Regenerate Church Membership

John Hammett is a professor of theology at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he has presented a lecture on regenerate church membership that you need to hear. The title of the lecture is “Regenerate Church Membership: The Baptist Mark of the Church.” Hammett explains how Southern Baptists have lost sight of this ideal and have acquiesced to membership consisting of both believers and unbelievers. He describes the problem this way:

“The epidemic of obesity in the American population is matched by the obesity of many Baptist churches. Many can boast large numbers of members, but the majority of those members are like fat cells, not contributing to the church’s life and health, but constituting a threat to it.”

It’s a testimony to the sad condition of our churches that Hammett even has to give this lecture because the substance of Hammett’s argument is nothing more than Baptist Ecclesiology 101. It’s just the basics. Yet I fear that very few Southern Baptists today really understand what it means to be a Baptist Christian. Hammett’s lecture, therefore, is very timely indeed.

You need to hear the entire presentation because Hammett gives some helpful suggestions for pastors who would like to lead their churches toward a regenerate church membership. The audio is available from Southeastern Seminary’s website, and you can download it here:

“Regenerate Church Membership: The Baptist Mark of the Church” – John Hammett (

“Prof promotes regenerate membership” – Joy Rancatore (Baptist Press)


  • Everett

    You are right Denny. This presentation just highlights some of the ABC’s of Baptist ecclesiology. And it just goes to show that credobaptism is pragmatically no different from paedobaptism if it is not coupled with church discipline.


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