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

A New Book by Alan Cross and Dwight McKissic

Alan Cross is the pastor of Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, and writes a blog called downshoredrift. Alan and Dwight McKissic are talking about possibly writing a book representing a Baptist view on the continuation of the gifts and miraculous work of the Holy Spirit. Alan has noticed many missionaries writing amazing stories on this blog, albeit anonymously, about what God is doing in Africa and most recently in China. Alan believes it is important that someone take up the task of documenting what many Southern Baptists claim that God is doing around the world. He recently wrote me an email as follows:

Wade,

As I have participated in the debate between cessationists/semi-cessationists and continuationists, I have run into the argument that God is not performing miraculous signs and wonders today in the same way that He did in Biblical times. I have heard cessationists ask for proof and have said that if healings are occuring and if the dead are being raised, then why are we not hearing about it? At the same time, I have read several "Anonymous" IMB missionaries write in with stories claiming that they have seen the dead raised in Africa and the mute speak in China, among other stories. I was especially impacted by the missionary in China who recently wrote in describing what was happening there. Could this be documented in some way? What kind of a denomination are we to suppress these wondrous acts of God and hide them away because they do not fit our paradigms? I understand why they are posting anonymously, but I wonder if they would be willing to talk with me or send me their stories? I promise that I would protect their identity, but I really feel that these stories need to get out in some form or fashion. I am wondering if a book or journal article on the continual miraculous work of the Holy Spirit among Southern Baptists in the areas of healings, miracles, divine intervention, guidance, and other Biblical manifestations would not be helpful to the Body of Christ? I have many stories of my own to share, but I am thinking that it would be amazing to collect some of the things that Southern Baptists are experiencing around the world in a way that would begin to open people's eyes to God's activity. We have made many biblical arguments on the blogs to describe the continuationist perspective, but these stories from Southern Baptist pastors and missionaries on the field would be very beneficial to add in as a testimony to the truth of Scripture.

The purpose of this is not to "prove" something to the IMB Board of Trustees. That ship has sailed. Rather, the rest of us need to know what God is doing in people's lives as He continues to work miraculously to bring glory to Himself. If you know who these people are, could you contact them or let them know that I am interested in pursuing such a project? Again, I promise to protect their identities, but I really feel that these stories need to be told. You can contact me at alancross@charter.net .

Grace and Peace,

Alan Cross

David Rogers has a very interesting post that complements much of what Alan is saying from a different angle. If you are interested in helping Alan and Dwight please contact him.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

66 comments:

Lee said...

Great idea.

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Dear Wade, Alan, and Dwight:

This would indeed be an interesting book, but it would be convincing only if it were documentable. We should welcome such a book, but only if it included people's names, dates, places, incidents, etc -- the normal facts of documentable history.

I once asked a missionary who was working in Romania but on sabbatical in Louisiana how his work was going. He became excited and said, "It is going great! We have seen healings. We also think somebody might have been raised from the dead."

Then I said to him, "No, I meant, 'Are people being saved, and are the churches growing?'" He said, "Oh, yes, ummm." Then he looked closer at me, glanced down at my nametag, and then walked away.

I never did get to ask him how somebody MIGHT have been raised from the dead. It seems to me that a resuscitation was not a fact that would generate a sense of perhaps, especially on the part of a believer.

This indicated to me, yet again, that something is significantly different with some of our missionaries. Please. Verify these events. If these occurrences are truly of God, faithful witnesses will not be ashamed to say so.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Anonymous said...

Malcolm,
They may not be ashamed of their stories, but I think they may be afraid of rocking the boat of southern baptist complacency. I think they are worried they would have to go to the trouble of finding another sending agency if their names got out.
if not, they will be named a trouble maker and look where that got Wade.

unless your willing to be fired, I think its best not to rock any boat.

hope you understand.
Michael

ps. perhaps the m's could be treated like nationals in those testimonials that can't give their name and silhouette because their lives might be in danger
(in this case 'livelihood')

Tom Bryant said...

It's interesting to me that we have now gone from demanding that a ppl be accepted to demanding that all of the miraculous gifts be accepted as "baptistic".

There is indeed a slippery slope involved here.

davidinflorida said...

.....Thomas????....

Anonymous said...

Dr. Yarnell's questions reminded me of a story. Documenting the evidences of the work of God should definitely be expected in any book written about the Holy Spirit's work, but I digress.

Many years ago, when I was a student at SWBTS, I went with a group of volunteers to participate in a large evangelistic thrust in a well established mission field in South America. There were daily visits in homes and nightly evangelistic services in many Baptist churches.

Every morning there were victory reports from the volunteers. The victories were almost always about salvations.

One morning the group leader, a dear pastor from South Carolina who readily identified himself as a fundamentalist and was ecstatic about the Conservative Resurgence, shared a fascinating story.

He shared that the night before, while he was preparing to preach, he noticed a disturbance at the front of the church (this was one of the largest Baptist churches in that country). A teenage boy was carried out by men.

Our group leader said that the men were the deacons of the church and that the boy was possessed by a demon. He said that while the national pastor and his deacons seemed to know what they were doing, he himself felt very ill-equipped to handle what was going on (screeching, etc.).

He said that through the efforts of the pastor and deacons, who were doing what they read in the Gospels (i.e. casting out the demons), the boy was delivered that very night and was saved when he heard the gospel preached later.

And as our group leader finished, he said this: "This was a great testimony of the working of the Lord to deliver that boy. We all were praising God at that church. And it is a story I will never tell in my church in South Carolina because people will begin to say I have gone charismatic".


It would seem that by Dr. Yarnell's comments, that that atmosphere continues to exist. There continues to exist in our seminaries and churches a world-view that is more Western rationalism or materialistic than Biblical.

Anonymous IMB M

Anonymous said...

Wade & Others,
May I ask for a clarification? My impression has always been that most Baptists I have encountered would fall into the open but cautious camp. That certainly describes me.
I did not see the debate centering around whether God still does miraculous things, particularly on the mission field as a sign as we see in Acts, but on the issue of whether PPL and most of what would be called speaking in tongues is indeed biblical tongues.
I am cautious because I don't see biblical tongues and the sign miracles of Acts. My experience is that this is the perspective of most others as well.
Speaking for myself, I would rejoice to have proof of God working miraculously on the mission field! I also agree that a book without documentation will only encourage those who are already continualists.
Brad Guenther

Kevin Bussey said...

I would be interested in reading it. Since I know Alan it would be easier for me to believe stories coming from a person who I have hung out with and know his heart.

I am still cautious when it comes to tongues but I don't want to limit God because He shattered my box every time I try to box Him in.

G. Alford said...

Wade, Alan, and Dwight:

No amount of documentation will change the minds of some people in our convention… You either believe the authors (in this case Alan and Dwight) are men of integrity and therefore their work reflects their integrity, or you do not. It’s really that simple…

I do not need names, dates, places, incidents, etc… In fact such details would jeopardize the work of many of our missionaries… This is something I find it hard to believe that Dr. Yarnell would not know?

Dr. Yarnell says, “We should welcome such a book, but only if it included people's names, dates, places, incidents, etc -- the normal facts of documentable history.

I too would welcome such a book with people’s names, dates, places, incidents, ect --- but only if I were looking to conduct an investigation into these Missionaries?

Grace to all,

Alan Cross said...

Wade, I have already received emails from people wanting to talk with me about this. Thank you.

IF we did this book (and it's a big IF that Dwight was gracious enough to mention to me - we're just talking about it right now, but part of the impetus would be the collection of stories, at least for me), it would focus on the whole spectrum of God's work from a continuationist position. For those who think that this is only about tongues, you need read no further than Dr. Yarnell's statement. He clearly considers that there is "something different" in missionaries who would relay these types of miraculous events. Tom Bryant confirms this in his comment as well.

As far as providing the detail that Dr. Yarnell desires, I would require that before the event went into a book and print it if possible, but I would not print such details if it endangered missionaries or nationals in sensitive areas. Even the news media changes names and details to protect people. If you would not believe the stories because you have to know every detail, even if the lives of people are placed in danger, then you probably wouldn't believe the stories anyway.

Anonymous said...

i agree with brad gunther on this. i'm an open, but cautious cessationist who believes that God can heal today. and, He can also raise the dead today. and really, i would say that most cessationists believe that. and, i also have no doubt that the Lord is doing things on the mission fields that we dont see in america today...for whatever reason.

but, like dr. yarnell, i would like to see more proof....real proof. we've seen too many benny hinn and oral roberts stuff to blindly believe every story told. it wasnt that long ago that every charismatic church around my area had someone who's leg grew a couple of inches...one was shorter than the other before the miracle. it really turned into a big joke around these parts.

david....volfan007

Paul T. said...

The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. They were all filled with awe and praised God. "A great prophet has appeared among us," they said. "God has come to help his people." This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

John's disciples told him about all these things. Calling two of them, he sent them to the Lord to ask, "Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?" When the men came to Jesus, they said, "John the Baptist sent us to you to ask, 'Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?' " At that very time Jesus cured many who had diseases, sicknesses and evil spirits, and gave sight to many who were blind. So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me."
(Luke 7:15-23 NIV)

Paraphrase for Mr. Yarnell:
Jesus, how is the work of the kingdom going?
Jesus: Decide for yourself. The blind, the lame, the deaf, lepers are being healed. The dead are being raised and good news is proclaimed to the poor.

No, I mean are people being saved? Are churches growing?
Is this a legitimate ministry?

Jesus: blessed is the man who is not scandalized over me and my work.

Anonymous said...

I attended SWBTS in the 70's and had the joy of hearing Dr. C.L. Culpepper and Miss Bertha Smith speak at the church I attended while in Ft Worth. Bill O'Brien was my pastor at the time. He and his wife had numerous connections to FMB and WMU. I heard the author of the book The Shantung Revival tell of some of his experiences. I was impressed with how many of the supernatural and miraculous things were also accompanied by spontaneous confession of sin, salvation of souls and joy in the Holy Spirit. I thought it might be a helpful reference for those seeking to update the experiences of those on the field. It grew out of a report to the FMB from the North China Mission and contains quotes from then Executive Secretary, Baker James Cauthen and Professor of Missions at SWBTS, R. Cal Guy as well as Dr. Donald McGavran, Dean of School of World Mission, Fuller Theological Seminary. It does name names and give eye witness reports. It was distributed by the Evangelism Division of the BGCT in Dallas.

Debbie said...

Dr. Yarnell: With all due respect, is that story documented? Can you verify this event?

Anonymous said...

paul t.,

i would believe Jesus, or the apostle paul, or peter; but, i have real trouble beleiving benny hinn and robert tilton and kenneth copeland, etc. dont you?

maybe that's all dr. yarnell is asking.

david.....volfan007

Paul T. said...

Yes, I do have trouble believing those men.
And, I am generally a cessationist who is cautiously open (and a skeptic at heart!).

However, the reference was made to called, trained and approved Southern Baptist missionaries who have shared their stories.

I choose to believe them.

Anonymous said...

from an M...
Alan, Greg and others,

You are exactly correct when you said even if the book was documented to the “nth” degree there would be those who would not believe the accounts. That is so sad. I wonder how God feels when people do not believe what God has done (miracles, signs and wonders) to bring people to a saving knowledge of His grace and then they work to begin new churches.

I guess Jesus had to deal with this when Thomas would not believe until he saw the nail scarred hands of the risen Jesus.

Maybe we need a “white paper” from God. No, wait! We already have a whole book from God called the Bible. Maybe we should begin being a people of the Book who really believe the Book.

Just a wee thought from an...
IMB M

Debbie said...

I agree Paul T. Billy Graham himself has relayed many miraculous stories from missionaries. I have no reason to doubt them.

David Rogers said...

Wade,

Especially seeing how the comment string is going on this post, I think perhaps another post of mine, that I posted on May 6, entitled A Priori Skepticism, is perhaps even a bit more relevant to the matter being discussed than the one you link to here.

In any case, thanks for the publicity. My "hits" always sky-rocket whenever you mention me. :^)

Belief Matters said...

I would suggest that part one of the book lay out why you believe these practices are biblical. I am someone who wouldn't deny that such things happen, but I am skeptical about many of the stories.

I would also like to know where Private Prayer languages are mentioned in the Bible. Is Romans 8 the foundational passage? I Corinthians 12-14 appears to be speaking of public prayer. Can someone help me on that one?

Thanks
Jeff

Anonymous said...

Dr. Yarnell
After I finished reading most of Mark today, i read you story about the missionary. I immedaitely went back to Mark to see if Jesus asked those he healed to "pray the prayer", get "saved" or join a church. Just what was the point of the story?
John

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Dear John,

I am afraid I did not get your last name. It is good to see a fellow believer reading God's Word at length.

You should find the point in Mark 16:15-16, or Matthew 28:18-20 if you don't accept the longer ending of Mark. My churches have always supported Southern Baptist missionaries, because we believe in the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ. The Cooperative Program and the missions offerings and sending our missionaries through the IMB and NAMB have always been part of our fulfillment of the Great Commission.

The particular applications of the story seem twofold:

1. Missionaries should be about fulfilling the biblical commissios, which means seeing people saved through proclamation of the Word of God, which with the Lord's blessings should result in church growth measurable in believers' baptism. Again, proclamation and baptism are all part and parcel of the Great Commission, as is continuing education in the doctrines of the Bible.

2. This particular missionary seemed to have a different understanding of what his work was: seeing healings and perhaps even a raising from the dead. This was the reason for my comment that there was something "significantly different" here.

I hope this helps answer your question. If you have further questions regarding my beliefs in regard to these issues, please consult the White Papers on the Heart of a Baptist and on Speaking of Tongues. Like Balthasar Hubmaier (upon whom my friend Dr. Emir Caner wrote a dissertation) and the early English Baptists, if you believe me to be wrong, I am willing to be corrected, but only by the Word of God.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Belief Matters said...

The purpose of miracles was to affirm the person and work of Jesus Christ. They aren't just to get people better. The focus therefore shouldn't be on the act itself, but on the power of God.

G. Alford said...

Cautious Cooperating Southern Baptist?

I have noticed that many bloggers have started identified themselves as “Cautious Cessationist” when stating their position on miraculous works of the Holy Spirit in our day. On this same subject others have identified themselves as “Cautious Continuationist”.

I have no problem with these definitions and I fully understand the need to be cautious… for I have learned that in this current political climate of “ever narrowing parameters of cooperation”, and increasing “Landmark influence” throughout much of the convention, that one needs to be “Cautious” in order to survive in the SBC today.

So I guess you could call me a “Cautious Cooperating Southern Baptist”. And if I were a Missionary with the IMB I would be very cautious! It is a sad day when Missionaries have to be protected from the very ones who sent them… from hostility in the field and at home.

“Cautious” is indeed the word that best describes life the SBC today…

Grace to all,

Alan Cross said...

Malcom,

It seems that Jesus preached the "Good news of the Kingdom." As he preached that message, he also healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. We see preaching and miracles, healings, and exorcisms placed together throughout the gospels (Matt. 4:23; 10:7; 11:4-7, and many other places). We are then told that "this gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come" (Matt. 24:14). We then see the early church proclaiming the gospel of the Kingdom accompanied by signs and wonders. From reading Scripture and not proof texting things in or out of it, it is all together reasonable to assume that the preaching of the gospel heralds the inbreaking of the Kingdom (the reign and rule) of God in a way that sets things right in people's lives, whether that be sickness, demonic possession, or other issues. Of course, it does not always mean this because the foundational thing set right is our spiritual state, but I believe that it can because God is concerned with the whole person. To diminish the occurrence of these things as unnecessary or not in God's plan seems to diminish the work of Jesus and the early church as well and tends toward a view that the spirit is all that is important and that our physical lives are not important to God. I think that the early church fathers dealt with that teaching by disavowing it.

Why do we see healings, exorcisms, and miracles as opposed or "different" from the preaching of the gospel and the establishment of churches when the Bible clearly shows those things to be married together?

I will also appeal to Hubmaier and your own words as well by saying, " if you believe me to be wrong, I am willing to be corrected, but only by the Word of God."

Malcolm Yarnell said...

For all those tempted to fear rather than stand boldly for the truth, consider these words of Christ:

Matthew 10:26-31

In Christ,
Malcolm

Anonymous said...

Dear Alan,

The emphasis of Scripture is on preaching the Gospel, not healings and miracles, signs and wonders. (I agree with "belief matters", whoever he is. The signs and wonders were intended to draw attention to the Word of God proclaimed by the apostles.) Discerning this emphasis is what ultimately separates Baptists from Pentecostals. Again, it is an issue of the Great Commission. Do we accept it as Christ's will for us, or not?

As for your other arguments, please note carefully that I am not disaffirming God's miracle-working power. Indeed, I affirm it -- he is God and may do what he wishes with his natural laws. What I am stressing is that he gave us a command, and we must obey it. This entails neither mind-spirit dualism nor the declaration of a position on the cessationist/continualist debate.

In Christ,
Malcolm

John Moeller said...

Wade et al,

I am sure my comments will be discounted, but I feel I need to give them…. I was in LaCeiba Honduras and observed a little child raised from the dead. I do have pictures and multiple witnesses.

Oh, you can call me a reckless abandoned continualist

John

Anonymous said...

I read a book (given to me by my pastor) a few years ago. It went through the scriptures noting the failure to specify when the gifts should end. Then at the end of the book, it had a large number of footnotes/references to healings and raising from the dead--mostly from Africa. I thought that it should have had a book on the "miracles" and footnoted the scripture that supported the reality of the miracles. Personally, I do take good references (documented) with follow up as an indication that the information is credible--and I get more excited about credible reports.
Benentt Willis

Anonymous said...

John,

Your website indicates that you were disciplined by your local church for your views. If your local church finds your views inappropriate, it certainly creates a large question mark regarding your witness.

May I encourage you to return to your church and seek reconciliation, placing yourself under its teaching?

In Christ,
Dr. Yarnell

G. Alford said...

Dr. Yarnell,
Fear and Caution are not the same, nor synonymous…

By referring to Matthew 10:26-31 are you saying that our L3 Missionaries should not show caution in their work?

I am a little confused by your comment?

Grace to all,

R. L. Vaughn said...

I guess I am having a little bit of a hard time with the concept behind the proposed book. I'm sure it's just my presuppositions getting in the way, but I had not read far into the post until the idea "anonymous documentation" got stuck in my head and now I can't get it out. They seem sort of incompatible.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Vaughn,

I agree with you fully. There is no such thing as anonymous documentation.

This brings me to Greg's question. Many of the comments in this string have implied that there should be a lack of openness toward the churches on the part of missionaries.

Every Southern Baptist denominational employee should be cautious to the world, open to the churches. Would you not agree?

My attempt is to encourage the missionaries to have a sense of accountability and openness to the churches of the SBC, primarily through the trustees who have oversight, but also in speaking truth to the local churches. Perhaps I have been too subtle in not openly calling for such until now. My apologies.

Dr. Yarnell

Anonymous said...

One more thing about cautiousness. We must be ever bold to proclaim the Gospel. This may bring persecution upon us, but we were told to expect such by our Lord. There is no room for caution with regard to proclamation of the Gospel.

In Christ,
Malcolm

R. L. Vaughn said...

Dr. Yarnell, since I'm not a Southern Baptist and may not understand all the procedures, let me be sure I'm following you. Are you saying that the missionaries who are receving support from the churches should be open (to the churches) in describing what is going on in their mission work rather than trying to cover up things the churches might disagree with?

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Mr. Vaughn,

Yes, sir, you have nailed it on the head! There is nothing like integrity when it comes to the ministry, or in fact, to any aspect of Christian life.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Alan Cross said...

Malcolm,

I have no problem following the Great Commission and I fully understand our command to preach the gospel. My point is that I also see Jesus commanding the disciples to heal along with preach. I do not see those things as being mutually exclusive and I do not think that discerning between the two has anything to do with being Pentecostal or Baptist. Being Pentecostal has everything to do with a second baptism in the Holy Spirit with tongues as the sign, or initial evidence. Baptists do not believe that. But, what does that have to do with believing that God often performs miraculous signs and wonders that accompany the gospel message? What does that belief have to do with a lack of focus on the gospel? It did not seem to be a problem for Jesus and the early church. Why is it a problem for us?

R.L.,

I am aware that many missionaries are in sensitive areas and for various reasons cannot divulge who they are. Apparently, that is why they post anonymously on the blogs. I cannot even get a list of the names of missionaries in some parts of the world from the IMB, yet I know many of them personally. We have a great deal of anonymous documentation of salvation and churches planted, don't we? We believe those. Or, are you saying that we should not believe that salvations occured and churches were planted unless we can all see times, dates, and the names of people?

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Alan,

You will have to remind where we are commanded to bring miraculous healing, especially putting it on par with the Great Commission. Moreover, I would encourage you to carefully distinguish the apostolic office from anything we have today. Otherwise, before you know it, you will be equating post-New Testament sayings with divine revelation. Of course, that would make you either a good Pentecostal, a good Roman Catholic, or a good liberal, take your choice.

In Christ,
Malcolm

R. L. Vaughn said...

Alan, in my original comment, the question is really about just what will be the purpose of compiling this information. Perhaps your example of the salvations can illustrate. If I don't believe they're occurring, what will more anonymous documentation of more salvations do to convince me that they are? If I do believe the salvations are occurring, why will I need anonymous documentation?

Also, as far as the anonymity for safety concerns, I completely understand that. To me that is a completely different issue from not being willing to tell what is occurring for fear of loss of support from churches who might not believe such things.

John Moeller said...

Dr. Yarnell,

No thanks....

I don't care what this particular church thinks...

They all have the cessationist views. I counceled with a very high ranking SBC director who told me that I was correcet, they were wrong...

I attend a wonderful church now where I serve in many aspects of ministry.

Malcolm Yarnell said...

John,

Sorry to hear you did not submit yourself to local church discipline.

By the way, what exactly is a highly placed SBC director? Just curious, for I have never heard of one of those.

Malcolm

Malcolm Yarnell said...

Well, I am in England, and must go now, for it is past dinner time, and I must eat. Thank you for allowing me to blog. It has been several months since I participated so extensively. Alas, dinner calls, then reading, then back to work tomorrow. Home to the wife and five children after preaching on Sunday. God bless all of you, wherever you are in the world today.

I will have to wait to hear who this SBC director is that encourages people not to submit to local church discipline. Alan, if you decide to pursue this book, please remember to provide credible documentation. Otherwise, I am afraid, it will be dismissed, and properly so, as hearsay.

Thanks to Wade Burleson for allowing me to post on his blog. I may (correction: do) not agree with this brother very much, but he has been kind to allow me to post.

In Christ,
Malcolm

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Dr. Yarnell: It seems to me that you are getting close to the line of meanness here. I respect you as a scholar, but I disagree with much of what you write. I do not however think that you should not believe as you believe nor be a part of the SBC. You however seem to be taking scripture out of context, and using it as some sort of weapon. Your truth is the only truth in this matter? I see Alan and others standing for Biblical truth as well. It's hard for me to understand how you can so easily dismiss what they are saying.

Instead of refuting you seem to be swinging a bigger club. Such as your statement to John Why? I don't see this as showing where we are wrong using scripture.

Alan Cross said...

Malcolm,

We have fundamental differences in the way that we look at this issue. I guess it serves your position well to lump me in with Roman Catholics, Liberals, and Pentecostals, that way I am easy to dismiss. It seems that I see that often in Baptist life these days. I am willing to bear whatever label necessary if it enables me to better stand with the Word of God. But, I assure you, I am thoroughly Baptist.

However, the idea that healing and miracles often accompanies the preaching of the gospels seems to be rather well established in Scripture. I see Jesus doing it. I see the Apostles doing it. And, I see the Early Church doing it. The only real examples that we have of evangelism in the Early Church are in the gospels and Acts, and miracles happen throughout, although they do not always accompany the preaching of the gospel. I would never say that they have to be there. Luke 10:1-12 gives us another good example of Jesus giving power to the the 72 to preach the gospel and heal.

I did not say that healing and miracles are on par with the Great Commission. My point is that they often accompany the preaching of the gospel in the New Testament. Again, it serves your purpose to mischaracterize my argument and try to make me say something that I am not. My only point is that preaching the gospel and healing, seeing miracles happen, and performing exorcisms are not opposed to one another. They often go together.

But, Dr. Yarnell, we are people of the Book. We are to believe it and the Bible says that these things took place and there is no clear teaching in Scripture that they do not any longer. It seems that the burden of proof would be on you to prove that they do not, rather than on me to prove that they do. The purpose of a book (if it happens, which is purely speculation), is to tell the stories of what God is doing and to present the theology behind it, showing it to be compatible with Baptist teaching, which it is. Perhaps you attribute these works to Satan or delusional people. If they do not contradict Scripture, I attribute them to God. For me, it encourages me to hear stories of how God is working. I thought it would encourage others as well. Obviously, you disagree.

G. Alford said...

Dr Yarnell,

Thanks for clearing things up…

My attempt is… missionaries to have… accountability…, primarily through the trustees who have oversight.

Alan, you had better think twice before including any names in your documention…

Grace to all,

John Moeller said...

Dr. Yarnell,

Let me say it's really none of your business. Discipline would assume I did something wrong I did not. I followed Christ’s example and witnessed using the gifts given me. The crappy Baptist church I was attending does not believe in the gifts, thus pulled me from leadership…. So what discipline? Should I bow to humans who obviously see the gifts as invalid? NO!

As for the counsel, If you knew who I was and whom I am related to, then you would know whom I’m talking about. Let it be said that this person who is in a high leadership position in the SBC counseled me to leave the local SB church because they were not Biblical in their teaching and beliefs.

Enough said. It’s the same old thing, Kill the messenger. I have seen someone raised from the dead, lets not talk about that, lets slander the messenger……the cessationist way of doing business.....

Bob Cleveland said...

I had a good friend who related a story to me; he'd been in a church in another big city and they had a beloved old deacon with stage 4 cancer. He was really on his last legs and my friend was a deacon, so he called the elder deacons together one Sunday afternoon and they anointed and prayed over their friend. God miraculously healed the man, already elderly, and he lived on for many years.

It split the church. And I hasten to add this is a good friend of mine and you can take what he says to the bank.

All this brouhaha has been going on for years. It seems as if those who don't believe it, don't see it.

Their loss.

R. L. Vaughn said...

G. Alford, you wrote, "Alan, you had better think twice before including any names in your documention…" which I take to imply that some may want the names in order to "out" certain missionaries. That may or may not be what you mean, and even if it is what you mean, that may or may not be their intent. But I would like to understand the concept of the missionaries seeking support from the churches but not being accountable to them.

As I noted in my comment to Alan, I understand the need of anonymity and/or carefulness of missionaries who are in dangerous situations. But some of what has been discussed seems to be more about not letting the churches know how one stands on tongues, ppl, miracles, being raised from the dead, etc. I do not understand the concept of a missionary hiding his faith and practice from the churches that support him. I have been connected with churches practicing direct mission support, so there was always a pretty direct accountability to the church/churches. I think that might cause some disconnect in trying to understand the problem you are discussing here. I pose this question to G. Alford, Alan, Wade or anyone else who can explain it.

davidinflorida said...

Pastor Wade,

I hope the book is a best seller..


Romans 15:19... Through mighty signs and wonders, by the Power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully Preached the Gospel of Christ.

Notice how Paul mentions "signs and wonders" as he preached.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Yarnell has demythologized the church era. Bultmann is proud!

The ivory tower is an easy place from which to cast aspersions.

ChaplainDave said...

fI would buy it, read and study it and consider it a blessing.

RKSOKC66 said...

When this book comes out, I'll be the first to get a copy.

I personally have no experience with modern day "miracles" of the type being discussed.

I am not a Cessationist or a Continualist or anything in between. I know so little about this that I can't even weigh in on the various issues either way. Also, this whole argument seems detached from what is happening each week at church.

I do think that people have an innate skepticism of "miracles" due to the abuse by "AA Allen" type faith-healers.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

G. Alford said...

Vaughn,

Speaking of accountability to the churches… perhaps you recognize these words from the preamble to the BFM2000?
Baptist churches, associations, and general bodies have adopted confessions of faith as a witness to the world, and as instruments of doctrinal accountability. We are not embarrassed to state before the world that these are doctrines we hold precious and as essential to the Baptist tradition of faith and practice.
Seeing as the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention have adopted the BFM2000 as our instrument of doctrinal accountability do you believe that the IMB Board of Trustees should be held accountable for their blatant disregard for it in adopting their own instruments (or guidelines) of doctrinal accountability?

As I understand it “ALL” our missionaries have signed the BFM2000… Have all our BOT members signed it also?

Grace to all,

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bro. Alford, I have no idea whether any BoT members have signed the BF&M 2000. From a "political" standpoint, it seems to me that it would be required in the Convention requires it. Do they? From a standpoint of principle, it seems they should be accountable. I suppose they would be accountable in whatever way the Convention makes them accountable.

I'm not sure how this addresses the question I posed??

Anonymous said...

davidinflorida,

paul was an apostle, so, of course signs and wonders accompanied his preaching.


david....volfan007

G. Alford said...

Brother Vaughn,

I ask the question if the BOT of the IMB had signed the BFM2000 to make a point that they indeed have not been held accountable for their actions of “narrowing the parameters of cooperation” in the IMB… and it is these “narrower parameters” (by which I mean things not expressed in the BFM2000) that men like Dr. Yarnell seek to hold or missionaries accountable too…

I find it very ironic that men like Dr. Yarnell would be so vocal in his calling for our missionaries to be held accountable to things that our churches have not ask our missionaries to held accountable to… and yet as far as I know (which is often not a whole lot) he has not called for the BOT of the IMB to be held accountable for their actions.

Actually, I do not know if the BOT of the IMB have signed the BFM2000 or not, but if they have then they should be held accountable for their unauthorized “Extra-BFM2000” policies/guidelines.

Grace to all,

P.S. I will be away for a while (I’m off on a camping trip with the youth from my Church) but I will check in again Saturday afternoon.

davidinflorida said...

volfan,

Paul was an apostle. Thanks for the revelation. See, you are gifted. But seriously.....

John 14:12 Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.

Anonymous said...

In Dr. Adrian Rogers' book, "Believe In Miracles but Trust In Jesus," he suggest 3 guidelines in dealing with miracles.
1. Check the facts carefully. Some Christians are so eager for something to support their faith or are so anxious to have a tool for evangelism, they may be gullible. Are the reports of miracles trustworthy? Don't be afraid to look carefully. If it cannot be tested, it cannot be trusted.
2. Check the focus. Does the miracle glorify Jesus, or does it glorify some man or movement? If you make too quick an endorsement, you may find yourself with egg on your face. Simon the magician and others have always wanted to use the method of miracle to make themselves look important.
3. Check the fruit. Are people repenting of their sin, trusting Christ, and becoming disciples of our Lord? Rememeber, there were crowds that followed Jesus when He turned the water into wine and fed the 5,000. But there is little evidence that more than a few came to Him in true repentance and faith. It may be interesting to do some follow-up on the masses that come because of miracles.

Gene Price
Gleason, TN

Alycelee said...

G. Alford-not that you need my affirmation, however I agree with you here (and often)

Cautious, open cessationist? What exactly is that?
Cautious continualist? We just get deeper and deeper trying to discern tags or lenses, perhaps we should take them off.

I began to pray with my sister-in-law over a year ago. She has the gift of faith. When we first started praying, I have to admit I was shocked. She was bold and expectant and I'm ashamed to admit it made me uncomfortable. I began to seek God about this and finally realized what was at stake here was my 'comfortable, in the box, lack of faith.' In clearer terms-it was my unbelief.

Now, I see that God gave me this relationship to move me, to change my mind, to grow in faith. I now agree with her in prayer and it's liberating.

Alan and Dwight-I can't wait for the book and I'm not even cautious about it :)

Anonymous said...

gene price,


amen and amen!

david....volfan007

martyduren said...

Malcolm-
England, huh? Who all is on that trip?

You say, "I am willing to be corrected, but only by the word of God." Yet, you generally equate your interpretation with the Word of God, so how is this to work?

Jake Barker said...

I like the tag of "full Gospel baptist" and am proud to be one. I have been present at "miracles" right here in beautiful Oklahoma and would be happy to name names and dates.

Jake Barker

R. L. Vaughn said...

Bro. Alford, hope you enjoy your camping trip.

I looked at the SBC Constitution and By-laws online. As best I can tell, the accountability of the Boards is ultimately found with the "ballot", as they are elected by the messengers.

I still think this is a quite different and separate issue of missionaries who don't even won't the churches to know of their faith and practice.

R. L. Vaughn said...

Sorry, that should say "...missionaries who don't even WANT the churches to know..." instead of "won't".

Wade Burleson said...

Well,

Three days after publishing this particular post I finally read the comments.

Malcolm, I must confess, I find you to convey a superior and condescending attitude. I realize that is just a subjective assessment on my part, and I could be wrong, but I wonder if I am the only person who feels what I sense when I read your written dialogue with others?

John, stand firm. I am sure Malcolm, a student of history, will be very familiar with Baptists who resisted their local church discipline because what they were 'guilty' of was simply being true to Scripture. These 'disciplined' believers went on to be towers of the faith.

Wade

P.S. Spurgeon being one 'censured' by an entire denomination.