is an editorial opinion that
was aired over WRCG in Columbus, GA.
WRCG is truly one of a kind station.
Though WRCG is not a "Christian Radio
Station", it has a high standard of journalism and programing.
IMARC wants to thank Mr. Chuck McClure, former owner of WRCG, for
giving us the privilege of posting this editorial.
Once again he tells the truth.
Thanks WRCG and Mr. McClure.
My wife and I went to Maine
this past fall to see the leaves. Sunday came and we
went to the first Church we found. There was no sign denoting
its denomination. We listened to a good sermon, met some
nice people, and found that we were in a Baptist Church.
A recent "associated press"
story indicated that this is a trend. It seems that many
protestant Churches are concealing their denominational
affiliation from potential parishioners in an
effort to place more bodies into the pews.
In Austin, Texas, the Trinity
Baptist Church changed its name a year ago to the
Fellowship of Forest Creek, and has since seen
its membership rise by 240. Pastor Roddy Clyde explains
that to the unchurched the term "Baptist" has a
"negative connotation." Pastor Clyde says, "I'm not ashamed
to be a Baptist, but a brand name can be a hinderance. Some
people mistakenly associate the Baptist name with an angry,
judgmental brand of fundamentalism." At the same time pastor
Clyde assures everyone that his Church is still a member in
good standing of the Southern Baptist Convention and does
not deviate from Baptist doctrine in any way.
To which I reply, it's
a good thing for pastor Clyde that Churches aren't
covered by the "Truth in Labeling" law. If his Church has
really put on a non-denominational facade, only to fill
new parishioners with Baptist doctrine, that Church is
guilty of the old "bait-and-switch" routine. But what's more
likely in the long run is that this Church will cater to
newcomers by watering down its Baptist doctrine while
still remaining affiliated with the national denomination.
But isn't that false advertising too?
name changing Churches would doubtedly recoil
at being accused of duplicity. They would reply that they
are merely employing a good business pratice in a consumer
oriented society. That may be true, but it's not what
this Christian believes a Church should do.
This has been Chuck McClure
for Emphasis '99.