Why Aren’t Baptists Baptizing People Anymore?

The Atlantic has put together this interesting look at Southern Baptists (which they call a “sect”) and the decline of their namesake. The reported number of Southern Baptist baptisms peaked in 1999 and, since then, has plummeted.

While some of that can be attributed to declining church attendance in general, the rate of baptism is falling off much more sharply than general church attendance, and it was already declining back in the Southern Baptist heydays of 2005. The number of Southern Baptists in America has dropped by about a million in the last decade (from 16.6 million to 15.8 million) but the number of baptisms has fallen by nearly 25%. The Southern Baptist Convention has been investigating the decline since 2012, and have since determined that “We have a spiritual problem.” The trend is markedly higher among younger churchgoers: “In 2012, 60 percent of churches reported that they didn’t baptize anyone aged 12 to 17, and 80 percent reported they had either zero or one baptism of someone aged 18-29” …

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