Tuesday, May 1, 2007

But Some of the CP Money Is Ours!

In the present debates over SBC matters and in past debates during the Conservative Resurgence and before, one popular argument against SBC standards-setting has suggested that, since some of the money given through the Cooperative Program comes from people who disagree with SBC decisions, the SBC has an obligation either not to make such decisions, not to abide by its decisions, or not to accept any CP money from those who disagree. I think this will be quite simple to explain: The SBC works exactly the same way that your church works (if it practices Congregationalism). Your church freely receives contributions from any member (and probably some other people) who wish to give it. Your church receives that money with no strings attached. Your church fairly makes decisions regarding how that money will be spent. Every member has an opportunity to voice an opinion in that process of making decisions. Not every member has equal influence in your church (because the congregation gives more credence to the opinions of some), but every member has equal opportunity to influence your church. At the end of that process, the result of the decision-making process solely determines how the money will be spent. The fact that a person contributed part of the money to the budget does not mean that the final decision must accommodate that person's desires. I cannot come to church and say, "Our Sunday School class wanted nine-foot ceilings instead of eight-foot ceilings. Although the majority of the new building may have eight-foot ceilings, some portion of the facility must have nine-foot ceilings to respect our wishes, since, after all, some of that money came from us." No, we don't receive money that way and we don't make decisions that way in our churches. Neither do we do so in our conventions. Your church probably has a lot of members who would not be eligible for the various employed positions of the church. You may even have entire Sunday School classes or Bible study groups without a single qualified member. Yet your church still receives the offerings of those people and does not in the least consider itself to be violating the rights of those members to do so. The SBC is not a church, but in this particular case it operates just as churches do. If it is fair for our churches to operate this way, why not the SBC?

72 comments:

selahV said...

Bart: makes sense to me. I gave my money to God not the church. The church has committees and folks who delegate and pray over all we give and how it should be spent. I can't imagine our church functioning very well if every person in the church got to pick and choose where each and every cent is spent. Some folks are only interested in one area of ministry while other could care less.

I would guess most churches pray over how much they shall designate to the CP. If they aren't happy with the SB leadership decisions, I suppose they can do what they are doing: Complain and try to change things. Wish so much stuff didn't all boil down to money and who gets what for what...but it does. Glad I'm only accountable for one vote and me. I truly appreciate those who prayerfully and diligently serve the SBC in all phases of leadership. They are saints of the highest order, in my opinon. selahV

Wade Burleson said...

Bart,

Let's suppose in your illustration that a member of a Southern Baptist church gives $100,000 to pay for members of his church to do mission work in Costa Rica, with the stipulation that of the 100 people who can go to the mission field from his church ($1,000 per person), the donor asks that two of his grandchildren have their way covered by the money he has given. The two grandchildren are members of the church in question, both in their twenties, both Christians, both affirmed the statement of faith the church has adopted, and both are members in good standing.

However, the pastoral staff contacted the two grandchildren, and asked them if they had 'a private prayer language.' The two grandchildren had never made an issue of it, nobody in the church knew they did, but to be truthful to those asking, they answered yes. The pastors arbitrarily determined, without church approval, that because the two grandchildren answered honestly a question about their private prayer life that they were 'not qualified' to go on the Costa Rica mission trip.

What do you think will happen to future donations from the grandfather to his church.

They will dry up faster than a runny noze on Sudafed.

Extrapolate out to the convention. I think my illustration parallels the reality of our convention more than yours.

Paul said...

Bart,

I agree with you. However, you wrote: "Every member has an opportunity to voice an opinion in that process of making decisions." But that is precisely what has not happened in regards to the ppl and baptism policies.

It seems that a better analogy, to use your illustration, is that the building committee made the decision on eight foot ceilings quite apart from the church at large and when someone objected the building committee simply said that they knew what the preference of the church as a whole was and acted accordingly. If you don't like eight foot ceilings then elect a new building committee. Of course, in the mean time construction must continue and by the time a new building committee is elected the eight-foot ceilings will have already been installed.

And it seems to me that that is not the congregationalism of the local church, but is a sort-of presbyterianism.

Alan Cross said...

Bart,

Your lack of congregationalism on this issue surprises me. I thought we were in agreement on this issue! :) I know a little about church budgets and how we do things, at least in our church. If even 10% of our church vociferously opposed the action of our church leadership in regard to spending money, we would stop the train until we had some type of agreement. We would talk it through. We would pray. We would fast. We would seek God and His wisdom. We would consider the position of the other people and we would give everyone a chance to speak into it. If only 10% really oppose something, at least in our church (we have regenerate church membership and spiritually minded people), I would consider that to be a huge caution. We might end up with the same decision in the end, but we would not disenfrancshise people just because they held a minority view.

Churches who do that do not last long. Neither do Conventions.

Bart Barber said...

SelahV,

Thanks. We agree.

Phil and Mary Ann said...

Wade

Your question is very practical and maybe the reality, but should practice determine one's theology or should one's theology determine one's practice? If one’s theology determines one’s practice then whether one loses or gains money should not even be the question.

Phil

Bart Barber said...

Wade,

In such a situation, what would need to happen is some process for determining what are the wishes of the congregation on the issue. With that information, one would have much better information about what to do, wouldn't he?

Even if a decision is fair, one must still ask the question whether it is wise. Determining the wisdom of such a situation, as I'm sure we all know from the delicate task of pastoring, often involves assessing how much division a decision will cause and how difficult it would be to accommodate a minority viewpoint—cost-benefit analysis.

Yet even at that, if for some reason the entire congregation is dead-set against letting the grandchildren go, I don't think we can scrap our polity to placate the man in our congregation wearing the gold ring.

Bart Barber said...

Paul,

Indeed, I will be thrilled to see the process come to fruition and give us a definitive statement from the messengers on these issues.

Bart Barber said...

Alan,

We, as well, try to build consensus. However, our efforts to do so are never tied to anything so crass as the idea that someone has given money toward a project.

Alan Cross said...

Bart,

Nor are ours. My point is that you should listen to those who are in opposition if you want to express to them that they are valuable and have a contribution to make. This doesn't mean that you are taken hostage, but it does mean that there is a way for everyone to speak into the process. Once that is done, if the church decides on a course, then they should go forward understanding the relational consequences that might occur. Of course, the opposition also has a responsibility before the Lord regarding their behavior as well.

Money is not the issue. Fellowship is.

Bart Barber said...

Alan,

I have made rather passionate appeals for all to be involved in the process and to express themselves clearly. Surely all present on Saturday know where I stand on that point.

The title and the text of this Original Post were designed to target specifically the argument that a church's contributions through the CP automatically entitle it not to a role in the decision-making process, but to concessions in the decisions themselves.

David Rogers said...

I think this post and the various comments are really getting to the core of the issue we are facing with the SBC and the IMB.

For me, the issue is not primarily denominational unity. I would hope that we all, as individual believers and congregations, as well as a denomination, would be committed to the unity of the Body of Christ at large. However, I do not see denominational unity, in and of itself, as a spiritual value per se.

The main issue is rather one of stewardship. Can the task at hand be better accomplished by PPL-practicers and non-PPL-practicers working together than it can working apart?

The genius of the Cooperative Program is joining together churches who can agree on the basics, though differing on tertiary matters, in order to more effectively, (i.e. with better stewardship) work towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission.

There are certain issues where our convictions are so important that we cannot compromise them on the altar of a supposed greater effectiveness. I personally believe inerrancy is one these issues. It is in the long run better to work under a more "narrow tent" than to compromise our convictions on the authority of the Word of God. We would be giving up too much to do otherwise.

Apparently, for some people, the PPL issue is of a similar nature. I do not understand why it is such a big deal for these people. My hunch is that it is due, in many cases, to a lot of misguided emotional prejudice. But I admit I could be wrong on this.

If I could be shown, however, why PPL is such a major deal for those who are opposed to allowing PPL-practicers be appointed as IMB missionaries, I would have more sympathy for their position. In such a case, it may lead to me concluding that I am with the wrong organization, and, in the name of ethical integrity, I need to find an organization more compatible with my own convictions. But, I would at least have more respect for their position, and not sense such an obligation to point out where I think it is misguided. Much in the same way I don't spend a whole lot of time debating with believers of other denominations on doctrinal points I don't share with them.

However, the thought that I might somehow or another have some amount of influence related to the wise stewardship of something as big as the Cooperative Program keeps me thinking I have a corresponding responsibility to exercise that influence for the ultimate good of the Kingdom of God. In the end, my perspective may get out-voted, and, my best option may be to seek a ministerial covering more in line with my personal convictions. To do so, at this time, without first doing what I can to show why and how I believe it is better stewardship for PPL-practicers and non-PPL-practicers to partner together, would to some degree be irresponsible on may part.

In the meantime, those who favor the exclusion of PPL-practicers can do me a favor by showing me exactly why this issue is of such an important nature that it would be better that people like Dwight McKissic, Jerry Rankin, Jason Epps, etc. not be in full partnership with us as Southern Baptists in our efforts to work towards the fulfillment of the Great Commission. In other words, what would we really be giving up that is so important in order to extend the tent far enough to embrace partners in the task such as them?

Colin said...

I do not think giving money with conditions is actually giving money. I think that classifies as making a purchase.

Why is PPL an issue in the blogs or in the pews? I would suggest this as a reason for one of those categories.


Timely post, Bart. Mine is very similar, though not as well thought out.

David Rogers said...

Colin,

I don't get it. Could you please explain what Wade Burleson's post on Jon Zens article has to do one way or another with PPL?

Todd Pylant said...

With all due respect, comparing the continuing of all of the spiritual gifts to 9 foot ceilings does illustrate the problem. While I understand you were trying to make a simple analogy, you must understand that for those of us whose daily, personal relationship with Christ involves the gift of praying in tongues, this is not an insignificant issue like the color of carpet. I am deeply concerned that our convention is systematically quenching the Spirit by eliminating those who walk in the Spirit in a certain way.
Bart, would you continue to partner with an organization that no longer required believer's baptism for membership? What if the majority, even 75% of the organization, agreed with those who eliminated believer's baptism from their doctrinal statement. Would you continue to send them 10% of your church's tithes? I doubt it. Because that issue is much more important to you than a 9 foot ceiling.
This is a "line in the sand" issue, and I think the question Southern Baptists need to ask is this, "Are you ready to disfellowship a significant portion of your membership over this issue?" If the SBC passes a resolution in June that disallows continuationists to serve in SBC agencies, perhaps 25% or more churches will go elsewhere with their mission money.

Alan Cross said...

David,

You perfectly defined my view on this. As I have viewed this controversy, I think that proponents of the new policies feel that they would be giving up control and would be opening the door to error and near heretical views. They feel that they have the right to set whatever doctrinal qualifications they desire whether they go beyond the BF&M2000 or not, without the blessing of the convention at large. The trustees feel that by nature of their election to office, they have ultimate power to make whatever decision they deem necessary as long as it does not contradict the BF&M. The feel that those who privately practice a prayer language promote doctrine that is harmful to the churches. They do not believe that such a thing as speaking in tongues exist in it's present form and that all who practice it are confused, deluded, deceived, or in some cases, afflicted by Satan. They feel that those people can stay in Baptist churches and send money to the Cooperative Program (because all good Baptists should do that), but they should not participate in leadership in Baptist life because they are damaged goods theologically and they should not have influence. They feel that PPL is just a first step in a dangerous slide toward Pentecostal extremism, and soon we'll all be barking like dogs and rolling on the floor. They do not trust missionaries who have a PPL, but promise not to practice it publicly. They think that those people are untrustworthy and that the practice makes them unstable. They also do not think that people like that should be denominational employees or teach in their churches (although to be fair, they do not apply this rule to all SBC churches, just the convention entities at large).

I don't know what others will say, and they probably won't say it all that clearly at one time, but those are all of the things that I have read in the blogosphere over the past year and a half from proponents of the new policies. If I have in any way been unfair or mischaracterized a position, I will gladly retract my statements and alter them. After hearing all of that however, the question is, why would continualists want to stick around? I maintain that if you believe that this exists and that it is a legitimate work of God, then you are in the same boat as someone who practices it. It is belief, not just practice, that should define this issue because not all have the same gift. So, to be consistent, this really does affect A LOT more people than only those who speak in tongues. But, the Trustees do not seem to care because they have the authority.

Colin said...

David,

I have noticed among the most vocal opponents of the PPL policy and proponents of greater inclusivism a thread of diminishing theological boundaries, though the intent may be to diminish denominational boundaries. So you have bad theology (in my opinion) and false teaching supported by those desiring tolerance in the SBC. The fear, whether or not rational, is that giving on this issue of PPL will usher in the other changes advocated by those in this movement. What I see is trading theology for pragmatism or efficiency. The theology of baptism extends far beyond a sign of one’s decision; and of the Lord’s Supper far beyond a memorial; and of the Trinity far beyond acknowledgement of three persons. For example, we have seen just in the past few months a defense by some Baptists of modalists like TD Jakes and his participation in certain conferences. But efficiency would have us accept these shallow explanations of doctrines and ordinances to get on with the work of the Kingdom, though they are themselves the work of the Kingdom.

Clearly, there is an erosion of theological boundaries. This erosion, I believe, is the source of much consternation. Hence the reference to the article by Zen’s and the blog advocating it.

David Rogers said...

Colin,

I guess then we better get rid of all of the post-tribbers, mid-tribbers, post-millenialists, amillenialists, open communionists, those who believe in women deacons, 5-point Calvinists, 4-point Calvinists, and elder-rule proponents, since they are all on the slippery slope to full-blown apostasy.

Colin said...

David,

I don't follow. I am not advocating a slippery slope, nor the rationality of the fear (as I stated). I am simply illustrating what vocal proponents are NOW endorsing.

Colin

David Rogers said...

Colin,

What I am trying to say is you cannot group everyone together and proclaim them "guilty by association." Real life is not that simple. None of us agree on 100% of all of the fine points of doctrine.

Bob Cleveland said...

Bart:

First, thanks for introducing yourself at the Conference. I was honored, and I enjoyed your presentation very much.

Second, I agree with you (it's the BIG ONE, Elizabeth) on this matter, but not exactly for your reasons. And I think the same principles apply to the local church setting as well.

When I give my tithe to FBC Pelham, it doesn't become their money. It belongs to God, and moreso because it never was my money anyway. It always was holy to God.

I think that when the local church gives to the cooperative program, it's still God's money. I may have a corporate responsibility to be vocal and say what I think about what they are doing, what rules they are making, etc, but it has nothing to do with the money.

Wade is right in one sense. Folks will stop giving when they don't like what's being done with the money. That doesn't mean they should, though, but that's another argument, and is between them and God.

Colin said...

David,

I agree you cannot group everyone together, and shouldn't. My point, again, is why some may have a fear. If you were the casual Southern Baptist who wanted to see what people were saying on the blogs about the PPL issue, and you went to the trafficked sites (or as I said, the most vocal opponents of the PPL policy, what would you read? Exactly what I said, and though it is certainly not representative of everyone with a view, it has a significant effect.

The "movement" itself has personalities that have in ignorance employed an awful strategy. This strategy has defined the movement for most who hear or are told about it. That's reality, right or wrong.

David Rogers said...

Colin (and others),

If that is indeed the case, then it only serves to confirm what I said earlier about "misguided emotional prejudice."

In the meantime, I would sincerely like to know, from you, or anyone else (Bart?) just why the issue of PPL is so important as to exclude people who agree on other points of doctrine from missionary service and leadership in the convention?

Colin said...

David,
I agree that there exists the misguided emotional prejudice, but as a human condition and not monopolized by one side or the other. I find discussion on Bart's blog and a few others, however, a reprieve from that sort of thinking.

I am unwilling to give an opinion on the PPL matter, as school has prevented me from properly studying it. I have many reservations about it, but also have friends who say they have a PPL. Overall, however, I think theology should be the point of discussion. In my opinion, whether or not people are excluded is of no consequence.

Debbie said...

Colin: Whoa!

Todd Pylant said...

Yes, the money belongs to God and I will continue to give my tithe. The question is to whom will I entrust my tithe? If I cannot entrust my tithe to my church because of doctrinal error or mismanagement, I must either be a change agent or change churches. If I cannot trust my convention with the money I give to the Lord for missions, then I must either be a change agent of change mission agencies. There is no biblical command to give to the SBC CP!

Paul said...

Colin,

You wrote: "I think theology should be the point of discussion. In my opinion, whether or not people are excluded is of no consequence."

That seems to be a luxury that primarily those who's setting is predominantly academic rather than pastoral can afford. When you get out of seminary and into the local church you will no longer have the luxury of determining that the exclusion of people is of no consequence. Or if you do you will be a very poor pastor. In fact, I would say that, Biblically speaking, excluding people is a huge issue and one that is never to be taken lightly. That is why Jesus, in Matthew 18, did not begin with exclusion of the brother, but ended with it.

Wade Burleson said...
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Wade Burleson said...

Colin,

You said, "In my opinion, whether or not people are excluded is of no consequence."

When one day you, God forbid, you become the one being excluded in cooperative ministry, I promise you, you will not be as cavalier as you seem in the above comment.

Maturity is the mother of wisdom.

To all, I have yet to hear anyone in this thread answer David Roger's excellent question: He asked, "I would sincerely like to know, from you, or anyone else (Bart?) just why the issue of PPL is so important as to exclude people who agree on other points of doctrine from missionary service and leadership in the convention?"

I, too, would like for Bart or Colin or anyone else to answer David's excellent question.

Colin said...

Paul and Wade,

Point (if you can stand the logic of an immature academic type): If a man was excluded for denying the Trinity...or perhaps denying the deity of Christ, how much should his exclusion weigh into your cooperative boundaries?

The very point of my comment was to indicate that we must always strive to attain right theology. Right theology will always exclude somehow in some way those that deny right theology. Their exclusion should then be of no consequence to your cooperative parameters precisely because you have attained to what the Bible reveals: the world as it really is.

I know you thought you had me for a moment, and we can all laugh about that now. Good times. But I never indicated that PPL was somehow heretical or anti-biblical or worthy of exclusion. I never endorsed the policy, nor did I reject it. I am simply saying that we must always approach these issues from a theological standpoint, and not let feeling sorry for those excluded get in the way of biblical thinking. That is what happened to the universalists.

Wade, I will answer like you answer mine:




.

Colin said...

;)

selahV said...

colin: giggle, giggle. selahV

Paul said...

Colin,

Even in that last comment you confuse the issues. No one has said that theology doesn't matter. But as far as I know no one is denying the Trinity or Deity of Christ. It's a straw man to even bring those up.

What has been at issue are things of a theological nature but issues that do not rise to the level of heresy. They don't even rise to the level of "Baptist distinctives," at least not distinctive enough to make it into even one historical Baptist confession. Your comment about right theology is in that context, the context that this discussion has been about for a year-and-a-half, not in the context of the Trinity or Deity of Christ.

But if your point is that we must have "right theology" in every area in order to cooperate then I must simply fall back on David Rogers comments to you.

Paul said...

And it's not about "feeling sorry" for those who have been excluded. It is about the wisdom of their exclusion given the issues at hand.

Colin said...

Paul,

Not quite. I was addressing the relative importance of an issue based on exclusion. I would phrase it, "Why is the issue of PPL so important?"

Then I thought I would add my little exclusion comment to get you and Wade going. I call it the Bait Man argument.

Also, the context of my comment was my class and readings on theological interpetation, not adiaphora. Maybe that is why I am not connecting.

Btw, do you think denial of the Trinity is heresy?

Bart Barber said...

Pardon my absence. Last night was interesting—severe storms came just as we were supposed to dismiss Wednesday night activities, so we had scores of frightened children huddled in hallways while the tornado sirens were blasting. It made for a late night getting everyone to the right place after the all clear was sounded. I'll catch up with everyone today.

Paul said...

Colin,

Of course denial of the Trinity is heresy. That has never been the issue.

You say that your question is, "Why is the ppl issue so important?" It seems to me that several on here asked that long before you did, yet while theology is important to you this particular issue isn't of great enough theological importance for you to have even formed a settled opinion on it yet and current time constraints are preventing you from doing so now.

I actually think that says something about the practical importance you give to the theology of this issue. Not much - and yet it still doesn't seem to bother you that others who have formed an opinion are being excluded. That seems to be a rather incongruous position unless you hold all things as primary. It's sounding more and more like you do.

Again....re-read David Rogers points to you. They still seem very relevant.

Paul said...

BTW, your responses sound rather cute, but I'm not buying that you are saying those things to "get me and Wade going." I just think you aren't thinking through your words very carefully. At least that is how you are coming across.

Colin said...
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Colin said...

OK, Paul...

You have completely missed my point, my sarcasm, and the fact that I was simply restating David's question, not asking one. I think you need to start over and reread.

Again, please tell me what my position is. Also, please tell me where I said others being excluded doesn't bother me. As for time, dude, I am in seminary. Have you been? What does that say about the practical importance of EVERY theological issue I don't have time to study?

Dude, the Bait Man argument?

Alan Cross said...

Colin,

If you're just trying to bait people to get a rise out of them, I've lost a bit of respect for your posting. Up until now, I've taken you seriously and have tried to engage with you. But, if I now think that you are just baiting people, then I'll know to begin ignoring you.

Bad form. Stay substantive and things will go much better for all of us.

Colin said...

Alan,

You prove to me that I am obviously not communicating effectively.


This:

Then I thought I would add my little exclusion comment to get you and Wade going. I call it the Bait Man argument.

was sarcasm. The "Bait Man Argument"? Does that remotely sound serious? I meant what I originally said. Paul not understanding my post was the impetus. From now on I will italize all humor.

Colin

Paul said...

Colin,

Maybe it would help if you quit playing games and did state your point, then. I've certainly got better things to do with my time than play word games and I can only imagine that with the demands of seminary you do too.

And what Alan said. Dude.

Colin said...

Paul,

I stated my point succinctly, and asked you questions that you have failed to answer. No games have been played, and I certainly am not here to play. But if you can't have fun while being serious, I suppose we wouldn't get along anyway.

Paul said...

Colin,

What question have you asked me that I have not answered? You asked one question, Is denial of the Trinity a heresy, and I answered it loudly and clearly. You asked another question and then said that you were not genuinely asking that question but were only repeating David Rogers' question. You have asked me what you believe, but I cannot answer those questions because you have said yourself that you do not know for certain what you believe (about ppl) and that you don't have time to study it. If you don't know what you believe I certainly don't know what you believe. Wade and David have asked you to be more specific and you have bowed out. It seems a little disingenuous to ask others what you believe when you won't say, but then you'll put some sarcastic comments out there, and others that don't seem quite so sarcastic, and then expect us to determine what you believe from that, yet if we get it wrong castigate us for not knowing. Come on, Colin. Clear it up for us, why don't you?

I have fun as much as the next guy (likely more so). But I think there is a lot of misunderstanding going on between you and me that would simply be cleared up by writing more plainly. Your sarcasm and humor and not translating well on this end. It is probably because I am simply dense. But I probably won't get a whole lot smarter in the course of this conversation, so I'll have to ask you to accommodate my inability to "get you."

Paul said...

Oh, and to answer two other questions you asked, yes, I have been to seminary. What that says to me is that if you do not have time to get a settled theological position on it at this time you might benefit from listening in on the conversation more than stirring a pot, the contents of which you confess you do not know.

Colin said...
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Colin said...

Paul,

I do not believe the Bible addresses PPL. But I am in the process of building a theological foundation, and will get to it (meaning more than 2-3 days of study) in due course. If I was not listening, I would not be saying, "I don't know." So I am listening, and have been listening, and am evaluating all the arguments.

David's question: why the issue of PPL is so important as to exclude people who agree on other points of doctrine from missionary service and leadership in the convention?

You can evaluate the trustee's arguments. I didn't make this policy, nor did I vote for it or support it or anything else. This is not my position.

Bart Barber said...

I feel like Johnny Carson: Tonight's guest host is...Colin.

:-)

Right now I bevin tyring to reply myself.

Colin said...

Guest host? I feel like Tony Snow.

Paul said...

Colin,

I have asked the trustees, repeatedly. I was promised an official response. The only thing I have seen is Tom Hatley's unofficial response from over a year ago. I have evaluated it and found it weak and wanting. Apparently all of the IMB trustees are also seminary students who don't have the time to put out anything official (that, my friend, is my own little sarcasm and humor).

I'll tell you what. Why don't you ask them for their reasoning. If they actually give you an official reasoning please let me know. I'd love to see it.

Bart Barber said...

David,

I have stated on this blog and now publicly at the recent conference that, in and of itself, I am prepared not to care about what someone does in private. I stand by that position.

However, the experience at the conference only confirmed to me that (1) the number of people given to private prayer language but opposed to public tongues-speaking is a small number. The conference attendees included a vocal representation in favor of full-blown Charismatic theology, and (2) those who advocate for PPL will have a difficult time articulating a consistent biblical bulwark against the whole panoply of Charismatic practice.

Thus, I suspect that the IMB has enacted the PPL restrictions as a part of an ongoing effort to protect Baptist missions against Pentecostal/Charismatic encroachment around the world. To the degree that we have a problem with aggressive Pentecostal/Charismatic poaching, I am in favor of policies to make sure that we have missionaries overseas who are trained and willing to defend Baptist belief.

Bart Barber said...

Todd,

Thank you for acknowledging that it is an analogy.

If you've never had somebody get huffy and leave over things this trivial, then you have been blessed, my brother!

You do make an excellent point that this is a highly-emotionally-charged issue. I am not in favor of Baptist churches funding Charismatic missions. I am proud for Charismatic missions to take place. I do not wish to fund it. I am not under obligation to fund it. Neither is the SBC. I realize that such a concept has personal and emotional implications, but those implications are not my reason for holding the view. The opposite conclusion will hold personal and emotional implications for another category of people.

Bart Barber said...

Alan,

If the trustees had ultimate authority, there would not be such a movement of political activity gearing up for San Antonio. I think we all know full well that the outcome will be decided by the messengers.

Bart Barber said...

David,

Wade seems more than willing to allege that those not on board with his movement would soon have us all be Wiley Drakes drawing down on abortion doctors with a 30.06.

What's good for the goose...

Except, as the conference only confirmed for me, the idea that people want a lot more than PPL is not speculation, it is observation.

Bart Barber said...

Bob,

It was my pleasure to meet you. You and your wife are both very gracious people. I regret that our conversation was cut short.

Bart Barber said...

To all:

I'm not sure to what degree I should wade into the back-and-forths that have transpired here. I'll comment where I believe my statements would be relevant. If I miss a statement to which you wanted me to respond, please feel free to reiterate.

Bart Barber said...

I think I'm done here. I see more responses that I owe on the previous post. Again, if you need something from me over here, please reiterate and address it directly to me. Thanks.

Alan Cross said...

Bart,

I assume that you are replying to your Caligula post on this one accidently. Even so, I don't understand your response, since I wasn't really talking about trustees but reminding you that it was the SBC that put Drake in office, not Ben or Wade.

As far as those at the conference are concerned. I did not agree with everyone there on everything either. But, I suppose if some at the conference want to take us further in one direction, they mirror many fundamentalists who want to take us further in the other direction. How about if neither get their way and we just go back to pre-November 2005? That seemed to satisfy everyone, except those who wanted Jerry Rankin out.

By the way, doesn't the SBC have a process for that?

David Rogers said...

Bart,

I was not at the conference, and I can only speak for myself.

My question, then, is where does that leave me, if:

1. I believe in the biblical legitimacy of "PPL"

2. I am opposed to public tongues-speaking without accompanying interpretation.

3. I am prepared to live with a general prohibition of public tongues-speaking among IMB personnel in the interest of avoiding conflict and confusion among missionaries.

4. I am not in favor of "full-blown Charismatic theology."

5. I am unsure as to exactly what constitutes the "whole panoply of Charismatic practice," though I have many times employed biblical arguments against practices I consider to be Charismatic extremes.

6. I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the "Pentecostal/Charismatic encroachment around the world." (Do you mean the growth of the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement in general? Do you mean IMB missionaries who are intentionally leading Baptist work into Pentecostal/Charismatic extremes?)

7. I am not sure to what degree we have a "problem with agressive Pentecostal/Charismatic poaching." But, nonetheless, I believe I, (and others like me) am trained and willing to defend biblical doctrine consistent with the BFM (with the exception of "closed communion").

If so, am I in a category all by myself? Do I need to start my own mission board? Or, do I fit within the parameters of an acceptable IMB profile? What if someone were completely in agreement with me on all these points, and happened to also personally have a PPL? Should that then disqualify them for service? Why?

Bart Barber said...

Alan said: "[Those who support the new policies] feel that they have the right to set whatever doctrinal qualifications they desire whether they go beyond the BF&M2000 or not, without the blessing of the convention at large. The trustees feel that by nature of their election to office, they have ultimate power to make whatever decision they deem necessary as long as it does not contradict the BF&M. . . . But, the Trustees do not seem to care because they have the authority."

These are the statements (and they are in this thread, right?) to which I was responding.

Bart Barber said...

David,

Let me try again: I have already stated publicly that, in and of itself, I have no desire to delve into a person's private prayer. Yet a rather large, rather diverse board of trustees has enacted this policy. I am not privy to all of their reasons for doing so. I am unwilling to obligate Southern Baptists to support Charismatic missions. I am unable to evaluate for myself the present threats in that vein. I have your word that there is no problem. We have the trustees' word that these policies were needed. For now and until I have good reason to do otherwise, I believe them.

Alan Cross said...

Right. Sorry. Since it was yesterday morning I didn't understand what you were talking about. Thanks for the correction.

David Rogers said...

Bart,

Let me clarify as well: I am not claiming there never has or never will be a problem with any IMB missionary whatsoever going "charismatic." I imagine there will always be isolated personnel who drift into unacceptable beliefs and practices of any number of different sorts. That doesn't mean we need to enact a new policy to counter-act each and every one of these "dangers" though.

Also, I imagine there are many different understandings out there of what constitutes "charismatic missions." Some might say that PPL, in and of itself, is already "charismatic." Some might say prayer-walking is "charismatic." Some might say raising hands in public worship is "charismatic." Some might say believing God could speak to you in a dream is "charismatic." Some might say bringing sick people to the front during a worship service to pray that they may get healed is "charismatic." Some might say Neil Anderson's approach to spiritual warfare is "charismatic." Etc., etc. On each one of these items, if we were to make it a litmus test, we would no doubt eliminate a few more workers.

I suppose we could eventually whittle the mission force down to a "squeaky-clean" group with no charismatically suspect issues at all. Would we than have a better corps of IMB missionaries? Perhaps some might think so. But, I would be willing to bet that the majority of Southern Baptists would not be pleased with the end result. And, I believe personally we would also sacrifice a whole lot of effectiveness on the field in working to see the task of fulfilling the Great Commission accomplished. Is it really worth it?

Debbie said...
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Debbie said...
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Debbie said...

Bart: Are you referring to those who spoke or the audience? I was under the impression that charismatics did attend some of the session. They paid their money and were not barred from attending. I am open to correction if this information is wrong.

Debbie said...

BTW: I still do not have a PPL and I was at the conference. I was educated however, I was no different in the conference than I am in my own church, but I understand even more now. Not a bad way to spend a couple of days. I feel stronger on this issue than I did before however.

Bart Barber said...

Debbie:

It did not venture as to what about the meeting led me to my conclusions. Although I suspended politeness during the conference in the quest for unity, I do not desire to do so today on my blog. Whichever people gave me such an impression, they have not asked to be a part of my blog. Is it OK with you if I keep them out of this? I will be glad to swap emails about it privately.

Debbie said...
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Debbie said...

I will look forward to your email Bart.

Alan Cross said...

Classy move, Bart. That is why I have come to really respect you in all of this.

Still too far on the Caligula thing though . . . :)