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 similar resolutions.

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 pulpit.

Not to mention, if they're not there, they can hardly contribute when the acolytes pass the collection plate, can they?


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