Biblical church growth

New Warhorn Media post by Tim Bayly:


Hi Tim, you wrote:

… When a church only adds to its number by way of new believers, that church is likely to be selfish also, lacking in the marital love that fulfills God’s purpose in and through Christian marriage—“that He might seek a godly offspring”

Dumb question, perhaps, but where would you have seen this? The churches I have been in which have been strongly evangelistic in focus have had plenty of families as well.

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I can speak to this. I suspect that most of you have seen the prior example Pastor Tim offers in this piece, as I gather that most here are Presbyterians. The Presbyterian Church, what with its view of the covenant and baptism, has managed to hang on to something resembling a right view of family and childbearing even to now.

Conversely, I grew up a Baptist - a Southern Baptist - in always conservative, usually “reformed” (read: soteriologically Calvinist) churches. It was the norm in these churches to hammer home the importance of evangelism - and for folks to bring in people to hear the word preached almost every weekend. It was also the norm that every family had two children or, if the first two had been the same sex, a third if the mom had hoped for her little girl on that last try in her late 30s.

Sure, the churches hosted marriage conferences, but hardly would you find a sermon on the evils of divorce or on the good of family.

In fact, prior to the church I joined after college a decade ago, I don’t know that I know any but one family with more than three children - and these were not small churches.

This dovetails into the other topic at hand over the past few days concerning the creation mandate, especially the emphasis one of the posters there (whose name escapes me at the moment) placed on how influential dispensationalism has been on Baptist churches for the better part of two centuries.

Observationally, Baptists hew closer to the evangelistic error; Presbyterians the familial one.


Thanks, I see what you are getting at now. I grew up in a working-class Pentecostal church, which got the evangelism thing right, but which also tended to emphasise large or larger families too - and that probably because it was a working-class church.

And - as I have said before - it is the Christians which make the effort to get out there and evangelise which will then have the privilege of seeing the elect come to faith, and then have the privilege of discipling them.


Thanks for anticipating my explanations. You men got it right. Love,