"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

There Is No Anecdotal Evidence of Charismatic Problems Not Appropriately Handled by IMB Administration

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:

{Beginning Quote}

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.


{End Quote}

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,

Wade Burleson

16 comments:

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

Thanks for the link. I enjoyed our conversation yesterday and hope for more in the future.

Your post does help answer the question. However, what do I now do about getting an answer to my "if not...then" statement? Here it is:

"if there is no concrete evidence for such a movement, then I would like an explanation from the IMB BoT as to why policies have been implemented if no doctrinal threat exists."

Many regards,

Les

P.S. To all who read this and wonder...No, I haven't gone over to the dark side. :)

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

You DO keep hoping for objectivity from others, don't you?

Pastor John said...

Wade,
This topic has been discussed on your blog before, & before you noted that there is no anecdotal evidence of Charismatic problems not appropriately handled by the IMB.
I'm curious, for the sake of full disclosure, could you share with us anecdotes of Charismatic problems appropriately handled by the IMB, or is this info privileged?
Does the IMB have to address charismatic problems on the field frequently?

Blessings,

John

Wade Burleson said...

Pastor John,

Fair question.

I cannot discuss the specific examples that were appropriately handled by IMB administration and staff.

That becomes a personnel issue and is protected by both bylaws requiring confidentiality and in some cases civil law itself.

Thanks.

Steve A said...

The crusade Jesus and His disciples engaged in against legalism continues. When agencies rush in to impose new restrictions on missionaries when, apparently, new restrictions and rules were not needed, the importance of rules over the needs of people shows us a new side of the same legalism that so corrupted the religion of Jesus' day.

Pastor John said...

Wade,

Thank you for your answer, I understand completely.

Without solid examples, my next question will be somewhat hypothetical (please forgive me for that).

Not long ago, a local church dismissed a staff member b/c of a relationship deemed “inappropriate.” Because the staffer did nothing illegal, and his relationship was not forbidden by the church’s policies, he felt that his dismissal was unfair and sued. The case was thrown out, but the fight cost the church both monetarily and in terms of its reputation in the community. Since then the church has adopted many policies regarding its staff that it never would have considered before, just to protect itself from future lawsuits.

In your opinion as an IMB trustee, would it be feasible that the IMB’s policies are needed to protect itself from similar situations when it deals with charismatic problems in the future?

Blessings,
John

Wade Burleson said...

Not at all, simply because the old policy was sufficient for the example you sited.

I'm leaving and will be unable to answer further questions tonight.

volfan007 said...

steve a.,

when you said,The crusade Jesus and His disciples engaged in against legalism continues. When agencies rush in to impose new restrictions on missionaries when, apparently, new restrictions and rules were not needed, the importance of rules over the needs of people shows us a new side of the same legalism that so corrupted the religion of Jesus' day.

Friday, December 08, 2006

did you mean that there should be no rules whatsoever for a missionary to follow....no guidelines for choosing a missionary? exactly what do you mean by this statement?

volfan007

Bryan Riley said...

Here's what I'd really like to know from all who have a definition... how would you define "charismatic problems"? I really don't know what that means.

Bryan Riley said...

Here's what I'd really like to know from all who have a definition... how would you define "charismatic problems"? I really don't know what that means.

Bryan Riley said...

Here's what I'd really like to know from all who have a definition... how would you define "charismatic problems"? I really don't know what that means.

Bryan Riley said...

Bob, nice hat.

Benji Ramsaur said...

"the policies were pushed...because of a particular doctrinal mindset within the Board (in other words --- 'this is what we believe the Scripture to teach')."

Scary.

Not because we should not seek to justify what we believe and practice from the Bible, but because if they are willing (and they are) to IMPOSE their position on something as minute as PPL, then it seems to be open season for imposing...(I'll let your mind think about it).

canawedding said...

Why did you delete my comments? What are you afraid of? No lie comes from God's Truth and true Christians always rejoice in God's Truth. Where is your joy? You have no true joy. You are described in Jn 3:19. "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil.
20. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, lest his works should be reproved." People like you are in terrible trouble and it gets worse when you trash what someone sent to help you.

Wade Burleson said...

CanaWedding,

When your comments run over five paragaphs it's time to start your own blog.

Your comment was twenty five paragraphs.

Thanks,

wade

Steve A said...

Volfan007,

I described the IMB BoT's new policies very briefly as "new rules and restrictions." Too broad a brush?

When I said that apparently, these (specific) new rules and restrictions (as described by Wade in his post) were not needed (because these problems were already being handled appropriately by the IMB), I didn't in any way recommend "throwing out the baby with the bathwater." That would be as bad an overreaction as, say, dismissing the UT football coach simply because Florida and Auburn seem to be three pages ahead of him every season!

I believe Wade when he describes the current situation with new rules as trying to solve a problem that hasn't really come up yet. Now, in its defense, the IMB BoT may just really be looking ahead to make sure nothing goes wrong, but human institutions have a nasty human habit of going too far, whether they are Earl Warren's Supreme Court, the mid-18th century British Houses of Lords and Commons, or our own fellow believers trying to seek God's will on an important board.