Churches try varied ways to approach question of membership and baptism

Baptism and local church membership have been inextricably linked historically in the minds of many Baptists. But that view is shifting as a decline in denominational loyalty and the easy movement of American Christians among churches of all stripes have created what writer Phyllis Tickle is calling the “great emergence”—a swirling convergence of denominational traditions toward a spiritual Christian core.

Analysis: Should Baptist churches adopt open membership? No.

Should Baptist churches be encouraged to adopt open membership, or are there good reasons for not doing so? I would like to offer five of the latter.

Analysis: Should Baptist churches adopt open membership? Yes.

Perhaps the time has come for Baptists today to ask in the same spirit whether or not Methodists, Catholics, Presbyterians and others who are genuinely committed disciples of Jesus Christ are true Christians and have been accepted by the grace of the Triune God into the one universal church.

Believer’s baptism— sacrament or symbolic ordinance?

When Jesus commanded his followers to go and make disciples, baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19), the earliest believers clearly understood baptism to be an important expression of faithfulness to him. Baptists stand in this heritage.

What happens when Baptists cannot agree about baptism?

If Baptists—in all their diversity—cannot agree on baptism, some theologians wonder what is left to unite them.

Musician helps young girls realize God’s design on their lives

As Francesca Battistelli performs concerts around the country, she shares life lessons, hoping to encourage young girls with the message that God has a plan and purpose for their lives—and they should settle for nothing less than what God has designed for them.Video Included

Spring marks the opening of the ‘Church of Baseball’

On Easter Sunday, 50,000 people packed into Angel Stadium in Anaheim, Calif.,and heard Pastor Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., compare the striking similarities between baseball and religious life.

Barna: Four in 10 'unchurched' have been hurt by churches

Nearly four of every 10 "unchurched" Americans avoid worship because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people, according to new research by The Barna Group.

Faith Digest

Muslim and Sikh groups praised the Transportation Security Administration for rolling back screening rules on passengers arriving from 14 primarily Islamic countries, even as some worry that profiling will continue.

A culture of debt, a culture of thrift

Hard work, thrift and philanthropy seem counter-cultural in a time and place where debt is pervasive, with individuals, families, companies and even the government borrowing increasing amounts of money.

Barbie gets ordained, and she has the wardrobe to match

With her careers as veterinarian, astronaut and U.S. president behind her, Barbie has at last found her true calling—as an Episcopal priest.

Michigan Hutaree militia a cult, experts say

Nine members of the Hutaree "Christian" militia in Michigan have been charged with planning to kill a local law enforcement officer and to attack the resulting funeral procession, targeting law enforcement vehicles with improvised explosive devices.Video Included

Christians outside the West view Scripture differently

Christians in the developing nations read Scripture differently than their brothers and sister in the affluent West, according to missiologist Caleb Oladipo.

Reading the Bible through the eyes of poverty yields different interpretations

Status in society can influence how people read and interpret the Bible—and often how they will act on it, according to some Christian leaders.

Churches wrestle with drop in donations

The number of churches that reported a drop in giving due to the sour economy rose nearly 10 percent last year, according to new survey.
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