Ed Stetzer, President of LifeWay Research, has posted a response on his blog dealing extensively to David Allen’s criticism of NAMB and LifeWay Research. I encourage you to read Stetzer’s detailed explanation as well as research ethics behind the study. Stetzer concludes with these words:
It is my hope that this response to Allen’s review will be received in the spirit it is offered. Dr. Allen’s concern about Calvinism is clearly known–one can just Google “David Allen and Calvinism” and it is quite clear. As stated in my introduction to this response, no study is perfect. However, this study is the best we have and the statistical analysis is sound.
[ . . .] To be honest, I am among those who are concerned about the lack of evangelistic passion, practical training, and leadership ability I see in some Calvinists graduating from seminary. Simply put, these are not the results I expected. However, in the world of reearch we report what the numbers are, not what we think they should be. We present the numbers and, yes, we can give our evaluation and opinion of the numbers. However, they are what they are. I can’t change them to prove my point or make someone else happy. Facts are our friends, even when they show a different conclusion than we expected.
In closing, let me make the same exhortation I made at the “Building Bridges” conference where our conclusions were presented. Our results demonstrate that neither the Calvinist camp nor the non-Calvinist camp can claim superiority in baptism rates. And worse yet, an average annual baptism rate of 8-9 persons per 100 members is nothing to be proud about, regardless if you are a Calvinist or not. I think we can all agree that the world is in desperate need of the redemption accomplished by Christ on the cross. It is in need of the Savior. So let us be about the business of preaching Christ crucified, calling men, women and children to repent and believe in the gospel.
I will leave it at that. And, my hope is that all will read this in the spirit I offer it. Let’s join hands and help all kinds of Southern Baptists to do their evangelism more faithfully.
Amen, Ed. Although, I am not wearing a suit and tie. 😉