Wednesday, August 27, 2014

David Platt is My IMB President, Too

The International Mission Board is reporting that Dr. David Platt is the new president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I had opposed his election. He now has my support. Here's why:

  1. According to our system, I had my say. The trustees had the opportunity to give full consideration to the questions that I raised. I trust that they did so. I do not regret having raised these concerns, but I respect our system of polity. I freely acknowledge that the trustees had access to more information than I had. More of them favored his election than opposed it.

  2. The very critique that I made of Platt requires that I support him now. This is the way that our system is supposed to work. You engage yourself in the process. You advocate vigorously for your point of view. Together we Southern Baptists come to a decision. Unless the decision is so bad that we cannot follow Christ and abide by it, we coalesce around the decision that we've made and we move forward for the sake of our Great Commission task.

    From the bottom of my heart I urge any of you who have talked about cutting your CP support if Platt were elected not to do anything so reactionary and foolish as that. If you were to reduce your support of the CP in reaction to this decision, in my mind you'd be putting yourself into the exact same category as the critique that I made of Platt. Please don't do that.

    Instead, do what I said that Platt hadn't done. Get involved in our polity. In good faith, help us to make decisions and appoint people even better than we have done so in the past. Don't disengage; do the hard work of consensus building and peacemaking for the cause of the Kingdom.

  3. I'm committed to making my initial post about David Platt a self-unfulfilling prophecy. If I still worry that the man most responsible for rallying us all to support the Cooperative Program is not someone all that committed to or passionate about the Cooperative Program, then guess what that means: I just have to do more myself to promote the Cooperative Program in order to make up for it.

    Southern Seminary exists today because four men agreed among themselves that "the seminary may die, but we will die first." If just four hundred Southern Baptist pastors were to make the same commitment regarding the Cooperative Program, I don't think any power on earth could stop us.

    I neither storm off from this election in protest nor throw up my hands in hopelessness. Rather, I simply acknowledge that a task lies before us and I put my hand to the plow. I hope you all will join me.

    If Cooperative Program support was not considered important in this season of Southern Baptist decision-making, together let us make certain that it will be in the seasons to come.


Ron P. said...


These last three posts share my sentiment. I wholeheartedly agreed with your opposition of Dr. Platt. I also agree with you that as he is now our IMB President he deserves our unwavering support.

Congratulations to Dr. Platt and may God bless and lead him as he leads our cooperative international missions at the IMB.

Ron Phillips, Sr.

Louis Cook said...

Spot on by both you and Dr Patterson in your posts today. Thank you.

Chris Gilliam said...

Bart, Thank you for your very clear and levelheaded leadership in all three post. I pray men like you get the privilege of leading our convention into the future. We, together with you, support the CP.
Chris Gilliam

volfan007 said...

I want to publicly say this. I have always believed in missions, because it’s the heart of God. And, I have always tried to get the Churches I have pastored to give as much as they can and are willing to give to missions. I have encouraged my people to pray for our missionaries, and we did that tonight, as well. Also, I have gone on mission trips, and I have encouraged my people to go on mission trips. And, I will continue to pray and support our missionaries.
My Church gives 20% to the CP, and 3% to our local Association. Last year, we gave around $25,000 to Lottie, and around $14,000 to Annie….and, I do not Pastor a large Church. I don’t say this to brag, but just to tell some of you that we put our money where our mouth is.
Also, I want to, again, say that I am sure that David Platt and Kevin Ezell are fine and godly men, who love Jesus. I’m sure that they’re fine fellas.

I will continue to support our SB missionaries around the world, and here at home.

Jacob Milstead said...

In light of the quotation below, I'm not sure I understand your concerns about Platt's election, but I do appreciate your ability (as I do Dr. Patterson's) to show support.


"In 2013, The Church at Brook Hills gave $100,000 to the SBC CP Allocation Budget through the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee; $25,000 to the Cooperative Program; $12,500 to the Alabama Baptist Children's Home; $15,000 to the Birmingham Baptist Association; $300,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; and $325,000 to the International Mission Board in special designated gifts, for a total of $777,500, or 8.9 percent of the church's total giving for the year, to Alabama Baptist and Southern Baptist causes.

Projections for 2014 are: $175,000 through the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee; $25,000 to the Cooperative Program; $15,000 to the Alabama Baptist Children's Home; $68,000 to the Birmingham Baptist Association; $300,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions; and $718,000 to the International Mission Board in special designated gifts, for a projected year-end total of $1,301,000, or 13.8 percent in total projected church giving."

Bart Barber said...


At this point, it does not matter. I have no desire to continue to argue against David Platt. Doing so would go against the spirit of this post.

I do, however, want people to understand about the Cooperative Program. Toward that end, since you have stated that you do not understand, I will help you to understand.

"$100,000 to the SBC CP Allocation Budget through the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee" = NOT Cooperative Program giving. This is designated giving, not Cooperative Program giving. It bypasses the Alabama state convention and all of the ministries related to that state.

"$25,000 to the Cooperative Program" = Cooperative Program giving. This flat amount of Cooperative Program giving is of recent addition to the budget, I understand. I'm thankful for it. It is, as a percentage of BH's budget, minuscule. It is not even a large portion of BH's missions giving. Clearly, Cooperative Program giving is not the church's preferred way of supporting missions. I am nevertheless thankful that it is included at all.

"$12,500 to the Alabama Baptist Children's Home;" = NOT Cooperative Program giving.

"$15,000 to the Birmingham Baptist Association" = NOT Cooperative Program giving.

"$300,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for International Missions" = NOT Cooperative Program giving.

"$325,000 to the International Mission Board in special designated gifts" = NOT Cooperative Program giving.

Apart from the $25,000 in Cooperative Program giving and the $300,000 to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, all of the rest of it is a designated, give-around-the-system approach. I've tried to explain here that this is about more than just how much money goes where, but is instead about the way that Southern Baptists work together, or don't work together. In my opinion, when you're electing the head of a Southern Baptist entity, his philosophy of not working together within Southern Baptist polity is a relevant factor.

This is all the more important in this circumstance, because the one man with the most power in all of the world to destroy the Cooperative Program is the President of the International Mission Board. This slightest hint from him that he would prefer for people to give directly to the IMB, bypassing the Cooperative Program, will now be twenty times more devastating to the Cooperative Program than have been his actions as just a pastor at a local church in Alabama.

If every Southern Baptist church gave according to this pattern, the Southern Baptist seminaries would have to double tuition. Some of them would pass entirely out of existence. Southern Baptist Convention Disaster Relief would be entirely unfunded and would go out of existence. Church planting in places like New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Baltimore would grind to a halt. Your church would have no state convention to which to turn when looking for your next pastor.

Let me put this another way: If every church 50 years ago had supported the Cooperative Program the way David Platt has supported the Cooperative Program, about 2/3 of David Platt's resume would be gone or radically different for the worse. Yes, the International Mission Board would have a lot more money, but it wouldn't have David Platt as he is today, and the same can be said of large numbers of the missionaries who enter IMB service. All of the money in the world is of little use to a missionary board without missionaries.

Phil and Mary Ann said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Louis Cook said...

A comment, now deleted by the author, asked for the breakdown of where the $25K designated for the Cooperative Program goes. Based on 2013 figures, 56.5% will stay in Alabama for State Convention needs and the remaining 43.5% will be forwarded to the national convention. From that 43.5%, approximately 50% goes to the IMB, 25% to the NAMB with the remaining 25% split among the seminaries, ERLC, BGR and others. If anyone had better data please feel free to correct me as needed.