Pastor Tad Thompson has written an interesting post on his blog entitled The IMB, Baptism, Prayer Languages, Reformed Theology where Tad concludes that the narrowing of the parameters of cooperation within the SBC may eventually lead to even bigger problems in the future.
Tad is a young SBC pastor in Siloam Springs, Arkansas and the son of Dale Thompson, Pastor of FBC, Fort Smith, Arkansas.
It is encouraging to me that the young pastors of our convention are seeing the bigger picture and are not bogged down by the semantics and details of the current issues within the IMB.
I will personally try to keep people focused on the real problem through this blog.
The battle we wage is one for the full participation and cooperation of all conservatives within the SBC in areas of missions and evangelism, even among conservatives who may disagree with each other regarding non-essential doctrinal matters. On the doctrines that are essential to the Christian faith there can be no compromise. But we are fighting against a desire by some that every person within the SBC interpret the Bible the same in non-essential areas of doctrine.
Some conservatives believe in a private prayer language, others do not. Some conservatives believe that the administrator of one's baptism is not an issue in Scripture, other conservatives believe the administrator of the baptism is as important as the baptism itself. Some conservatives are Calvinistic, other conservatives are Arminian.
Believing the Bible to be sacred is not the issue. All conservatives believe in the sacredness of the text.
The issue is one of interpretation and cooperation. Can people and churches who don't see eye to eye on the non-essentials cooperate? It is not my desire to convince fellow conservatives that I am right and they are wrong in the tongues and baptism issue, but rather I am shouting from the mountaintops to anyone who will listen: WE CAN, AND MUST, COOPERATE WITH EACH OTHER IN AREAS OF MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM EVEN WHEN WE DISAGREE ON THESE TYPES OF ISSUES.
If we don't take a stand against a narrowing of parameters of fellowship and cooperation within the SBC at some point, when does the sectarianism within the convention and ultimate exclusion of fellow conservative believers end?
I have chosen to take a stand on the tongues and baptism issue with the IMB because taking a stand later may be too costly and too personal.
This quote from a world leader 60 year ago is appropriate.
"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed; if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." - Winston Churchill
There are those who say, "We disagree with each other. You can't be a part of our missions program as a missionary."
I am fighting for the SBC to be able to say the following: "We agree to disagree with each other. But it is a privilege for all of us who are called by God to serve on the mission field."
"We may not agree on the issue of a private prayer language, but we want to cooperate with on another in reaching the world for Christ."
"We may not agree on the issue of the administrator of baptism, but we should cooperate with each other in world missions."
"We may not agree with each other in our soteriology (you may be an Arminian, I may be a Calvinist), but we must cooperate as Southern Baptists."
The issue is cooperation among all conservatives.
It's worth our greatest efforts to battle for cooperation now and not later.
In His Grace,