NASHVILLE — Baptisms fell to their lowest number in 60 years among Southern Baptists, the nation’s largest Protestant denomination.
The new numbers are a sign that the denomination is in trouble, Baptist leaders say.
“This is not a blip,” said Ed Stetzer, president of LifeWay. “This is a trend. And the trend is one of decline.”
In 2010, Southern Baptists baptized 332,321 people, or 17,416 fewer than in 2009, according to a report released by Nashville-based LifeWay Research. This marks the eighth time in 10 years that baptisms have declined and the lowest number of baptisms since the 1950s.
The report was released in advance of the convention’s annual meeting, which opens Tuesday in Phoenix.
Membership also dropped for the fourth year in a row, leaving the denomination with 16,136,044 members.
I think the decline of the Baptist church is happening for two reasons. The most obvious being that less people attending church, but I think the emergence of the nondenominational Bible churches (which many are just Baptist Splenda) are stealing their memberships.