By Ben Stratton
Back in April I posted a comment by Ben about using the Baptist name label. He has recently expressed it in more detail. Ben is Southern Baptist (pastor of the Farmington Baptist Church, Farmington, Kentucky), so he approaches it directly from that perspective. Nevertheless, it applies to the broader Baptist family as well.
Why Should Baptist Churches Keep the “Baptist” Label in Their Names?
1. It is ethically honest. Most of the Southern Baptist churches dropping the Baptist label have the attitude “We’re Baptist, just don’t tell anybody.” How is this being truthful?
2. It encourages interest in doctrine and history. I don’t know of any churches that have dropped the “Baptist” name that are strong on Baptist / Bible doctrine or Baptist distinctives. Most are weaker than dishwater on the topic!
3. The Baptist name is NOT a deterrent to evangelism or church growth. This is a strawman argument. In every region of the United States you can find churches with “Baptist” in their name that are growing and doing well in reaching people for Christ. The reason our Southern Baptist churches are not growing is not their name, but the lack of prayer, evangelism, biblical preaching, etc. in our churches.
4. It is less confusing. What are the popular names that Southern Baptist churches are using today? Cross Point, Hope Church, Cross Roads, Eagles Church, etc. Now you have Assemblies of God, Methodist, Presbyterian, Lutherans, etc. using those same names. How are you supposed to know what that church believes?