#1 Do Southern Baptists Drink?
The consensus on drinking in the Southern Baptists church has evolved over time.
The chronological order of Southern Baptists’ history with alcohol goes as follows:
- In the 1800s – Southern Baptists ministers were known to make whiskey and spirits, heavily partaking in the drinking community. They would even incorporate liquor into sermons and church gatherings.
- After nation-wide Prohibition was enacted in 1920 – Southern Baptists supportively took to the transition of the 18th amendment of the U.S. Constitution, allowing temperance to strongly influence their outlook on alcohol for the next century.
At this time, substance intake became surrounded by stricter moral repercussions on all sides (from society, the government, and the church).
- In the 21st-century – Over 100 years after Prohibition and alcohol remains responsible for great debate within the Southern Baptists community. Many find it to be a sinful and weak method of intoxicating the body, desensitizing from one’s ability to be a moral disciple. In contrast, others find casual drinking to be socially acceptable.
The church has officially declared it an optional matter, allowing each member to decide for themselves, but still advises members to abstain or drink responsibly.
In a survey from Lifeway through the Baptist News Global, the views on alcohol are as follows:
- “(19) The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; (20) idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions(21) and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.” – Galatians 5:19-21.
- Why Baptists Drink but Might Not Want You to Know It– The Odyssey, Posted June 21st, 2016.
#2 Do Southern Baptists Drink Alcohol?
With studies showing that 1 in every 8 Americans is an alcoholic, the Christian religion as a whole has attempted to separate their denomination’s members from the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Preaching that alcohol’s influence disrupts the connection to God, and distract from one’s responsibilities to the family – alcohol is not formerly considered acceptable by the Southern Baptist church. With a second awakening in the early 1900s, Southern Baptists renounced associations with alcohol in the 1800s. The Southern Baptist Press states:
“In 1832, the Charleston (S.C.) Baptist Association adopted a resolution expressing “pleasure” with “the progress of temperance, and of entire abstinence in the use of ardent spirits,” according to the association’s minutes. The association recommended churches “unite” in supporting “this good cause.”’
Eva Lenow, an ethics professor at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, writes about the modern take on consumption after being predisposed by passages from Proverbs and Ephesians:
“I believe we are seeing a change from total abstinence to a trend of acceptance of alcohol among Southern Baptists. The emphasis has moved from warnings about alcohol to highlighting Christian freedom.”
- “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit,” Ephesians 5:18.
- (9) Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men. (10) Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. (11)And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” – 1 Corinthians 6:9-11.
- Why Do Baptists Abstain from Alcohol as a Beverage? – Pastor Scott Ingram
#3 Do Southern Baptists Believe in Predestination?
With the inception of Baptism originating from American Settling colonies in the 17th century, the official denomination was recognized in 1845 after a nation-wide dispute regarding slavery. Since these early days of the religion’s development, there have been attributes derived from the Calvinistic approach to religion, as well as the Arminianism Free Will soteriologies.
If a Fundamental Baptists leans towards being more Calvinistic, they may believe in predestination.
Modern Baptists do not publicly typically believe in predestination, but there is no official stance as prescribed by the Southern Baptists Convention regarding this issue.
From The Southern Baptists Convention’s FAQ:
“The Southern Baptist Convention has not taken an official stance on either Calvinism or Arminianism. If you surveyed Southern Baptists across the nation, you would likely find adherents at both ends of the spectrum with plenty at each point in between.”
At this point, it is up to each church and individual to determine their stance on predestination. Being that most Christians seek to live moral lives in the hopes of obtaining heavenly access in the afterlife, it could be argued that they do not believe God has a pre-determined destiny which could not be altered by free will. Man always has the free will to change his future and path.
- “(28) And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, whohave been called according to his purpose. (29) For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. (30) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.” – Romans 8:28-30.
- (11) And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.” – Romans 8:11.
- Dockery: Calvinism has Roots in SBC History – Published August 7th, 2012 by The Baptist Courier.
- On The Issues: Predestination – Russell Moore, posted July 23rd, 2019. Description snippet: “Even though I am more Calvinistic, I think that the central point that Arminians make is true: we do have freedom. Regardless of your position, we all must remember that this doctrine is not meant to be an abstract mental exercise.”
#4 Do Southern Baptists Celebrate Lent?
Formally, the Southern Baptist religion does not participate in Lent (the 40-day penance of voluntary sacrifice). Still, a growing number of young members observe lent and forego something to recognize Jesus Christ’s martyrdom.
A large characteristic of the Southern Baptists religion is that they are quite flexible to open-ended and abstract opinions on broad issues. This has created some backlash against their collective ability to create a stance (or lack thereof), but it leads to a very open-minded and non-authoritarian leadership style that negates rebellion (often seen in stricter religions that require obligatory sacrifices).
Although they are deep-southern-based Christians that hold strong morals and rules about what is ethical and best for the human spirit, The Southern Baptist Convention is also a group that allows its members to utilize a great deal of free will, seen in the option to drink, the option to believe in predestination, and the option to participate in lent – each left up to the individuals discretion.
There are no scriptures discussing lent, as it was created much later as a symbolic practice.
- Being that lent is an option and not an obligation, (as it is within many other Christian religions), there is mild debate over this seasonal ritual. Pastor Bart Barber writes on SBC Voices in his piece, ‘Why I Encourage People Not to Observe Lent:’
“I’ll be uncharacteristically brief about this:
Lent is not in the Bible, nor anything resembling it.
Movement toward Lent is movement away from the idea that the New Testament should give us the pattern for ecclesiastical celebrations or individual spiritual formation.”
- To offer each side of this debate, Steven R. Harmon writes of his pro-lent, Baptist perspective on Christianity Today:
“Baptists not only can but should observe Lent, because it will help them take up the cross and follow Christ in the midst of a suffering world.”
- Ash Wednesday and Lent – Belief Net
- What is Lent and Why Do Christians Practice It? – Published by Thomas Nelson Bibles, posted on March 11th, 2019.
#5 Do Southern Baptists Dance?
Each Southern Baptist church is autonomous from an overriding authority, meaning that each church and individual may determine their own stance on the matter of dance.
Despite the Bible mentioning dance in a positive light, the sexual and temptation-ridden nature of dance can cause some fundamentalist or stricter Baptists to view it as an unholy and unwarranted exercise.
Depending on the Southern Baptist church or family that you are raised in, the stances range from:
- Dancing is forbidden
- Dancing is cautioned against as an immoral temptation
- Dancing is a form of beauty
It is a personal decision and a private judgment.
- Dancing Baptists? – Baptistsnews.com; Published August 5th, 2015.
- “There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,” – Ecclesiastes 3:2-4
#6 Do Southern Baptists Believe in The Rapture?
Stated eloquently by Southern Baptist leader, Russell Moore:
“We all believe in the Second Coming of Jesus, but we don’t all see eye-to-eye on the timing of the Rapture, and so forth. We all believe in both the sovereignty of God and in the responsibility of human beings, but we don’t all agree on how those two fit together.”
There are many loose-ends within the perspectives on large issues in the SBC denomination.
Accepting that they all have varying opinions, there is a great deal of ‘gray’ area within this religion, with less ‘black and white’ authority on what is right or wrong for its members to believe. The larger issues, which are more conjectural and conceptual, are often left up to personal interpretation.
A study conducted by Lifeway Research, (as posted by The Baptist Press), found the varying opinions pertaining to the rapture, anti-Christ, and the quandary of if he has risen or not:
More than half of Protestant Pastors believe that Christ will arise sometime in the future (with The Southern Baptist Convention being the Largest Protestant Denomination in the U.S., accounting for 5.3% of the U.S. population).
- “(29)Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
(30)And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
(31)And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” – Matthew 24:29-31.
- ‘Satan Promised The Southern Baptists and Evangelicals The Rapture – ATLAH Worldwide, published May 12th, 2020.
#7 Do Southern Baptists Celebrate Easter?
Despite most SBCs not practicing Lenten Season (ending after six weeks on Holy Saturday, which is the day before Easter Sunday), Southern Baptists do openly celebrate Easter.
The main two holidays that The Southern Baptists recognize for their religious-roots are:
Similar to Catholics, Anglicans, and other Christian denominations – Baptists will celebrate Easter with a church gathering, a familial or community feast, and egg hunting for the children.
The main religions that do not celebrate Easter and outright reject the holiday include:
- Messianic Jews
- Puritan-descended Presbyterians
- Jehovah’s Witnesses
Most others embrace Easter as a very holy day to pay tribute to Jesus Christ’s Sacrifice and resurrection.
· “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:25-26.
- Why We Can Celebrate Easter Everyday – Published by the Berean Baptists Church on April 16th, 2020.
- Protestant Churches Find Easter Renewal in Older Rituals – Published by The News Observer on April 5th, 2015.
#8 Do Southern Baptists Speak in Tongues?
Speaking in tongues, also known as glossolalia, was banned by Southern Baptists and formerly disqualified missionary applicants automatically. This policy was revised in 2015 following the approval of the denomination’s International Mission Board that reversed the tongues-chastising policy instated a decade prior.
Although speaking in tongues is seen by some as a way to communicate to God, others see it as a possessed-like state that can be interpreted as satanic. Even though the Southern Baptist community does not punish, excommunicate, or reject missionaries for this practice anymore – It is still not openly embraced by the SBC church.
- It Took 10 Years – But Southern Baptists Will Now Accept Missionaries Who Speak in Tongues – Published by Opentheword.org. May 20th, 2015.
- “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (2) For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. (3) But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (4) Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church. (5)I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be edified.” – 1 Corinthians 14.
- Southern Baptists Who Speak in Tongues – Part 1 – Dr. Scott Camp on TBN – June 19th, 2014.
- What is the Gift of Tongues – Is Speaking in Tongues the Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Published by Southern Seminary; Posted February 24th, 2020.
#9 Do Southern Baptists Believe in The Trinity?
Yes, Southern Baptists believe in:
- God as the Father
- God as the Son
- God as the Holy Spirit
SBC distinguishes these three divisions of God’s essence to be one interconnected God, split into three entities.
There are varying beliefs on which third of this trinity is most powerful, some Christians determining that God is the superior authority governing the Son and Holy Spirit; however, Southern Baptists feel that all three of these are equivalent in sacredness and authority, not placing God above the Son or the Holy Spirit.
- “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My [Jesus’] name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” – John 14:26.
- “However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him.” – Romans 8:9.
- “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.” – 2 Corinthians 13:14.
- What We Believe – The Calvary Baptist Church – Uploaded January 31st, 2001.
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