Are So. Baptists Ready To "Walk The Walk"?
According to a story on OneNewsNow, a number of Southern Baptist
churches -- notably, one in Cape Coral, Fla. -- are proposing
resolutions requiring church "members" -- those on the membership lists
-- to actually attend services on some sort of regular basis, or risk
being struck from the rolls.
The resolution urged churches to emphasize biblical teachings on
church membership, and to lovingly correct members who no longer
attend. That resolution never made it to the floor; however, local
Baptist associations in Florida -- and nationwide -- have adopted
According to Pastor Ascol, biblical principles of active church
membership have been forsaken in churches throughout the SBC. He
believes church attendance is a measurable indicator of a person's
relationship with Christ.
"It's something that Southern Baptists have taken great pride in
reporting -- we have 'x' number of members. We're saying, if those
members are genuinely regenerate, then they at least ought to be
willing to show up once a week, or periodically, to meet with other
believers," says Ascol. "But the real concern behind this, of course,
is how we understand the doctrine of the church."
He believes that the doctrine of church refers to the "gathered
body of Jesus Christ." He also believes the church should return to the
practice of biblical church discipline -- which was outlined by Jesus
and practiced by the Apostles in the first-century church. Pastor Ascol
says that many SBC pastors do not want to face the issue of discipline
because of pride.
In other words, not only are they hoping that the substance of the
sermons will rub off on the poorly-attending, but (I'm guessing) if
other members decide that the non-attenders aren't doing enough "good
works" in the community, or are doing stuff that their church's version
of Christ wouldn't approve of, at least the offenders will be in the
pews so the pastor can look at them while castigating them from the
Not to mention, if they're not there, they can hardly contribute when the acolytes pass the collection plate, can they?