jesus into their heart,” or to pray a version of what some call the “sinner’s prayer.” But some evangelicals, including Baptist pastor David Platt of Birmingham, Alabama, have in recent years [Read More...]

A Primer on the Southern Baptist Convention, Part 1

Next week, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) will hold its annual meeting in Houston, TX.  Over the last several decades, the SBC’s public profile has increased significantly due to the actions of its leaders and as a result of the media scrutiny that has come from solidly positioning itself on the conservative wing of American [Read More...]

Calvinist Controversy at Louisiana College

The latest front in the Baptist battle over Calvinism and Arminianism has opened at Louisiana College, where the administration has decided not to renew the contracts of three faculty members - Jason Hiles, Kevin McFadden and Ryan Lister. The latter two have doctorates from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, while Hiles’s doctoral degree is from Southeastern Seminary. [Read More...]

“Ask Jesus into Your Heart”: A History of the Sinner’s Prayer

Many an evangelical pastor has concluded a sermon by asking non-Christians to “ask [or receive, or invite] Jesus into their heart,” or to pray some version of what some call the “sinner’s prayer.” But some evangelicals, including Baptist pastor David Platt of Birmingham, Alabama, have begun to criticize the sinner’s prayer as unbiblical and superstitious. Surely, [Read More...]

How Significant is Fred Luter’s Election for Southern Baptists?

This week my Baylor colleague Barry Hankins and I published a USA Today editorial, “Southern Baptists Cleanse Past,” commending the SBC’s election of its first African American president, Fred Luter. From the column: America remains torn by racial problems – and Sunday morning is still America’s most divided hour - but even the most cynical observer [Read More...]

“Traditional” Baptists and Calvinism

In May 2012 a group of Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) leaders posted a statement on the “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” The statement defended man’s free will in accepting Christ’s offer of salvation, and highlighted what is now the key theological division within the country’s largest Protestant denomination. With SBC conservatives having [Read More...]


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