The Missionary Candidate and Glossolalia
The International Mission Board recognizes that it represents all the local, autonomous churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. This convention has no creed but the Bible. The 2000 Baptist Faith and Messsage serves as a confession of faith which gives others an understanding of the doctrinal basis of Southern Baptist Convention cooperation, not only as a convention, but as a missionary force as well.
Any Southern Baptist Convention agency, including the International Mission Board, must be very careful not to narrow the parameters of cooperation beyond the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. We must hold sacred our duty to foster cooperation among all Southern Baptist churches in the area of missions; and, while most Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia in their public services, the International Mission Board of trustees is aware that there is room within our convention for different doctrinal interpretations regarding glossolalia or tongues.
As the International Mission Board searches to find the best possible candidates to place on the mission fields in other countries, it will ask each missionary candidate his view on the gifts of the Spirit. The International Mission Board's intention in those discussions is neither to interrogate nor to instruct, but to come to a point of mutual understanding. The trustees realize that the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message leaves room to send missionaries who hold to the continuationist view of the gifts of the Spirit, and it also leaves room to send missionaries who hold to a cessationist view of the gifts of the Spirit.
If a missionary candidate is continualist in his personal theology, and feels that glossolalia is a vital, significant and public part of his or her conviction and practice, the International Mission Board believes that person has eliminated himself from being considered further as a potential missionary for the Southern Baptist Convention. At the same time, the International Misson Board does not try to enter into the prayer closet and question the validity of the candidate's prayer language, nor does it attempt to monitor the missionary's prayer language and life who is currently serving on the field. A person may have a private prayer language and serve as a missionary within the Southern Baptist Convention.
There must be an understanding within each missionary candidate that a persistent emphasis of any specific gift of the Spirit as normative for all will end the appointment process, and in the case of missionaries already appointed, to the extent such emphasis becomes disruptive to the fellowship of missionaries or church plants, such an emphasis will result in disciplinary procedures including possible termination.
Our mission is to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with the peoples of the world, and we ask for the Holy Spirit's guidance and power in accomplishing that mission.
The above is just one example of a potential policy that addresses the abuses of tongues and other gifts of the Spirit, while at the same time, leaving open the door of cooperation to allow entry of Southern Baptists who disagree on the different interpretation of the texts that teach on tongues. I remind you that I speak only for myself on this blog, and not the Board of Trustees. What do you think?
In His Grace,