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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,

8 comments:

GuyMuse said...

As an IMB-SBC missionary serving our Lord in Ecuador, I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you for your support over the years. Even though you express not being able to continue to back our family financially, what we hope will NEVER happen is that you stop praying for us and praying for the people of Ecuador. We simply could never be here and put up with what we do if it weren't for faithful brothers and sisters in Christ like you who do care for my wife, and two children, and hold us up in faithful prayer.

I cannot speak for my colleagues, but do say to the FBC Ponce de Leon, that because you were faithful in praying and giving, we have been able to see in our city close to 300 new church starts in the past seven years alone. Hundreds upon hundreds have come into the Kingdom through faith in Christ and biblical baptism. The darkness in this place has been pushed back further than ever before. Now is NOT the time for retreat, but a full advance upon the gates of hell!

Those of us on the field are confused at the mixed signals we are getting from folks back home. Why isn't there rejoicing about the awesome things God is doing around the world? Why is all the attention being placed on confusing, divisive matters? Why are these taking center stage rather than the Kingdom of God coming before our very eyes! It would seem Satan has finally found something that will detract us enough to take our eyes off the "main thing."

Regardless of decisions being made by the IMB BoT, or even FBC Ponce de Leon, we want you to know the Lord is mighily at work in our midst. I would invite you to not give up on your missionaries whom are caught in the middle of decisions made that we have no power over to control. The ones truly hurt by decisions like the one FBC Ponce de Leon is making, are the lost, hopeless peoples of this world. These beautiful people amongst whom we live and have grown to love, and cry out to God for their salvation. They are the ones who will most feel the impact of your decision. If churches like FBC PdL can no longer give, does that mean you will no longer come help us, or pray, or hear our stories and rejoice at our reports of what God is doing?

Lee said...

Several years ago, a young couple in our church felt called to go to international missions. They applied to the IMB and were turned down on some very arbitrary regulations, so they applied, and were accepted, by Campus Crusade. At that time, in addition to the prayer support, the church also decided to provide financial support, and since the IMB had turned them down, the church took a portion of what was sent to the IMB each year, and redirected it. A year later, another family went to serve in a church and raised their own support because they didn't qualify under IMB regulations, again some small, arbitrary policy. The church again redirected some IMB funding. The logic was that if the IMB isn't accepting our church members as missionaries, we should still support our own members. We have a third family planning to apply in November. Should they be turned down, there will be major questions raised by the church as to why we are financially supporting a mission sending agency that overlooks and ignores qualified, called, endorsed applicants from our church. Those questions are being raised already. The old, built in loyalty that automatically writes CP checks doesn't exist any more, especially not in our congregation, which, as it has transitioned from Sunday School and traditional worship to Home Groups and contemporary worship, and from an older to a younger congregation, has also transitioned from being staunchly Southern Baptist to interdenominational. The restrictions on missionaries regarding PPL won't go over very well.

Ben Stratton said...

Bro. Alford,

You wrote that the IMB baptism policy goes, "beyond the doctrines expressed in our Statement of Faith (BFM2000), without satisfactory scriptural support.

As you have continued to express your disagreement with the baptism policy I would love to discuss this subect with you. Does the policy really go beyond the Baptist Faith and Message??? Does it really have no scriptural support??? How does it line up with our Baptist Heritage??? Does it make logical sense???

S.A.M. said...

I agree with what Guy has written. Whatever we do, we must glorify Jesus, and bring Him to the lost of this earth. That will be done with or without monetary support, because God is a BIG GOD, bigger than we give Him credit. I covet prayers for the lost that we will be serving in South Asia by the end of the year through the IMB, and I ask you and your congregation to continue to prayerfully lift all those in missionary service overseas up to our Father in Heaven, that they and us are able to bring the Word to those who have never heard it. Thank you for your continued prayer support of all missionaries.
SAM

Strider said...

I just read what Guy said and I could not have said it better. God bless you all as you serve Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. God is on the move in this world in unbeleivable, unprecedented ways. Be a part of that no matter what organization you partner with. I will say that while I also question the BoT's guidelines (disagree with them outright actually) it is worth pointing out that the BoT does not get your money. I and the people I serve do. Stay in touch brethren, we are yet in the same family, marching under the direction of a great King.

G. Alford said...

Everyone,

Sorry for not responding sooner… I have been away from the office for 10 days.

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Guymuse,

Thank you for sharing the wonderful news of what God is doing in Ecuador, may God continue to give you victory; also please know that our prayers are with you and all our Southern Baptist Missionaries. This was not an easy decision for us to make; as I said in my post, we are lifelong Southern Baptist and our hearts are truly broken over the decision of the BOT to reject our members.

G. Alford said...

Lee,

The old, built in loyalty that automatically writes CP checks doesn't exist any more, especially not in our congregation,

Very well said as always…

G. Alford said...

Brother Stratton,

I am always open to honest discussion… however at this point I think I have already made my views very clear and really we have moved beyond the point of discussion.

You ask: Does the policy really go beyond the Baptist Faith and Message???

Yes it does… The BFM does not mention GLOSSOLALIA, PRAYER LANGUAGE, or “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.”

You ask: Does it really have no scriptural support??? I just reread the new Guideline and sorry no scriptural support was given.

You ask: How does it line up with our Baptist Heritage??? Does it make logical sense??? It may line up with “your” Baptist Heritage, but it does not line up with “my” Baptist Heritage… and the only way it makes logical sense is if the SBC is no longer a Convention of cooperating, yet autonomous, Baptist congregations, but is now an Ecclesiastical Church which dictates policy to its member congregations.

Grace to all,