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Denominations

I recently published a piece in The Christian Century on what I called the “Baptist Exception.” Unlike virtually all Christian churches and denominations, Baptists are not witnessing a fundamental shift of numbers to the global south. Instead, they remain heavily concentrated in North America. As I think through possible reasons for this fact, I am […] Read More

The stock market continues its erratic course, causing investors who are concerned about their portfolios and those with retirement accounts to get a bit nervous. What will be the return on investment (ROI) in the long term? Two recent blogs addressed a different kind of return on investment. The 20th century was the era of […] Read More

The recent news stories describing the massive layoffs at the International Mission Board (IMB) of Southern Baptists, the nearly 50 percent downsizing of the Florida Baptist Convention staff, the continued erosion of financial support for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, and the sell-off by state conventions of facilities now too large for shrunken staff, all confirm […] Read More

As an ordained minister in the American Baptist tradition, I am a Christian who exercises my faith through the lens of Baptist tradition and history. Baptists are about as diverse as they come. Our theology allows us to be conservative or progressive; Calvinist or Arminian; megachurch or small, rural church; King James Version only or […] Read More

My wife and I have had our insurance with the same company for 30 years. My parents have had their insurance with the same company for 50 years. We are loyal customers. We don’t compare prices. We are satisfied with our service. I have had my phone service with the same company ever since I […] Read More

I frequently receive e-mails from bivocational pastors who tell me they feel lonely and ignored by their denominations. Because of their other jobs, they often cannot attend pastor gatherings held during the daytime. Many tell me they seldom, if ever, see their denominational leaders. I once asked a bivocational pastor who was seeking a move […] Read More

Greg Ogden’s book, “Unfinished Business,” has greatly influenced my thinking and ministry through its emphasis that ministry does not only belong to clergy but is also the responsibility of all believers. After making his case, Ogden turns to what needs to happen in churches for this transition to occur, commenting that “denominational life as we […] Read More

Some church leaders disagree with the idea that we now live in a post-denominational world. If they are arguing that issues of doctrine and polity are still important to many Christians, I can understand their position a bit.  There are still congregations that are clearly part of “faith tribes” – Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians […] Read More

Every year our church’s Denominational Relations Committee leads a month-long emphasis on Baptist heritage. The approach each year is different, but the point is to remind us of who we are as a Baptist congregation.  Someone asked this year, “Why talk about denominations in a post-denominational age? Aren’t we beyond all that?”  The answer would be […] Read More

Although some say that we live in a post-denominational age, there is something comfortable and reassuring about identifying not only with a particular denominational “tribe” but a specific “clan” of that tribe.  This is true of those who call themselves Baptists and it may well be of others, but I will confine my remarks to […] Read More