On Les Puryear's blog today he asks a very important question.
"Is there evidence of a charismatic movement on the (mission) field?"
Pastor Tim Rogers, in the comment section, expressed concern that only the trustees should be asking that question, not Les, and we should trust the trustees' conclusions.
It might be helpful for Pastor Tim to know that I have asked a very similar question repeatedly since I first heard of the proposed policies during my first International Mission Board trustee meeting.
My question was this:
"Can you please give to me, as an International Mission Board trustee, anecdotal evidence that the new policies are needed in order to combat charismatic problems on the field, or in the case of baptisms, evidence that candidate consultants have approved missionaries to be appointed who were not scripturally baptized by immersion after having come to faith in Jesus Christ?"
Nobody in trustee leadership would ever answer this question for me.
It was also strange to hear from President Jerry Rankin publicly, and repeatedly, a vigorous denial that there has ever been a 'charismatic' problem on the field that has not been swiftly, efficiently and properly handled by staff and administration according to the existing (now old) policies, while at the same time attempting to logically comprehend why, according to trustee leadership, the new policies were allegedly needed.
On my blog nearly six months ago I reported that the question I had been asking, as a duly elected trustee, was finally answered for me --- one year after I began asking it and six months after the new policies were approved. I was chagrined that it was only answered after the approval of the policies, but grateful that it was at least finally answered.
You may read the full acount here, in a post entitled "The Problem Is Too Little Communication, Not Too Much," but I have placed the pertinent part of that post below for your information.
The IMB is your agency. You have the right to know.
Here is what I wrote on on July 20, 2006:
As a trustee I asked at my first meeting, over a year ago, for anecdotal evidence that the new policies were needed in order to combat charismatic problems on the field, or inappropriate baptisms on the field. I never received an answer to my question. I believe that had there been an attempt to answer my question with straightforward, clear communication when I initially asked the question, then much of what happened last year could have been avoided.
However, my question was only finally answered THIS week, one year after I initially asked it --- and I was told that there is no anecdoctal evidence of IMB staff not dealing appropriately with charismatic problems on the field, or unbiblical baptisms taking place on the field, that would support the need for the new policies. I really appreciated the honesty in answering my question by the Chairman of the Committee that dealt with the policies, and now I know that the policies were pushed not because of any anecdotal evidence of problems on the field not handled properly by the IMB administration, but because of a particular doctrinal mindset within the Board (in other words --- "this is what we believe the Scripture to teach").
Again, if that information had been communicated to me early last year we could have moved on to other issues, but there was too little communication, not too much.
I hope this answers the questions that are being asked by people on Les's blog. In my opinion, this is one of the beauty of blogs. Information is available at the fingertips.
In His Grace,