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Monday, May 21, 2007

Saying Goodbye to an Old Friend

Wade Burleson writes on his blog: Has the Gospel's Power Been Lost in the SBC?

...Though we say with our lips salvation is by grace through the work of Christ, we sometimes broadcast with our lives that salvation is really only found in our church, our message, and our baptism.

…Recently the new (IMB) policy on baptism was shown to Ray Hugget, High Priest of the Reorganized Church of Latter Day Saints and a direct descendent of Joseph Smith, and asked him what he thought of it. Ray read it carefully and then proclaimed that the policy is just like his church's view on baptism. I asked him to clarify and he said, "A legitimate baptism is one performed only in our church, because we are the true church of Jesus Christ on earth, and we would not accept any other baptism."

I have documented my strong opposition to these new and unauthorized (extra-BFM2000) doctrines/guidlines that have been adopted by the IMB here: The IMB “Canonizes” its policy on Baptism and Tongues

The Board of Trustees of the IMB have had over a year to correct these new policies and have decided instead to simply restate them as “guidelines”, which in effect leaves them in place unchanged. This means that according to these new (narrow) parameters of cooperation certain members of FBC Ponce de Leon, which were before these new guidelines were adopted qualified for service with the IMB, are now considered unqualified to serve as a missionary with the IMB.

Therefore, I have drawn up the following new guideline for FBC Ponce de Leon when considering cooperation with any International Missions Agency:

Guideline on International Missions Agencies

If an International Missions Agency “narrows the parameters of cooperation” beyond the doctrines expressed in our Statement of Faith (BFM2000), without satisfactory scriptural support, to such a degree that the members of this Southern Baptist church are no longer qualified to serve, the International Missions Agency has eliminated itself from being a representative of this church.

It is with great regret and the deep emotions associated with loosing an old friend that the Executive Committee of FBC Ponce de Leon, meeting at our regular monthly time, reached the decision that the IMB has “eliminated itself from being a representative of this church” and will no longer receive financial support from this congregation.

Grace to all,

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cautious Cooperating Southern Baptist

I have noticed that many bloggers have started identified themselves as “Cautious Cessationist” when stating their position on miraculous works of the Holy Spirit in our day. On this same subject others have identified themselves as “Cautious Continuationist”.

I have no problem with these definitions and I fully understand the need to be cautious… for I have learned that in this current political climate of “ever narrowing parameters of cooperation”, and increasing “Landmark influence” throughout much of the convention, that one needs to be “Cautious” in order to survive in the SBC today.

So I guess you could call me a “Cautious Cooperating Southern Baptist”. And if I were a Missionary with the IMB I would be very cautious! It is a sad day when Missionaries have to be protected from the very ones who sent them… from hostility in the field and at home.

“Cautious” is indeed the word that best describes life the SBC today…

Grace to all,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Before I formed you in the womb

My wife and I were discussing (Jeremiah 1:5) last night.

"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations."

(I love having a wife that I can discuss theology with…) During this discussion the thought occurred to us that throughout our lives we are in the constant process of learning who we really are, and who others really are. But not God... He already knows who we really are… to such an extent that “God never learns anything new about us”.

He is never surprised by our sin or our actions. His love is not conditioned upon His foreknowledge of our right behavior. Quite the opposite, His foreknowledge revealed our sinfulness while we were yet “in the womb”... and still He says “before you were born I set you apart”…

Our lives are novels upon the shelves of His personal library. Each day is a page in the novel of our life, and the pages that lay ahead are utterly unknown unto us. But not God... He has read every word of the novel that is our life, even before we turned the first page. And having read this novel, that at times filled his heart with joy and at other times caused him to weep with sadness, God placed us in His basket to take home… to treasure us forever…

This is a wonderful thought; it is too high for me…

Overcome by Grace,

Monday, May 14, 2007

Calvinism and mental health: have you been exposed?

Bill Lollar has written a rather humorous article on Calvinism that is also very true.

Check it out: Calvinism and mental health: have you been exposed?

Grace to all,

Friday, May 11, 2007

The IMB “Canonizes” its policy on Baptism and Tongues

Here is the full report…

Report of the Mission Personnel Ad Hoc CommitteeMay 2007

In March of 2006 an ad hoc committee of Mission Personnel Committee received the charge to revisit the approved board policy on tongues and prayer language and the approved board guideline on baptism, both adopted in November 2005. The ad hoc committee has met over the past year during board meetings as well as a two-day special meeting to consider the vast amount of material gathered from leaders, scholars, and pastors across our denomination. The committee solicited this material in an attempt to be faithful to its task. The committee has also spent considerable time praying, fasting, and seeking God’s heart on these issues. The committee has no desire to create further controversy. Rather, our desire is to bring this study to completion and allow the board to maintain its focus upon our world mission task.

The ad hoc committee has concluded that even though field related data and consultation with regional leaders has not indicated a systemic problem with charismatic practices among field personnel, the rapid spread of neo-pentecostalism and its pressure exacted on the new churches in various regions of the world warrants a concern for the clear Baptist identity of our missionary candidates. Furthermore, the diversity of denominational backgrounds among missionary candidates requires a clear baptism guideline to guide the work of our candidate consultants as they consider the qualifications of candidates.

Therefore, we recommend that the full board adopt the following two guidelines to replace Policy 200-15 and Guideline 200-3a. The Mission Personnel Committee approved this recommendation on March 20, 2007 by a three-fourths majority.

Guideline on Tongues and Prayer Language

1. The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language.
2. The New Testament expression of glossolalia as a gift had specific uses and conditions for its exercise in public worship.
3. In terms of worship practices, if glossolalia is a public part of the candidate’s current practice and it does not fall within the definitions of Parts 1 & 2 above, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.

1. Any spiritual experience must be tested by Scriptures.
2. New Testament teaching is that prayer is to be made with understanding.
3. The board is not persuaded that ecstatic utterance as a prayer language is a valid expression of the New Testament teaching on prayer.
4. Therefore, if an “ecstatic utterances as a prayer language” is a part of the candidate’s current practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.

1. This guideline is not retroactive.
2. Any exceptions to the above guideline must be reviewed by the staff and the Mission
Personnel Committee.

Proposed Guideline on Baptism

THAT each candidate’s baptismal experience be examined, during the application process, in light of the Baptist Faith and Message statement and the points listed below:

Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper. 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, Article VII


1. The individual

(a.) Believer’s baptism by immersion. Baptism by immersion follows salvation.
(b.) Baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ.Baptism does not regenerate.

2. The Church

(a.) Baptism is a church ordinance.Baptism must take place under the authority of a local church that practices believer’s baptism alone, embraces the doctrine of the security of a believer’s salvation and does not view baptism as sacramental, regenerative or essential to salvation.
(b.) A candidate who has not been baptized under the authority of a local church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his or her Southern Bapist church.

3. The Candidate

The candidate is responsible for requesting their home church to assist them in meeting this doctrinal commitment to the above points.

4. The Consultant

While the candidate consultant should have a working knowledge of many denominational groups, he or she is not expected to investigate every church.


1. The guideline is not retroactive. Any exception to the above guideline must be reviewed by staff and the Mission Personnel Committee.

(End of committee report)

My Commentary on this issue:

This is not a trivial matter!

The Board of Trusties of the IMB has taken it upon themselves to define for the Southern Baptist Convention what is acceptable doctrine and practice in the areas of Tongues and Baptism. Others like Wade have posted a great deal on the issue of Tongues so I will concentrate specifically on the doctrine of Baptism. I have made a few comments on Wade’s blog that I need to bring over here for discussion.

Here are my post on Wade’s blog:

I am a life long Southern Baptist Pastor who, in the past, has ALWAYS supported the various agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention. I have consistently motivated each church I have pastured to greater support of our Southern Baptist Mission efforts through increased giving.

A few years ago (due to what we felt were inappropriate actions by certain Florida Baptist Officials) the Leadership of my current church decided by unanimous consent to stop funding the C.P. and send our support directly to NAMB and IMB.

We have continued to support both NAMB and IMB as they faced controversy these last couple of years. I can honestly say that I was impressed and yes even PROUD of the way that NAMB responded to their difficult situation and because of their willingness to address each and every concern that was raised, I have even more confidence in NAMB today than I did before. I regret that I cannot say the same of IMB.

Because of NAMB’s willingness to address, and yes make the proper corrections, NAMB will continue to receive my full support. Because the IMB has refused to follow the example set by NAMB (see the comments by Micah Fries above) I can no longer recommend that my church send support to IMB until these guidelines/policies (there is no difference) are changed.

Why would any Southern Baptist Church send its missions support to any agency that would not accept its own Pastor or Members? There are options…Grace to all,

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Thank you for the compliment… I do “immature” quite well don’t you think? Kind of like the IMB BOT saying to “All” Southern Baptist “if you don’t play by our rules you don’t get to play at all”… sounds a little immature on their part if you ask me.

Notice, I did not say I was no longer going to support Southern Baptist Missionaries… “There are options…”

Beth, just what would you suggest would be an appropriate response to this decision of the IMB BOT (not unanimous I am sure) to force their Neo-Landmark doctrines upon all Southern Baptist? Just what is a local church pastor to do? I am really open to other ideas as to how to respond to all of this… if someone can come up with a better solution than pulling our support for IMB I would like to hear it?

Perhaps the IMB could come up with a “Two Track” system where those who wish to serve under their new Landmark rules can apply, and those churches who wish to support Landmark missionaries can support them… And another of us who were very satisfied and happy under the old system can still serve as missionaries and send support also? I suppose that is asking too much though… for a Southern Baptist Church to be able to send a missionary through the Southern Baptist IMB that reflects its own beliefs instead of those of others.


Thank you so much for the compliment, you are too kind… Not sure I am ready for the BOT yet; I have a long way to go before I learn to handle myself with the grace and gentleness that you show in the face of such difficult issues…

But, thanks for the encouragement and you can be sure that I will ALWAYS support Southern Baptist Missionaries… where there is a will, there is always a way.Grace to all,

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I have not broken fellowship with the IMB, the IMB has broken fellowship with me.

In following the language of the International Mission Board I have drafted a new “guideline” for my church when considering International Missions Agencies.

Guideline on International Missions Agencies

If an International Missions Agency “narrows the parameters of cooperation” beyond the doctrines expressed in our Statement of Faith (BFM2000), without satisfactory scriptural support, to such a degree that the members of this Southern Baptist church are no longer qualified to serve, the International Missions Agency has eliminated itself from being a representative of this church.

I hope this clears up any misunderstanding on who has initiated this breach of fellowship… it was not I!

Grace to all,
Thursday, May 10, 2007


I have only one, perhaps two, members in my church of whom I am aware that have a “private” prayer language…

On the other hand, I have many members who have come to us from different denominational backgrounds (Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Independent Baptist, etc.) all of whom were Baptized by immersion following their conversion. In other words their Baptism is (according to the N.T.) “PROPER”. Yet, according to the BOT of the IMB their Baptism in “unacceptable”…

The IMB BOT writes:

A candidate who has not been baptized under the authority of a local church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his or her Southern Bapist church.

“There is one Baptism…” only one! Putting someone who has been properly Baptized according to the Scripture through the “ritual” of re-baptizing them is in fact not Baptism. It is a “MAN MADE RITUAL”. A person may submit to, or “request” that his or her Southern Baptist church perform as many “rituals” upon them as they wish… It is not Baptism.

As a Pastor called by God, not the IMB, I will not even one time stand guilty before my God for doing such a thing to one of his children.

Grace to all,
Friday, May 11, 2007

What do you think? Am I off base in my assessment and response to this move by the BOT of the IMB?