Saturday, September 30, 2006

Here I Stand...Redeemed

Not long ago on another Blog I engaged a young man who spewed forth slanderous implications towards Dr. Patterson as an erupting volcano spews forth molten lava (and he made it clear to me, as I cautioned him of his path, that he has no intention of stopping – so be it, SB will see it for what it is). Well, I am not easily roused, but I was that evening. Retrospectively, I began a self-evaluation to determine the stimulus behind my passion. What fueled the flame that burned so brightly that evening? At first, I thought that it was this young man’s singling out Dr. Patterson as the root of all evil in SBC life, rather than gratefully acknowledging him as an impetus that has helped to remove universalism from our seminaries.

Why was Dr. Patterson the only institutional head singled out? Calling for investigative questions and postulating erroneous implications concerning the use of funds, etc. Why was SW Seminary the only institution he called out for such an investigation…not the IMB, not the executive committee, not any of our other institutions (I have no doubt all of our institutional heads seek to be above reproach in fiscal stewardship, frugality, responsibility, and personal integrity…I was just shocked at the singling out of one man). However, the more I thought about his comments, the more I realized this wasn’t the reason I reacted so ardently.

I began to believe I was aroused because it was an unsolicited drive-by against a Man of God. And yet, as valid of a concern as that was, as I searched deeper I realized this was not the primary motive behind my fire either.

Thus, I contemplated whether I was angered at the outright deceptiveness of it. While that certainly troubled me, it too failed to be the genesis of my response.

Finally, I thought my emotions were a result of the lack of confrontation he received from others. Men, who signed the Memphis Declaration, promising to confront such speech, certainly did not on that blog. I even asked the administrator to, but received silence. Yet, in reality that wasn’t even the origin of my frustrations.

Actually and confessionally, what moved my spirit the most was the knowledge of my own wickedness. I realized, even if there was a tiny element of truth in anything the young man said, my sins far outweighed his accusations of Dr. Patterson.

I knew my wretchedness reached deeper than any depth the leaders of our institutions may have traversed in their humanity. Evil thoughts I have had, impure motives I have entertained, unchaste speech I have used, and unholy actions I have committed reek of shameful odors. What if this young man were privy to my private thoughts? What if this young man blogged my sinful actions to the world with unrestrained and undocumented license? Talk about embarrassing!

As I dwelt on these thoughts an incredibly beautiful Word sprang forth in my mind: GONE.

Gone, my sins are gone…removed by the BLOOD OF JESUS!!!

Even if man (the created ones) knew of all my sins…even if Satan spewed them forth as the Great Accuser that he is. Even if I were laid bare before all creation, there is a joy, which overshadows my shame. For man is but dust, but the CREATOR, the Omniscient One, The Ancient of Days, The I AM, Existence and LIFE HIMSELF sees no sin in me. My filth was laid upon Christ and is removed. I AM CLEAN – FOREVER.

And quite frankly, that’s all that matter’s. So, if there are any who would speak evil of me, so be it (this will keep their time consumed from speaking of others). But as far as I, and my Creator are concerned, my sins are gone. Here I Stand…Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.


1. Florida Baptist Witness posted a new article on the Joshua Convergence Friday, Sept. 28.

2. I am currently on my way to El Salvador. I would appreciate your prayers for the group from SE (35 of us). Also, please keep my wife in your prayers as she is staying home with our soon to be baby boy:)

3. Dr. Jerry Vines will begin a series of message this Sunday night at FBC Woodstock, which will deal with current Baptist issues. He has titled his series Baptist Battles and it will include: 1. LIBERALISM: A Baptist and his Bible; 2. CALVINISM: A Baptist and his election; 3. PENTECOSTALISM: A Baptist and his gifts; and 4. LIBERTINISM: A Baptist and his Booze. You can avail yourself of this series through

4. I don’t know when I will be able to check the comments…so please keep a Christlike spirit (I certainly have no desire to remove comments).


Friday, September 29, 2006

My Statement on Alcohol

Yesterday I issued an apology to Wade Burleson (see my post “Joshua Convergence News Updated). The reason for my apology was because I accused him of implying that the Holy Spirit worked to bring a lady to Christ because he asked for a glass of wine. I assumed the purpose of the post as well as the title and content confirmed my accusations. However, Wade issued this statement: “I believe that the movement of the Holy Spirit of God upon the wife of a man I had recently led to Christ had nothing to do with the use of alcohol, but rather, God saved her by His sovereign pleasure.” Moreover, he told me on the phone he felt that alcohol played “NO” role in her salvation.

By “NO role” I took him to mean she would have been saved had he not asked for the wine (which confused me, as to why he would have posted the story in the first place). In other words, I felt he was saying that his asking for wine did not, IN ANY WAY, cause her heart to be more open to hearing the gospel or to be more receptive.

And yet last night in my comment section he said:

“The woman was saved by the grace of God, but she listened to me intently and patiently as I shared the gospel in all its fullness.

She gave me an audience because of who I was (a pastor who had helped her husband and did not fit the stereotype she had of Baptist preachers), how I treated her (with love and respect), and how I behaved (with gentleness and kindness rather than condemnation and superficial spirituality).

There is no confusion here. The Spirit of God and the gospel of Christ were the instruments of conversion.

Yet the Bible states, "But how shall they hear if one is not sent?"

The point of my post is that I did not let my cultural or preferential ethic regarding alcohol (abstinence) become a stumbling block to a woman who needed a Savior and happened to be a collector of wine.

That's all I'm saying.”

I then queried Wade about his statement by asking: “Are you now saying that you feel had you not asked for wine that she would have "stumbled" and not been saved?” He did not respond…perhaps he had left already.

First let me state he and I will disagree on abstinence just being a cultural or preferential ethic…I think it is a Biblical Ethic!!!

However, I believe it is the Holy Spirit’s work that opens our hearts to hear the gospel (I think my Calvinist friends would agree here). And so, if Wade can honestly say he believes she would have been saved without his asking for alcohol (in other words alcohol played NO ROLE) I stand by my apology.

If however, he thinks his asking for wine caused her, in any way, to be open to hearing the gospel or IF HE THINKS SHE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN SAVED, ON THAT OCCASION, UNLESS he had asked for wine, then I feel I have no need to apologize and stand by my original statement!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Joshua Convergence News Updated

Florida Baptist Witness has a new article on the Joshua Convergence.

By the way, two bloggers (Wade Burleson and Tom Ascol) have now stated I misrepresented Wade in my address on holiness at the Joshua Convergence. I try to maintain a no-spin blog in a search for truth. And so without addressing the other remarks they made (we don't want to devolve into a tit-for-tat) let me state there appears to be some truth to their accusations based on a statement made by Wade Burleson today. But let us first recall the post I referenced.

The Title of the Post: "CONVERSION TO CHRIST OVER A GLASS OF WINE" - typically the title of an article carries with it the thesis. Let us also recall the section of the article I referred to, which was under the heading "Wine used in the conversion of a sinner" - again, typically the heading of a section contains the thesis of that section. Finally, let's quote the first paragraph of that section, "The following story is a beautiful narrative of reconciliation, conversion, and ultimate redemption --- all INITIATED because of a glass of wine.” (Caps - mine) Usually the first paragraph of a section contains the theme of the section.

Now, my assumptions were; 1) The Holy Spirit initiates ones conversion; 2) the idea that "conversion and ultimate redemption was initiated by a glass of wine" implies the glass of wine (which was an initiating factor in her conversion and redemption, according to the statement) somehow, in the mind of the blogger, contributed to her salvation which was a work of the Holy Spirit.

Now apparently my assumptions based on the phrases "conversion to Christ over a glass of wine," "wine used in the conversion of a sinner," and "conversion, redemption- initiated because of a glass of wine" were wrong because Wade stated today, "I believe that the movement of the Holy Spirit of God upon the wife of a man I had recently led to Christ had nothing to do with the use of alchohol, but rather, God saved her by His sovereign pleasure."

Nevertheless, I think an objective reader can see how logically and easily I arrived at my conclusion.

I made that statement in pubic, and therefore I apologize to you in public. Honestly, I am ecstatic to know you don't feel that a glass of wine contributed, in any way, to her conversion. May God bless you my brother.

I do have a difficult time reconciling the title and reason for the post with the above statement you made but that's not a big issue for me, because I have much more important theological issues I still haven't reconciled in my mind (man's choice...God's Sovreignty)

Some added notes:
1. I did believe Wade believed that wine played a role in the young woman coming to faith (his very title implied it, to me). I didn’t know if it was a minor role, such as her being open to hear what he had to say, or a more major role…but I did believe he thought it played a role. HE HAS MADE CLEAR HE BELIEVES IT PLAYED NO ROLE!!! For that I am truly grateful. I have sincerely apologized to Wade publicly and on the phone…he has graciously forgiven me.

I want to make clear I felt I was honestly portraying some thoughts of pastors when I spoke at the Joshua Convergence, in fact, I quoted word for word Ben Cole's comments from Wade's comment section where Ben said, "One of my deacon candidates makes a mean margarita. And it's not an issue. By the way, since we lifted that clause from our constitution and bylaws, our church visitation ministry has taken off, and people in our church are more excited than ever about reaching the lost." MOREOVER FOR THOSE WHO ASSUME I PURPOSELY MISREPRESENTED WADE FOR THE JOSHUA CONVERGENCE PLEASE REFER TO MY POST ON JULY 18TH "ALCOHOL ABSTINENCE: BIAS OR BIBLICAL" WHERE I SAID "The idea that the world will accept us and listen to the gospel if we drink with them verges on apostasy. One blogger implied a lady was saved as a result of his affirmation of wine. Such theological naiveté assumes that alcoholic spirits move the Holy Spirit…how sacrilegious!" - NO ONE corrected my misunderstanding then (see the comments), and until Wade made it clear today he did not mean that, I was certainly confused because of his title and post.

Further I want to be clear that I do feel strongly (and I mean strongly) that it is sad and wrong for any pastor to teach their congregations a Biblical position of moderation. For this I DO NOT APOLOGIZE!

2. I truly believe whether one believes I misrepresented him before he clarified depends on one's perspective. It appears moderationists, by in large, feel I misrepresented him, however, abstentionists, by in large, feel I didn't. Perspective is important. However, Wade has made clear where he stands and as far as I am concerned it’s over.

3. Concerning the comments about my making the statement for applause or any other supposed motive…I try not to defend myself. God knows my heart and I rest in that.

4. Allow me also to clarify some other things. Wade made clear in our conversation that Harvey the Rabbit’s information was wrong! He did not speak to Dr. McKissic within an hour after chapel because he listened to the tape first and then called Dr. McKissic and has only spoken to him once. He has no plan, nor has he even discussed a plan, to run Dr. McKissic next year (please see his comment to Harvey the Rabbit under my post Dr. Eitel's Second Paper...) He also told me that when he said “since (the BFM2K) is not inerrant and infallible then you can disagree with it in some areas, but still affirm it where it speaks to major, foundational issues of the faith --- which I do” What he meant was that he affirmed the BFM2K in EVERY and ALL parts but did not like it being used to remove others from the convention. I was and am honestly confused as to how he meant that in his first statement, but I trust him at his word.

Further, I don't think the BFM2K is being used to remove some from our convention...I think it should be used to remove employees of the convention if they don't agree.

5. He and I have some honest theological disagreements.

6. Holiness is just one of our affirmations. And alcohol was just a "symptom" of a lack of holiness, in my opinion. The issue was that we are not being good examples of separating ourselves from the world and to Christ. And I speak of myself first and foremost.


Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More Truth about Drs Eitel and Patterson and the IMB

I have received requests that I post Dr. Rankin’s response to Dr. Eitel’s paper. In fact, some have claimed I would be biased if I did not post it. I hesitated because I felt it could be detrimental in some ways to the IMB administration. I have even e-mailed Dr. Rankin and he was very kind to respond. He expressed no desire to re-live the past by my posting it, however, I have pledged to continue to put out truth as long as blogs continue to imply error with Dr. Eitel’s paper.

Recently Wade Burleson referenced David Rogers’ Blog in response to Dr. Eitel’s second paper…so in fairness to all, we shall continue down this road. Hopefully as more truth comes out, bloggers will stop the false implications and allegations toward Drs Patterson and Eitel.

First let me set the timeline of the papers and responses. Dr. Eitel’s first paper was written and sent. Dr. Rankin’s response (which will be posted soon - I leave for El Salvador Saturday, so I'm not sure when I will get to post it - but it will be soon) was sent back to Dr. Eitel. Dr. Eitel then responds back to Dr. Rankin (I will also post this soon) and finally Drs Patterson, Eitel, and Hadaway sent the second paper (it is actually more insightful to read the correspondence in chronological order while recalling that the original paper was written by Dr. Eitel without Dr. Patterson's knowledge as preparation for an interview).

Allow me to respond quickly to the very insightful and thoughtful post by David Rogers. He is an excellent writer and brings great insights, however, some things need to be made clear:

1) The implication that what was found was not systemic, does not take into account that Dr. Eitel’s observations were drawn from multiple individuals from different regional areas for over a decade (I doubt they were all wrong about what they were seeing in the IMB). Furthermore, Robin Hadaway was a RL and had worked in three different regions over a 20+ year period. Moreover, to cite more examples may have been very costly to M's (personally, I have received numerous e-mails from M's claiming Dr. Eitel's concerns were valid and systemic (actually, there are still "field" concerns) but they have requested I maintain their anonymity because of possible repercussions).

2) The systemic nature was further confirmed when over a ten month period 3 student units at the MLC were apparently fired simply for asking questions or refusing to participate in things they felt were unbiblical (Women in the quads leading the "mock" house church services & deciding to preside over the administration of the Lord's Supper).

3) David did an excellent job of cross-examining Dr. Eitel’s paper but the paper can not respond. It would have been a totally different post had he cross-examined Dr. Eitel rather than his paper. I feel confident in saying Dr. Eitel will be more than glad to answer any questions from anyone who seeks truth here.

4) No one has shown…let me repeat: NO ONE HAS SHOWN where either paper erred in anything it asserted!!!

I honestly feel there are times I must post Truth and have even stated time and again I will remove and admit error publicly if I post anything erroneous (in fact I told Dr. Rankin in the e-mail exchange that I would be glad to correct anything I have posted erroneously). I will try to maintain this blog as one that presents the Truth without spin and allows the chips to fall where they may.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

More on the Joshua Convergence (Updated)

You can now view the worship service of the Joshua Convergence where the affirmations were presented. The web link is

One of the things I appreciated about this inaugural meeting was the spirit. I appreciated the openness, the honesty, and the Spirit of Christ expressed. Every meeting was an open meeting; in fact Joni Hannigan from the Florida Baptist Witness was present recording and taking notes of the meetings. I am glad this was done openly, no backroom politicking or planning, rather a statement: "this is who we are."

There appeared to be a sincere desire that all Southern Baptists see what the Joshua Convergence is and say, "We find unity here." Nevertheless, there seemed to be agreement that if some decide they don't have such unity with us, so be it, in the words of Martin Luther: "Here (We) Stand, (We) Can Do No Other."

Furthermore, be sure to check out from time to time. Men from across the convention will be posting articles related to the 7 affirmations.

Also, Pastor Mike, Tim Rogers, and Jeremy Green have all posted on the Joshua Convergence (;;


Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Joshua Convergence

On Monday, September 25th and Tuesday, September 26th Aloma Baptist Church in Winter Park, Florida will be hosting a gathering of young men and women from Southern Baptist Churches across the nation. This gathering will be the inaugural meeting of the Joshua Convergence.

To find out more go to

May God Bless the Future of the Southern Baptist Convention!

For those interested and unable to attend I will provide a link later this week to view the Joshua Convergence online.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Dr. Eitel's Second Paper w Drs. Patterson & Hadaway

This second paper will dispel the notion that Dr. Eitel's first paper was erroneous. Interestingly, this paper did not recieve much attention by baptist news agencies and almost NO attention by fact this will be the first time many of you have ever read this!!! It was written to validate Dr. Eitel's concerns, after his first paper was accused of referencing "isolated incidences." According to one Trustee, this paper helped move the Trustees to address needed changes. Other than footnotes it is published in its entirety. It is long but revealing of 2003 and before.

As one missionary pointed out recently, it is the responsibility of administrators and professors to protect their students and address concerns their students have. Thank God for the response of Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel and the impetus this response has provided for the restructuring of curriculum at the ILC. Now, I call on all bloggers who have wrongfully accused Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel concerning their papers to issue a public apology.

Drs. Paige Patterson, Keith Eitel, & Robin Hadaway

In keeping with a simple and yet focused discussion format, the following depicts the primary concerns raised by the “Vision Assessment” white paper written by Keith Eitel and the subsequent flow of email and letter exchanges that bring us to this meeting. A given issue is stated, then supporting evidence is offered, and finally a possible way forward is proposed. The incidences cited as examples to various issues are only representative. Numerous other instances could be noted from multiple regions over about 15 years of observed practice on the field. In other words, these ARE NOT isolated incidences. They are systemic problems running throughout the structure. In addition, details supporting Eitel’s contentions have been contributed by Robin Hadaway. Some of these comments are from Hadaway’s paper, “Rejoicing Together: Balancing the Biblical Perspectives: A Missiological Analysis.”

Issue One: What is the precise policy and practice relating to church planting? Are we planting Baptist (not merely Baptistic) churches? If the practice is varied, what are the guidelines for determining whether we plant a Baptist church or not? To what degree are we involved in ecumenical church planting? What theological guidelines do we have to prevent this as we partner with the Great Commission Christians around the world?


• SD21 data has a curious pattern for gathering the data. 10% of the entire field force was surveyed to discover a variety of things, mostly reflective of how well they’ve understood the Church Planting Movement (CPM) concepts and methods. However, the section designed to determine whether the IMB is planting Baptist churches or not is only an opinion scale from the 15 regional chairpersons of the trustee board in consultation with the 15 regional leaders. This same material could have been easily included in the field survey given to the field missionaries. This in and of itself reflects a skewed methodology, but more importantly it seems to imply that the field findings might mitigate the desired outcomes and demonstrate that we are not consistently planting Baptist churches. Rather we’re planting churches that reflect more the mix of ideas inherent in a blend of Great Commission Christian ideas, often neo-charismatic leaning and quasi Biblical (see a discussion of this GCC concept below).

• While on sabbatical in the fall of 2002, Eitel observed five different locations and the network of work in those locations in China. Consistently, there seemed to be an emphasis on the GCC partnerships as vital to the process of planting churches. Dr. David Garrison’s booklet on Church Planting draws concentric circles of levels of partnership. On paper it looks feasible, but in practice in China (Eitel has also observed this in numerous other settings), it breaks down. When pioneers are first entering a people group or city, finding any other believer to work with is an encouragement. Natural bonds of friendship and affiliation develop. The momentum of these relationships carries over and causes the concentric lines of partnership (which are designed to determine when and how missionaries should partner) to collapse. It’s easier to ignore doctrinal differences and not push Baptist distinctives in order to foster a so-called unity in planting the churches. This type of unity is superficial and will usually erupt into conflict after the initial phases of planting the churches. In order to avoid this syndrome, some missionaries advocate and practice a method of planting so-called churches that means brand new believers are encouraged to share Christ immediately, gather a group of unbelievers together and teach them the essentials of the faith to bring them to Christ, and then in a pyramid fashion, the cycle repeats rapidly. While this is indeed a great evangelistic tool, it does not foster maturation of the church, leadership development nor establishment of long-term vision or stability for the church. It seems to rely almost exclusively on the early sections of Acts as a foundation for this model while ignoring the patterns of maturation found in the Pastorals and General Epistles. Nevertheless, this rapid reproduction allows the missionary to avoid the doctrinal issues that come with GCC partners yet they do not compensate for it by taking the time to “commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

• In Islamic contexts, the GCC influences are stimulating unhealthy contextualization patterns that undermine New Testament Church Planting much less anything Baptist. For example, a missionary wrote to me about this very issue. He stated that someone working with Frontiers had come to teach them about how to establish C-5 Islamic churches. This missionary goes on to say that another GCC partner was willing to call someone coming from an Islamic background that is in a C-5 church plant a believer even though that person emphatically denies the deity of Christ. Yet, this approach to CPM is encouraged and doctrinal concerns are subsumed to foster a so-called unity. Conversely, Dr. Hadaway reports that his strategy in Sudan called for starting Baptist churches (and calling them Baptist) from the beginning. This work has grown through the team Hadaway started and others have continued to over 85 churches and 100 “outreach groups.” His rationale for the persecuted world was “since it was illegal to start any kind of church in Sudan, one might as well start an illegal Baptist church than an illegal non-defined church.”

• In 1992 Hadaway (then an SC) attended a strategy meeting where SC’s were encouraged to partner with Eastern Orthodox churches in their strategies. Dr. David Garrison (then a CSI administrator) said at this meeting, “It does not matter the gender of the pastors of the churches with whom you bring into your areas.” In addition, SC’s were encouraged to include charismatic groups such as the Assemblies of God denomination in their strategies, including church planting.

• In late 1996/early 1997 Hadaway (then a supervisor of SC’s) attended a meeting called by David Weston to plan to enter the country of “Narnia.” CBF representatives (husband and wife) were invited by David Weston to this meeting and attended to take part in the evangelism and church planting strategy. They were introduced as CBF representatives in the meeting Hadaway attended. Although today’s SC’s are given the Garrison document concerning concentric circles of levels of partnership, it is still up to each SC how he or she applies the guidance. Each SC has the freedom to partner with whomever they desire.

• These and numerous other examples can be offered but suffice it to say we’re likely not involved in the formal Ecumenical movement per se, but we’re heavily involved in the Evangelical version of ecumenism by default due to a lack of careful partnering and questionable church planting methods.

Possible Solution

• For all forms of church planting, any partners involved should be inherently in agreement with the BF&M 2000. This will provide a clearly Baptist blueprint for the established pattern of the church and all GCC’s should be able to agree with these beliefs or we should only partner with them on more superficial levels, if the doctrinal differences are not so significant as to undermine partnering at all.

• Since 1963 missionary candidates have been allowed to become missionaries without totally agreeing with the BF&M. Missionary candidates have been permitted to register their disagreement with particular points of the BF&M as long as they agree to “ teach in accordance with and not contrary to” the 2000 BF&M. However, such allowances place missionaries in the uncomfortable position of ministering counter to their own beliefs- something difficult, if not impossible to do. When IMB leadership asked the Region Leaders (RL’s) and Vice Presidents to sign the 2000 BF& M, two RL’s could not sign the document. One RL resigned his position, while the other signed with an annotation. The IMB is the only SBC agency that allows their personnel to disagree with specific elements of the BF& M. Seminary professors at the six SBC seminaries cannot object to points of BF& M and agree to “teach in accordance with and not contrary to” the BF & M. Presently, even ADJUNCT professors teaching at our Southern Baptist seminaries must sign the BF&M 2000 without annotation. We are in the interesting situation where we have many missionaries and even some Regional Leaders who can serve with the IMB in responsible capacities but could not teach even as a visiting professor at one of our six seminaries. This issue was discussed in early 2002 at an IMB senior Management meeting attended by the President, Vice-Presidents, and the Resident Regional Leader (Hadaway). John White introduced the subject by calling for a “post decision analysis” of how IMB leadership had handled the BF&M 2000 issue. In response to John White’s call for free and honest discussion, Hadaway said, “If anyone cannot sign the 2000 BF&M without annotations they should not be missionaries.” The President asked me, “So you would disagree with the IMB’s long-standing policy of allowing missionary candidates to note their points of disagreement with the BF&M.” Hadaway replied, “Yes, as other SBC agencies do not given their employees this option.” Therefore, IMB trustees could better insure that missionaries will follow the BF & M if all missionaries who are appointed to supervisory, RL, and Vice-Presidential roles are not allowed to express points of disagreement with the BF & M. If the trustees do not desire to revisit the BF&M issue with regular missionaries who have signed with annotations, then this board should appoint only applicants who can fully affirm the BF&M. In addition, those who are appointed to supervisory positions (SC’s, Strategy Associates, Richmond Associates, Administrative Associates, and Associate Vice-Presidents) and those who are elected by trustees (RL’s, Vice-Presidents and President) should affirm the BF&M without annotations.

Issue Two: How many of our IMB missionaries are involved in the neo-charismatic movement, and what is presently being taught and advocated by staff concerning "spiritual warfare"?

• Each year, Eitel leads three short-term mission teams of students somewhere in the world to engage the fields and contribute to the evangelistic and church planting strategies of numerous SC’s worldwide. When working in a Central Asian country in the summer of 2001, the region sponsored a “spiritual warfare” workshop for our students as a preface to engaging in prayer walking through a city. The individual leading the workshop was seconded to the IMB from Frontiers and said he wasn’t taking an extreme approach to spiritual warfare. However, he studied at Fuller Seminary under John Wimber, Peter Wagner, and Charles Kraft. He definitely showed strong influence if not full embrace of their extremist positions e.g. territorial spirits, new revelations, and a complete lack of understanding whether seeking after spirits is more important than simply speaking the Gospel. When prayer walking, we were strictly told not to talk to the people of the city but only to be open to a word from the Spirit.

• Career missionaries often speak of problematic workshops where such ideologies are given and without any critical biblical reasoning allowed. They’re often made to feel as if they are not fully Christian if they even raise a question about the legitimacy of any aspect of such a presentation.

• Missionaries on the field are implementing these things. One lady missionary felt she had to exorcise her curtains of evil spirits. Many who embrace these things are taking it in without thinking it through biblically. Most that fall prey to these strange doctrines have had little or no theological education and don’t have the tools with which to analyze what they’re hearing.

Possible Solution
• Short-term solution would be to redesign the workshops throughout the field structures and bring the subject into biblical balance. Primarily, creating a “reactive” not a “proactive” approach to dealing with the demonic world. That is, be proactive about speaking the Gospel and only stop to deal reactively with demonic issues when/if necessary.

• Long-term, strengthen the required biblical and theological requirements for appointment to give the missionaries better depth understand of Scripture and practice in analyzing issues theologically.

• The IMB receives career, associate and apprentice missionaries from many theological seminaries. In addition, the IMB receives ISC (Journeymen, Masters and ISC) missionaries who have not attended college at all. Since the missionary force comes to the IMB with such varied backgrounds it is no wonder that different beliefs and practices come into conflict with one another on the field. Theology and PRACTICE courses are needed at MLC so that missionaries understand the acceptable parameters for personnel.

Issue Three: What is the policy and practice of the IMB regarding gender roles? Are women placed in supervisory roles such as Strategy Coordinators over men? Are women encouraged to learn to baptize converts and administer the Lord's Supper? Are women urged to be the de facto pastor "leaders" of house churches or any other missionary assignment like the Strategy Coordinator role?

• One lady student, while serving in her 2+2 assignment, was asked if she wanted to be the SC for a particular city. She declined sensing it was best for a man to serve in that capacity. When the male SC and his wife went home and chose not to return, a lady SC was put in his place. Our student was suddenly ordered to perform the ordinance of baptism for a set of new believers. She was distraught as these are exactly the kinds of things she wanted to avoid. She did more than her share of evangelizing, but she didn’t think it was right to perform pastoral-like functions. Until she appealed to a higher authority that intervened and got her SC to relent, she was in a predicament. The lady SC, by the way, had never been to seminary, was middle-aged, and divorced yet served in a pastoral-like role. Our student thus described the conflict she felt having to sign the BF&M 2000 and then being taught to perform both ordinances while at the MLC (a practice that has only recently been stopped, at least temporarily).

• Curtis Sergeant, the former associate vice president for Strategy Coordination, has had significant input in the design and implementation of the MLC curriculum and teaching of the CPM methodology, especially over the past 2 years. He interprets the BF&M 2000 very strictly and concludes that as long as lady missionaries are not serving specifically as pastors of local churches, then the IMB is in compliance with the document. Yet, he turns around and says in an email correspondence to Eitel, “ . . . if anyone asked me, I would certainly have nothing against it [having ladies administer the Lord’s Supper] . . . All disciples are ministers, however, including women.” Again, in the MLC handout he uses to teach on CPM methodology, he concludes by giving the reader an impression of what the newly established church might look like. “They [the churches] frequently have women in key roles in the church. Women are viewed as ministers, as having spiritual gifts just as much as men, even in patriarchal societies.” Again, in his D.Min. Project, he affirms this same value with the fine line of distinction affirming that a lady should not “pastor” a local church but may do all the ministries of a pastor e.g. administer the ordinances, teach, and lead. By emphasizing that the New Testament requires multiple elders in a local congregation, women can fully participate in leadership roles without holding the title of “pastor”, functionally circumventing the restrictions he acknowledges elsewhere. Sergeant has had significant influence on the SC structure on the field in numerous regions. He states in his Project that over the course of the years he personally taught 727 SCs (Strategy Coordinators) and was the primary resource person for 150 others (see page 14 of his Project). Additionally, in his present role he teaches hundreds of new missionaries headed to the field and encourages ladies to assume leadership roles that are pastor-like, even the performance of ordinances.

• Throughout the world, lady SC’s function and are in roles that restrict them from being a pastor of a local congregation but are unrestricted as to their ministry functions, fully assuming pastor-like leadership and decision making roles.

• During an SC training in Eastern South America in September of 1999 Kathy Hadaway heard a single, 25 year old female tell some other participants that she regularly “preached the main Sunday message and gave the invitations” in many Baptist churches in Brazil. ESA Regional Leader, Hadaway met with her and forbade her to continue in this practice. A year later at another meeting, Kathy Hadaway heard another single, female missionary say, “they won’t let us preach in the U.S., so we come down here where we can preach.” This sort of latitude in the role of women on the mission field led to the ordination of Ida Mae Hays by a local Baptist church in Brazil in 2001 shortly before her IMB retirement. In the same service she received the title of Pastor Emeritus. Hadaway, Kathy Hadaway, and IMB trustee Johnny Nantz asked Rev. Hays to rescind her ordination in a meeting at the Atlanta airport. She told us, “I don’t want to be a pastor,” and said the action by her local church was strictly honorary. Despite some misgivings the ESA trustee committee decided to believe Ida Mae Hays and graciously allowed her to retire without rescinding her ordination. However, a year later she was called to become the senior pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina. Today she enjoys the joint titles of Emeritus IMB missionary and Senior Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina.

Possible Solution
• Fully re-evaluate the SC model. Ascertain the pastor-like functions inherent in the actual practice of being an SC. Cull out those functions and restrict those assignments to men. Create a different role with a different title to assume complimentary duties that enhance the SC’s functions in establishing churches. This complimentary role can be performed by either ladies or men as long as there is a male SC.

• The IMB trustees need to clarify the proper roles for all missionary women, including the issues of ordination, supervising men, preaching, and administering the ordinances.

Issue Four: What is the rationale for the approved abandonment of many of our "harvest fields in places like Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa?

• A joint, “ad-hoc committee” of trustees and senior IMB leadership designed and implemented “New Directions” in 1997. This committee recommended to the Board of Trustees the internal absorption of CSI (Cooperative Services International) into 14 (later 15) new regions (an expansion from the former 10 areas). New Directions was called “a new paradigm” of overseas leadership and was designed to have a “dual focus” to reach the harvest world and the unreached world. The idea was that Southern Baptists would have a global presence.

• A couple of years into New Directions, leadership began speaking of “Strategic Directions for the 21st Century.” It became evident that the IMB planned to scale down work in the places where Southern Baptists had been working for many years (except parts of Asia). In one of the Regional Leader Forums, Hadaway asked the Senior Vice-President-Overseas, about the change from a dual focus to a strictly unreached people focus. He replied, “We’ve changed our mind.” The decision to change from a dual focus to a single focus was reached by staff with minimal trustee input and was not announced to field missionaries until several years later (last Fall).

• At the Global Summit of Senior IMB leadership and the 15 Regional Leaders in August of 2003, another restructuring appeared on the horizon. In a strategy exercise Hadaway was assigned to a table with Curtis Sergeant, former Associate Vice-President for Strategy Coordination and three other Regional Leaders. Sergeant’s notes (which he shared with the group during the exercise) called for reducing the 4 America’s regions from (approximately) the current 1,200 missionaries to a projected 200 during the next 2-4 years. In addition, Sergeant called for placing about 1,200 IMB personnel in S. Asia (India), and approximately 1,150 missionaries in E. Asia (China). The President and Overseas Vice-President verbally affirmed this “strategic realignment” advocated by Sergeant and the Global Research Department (GRD) during the ensuing discussion. Hadaway asked them, “Do you think Southern Baptists are ready to support a mission board with almost 45% of their personnel in only two countries, India and China?” The response was to the effect that it had not been thought of in that way.

• The software used by the IMB Global Research Department (GRD) during the Global Summit weighted every strategic category heavily toward population. In other words, the number of people in a country outweighed every other factor. The office of Strategy Coordination is recommending a radical shift based upon a one-to-one ratio of IMB missionaries to population (see Hadaway paper) instead of strategically placing personnel according to multiple factors (including receptivity and Church Growth principles). Therefore, the heavily populated countries in Asia will within four years make the IMB effectively an “Asian Mission Board” with almost 65% of all IMB personnel assigned to that continent (the 5 Asia regions). Is this the vision of the IMB trustees or the staff? Such a redeployment will mean abandoning Latin America to the charismatic influence (70% of all evangelicals in Latin America are said to be charismatic) and ignoring the plight of the desperately poor people of sub-Saharan Africa who have considerable fewer resources than most of the world.

• The IMB leadership is proposing another regional reorganization. Staff’s plan calls for the America’s to be reduced from 4 to 2 regions. Sub-Saharan Africa will be reduced from 3 to 2 regions. (Asia is being reduced from 5 regions to 4 regions, but the rationale given for that was so it would not seem the America’s were being singled out). Rather than planning this restructuring with the trustees (as was done in 1997), this radical change in strategy (abandoning the harvest) and structure (reducing regions from 15 to approximately 11) was decided with little trustee input, with most trustees being informed after the fact.

• During the May 2003 RL Forum the Regional Leaders were told that due to the budget shortfall and strategic needs, the Overseas Leadership Team (OLT) and administration desired to look at the IMB organization. With this on the horizon the Regional Leaders asked to have “some input” into possible quotas or rumored restructuring. The impetus for reconfiguration did NOT come from the Regional Leaders, but from the administration and the Overseas Leadership Team. The Overseas Leadership Team had planned and proposed a similar restructuring in 2001 (Hadaway wrote the “Rejoicing together paper for that meeting), but was overruled by the President. During the discussion at the August 2003 RL Summit it became apparent that the Associate Vice-President for Strategy Coordination and the statistics office were leading the process down the reconfiguration road. During the ensuing discussion some Regional Leaders disagreed with the quota system and with a reduction in regions. However, when it became apparent that the reconfiguration would happen in the future it was understood that the Regional Leaders should support the OLT and administrations direction. However, it was not the RL’s idea.

Possible Solution
• Trustees represent the will of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Do Southern Baptists want approximately 1,200 missionaries each in China and India, and 50 each in Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa, and Russia? How would it be possible for the long-term influence of the IMB to continue in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America with this kind of emphasis? Trustees need to create a “Global Strategy Committee” to jointly decide IMB strategy to make sure IMB strategy conforms to the will of all Southern Baptists rather than staff.

• It is impossible for the IMB to send people exactly where everyone feels called to go. IMB leadership is responsible to Southern Baptists to develop a world-wide strategy deployment. However, a balance needs to be struck between the “call of God” and the “strategy of the IMB.” Many who feel called to go to some parts of the world are being denied that opportunity. At one SBC seminary there is a young qualified couple (with a baby due) graduating in May who felt called all their lives to Latin America. There were no openings in some regions in Latin America (due to the quota system) until 2005 and in some regions longer. This couple had to choose another part of the world despite their long term calling to work with a Latin American people group less than 2% evangelical. They could not understand why an unreached people group in Latin America of more than 500,000 and less than 2 % evangelical was less important than an unreached people group in another part of the world. Unfortunately, many couples like this would decide to go to the mission field independently. Such couples would be supported by Southern Baptist churches, in turn causing a negative impact on the Cooperative Program.

Issue Five: Finally, why is there such a de-emphasis on theological education for long-term missionary appointment? Is not the lack of theological depth worsening the problems faced on the field as well meaning missionaries are inevitably dealing with complex choices regarding the interface between culture and the claims and expectations of Christ?

• As noted in Eitel’s “Vision Assessment” paper, there is a historic trend in the SBC, especially since WWII, to see the influence of Neo-Orthodoxy. The pernicious effect of this influence is a gradual, perhaps even unconscious prioritization of religious experience over objective doctrinal truth. As we partner with GCC’s (Great Commission Christians) on the field, they are usually from backgrounds that affirm an interdenominational or non-denominational priority, and often hold varying degrees of neo-charismatic convictions. So within evangelicalism itself, there’s a downplay of doctrinal truths for the greater practice of unified partnering. So the religious existentialism of Neo-Orthodoxy flows over into evangelicalism and is known as neo-evangelicalism. We find ourselves in the middle of this pool of thought. Now more than ever there’s a need for missionaries to be keenly aware of theological trends and to know how to articulate a biblical position on any given doctrine along with an understanding of historic Baptist convictions regarding doctrine. This all means theological education must be required and emphasized for career appointment of missionaries.

• Neo-orthodoxy has infected the IMB at times through the missionary training system. When Robin and Kathy Hadaway (former RL Eastern South America) were in missionary orientation in January & February of 1984, Alan Neely of SEBTS taught Universalism and Liberation Theology as truth. The Hadaway’s complained to the program (Parks’ presidency era) director of the Missionary Orientation Center (MOC) and were told by him, “every class complains about him and I’ve asked him to ‘tone it down.’” However, we later learned that Alan Neely taught these sessions to every MOC (and later MLC) class for 5 years! This Director went on to become an Area Director, an IMB Vice-President, and was a principle defender of Daryl Whiteman (See Eitel’s Vision paper) when he was criticized for his teaching at MLC in the late 90’s. This person retired as an IMB Vice-President two years ago, still in charge of the Missionary Learning Center. Trustee pressure succeeded in removing Daryl Whiteman from teaching at MLC. This underscores the necessity of recruiting leaders for senior IMB leadership positions that will take the concerns of conservatives seriously (see Eitel’s “Vision Assessment” paper).

• Yet, within the past twelve years, there has been a consistently more flexible allowance made for those without significant seminary training. Career consultants have informed students as each policy change has come out. Initially it was an M.Div. degree with 2 years of experience required for appointment to work with church development or church planting assignments. Then the Strategy Coordinator role developed and folk could be appointed with as little as 20 semester hours of seminary. Later it was raised to 30 semester hours. Now a new policy has emerged that eliminates the need for seminary at all since the IMB cannot fund the hours at the seminaries any longer. An additional two weeks will be added to the MLC experience to compensate for seminary training.

• These short cuts are all encouraged in order to expedite or rapidly get missionaries on the field so we can complete the task. So the tyranny of the urgent commands the policy and careful preparation for a qualitatively healthier church-planting outcome is sacrificed for advancing rapidly.

Possible Solution
• Re-examine the policies that govern these types of appointments and minimally require a return to the 30 semester hour policy for all engaged in SC, church planting, or church development assignments (whether the IMB pays for the hours or not—SBC seminary education is intentionally inexpensive compared to other seminaries). Perhaps there is a need to even return to the earlier policy of requiring a professional degree from a seminary &/or enhance development of the 2+2/3 programs. Practical, hands on experience in conjunction with the overall learning structure of a full M. Div. program, only enhances the candidate’s preparation. Hence, continued development of the 2+2/3 programs with each of the seven seminaries (inclusive of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) would seem a positive development.

• Prior to the development of the SC program (formerly NRM), everyone had to have an M.Div. (or the professional equivalent such as MRE, M. Music, M.D. or be the spouse of someone with one of these degrees) in order to become a missionary. The only missionaries who were permitted to come to the field with 30 hours were “business managers or treasurer types” who would not be interacting significantly with nationals. Hadaway served as an SC, has supervised and trained SC’s, and has supervised a region as an RL. He believes it would be best to return to the previous requirements for missionary career, associate and apprentice appointment (at least one spouse would possess an M. Div., MRE, professional graduate degree in their field plus 30 seminary hours, or age equivalent church work experience plus 30 seminary hours for older candidates).

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Dr. Eitel's First Paper w Cover Letter

Let me first apologize for not being able to reproduce the Tables Eitel used for his paper. Also, I have edited out the footnotes for space. Other than these two corrections the following is Dr. Patterson's cover letter and Dr. Eitel’s first paper. The purpose for posting it is to dispel the continuous and erroneous criticisms of Dr. Eitel and Dr. Patterson apparently for political purposes. Truth shall prevail. I have recieved multiple e-mails this week from M's on the field expressing appreciation for this one put it, he had been very discouraged with what he had been reading in the blog world but then he came across this blog and his spirits were lifted by truth. He was so grateful for Dr. Eitel and Dr. Patterson defending their students. The second Paper will be coming soon. Read and judge for yourself.


Without a doubt, the keenest thinking in missiology occurs on the staff of the International Mission Board. Southern Baptists continue to be the leader in the field of international missions, and that is exactly how we want it to be.

However, some profitable thinking and planning is also done elsewhere. Dr. Keith Eitel, one of the cutting edge missiologists of our day, who is professor of missiology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written a white paper, which focuses on one of the current major discussions. The critical importance of his paper, especially in light of the conservative movement in the Southern Baptist Convention, will be apparent to you as you read it. Because of your strategic position as a trustee of the International Mission Board, I wanted you to have the benefit of his thinking. May God be good to you as you continue to serve our denomination in so many ways.

Until He Comes,
Paige Patterson

White Paper - by Keith Eitel

Early on I would argue with Adrian Rogers about that [basis for unity in the SBC] and he’d say no, ‘the theme that has held us together is not missions, but doctrine.’ Well, historically I don’t think that’s accurate because historically the SBC is composed of people with varying theological perspectives . . . . My assessment is that they’re [conservatives in the SBC] from an independent Baptist viewpoint where conventions are built around doctrine [sic] than from the heritage that we as Southern Baptists have had that the convention is built around missions. And so after arguing with Adrian several times, I finally came to realize that for him and I think for Paige [Patterson] and for others the unifying element ought to be a unifying perspective of theology . . .according to the Scripture, the Living Word is more important than the written word . . . it’s a mistake in my estimation to elevate Scripture above Christ . . . .(Keith Parks).

Since 1979, the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC] has been engaged in a struggle to rediscover and reassert it’s heritage. The citation above reflects the prevailing opinion of many within the convention at the beginning of the conservative resurgence. Conservatives would easily take issue with R. Keith Park’s assessment because he is basing it on a limited historical perspective of the heritage of the SBC.

Gradually, after World War I, the theological climate began to shift as the thought of Karl Barth and Emil Brunner and other Neo-Orthodox scholars took root in American theological schools. Our SBC schools were not immune to these trends. In essence, Barth introduced a dimension to theological methods and thought that would enable intelligent people to affirm simultaneously contradictory opinions. Bart claimed that the Bible is true and applies to the individual’s life yet, he claimed, there is no need to jettison the conclusions of nearly a century of classical liberal thought, particularly emerging out of Germany, which used a higher critical methodology and challenged the integrity of the actual text of the Bible. By moving the location of revelation from the text to an “encounter” or experiential truth, it could be insulated from higher critical attacks. Hence, the Bible is no longer viewed as revelation; it is just the envelope or carrier of revelation that comes to us through an “encounter” with God. What has normally been deemed as the doctrine of illumination became the Barthian view of inspiration. The net effect of this subtle but significant shift in theological method was to tolerate, and even embrace, a wide range of theological opinions since truth became highly personalized and freed from the critical eye of biblical scholars or even objective comparison to the text of the Bible. Theological pluralism, in a hot-house environment, became the ideal aim of theological education.

These basic tenets of belief permeated the SBC’s theological seminaries, especially after World War II. Whenever controversy erupted regarding the theological integrity of the seminaries, there were cries regarding the loss of academic freedom, as though that value superceded the truth of the Bible. Parks was a product of this more recent development in Southern Baptist theological circles. His statement reflects clearly what seems to be the pivotal point of difference between the Neo-Orthodox influenced SBC (1918-1979), and the heritage that preceded, and later followed, that development (1845-1917 and 1979-present). The older heritage is where contemporary conservatives root their beliefs and actions. In essence, Parks was saying that doctrine or theology divides us but missions unites us. Rodgers, however, was indicating that unless our theological convictions are solidly established squarely on an inerrant Bible, we will have no legitimate or reasonable basis for doing missions.

These variances are more than just incidental. The Parks attitude seems pervasive within the day-to-day operations of the International Mission Board [IMB] and represents the greatest future challenge to redirect Biblically the IMB and re-root it firmly in the older theological heritage of the founding fathers and its contemporary conservative commitments.

Cauthen (1954-1979)/Parks (1980-1992): Bold Mission Thrust

M. Theron Rankin died suddenly only eight years into his tenure as the head of the Foreign Mission Board. Baker James Cauthen followed him in this role and remained there for twenty-five years. Cauthen inherited a program designed to encourage SBC churches and missionaries to catch the spirit of enthusiasm that developed in the wake of World War II. Cauthen further developed this inherited plan during the first decades of his presidency. Near the end of his years of leadership, he charged the SBC with responsibility for a new vision of Bold Mission Thrust (1976-2000). This was the final strategic plan designed and implemented by the Cauthen administration. It was an all out call for full mobilization to push to the end of the century and complete the task of global evangelization, as far as humanly possible. Parks assumed the president’s role in 1980 and in his first address to the Board, he drew upon Cauthen’s bold initiatives but showed he was planning to update the mission models used. While advancing toward the same stated goals in the Bold Mission Thrust campaign, Parks was influenced by trends among other Christian agencies. He advocated the use of strategic planning techniques and invited David B. Barrett, author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, into the Board’s facilities in Richmond. Barrett’s own Anglican theological persuasions are far more ecumenical than those traditionally held by Southern Baptists. Barrett quietly influenced several strategic planners at the Board and his methods were used to analyze the remaining task of global evangelization. It was not until the early 1990’s that Barrett was removed from the Board, yet his influence still lingers in the office of strategic planning and research to this day.

Cooperative Services International (CSI), the concept of the non-residential missionary, and people-group foci were all contributions to the process gained during Parks’ era. Yet, as the Board began to work in and with the broader Neo-Evangelical groups (now called Great Commission Christians), the cross-pollination of ideas without a careful analysis of the biblical and theological soundness of the trends that depicted the end of the last century missions world, began to erode even further the commitments Southern Baptists have historically had to a real need for personal evangelism, church planting, and discipleship of the nations. While the stated aims sounded familiar, the means and modes of accomplishing them revealed a theological drift away from biblical moorings. In the background of these developments, during the 1980’s, the SBC was struggling to recover the theological commitments that would, when applied, serve as a filter or corrective to detrimental trends. Parks’ view of doctrine as divisive while the causes of missions are unifying, enhanced the uncritical acceptance of these and other missiological trends.

Rankin (1993-Present): New Directions

Trustees elected Jerry A. Rankin as the Board president on 14 June 1993. For the first four years of his administration, Rankin built his team and pointed the Board to the early stages of a “New Direction”. In the spring of 1997, Rankin acted to dissolve CSI, reconfigure the entire Board structure, and openly advocate a set of new directions. What was new was an emphasis on church planting that resulted in movements or the contagious exponential expansion of churches. The means of accomplishing these new directions were to streamline the administrative operation of the Board on the field by dissolving the archaic localized mission administrative structures in the countries where the Board traditionally worked, move toward the unevangelized edges of each region by city or people group segment, and to move to the unreached areas more intentionally.

Rankin’s “New Directions” campaign drew the Board more directly into the network of GCC’s, again with no mechanisms in place to filter or check the entry of unbiblical practices other than the specific theological preparation of the individual missionary. Yet, under the Rankin administration, there has been an obvious and apparently intentional move away from requiring seminary training for the key roles related to church planting or church development. Pre-Rankin, the normal requirement was an MDiv or equivalent plus two years of pertinent experience. Today one may assume such roles with as little as 20-30 semester hours and there is a spirit or culture within the Board that downplays or undermines the need to even go to seminary at all. If it weren’t for the Trustees holding the line on this requirement I am afraid that seminary requirements would be dropped completely. In lieu of seminary training, business management techniques and/or secular training in a variety of fields are much more highly prized and encouraged. While not meaning to demean the value of such backgrounds in general, I am concerned that evangelism, church planting, and discipleship are in the hands of theological novices. It raises serious questions regarding whether the end justifies the means when the types of churches planted increasingly do not reflect a biblical ecclesiology, Baptist values, or in some cases even appear Christian.

Additional issues surfacing as the Board has progressed more deeply into “New Directions” ideologies relate to the role of women in missionary ministry, especially in the strategy coordinator (SC) capacity. SC’s, or Strategy Leaders (SL’s) in some regions, are the heirs of the earlier non-residential missionary model. The concept has evolved in numerous ways and is never quite the same from region to region or missionary to missionary. In one sense, this kind of flexibility is the strength of the concept. In another sense, it has little or no structure in place to regulate theological concerns. Women, while certainly capable in numerous ways to do ministry, should not be placed in doctrinal or ethical authority over men, and the SC role often causes this to happen. Additionally, partnering with GCC’s is supposed to be guided by concentric circles of levels of partnership as outlined in David Garrison’s book on church planting published by the IMB. Yet, there is no theological statement of boundaries. By default the structure collapses and SC’s frequently lead their teams to partner with theologically suspect organizations. Again, without clear boundaries regarding GCC’s and guidelines for partnering, with many who are theological novices guiding the process, problems emerge.

In the final analysis, the “New Directions” campaign seems to reflect the same theological position inherited from the Parks era. Theological definition is minimized and that which is “new” reveals it’s roots in the very theological heritage that influenced Parks to conclude that doctrine divides and missions unites.

IMB Future: Biblical Renewal

In order to synchronize the IMB with the theological convictions of the SBC, consistently expressed since 1979 and to set the Board’s course directly back into the evangelical roots that were the convictions of the founders of the convention, then there must be a system set in place whereby biblical and theological inquiry is not minimized in importance. Rather it should be affirmed and elevated to serve as a critiquing mechanism for setting the policies, practices, and procedures of the IMB in line with Bible as true Truth that instructs, informs, and determines the IMB’s worldview and culture. At this juncture, I can only present a rough set of ideas for doing this, but that does not minimize my commitment to the desired outcome. At least the following should be serious considerations:

• Recruit administrators committed to theological renewal of the Board.

• Change the appointment criteria and procedures to encourage theological preparation. Enlarge and encourage development of the 2+2/3 programs in the six SBC seminaries and Mid-America.

• Revise the entire curriculum and teaching staff at the MLC to create a coherently biblical foundation for missions, cultural adjustment, cross-cultural communication, and church planting. Procedures used at the MLC should be more “family friendly” and not use secular personnel management techniques that are thoroughly unchristian in nature (e.g. negative peer review processes).

• Renew the office of strategic planning to inculcate proper research techniques, move away from trendy data analyses (e.g. Barrett’s model), and bring a balance to the view of the world needed to engage global harvest fields, especially among the unreached, that is untainted by ecumenical premises and thoroughly biblical.

• Generate theological definitions and boundaries for partnering with GCC’s, review the nature of the SC/SL position and create alternatives suitable for women that are in line with the sentiments of the BF&M 2000, and create guidelines for church planting that will insure healthy theological development and be reflective of Baptist distinctives.

• Create a budget and planning process that prioritizes transparent use of funds and one that causes everyone to sense an accountability even to the little children in VBS programs or widows that faithfully give to the Board, as well as everyone else.

• Additionally, budgeting should balance the work in established areas with those in pioneer areas. The nature of the work in each will necessarily be different and the budgeting processes should reflect that reality.

• Create a synergy within the Board’s culture that will minimize the competitiveness and enhance the value of a “koinonia” spirit generated from a common, likeminded faith.

• The aim of these types of changes is to solidify the foundation for engaging in missionary activity. Hell is real. Heaven is real. Everyone that has ever lived, or shall someday live, will spend eternity one place or the other. We’ve been charged with the responsibility to make sure everyone knows The Way to salvation through Christ’s finished work on the cross alone. Shaky theological foundations that erode confidence in the integrity of the text of the Bible soon undermine the integrity of Jesus as the main character of the Bible and His exclusive statements regarding the need for salvation in and through Him. So the goal is to do our share of winning the world to Christ and to see His church established in every city, town, and village, thereby pleasing Him without care for the ways of the world.

Friday, September 15, 2006

The IMB, Eitel’s letter and the Blogs

Marty Duren has questioned me concerning my timeline of events at the IMB as posted here under “The IMB, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Eitel, and Truth.” I will now respond to him. Let me state, up front, I believe Marty to be a man who loves Jesus and seeks Truth with a pure heart...for that we are grateful. However, I think he is still Hoodwinked:)

1. He is correct in stating that I said “Dr. Eitel sent the letter to the IMB Trustees.” I was wrong in saying that and I apologize to all. He is also correct in stating it was unintentional on my part as evidenced by other comments I have made. He is further technically correct in saying, it wasn’t Dr. Eitel that mailed it, but Dr. Patterson.

This however, does not change the fact that Dr. Eitel wrote the paper WITHOUT Dr. Patterson’s knowledge or input and that he sent it to Dr. Patterson to send to the Administration and the Trustees on his behalf.

2. Marty claims I took a miss-step Chronologically. And points to the committee not looking at résumé’s until January of ’04. However, he also makes a miss-step here:)

- Dr. Eitel was contacted in May ’03
- August ’03 - A trustee TELLS Dr. Eitel the Administration is slowing the process in an effort to make sure Dr. Eitel won’t be looked at.
- September ’03 – Dr. Eitel has heard nothing from the committee.
- Dr. Eitel and Dr. Patterson conclude he will not be interviewed.
- Dr. Eitel sends Dr. Patterson his paper to send to trustees on Eitel's behalf.
- He wasn't interviewed.

SUBSTANTIVE CONCLUSION: 1) paper written in June/July by Dr. Eitel for an interview; 2) it was viewed in August by Dr. Patterson; 3) Eitel and Patterson conclude he will not be interviewed; 4) Paper sent in Sept.

Out of courtesy, I will also do my best to honestly answer Marty’s questions, even though I believe the questions belong in a gossip column on SB politics rather than on my blog where I desire to deal with substantive THEOLOGICAL ISSUES. Marty, there is no harshness intended here…I’m just not sure this has anything to do with the substance of Eitel's paper or with happenings in the SBC.

Marty: - 1. Is there a little greasy spoon cafe in Wake Forest known as The Border?

Actually Wake Forest does have a restaurant called The Border, it also has many other restaurants where we professors like to eat: Over the Falls Deli; Havana Jax, etc.

Marty: 2. In the first half of this decade was it a common practice for students, faculty and employees of SEBTS to eat lunch there between 11:00 and 3:00 on most, if not all, days of the week?

It is still common practice for those of us on tight budgets to eat at the Border on many days of the week. EXCELLENT FOOD – MINIMAL PRICE:)

Marty: 3. Was it common for the attendees at this almost daily get together to discuss any and all activities, personalities and politics of SBC life?

It is very common for me to discuss things in the SBC, no matter where I eat or who I am eating with – I love the SBC and am concerned about all facets of it…I even pray for it (i.e. – I talk to Father about it also). The implication that my “shooting the breeze” with colleagues has any power to influence decisions in the SBC is most fallacious. I wish we did have that type of power (If we did, I would like to believe we would not only solve the SBC problems but most of the world’s problems too).

Marty: 4. Was part of this ongoing conversation the situation at the IMB, which was of such concern to Drs. Eitel and Patterson?

To this day, part of my conversation with colleagues, students and friends still involves the SBC, the IMB, our seminaries, churches, etc – Our conversations at the Border is by no means limited to the IMB or even the SBC for that matter.

HOWEVER, I DO RECALL A PRAYER REQUEST BY DR. EITEL IN WHICH HE STATED THAT HE HAD RECIEVED AN E-MAIL FROM THE IMB ADMINISTRATION CONTAINING A THREAT TO REMOVE OUR 2+2 PROGRAM IF EITEL CONTINUED IN HIS PRINCIPLED DISSENT. In other words, we will not work with SE students (but we will work with Great Commission Christians of other denominations) unless you stop dissenting from our practices.

Marty: 5-8

I have NO knowledge of a discussion about a Trustee vote to oust Dr. Rankin. However, even if it did occur and some profs theorized on how many Trustees were needed…this does not imply anything but seminary faculty “shooting the breeze” (we are just not as powerful as you assume).

Marty: 9. Was there an offer made to Benjamin S. Cole, as he alleges, “to go on payroll at Southwestern Seminary in February of 2004 when a job was offered to [him]. The proposed job was to listen to audio-recordings of Jerry Rankin and to cull them for suspicious charismatic theology”? If so, would this be considered a proper use of Cooperative Programs funds?

Ben is in a position to answer that, not me. He could probably further explain why he was dismissed at the ILC and the theological concerns he had while he was there.

Marty: 10. If the answer to most or all of these questions is “yes,” does it not demonstrate a “behind the scenes, underhanded, manipulative effort to undermine the IMB administration or to influence policy”?

NO – There are a few reasons we may conclude NO. First, to my knowledge Dr. Patterson has NEVER eaten at the Border. He did not participate in any “back-room” discussions because he was not there. Second just because faculty get together and discuss happenings in the SBC does not mean there is a “behind the scenes, underhanded, manipulative effort to undermine the IMB administration or to influence policy?” - In other words, just because guys get together over a meal and discuss problems in the SBC (something that happens everyday across the convention, especially over the GREASY SPOON of BLOGS) does not imply a Great Deceptive Conspiracy, which will doom the IMB administration.

Now, if I contacted a group of colleagues and said “I want to get with you in Memphis and discuss a plan on how we can change the leadership of the SBC”…then maybe some could conclude a conspiracy, but this isn’t what happened at The Border.

Yet this leaves us with some real substantive ETHICAL and THEOLOGICAL issues.

1. No one has shown where Dr. Patterson, in any way, influenced Dr. Eitel’s Paper – to imply so without evidence is not just wrong it is intentionally deceptive and unethical.

2. No one has demonstrated, in any way, where Dr. Eitel’s concerns were invalid. Some have tried to imply that the Leadership Development Sub-Committee’s Report has shown Eitel’s paper to be erroneous. Yet, it has done nothing of the sort. In fact one Trustee met with both Dr. Rankin and Seminary Leadership over two years ago to address the problems at the ILC after the IMB Trustees had received numerous complaints of teaching at the ILC.

The man overseeing the curriculum at the time has since resigned (but Ben Cole has demonstrated some of his non-BFM2K Theology on Ben’s latest post).

Ron Wilson began making immediate changes and has continued to make excellent changes over the past two and a half years. Moreover, the guidance of Dr. Tom Elliff for the past year has further contributed to this correction. One Trustee I spoke with basically said: with the changes provided by Dr. Elliff and Ron Wilson in tandem with more and more seminary professors teaching at the ILC there has been drastic improvement “both in the teaching and the curriculum.” Of note, a Trustee also told me: the input of Dr. Eitel’s paper was, in large part, the impetus “that helped make these changes!”

I was further informed, that the latest report dealt with the CURRENT standing of the ILC, NOT the happenings when Eitel wrote his paper!

I want to Praise God for the IMB administration’s wisdom in making these changes, I want to Praise God for the impetus (however great or small) Dr. Eitel’s paper provided for the changes. And most of all I want to Praise God for the changes!!!

To those interested I will soon post both of Eitel’s papers and Dr. Patterson’s cover letter. However, I felt I owed Marty a response. Marty, may we keep digging for Truth.

However, I am trying to not post much of what I know, because I am not convinced that it will enhance the Kingdom of God. And yet, I will correct false allegations made in the SBC blogworld, for the sake of truth.

Which leaves us with two lingering questions: HAS ANYONE SHOWN DR. EITEL’s PAPER TO BE ERRONEOS IN ANY OF ITS ASSERTIONS OF THINGS OCCURING IN ‘02 AND ’03? And if not, do the Bloggers who have asserted its error not owe Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel an apology?

Friday, September 08, 2006

The IMB, Dr. Patterson, Dr. Eitel and TRUTH (UPDATED)

I shall leave the rest of this post intact, but am adding this first paragraph to update some occurrences at the IMB. This week, the Trustee sub-committee charged with looking into complaints about the MLC (now known as the ILC) came back with a clean bill of health after two years of inquiry. Praise God...I think we can all celebrate that. Some bloggers, however, are concluding that this has rebuffed Eitel's first paper and Eitel's, Hadaway's, and Patterson's paper written 3 years ago. Such a leap is unwarranted. Perhaps it was those very papers, which provided the impetus to get things in order or maybe it was something else. In either case we celebrate where things are currently. But until and unless one can show that what was written in the papers were erroneous at THAT TIME...then logic demands they have not been rebuffed:)

The misquoting, misrepresentations, and subjectively skewed analyses of Dr. Patterson and current events in the SBC continue to amaze me. My surprise at what I read in the blogosphere is surpassed only by the ignorance or outright deception of some of those who are writing.

I have evidenced, in the past, the recklessness and disregard for truth that appears to accompany some of what is written on SBC blogs (see my posts ”Bloggers: Are they Really Honoring Christ?” and “Southern Baptist Bloggers Sound False Alarm.”) Today, as I perused the blogs I was once again confounded. For instance:

1. On one blog, the administrator asks, “Why is there a movement by some within the SBC to narrow the doctrinal parameters of cooperation and participation beyond the BFM 2000?”

Interestingly, the administrator gives no evidence that this is occurring. I am left to assume that he is speaking of policies adopted by our agencies. If this is the case, then he is correct, every agency in the SBC goes beyond the BFM 2000 in regard to their guidelines and policies. At Southeastern we have a handbook that deals with issues such as speech, conduct, and dress, which goes far beyond the BFM 2000. The IMB has always had such policies too. The idea of an institution developing policy for more effective ministry is not something new.

On this same blog a second question is asked: “Why was a public statement made by the administration of SWBTS that what Dr. McKissic taught in chapel regarding a private prayer language was "harmful" to churches, and not the position of the "faculty" at SWBTS, when the published writings of several faculty members seem to support the very thing Dr. McKissic was saying?”

ASTOUNDING. My astonishment at the inaccuracy’s implied by this question was compounded by the fact that this same blog has a link to the statement that was issued by the SWBTS administration. The SWBTS statement does not say, NOR EVEN imply “What Dr. McKissic taught in chapel regarding a private prayer language was harmful to churches…” in fact the statement says: “Equally in keeping with our emphasis of religious liberty we reserve the right not to disseminate openly views which WE FEAR MAY be harmful to the churches.” Of note are the words I have capitalized, namely: “We" "Fear” and “May.” In other words the administration is saying "in our personal opinion (we) what was said in chapel gives us concern (fear) that there is a possibility that the doctrine could be harmful to churches (may)."

Of concern to me, is not necessarily the statement from the SWBTS administration but the purposeful misrepresentation of it on blogs. However, I can affirm from personal experience, as a pastor, that the practice of a “private prayer language” “may be harmful to churches.” I recall a lady in a church I pastored who had such a language and shared it, of note was a statement she made to me which came from her PPL. She said, “God told me that you and I are the two witnesses in Revelation!” HELLO? These types of statements “may be harmful” to churches.

Further, the statement, by the SW administration does not say that Dr. McKissic’s views are, “not the position of the "faculty" at SWBTS.” Rather it says, “tongues as ECSTATIC UTTERANCE is not a position that we SUSPECT would be advocated by MOST faculty or trustees.” Notice, first the administration does not speak to PPL but to “ecstatic utterances” – there is a difference. Second, the administration purposefully says, “not a position WE SUSPECT.” In other words they are not saying that the majority of the faculty and trustees would not advocate tongues, but rather they are saying, “WE DON’T THINK the majority of the faculty and trustees would advocate tongues.” Finally, notice the sleight of hand the blog administrator used to turn the word “most” into “all.” The blog administrator in quoting “most faculty and trustees” changed it to “the faculty.” No where does the administration claim that there is not a faculty member or two who may agree with McKissic, rather they claim it is the administration’s BELIEF that “MOST” faculty members AND trustees would not agree with McKissic on this issue.

2. On another blog, a different administrator says, “Southwestern will not use its resources to promote the use of a Private Prayer Language. Southwestern will use its resources to call into question the leadership and direction of the IMB” On this blog the author implies that Dr. Patterson’s cover letter for Dr. Eitel’s paper to the IMB in some way questioned the leadership and direction of the IMB. While the paper itself (not the cover letter) certainly focuses on the direction of the IMB, the purpose behind it was not to question the leadership but rather to critically think about where we want the IMB to go in the future. If and when our agencies reach the point where they are not open to receiving and contemplating constructive criticism, it will be a sad day for Southern Baptists.

Having said all of that, I want to be clear, my purpose for posting this is not reactionary, retributive, or even rebutive. MY desire is to set forth truth and to show the conscious or even sub-conscious skewing that continues to cloud the accuracy and thus the integrity of some blogs. As time continues, more and more open-minded Southern Baptists are seeing the misquotations, malevolence, and misrepresentations made by some bloggers, which begs questions concerning much of what they post.

Therefore, with veracity in mind I want to address the letter Dr. Eitel sent to the IMB ADMINITRATION and TRUSTEES. The following is a chronological sequence of what ACTUALLY occurred. Contrary to statements and assumptions, Dr. Patterson did not ask Dr. Eitel to write a paper for the purpose of some behind the scenes, underhanded, manipulative effort to undermine the IMB administration or to influence policy from Ft. Worth. In fact, Dr. Patterson didn’t even ask Dr. Eitel to write a paper!!!

1. Spring ’03 – Some IMB Trustees contact Dr. Eitel for a possible interview for Avery Willis' position that was vacated.

2. Eitel prepares a paper of talking points for the interview. He was to address: where the IMB had been, where it is and where he thinks it should go.

3. He develops his talking points from: a) feedback from dozens of missionaries and students on the field and at the MLC; b) His observations from his recent sabbatical in East Asia; c) 18 years of short-term mission work.

4. The genesis of the paper was a discussion between Keith Parks and Adrian Rogers concerning what unites Southern Baptists. Parks claimed it was missions; Rogers claimed it was Doctrine. “In essence, Parks was saying that doctrine or theology divides us but missions unites us. Rogers, however, was indicating that unless our theological convictions are solidly established squarely on an inerrant Bible, we will have no legitimate or reasonable basis for doing missions.” Eitel felt Rogers to be right and referenced historical evidence for support.

He then argued that the “New Directions” strategy implemented by the current administration was a strategy that was more in sync with Dr. Parks’ understanding of what unites Southern Baptists than with Dr. Rogers’. He references, the current move toward promoting missionaries without much seminary education to key roles related to church planting and church development. This apparent move caused Eitel to be concerned about the lack of theological training of missionaries on the field. This lack of training was apparently contributing to an exaltation of women in authority over men in doctrinal and ethical matters. Further, and even more dangerous was the lack of theological structure to filter cooperation with "Christians" of other denominations or even cults. Thus, Eitel states “In order to synchronize the IMB with the theological convictions of the SBC, consistently expressed since 1979 and to set the Board’s course directly back into the evangelical roots that were the convictions of the founders of the convention, there must be a system set in place whereby biblical and theological inquiry is not minimized in importance. Rather it should be affirmed and elevated to serve as a critiquing mechanism for setting the policies, practices, and procedures of the IMB in line with Bible as true Truth that instructs, informs, and determines the IMB’s worldview and culture.” He then concludes with his understanding of how to do this.

5. Several WEEKS after Eitel wrote the paper he told Dr. Patterson about it over dinner. Patterson asked to read it. Next day Eitel sent it to him.

6. Patterson tells Eitel, if you don't get interviewed for the job it would be good to send the paper to the President and the Trustees anyway.

7. Intriguingly, he was not interviewed.

8. He sent the paper to the President and the Trustees.

9. Apparently, the IMB administration claimed the paper inaccurately used “isolated incidences” as proof of “systemic” problems.

10. Some Trustees ask Eitel for clarification.

11. Eitel works with former RL Robin Hadaway and Paige Patterson on a second paper citing and documenting numerous on field incidents, which support the statements in the first paper. This paper is sent to one of the Trustees who had asked for clarification. He in turn sends it to the President and the other 87 Trustees.

In this paper, Eitel references the apparent direction of planting “baptistic churches” rather than “Baptist churches.” This is done in order to cooperate with other “Christians” on the field. I, for one, am a little uneasy with our missionaries planting churches with an individual who believes one can lose their salvation. Even worse, is cooperating with those who are “willing to call someone coming from an Islamic background that is in a C-5 church plant a believer even though that person emphatically denies the deity of Christ.”

Other, theological problems occurring on the field with some of our missionaries included: 1) “One lady missionary (who) felt she had to exorcise her curtains of evil spirits”; 2) a female missionary who was ordered by a non-seminary trained divorced female SCer “to perform the ordinance of baptism for a set of new believers” even though the female missionary was uncomfortable doing so, since she felt pastors should perform the ordinances of the church; 3) MUCH MORE including women functioning as pastors without the title (contrary to the BFM 2000); Universalism concerns and Neo-orthodox concerns (see Eitel’s second paper).

This summarizes the papers and events of Dr. Patterson, Dr. Eitel and the IMB.

Interestingly, only ONE person has called Dr.s Patterson and Eitel about what they have been accused of, and he did so because two of his colleagues on the field (who know Dr.s Patterson and Eitel) refused to believe what was being said on the blogs.

This person was shocked to find out no one else has even cared to ask Patterson or Eitel...many are just assuming the blogs are correct.

Even more interesting and ironic is one bloggers' call for people to confront fellow Christians privately before making public accusations, however, he has yet to call Dr. Patterson with his concerns on how the Chapel service on tongues was handled or his concerns of Patterson's and Eitel's perceived involvement at the IMB. This type of systemic blindness certainly gives pause for thought.

While, some will assume the differences, which exists at the IMB and on blogs, are political and adversarial in nature, they are not for me…they are DOCTRINAL and THEOLOGICAL. There is no doubt that the twisting of truth must be brought to light but that does not make this personal...rather it helps us all remain informed about the accuracy and legitimacy of what is being said (logos) and the ethos of those who are speaking. May, the Lord open my eyes to anything I have written that is inaccurate. The desire for Truth and Theological Purity remains my motive before our Father.

With this in mind we will tackle the tongues issue soon:)

Friday, September 01, 2006

Southern Baptist Bloggers Sound False Alarm

As I perused some Blogs this week I was literally amazed at what appeared to be a collective heart attack stemming from the events that occurred in a Chapel service at Southwestern Seminary. Amazingly it wasn’t the content of the message, nor even the wisdom of attacking the actions of the Trustees of a sister institution which received the Shock and Awe of some bloggers; it was the fact the Seminary President removed the Internet streaming of the message.

If I were to write a summary of this week’s Southern Baptist blog world I think it would be: “In a rare and unusual incident many bloggers experienced what was first thought to be a collective and serious cardiac arrest brought about by a coronary thrombosis, however, after careful inspection it appears to have been nothing more than an intense occurrence of dyspepsia caused by an excessive and immediate release of thermal oxygen.”

Now, lest I offend some of the well-meaning bloggers who assumed this chapel event was Big News, (because other bloggers were making it big) allow me to state I am not speaking to you. I am however, addressing those in the SBC who know that Dr. Patterson’s actions were not earth-shaking, and yet they blogged in order to make news. It reminds me of a newspaper that has no news, so they make a minor event a major story.

Let’s review the facts:

1. Chapel speaker uses chapel time as an opportunity to attack the policies of the Trustees of a sister institution (Interestingly, this was not the big news according to many of the bloggers – in fact, I have not read any blog post that has challenged the wisdom of the speaker assuming such freedom. If a chapel speaker did that in a chapel I attended, my first question would be WHY? What purpose lay behind the use of chapel for such an expression that could be viewed as political? How did those words bring positive press and thereby grow the institution to which he was entrusted by SB?
By the way, I operate under the assumption that Dr. McKissic is a man of God who loves God dearly, has pure motives, and may not have considered the repercussions his statements would generate. Therefore, I refuse, and encourage everyone to refuse, to characterize him in any way other than a child of the living King – my frustration is not with him for I have committed far worse errors in my life. My frustration is with some of the bloggers who want to widen our tent to the point we lose our heritage and our distinctives as Southern Baptists.)

2. SW President removes the internet stream of the chapel message in order to apparently reveal that Southwestern Seminary does not make a habit of approving chapel messages that attack the actions of Trustees of sister institutions. The message, however, is still ATTAINABLE through Southwestern Seminary.

I just don’t get the outrage at the actions of the administration at Southwestern. In defending Dr. Patterson’s actions our current Southern Baptist president Dr. Frank Page says, “It is very encouraging to know that Southwestern Seminary joins this president in strongly asserting that they do not need to be in a place which ‘appears to be critical of the actions of the board of trustees of a sister agency,’” He even prophetically warns these bloggers who are on a feeding frenzy by stating, “While some may question the handling of this situation, please remember that they (Southwestern Administration) are trying to be fair, even under great pressure.”

The volcanic eruption displayed by some bloggers is just inexplicable to me. It’s not as if an unreached people group has been reached, or a revival broke out in New York, or even that a soul was saved from his wretched sin. I’m greatly confounded at their reaction.

Quite frankly, their hyperventilation would be hilarious were the implications not so serious. That which apparently lies behind the brouhaha this week is not outrage at the removal of a message from on-line access (which would be laughable, since it can readily be accessed other ways) nor even a desire to widen our tent to other neglected SB.
Rather what lies at the heart of this eruption is an apparent desire to malign those who labored in building our current tent (conservative resurgence), and then to use such hyped antagonism to remove our tent and give us a different one. In my opinion what lies at the root of this blogging hyper-activity is a hostility towards our current leadership and a desire to remake Southern Baptists into a conglomeration of Southern Baptists, Pentecostals, Presbyterians and Cooperative Baptist Fellowshippers.

The issue is not: can SB cooperate on the mission field with some of those who differ with us in doctrines such as: receiving the second blessing of the Holy Spirit, women pastors, eternal security of the believer, or the inerrancy of Scriptures. (While I would struggle with cooperating with some of these on the mission field…that is not the issue.) The issue is: do we want to use CP funds to pay those who differ with us on these issues. Some say yes…they claim we should stop using the word inerrancy because it is divisive (so is the word “sin” – should we stop using it?). They say we should use CP funds to pay those who speak in tongues, as well as those who believe in women pastors. I say NO. It is not who we are. (Don’t erroneously claim that "SB have not historically held the speaking in tongues as a disqualification for employment by the IMB"…WE HAVE…check our IMB policies!).

We are not Pentecostals, we are not Presbyterians, we are not the CBF, WE ARE SOUTHERN BAPTISTS.

While I consider many of those in these other denominations my brothers and sisters in Christ and am able to cooperate with some of them in reaching souls, nevertheless I am a Southern Baptist. I have friends in some of these other denominations and I thank God for their ministries and their faith but we differ on certain aspects of ecclesiology, pneumatology, soteriology, and missiology.

My point: if you want to be a Pentecostal or Presbyterian or CBF missionary, or if you want to support them, there is a mission agency for you, but IT IS NOT THE IMB. The IMB is for Southern Baptists and who we have been historically.

For those critical of Dr. Patterson please see Bart Barber's article "We Played the Flute for You..." available at