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On Communion, Vast Majority Of Southern Baptist Pastors Don't Follow Denomination's Stance

Only 4 percent limit Lord's Supper to baptized church members.

A new survey from LifeWay Research indicates that the vast majority of Southern Baptist pastors observe communion in ways that violate their denomination's guiding faith statement.

The Baptist Faith and Message (BFM), last revised in 2000, stipulates that baptism "is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper"–the denomination's terminology for communion–which is a symbolic act for "members of the church." But according to LifeWay's survey of 1,066 Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) pastors, 96 percent of SBC churches allow non-members to participate in communion, and only 35 percent restrict communion who those who have been baptized.

LifeWay emphasizes the stats are a research finding, not a statement on denominational health. "Clearly, though, this survey points out a difference between the beliefs expressed in the [BFM], and the Lord's Supper practices of many Southern Baptist churches," said director Scott McConnell.

Roger S. Oldham, the SBC's vice president ...

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