Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A Grave Error at SBC

Tonight I ache to bottom of my soul. In what I can only assume was an attempt to mollify the moderate leaning wing of inerrantists within SBC life, the messengers at the annual meeting in San Antonio approved a motion to limit the ability of trustees to set criteria for the hiring of personnel and the appointing of missionaries to the skeletal statement of faith comprised in the Baptist Faith and Message of 2000. Where or where were the great leaders of the past who would have quickly explained the import of such a motion and exposed the diabolical plot to promote the seemingly self-serving agenda of those who’ve been trying for two years to bring this about.

This appears to be a blatant attempt by the Burleson/Cole/McKissic group to allow missionaries who believe in tongue speaking and social drinking, as well those who have questionable baptism to be appointed as missionaries. Rebuffed last year in their attempt to intimidate the IMB trustees and convention, they seem to have resorted to a more devious ploy this year. Rather than bring their pet beliefs before the convention which almost certainly would have issued them another resounding defeat, they couched their nefarious ploy in confusing and baptistic sounding language.

Trustees currently are free to employ guidelines which they believe reflect the standards of the vast majority of Southern Baptists in appointing missionaries and hiring personnel. The vote at the convention will remove the trustees ability to use criteria other than that codified within the BF&M to determine the worthiness of individuals to be appointed.

Currently there are a significant number of individuals who desire to serve as missionaries, but do not qualify because they speak in tongues, drink socially, or have questionable baptism. While the vast majority of Southern Baptist laity believe that tongues is so much gibberish, the trustees will be forced to appoint such individuals to the mission field. Such action will result in local churches refusing to send mission monies to the co-operative program and opting to support those missionaries they know personally, or it will result in a cumbersome and highly codified statement of faith.

Motions to modify the BF&M are already being formulated. Battle after battle will be fought over the matter of Alcohol, Tongues, and Baptism in the years to come as statements reflecting the Biblical views of the majority of Southern Baptists are presented for adoption into the BF&M, which the action of the convention meeting in session has made necessary by one mistaken vote.

The Baptist Faith and Message is not intended to be a comprehensive compendium of Baptistic Belief. Rather, it is a skeletal statement of basic beliefs which we consider absolutely essential for fellowship and co-operation. The perpetrators of this heinous and insidious proposal played on the fears of 5-pointers, who often seem to act as if they are only one step from being dismissed from SBC life, anyway. Such a coalition, however wrongly constituted, was able to carry the day in this matter to what I’m certain will be the bane of Southern Baptists in the months to come.

Should I be proven wrong, I will happily recant my wild prognostications. I just don’t think I am.

May God have mercy upon us as we hold forth the faith once received.


LS said...

Unfortunately This is well stated. I am afraid you are exactly right. We slammed them in rejecting their candidate for first VP, and then unfortunately fell into their hands on this larger issue....So many people did not understand the ramifications of doing this.

Jim Shaver said...

So you guys believe this is a "them versus us" split within the SBC?

And the "them" won the vote on the BFM?

Exactly who makes up the "them" besides Burleson, Cole and McKissic?

Apparently over 50% of the messengers in San Antonio along with the Exec. Board of the SBC and Morris Chapman and Frank Page.

I thought the majority ruled in SBC life. Apparently only when it confirms one's position.

I fear you are right Mike about the further splintering of the SBC. I don't think this vote one way or the other would have prevented that. This thing is spiralling downward and nothing will stop it except a direct intervention by the hand of God.

aaron said...


aaron said...

Are you suggesting a majority of the convention was to stupid or ignorant to know what they were voting for?

LS said...

I don't know if you were there or not, but I do know that many of the messengers were confused. Many voted for the motion that wished they had not. It was poorly moderated by the the President who allowed several supportive views in a row, when his intention was to allow one vote for and one vote against. (Confusion abounded there too.)
Many were confused about what the motion stated, and its ramifications.... and many still are.

Right, wrong, or indifferent, we will have to live with the results.

Mike Rasberry said...

Aaron, I'm not saying anybody was stupid. I'm saying the majority of those at this convention made a serious error.

LS said...

Article from Dallas Morning News:
Baptists say doctrine should guide policies

SBC's vote may bring more acceptance of speaking in tongues

10:18 PM CDT on Wednesday, June 13, 2007
By SAM HODGES / The Dallas Morning News

SAN ANTONIO – Even as the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention wrapped up here Wednesday, the talk went on about a single action taken Tuesday night.

Fifty-seven percent of the "messengers" voted to adopt an executive committee report saying that the denomination's faith statement, the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, is sufficient to guide trustees of SBC agencies and seminaries as they make policies with doctrinal implications.

Also Online
DMN religion writer Sam Hodges blogs from the SBC's annual meeting
Theological conservatives won control of the SBC a generation ago, on such issues as biblical inerrancy and keeping women out of the pulpit. But lately they've split over whether the denomination's trustee boards have gone too far in spelling out acceptable doctrine.

A particular point of conflict has been the SBC's International Mission Board, whose trustees put in a policy disqualifying foreign missionary candidates who have a private prayer language, a form of speaking in tongues. The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 does not address speaking in tongues, and the president of the mission board has acknowledged that he has a private prayer language.

Reformers, including a group of young pastors who have used their blogs to communicate, called Tuesday night's vote a clear statement that the SBC rank and file doesn't want the mission board or other boards going beyond the faith statement where doctrine is involved.

"It ought to give pause to those who might think of taking those kinds of actions in the future," said Tom Ascol, a pastor from Cape Coral, Fla.

But Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, said that while he's glad to be guided by the faith statement, he and his board can't be bound by it in policy and hiring decisions.

"There are issues that are not directly addressed in the Baptist Faith and Message," he said in remarks to messengers Wednesday.

He added that he was certain that the SBC membership did not favor hiring professors who advocate speaking in tongues. That comment brought applause.

Richard Land, who runs the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, said most messengers who voted in favor of adopting the executive committee report Tuesday night did not understand the issue to be one of limiting trustee boards.

And he, like Dr. Mohler, said the Baptist Faith and Message was never intended to be a full statement of Baptist belief, capable of steering institutions on specific matters that have doctrinal implications.

"That's why you have trustees," he said.

But Wade Burleson, an Oklahoma pastor who has been outspoken about what he sees as overreaching by SBC boards – including the IMB, on which he has been a dissenting member – said the messengers knew full well what they were voting on.

And he used his blog to say that Dr. Mohler and other SBC seminary presidents "gave to our convention the proverbial finger" (Isn't that a godly statement, and they want to lead the SBC?) by resisting the idea that they need to stay within the faith statement's boundaries.

7:48 AM

actionsub said...

I'm not really sure what to think about this. This reminds me of the story about the Bedouin who allowed his camel to stick his nose in the tent on a cold night, and found himself eventually crowded out by the camel.

If one says the BFM is sufficient as a policy guide vis-a-vis the doctrine of potential hires and missionaries, then it indeed leaves room for those things not specifically addressed such as tongues. Mike points out this is potentially troublesome.

On the other hand, the alternative will leave Southern Baptists with a doctrinal statement of book length with all the necessary amendments; and the BFM will eventually become an ever-evolving document similar to the Mormon Church's "Doctrine and Standards". This isn't necessarily a good thing either.