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Shrinking Churches and Other Interesting Stuff from the Web

links%208.jpgThe statistics are in.  The United Methodist Church has declined in membership every year since 1979.  In the last three years alone, the UMC has lost 185,000 members.  Meanwhile, the "trans-gendered" Methodists held a news conference in during the general conference of Methodists in Fort Worth.  Of course, stuff like that has nothing whatsoever to do with the UMC's decline.  Click here: UMC's membership steadily declining (

The Southern Baptists have also suffered a numerical decline--the number of baptisms last year was the lowest in a decade.  I'll leave it up to my readers to speculate about the reasons for the decline.  Click here: RNS Feature: "Southern Baptists report lowest baptism rate in a decade"

In the bitter irony department, the Chinese have discovered one of those factories making stuff for Target was also making "Free Tibet" flags!  Yes, capitalism has its downside.  Click here: BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'Free Tibet' flags made in China

Finally, someone is investigating one of life's greatest mysteries.  Why do ghosts wear clothes?  Especially old ratty ones.  Click here: Why Are Ghosts Seen Wearing Clothes?  

Reader Comments (30)

Perhaps the SBC has taken to baptizing only the truly regenerate? That's not a dig - I'm a Baptist!<grin> - but you get the idea.
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPB
The denomination I was raised in, the PCUSA (then UPC) has the Methodists beat. They've lost membership steadily for at least 40 straight years. I remember talk of it in when I was a kid in the '60s.

Eventually there will be nothing left for a lefty pagan core.
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterlee n. field
Probably most denominations are losing some membership simply because there are fewer and fewer Christians in this country.

But, Kim made a great point a while back, when he stated that Lutherans do what they do very well, and the Reformed do what they do very well. When either side embraces the church growth techniques, they are attempting to become something that they are not. In that case, you can expect mass defections. (You can't fool the people. They can smell a dead fish a mile away!)
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLLOYD
""Southern Baptists report lowest baptism rate in a decade"

But the rededication and rebaptism rate is thru the roof!!! ;)
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMicah Burke
One thing that really helps us (WELS), is that close to 40% of our churches have schools. This, on our part is viewed as a great outreach, and it keeps a steady influx of young families joining our churches.
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLLOYD
Somebody please explain to me about "rebaptism." How is "rebaptism" scriptural? I have heard about people in my wife's Baptist's church who have been "rebaptised" as many as three times. Isn't this a blasphemy against the work of the Holy Spirit??

Those who have been baptized and fall away but realize their wrongful lifestyles for whatever reason and come back to confessional worship in need of another baptism??
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGeorge
Maybe I should let the Lutherans answer, but I recall Martin Luther identifying the urge to rebaptism as one of Satan's accusatory schemes against the believer.
April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPB
For a fabulous assessment of the decline in SBC churches by a professor of church history at one our seminaries, read this - it really is worth your time:

April 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug
Ghosts wear clothes because they wouldn't be scary if they were naked.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterChris L
Thank you Chris L. You made me laugh this morning with your simple observation, especially after reading all of the heavy posts above it.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDuane
I think 1979 was the year my baby-boomer parents decided to get back into organized religion, forced us to wear monogrammed sweaters and trucked us to the UMC. It lasted all of about 7 weeks; certain things seem like good ideas in the drawing boards of parents' minds, but springing moralized and feminized religion on thoroughly unchurched, uninterested, pre-pubescent boys is nothing if not packed with learning curves!

What do you know, we are probably part of those stats.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterZrim
Hi George an PB:

I am responding at work, so I don't have my theological books with me to reference. So, I'll just respond off of the top of my bald head!

Luther only believed in being baptized once. Luther taught, that when we are baptized, we receive power over death, the devil, and that it represents our salvation. Luther had a great quote. That as believers, when we are under attack by the devil, we should get out our baptismal certificates, and wave them under the nose of the devil, and say, "Aha, get away Satan, I'm saved by the blood."

Whether Luther was using hyperbole, is debatable. However, I'm sure, that as the father of the reformation, he was probably attacked in ways that we couldn't even comprehend.

You might notice, Lutherans make the sign of the Cross. That is to remind us of our salvation in baptism (John 3:5, Titus 3:5 and 1 Peter 3:20 & 21). Or if we are already saved, it reminds us of how the Lord washed away our sins in baptism (Acts 22:16). (God is the active party in baptism, not us!)

For the first 1500 years of church history, every Christian denomination practiced infant baptism. The only question that they had, was if they should wait until the third day, or do it right away. (Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, writes about his baptism as a baby.) Then around the 1500's or so, a heretical pentecostal group came along -- the anabaptist's -- and they refused to baptize infant's, and they also rebaptized the adults that were baptized as infant's. In the latter years, the Southern Baptist's and the groups that followed them (the decision theology folks), refused to baptize infant's. They also rebaptize the adults that were baptized as infant's.

If you look at just a few of the many passages on baptism (Acts 2:38 & 39, Matt. 28:19), there is not an age requirment anywhere for baptism. (We are by nature children of wrath, and we all have origianl sin in Adam -- Rom. 5.) Everyone needs to be baptized!
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLloyd I. Cadle
Lloyd, wiser men than you or I have failed to solve the baptism dispute, so I'll not even try here!
But I do recall the story of Luther, at his lowest and most beset, resorting to the confident assertion "baptizato sum!" (I am baptized - don't know if I got the spelling right but you get the point).
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterPB
It's like I always told my niece, who was mortified that a ghost would "get" her. (Probably because she watched too much tv).
One thing we know about dead people from the bible is that they no longer have a body. Even if a ghost exists, it cannot have a body.
I always told her that a ghost couldnt get her because if it even exists, it has no arms to grab her with.
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJames Paul
yes, but how many of those Baptist Churches have been removing names from their church rolls?
How many have actually issued a church censure against any?

Anyone remember Henry Blackabee? He had this "Experiencing God" video series maybe 13-15 years ago. So, I am in the Baptist church, we are watching him teach / we were trying to stay awake of course, when suddenly he said, he didn't think a church should ever remove someone from the church rolls.

Couldn't believe my ears!
I was certainly wide awake again as well!
April 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterIvan
One Commentator pointed out that with the African Delegation being seated fully in four years the power of the liberals, primarily from CA and the Northeast, is in serious decline. Also the congregations in those two Regions are in decline, therefore their power. True many Liberal have been skillful in achieving positions of power and influence and some institutions of the UMC have been used for political and social purposes contrary to biblical standards. But, that day is coming to an end. Just as Satan knows his fate in the Lake of Fire, the liberals are squirming at the inevitability of their fate as influence peddlers. Every year and every General Conference there is ground that is being retaken. The bastions of Evangelical Orthodox Methodist churches in the other parts of the country are growing. Not as fast as the others are declining for now, but they will catch up. Yes we should call sin what it is and practice better church discipline. The easy thing to do is cut and run. But some of us see this as a holy responsibility. We will not simply give this denomination over to the enemy and turn and point our fingers and say “I got out while the getting was good”. No we will stay and fight for change back to the Wesleyan Heritage that is at the root of this denomination.
April 30, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug in Texas
KR, you've switched to a new picture of "links" -- do my eyes deceive me, or is that a disc golf basket? Are you a frolfer?
May 1, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRubeRad
Is UMC dying?

There should not be double standard of morality within the church.Church politics kills the church spirit and fellowship, eventually could destroys one church after antother in the years to come.

Torture fellow church members?
Recover Methodist mission fund abused for torture.
Although it said 5 bad reasons of tortures, there is one good reason for UMC torturers when they loot the Building Trust fund,
A group in the Korean United Methodist Church and Institute has abused the Building Trust Fund for more than a decade. In order to cover up the looting, they falsely accused me and my son as mass murders and put on the trial at NYS Supreme Court and demanded $4,000,000 damages, pushing us into the jail under the direction of Rev. Wontae Cha and his peers. Such a way they painfully tortured us,
However, Rev. Chul Woo Chang and other clergies further subsidized the abused trust fund with UMC mission fund as an incentive to the looting scandals as if exchange of Juda’s money bag.
Now, it is an appeal as well as a wakeup call to the Bishop Jeremiah Park,
Superintdent Noel Newton Chin, Rev. Chul Woo Chang and other leaders of UMC to recover the looted torture fund from the criminal looters for a moral revival. For the innocents were unjustly suffered by the cruel torturers, criminal racketeers because they tried to protect the trust fund. Without justice for the victims and accountability from the Bishop and his subordinates, these criminal offenses will continue to plague our immigrant community and UMC.
“Why the Board of Trustees in power paid their legal fees?” Do justice in Christ within the church.
The bishop with religious leaders marched against “Torture” to UN, then, Tell to UMC world. “Why did he pay to torture us?” “Which way is his way as a UMC Bishop?”
Feedback to bishop. Email;

June 3, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchae sone
Who kills this church, clergy, superintendent, or bishop?

Rev. Paul Chang, Director

The United Methodist Council on Korean-American Ministries

RE: Can Korean-American Ministry Plan ignite to burn the messy

Dear Rev. Paul Chang:


As the executive Director of the Korean American Ministry Plan, you are holding an important leadership position for the Korean churches. I understand, your honorable duty is “in building God’s kingdom in this nation and beyond,” of course including this church too.

Recently I hastily emailed to you my message which failed to be acknowledged. As the problem was directly related with the Korean ministry, I thought it demanded your attention as the important position assigned to you. Again it demands your attention.

The incident originated from the greed for money and led the church into a destructive course by the ordained clergies and some egomaniac members regardless the immoral nature of their actions. (Money laundering for illicit purposes, Mission fund abuse, doctoring minutes, faking elections, embezzlement, intimidation, politicking, etc. Special training for the trustees, elders and others could have eliminate such mishaps)

They unconscionably financed the litigation with the stolen church money against the innocent family for their evil purposes. The end result was that they tortured the innocent members in the court with attempted murder charges to cover up the looting of the Building Trust Fund and other abuses. According to the judge, the episcopacy ominously deceived his honor as if the case church related.

Now the church should, at least, be able to recover the abused money for the church from the abusers as partial restoration of justice, law and order in the church.

On July 6th Sunday, during the services, Rev. Chul Woo Chang painfully described the communist cruelty that executed his pastor uncle and tortured his nephews in the labor camp in order to achieve the Marxist utopian goal.

In the attached court case, Steve Park and his colleagues employed much more cruel tactics than the communists to loot the church money. They sued us to be sent into the jail as murderers. The communists persecuted them as they did not follow them. But the church guys paradoxically persecuted the innocent members who did follow the church rules but their crooked way. Under the circumstances, Rev. Chang’s intention is questionable why he is stalling the audit to clear the complex abused money problems.

Rev. Chul Woo Chang and Bishop Jeremiah J. Park were expected to resolve this matter in a graceful way. But their conflicts of interests seem to have clouded their transparency before God.

Their apathy could be considered a danger signal to the accountabilities of the UMC and the Korean Christian community as if the salt lost its taste.

The young leaders like you should do an objective analysis such incidents and accordingly upgrade the civility of the Korean ministry.

This church has been in a situation like Zimbabwe which made the preaching a mockery for a decade. Who can stop this mockery? I believe you ought to do it as you are in the vital leadership position.

In any event, this church should not be left alone as a black-marketing. The situation was created by the ordained clergies and so called church officers. However, these characters are still active in the power structure of UMC, which challenges you as the director as well as other clergy bureaucrats. Faith should be able to penetrate into the apathetic system. Obama phenomena can be said nothing but a reflection of the genuine human desire longing for a new sign. Can you ignite it?

The attached message is a petition to Bishop Park to recover the misused church funds outside the Bible zone. We should not allow anyone to mock the teachings of Christ in the name of the church.

Please let the Bishop implement the audit and to investigate the criminal racketeering in this historic Korean United Methodist Church and Institute and restore law and order in the name of Christ.

Please share the message with other leaders in honor of our Christian way of life for a renewal. The Korean clergies have duty to remove the dark shameful images from this historic church.

Thus, the Korean-American Ministry Council can initiate its moral duty in honor and in ever more graceful ways. If not, “These stones will cry out.”

Remember a UMC slogan, “Open heart, open mind, open door.” Is any door open? I hope you can say, “Yes.”

Please contact if you need further information.

May God bless you.

Chae S. Sone

A petition to Bishop Jeremiah J. Park to recover misused Church money

Dear Bishop Jeremiah J. Park:

Current and earlier events need the attention of your office because they will test the meaning of Christian values and of honor among Koreans.

Recently, you advocated, “No torture”, and with other religious luminaries you have marched to the United Nations to protest against the torture and abuse of suspected terrorists held at U.S. facilities in Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan. However, why have you not condemn the torture and abuse of the innocent members within your church?

Unwittingly it seems to appear the double standard of morality in the episcopacy as you overlooked the torture agony within a Methodist church.

In any event, the church should not be let alone in a Mafia image under your jurisdiction.

More specifically, Mr. Steve Park, and other church officers, had deliberately and consistently tortured and abused my family for many years while the church remained silent. He and his church underlings used the church’s name and trust fund to malign my family and me in order to rid of us from the church. It was to cover up the looting of the church money.

For instance, for one of the three frivoouls lawsuits, Mr. Park falsely accused my son and me that we planned to kill him, his family, his attorney, and other church members in one of his court depositions:

12 A “He said watch out, you asshole,
13 Specifically said you asshole, you watch out, if
14 You don’t watch your step; I’m going to kill you.
5 A “I’m going to kill your whole family.”
6 Q That’s what Dr. Sone said to you?
7 A “Yes.”
P. 62; 9-17, 21-23.
9 Q You’re claiming that Dr. Sone
10 threatened to kill you and your whole family?
11 A “Yes.”

Furthermore, he substantiated his assertion that more than 10 persons had witnessed our threats to murder. His witnesses included Reverend Wontae Cha, Y. S. Kim, K. D. Shin, Y. H. Lee, Y. J. Kim, D. J. Chun, Paul Choi, Y. J. Kwon, and I. C. Lee.

Rev. Cha is a good colleague of yours according to information.

Because of his false allegations, my son and I were on trial at the New York State Supreme Court in Nassau County. He used the church’s funds to finance his lawsuit against us. In his lawsuit, Mr. Park also demanded $4,000,000 in damages, while pushing us into the jail as felons.

His lawsuit had nothing to do with the church and was simply a personal vendetta against us. My only offense against Rev. Cha, Mr. Park and others was to strictly observe my fiduciary duty as the chairman of the Board to protect the church’s Building Fund. Nevertheless, according to the court records, officials from the church hierarchy and Steven Park had deceived the judge as if the case was a church-related during an ex-parte conference.

Now, Bishop Jeremiah J. Park must be responsible to identify the persons who were at the secretive meeting with the judge. He must investigate all and any conspiracy against the church and its members. The bishop’s actions matter much with the prestige of the episcopacy.

The year 2008 is the 87th anniversary of the Korean United Methoidst Church and Institute. Bishop Jeremiah J. Park, Reverend Won Tae Cha, Steven Park, Young So Kim and other such characters one day must come to the church and faithfully explain to the worshippers for the justification of the looting for either personal gain or criminal racketeering against the innocent loyal members.

The cowardly leadership owes an explanation to the fellow church members about the mismanagement of church finances: For example, an $180,000 building renovation contract lost for nothing. It only enriched the related parties. Or, another example when the chairman of the board of trustees embezzled $70,000 he is awarded with church money to pay for his legal fees and for part of his embezzlement. Also his faction paid the fines for the sanctions and the contempt of court with the trust fund although they had to pay. Another irony is Methoidst Mission Fund donated $50,000 to the trust as if an incentive to the looting

The judge and NYS Attorney General advised to recover the funds from the abusers. But, why anyone in the church leadership has done anything about these malfeasances?

Now, the time has come to your office to clarify the ultimate moral issues. On July 15, 2007, the church decided to hire a certified public accountant (excluding Korean CPA) to audit the church finances starting from year 2000. The audit is to determine if any fraud has occurred. But, since then, Reverend Chang, the current pastor, who is a friend of yours according to information, has not yet started it.

The church must recover the stolen funds from Mr. Park and the embezzlers. Perhaps, the church may file an insurance claim for the stolen funds so that the insurance company can compensate them. But, you, the bishop, must enforce church rules and order to help this church recover financially as well as morally. Otherwise, the church has no standing as “a light house” to the dark world.

Now, remember that any decent mind cannot allow our historic church to be built on the foundation of the age-old scandals, but on “the rock”. Most of all, the church should be liberated from evil capitulation still in power. If Mr. Park and others like him have succeeded to scapegoat the church scandals on an innocent family, then they would have said, “Halleluiah!!” The church should be maintained as a house of prayer, but a “den of robbers.” (Matthew 21; 13)

Without any further delay, you must recognize that the Korean United Methodist Church and Institute has been under the control of the spiritually-dead clergies and criminals who are filled with demons, falsehoods, hatreds, and deception. It does appear to be a moral crisis of the Korean Church, the NY Annual Conference, and, perhaps, the United Methodist denomination.

I am praying for your spiritual victory in good faith and for the renewal of our historic church. The Book of Discipline guarantees open meetings and free speech. Why can’t we have an open debate for the renewal at the church or a public media? The congregation wants your spiritual leadership as the bishop of the NY Annual Conference as well as the top church leader of the Korean immigrant Christian community.

Please let me remind your office that it is my duty and mission to continuously protect the church’s common interests, according to the church’s rules and the Christian teachings. That is my only way to seek justice and to restore our family name as I have learned from the church throughout my life.
Alas! The church is spiritually, morally broken as it is now.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Chae S. Sone and family

Please forward the e-mail petition to:
Reverend Jeremiah J. Park, Bishop
New York Annual Conference
White Plains, New York
e-mail address:

Reverend Chul Woo Chang
e-mail address:

Let us pray for the Bishop to do His will accordingly. Especially it is a wakeup call for Korean Christian community – It is a cyber age.
August 1, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchae s. sone
Why the pastor is stalling the audi of the trust fundt from 2000?

Why the pastor and his staff do not help him to audit it as decided on July 15 2000 that CPA (excldig Korean CPA) should be hired for it.
August 31, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterchae s. sone

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