Evangelical branding

Here is a story about a Baptist church that is changing its name to escape the stigma of being “Baptist.” This is something a number of Lutheran churches have been doing in an attempt, I would say, to seem MORE Baptist.

Here is something advocates of the church growth movement need to consider: In the not too distant past, being “evangelical” was popular. (Important note: We Lutherans ARE evangelical, the first evangelicals, or the first to be called so, and I support all true evangelicals in the actual meaning of that word, which has to do with fidelity to the Gospel. I use it here with quotation marks to refer to a particular manifestation of contemporary Christianity that goes by that name.) So many Lutherans, their numbers stagnating, thought it would promote the growth of the church to employ what was called “evangelical style/Lutheran substance.” This meant jettisoning the Lutheran liturgy and hymnody to do more what Baptists and other evangelicals did on Sunday mornings.

But now, the “evangelical” brand has fallen out of favor. It connotes the religious right, intolerance, fundamentalism, moralism, and–what postmodern relativists particularly hate–”proselytizing,” a.k.a. evangelism! Now these criticisms are unfair and wrong on many levels. But it is no longer culturally popular to seem like an “evangelical.” Remarkably, America’s largest evangelical church body, the Southern Baptists, which Lutherans had been wanting to emulate, is now facing what church leaders are calling a crisis in membership decline. “Evangelicals” are trying to seem less “evangelical” to escape the stigma. (Unfortunately, some are capitulating to the culture to the point of surrendering their valid moral and theological teachings, including the “evangel.”)

Could it be that a church body that embodies an alternative way of being evangelical–one in which the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ really is central, one that is not legalistic, one that is free of the trappings that are now the subject of mockery–might take the stage?

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    I’m glad you have mentioned this. I am seeing more about this reversal of a trend. Although I applaud the beginning of the end of American Evangelicalism and the harm it has done to Christians and non-Christians alike, I am concerned about what will replace it. Where do former evangelicals go after they realize its no longer cool or “right” to be one? I don’t think they head to a confessional Lutheran church, sadly. I think some of them leave Christianity because their faith was not built on a rock, but on sand. Many find it easy to embrace universalism. More than ever, we need to keep proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in our communities.

    This would be a good time to mention D.G. Hart’s book, Descontructing Evangelicalism, Craig Parton’s book, The Defense Never Rests and, of course, Dr. Veith’s book, The Spirituality of the Cross.

  • http://gpiper.org/katiesbeer TK

    I’m glad you have mentioned this. I am seeing more about this reversal of a trend. Although I applaud the beginning of the end of American Evangelicalism and the harm it has done to Christians and non-Christians alike, I am concerned about what will replace it. Where do former evangelicals go after they realize its no longer cool or “right” to be one? I don’t think they head to a confessional Lutheran church, sadly. I think some of them leave Christianity because their faith was not built on a rock, but on sand. Many find it easy to embrace universalism. More than ever, we need to keep proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ in our communities.

    This would be a good time to mention D.G. Hart’s book, Descontructing Evangelicalism, Craig Parton’s book, The Defense Never Rests and, of course, Dr. Veith’s book, The Spirituality of the Cross.

  • CRB

    I have to wonder how far away the Lutheran Church is from another harmful practice in such churches: the hire/fire mentality?! I understand that some leaders of a certain church body are reading books that promote
    this idea: “If the pastor doesn’t get so many new members after 2-3 yrs. he needs to get another job”!

  • CRB

    I have to wonder how far away the Lutheran Church is from another harmful practice in such churches: the hire/fire mentality?! I understand that some leaders of a certain church body are reading books that promote
    this idea: “If the pastor doesn’t get so many new members after 2-3 yrs. he needs to get another job”!

  • WebMonk

    “Could it be that a church body that embodies an alternative way of being evangelical–one in which the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ really is central, one that is not legalistic, one that is free of the trappings that are now the subject of mockery–might take the stage?”

    If you’re alluding to the Lutheran church, I doubt it. If there’s a flashlight in a dark room, it doesn’t help someone who is groping around if he doesn’t know where the flashlight is.

    I don’t have any personal exposure to Lutheran evangelism, I’m just passing on what I’ve heard from other Lutherans. The most common self-criticism I’ve heard from Lutherans is aimed at the lack of communication outside their own world. The canceling of Issues was a symptom, from what I’ve heard. Ditto for numbers of missionaries: http://bp3.blogger.com/_oo7kMHnvi_U/SDXmqfEL97I/AAAAAAAAAUk/xFk5lLajym8/s1600-h/untitled.bmp

  • WebMonk

    “Could it be that a church body that embodies an alternative way of being evangelical–one in which the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ really is central, one that is not legalistic, one that is free of the trappings that are now the subject of mockery–might take the stage?”

    If you’re alluding to the Lutheran church, I doubt it. If there’s a flashlight in a dark room, it doesn’t help someone who is groping around if he doesn’t know where the flashlight is.

    I don’t have any personal exposure to Lutheran evangelism, I’m just passing on what I’ve heard from other Lutherans. The most common self-criticism I’ve heard from Lutherans is aimed at the lack of communication outside their own world. The canceling of Issues was a symptom, from what I’ve heard. Ditto for numbers of missionaries: http://bp3.blogger.com/_oo7kMHnvi_U/SDXmqfEL97I/AAAAAAAAAUk/xFk5lLajym8/s1600-h/untitled.bmp

  • http://heresyhunter.blogspot.com Bob Hunter

    It’s ironic that the LCMS is embracing the church growth movement when champions of that cause like Willow Creek are realizing that it isn’t working.

  • http://heresyhunter.blogspot.com Bob Hunter

    It’s ironic that the LCMS is embracing the church growth movement when champions of that cause like Willow Creek are realizing that it isn’t working.

  • http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/ Bror Erickson

    Alright I read the article. First thing, you have to admire a Church that doesn’t mind calling itself “second.” I just thought it was funny the church used to be called “Second Baptist.” I’m a pastor of First Lutheran, it implies that there is a second Lutheran. But then that would be the ELCA congregation in town that calls itself Mountain of Faith.

    As for the post evangelical wilderness out there. Sometimes it seems there is nothing post about it, it’s still baptist. It seems, like Willow Creek, when they see what they are doing is not working, they throw out the best they have and hold on to the worst of what they have. And I’m never quite sure by what measure you see if something is “working.”
    A pastor’s job should not be dependant on how many converts he makes, but on how faithful he is to the word of God in what he preaches, teaches, and practices. It is a problem though if a Church is dying, pretty soon there may not be enough people to support him.

  • http://utah-lutheran.blogspot.com/ Bror Erickson

    Alright I read the article. First thing, you have to admire a Church that doesn’t mind calling itself “second.” I just thought it was funny the church used to be called “Second Baptist.” I’m a pastor of First Lutheran, it implies that there is a second Lutheran. But then that would be the ELCA congregation in town that calls itself Mountain of Faith.

    As for the post evangelical wilderness out there. Sometimes it seems there is nothing post about it, it’s still baptist. It seems, like Willow Creek, when they see what they are doing is not working, they throw out the best they have and hold on to the worst of what they have. And I’m never quite sure by what measure you see if something is “working.”
    A pastor’s job should not be dependant on how many converts he makes, but on how faithful he is to the word of God in what he preaches, teaches, and practices. It is a problem though if a Church is dying, pretty soon there may not be enough people to support him.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    In the main article, I think the problem isn’t so much that the church has “Baptist” in its name, as it is that the name is “Baptist Temple”. The pastor of that church says, I think rightly, that the word “temple” makes people think of snake-handling and such.

    Still, I can’t abide this focus-grouped renaming of churches to names such as “Crosswinds” and “Crosspoint” and other titles that make it sound like a resort community or an insurance company. A church around here, in the town of Whiteland, recently renamed itself from “Whiteland United Methodist Church” to “Gracepoint Church”. Horrible. “Whiteland United Methodist Church” conveys, in four words, all the basic elements of that church’s existence: where it’s located, what its theology is, and the fact that it’s a church. “Gracepoint” tells you absolutely nothing except that there is some vaguely spiritual aroma to it. But even that much information is more than some churches; there’s another church in my town that is simply called “Sanctuary”. The word “church” is not even in the name. What are these people afraid or ashamed of, exactly?

    It’s strange times when putting the word “church” in the name of your church and publicly identifying yourself with a denomination is considered radically countercultural.

  • http://castingoutnines.wordpress.com Robert Talbert

    In the main article, I think the problem isn’t so much that the church has “Baptist” in its name, as it is that the name is “Baptist Temple”. The pastor of that church says, I think rightly, that the word “temple” makes people think of snake-handling and such.

    Still, I can’t abide this focus-grouped renaming of churches to names such as “Crosswinds” and “Crosspoint” and other titles that make it sound like a resort community or an insurance company. A church around here, in the town of Whiteland, recently renamed itself from “Whiteland United Methodist Church” to “Gracepoint Church”. Horrible. “Whiteland United Methodist Church” conveys, in four words, all the basic elements of that church’s existence: where it’s located, what its theology is, and the fact that it’s a church. “Gracepoint” tells you absolutely nothing except that there is some vaguely spiritual aroma to it. But even that much information is more than some churches; there’s another church in my town that is simply called “Sanctuary”. The word “church” is not even in the name. What are these people afraid or ashamed of, exactly?

    It’s strange times when putting the word “church” in the name of your church and publicly identifying yourself with a denomination is considered radically countercultural.

  • Don S

    There has definitely been a trend, over many years, for evangelical churches to change their name to a non-denominational sounding one, even though they retain doctrinal distinctives of that denomination. I’ve always thought of that as trying to trick someone who hates baptists, for example, into coming in and trying their church. It’s dumb, and it is a secular marketing approach which doesn’t seem to account for the working of the Holy Spirit.

    This article in the Washington Post that you cited isn’t really relevant to this issue, though. The so-called “Baptist Temple” in Alexandria appears to have ceased adhering to any kind of biblical tenets years ago, as they describe themselves as liberal and affirming of gays, alternative lifestyles, etc. They should change their name — it is false advertising to claim they are in any way Baptist! I noticed another church identified in the article is pastored by Lisa Hawkins. Probably not the most conservative, theologically, either.

  • Don S

    There has definitely been a trend, over many years, for evangelical churches to change their name to a non-denominational sounding one, even though they retain doctrinal distinctives of that denomination. I’ve always thought of that as trying to trick someone who hates baptists, for example, into coming in and trying their church. It’s dumb, and it is a secular marketing approach which doesn’t seem to account for the working of the Holy Spirit.

    This article in the Washington Post that you cited isn’t really relevant to this issue, though. The so-called “Baptist Temple” in Alexandria appears to have ceased adhering to any kind of biblical tenets years ago, as they describe themselves as liberal and affirming of gays, alternative lifestyles, etc. They should change their name — it is false advertising to claim they are in any way Baptist! I noticed another church identified in the article is pastored by Lisa Hawkins. Probably not the most conservative, theologically, either.

  • Joe

    I would never attend a church that refused to state what kind of a church it is. Just seems like your trying to trick me or are hiding the truth. It seems not honest. Also, it is an outward manifestation of the larger problem – failure to adhere to sound doctrine and a desire to muddy doctrine to get more butts in the pew and dollars in the plate.
    From another standpoint it is a violation of LCMS resolution 3-13A passed at the 1995 convention, which states:

    To Use the Name Lutheran
    RESOLUTION 3-13A

    Whereas, We have been called Lutheran since the formation of our Synod (and since Reformation times) and are thankful for our doctrinal background and heritage; and

    Whereas, The name Lutheran clearly identifies what the member congregations Missouri Synod believe, teach and confess; and

    Whereas, Basic Christian honesty and integrity require that no deception of any sort be used in declaring the truth of the Gospel before all the world; as St. Paul declares: “Rather we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 4:2);

    therefore be it Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations in our Synod boldly profess is their official title and/or name that they are “Lutheran”; and

    be it further Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations of our Synod state in their materials (bulletins, newsletters, etc.) that they belong to The Lutheran Missouri Synod; and

    be it finally Resolved, That all LCMS congregations gladly proclaim our great doctrinal heritage to a world that needs the clear proclamation of the truth.

    Action: Adopted (11).

    (A request to restore words relating to “encouragement” to congregations to use the name Lutheran was not received. An immediate request for reconsideration following adoption was not accepted because there had been no intervening business. A later request for reconsideration was also declined. It would have stated at the end of the first resolve, except in special circumstances with the approval of the District President. The reason for the request was possible conflict with laws in foreign countries.)

  • Joe

    I would never attend a church that refused to state what kind of a church it is. Just seems like your trying to trick me or are hiding the truth. It seems not honest. Also, it is an outward manifestation of the larger problem – failure to adhere to sound doctrine and a desire to muddy doctrine to get more butts in the pew and dollars in the plate.
    From another standpoint it is a violation of LCMS resolution 3-13A passed at the 1995 convention, which states:

    To Use the Name Lutheran
    RESOLUTION 3-13A

    Whereas, We have been called Lutheran since the formation of our Synod (and since Reformation times) and are thankful for our doctrinal background and heritage; and

    Whereas, The name Lutheran clearly identifies what the member congregations Missouri Synod believe, teach and confess; and

    Whereas, Basic Christian honesty and integrity require that no deception of any sort be used in declaring the truth of the Gospel before all the world; as St. Paul declares: “Rather we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the Word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Cor. 4:2);

    therefore be it Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations in our Synod boldly profess is their official title and/or name that they are “Lutheran”; and

    be it further Resolved, That all congregations and mission stations of our Synod state in their materials (bulletins, newsletters, etc.) that they belong to The Lutheran Missouri Synod; and

    be it finally Resolved, That all LCMS congregations gladly proclaim our great doctrinal heritage to a world that needs the clear proclamation of the truth.

    Action: Adopted (11).

    (A request to restore words relating to “encouragement” to congregations to use the name Lutheran was not received. An immediate request for reconsideration following adoption was not accepted because there had been no intervening business. A later request for reconsideration was also declined. It would have stated at the end of the first resolve, except in special circumstances with the approval of the District President. The reason for the request was possible conflict with laws in foreign countries.)

  • Bryan Lindemood

    It was a nice sentiment with no teeth in 1995.

    Remember that in 1995 the ELCA (the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.) wasn’t quite as homosexual-sin-friendly and united with “Episcopalians” and “Methodists” (who also seem very willing to misuse their names) as it is today. One could very easily argue that the term “Lutheran” doesn’t really mean much of anything even to most Lutherans today. Aint that sad? Talk about bait-n-switch!

    I still like the name “Lutheran” for a real Lutheran church, because to me (but sadly to too few others) it means that congregation better be standing for all the doctrine laid out in the 1580 Book of Concord including the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Otherwise call yourself anything, but don’t let your church make even more meaningless the term “Lutheran”.

    Can someone please sue the ELCA for false advertising?

    I’m sorry: this post may be a bit too negative. I’m sorry to any true Lutherans in the ELCA who may read this – but you’ve just got to stop sitting on your hands and lovingly but directly confront your pastors and church leaders about your church body’s official lack of genuine Lutheran identity. This is no joke! This playing fast and loose with language is dangerous and life-stealing.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    It was a nice sentiment with no teeth in 1995.

    Remember that in 1995 the ELCA (the largest Lutheran body in the U.S.) wasn’t quite as homosexual-sin-friendly and united with “Episcopalians” and “Methodists” (who also seem very willing to misuse their names) as it is today. One could very easily argue that the term “Lutheran” doesn’t really mean much of anything even to most Lutherans today. Aint that sad? Talk about bait-n-switch!

    I still like the name “Lutheran” for a real Lutheran church, because to me (but sadly to too few others) it means that congregation better be standing for all the doctrine laid out in the 1580 Book of Concord including the Unaltered Augsburg Confession. Otherwise call yourself anything, but don’t let your church make even more meaningless the term “Lutheran”.

    Can someone please sue the ELCA for false advertising?

    I’m sorry: this post may be a bit too negative. I’m sorry to any true Lutherans in the ELCA who may read this – but you’ve just got to stop sitting on your hands and lovingly but directly confront your pastors and church leaders about your church body’s official lack of genuine Lutheran identity. This is no joke! This playing fast and loose with language is dangerous and life-stealing.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    By the way, thanks Joe, for the history lesson.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    By the way, thanks Joe, for the history lesson.

  • Booklover

    Although Lutherans have the rich historic tradition, excellent doctrinal teaching, beautiful music, biblical liturgy, good system of schools, and most of all centrality of Christ, I don’t see evangelicals flocking to Lutheranism for two reasons–infant baptism with its salvific nature, and “dead liturgy and hymnody.” :-( At least this is what the Baptists that I know say, including my husband–Lutherans are fine enough to marry, just don’t make us go to church with them. !

  • Booklover

    Although Lutherans have the rich historic tradition, excellent doctrinal teaching, beautiful music, biblical liturgy, good system of schools, and most of all centrality of Christ, I don’t see evangelicals flocking to Lutheranism for two reasons–infant baptism with its salvific nature, and “dead liturgy and hymnody.” :-( At least this is what the Baptists that I know say, including my husband–Lutherans are fine enough to marry, just don’t make us go to church with them. !

  • Deb C

    I think this has more to do with trying to fit in with the current culture, at least as far as the Baptist churches that have changed their names where I live( read the South). The Southern Baptist Convention has come out with some politically incorrect thing(anti homosexual, not allowing women to preach, anti gambling and smoking these are all local hot button issues). Now if you are going to church to be respectable then you would have no desire to enter a door in which you might be labeled as intolerant. A full house with plans to expand is the only signs of success.
    I think I’m saying that the churches that I know of that have dropped their denotational name have are have started the slide to god loves you and accepts you as you are and if you have a good heart all will be well

  • Deb C

    I think this has more to do with trying to fit in with the current culture, at least as far as the Baptist churches that have changed their names where I live( read the South). The Southern Baptist Convention has come out with some politically incorrect thing(anti homosexual, not allowing women to preach, anti gambling and smoking these are all local hot button issues). Now if you are going to church to be respectable then you would have no desire to enter a door in which you might be labeled as intolerant. A full house with plans to expand is the only signs of success.
    I think I’m saying that the churches that I know of that have dropped their denotational name have are have started the slide to god loves you and accepts you as you are and if you have a good heart all will be well

  • jim claybourn

    as far as “dead liturgy”, I read a great suggestion on one of these blogs recently – something to the effect that “if you really find the liturgy boring, try really paying attention to what you are saying and hearing”.

    As an adult convert, I remember (vividly) the first time I heard the Lutheran liturgy. There was a middle-aged lady standing behind me as the Apostles Creed was spoken. It was the most monotone, sing-song voice that I had ever heard. Here I was reading it in the hymnal – I was blown away by what we were confessing, and she was mouthing the words.

    As a result I always try to read it with appropriate emphasis, as if I was making a presentation. “I believe in the Holy Spirit, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH! . . . ” (how can that ever be boring?!?!?!?

  • jim claybourn

    as far as “dead liturgy”, I read a great suggestion on one of these blogs recently – something to the effect that “if you really find the liturgy boring, try really paying attention to what you are saying and hearing”.

    As an adult convert, I remember (vividly) the first time I heard the Lutheran liturgy. There was a middle-aged lady standing behind me as the Apostles Creed was spoken. It was the most monotone, sing-song voice that I had ever heard. Here I was reading it in the hymnal – I was blown away by what we were confessing, and she was mouthing the words.

    As a result I always try to read it with appropriate emphasis, as if I was making a presentation. “I believe in the Holy Spirit, MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH! . . . ” (how can that ever be boring?!?!?!?

  • Arizona J

    I’ve long wondered why the Mormons or the J Witnesses don’t go in for “church growth.” Or for that matter the Eastern Orthodox or (in the main) Roman Catholics? At least where I live, you go by one of their churches and you can tell at a glance what it is. Largely because the signage is accurate. No “Cornerstone” this, or “Oasis” that; no gimmicky, in other words, to get you inside.
    I suspect it’s otherwise among so many evangelical churches because many of them function as independent, small businesses. And like any for-profit business, these operations either have to adopt the current fad or fade away. In other words, it’s about raising enough money to keep in business.

  • Arizona J

    I’ve long wondered why the Mormons or the J Witnesses don’t go in for “church growth.” Or for that matter the Eastern Orthodox or (in the main) Roman Catholics? At least where I live, you go by one of their churches and you can tell at a glance what it is. Largely because the signage is accurate. No “Cornerstone” this, or “Oasis” that; no gimmicky, in other words, to get you inside.
    I suspect it’s otherwise among so many evangelical churches because many of them function as independent, small businesses. And like any for-profit business, these operations either have to adopt the current fad or fade away. In other words, it’s about raising enough money to keep in business.

  • CRB

    “Could it be that a church body that embodies an alternative way of being evangelical–one in which the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ really is central, one that is not legalistic, one that is free of the trappings that are now the subject of mockery–might take the stage? ”
    Perhaps the answer is, “The Church Triumphant”?! :)

  • CRB

    “Could it be that a church body that embodies an alternative way of being evangelical–one in which the Gospel of God’s grace in Christ really is central, one that is not legalistic, one that is free of the trappings that are now the subject of mockery–might take the stage? ”
    Perhaps the answer is, “The Church Triumphant”?! :)

  • kerner

    Jim Claybourne:

    You are so right. I remember the first time I sat in a Lutheran holy comunion service and heard the pastor “announce the grace of God unto [me] and in the stead and by the command of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … forgive [me] all [my] sins.” You coulda knocked me over with a feather; I never expected it.

  • kerner

    Jim Claybourne:

    You are so right. I remember the first time I sat in a Lutheran holy comunion service and heard the pastor “announce the grace of God unto [me] and in the stead and by the command of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ … forgive [me] all [my] sins.” You coulda knocked me over with a feather; I never expected it.

  • Trey

    This makes me recall what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in Gesammelte Schriften 2:53, “As to who are the people of God and the Church of Christ no other rule or test applies but this one: [they are] a little band who accept God’s Word teach it with purity and confess it against those who persecute it. “

  • Trey

    This makes me recall what Dietrich Bonhoeffer said in Gesammelte Schriften 2:53, “As to who are the people of God and the Church of Christ no other rule or test applies but this one: [they are] a little band who accept God’s Word teach it with purity and confess it against those who persecute it. “

  • http://barrybishop.blogspot.com/ Barry Bishop

    As a Southern Baptist pastor, I think it is a great idea to have “Baptist” in the name of a Baptist church so people will know what the church believes. There are certain Baptist distinctives such as regenerate membership and adult immersion that should not be hidden from attenders. For the same reason, it would seem to make good sense that a Lutheran church would maintain “Lutheran” in the name.
    I fear that with the current trend, many churches will eventually drop the name, “Christian” or “Church” from their title in favor of something like “Victory New Life Center” (a title from a novel I read.)

  • http://barrybishop.blogspot.com/ Barry Bishop

    As a Southern Baptist pastor, I think it is a great idea to have “Baptist” in the name of a Baptist church so people will know what the church believes. There are certain Baptist distinctives such as regenerate membership and adult immersion that should not be hidden from attenders. For the same reason, it would seem to make good sense that a Lutheran church would maintain “Lutheran” in the name.
    I fear that with the current trend, many churches will eventually drop the name, “Christian” or “Church” from their title in favor of something like “Victory New Life Center” (a title from a novel I read.)

  • kerner

    Barry Bishop:

    Too late, Rev. Back in the 80′s-90′s it was common for Churches for the prosperity theology churches to call themselves (insert victorious sounding name here) centers. A relative of mine began attenting one such church called “The Word Center”, which still exists. Then she attended “Hebron Worship Center”, which also still exists. On the up side, there is a certain “brand” (i.e. health and prosperity theology) which you can associate with calling a church a “center”.

    P.S.: I think Lutherans, and maybe quite a few other denominations would disagree with you that regenerate membership is a Baptist distinctive. The Church is, by definition, located wherever two or more Christians gather in the Name of Christ to preach the Word and administer the sacraments (or, as you call them, ordinances). Are you aware of a Christian church that allows non-believers to be members? (As a policy, I mean. I’m not referring to sloppiness in church discipline which may exist anywhere)

  • kerner

    Barry Bishop:

    Too late, Rev. Back in the 80′s-90′s it was common for Churches for the prosperity theology churches to call themselves (insert victorious sounding name here) centers. A relative of mine began attenting one such church called “The Word Center”, which still exists. Then she attended “Hebron Worship Center”, which also still exists. On the up side, there is a certain “brand” (i.e. health and prosperity theology) which you can associate with calling a church a “center”.

    P.S.: I think Lutherans, and maybe quite a few other denominations would disagree with you that regenerate membership is a Baptist distinctive. The Church is, by definition, located wherever two or more Christians gather in the Name of Christ to preach the Word and administer the sacraments (or, as you call them, ordinances). Are you aware of a Christian church that allows non-believers to be members? (As a policy, I mean. I’m not referring to sloppiness in church discipline which may exist anywhere)

  • William

    May I suggest that it would be nicer to see more Baptist churches change their theology to escape the stigma of being “Baptist”?

  • William

    May I suggest that it would be nicer to see more Baptist churches change their theology to escape the stigma of being “Baptist”?

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    “I’m sorry to any true Lutherans in the ELCA who may read this – but you’ve just got to stop sitting on your hands and lovingly but directly confront your pastors and church leaders about your church body’s official lack of genuine Lutheran identity. ” Some of us are trying and getting mighty frustrated.

    There is a lot of irony in that many young people that these contemporary services are trying to court actually are looking for traditional and orthodox services! Rock on.

  • http://www.hempelstudios.com Sarah in Maryland

    “I’m sorry to any true Lutherans in the ELCA who may read this – but you’ve just got to stop sitting on your hands and lovingly but directly confront your pastors and church leaders about your church body’s official lack of genuine Lutheran identity. ” Some of us are trying and getting mighty frustrated.

    There is a lot of irony in that many young people that these contemporary services are trying to court actually are looking for traditional and orthodox services! Rock on.


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