A Missiological Evaluation of Southern Baptist Multiethnic Churches in the United States

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A Missiological Evaluation of Southern Baptist Multiethnic Churches in the United States

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Title: A Missiological Evaluation of Southern Baptist Multiethnic Churches in the United States
Author: Crouse, Stephen Gary
Advisor: Greenway, Adam W.
Abstract: ABSTRACT

A MISSIOLOGICAL EVALUATION OF SOUTHERN

BAPTIST MULTIETHNIC CHURCHES

IN THE UNITED STATES

Stephen Gary Crouse, Ph.D.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 2014

Chair: Dr. Adam W. Greenway

The thesis of this dissertation is that Southern Baptist multiethnic churches

exemplify the mission of the church as revealed in the Scriptures and offer a valuable

strategy for reaching the increasingly diverse population of the United States. Chapter 1

introduces the ethnic segregation of Southern Baptist Churches and begins to establish a

missiological foundation for ethnic inclusiveness. A discussion of the research problem

including the background of the dissertation follows. The broader question of the

missiological need for multiethnic congregations in the current milieu of American

society is addressed. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the definitions of key

terms, limitations and delimitations, and the research methodology employed.

Chapter 2 explores the mission of the church and the extent to which it applies

to all peoples. The ethnic inclusiveness of the ministry of Jesus and the ethnic diversity of

the New Testament churches address the need for multiethnic Southern Baptist churches.

The chapter ends with a discussion of Paul's charge that Christ broke down the dividing

wall of separation between the Jews and Gentiles and the implications for Southern

Baptist multiethnic congregations.

The focus of chapter 3 is a historical examination of Southern Baptist

multiethnic churches. While many ethnicities are included in Southern Baptist life,

attention is limited to African Americans and Hispanics in this historical survey.

Southern Baptist churches had many African slaves among their members when the

Convention was founded. The western expansion of Southern Baptists and the United

States' acquisition of the Southwest territories following the Mexican American War led

the young Convention to initiate mission work with Hispanics. The unequal treatment

that these ethnic groups received from Anglos has lingering effects on contemporary

Southern Baptist multiethnic churches. Southern Baptist attitudes about integration and

the Civil Rights Movement also influenced ethnic relationships. Immigration policies and

socioeconomic factors that favor the majority ethnicity create obstacles for multiethnic

congregations. Contemporary Southern Baptists actions to improve ethnic relationships

are examined.

An in-depth study of Donald McGavran's homogeneous unit principle and its

impact on contemporary Southern Baptist multiethnic congregations is offered in chapter

4. This principle is scrutinized from a biblical and missiological perspective. The

implications related to cross-cultural evangelism in light of the biblical witness conclude

the chapter.

Chapter 5 segues into a critical look at worship in the twenty-six Southern

Baptist multiethnic churches used for the social research. The chapter begins by defining

worship as an integral part of the mission of the church. The need for an authoritative

standard as a reference point in navigating the challenges of leading a multiethnic

congregation to worship God is examined including data obtained through the social

research. Aspects of corporate worship and their impact on multiethnic churches are

explored based on the social research data. The chapter concludes by addressing ethnic

inclusivism in Southern Baptist multiethnic churches and exploring the biblical notion of

worshiping God in spirit and truth.

Chapter 6 offers a summation of issued raised and addressed in the

dissertation. Southern Baptist multiethnic churches offer a valuable strategy for reaching

the increasingly diverse population of the United States. Areas for further study are

suggested.

URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10392/4871
Date: 2015-03-31

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