IMB Meeting, Tuesday, January 10th, 2006
One of our old Baptists once wrote a poem that I memorized when I was in my early twenties. It goes like this:
Sovereign Ruler of the skies,
Ever gracious, ever wise;
All my times are in thy hand,
All events at Thy command.
He who formed me in the womb,
He will guide me to the tomb.
Plagues and deaths around me fly,
Till He bids, I shall not die.
John Ryland, Sr.
The Apostle Paul taught me God's providence and goodness through his letter to the Romans, and my own personal experiences have seared the truth I have known in my head deep down into my heart. God does reign supreme in the affairs of men.
My theology in God's Sovereignty keeps me going during days like today.
I spent the morning reviewing green sheets (the confidential background, doctrinal positions, and references of missionary candidates), and meeting with the Personnel Committee to critique and review the policies for screening applicants.
I enjoyed the fellowship with IMB staff and met some wonderful missionaries who are stateside. One 73 year young man, still on the field in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, was an absolute delight to talk with as he told me of his recent evangelistic journeys, his new book, and his philosophy that age is all in the mind!
It was wonderful for me to see many friends including Duane and Deanna Hunt who are establishing a new evangelistic work in Africa, Jamal Badry from Colorado, Ken McLemore from Liberty Baptist Church, Hampton, Virginia, and others who were present for the IMB meeting for various reasons.
Marty Duren did an excellent job of blogging the results of the IMB Plenary Session at SBC Outpost so I will not rehash the business items here.
After the Board was informed that the from now on, the trustee chairman or his designee, will review all reports from the Communication Office of the IMB before they are released to the press, it was recommended by a fellow trustee, that the Board move into Executive Session. A couple of us tried to ask the reasons for this unannounced session so we could be better informed, but were told by the chair this motion was not debatable. The Board moved we enter Executive Session.
Due to policies and guidelines of the Board, I cannot share what took place within that Executive Session.
I have been told that a press release will be issued by the trustees sometime tomorrow morning regarding any action they may have taken.
I will also, Lord willing, be issuing a press release as well.
I ask for four things from my fellow Southern Baptists when the press is informed of what took place within the Executive Session:
(1). Please continue to give the staff, missionaries, and President of the IMB your unqualifed support. These missionaries are the true heroes of the SBC.
(2). Remember that I have always sought to be respectful, gracious, and kind in what I have posted on this blog regarding the direction that some in our convention seem to be headed. In everything I have spoken truth, never violating any confidentiality policies or guidelines of the IMB, and have always spoken with the desire to make our beloved convention better. I have repeatedly said that if I am wrong or "not factual," someone please show me, and I will correct it immediately. To date I have not had one person show me any word, sentence or paragraph on my blog that is not truthful. I am not claiming infallibility in my opinions, I am just simply saying nobody has ever taken the time to challenge facts. I have posted what I have seen, what I have heard, and what has happened to me. To speak the truth as you see it, when others don't see it your way, is tough. But one must always ask the question, "Is the truth, as I see it, worth the price I may pay for speaking it?" In this instance, I believe it is -- without a doubt. It is in the best interest of the future of our beloved SBC. I am called to live a life of integrity, based upon the principles of the Word of God, and not the opinions of man. I also always desire to share the Truth with a Genuine Smile.
(3). Please don't get confused about the real issue. It is bigger than me. Bigger than the Board of Trustees of the IMB. Bigger than two new policies of the Board. It is a convention issue. The real issue is Crusading Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives. I long to cooperate with my fellow conservatives. More importantly, I am not seeking to convince any of my fellow conservative trustees that I am "right" in my interpretations on baptism and tongues (I may be wrong!), but what I am insisting upon is that we not close the doors of cooperation and shut out people who disagree because of different interpetations of non-essential doctrines (see Tears for Miss Bertha.)
Our parameters of fellowship ought be "Sola Fide" (Faith Alone), "Sola Gratia" (Grace Alone), "Sola Scriptura" (Scripture Alone), and "Solus Christus" (Christ Alone) with "The Baptist Faith and Message" seen as a fuller amplification of the these great evangelical doctrines. To demand everyone else walk in lockstep with a specific INTERPRETATION of minor doctrines in Scripture before one can serve within the SBC is narrowing the parameters of cooperation in ways that have never before occurred in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention.
(4). Most of all, allow me to express again my love for the people of the Southern Baptist Convention and my fellow trustees on the International Mission Board. Today my heart has been broken, but I remain hopeful in a Sovereign God.
Sometimes one act does more than 10,000 words.
In His Grace,