Southern Baptists Report Decline in Baptisms
The Southern Baptist Convention is facing a decline in baptisms and an increasing percentage of churches that report no baptisms in a year. These findings match similarly disturbing increases in the number of mainline denominational churches reporting no professions of faith each year. Such trends are another indication of the decreasing ability of a host of well-established denominations to reach new Christians. Ed Stetzer, Ph.D., of the Southern Baptist North American Mission Board (www.namb.net
) points out that in 2005 over 30 percent of Southern Baptist churches reported either no baptisms or only one. Fifty-five percent of the churches baptized no youth (12-17 year-olds). And from 2004 to 2005, baptisms in every age category went down - except one. What is the one age category that is up? Preschoolers - those under five years of age. Commenting on this unusual development in a tradition of believer-only baptism, Stetzer remarks, "Though I am not one to say that a five-year old cannot trust Christ, it's hard to see the march toward infant baptism as good news."