Trevin Wax’s Important Baptist Press Article

by Dave Miller on May 31, 2011 · 120 comments

Baptist Press has recently published an article by Trevin Wax entitled, “Being Southern Baptist among & for Evangelicals.”

Southern Baptists are in an identity crisis right now, trying to decide what it means to be a Southern Baptist.  At the risk of oversimplifying, there are traditionalists who think that the key is to look back at the cultural, theological and ecclesiological identity that identified Southern Baptists and work to restore that identity.  Brad Whitt has articulated the traditionalist viewpoint very well.  Then there are the “reformationists” who believe the SBC needs to be reformed, renewed and revitalized to be more relevant to the modern world.

I think it is and will be a lively debate.  Hopefully, the more rational and irenic voices will dominate in this debate and we will figure it all out in a godly way.

Trevin Wax’s article is an important contribution to this debate.  He writes about the importance of the SBC within the larger evangelical world and warns against SBC exclusivism and isolationism.

Everyone interested in the ongoing debate about the identity of the SBC should read Trevin’s article.  One does not, of course, have to agree with his conclusions, but God grant that his grace and spirit would spread among Southern Baptists!

 

 

1 Dave Miller May 31, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I am in Boston visiting my son. I had a great time touring the MIT media lab (the coolest place on earth for smart people) where he works, and then today we took the Boston Duck tour. If you are ever in Boston, take the DUCK Tour. Google it.

As a lifelong Red Sox hater, and consequently a Boston-hater, I am shocked at how wonderful a city Boston is.

But, since I am in full-on tourist mode the next couple of days, I will not be around the blog much. Jeff Musgrave is handling things and and will be in and out of touch.

2 Doug Hibbard June 1, 2011 at 7:45 am

BP is loading slow at the moment, but I think I read this one earlier. There’s some good points. To go ahead and point to another view on it, here’s a link to SBCToday where Tim Rogers raised some questions:

http://sbctoday.com/2011/05/30/the-phantoms-and-the-facts/

3 Louis June 1, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Dave:

Boston is a great city. I ran the marathon there a couple of years ago.

Have fun!

4 John Wylie June 1, 2011 at 12:32 pm

I think we have been overcomplicating this issue all along. Quite frankly, I’m not interested in relevance to “this present evil age.” The idea of relevance has led us into worldliness. Paul came with a counter cultural message not one that complied with the world. The culture he spoke to was poly theistic, he told them there was only one true God. The culture he spoke to was rampant with fornication and homosexuality, he told them that those thing should not even be “once named” among the people of God.

I personally am sick to death of 50 year old men in the ministry who are going through a mid life crisis and dress like a teenagers at the mall all in the name of relevance.

5 D.R. Randle June 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm

I think a lot depends on what you mean by “relevant.” If relevance is taking on a certain look or going with the current fad, then certainly there is a lot of silliness there (and some potential harm to the Gospel message). But if by “relevant” you mean “applying the Gospel to specific situations of life” then we should all be for it.

Having said that let me add that how we (particularly pastors)dress, how we handle ourselves in public , how we ask people to address us, and how much we allow people to see us in normal situations can be effective tools of engagement with a lost world. We just shouldn’t make those tools more important than the foundation, which is the true Gospel itself.

6 Josh C June 1, 2011 at 5:19 pm

This is the Paul that quoted pagan poets, apparently started going by his Roman name “Paulus” rather than his good Jewish name of Saul sometime on his first missionary journey (at least according to Acts), and fills his letters with local references and images that his readers would understand?

If it’s that Paul you’re talking about, then I think we have some firm challenges to the idea that there is no basis for seeking to communicate the timeless truths of the Gospel in a way that a local culture can understand it.

7 John Wylie June 3, 2011 at 1:12 am

Yeah but Paul didnt go around trying to act like something he was not. Paul’s Roman name was legitimately his name, not some alter ego he came up with (so that rules out the 50 year olds with blonde highlights). He also only quoted pagan poets when the particular thing they said was true. But I highly doubt Paul was a pop culture expert. Paul didn’t try to misrepresent Christianity by trying to make it cool and hip. The Gospel is relevant to every generation of man, I do not make it so, it simply is because it speaks to the greatest need of man.

8 Josh C June 3, 2011 at 9:36 am

Hey, I’m a 20-something year old and I make fun of guys my age with blonde highlights (or who dress like Justin Bieber). So I understand that objection. I also think there is a big difference between communicating in language and illustrations that people can understand, and trying to make it “hip”. I think our positions are much closer in practice than it would look like. I would just want to push back on your “acting like something he was not” quote, as Paul’s entire ministry to Gentiles (“I became as one…” 1 Cor. 9) seems predicated on his taking on new ways of doing things (such as table fellowship) that he previously would not have done. Culture goes much deeper than simply knowing what pop song is #1 and what colors are in right now.

9 John Wylie June 3, 2011 at 10:00 am

I respect that brother. I just have seen the road that being relevant has taken churches down and it really disturbs me. I believe the whole emergent church movement is the result of this ideology. I realize that Paul used a different approach when he preached to Gentiles than he did with Jews. If that is all we’re talking about, I’m cool with that.

10 Jeff Musgrave June 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

I think Paul was referred to adopting their ways of thinking and working from their presuppositions more than he was talking about actions. If we make Paul’s statement one of behavior then it turns him into a kind of hypocritical opportunist who “acted however he had to” at the time. If we read him as saying that he started from their way of seeing things to “become like them” then it reflects better on Paul. It actually fits what he did on Mars Hill in Acts 17 as well. He didn’t worship in their temples to make them think he was one of them, but he did start from their line of reasoning and work his way to the Gospel from there.

11 Josh C June 3, 2011 at 11:49 am

But presuppositions affect actions and vice versa, right?

12 Jeff Musgrave June 3, 2011 at 12:05 pm

They can, but they don’t have to. I think that taking Paul’s comment to be about actions turns him into a serious hypocrite. If we take him to say that he “acted like a Jew” around Jews and “acted like a Gentile” around Gentiles and so forth, it really is an insult to Paul. To say that he is talking about arguing from their points of view in order to try and win them makes better sense, because we see examples of it in his writing and in Acts.

13 Josh C June 3, 2011 at 1:57 pm

But the context of his argument is precisely about actions. I don’t think one can separate the two so much. He was writing to defend why he took offerings in one location and was working rather than take money from the Corinthians. He has to write this defense precisely because his actions were different in different places, and he is being accused of hypocrisy. It doesn’t make one a hypocrite to do so (in action). I would say his argument actually is that the same presuppositions (namely, “certain cultural factors will inhibit the spread of the Gospel; I will avoid these and embrace ones that help the Gospel’s spread”) inform both ways of acting, when in Corinth or elsewhere.

14 Louis June 1, 2011 at 3:34 pm

The answer to Trevin’s question is the same as it was in 1982.

The churches of the SBC are autonomous.

So, some churches will support the broader evangelical world. These are churches that already have some exposure to non-SBC evangelicals and some fellowship or working relationship with them.

And other churches will not want to get involved.

Trevin’s warning is well placed. I believe that we should do what we can to support evangelical churches outside the SBC. I am for a policy of engagement.

But we should be cautious that we do not dilute the SBC missions and other programs to make them broad enough for any time of Christian to access them or the funding that supports them.

The doctrinal and programmatic boundaries to the SBC ministry and income stream should remain sound. Not because we are right about everything, but because that is compact or agreement that we have made with the churches that support those programs.

So, we can support our conservative evangelical brethren and learn much from them. But we should abide by our confession and governing documents.

15 Greg Alford June 1, 2011 at 4:33 pm

Louis,

“The doctrinal and programmatic boundaries to the SBC ministry and income stream should remain sound. Not because we are right about everything, but because that is compact or agreement that we have made with the churches that support those programs.”

Has not the BOT of the IMB “Unilaterally” violated the compact between the churches of the SBC and the entire convention itself by imposing radical policy changes upon cooperating churches that exclude their members based upon a heretofore never agreed upon set of standards?

Just throwing this old bone out there for discussion…

16 Joe Blackmon June 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm

Well, I don’t necessarily agree with how that was done, but two good things came out of it. A certain trustee member that deserved to be hurt was hurt ( :-) ) and it made it harder for people with a private prayer language to serve as missionaries.

17 Louis June 1, 2011 at 4:40 pm

Greg:

Not trying to be coy, but can you please be specific? What are you referring to?

18 Greg Alford June 2, 2011 at 11:15 am

Louis,

What I am trying to say is… “The Compact” the defines the “Doctrinal Boundaries” of cooperation and ministry within the SBC has been violated by the new policies unilaterally enacted by the Board of Trustees of the International Missions Board five years ago, which added “Extra-Biblical Qualifications” for service with the IMB that were no where to be found in our SBC “Compact”… The Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

If the Board of Trusties of the IMB is free to violate our agreed upon “Compact” and refuses to head the will of the Convention to reverse these policies, as expressed in the Garner Motion, then we in truth have no Compact at all…

So the whole notion of establishing a “Baptist Identity” for all Southern Baptist, that can be clearly defined, is just so much wishful thinking… Major Southern Baptist Entities won’t even submit to the authority of the Convention, nor be guided in their policies by the Baptist Faith and Message, so how can we ever hope to have a comprehensive Southern Baptist Identity?

(See the Garner Motion here: http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=25853)

Grace for the Journey,

19 Debbie Kaufman June 1, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Joe: That trustee you are speaking of is probably one of the finest men that I have known. And he wasn’t hurt, he was empowered by it all. The main trustee who lied about him, and did everything in his power to oust Wade apologized to him knowing that what was done was wrong. It did change things as you can now see the direction of the SBC is quite different from the BI group. As for another war, and Fundamentalists going after others, it is happening with the move to discredit, lie about and attempt to remove Calvinists. Everything that he, I and others said was going to happen now is. The difference is I know longer care.

You not being Southern Baptist shouldn’t care either.

20 Christiane June 1, 2011 at 10:41 pm

Hi DEBBIE,

You are blessed to personally know that trustee. From all I have read, the people who attacked him did so in a manner that badly disgraced themselves, not him.

21 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Debbie,

If an “apology” is evidence for being completely wrong about everything, as you suggest this “one” trustee was wrong, then I believe your Idol also had some stuff he apologized for.

You suggest that the whole “mistrust of this trustee” had to do with just one trustee. That is NOT the case. Your Idol’s problem was he “broke a trust,” and then tried to parse the documents to show, “he never really broke a trust.”

The fact that one trustee apologized to your Idol does not exonerate him for his behavior in all regards. There was enough mud-slinging from all sides to require a shower for everyone.

22 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Frank: I have already answered and stated that I would not address this again. Your comment above void of facts is just one of the reasons why. I’m not chasing the rumor mill, it’s like chasing wind. I’ll not go back in time again. But I’ll give you a hint, I said nothing about one trustee being the cause of anything. It was a board. Last I heard that entails more than one.

23 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 8:20 pm

Don’t do things like this behind closed doors, then one has never to fear being exposed. It’s called honesty and integrity to the people who pay the salaries, which is the person in the pew.

24 Frank L. June 8, 2011 at 12:34 am

How about, “Don’t covenant to hold matters in trust and then use them to forward your own agenda.”

Your sword cuts both ways.

And . . . once again you specifically said, “a trustee” not a Board, but don’t feel pressured to be consistent.

25 Debbie Kaufman June 8, 2011 at 4:01 am

Frank: I wouldn’t care if I swore to anyone silence and saw atrocities(which these policies are) or stealing or heard threat of bodily harm to another, I would break that vow of silence and pronto. It wasn’t his agenda. It was their agenda that was the problem. He had no agenda. The same cannot be said of those who passed this policy. So put your sword down Frank.

26 Debbie Kaufman June 8, 2011 at 4:03 am

Frank: I don’t recall your being around these parts during that time period. I’m sure I would have remembered you. It’s easy to sit on the sidelines and comment on this. You don’t lose a thing by doing it that way. It was quite another for those of us in the battle field at the time this all happened.

27 BDW June 8, 2011 at 10:25 am

Debbie,

Frank is not a Frank. That’s not his name. I don’t know his name since he insists on hiding it.

But if he was around, he would have been posting under a different name.

28 Dave Miller June 8, 2011 at 12:15 pm

Wow, maybe we could invest a little more time in discussing Wade Burleson’s tenure on the IMB. Then we could discuss issues of states’ rights and the Civil War, and maybe we could dig into the French Revolution a little.

Most of us formed opinions on all this, and I am guessing that no amount of discussion is going to change what we thought.

I have an idea. Let’s talk about the 1978 New York Yankees and their comeback against Boston. That is old news worth discussing.

29 Frank L. June 8, 2011 at 12:25 pm

“”atrocities””

This is exactly the kind of exaggeration that helped create the fiasco over the new policies — which by the way — I opposed when they came up. However, I did not have a vote so all I could do was make my opinion known to the Trustees.

No, I’ve never posted under a different name — other than subman608. BDW suggested I change it to Frank and Larry, but that became cumbersome, so I shortened it to Frank L.

I did not bring up the subject, but I will always object to the demonizing of the Trustees who were seeking to find a solution but were torpedoed when one trustee went rogue and blasted from the blogosphere.

This was a new way to dissent and a new era in SBC life had begun.

I don’t which to demonize anybody for having a different opinion, but this was a delicate situation that was not handled very delicately. It is the policy, and all one has to do is get the Convention to vote to change it.

Whining from the blogosphere is not going to change the policy. Demonizing trustees (all of which I believe have now been long gone) is not going to change the policy.

Since I had a very dear friend on the Trustee Board at that time, to suggest they were all “black-hearted thugs” with just one “White Knight” amongst them, is not accurate.

30 Greg Alford June 8, 2011 at 12:53 pm

Frank,

“It is the policy, and all one has to do is get the Convention to vote to change it.”

We did get the Convention to vote to change it… it was called the Garner Motion. And five years latter the IMB is still ignoring the will of the Convention.

Grace for the Journey,

31 Frank L. June 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Greg,

I have not followed this situation for the last few years, so I don’t recall a motion to say that we allow a private prayer language and any form of baptism.

I will investigate the Garner Motion when I get a chance. Now, I have to run off and see the Doctor.

32 Greg Alford June 8, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Frank,

Here it is from a B.P. article…

Rick Garner, pastor of Liberty Heights Church in Liberty Township, Ohio, offered the motion, which read: “I move this Convention adopts the statement of the Executive Committee … found in the 2007 Book of Reports … which reads: ‘The Baptist Faith and Message is neither a creed nor a complete statement of our faith nor final or infallible. Nevertheless we further acknowledge that it is the only consensus statement of doctrinal beliefs approved by the Southern Baptist Convention and as such is sufficient in its current form to guide trustees in their establishment of policies and practices of entities of the Convention.’”

33 Bill Mac June 8, 2011 at 1:05 pm

I think 2004 and the Red Sox comeback against the Yankees is a more worthy topic.

34 Debbie Kaufman June 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

The reason the subject was brought up wasn’t to have a trip down memory land, it is to show, to remind, that the same voices are going after something else now. It will continue. In the next few years it will be something else. It will not stop. The past is the present because in my opinion the past was never fully dealt with.

George Santayana(1863-1952) has been attributed to saying two of the most important words outside of the Bible in my opinion. 1. ” Those who cannot remember history are condemned to repeat it.” 2. “Only the dead have seen the end of war.”

35 Debbie Kaufman June 1, 2011 at 10:39 pm

This is my final word on the subject.

36 Louis June 3, 2011 at 6:07 pm

Greg:

Thanks. That helps.

The SBC should stick with what we have agreed upon and while it is tempting to want to see other Christians come into the fold, it should not come at the expense of the kind of changes that I think would be necessary to accommodate lots of these folks.

You bring up that the personnel policy actions of the IMB (so-called “prayer language” prohibition and the requirement about where one was baptized and by whom).

That’s not really what I was driving at. I was saying that we should not loosen up the SBC set up to allow for these folks. If they agree with the BFM, fine. But if they don’t, we should stick with what we have.

That’s a different type of argument and point than the one you are bringing up – adding requirements to make the SBC even more restrictive.

I believe that you recognize it is a different issue and just mentioned it for discussion, which is fine.

First, the Garner motion does not say what people claim it says. Go back and read it word for word. It simply does not say what folks believe. People always have to restate it to make it say what they want.

I understand what may have been intended by Mr. Garner and those who voted for it. But the language of the motion fell short in my opinion.

Your real issue, however, is with the IMB trustee action.

I have had mixed feelings about this. SBC agencies have all sorts of decisions to make about personnel. The BFM (I recollect) says nothing about total abstention from alcohol. But I understand that many, if not all, SBC agencies have that policy. I don’t believe that total abstention is a required biblical position (we discussed that here before), and it is clearly going beyond the BFM, but I do not disagree with the fact that many SBC agencies have employment rules requiring total abstention.

I think that the same thing is true for speaking in tongues, healing services etc. I don’t think that the BFM has firm rules about that, but I think that the IMB should have some restrictions against such things. Not because they are wrong per se, but because they are not conducive to propagating the Christian faith consistent with what Baptists believe.

As an example, my inlaws were missionaries for 30 years in a country where the Charismatic movement did lot of damage in the early part of the 20th century. Baptists were counter-cultural to begin with in this overwhelmingly Catholic country. And the damage done by this one Charismatic fellow was huge. So, it does not bother me that the IMB would have a general rule applicable to missionaries about things that are related to the Charismatic movement. I don’t remember the rule here that was adopted. I may not agree with it, but I understand the concern.

The baptism thing was more strange to me, especially as it developed. One person at the IMB (employee or trustee, I can’t remember) told me that they continued to receive applications with weird baptismal histories. But I never dug to get specifics. According to him, they wanted some clear line to go by.

But in the end, I think that stuff that came out of the board was contrary to where the SBC is. I don’t believe that the SBC has taken the position that baptisms performed outside of a Baptist Church are not valid. Nor do I believe the SBC should take that position. Interestingly, however, I have noted in recent months that some of our SBC forefathers (maybe Boyce, Manly and others) did see baptisms outside of a Baptist church as “alien immersions” and invalid. I do not believe that the SBC is there, nor has it been for over 100 years. Certain pockets are, however.

So, I am against that, while I concede that concerns about baptisms may be valid, they should be handled on a case by case basis.

In the middle of all this I believe that there were personality issues on the IMB board. I am not saying who was right, who was wrong, but it was very tumultuous.

I always appreciated what Al Mohler said when the IMB personnel policies came out. It was something like, “We need to give the trustee system some time to work”, which I understood was akin to saying that they may have acted unwisely in some ways, but that the best way to handle that is through discussion, backchannel communications, continued dialogue etc.

I am glad that we are not talking about that all of the time now.

I don’t mind your bringing it up, and I hope my thoughts make some sense.

But I what I was driving at in my post was advising against loosening up the BFM so much that everyone is a Baptist. That is clearly not a wise course.

I was not talking about trustee movements to take the BFM topics and tighten them down further.

To all: If my recollections about the IMB mess is not totally accurate, forgive me. I really don’t want to re-live all that. I am just answering Greg’s question.

Except – I am dead right about the Garner Motion. It was just poorly drafted to accomlished the intended purpose. That may have been by design to woo votes. Who knows? It was just not enough.

37 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 2:25 am

Louis: Private prayer language has nothing to do with Charismatic doctrine. It’s not even near to Charismatic doctrine. Many Southern Baptists claimed a private prayer language in our history. It’s private. It’s not going to harm anyone.

38 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 12:34 pm

Louis,

I have been away for a few days and am just getting back to your response…

I have read your comment three times and I just can’t find anything with which to disagree with you on :-) — Strange I Know!!!

Of course I was not really looking to disagree with anyone about this, I was just trying to bring up the fact that it is right near impossible for any Christian group of believers to hammer out a solid group identity without all parties submitting to the agreed upon doctrinal compact or agreement.

Regardless of the claim by some that the Baptist Faith and Message is our doctrinal compact; clearly the IMB has shown that in our Southern Baptist system where every agency and entity is autonomous to do as they please (with their BOT approval of course) we simply do not have an agreed upon doctrinal compact.

Grace for the Journey,

39 Louis June 4, 2011 at 5:57 am

Debbie:

I have no problem with a so-called private prayer language. I do not think in most cases it is going to cause harm.

I am not an expert of Charismatics, but in my own Christian experience of over 35 years I have known more Charismatics than non-Charismatics that claim to speak a private prayer language.

I believe it is more accurate to call what goes on an unintelligible utterance than to claim it is a language. I don’t see how someone can know that if it’s unintelligible. I have never known anyone who had a ppl that could claim they knew what they were saying or that what they were saying was a language – words, grammar, syntax, all the requirements that come with that. But that is not the point of my post.

My point was basically that the IMB, or any SBC agency for that matter, can and should in some instances make employment personnel policies that go beyond the BFM. (e.g. alcohol, speaking in tongues etc.)

The question is how to act wisely in doing that.

40 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 9:58 am

Louise: Lifeway did a study in 2007, asking Southern Baptist ministers if they believed in a private prayer language. 50% said yes. 43% said no.

http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=25765

The question at the time was this. Does the IMB have the right to go into someone’s private prayer closet?

41 Joe Blackmon June 4, 2011 at 2:31 pm

They have thei right to dictate the terms of employment. If the missionary doesn’t like it, they can always go work for the CBF–it doesn’t matter what you believe there.

42 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 10:15 am

The old policy was sufficient. It stated that a employee of the IMB aka missionary could not practice speaking tongues on the field. They were immediately dismissed for such practice. However a prayer closet is a private area.

43 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 10:16 am

that should be a missionary could not practice speaking tongues publicly on the field.

44 Joe Blackmon June 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Just for the record, if I were in an SBC church, as long as the missionary never talked about their PPL and kept it to themselves and therefore I didn’t know about it I wouldn’t care what they did in private. After all, if someone has faith that is so weak that they need a prop like a private prayer language (**cough**that they just made up in their own mind**cough**) then who am I to kick that crutch out from under them.

45 Jeremy Parks June 4, 2011 at 8:29 am

When my wife and I joined the IMB, there was a discussion about alcohol use. In the end, we signed a document stating we were aware of the penalities for using alcohol as a beverage. A couple of interesting points:
1. No one made a moral or Biblical issue out of consumption.
2. No one said that we would stop being Baptist if we drank; instead, we would stop being employees.

The BFM (which we were required to sign later) defines what the convention claims to be the basic beliefs of our convention. Basic. Foundational. Rock-bottom. The alcohol prohibition was not related to being Baptist; it was an employment issue. It is a personnel issue, a human resources policy. It is not an aspect of being an active part of our convention.

So, yeah, some of our Baptist entities go beyond the BFM for the purposes of employment. I think, with a few exceptions, there are some wonderful extra-Biblical requirements of us as workers. However, it is important to recognize that these are employment rules, not fundamentals of our convention.

46 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 12:43 pm

Jeremy,

These “human resources policies” at the IMB have the potential to prohibit the members of my church from fully “Cooperating” within the Southern Baptist Convention…

Therefore, it is not just an “employment issue” with these individuals… it is a “Cooperation Issue” with my Church as well.

Grace for the Journey,

47 Jeremy Parks June 7, 2011 at 11:12 pm

I may have misunderstood what you mean, so I’m just asking for clarification:

“These “human resources policies” at the IMB have the potential to prohibit the members of my church from fully “Cooperating” within the Southern Baptist Convention”

Do you mean that the policies for employment (re: alcohol) at the IMB prevent some of your members from participating in the SBC? That somehow the employment rules set by the folks in Richmond prohibit certain people from being active in parts of the Convention that don’t touch on the IMB?

Help me out here…

48 Greg Alford June 8, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Jeremy,

Not sure how to make it any clearer… The new (2005) “human resources policies” at the IMB concerning Baptism directly and expressly prohibit members of my church from fully cooperating with the Southern Baptist Convention by denying the validity of their Baptism.

Grace for the Journey,

49 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 10:09 am

The other IMB policy on baptism was that it was to take place in a church that practiced baptism by immersion alone, and a church that believed and taught in eternal security. Anyone who was not baptized in a Southern Baptist church(literally) or in a church that met those standards, was expected to request baptism in their Southern Baptist church, as a testimony that they held the same beliefs as Southern Baptists.

The problem with that policy is that it takes completely away from Christ and puts all the emphasis on the administrator of the baptism and the Southern Baptist church. It puts the church in the place Christ only should hold.

50 John Wylie June 4, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Debbie,

I agree 100% with you on this. This is a battle that we’ve had to fight in the Missionary Baptist movement, the over emphasis on the doctrine of the church. This over emphasis has actually led to doctrinal error and produced the landmark movement in America. The historic position of Baptists has always been believer’s baptism by immersion.

51 Todd B. June 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

I still hope that the baptism issue will be one day revisited and the “eternal security” clause removed.

52 Frank L. June 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

Baptism is an extremely important aspect of baptist life. I don’t see how one — according to Debbie’s outline — can hold beliefs about baptism that are foreign to what Baptists believe, and then, seek full fellowship with a Baptist Church.

As a Baptist, I don’t believe that a person is either baptized, or not baptized. If a person was sprinkled in a church that believes one can lose their salvation, I don’t reject their baptism, I argue they were never baptized.

I believe the policy clearly implies someone must be “baptized Scripturally” as Baptists have historically understood baptism. In my view, the policy says absolutely nothing about the “one administering the baptism.”

I don’t have the policy in front of me, but it seems that’s how I remember it.

A person sprinkled in another denomination, might be a brother or sister in Christ, but they have never been scripturally baptized, regardless of who did the sprinkling.

53 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 10:11 am

On the mission field, if no such person was available to baptize, or if the qualified person was a woman, they would have to wait until the mission board could fly someone out to the mission field to administer baptism.

54 Jeremy Parks June 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I’m uncertain whether you mean this in the present tense or the past. Could you clarify for me?

55 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 9:59 pm

It is now in the present tense Jeremy having changed to this approximately 3 years ago, although there has been one change, it is now more of a guideline for the acceptance of missionary candidates than it is a set of die hard rules. This change came rather quickly within the first year of it being used as a die hard rule if memory serves me.

56 Jeremy Parks June 7, 2011 at 11:03 pm

I’ve worked for the IMB for about 11 years or so, in three contries on two continents. That’s the position from which I am speaking.

Never have I seen nor heard of this practice. I have never been told that is the standard. I have never been given guidelines, formal or otherwise, from the organization about who should be baptizing. I’ve never had a back-room nudge-and-wink discussion over who I should not be choosing. Ever.

This is why I asked if you were speaking in the present tense. I was trying to figure out what you were talking about.

Now, if you’re talking about a different mission agency, simply say so. The conversation thus far has been about the IMB, so that’s where I figured you were going with this.

57 Frank L. June 7, 2011 at 1:05 pm

“”On the mission field, if no such person was available to baptize, or if the qualified person was a woman, they would have to wait until the mission board could fly someone out to the mission field to administer baptism.””

Can you give the place and date that this happened?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say, this has never happened, and you made it up our of whole cloth. I do humbly acknowledge I could be wrong and a date and place would certainly prove such.

58 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Frank, Frank Frank….The Debbie doesn’t have to provide proof. Upon leaving her mouth, what The Debbie says becomes truth. Now, if The Debbie requires proof of what someone else says, why they better provide a link, dad-gumit. However, since what The Debbie says is true, no proof is needed.

59 Jason June 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm

I am quite confused with some of the discussion about “who is in or out” in the SBC.

The SBC has always been a loose collective of people who have agreed upon a pretty basic statement of faith (BFM) and have agreed to partner financially for missions (and education).

So, if a church agrees with the BFM2000 and wants to partner with the SBC in missions….they are in. Period.

Why are we seeking to narrow the parameters further than that? The way some have talked on this issue, they want to make a hierarchy of SBC churches…those with history, or “look like the SBC” (whatever that means). It appears the desire among some is not to protect the SBC, but to morph the SBC into a new Independent Fundamentalist group of churches. So they castigate leaders, they throw out absurd arguments against the GCR, they invent and erect fences, they tear down churches that don’t look like them, they try and hold the SBC hostage by withholding money, they make weak arguments against theological viewpoints that fit within the bounds of the agreed upon doctrinal statement, and they major on minor issues.

It makes no sense…and it is a little pathetic.

60 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 12:47 pm

Amen Jason… Amen!

61 Frank L. June 7, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Jason,

Who are “they?” I hear people in my church refer to “they” said this or “they” felt that or “they” are not happy with this or that.

Are you part of “they?” Usually this has been the case in my churches when people talk about “they.”

My problem with your post is not that I particularly disagree with what you are saying, but I can apply your “they” to groups and individuals that are on different sides of various issues.

In regard to the policy on baptism, you seem to imply that it says something different about baptism than the BF&M. As I understand it “they” adopted a policy that was right in line with the BF&M and not contrary to it.

Could you show where “they” were wrong in requiring scriptural baptism–that is, where “they” differ from the BF&M. Maybe I’m missing something.

62 Debbie Kaufman June 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm

Jason: Your perception of events is my perception from being deeply involved for 5 years until last October. I predict from my arm chair that more like minded churches will follow suit.

63 John Wylie June 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Debbie,

Just a question, did you mean you are no longer SBC? I’m just curious about your last commenet.

64 Dave Miller June 4, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I think Debbie means that she was heavily involved in Baptist blogging over the past 5 years. Is that right, Debbie?

65 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 2:22 am

Yes Dave, that is what I meant. I am still SBC John. :)

66 John Wylie June 4, 2011 at 6:37 pm

Oh I see, I misunderstood.

67 Louis June 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm

John and Debbie, I agree with you on the Baptism issue.

Debbie, the tongues issue is the same thing. The BFM says nothing about prohibiting tongues. Yet, the IMB has a policy against it. It appears that you don’t have a problem with the IMB prohibition against tongues.

I, too, don’t want to get into other people’s prayer closets.

And I agree with you. The old policy was fine. What I heard, however, was not that conservatives on the trustee board wanted to tighten down on it. But that some folks did not even like the old policy, and wanted it brought to the full board for discussion and reversal, and that doing that backfired.

I could be totally wrong about it, and it doesn’t bother me that I am wrong, if I am.

I was just trying to answer Greg’s inquiry.

I will return to my original proposition – that the BFM and the Baptist distinctives in the BFM should not be broadened for the purpose of becoming a bigger group to let non-Baptist groups join.

68 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 5:07 pm

I had not heard that there was no one that was against the old policies Louis. They were wanting to tighten up, so they added to the old rule in order to further exclude. That I object to.

You are correct in that I am not against the old policy.

69 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 11:00 pm

From the BFM 2000 with no broadening.

XIV. Cooperation

Christ’s people should, as occasion requires, organize such associations and conventions as may best secure cooperation for the great objects of the Kingdom of God. Such organizations have no authority over one another or over the churches. They are voluntary and advisory bodies designed to elicit, combine, and direct the energies of our people in the most effective manner. Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ’s Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ’s people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

Exodus 17:12; 18:17ff.; Judges 7:21; Ezra 1:3-4; 2:68-69; 5:14-15; Nehemiah 4; 8:1-5; Matthew 10:5-15; 20:1-16; 22:1-10; 28:19-20; Mark 2:3; Luke 10:1ff.; Acts 1:13-14; 2:1ff.; 4:31-37; 13:2-3; 15:1-35; 1 Corinthians 1:10-17; 3:5-15; 12; 2 Corinthians 8-9; Galatians 1:6-10; Ephesians 4:1-16; Philippians 1:15-18.

70 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Debbie,

I just like to say that I agree the issue of “tongues-speaking or a PPL” is a broadening of the 2000 Confession.

We may disagree as to whether that “broadening” was or was not justified, but I certainly agree it is a broadening.

I share your concern that this could be a slippery slope (if that is indeed what you were getting at) to where the broadening of the parameters of cooperation could so narrow the tent of cooperation that cooperation will inevitably become impossible.

71 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 5:08 pm

That should be I had not heard anyone who was against the old policy. The argument was that the old policy was sufficient.

72 Louis June 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

I understood.

Thanks.

73 Dr. James Willingham June 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm

A fellow in front of me, when we receied our doctorate at SEBTS, had a PPL, and he was a missionary. He has since passed from the earthly realm. I am sure he was sincere, but I questioned the wisdom of having a PPL. first, as a child growing up in Arkansas, my grandfather would attend an Assembly of God church now and then where they spoke in tongues and practiced other extremes, includng rolling in the aisles, running up and down the aisles, screaming, etc. The woman peacher had quite a crowd there until she ran off with the deacon who had four sons. I always wondered what happened to those sons.

Baptists have loosened the reins on beliefs and practices ever since they united the Separates and the Regulars in Va. in 1787 and agreed to drop the names and be called United Baptists. In 1827 a United Baptist Church in Mo. was organized which I would pastor for a brief period in 1965-66. The one point of difference was that the preahing that Christ tasted death for every man would beno bar to communion. Even so the Mt. Pisgah Church in NC, organized in 1814, which sent out the first Southern Baptist Missionary, Matthew Tyson Yates, declared in its Articles of Faith that Christ died for the Church. They never mentioned anybody else. Evidently, they expected to win all of China (or at least all of the elect in China with a doctrine of atonement limited to the church!! Shades of Paradoxical Interventions and therapeutic paradoxes!

We need a much vaster, more extensive, and even more deepter understanding of biblical theology, if we would move into the future which is to be dominated by the age of information which is replacing and in many cases already has replaced the age of industry. The intellectual, synthetical, paradoxical elements of a more uptodate approach to Scripture, one that treats the Bible with the reverence and respect that it earns and merits and deserves, are needed in order to help us grasp the new light that is breaking forth from God’s word as John Robinson, the pastor of the Pilgrims and participant in the Synod of Dordt, noted which might explain why Stearns and Marshall could have elderesses in a dya when they would not have dreamed of questioning the Bible with a skeptical attitude.

74 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 11:06 pm

You question the wisdom of having a PPL? Dr. Willingham. A PPL is not asked for, it is given to certain people by the Holy Spirit. Dr. McKissic didn’t ask for it. Yet he has one. Miss Bertha(Bertha Smith) didn’t ask for it. She had it. You seem to think that PPL is something you can just conjure up or not. That is not the case. It is or it isn’t.

75 Job June 6, 2011 at 3:37 pm

“A PPL is not asked for, it is given to certain people by the Holy Spirit. Dr. McKissic didn’t ask for it. Yet he has one.”

Whoever gave McKissic a PPL is probably the same one who told him to be in fellowship with the scandal-plagued heretic T.D. Jakes, support Barack Obama, and go around accusing so many good Southern Baptists of being racist.

Listen, I was a born, bred and raised Pentecostal of the “sanctification by works/salvation by faith plus works/you can lose your salvation/you aren’t saved unless you speak in tongues/little gods speak things into the existence Word of Faith/prosperity doctrine” variety. The key word is “was.” Why did I leave that movement? Because oneness Pentecostals who deny the Holy Trinity LIKE JAKES began to build successful empires with megachurches, TV/radio “ministries”, etc. and the other prominent Pentecostals chose to support them rather than separate from them. (Look, despite Jakes’ denials, which are trafficked by McKissic, THE GUY DENIES TRINITY, and that is just one of MANY of Jakes’ doctrinal problems.) After I found that out, and was “between churches” for a time, I began reading up on systematic theology and church history, and found out that neither is kind to that movement. For instance, PPL is based almost entirely on an atrocious misapplication of certain translations (especially the KJV) of Romans 8:26. Also, the charismatic activity of these groups, with their prophecies, tongues, and being “spirit-led” instead of Bible-guided, is little different from what the Anabaptists and Quakers – and their often heterodox beliefs I should point out – were indulging in 500 years ago.

So what does Pentecostals have to do with Baptists who assert a PPL? Simple: how many Baptists were claiming to have a PPL before the Pentecostal movement exploded in America barely 100 years ago? (And its coming to America was due to American Methodists’ emulating the doctrines and practice of British Methodists who badly corrupted Wesley’s teachings on sanctification – and recall that the the original Wesleyan teachings are extremely problematic for Baptists to begin with – some 160 years ago.) If it weren’t for Baptists’ being exposed to Pentecostals and believing in their doctrines and practices, there’d be as many Baptists claiming to have a PPL in 2011 as there were in 1811.

The “Baptists” who support the PPL need to go ahead and assert that they are the heirs of the Anabaptists. That way, we’d have the PPL Baptists claiming the Anabaptists against the cessationists, and the General (or free will, “Arminian” or “Calmanian”) Baptists claiming the Anabaptists against the Particular (or Reformed or Calvinistic) Baptists. As McKissic is General Baptist and PPL, McKissic needs to just go ahead and call himself a Munsterite.

76 Joe Blackmon June 6, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Job

That comment was spot on!!!! Excellent points.

A private prayer language is just a spirutal crutch for people who need something other than scripture to prop up their faith.

77 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 6:22 pm

Joe,

I think that is a rather broad statement. Actually, my understanding is that the entire essence of Christianity is a “crutch” used by crippled people in order to walk.

Frankly, I’d much rather prefer to pray using a crutch, than to not pray at all. In a not-so-recent-survey, most evangelical preachers indicated they pray less than 32 minutes a day.

My personal goal is a “Tithe” of prayer–2 and one half hours per day. So far, I fail more than I succeed, and so any crutch available–I’m up for.

Whatever one’s view of a PPL, it should not be assumed that everyone who holds a positive view of a PPL, came to that position without Scriptural justification, or because of a conspiracy of Pentecostals.

78 Joe Blackmon June 6, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Actually, you’re right, Frank. It was inflammatory–which I know you would NEVER have expected coming from me :-)

79 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Joe,

I didn’t say “inflamatory,” just over-stated. I can appreciate what I think was at the heart of your post–some people use a “spiritual gift” like people use an ornament on a Christmas tree. That is, the purpose is draw attention to the one exercising the gift.

Gifts, all of them, are instrumental, not ornamental.

80 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 6:16 pm

“”Simple: how many Baptists were claiming to have a PPL before the Pentecostal movement exploded in America barely 100 years ago?””

While I tend to agree with your assessment of T.D.Jakes and prominent pentecostals, your statement has certain logical problems.

First, to suggest that the practice of “full gospel” gifts originated with Azusa Street pentecostals about a 100 years ago, is not substantiated by history, or by the Biblical text.

Paul never–that is never–admonishes the church to “quit speaking in tongues.” This was apparently a very widespread practice. He did admonish a Biblical use of the gift.

Second, your statement suffers from a causal fallacy. You assume that the Biblical gift of tongues and the misuse of the same have the same cause. I’d suggest that the Biblical gift is caused by God, and the misuse of the same is caused by man. The latter does not, then (in my opinion) affect the former.

“”if it weren’t for Baptists’ being exposed to Pentecostals and believing in their doctrines and practices, there’d be as many Baptists claiming to have a PPL in 2011 as there were in 1811.””

This argument could easily be turned upon itself. Many Biblical doctrines lay dormant for years because the Church intentionally kept the people in the Dark. The fact that somebody might have been introduced to a perspective they had not been informed of, does not mean that they were more correct when they were more ignorant.

I personally would never have investigated the gifts of the Spirit when I did if it had not been for a very godly Pentecostal brother. He helped me see that many things I believed as a Baptist did not come from the Bible, but from my upbringing as a Baptist.

So, I could say, thank God for the Pentecostal revival 100 years ago for challenging a “cessationist” belief that cannot be substantiated by the Biblical text.

81 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Job: I have one thing to say about your comment considering Dwight McKissic a close personal friend of my husband and myself. You do not know what you are talking about. The rumor mills keep churning. Proud Baptists keep on turning. Rolling down the river. (couldn’t resist.) But what you have said is absolutely false. Dwight McKissic is as Southern Baptist and orthodox, conservative as they come. Even those who were once against him respect him greatly and are counted among his friends.

82 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 10:05 pm

Just in case you didn’t understand my comment fully Job, Dwight McKissic is not associated with TJ Jakes. He is asking for a full hearing of Dr. Jakes. I don’t think that’s a bad idea. Heretic hunters are a dime a dozen. Christ kind of gets put aside with heretic hunters, especially when they hunt for things that are not there. I should be 1/4 of the Spirit filled and led Christian that Dwight McKissic is.

83 Frank L. June 6, 2011 at 11:52 pm

“”is as Southern Baptist and orthodox, conservative as they come.””

That may be stretching things a bit.

84 Christiane June 6, 2011 at 4:57 pm

I don’t know what people think a ‘private prayer language’ is, but if we are baptized in the Holy Spirit, we do know that the Spirit intercedes for us:

“In the same way the Spirit also helps us in our weakness;
for we do not know what prayers to offer
nor in what way to offer them.
But the Spirit Himself pleads for us
in yearnings that can find no words. . . ”
(Romans 8:26)

I would urge restraint in judging Christian people who have a ‘private prayer language’, because, in the sense of Romans 8:26, we all are blessed in our brokenness.
‘Deep calls unto deep’ and we are told that God’s ways are beyond our present ability to understand.

85 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Before Miss Bertha Smith became a missionary to China and Taiwan, The Foreign Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention had a policy that no single women could serve on the mission field. That was changed and Miss Bertha became a missionary. She served faithfully for 45 years. When the IMB passed the PPL policy and I am sure the Baptism policy on who could and could not baptize, she still wouldn’t be able to serve and the world, we as Southern Baptists would have lost one of the greatest Christian speakers and missionaries we have yet to see again. How many Bertha Smith’s are we not allowing to be again because of narrow mindedness?

86 Matt Svoboda June 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

Debbie,

Here is the thing… if a person is called to be a missionary in a foreign land than they will go. Should we lose sleep because someone goes, but not through the SBC because of doctrinal differences? no.

It really doesnt matter at all that Bertha was SBC. She was a great missionary in a needed place and I dont really care where the money came from to support her. Just because the SBC doesnt send people with PPLs doesnt mean they cant be missionaries. The Assemblies of God would be happy to send them.

87 Strider June 6, 2011 at 12:42 am

What I hear you saying Matt is this: ‘God can do what He wants to and SB’s don’t have to be a part of it.’ This is true- but this SB WANTS to be a part of what God is doing in the world today.

88 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 1:57 am

Amen Strider.

89 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 1:51 am

PPL is SBC, more than you know Matt. And it does matter. Greatly. Thus the big schism.

90 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 1:53 am

Matt: Another problem is I know that you are Calvinist and there are people in the SBC now saying that same thing about you. :)

91 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 8:11 am

In fact, these voices are the same voices who rallied round the IMB policy changes.

92 Joe Blackmon June 6, 2011 at 9:25 am

The Assemblies of God would be happy to send them.

Or the CBF. God knows it doesn’t matter what you believe there.

93 David R. Brumbelow June 6, 2011 at 9:36 am

The CBF isn’t sending much of anyone to the mission field; at least not ones paid by the CBF. They have been having financial problems and cutting back their staff.
David R. Brumbelow

94 Joe Blackmon June 6, 2011 at 9:37 am

They have been having financial problems and cutting back their staff.

:-)

95 Debbie Kaufman June 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I’m sure most know this, but the FMB is now the IMB. The same mission board that changed those policies so that Miss Bertha could become a missionary are the same board who tried to make it so that Miss Bertha would not have been able to serve three years ago.

96 Doug Hibbard June 6, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Might want to clarify for those who don’t know this, though most of us do:

The organization is the same one: The FMB became the IMB which is now “imb connecting” or something like that.

The people that actually make up the Trustees are different people.

Just in case some of you folks that aren’t familiar with the groups and structures didn’t catch that part.

97 Debbie Kaufman June 6, 2011 at 9:56 pm

You are right Doug. And that might not have been clear. In fact it was years apart. My point was the same organization albeit different name and the different changes in policy through the years. It will probably change again and again.

98 Doug Hibbard June 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Some change is for the better, and some for the worse.

Of course, as Baptists, some change is just for the sake of change. Why do we do that? Change things that need left alone and then fight like wild hogs to leave alone what needs change?

99 Doug Hibbard June 6, 2011 at 10:29 pm

I think we had a different focus then—we’ve shifted from striving to find people to go, to find a way for them to go, to be almost as concerned about finding reasons to keep people from going.

It just seems odd.

100 Richard June 6, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Why the shift in analogies to the CBF? Was being critical your only motive?

101 Todd B. June 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

If it were not for “the larger evangelical world”, I would not be a believer today.

As one evangelist in our state once said, “[my] Bible was not printed at the Sunday School Board and I’m not sure that God is a Southern Baptist. I love being Southern Baptist, but I’m tickled to death that Jesus got me before the Baptists did” :)

102 Dr. James Willingham June 7, 2011 at 11:35 am

A PPL is not a part of SBC. I read sometime ago where one very conservative SBC charismatic type asserted that the Sandy Creek tradition allowed for such things. I pastored in th Sandy Creek Assn. for 11 yars, did research in its history for many years, wrote a thesis in intellectual history that involved Sandy Creek Assn., and etc., I say with emphasis that there is no basis for such claims. I read some years ago that some Roman Catholic said the Catholics had made more progress among the Protestants with the Charismatic approach than they had any other way.

Being aware of the fact that eschatology was used to get Rome off the Waldensian and Protestant Reformation hook of being the Antichrist, I wondered if the charismatic movement could have been a similarly planned event to get Protestants off of their independent spirit.

It is easy to let some spirit seize control of one’s vocal chords, but it is another matter to determine the source and nature of that Spirit. Anything that suggests letting someone else be in control without accountability and balance is a danger not to be believed. There are those who have found out that the Devil can giving people the power to speak in an unknown tongue.

Since I must give an account for every word I speak, I prefer to give an account for what I know I have spoken (though God knows as I do that only His forgivenness could and must cover some of it). Orderliness, transparency, and understanding are clearly set forth in the Bible as guides for our speech….not words or utterances that even we ourselves do not understand and that others cannot idenify as any known language. People who mess around with PPL and Speaking in tongues except in the latter case, it be a bona fide gift that actually communicates with another person in that person’s language and accomplishes a Divine purpose like conversion, etc.,, people who mess with such things without the latter qualification are playing with fire…not of Heaven.

Job who wrote above about his experience serves as a good warning about such matters.

103 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 2:26 pm

The guidelines for missionary candidates, the IMB states:

a. Baptism is a church ordinance.

Baptism must take place in a church that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone, does not view baptism as sacramental or regenerative, and a church that embraces the doctrine of the security of the believer.

b. A candidate who has not been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his/her Southern Baptist church as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.

Simply put, these guidelines place an “Extra-Biblical” requirement of theological/doctrinal understanding upon the legitimacy of a properly conducted Baptism by immersion.

With this “Extra-Biblical” requirement in place we have no Scriptural evidence that any of the Apostles or the Ethiopian Eunuch were qualified for service with the IMB.

I don’t care “One Hoot” for their reasons in adopting this policy…

It cannot be defended by the Scriptures, it disqualifies properly baptized Christians from service, and it leads to the temptation of those seeking to serve as our missionaries to submit to a “purely man made Religious Ritual”, perhaps against their own conscious, in order to be deemed worthy of serving.

There is but “ONE BAPTISM”… anything else is a sin, and shows sadly that many Baptist today do not even understand what Baptism is truly all about.

“There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” (Eph.4:4-6)

Grace for the Journey,

104 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 2:38 pm

…it disqualifies properly baptized Christians from service…

Were these properly baptized Christians baptized by immersion as believers? Further, do they affirm or reject baptismal regeneration? Finally, although it is not related to whether their baptism was valid, do they affirm or deny eternal security?

105 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 3:22 pm

Joe,

1) Yes they were baptized by immersion.

2) That is an Extra-Biblical requirement for recognizing their Baptism as acceptable… That is the whole problem with these new policies. Now it they want to add that as a doctrinal requirement for service that is just fine with me, but to tell someone they must be “re-baptized” (whatever that is) because they, or their church, lacked proper doctrinal knowledge at the time of their true baptism is wrong… No, it sin!

3) Weather a “Church Affirms” the doctrine of the eternal security of the believer does not validate, or should it invalidate, someones baptism. That is what this policy does.

Now if they had said that these beliefs were required doctrine for the individuals to serve, and that their home church must also hold to these truths, then I would have no problem with these policies. But they went beyond this and attempted to tie these doctrines to the legitimacy of one’s Baptism…. and that is gross theological error.

Grace for the Journey,

106 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 3:35 pm

I think you misunderstood 2) and 3). I’ll try to be more clear.

Do the people in question NOW affirm eternal security? Not the church they were baptized in–the candidates in question. I probably didn’t understand it when I was baptized (I was 13 and had been a Christian for about 6 months I think) so I’m not going to hold them accountable for a less than complete understanding of some theology when they were baptized. What I meant is do these candidates now affirm it.

Also, do the people reject baptismal regneration or do they believe their baptism saved them? Again, not the church they were baptized in, the individuals themselves.

I’m not saying either of these invalidate their baptism, but a person who didn’t affirm eternal security and/or who believed their baptism was salvific should not be a candidate for serving as a missionary in the SBC.

107 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm

Joe,

Yes… and Yes…

They NOW affirm the eternal security of the believer, and they reject baptismal regeneration…. AND they are disqualified from serving with the IMB.

Go back and read the policy (I posted it above)… the requirements are all upon the doctrinal beliefs of “The Church” in which they were baptized, not what they now believe.

That’s why this is such an offensive policy.

108 David R. Brumbelow June 7, 2011 at 3:01 pm

I have no problem with the IMB policy on baptism.

1. This is a requirement for IMB missionary candidates, not members of your church.
2. SBC churches continue to follow their own guidelines on baptism – hopefully believer’s baptism by immersion. The finer details are up to them. The IMB policy does not make an ounce of difference in how things are carried out in local SBC churches across our nation.
3. There are SBC pastors who disagree with this policy as far as their own congregation, but see the need for it in the IMB; or at least have no significant issue with this IMB practice because they know it does not affect them.
4. Apparently one reason the IMB made this policy is because missionary candidates were coming from non SBC backgrounds, joining a Baptist church, and expecting us to appoint them as missionaries and pay them lifetime salaries from our mission money. Somewhere word got out that while you may not have money to go to the mission field, you can become a nominal Southern Baptist, they have plenty of money, and they will finance you.
5. If you feel terribly inconvenienced at being baptized in an SBC church, you are always welcome to have another mission sending agency finance you; or raise your own support.
6. Plenty of other policies are not spelled out in Scripture. I doubt if you can find IMB policies spelled out in Scripture on a missionary’s personal finances and debt, family, or weight and health.
If you want to get really strict about everything having to be directly in Scripture then maybe we should join the hard core Churches of Christ who refuse to allow musical instruments in Worship since none are mentioned in connection with Worship in the New Testament.
7. I’m glad our IMB is attempting to send committed, convictional Southern Baptists as our missionaries, rather than anyone who wants to jump on the bandwagon and receive a full time salary.
8. Despite the hand-wringing over this policy, the IMB continues to have more missionary candidates than they have money to send.
David R. Brumbelow

109 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

See, here’s the thing that I’ve never understood. Who exactly is it that these policies are excluding? I mean, I don’t know if I even think they’re needed but exactly who are the people who are being discriminated against?

110 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Joe,

Here is the real question that we should be asking… “Who has been led to commit a sin in order to comply with these policies?”

111 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 3:42 pm

So, if they got rebaptized that would be a sin? Wow, totally missed that one.

112 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 3:51 pm

The “doctrines of men” are always sin…

If you can provide me with just one example or command in the N.T. to justify the practice of “re-baptism” / “multiple baptisms” then I shall stand corrected. But baring any scriptural evidence for this practice, I shall continue to reject it as being just as much an “Un-Biblical” practice as sprinkling babies.

113 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Sorry, it’s not incumbent upon me to prove a negative–”It’s not a sin for someone to be rebaptized”. If you’re going to claim it’s a sin then you’ve got to prove it. Otherwise, you’re just as guilty of extra-biblical requirements as the ones you belly ache about.

114 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 4:50 pm

So Joe what time is Bingo on Wednesday nights at your church?

Just kidding… :-)

On a more serious note… If it is ok to “Re-Baptize” someone, why not just Baptize every child in VBS? Or the whole church every week? Why not Baptize Infants when they are born, seeing it’s no problem to just re-baptize them latter on?

Oh… and it is your responsibility to “prove” that what your church practices is Biblical… Or else, as I hope I showed above, it’s anything goes.

115 Dave Miller June 7, 2011 at 4:53 pm

sin may be the wrong word, Joe, but I think it is unwise to demand that which God does not demand.

116 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 6:25 pm

Dave

Totally agree. For the record, and I came on the scene about a year after all the broo-ha-ha about the new policies, but I don’t agree with having someone rebaptized if they were baptized by immersion as believers. Also, I don’t agree with asking about a PPL as long as that person kept it to themselves. But Greg didn’t just say he disagreed with it, he said telling them to be rebaptized was a sin. As long as it was a believers baptism (after professing faith in Christ, by immersion) rebaptizing them is superfluous and a little goofy but not sin.

117 Joe Blackmon June 7, 2011 at 6:28 pm

On a more serious note… If it is ok to “Re-Baptize” someone, why not just Baptize every child in VBS?

Well, if they professed faith in Christ and you were sure they were mature enough to understand what they meant (I mean, you should be careful with children), I’d be down with that.

Or the whole church every week?

Well, it wouldn’t be sin, but it’d be pretty redundant.

Why not Baptize Infants when they are born, seeing it’s no problem to just re-baptize them latter on?

Because baptism is by immersion for believers who have professed faith in Christ.

118 bill June 7, 2011 at 7:21 pm

I got “saved” when I was eight and was promptly baptized following the revival.

I got saved when I was fifteen.

I chose to be rebaptized not out of obligation, but just out of my own personal desire to be consistent with where I was at that point. In fact, the pastor who baptized me actually tried to talk me out of it at first. However, as we talked, he stated that he understood my intentions and I was “re-baptized” in my freshman year in college.

I also see a problem with children right now. Children Pastors are judged almost solely on VBS numbers so there is pressure to get kids wet on a Sunday morning after VBS is over. This pretty much can undercut the teaching opportunities of VBS in my opinion because the baptism rather than planting seeds for discipleship and instruction is the goal. We pretty much abandon kids after we get them “saved” and add that tick mark to our rolls.

Probably why we can’t find six million members too…

119 Dr. James Willingham June 7, 2011 at 9:38 pm

Unfortunately, rebaptism of Baptist church members does occur and frequently. Think of all those who have gotten away from the Lord and lost the feeling that they were saved. They get under conviction, make a profession, and ask to be baptized again, and there are a preachers who do a lot of rebaptizing. 200 years ago + they had problems as that was the charge laid against baptists for baptizing by immersion all who came to them from churches that sprinkled and poured and that of mostly infants…so baptism by immersion to the other protestants was merely another form of baptism. Hence, the Baptists in the eyes of other Protestants were guilty of rebaptizing. When Baptists had those who applied for baptism again, they generally turned them down on the issue. Their question was, “How do you know you were converted this time and not the first time?”

There is as Greg says, “one baptism.” Baptizing again might sound goofy to Joe, but the ordinance is specific as to water baptism; it is “one baptism.”

Landmarkism added another qualification or two or three, namely, a proper administrator (a Landmark ordained minister), authorized by a Landmark Church, and linked chain succession (which can never be proven or established. As to the Philadelphia Church idea, I suspect they would deliberately hide their baptismal practices out of an ovewhelming sense of humility with a deep seated aversion to anything that smacked of pride. Interestingly enough, I found references in my researches to the fact that a Inquisitor in the 1200s declared that the Waldensians in that century had a church in Philadelphia (one fellow said to me once, Philadelphia didn’t exist then–imagine his surprise, when I said, Philadelphia in Revelation 3:10 did), the noted historian Gibbon makes reference to Philadelphia in his Decline and Fall of the Romand Empire, and in the 1400s the Waldensians sent a committee to check on the church in South India. I have even read that Catholic Priests and Bishops went and fell on their faces before Waldensian Pastors sometime in the 20th century and begged their forgiveness for what the Roman Church had done to the Waldensians during the time of the Inquisition. I could appreciate that as in the Spring of ’63 I began doing researches on the Wladensians in Inquisition History and had nightmares about what I had learned. Interestingly enough, 40 years after I did that research, I was preaching in a country church and after the service a tall fellow came up and said to me, “I am from Valdese, NC. I am a Waldensian.” I got all choked up. It seemed like God was saying to me, “I am honoring you for doing that research.” Maybe it was just a feeling and meant nothing, but I still feel that way. And I remember the nightmares from having studied the things the Waldensian suffered at the hands of the inquisitors and the wrath of the populace aroused against them.

120 Greg Alford June 7, 2011 at 10:14 pm

I seem to have taken us down a side road in this discussion… So I will attempt to get us a little back on topic by asking the following question for consideration:

How can the SBC ever hope to have any since of a unified Identity if the Baptist Faith and Message is not considered sufficient to guide our institutions and agencies?

Grace for the Journey,

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