Tuesday, 08 January 2013
By The Closet Calvinist
Spontaneous Baptisms: I came across this document a year or so ago, from a well known, very rapidly growing megachurch. It gives some insights into their practices. I shared it on Twitter last week, though I had the Google Document permissions where having a link wasn’t sufficient to be able to open the document. Given the demand for it, I thought I would give a short write-up here.
Baptists love seeing new baptisms. So much so that Southern Baptist churches report them along with their annual attendance to the Southern Baptist Convention. We should all love, and celebrate baptisms, even if we don’t all agree with the Baptists as to the meaning, mode, or proper recipients. To all Christians though, a baptism shows growth in the Church, new souls entering into the Kingdom, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ going forth.
The seeker driven guys love baptisms even more than the Baptists. To many, and especially to them, it is a sign of success and many believe it to be God’s favor on the church.
A few years ago Elevation Church in Charlotte, North Carolina amazed the world* with the number of baptisms they had in a matter of a couple of weeks. And, most of the people who were baptized decided to be spontaneously. Those attending Elevation deem this one of pastor Steven Furtick’s many accomplishments.
Other seeker driven churches were amazed at these numbers and apparently overwhelmed The Furtick with questions as to how all of this happened. So, The Furtick, or a member of his staff, put together a document explaining it. (And providing some interesting statistics.)
If one examines this document they will see that these spontaneous baptisms were spontaneous decisions by some, but I would argue they are as spontaneous as my decision to buy a candy bar is when I’m waiting in line at Wal-Mart. You know they do put the candy bars in the check-out line for a reason, right?
Give it a read for yourself and I think you’ll see what I mean. Pay close attention to the plants they used to motivate others into spontaneously being baptized.
Spontaneous Baptisms Kit (That is the original name of the document, I did not rename it.)
I hope that Elevation is the first, and only, to practice this manipulation, but I don’t think they are. I think it is a new low, but seeker driven churches using manipulative practices is far from being new.
- One may sense a double meaning with “the world” above, yes, that is intended.
- I am indebted to Fake Richard Dawkins for the clever use of the proper definite article when referring to The Furtick. His Twitter is hilarious, when he tweets, I would suggest following him.
- To make it abundantly clear, I do not endorse these methodologies, I oppose them. Nor do I endorse Steven Furtick, or seeker driven churches.