The first article, entitled "An Examination of Nine Key Issues Concerning CPM," quotes at least three 'anonymous' IMB missionaries who are critical of CPM. The writer acknowledges the article's criticism with these words:
Would discussing this issue (CPM) critically be frowned upon by many at the Board and the entities with which it works? Unquestionably.
The author then goes on to list several problems with the IMB Church Planting Movement including:
The second article, entitled "Is Church Planting Movement Methodology Viable? An Examination of Selected Controversies Associated With The CPM Strategy" also contains some very strong criticism of IMB strategy, including the belief that there are misleading reports from the IMB regarding the number of church starts that arise from CPM's. The author writes:
"Reporting churches that fit man’s definition (of a church) but do not fit the biblical definition (of a church) is a waste of time and dishonest toward the Body of Christ."
The Identity of the Associate Editor of this Journal
It might surprise some of you who have kept up with recent events at the IMB that one of the editors of the journal which contains these articles that are critical of the IMB is John Floyd, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the International Mission Board.
Like my blog, John's journal has some very good things to say about the IMB - alongside its public criticism of the IMB. However, the question that Southern Baptists should be asking is this:
Why is a trustee censured who is, (1). supportive of our IMB work, and (2). supportive of our IMB President, and (3). supportive of our IMB CPM strategy, and (4). supportive of a broader cooperation on the mission field with other Great Commission Churches, but publicly critical of an IMB trustee leadership decision to push a doctrinal policy that reaches beyond the 2000 BFM in order to exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from missionary service?
Dr. Floyd was Chairman of the Personnel Committee in 2005 and pushed the new policy that excludes Southern Baptists from missionary service who admit, when asked, that they have a 'private prayer language' (as well as the policy that places qualifications upon the administrator of baptism that the local Southern Baptist church - supposedly the highest authority in the SBC - does not even see as necessary). Even though only a handful of trustees in leadership, including Dr. Floyd, pushed the new doctrinal policies that exceed the 2000 BFM, the inability for a majority of IMB trustees to see that if the 2005 Private Prayer Language policy were in effect when Jerry Rankin was appointed several decades ago, Dr. Rankin would not have been appointed as a Southern Baptist missionary, would not have given years of faithful missionary service to the Lord through the Southern Baptist Convention, and would not have been elected President of the International Mission Board remains a mystery to me. I ask for the 1,000th time:
How many other Jerry Rankins are out there, otherwise qualified to serve, but are now being excluded because of the new doctrinal policies that reach beyond the 2000 BFM?
The issue for me, however, has gone way beyond Dr. Jerry Rankin. Whether he remains President of the International Mission Board for the next five years is beyond the scope of my concern. I have chosen to publicly express my objection to back door narrowing of the parameter of doctrinal cooperation through the practice of adopting 'doctrinal policies' at respective SBC agencies - WITHOUT CONVENTION APPROVAL. Soon, SBC agencies, if left unchecked, could exclude other Southern Baptists by adopting other 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the 2000 BFM - and these new policies will be over something other than the tertiary issue of whether or not a Southern Baptist prays in tongues in the privacy of his prayer closet (i.e. it could possibly be over 'particular atonment,' 'elder rule,''moderation instead of abstinence,' 'etc . . . ' )
I have voiced my concerns over the deeper issue of SBC agencies moving beyond the scope of our responsibilities by implementing 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the BFM on my blog - always in a civil manner - and simply to get people to talk about the issue. I believe I have succeeded. But because of the nature of my public criticism over a couple of new policies adopted by IMB trustees, I have been censured.
But on the other hand, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, John Floyd, who pushed the new doctrinal policies as Chairman of the IMB Personnel Committee in 2005, who is an editor of a magazine that openly criticizes IMB administrative strategy in reaching the world through Church Planting Movements, and who seemingly ignores the Southern Baptist Convention's advise to view the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as the sufficient doctrinal parameter of Southern Baptist cooperation, is not even questioned about the criticism of IMB administration in the journal he edits?
Dialogue, Debate and Civility Are All Needed
Read carefully. I am not advocating anybody else, including John Floyd, be censured. John is simply doing what he believes is best for the IMB and the SBC - as am I. To censure a Southern Baptist for public disagreement is like cursing a dog for barking. I affirm Dr. Floyd's right to criticise and question IMB strategy and IMB administration policies. We simply need Southern Baptists to see the inconsistency in allowing trustees to participate in traditional criticisms of IMB administration through phone calls, magazine articles, and private communications - but forbid any trustee from publicly questioning or criticizing trustee leadership strategy or trustee decisions. I believe John Floyd, Paige Patterson, and any other Southern Baptist should be allowed to be as critical of the IMB administration's planning and strategy as their hearts' desire. But any trustee who chooses to publicly oppose Drs. Floyd's and Patterson's respective strategies and philosophies should also be given the same freedom.
Some may not wish to grant it, but this trustee is determined to create an environment in our Convention where people are not afraid to express civil disagreement. I believe this is what the Southern Baptist Convention desires, and in time, it will occur. I am a patient man.
In His Grace,
P.S. Today is the two year anniversary of my first post. I am happy to say I have stayed the course, and after a lengthy review of everything I have written over these past two years, I can say with assurance that I have focused on the issues, and I have done a pretty decent job of not attacking people - even when the heat has been turned on me quite intensely. Most importantly, my wife says I have not lost my sense of humor. Here is to another two years of blogging in order to keep Southern Baptists informed.