Friday, July 14, 2006

According To Latest Scoring, Baptists Are Winning

*Scoring According To InfoUSA.Com. The Number Of Churches In United States By Denomination Are:Baptist - 89,964/ Methodist - 27,643/ Christian - 19,654/ Catholic - 18,627/ Lutheran - 17,792/ Presbyterian - 12,700/ Pentecostal - 10,984/ Episcopal - 6,373/ Seventh Day Adventist - 1,435

Of course, we know that the mere number of churches does not indicate the spirituality of a denomination for it is written in 1 Samuel 14:6 ". . . God does not save by many or by few," but it is always better to have more like-minded Christians who lift up Jesus Christ and do not compromise with the world.
Do all Baptist churches lift of the Word of God and the blood stained banner of Christ? No. We see the Southern Baptists lapsing into secularism and the American Baptists have long been misguided by the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. The title and meaning of "Baptist" has become greatly distorted in the last thirty years.
From the book "Baptists In America," authored by Bill Leonard, "Baptists are a study in contrasts. From Little Dove Old Regular Baptist Church, up a hollow in the Appalachian Mountains, with its 25-member congregation, to the 18,000-strong Saddleback Valley Church in Orange County, California, where hymns appear on wide-screen projectors; from Jerry Falwell, Jesse Helms, and Tim LaHaye to Martin Luther King Jr., Jesse Jackson, Bill Clinton, and Maya Angelou, Baptist churches and their members have encompassed a range of theological interpretations and held a variety of social and political viewpoints. At first glance, Baptist theology seems classically Protestant in its emphasis on the Trinity, the incarnation of Jesus Christ, the authority of Scripture, salvation by faith alone, and baptism by immersion. Yet the interpretation and implementation of these beliefs have made Baptists one of the most fragmented denominations in the United States. Not surprisingly, they are often characterized as a people who "multiply by dividing." So, just being "Baptist" does not guarantee that the church is dedicated to doing the will of God or obeying Jesus.
One of my most prized Bible reference possessions is an "Historical Atlas," which maps out the dominant religious affiliations of every country in the world. America is very unique among other countries in that the backbone of the United States even before its inception has been the multitude of independent churches, such as the majority of Baptists, which have not been subservient to either the government (like 501C-3 IRS-approved churches) or to a massive hierarchy (like the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Methodists, Lutherans, Episcopalians, Church Of Christ, etc.)
Europe, which is the motherland of most Protestant denominations, has been experiencing a steep spiritual decline. One time devout European Protestants such as Calvinists, Reformed, Congregationalists, Lutherans, Methodists, Anglicans and Episcopalians have succumbed to the socialist/communist mentality which partially explains why Europe "hates" the United States where there is still some vestige of liberty - always beginning and ending with religious liberty - especially the worship of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Great Britain, and all of Europe could certainly use another John Wesley or John Bunyan who preached revival in a lands where Satan had powerful strongholds. In this same 18th century Jonathon Edwards helped bring about the Great Awakening by the grace and fear of God. Both of these men acted independently of their backslidden denominations. America has had many more revivals than Europe in the past two hundred years, and no doubt, these have contributed to the United States survival and longevity as a blessed nation. Pentecostals and Baptists, although there is some animosity between these denominations, have been the primary encouragers of revival. Historically, the Baptist Revivalist Movement in America 1850-1920 featured such preachers that would according to the book, "Faith Of Our Fathers," deliver "fiery sermons: calling for repentance, culminating in an invitation and followed by large numbers of baptisms to the end of a growing the church."
Unfortunately, the United States has spawned the same behemoth denominations that have led to the spiritual demise of Europe. These Mega Churches are the neo evangelicals who are acquiring great numbers of congregants , but are starving for the Word of God. At least these super churches, not unlike the other dinosaur denominations of history, do expose the congregants to some of the gospel, but eventually devout Christians will have to come out from among them, just as the Purpose Driven people will have to, "Choose for yourselves today whom you shall serve . . . as for me and my house we will serve the Lord." Joshua 24: 14-15