Is Declining Church Membership a Problem?

Dr. Bob Pearle, pastor at Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth and president of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, would say yes. It's a serious problem, although one he believes can be corrected.

In his new book, The Vanishing Church, Dr. Pearle suggests that church solutions for low numbers are actually part of the problem. He says the problem could be because “churches desire more to conform to culture than to be counter-cultural.”

He discusses controversial topics such as cultural relevance and includes historical background on the Baptist denomination to give an an overarching view of the causes and solutions for church decline. Dr. Pearle, who has served as a pastor for almost 30 years, begins The Vanishing Church with an overview of current society and a discussion of whether the church is even needed. He includes topics such as the four ways churches are being deceived (intellectualism, ceremonialism, mysticism and legalism), why churches shouldn’t focus solely on love, the foundational Baptist doctrines of membership and Baptism, and how churches should respond to cultural changes.

The book has received a great review on Ron Phillips, Sr., blog, Adopted By God. And, don't miss Dr. Pearle's interview on KCBI in the DFW area January 9 at 9:15am.

Bob Pearle is pastor of Birchman Baptist Church in Fort Worth, TX, where he has served for 11 years. He received his M.Div and D.Min degrees from Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary. He is president of the South­ern Baptists of Texas Convention.

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