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

IMB Trustee Meeting, Richmond, VA, July 17

I am beginning my third year as a trustee with the International Mission Board with this July meeting in Richmond, Virginia. I flew to Richmond International Airport Monday afternoon and drove to the International Learning Center outside of Richmond and attended the Trustee Forum (a closed door, confidential meeting) at 3:30. At dinner I ate in the ILC cafeteria with a wonderful missionary couple and their children (unnamed due to security). The dad is an MD and the mom is an RN serving with the IMB in a Security Three country in Central Asia. I always enjoy our July trustee meeting, which is always held at the International Learning Center, because of the opportunities I have to meet wonderful missionary couples and their children like this IMB missionary family. The ILC is where IMB missionaries are trained and oriented for their missionary service. It is located in the beautiful rolling hills of central Virginia.

The chairman of the Board of Trustees, John Floyd, has chosen not to appoint me to a regional or standing committee of the IMB for 2007/2008. This is his perogative as chairman, and I have not made an issue of this, nor will I do so in the future. I am not sure of the purpose for Dr. Floyd not appointing me to serve on an IMB trustee committee, but it is within his rights as chairman, and I respect his decision. I always try to make the most of my time at the trustee meetings, and so during those times that various committees meet to prepare for the official plenary sessions, I make it a point to visit with local pastors, as many missionary candidates, and missionary families as possible. During these times I have been able to establish some wonderful friendships with people from all over the world.

Since no official business can be conducted without full board approval, I make it a point to come early and stay late for every plenary session. I take copious notes of the public business sessions because I have a responsibility to be informed and to vote my conscience on behalf of those Southern Baptist Convention messengers who elected me. Today (Tuesday) during the business session, I took notes that filled fourteen legal pages in my notebook.

New Trustees Introduced

The plenary session began with the new trustees introducing themselves. The new trustees are:

(1). Hershael York (Kentucky) - a professor and pastor.
(2). Waylon Moore (Florida) - a retired pastor.
(3). Mike Penny (North Carolina) - a deputy for a local sherriff's department.
(4). Stuart Bell (Arkansas) - a pastor.
(5). Martha Wilson (Georgia) - housewife.
(6). Charlene High (Virgina) - a registered nurse.
(7). Jan Brown (Georgia) - a schoolteacher.
(8). Keith Stephenson (North Carolina) - a pastor.

Jacob Gross and Debbie Brunson, the other two new trustees, were unable to make the meeting due to church and family obligations respectively.

I was impressed with the new trustees, especially the ladies, all of whom were laypeople in their churches. None of the women had sought to serve as a trustee, much less even thought about it. However, each was articulate, passionate and very clear about their sense of calling from God to serve. I also had the pleasure of meeting Dr. York for the first time. I went to him after the plenary session to meet him and shake his hand. He was on his knees picking up his books. He told me to tell everyone that 'he was on his knees' when I met him. I laughed and told him that nobody would be impressed unless I said 'he was on his knees and kissed my ring.' He didn't laugh quite as much as I did at my own joke, but I truthfully found Dr. York the way I felt he would be - warm and engaging. I enjoyed my conversations with him at the ILC and later at the appointment service at Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

The Report of Tom Elliff to the Board of Trustees

I have been praying for Tom's wife, Jeanie, who is between chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and Tom requested to have his report moved up in the 2:30 plenary session in order to catch a flight home to be with his wife. Tom serves as the pastor at large for the IMB and is in charge of the spiritual and doctrinal development of missionary candidates. Tom first gave an explanation of how the International Mission Board is actively pursuing better ways to interact and relate with churches and state conventions. Partner Services of the IMB, led by Mike Hand, is scheduling a conference in the western United States to help states and local churches in terms of mobilization for missions.

Second, Tom described how he is instructing new missionaries in terms of doctrine in order to 'ensure a higher level of doctrinal integrity on the mission field.' Missionaries are charged with planting Baptist churches, or at least churches that 'embrace what it means to be baptistic in nature.' Tom said that it would be a tragedy to place in the bloodstream of any church planting movement doctrines that would make those new Baptist church plants unhealthy. He said that he teaches missionaries during two day sessions how to understand and explain the following seven major doctrinal truths:

God and the Bible
Man and Sin
Christ and Salvation
The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts
The Church and the Ordinances
Divine Guidance
Ultimate Purpose

Tom said that new missionaries are not antagonistic toward learning 'doctrine,' but rather, they have been sent from some churches that have not fully explained the meaning and significance of these doctrines. Tom explained the use of a 25 question True/False test that is given all new missionaries whereby Tom is able to be alerted to any doctrinal concerns and to also measure the missionaries' progress in doctrinal understanding through his two day session. The test is given both before and after the two day lectures.

Tom read the questions in the plenary session and then explained the answers. Most of the questions were very basic. The only questions which I believe Southern Baptists would express various views over would be those on 'The Church and the Ordinances.' The BFM 2000 and the Scripture itself does not list the 'authority' of the baptizer as an essential for 'Christian baptism,' but yet 'proper authority' was given by Tom as 'an essential' to baptism. Don't get me wrong, I am grateful that we are discussing doctrinal matters with our missionaries, because I agree that doctrine is like the skeleton to the human body, but I believe we must be very, very careful that we do not associate true 'Baptist identity' with doctrines over which Baptists have disagreed over for centuries. As I have already shown that even Southern Baptists have pointed out that Christian baptism is not the door into the local Baptist church, but the local church is to ensure that Christian baptism has occurred prior to granting membership.

There are some people who wonder what all the fuss over baptism is, and why it should make a difference. The best answer I could give is to ask a question. If a missionary leads someone to Christ overseas, in a place where there is not 'a Baptist church', does that missionary have the right to baptize that convert, or must a 'church' be establshed before the proper 'authority' exists? In other words, is it 'local church authority' that gives permission to baptize, or is the gospel evangelist - who has had the privilege to see God convert a sinner through his proclamation of the gospel - the only authority needed to baptize? I would answer that on the day of Pentecost 3000 believed and were baptized and it was only 'later' that they were added to the church. Philip shared the gospel with the Ethiopian and baptized him upon his confession of faith, but there was no 'local church' involved. Gill, Spurgeon, all the English Baptists, the First London Confession, and many, many Southern Baptists from the past and present agree with me. If by 'local church authority' one means that the church must examine a believer's baptism before granting membership -- I would AGREE! But, again, we must be very careful that we don't consider as essential to 'Baptist identity' the belief that the only valid baptism is one that occurs in a Baptist church.

Dr. Rankin's Report to the IMB Trustees

Dr. Rankin gave one of the better reports I have ever heard him give. He spoke clearly on the difference between ministry, evangelism and missions. Feeding the hungry and clothing the poor can be considered ministry, but not evangelism or missions. Sharing the gospel with a lost person with the desire to see conversion to faith in Christ is evangelism. But missions is extending the gospel and kingdom of Jesus Christ, via cross-cultural methods, beyond the location and influence of established evangelical churches.

The International Mission Board has been charged by the Southern Baptist Convention to conduct missions by enlarging the kingdom of God through extending the gospel to unreached people groups so that all the world will have the opportunity to come to faith in Jesus Christ. The stated goal of the IMB was to engage all unreached people groups of 100,000 and over by the end of 2005. That goal has been extended to the end of 2008. In addition, the IMB has established a stated goal of engaging with the gospel all people groups of the world, regardless of size, by the end of 2010.

Dr. Rankin corrected the misperception that the IMB was ONLY concerned with church planting in unreached people groups. This week at the ILC, there is a very large meeting of the Global Medical Alliance, where volunteers are meeting with IMB personnel to strategize, create partnerships and discuss how to use medical missions in new and creative ways. The IMB simply should never allow any ministry or secondary purpose to supercede the main mission assigned by the Southern Baptist Convention - reaching the unreached people groups of the world with the gospel of Christ.

Hershael York asked the only question of Dr. Rankin after the President's report. Hershael asked, "Dr. Rankin, I only ask because I'm curious and have heard this said before. Is your focus on the unreached people groups driven by an eschatalogical motive?" Dr. Rankin answered by quoting Matthew 24:16, "The gospel of the kingdom shall be preached to the whole world, and then the end shall come" and said that eschatology does not compel the IMB's mission (or his), but obedience does. Dr. Rankin said the timing of the coming of the Son is up to the Father and nothing we do will define when He comes. It is up to God. We are simply to obey His commission.

Treasurer David Steverson's Report to the IMB Trustees

David did not give his usual report regarding the finances, but rather told a very gripping story of a man who donated a parcel of property to the IMB. This property was his only possession, and the man was not well off financially. David visited with the man intending to convince him not to give the property, but this man insisted, saying that he wished the proceeds to go to purchasing Bibles for a particular people group who did not have the Bible in their language. He responded to David's encouragement that he keep the land for himself, due to his poor financial condition, by saying, "Don't you understand? These people need the gospel!" David is a very humble Oklahoman who told this story with passion and made us all realize as trustees the value of every dollar given to the IMB. The donated land amounted to $205,609.73. It is now being used to introduce the Bible to an unreached people group, just as the donor wished

Regional Committe Reports

The various regional committees (Central Asia, Pacific Rim, South America, North Africa and Middle East, East Asia, Central America, Central and Eastern Europe, Western Europe, etc . . . ) gave their reports. We accepted the resignation of some missionaries with appreciation, sadly accepted the termination of just a couple of missionaries for conduct unbecoming a missionary, and eventually voted on approving eighty-four new missionaries who were being appointed at the appointment service at 7:00 p.m. at Grove Avenue Baptist Church.

There was no business from the floor, and nothing about the Southern Baptist Convention's Garner motion was even mentioned.

The meeting was adjourned.

Supper at the International Learning Center

The cafeteria is beautiful at the ILC and the cook staff does a great job. I was one of the first in line and by the time I got my tray and drink I entered the cafeteria to find Jerry Corbaley sitting by himself. I went up to him and said, "Jerry, do you mind if I sit next to you." Jerry said, "Truthfully, I do." I was very surprised, but said, "Jerry, I would just like to sit here and visit with you over dinner as a brother in Christ and enjoy your company." Jerry said a few choice things about me and then said that if I sat down he would get up and leave and if I followed him he would make it a 'public issue.' Well, I sat down anyway because I really feel it is important we as trustees get along even if we don't see eye-to-eye on certain things. Jerry promptly stood up, took his tray and moved to another table. As Jerry walked away I felt like saying to him, "Love Is the Most Excellent Way" but I thought silence was the wiser choice.

Trustee Mike Gonzales from Texas was at the table behind me and I asked if I could join him. He graciously said yes and I moved over and had a wonderful dinner with him and his family who had come to Richmond to see Mike's daughter and husband and three kids appointed as a new missionary family that evening. Soon, the Gonzales' left and several trustees came to sit with me including Mike Smith of Texas, Simon Tsoi of Arizona, Ken Kuwahari of Hawaii, Gene Williams of Florida, Rochelle Davis of Michigan, my good friend John Click of Kansas. What began as a really sad supper ended up being one of the most enjoyable times I have had with the IMB. I laughed as these men told stories - enough to fill a notebook of illustrations for me - and I genuinely enjoyed their company. These men reflect the general spirit of the IMB Board of Trustees, and they form one of the reasons I am very hopeful of the future for both the SBC and the IMB.

Personal Visits During Committee Meetings

I took the opportunity today during some of my free time to visit Berea Baptist Church just outside of Rockville, Virginia. This church was established in 1846, just one year after the formation of the Southern Baptist Convention. The West End of Richmond is growing toward this little church and I predict that in the years to come it will experience some great growth. I also visited Mt. Vernon Baptist Church (SBC), one of the larger BGAV churches in Virginia. I was able to visit with some of the staff about the way they are reaching their community. They are doing some very similar things to what we are doing at Emmanuel and the visit was profitable.

The highlight of the day for me, besides the appointment service (see below), was visiting St. John's Church at 23rd and Broad in Richmond. This historic church was the place in 1775 where Patrick Henry gave his famous "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death" speech before the Virginia House of Burgess. St. John's was the only place in Richmond large enough to house the House delegates who were fleeing the King's soldiers. In attendance at St. John's when Patrick Henry gave his speech was George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. One year later the Revolutionary War began when shots were fired at Colcord and Lexington.

I found a loose stone lying on the public walkway around the church and I intend on washing it, labeling it "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death," and using it as a table weight in my office. The history of the church and surrounding grave yard was remarkable. If you are ever in Richmond St. John's is a must stop.

The Appointment Service at Grove Avenue

The appointment service at Dr. Rankin's home church, the Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, pastored by Dr. Mark Becton, was the highlight of my day. The service was inspirational, the music uplifting, the commitment of the missionaries heartwarming. I especially enjoyed Dr. Rankin calling the children of the missionaries to the front before we prayed for them in their future missionary endeavors. Eighty-four new missionaries were appointed and afterwards I was able to visit with many of them personally during the reception. I also had good visits with several trustees during the reception including Hershael York and Ken Whitten.

The hour is late. I must get to bed. I have to be up early for the final plenary session in the morning. I will be traveling back to Oklahoma tomorrow night, but I will not be able to post until late Thursday night due to ministry and meetings all day Thursday. I will also be unable to respond to any comments.

I hope you can tell by my post that I am very hopeful and positive about the future of the IMB. Though two or three trustees may still struggle with the past, the overwhelming and vast majority of trustees are moving forward.

Progress is being made.

In His Grace,

Wade

47 comments:

Big Daddy Weave said...

Wade,

Next time, if you haven't already, be sure to check out Hollywood Cemetery located only a few miles from St. Johns.

In addition to the graves of John Tyler, James Monroe, and Jefferson Davis, you'll also find the tomb of William H. Whitsitt.

Geoff Baggett said...

Wade,

A thorough, thoughtful report. Thank you for giving us an idea of the activities of our trustees.

Geoff

Rick in Thailand said...

Wade,

We sure do appreciate your reflections and in-depth reports about the meetings. Thanks a lot.

Sorry to hear that there is friction in the fellowship of the Board. Seems that much could have been accomplished by a lot of hugging and laughing together over dinner. Maybe next time. I’m sure we’ll all continue to have differences until we’re in God’s glory and then there will be no static in the lines of communication between us and the Holy Spirit.

You made reference to Tom Eliff’s presentation and said that it addressed the issue of the “Authority” of the baptizer, among other things. You didn’t elaborate as to whether Tom Eliff himself was saying that one had to be baptized into a Baptist church or whether he was saying the individual baptizer had to meet some qualifications. Maybe you could share more on that.

Scripture could be said to make reference to the “authority of the baptizer” being an essential for Christian baptism, although not making reference to the necessity of being baptized into local group of believers.

Acts 8 and 19 portray instances where believers were not baptized correctly or completely and as a result they had not received the full presence of the Holy Spirit. Now those passages REALLY get interesting and could give us reason to dialogue for generations to come! Perhaps the Gospel had not been explained accurately by the one doing the baptism prior to their being baptized. Maybe the most basic teachings about Father/Son/Holy Spirit had been left out by the one who had assumed the role of baptizing them.

Regardless of what the short-coming was in those instances, it does stress that not just any “Tom, Dick or Harry”-believer is qualified to baptize someone. It’s difficult to know what these passages in Acts 8 and 19 imply as being necessary for legitimate baptism, but it does tell me that the ritual of baptism is extremely serious and has spiritual dynamics associated with it.

On another vein of thought, your report brought up a point about an issue which I believe is misunderstood by a lot of people, that is, the definition of “unreached” and “unengaged” people groups. It’s important that one asks for clarifications as to what is meant when we hear the terms, “unengaged” or “unreached” people groups.

“Unreached” people groups most often refers to those groups with a minimal amount of Christian population. I’m not positive what parameters we’re using these days, but I think it would be safe to say that if a group has less than 5% or so Christian population it would be considered “unreached”.

When IMBers make reference to an “unengaged” people group they are generally referring to those groups that do not have an IMB missionary assigned to that people group whose focus is on forming and implementing a strategy to reach that people group. “Unengaged” DOES NOT mean that there is NO church or national Christians in that group. It does NOT even mean that there are NO IMB missionaries or missionaries from other evangelical groups already working in that people group.

I’m aware of people groups listed as “unengaged” that had a national church presence and IMB personnel working among the people but the people group did not have a “Strategy Coordinator” assigned to it. The missionaries who were working there were focused only on a particular type of ministry or they were working in a local area and had not formed a strategy for reaching the entire people group.

Therefore, when mention is made that there are so many people groups that are still “unengaged” or “unreached” this does not imply that the Gospel has NOT been introduced into that people group. In reality, it could very well be that there are already Christians and even a church in every people group in the world!

That being the case, it follows that if Jesus was waiting to return until all peoples had heard the Gospel, He could come back tonight! So naturally, Dr. Rankin’s strategy for connecting IMB missionaries with all “unreached” people groups would not be driven by an eschatological motive.

I’m sure we Southern Baptists are blessed as being an important part of God’s plan to reach the world, but God is not depending upon us to determine His calendar progression.
Rick

Anonymous said...

"Ode" to be a christian like Jerry Corbaley

And yet, Lord, grant me the ability to be Christ-like today

I know that despite the misuse a blog name might say

Love is still certainly the most excellent way

So from the missionary fields this glorious day

Please pray for us all, even you, Jerry Corbaley

Wade Burleson said...

Rick,

If thanks for the thoughtful comment. Regarding your question about what Tom teaches, I would say I intentionally tried to stay away from attempting to state what it is Tom teaches because I have never sat in on one of his classes, though he invited us to do so as trustees, and I intend to do so in the near future. It would not be fair to him for me to attempt to represent what he teaches, so I only posted my thoughts on the subject, not his.

Big Daddy,

Thanks for the tip! I shall do as you suggested.

Geoff,

Thanks!

Missionary on the field,

:)

To all. Off to the morning plenary session. See everyone late Thursday night.

Wade

OKpreacher said...

Wade,

Sounds like a good meeting. Like you, I'm very concerned about the "Baptist Identity Movement". Since they don't have any biblical grounds to stand on they try to support their beliefs through tradition.

Over ten years ago I was interviewing with a pastor search committee about becoming their pastor and the subject of Baptism came up. To join their church you had to have been baptized in a Baptist church. So I asked them if Christ came back and wanted to join their church would He need to be rebaptized? They answered "Yes". I realized that if there was something more that Christ needed to do to be a member of His own church, I didn't need to be apart of their little group.

I call them a little group because I don't believe they qualify as a New Testament Church since Christ doesn’t qualify to be a member.

Keeping It Real.

OKpreacher

Darby Livingston said...

I'd sit with you through dinner. But only through one plate, and possibly a small bit of cake. :)

Lee said...

Looks like we have a lot of things to pray for and be thankful that God is doing.

Just one observation. Debbie Brunson is a trustee? Isn't her husband on a board or committee somewhere, and wasn't she also nominated for an SBC committee this past year. Don't we have enough Southern Baptists willing to serve, that we have to give three or four committee and trustee positions to two members of the same family, or even two or three members of the same church?

Baptist Truth said...

Big Daddy,
Care to comment about your former pastor (and Covenant speaker) supporting Planned Parenthood? Is this your idea of historical Baptist principles? Alert readers, here it is:
The Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, was one of the Sponsors of this Planned Parenthood event:
http://www.plannedparenthoodwaco.org/docs/3Rbrochure07.pdf

This conference was designed to counter "True Love Waits." Bill Underwood's former pastor is also listed as a sponsor of the same event.
Al

Wade Burleson said...

Baptist Truth,

I kindly request you to post on your own blog or keep your comments relevant to the post.

Tim said...

Wade,

Thanks for your report on the meeting. It is nice to see the thoughtful transparency that you post with.

I have a question concerning the ILC. Are there any people that work there -as staff and faculty- that are considered "missionaries?" Are there any people there receiving funds from our Lottie Moon Christmas offering?

Thanks,

Tim Dahl

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

My understanding is that all ILC employees and the operations at ILC are part of the Cooperative Program Budget and not Lottie Moon. However, I do not know for sure. I can say with confidence that every dollar is well spent at the ILC. It is effecient not luxurious, proficient in ministry not excessive, and the beauty of the place comes from the natural environment of the rolling hills and not the buildings themselves.

Wade Burleson said...

Logging off for the next day and a half. Thanks for the comments.

ml said...

Rats I had hoped to catch you before I left for vacation.

Wade, Is the Eliff questionaire available for us to use/modify for use in our churches?

Also what is the stance on Missionaries who baptize? Are their baptisms legit?

Thanks

Anonymous said...

Two good books by Lewis B. Smedes: THE ART OF FORGIVING and FORGIVE AND FORGET: HEALING THE HURTS WE DON'T DESERVE.

Often I find myself needing to refer to them.

Florence in KY

paulustignarius said...

Wade,

Thanks for the report. Many of us "in the field" as pastors wonder what goes on in these meetings, and your blog opens a window through which we can look. Too bad you weren't appointed to a regional or standing committee, as it would be helpful to see what goes on there (protecting security of missionaries and respecting confidentiality of course) as well.

I'm curious, are there any other IMB trustees who blog the meetings? Given the initial response to your blog, I would guess that most would be hesitant, but I thought I'd ask.

I don't always agree with your positions, but I'm thankful for the time and energy you devote to G&TtY.

Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for a very informative and interesting post, Wade. I couldn't help but chuckle when reading that "Jerry [Corbaley] had a few choice words for me...." I bet he did, but glad to hear you took the high road as he left for another table. At least you gave him an example of following the most excellent way. We can only pray he one day will find it and follow, too.

Regarding baptisms on the field, is any of this IMB 'baptism controversy' related to the practice in some fields, especially in the world's largest country, of a M baptizing a person and then that person baptizing the next and so on (i.e. new believers baptizing other new believers just moments later)?

And concerning Jerry Rankin's comments that the IMB is to be about missions and evangelism ONLY as this is what the SBC has called it to do, and NOT ministry like helping the poor, orphans, etc, then which SBC entity IS called (commissioned/tasked) with the work of MINISTRY to the poor throughout the world? To my knowledge we have none if indeed the IMB's main task is exclusively evangelism. To me I'm not sure ministry and missions and evangelism are mutually exclusive as it sounds like Jerry Rankin says they are.

Steve

Anonymous said...

To Rick in Thailand,

One thing you said aroused my curiosity--and I may be reading too much into too little, so please pardon me if I am. Granted there were problems with the actions and belief system of Simon Magnus, but don't you have to make a lot of assumptions to conclude from that that it was because he was "not baptized correctly or completely"? As for those baptized by Apollos, the text clearly states they received only John's baptism, which was for (in anticipation of) repentance, so that is irrelevant in a discussion of Christian baptism. I am just trying to understand you, and perhaps I am making a mountain out of a molehill. Taken to a logical extreme--which I am sure you did not mean--one could conclude that baptism has a power beyond any symbolism (which I grant has power, but not in a sacredotal way). What do you see as the end result of "improper" baptism, and why? Thanks in advance for taking time tio engage in this. We have you, and all our missionaries in our prayers.

John Fariss

Debbie Kaufman said...

Okay, I have to say this. Jerry Corbalay's treatment of you is outrageous, he threatened to make a public spectacle? I believe Jerry's anger to be getting out of hand and in my opinion it shows that he doesn't just disagree with you, it's more than that. I for one am baffled on not only what he writes, but his actions as well. It's certainly not the kind of thing that belongs in a person with a trustee position. It's this kind of anger that is destroying both churches and the SBC. I will pray for Jerry, but I must be honest and say for me that is hard to do.

Anonymous said...

But it is OK for Wade to post it here and MAKE it a public spectacle? Two wrongs don't make a right.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

A man ought never to be ashamed for his public actions to be made known.

Debbie,

To pray for someone and be kind to someone who is not reciprocal in the kindness is the very essence of grace.

Blessings to all.

Wade Burleson said...

Steve,

You may be misunderstanding many people. The IMB IS involved in ministry, evangelism and missions -- all three. The emphasis, however, and the main purpose for the IMB is missions. This is to be in the forefront of all we do.

Wade Burleson said...

ml,

I found a connection as I work on Sunday's messages. The questionairre does not seem to be available since there was a prolongued and protracted effort to collect them all from the trustees. I'm like you and believe they should be made available to anyone who asks.

I would hope any baptism by a duly appointed IMB missionary would be 'authorized' but I am not the official spokesperson for the IMB. :)

Anonymous said...

That would have to include women has qualified to baptize, and we know where that would lead...

Alycelee said...

Where would that lead Anonymous?
Please sign your name as I have no idea who I'm responding to.
Thanks

Bennett Willis said...

In our church, parents (fathers so far when I was there) often baptize their children. The phrase, "I baptise you, my son (daughter) and now my brother (sister) in Christ..." brings tears to my eyes. That seems like a most appropriate symbolic act by the family.

Bennett Willis

Bennett Willis said...

For folks who want a better understanding of Jerry C's thinking, you might go to David Rogers' blog in late May/early June for a series of exchanges between David and Jerry.

Bennett Willis

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

An excellent report. You make me feel as if I am right there at the meeting.

Have you heard any discussion about my motion which was referred to all SBC entities regarding the establishment of public records of attendance and voting?

Les

Alan Cross said...

Wade,

Thank you for a thoughtful report and I praise God for your confidence that things are changing for the better. Between ignoring the Garner Motion, refusing to place you on a committee, including the authority of the Baptizer in a list of 25 questions, and Jerry Corbaley's treatment of you, it is hard to see how things are improving. But, I'll take your word that we are headed for change. I pray that I live to see such changes implemented and that I do not die in a state of anticipation years from now with unfulfilled hopes.

Wade Burleson said...

Les,

Not a word regarding your motion or for that matter any other business from the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Alycee that I did not sign... Didn't mean to get your 'dander' up :-) I was in a hurry and headed off to bed. I am a missionary serving overseas. What I have observed is that women who are duly appointed IMB missionaries do not do baptisms. They usually get a duly appointed IMB man missionary to do it. Guaranteed, there are some cultures where it is VERY inappropriate for a man to touch any woman other than his wife and it may happen in that culture that duly appointed IMB women missies actually do the baptism (I have not heard of that happening, but it is possible.)

I guess my point is that if duly appointed IMB women missionaries started doing the baptisms on the field, there would be an uproar and more attacks on how we do missions.

My other point is, sometimes we often forget that women are duly appointed IMB missionaries.

There was sarcasm in my first post and it didn't come across as that. Please accept my apology for what appeared to be slamming women, for that was not my intention at all.

Anonymous said...

Alycee,

I should also add that this is just the way it is on the field. We understand that. It's OK. It's not about the baptisER but the baptisEE. This not the battle to be waged, whether I am or not 'qualified'.

We're not on the field to fight those battles. We're here to see God's glory cover the earth by whatever means that have been given to us. We have to look beyond ourselves everyday. We have to be selfless people and forget man's agendas and keep God's at the forefront.

to-obey-is-better said...

We had a baptism two weeks ago and it was an IMB woman who baptized two women.

In your experience, anonymous, this may not be happening where you are. There are socities where men can't touch non-relative women, but that is not the case in the society in which we work. There is nothing wrong with a man baptizing women here, but the IMB woman was close friends with these two ladies.

Anonymous said...

Obedience,

That's encouraging news, even though it is not the norm. I'll stop commenting on this subject as it's no longer relavent to Wade's post.

Anonymous said...

Friends,
I have checked BT's information. IT'S ALL TRUE!!!
Wade, why in the world are you lending your good name to a gathering that, in essence, helps the abortion and homosexual causes?
Peace,
Bob Weldon

PS I am referring to this about one of the speakers of the Baptist Covenant:
"The Rev. Julie Pennington-Russell, former pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Waco, was one of the Sponsors of this Planned Parenthood event:
http://www.plannedparenthoodwaco.org/docs/3Rbrochure07.pdf

This conference was designed to counter "True Love Waits." Bill Underwood's former pastor is also listed as a sponsor of the same event."

Anonymous said...

Wade,

From your comment regarding Jerry C.:

"To pray for someone and be kind to someone who is not reciprocal in the kindness is the very essence of grace."

I went with our kids to Falls Creek last week (a great week by the way), and in the course of Family Group time I had to admit that there were times in which I had real problems with Romans 12. As the chapter moves on to its ultimate conclusion, there are times in which it gets more and more difficult for me.

However you believe that our scriptures came to us, one cannot ignore the admonitions in the later part of that chapter.

On a lighter note, I'm reminded of a M*A*S*H episode where Hawkeye and BJ were not bathing in revolt to Charles' French Horn playing. Outside the mess tent they invited Father Mulcahey to join them, at which point he demurred ulitimately because they stank. BJ said "Father, even Jesus ate with the lepers". To which Father Mulcahey replied, "yes, but he was an exceptionally good sport."

Wade, I applaud your willingness to sit down with those you disagree with. I hope, nee pray, that your, and others, endeavor to keep the tent from shrinking further will be successful.

There are many of us out here who will not pass the "test" of those for whom doctrinal purity at the secondary and tertiary levels is necessary for fellowship. I'm afraid I will have to be something else if they win. For you see I'm a child of Christ first. I worship as a Southern Baptist. I can be a child of Christ elsewhere, but I cannot have the reach and breadth of missions elsewhere that I have as a Southern Baptist. If I loose the opportunity to be a part of that, I will be disappointed, but I will still be a child of the King wherever I worship.

Gary in Norman

R. Grannemann said...

It is the Landmark position that a true church posses two qualities: (1) true believers who have been (2) TRULY baptized. It is a wrongful emphasis upon the "TRULY" that is the distinctive here. For example, to some this would mean everyone must have been baptized by a church which held to the doctrine of eternal security.

For this is putting things backwards. A true church is one consisting of true believers among whom the Spirit of God dwells. The true believers then carry out the ordinances of a true church as Christ commanded (and I would agree with Wade's analysis that an evangelist such as Philip can baptize a convert without explicit "church authority" - a phase which sometimes reveals an underlying theological problem). The ordinance doesn't have magical power to make you somehow a better Christian if you happened to get it done in the right way. One can go around and around in circles debating whether someone's baptism is true. But to asking this question in too serious of a fashing reveals a false doctrine itself. It puts the emphasis on the baptism rather than on the saving power of Christ, the power of God to accept what has been done in faith apart from man's rules, substituting religious genealogies and symbolism for the knowledge of Christ.

I'm all for having IMB candidates having believer's baptism and forming churches with "baptistic" identity. I am for them being taught what "Baptist" means, but not for them being taught something false in the name of what "Baptist" means. Baptists should see themselves as one with the other churches in the Kingdom of God. That doesn't mean we should baptize infants or have missionaries who were so baptized. It does mean we should NOT attach an unscriptural meaning and understanding to baptism to claim a special pedigree for ourselves that is false.

Wade Burleson said...

Bob Weldon,

My good name has never been lent to anyone or anything.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Rick in Thailand said...

Dear Anonymous,

Sorry for the delay in responding to your July 18 response to mine.

I believe you and I are in agreement about the Acts 8 and 19 passages. Sorry if I did not articulate my message clearly and this resulted in it being ambiguous.

My intent was to say that the ritual of baptism is a huge act of obedience with supernatural consequences as God blesses the new believer. It's a defining moment and its openness often leads to persecution, maybe death, in many foreign lands.

Also, whether or not the baptism act is considered credible by God is dependent upon the understanding and intent of the believer and his heart. The credibility of the baptism is NOT dependent upon parameters such as the credentials of the one doing the baptizing or a new believer being baptized into a particular local group.
rick

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Rick for the clarification. Yes, it sounds like we are in agreement. BTW, I did not log in, as it came up as anonymous, ut I walways sign my name.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

My fingers are thicker than the keys too. . . or something.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

Wade,

When I was in seminary, Dr. Guy often said that the biggest problem we would encounter on the mission field would be with fellow believers. Young and naive, I could not believe it. But it turned out to be true. Even worse, the worst offenders were my brothers and sisters on the field. I thought that it was from the stress of living outside our comfort zone.

But now, back in the good old US of A, I read reports of how born-again leaders in our convention treat others...to wit a certain DOM from California and a seminary administrator from Tennessee. What did we learn in VBS so long ago, how we would be known, "By our love." What an indictment.

A 10-40 Window Missionary

Anonymous said...

You know, Wade, my mother used to say, "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And my grandmother used to say, "Finding fault with others is a subtle form of self-compliment." While I don't understand or agree with Jerry Corbaley's behavior, that is something between you and him. Was there no other trustee or brother there who could have gone with you to address this issue with Jerry?

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I do thank you for taking your time to give a brief synopsis of the recent IMB BoT meeting. And, I thoroughly understand how minutes of any one meeting should not be made available to the public until they are approved. But a question that I have asked you and other IMB trustees, how might one get a copy of the approved minutes? I have tried and was totally stonewalled, with no real reason given. So, again, I ask, how might one get a copy of the approved minutes? And, if that is not possible, why?

A 10-40 Window Missionary

Ron West said...

anonymous,

Another thing Dr. Guy used to tell us was that whoever leads someone to the Lord should be the one to baptize that person. I suppose that includes those who are not ordained pastors and I also suppose it includes women baptizing those they lead to the Lord.

While it is true that there are occasional conflicts among brothers and sisters on the field, I have not seen anything to appoach the bitterness I see among our leaders in the SBC on stateside. On the field where I served we were a family with the usual conflicts but also mutual love and support for each other. New directions has destroyed most of that fellowship however.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

The IMB is obligated to give a copy of the approved minutes to any Southern Baptists who requests. If you can't get them, let me know. There are confidential minutes for the board only, but the approved non-confidential minutes are available to all.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your persepective. We disagree, but I appreciate your comments.