Thursday, June 28, 2007

BP reports Baptist Organization inflating numbers

It's true. Baptist Press published this article exposing the inflation of membership statistics by the denomination...the CBF denomination, that is. I wonder if we will ever see a story like this that focuses on integrity a little closer to home?

19 comments:

Tony Kummer said...

Tom,
I think we did see that story when you read your resolution on church membership at the Annual Convention.

Marc Backes said...

We always seem to judge others most harshly in the exact area where we have the biggest weakness.

"Hello Kettle, Yea This Is The Pot"

irreverend fox said...

Tom....yeah...I'm going to go ahead and say "no"...final answer...

wgmoore55 said...

To be fair, the CBF is being doubly egregious. If one person from a church sends them money through their church, the CBF counts the often unsuspecting church (unsuspecting in that it is now a "CBF" church) and uses that church's inflated numbers as part of their own. We are, though, much better at exposing others' sin than our own.

I, too, will be surprised when the BP or the SBC gets serious about membership numbers. Few other denominations are---almost all mainstream denominations are inflated with nominal members. That, of course, does not justify the SBC for refusing to face the problem and seek to aid churches in addressing it.

Bill

Kurt Strassner said...

A Romans 2.1 moment for BP and the SBC. How embarassing!

Wyman Richardson said...

Reminds me of those great American philosphers, Simon and Garfunkel: "All lies in jest, still a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest."

Wyman Richardson said...

Wait a minute, I've misquoted S&G! It's, "Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest." My apologies! The point being (as has already been said above) that we hear and see things in others that we refuse to hear and see in ourselves. For the Convention to cast aspersions at anybody's handling of numbers, given our own track record and current practice, is amazing.

Seth F said...

Ughh. Sickening.

Seth
whatum.com
Theological Satire

Tony said...

I guess that gives them even more people to evanglize:)

Bill Formella said...

Yeah, I thought the same thing when I read this article. I've been waiting for over a week to see an article from BP discussing integrity in church membership, but nothing. I was thoroughly disgusted when I saw this article. The CBF inflates their numbers by a little over 600,000 and they're called on it. The SBC inflates theirs by....oh.....10 MILLION, but that's o.k.

Alycelee said...

Tom, the most discouraging thing about the convention was messengers not voting for your resolution after being called to repent.

This is the epitome of hypocrisy.
Keep on keeping on.
Alyce

Joseph said...

If Southern Baptist Churches don't want to be known as supporting the CBF in any way, then they should not in any way, send money to them for anyone. If individual members want to send it to the CBF themselves, they may. Their shock seems a bit disingenuous to me.

Tony Kummer said...

Our church gets thee CBF newsletter in the mail (addressed to a former pastor) I wonder if we are counted on the list.

G. Alford said...

Tom,

Don't give up perhaps the CBF will publish an article about the SBC inflating their numbers.

GeneMBridges said...

The way the CBF seems to count members seems odd.

In the SBC, individuals as individuals aren't members of the denomination. Churches are members. An individual is counted because he's a member of a church that is a member of the SBC. This is also how it works in the state conventions. The only time individuals "are" the denomination is at the annual meeting when the messengers gather. Then, the messengers are members of the denomination - by election of their local churches.

The CBF seems to be operating on the idea that an individual is a member of the CBF if s/he contributes money to the CBF. In turn, the CBF takes this as an opportunity to count a church, because it seems that to give to the CBF one must do it through a church, which allows it, by their logic, to count all the members of the church. That's a nifty little loophole innit?!

For those who talk about the priesthood of the believer, etc. so much, notice the breezy way they presume to speak for a whole local church based on what one or a few more members are doing. How ironic that those who talk about "Baptist tradition" and such so quickly exempt themselves from it by speaking for people who don't want to be counted.

What we have here, then, is a much more insidious form of inflating numbers. In the SBC, the problem is (a) baptized unregenerates, (b) people who have moved but whose former churches have not moved their letters (c) truants that nobody knows about being counted, etc. In the CBF, you have the belief that you can count a whole church based on the monetary contributions of members of those churches but without the churches' consent to be counted.

DoGLover said...

We forwarded some money to the CBF as a favor to an individual & found them counting & courting us. I had to write several letters to inform them that the funds were sent purely as a courtesy, but that we wanted no contact, nor to be counted as a member church before they finally stopped trying to visit.

There's one big difference in how the SBC reports vs the CBF, the SBC reports the numbers WE give them. It's really up to us as pastors to get our houses in order.

Chris said...

Maybe we could get Ben at Baptist Blogger to write something and publish it. The paper seem to like him.

Russ Copeland said...

Out of curiosity, and not being a Southern Baptist myself, what would the membership of the SBC be if they counted membership in a like manner as the CBF but on an idividual basis, i.e. you put money in the plate and you're a member? Just think of the possibilities, 5% tithe = silver membership, 10% = gold and 20% platinum.

Tom said...

Russ:

If *only* those were counted as members who actually gave to their church in the last year our membership rolls would be cut in half. If only regular givers were counted...who knows how small the percentage would be.