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

The Hammer Has Fallen

Rodney Hammer is one of the finest missiologists ever employed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He has served for the last ten years in various leadership positions, including Regional Leader for Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) the last eight years.

Yesterday, May 5, Rodney Hammer resigned as Regional Leader, effective immediately.

He resigned his position as Regional Leader because he was not free to further share his convictions about the new IMB missionary candidate policies. It seems Rodney and the missionaries in his region were visited by a group of trustees from the International Mission Board, and Rodney dared expess, again, his contrary views to the new policies. It would be interesting for you to know the trustees who serve that region, particularly the regional trustee chairman, but in essence, Rodney was given an order - be silent, accept trustee decrees or resign.

Rodney sent a letter to the missionaries in CEE explaining that the Lord had clearly led him for two and half years to speak further about the policies to both Trustees and Southern Baptists. Some IMB trustees have sought his termination due to his conscientious dissent on these issues, and senior leadership at IMB instructed Rodney that he cannot appeal further from his position as a Regional Leader. He is expected to accept, own, and support the policies of the IMB trustees. He reached the conclusion that he would rather obey the Lord than man.

I was informed by an IMB trustee this afternoon that Dr. Rankin sent all trustees a letter explaining that Rodney had sent a letter requesting that it be forwarded to each of the trustees. But in the good wisdom of those who make the decisions of what information is (or is not) acceptable at the IMB, Rodney's letter is not being forwarded to the trustees, as he requested. This type of heavy handed, hardball religion is one of the reasons every Southern Baptist ought to show up in Indianapolis. I do not know what Rodney's letter to the trustees contained, but here's hoping that the information I present below might shed a little light on why the Southern Baptist Convention is losing her luminaries.

Several IMB missionaries on the field forwarded to me a personal letter Rodney wrote to them expressing the reasons for his departure and his love and appreciation for them as missionaries. I have chosen to publish just the last portion of the letter to show you the kind of Southern Baptists we are losing from the mission field. Read carefully the following, unedited explanation that Rodney gives for why he had to resign. Pay close attention to the last section of Rodney's letter which describes those who are being disqualified from Southern Baptist missionary service. For those who think these issues are not important, a reality check is needed. Rodney writes:

"I am in fundamental disagreement with the current IMB missionary candidate policies concerning baptism and private prayer language, and the unnecessary, extra-biblical narrowing of parameters for Southern Baptist cooperation in the Great Commission they represent. While I have other serious concerns, I believe the missionary candidate policies are most in need of redress and illustrate most significantly why change is needed.

The IMB is its people. The missionaries and Board personnel ARE THE IMB and what makes it great in so many ways. Southern Baptists and IMB personnel deserve not only continued prayer and financial support, but also a Kingdom-oriented, transparent, accountable, BF&M-aligned trustee board and missionary candidate policies and guidelines that do not exceed the only consensus doctrinal parameters of the SBC nor move us from sounder biblical foundations. Even more importantly, the unreached people groups, the unevangelized of the world's cities, and the lost without Christ everywhere compel us to biblically maximize our efforts and missionary force, not restrict it unnecessarily.

WHAT'S WRONG WITH THE POLICIES?

The current "guideline" (a de facto policy) for IMB missionary candidates regarding baptism puts the emphasis on the faith/beliefs of the baptizer, rather than the one being baptized. This seems to be a shift away from biblical teaching and Baptist tradition.

The BF&M 2000 Article on Baptism states: "Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Saviour, the believer's death to sin, the burial of the old life, and the resurrection to walk in newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper."

Romans 6:3-5 states "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."

The Baptist Faith and Message 2000 and the Holy Scriptures put the emphasis on the work of Christ, and the faith and testimony of the believer being baptized into Christ, not the particularities of the beliefs of the Christian administrator of the baptism.

The new missionary candidate policy regarding baptism goes beyond the above consensus doctrinal parameters of the SBC, and Scripture, adding extra-biblical stipulations concerning the church and administrator of the baptism. It also puts the IMB in the place of the autonomous, local Southern Baptist church in determining the validity of a candidate's baptism…and worse than that insists to some that they re-baptize the missionary candidate. Organizational compliance is not a biblical reason for baptism or re-baptism. A Southern Baptist church member whose baptism was by immersion, after regeneration, in obedience to Christ and as a testimony to their faith in Christ, should be accepted for service in a Southern Baptist entity or agency.

PRIVATE PRAYER LANGUAGE

In regards to the "guideline" (another de facto policy) about private prayer language, three things should be noted.

1.Much of the discussion and rationale given for needing such a policy forbidding missionary candidates from having a private prayer language was that there were widespread problems regarding this among our missionaries on the field. Regional leaders demonstrated that was not and is not the case.


2.Many biblically conservative Baptist scholars disagree on the hermeneutic that was used to support disqualifying candidates who pray privately in a prayer language.


3.Trustees were assured that the vast overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists could not and did not support the concept of private prayer language. This contention was proven false in a survey by LifeWay research last year.

I will forgo revisiting the ample cessationist and continualist viewpoints on spiritual gifts. I will simply say this…in our IMB Manual for Field Personnel we have a robust, sufficient policy against the advocating of any particular spiritual gift as normative for all believers, or the public use and causing of division by such advocacy or practice. This policy is enforced whenever necessary, although that is rare. It has been an adequate protection against inappropriate behavior or teaching.

What we are talking about now is the forbidding of a private prayer language. Private. Prayer. We have no business going into anyone's private prayer closet who calls Jesus their Lord and Savior, nor forbidding otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from service through the IMB because they may pray differently in private than you or I may, nor judging any current or potential IMB policy-abiding missionary to privately utilize under the Lordship of Christ a gift they believe is bestowed upon them by the Holy Spirit. There was and are no field realities requiring or necessitating such a move.

Upon the outcry in opposition to these policies from many Southern Baptists, IMB Trustees made minor, cosmetic semantic changes and made both "guidelines." They are de facto policies and applied comprehensively.

We've been led down a Landmarkist ecclesiological path by some influential IMB Trustees. They used unfounded rationales to justify missionary candidate de facto policies that overly restrict and disqualify many good, conservative, God-called and otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from missionary service through the IMB.

WHO IS BEING DISQUALIFIED?

Dozens and even hundreds of Southern Baptists for short and long-term service through the IMB, INCLUDING SOME CURRENT STUDENTS OF OUR SBC SEMINARIES, who…

... are God-called to cross-cultural missionary service.

... are members of an SBC church for at least 3 years.

... are conservative Christians baptized by immersion after conversion as a testimony to their faith in Jesus Christ.

... affirm the BF&M.

... meet the qualifications for service OTHER than the new, overly narrow restrictions.

... are willing to abide by IMB policy and parameters.

... are willing to sacrificially go to the ends of the earth.

HOW DO I KNOW THESE THINGS TO BE TRUE?

I have attended multiple IMB Board of Trustee (BOT) meetings per year now for the last 8 years. I am personally well acquainted with the methods, policies, and practices of our collective Board of Trustees, its leadership, and their impact on our work on the field, our support within the Convention, and upon candidates for missionary service. It brings me no joy, and no personal gain, to express these concerns and appeal for change. I have no illusions of any real or perceived personal influence within the SBC. However, I firmly believe that God would have me express these concerns further, and to advocate for those who can no longer serve through the IMB due to these policies. I will trust God to do with it what He desires.

Regarding the policies, I sought to dialogue and express my concerns along the way. I waited, prayed, sought counsel, and asked for wisdom and peace from the Lord to move on when they were enacted two and a half years ago. While I sought to address the overseas committee and entire trustee board unsuccessfully, I did internally discuss with staff, my regional committee and some trustees for almost one year. After those efforts I made one public appeal for reconsideration of the rationale given and the policies that were enacted. I was formally reprimanded. I accepted that and submitted myself again to Senior Leadership and to the policies and direction of the Board.

The IMB BOT received much concerned feedback and decided to review the policies on baptism and private prayer language. Again I waited, prayed, sought counsel from Scripture and others, dialogued with some Trustees and asked for wisdom and peace from the Lord to move on. I repeatedly requested the opportunity for myself and other regional leaders to give our perspective and field input into the review process. It was finally granted after many months. But then our field leadership input that the policies hurt our legitimate candidate pool, the work and morale of many missionaries on the field, and the lack of any field realities requiring such policies was summarily dismissed.

I have sought to pray, understand, yield, reconsider, search the Scriptures, and dialogue with Senior IMB leadership and Trustees about these concerns and policies over the last two and a half years now. I have submitted to them. I have watched as the supposedly softened "guidelines" are implemented as de facto, hard policy and many a good missionary candidate is turned away. I know of some personally, I hear of many others. I am expected as a regional leader to accept, own, and support the policies of the IMB Trustees. I can do so no longer.

I am now forced to resign my position as regional leader because of my biblical convictions and leadership from the Lord to dissent further and to advocate for those Southern Baptists who cannot serve through the IMB now, and have no voice. I would like to think that Southern Baptist agencies can tolerate conscientious dissent based on biblical convictions. However, Senior IMB leadership have instructed me that further dissent and appeal of said policies voted by our Trustees would result in my removal as regional leader.

I believe part of the reason for the decline in the SBC (as reported by LifeWay's Annual Church Profile and LifeWay Research/Ed Stetzer's blog) is unnecessary narrowing of parameters for Great Commission cooperation. I know for sure it is keeping us from getting many additional Southern Baptist missionaries, turning off a younger generation of future missionaries and leaders, and harming the confidence of some IMB missionaries in their stateside supporters and Trustees.

I simply want to appeal to our IMB Trustees and Southern Baptists to return to a sufficiently conservative, yet broader consensus and parameters reflected in the BF&M 2000 for missionary service through the IMB. I am asking that all born again, bible-believing, BF&M affirming, otherwise qualified Southern Baptists who are called to overseas missions and desire to serve through the IMB be allowed to do so…for the glory of God, the betterment of the SBC, and the sake of making disciples among all nations.

Respectfully submitted,



Rodney L. Hammer, Regional Leader


P.S. Let me state unequivocally that I love our IMB Trustees in the Lord. I appreciate their voluntary service. I recognize that they love the Lord Jesus Christ and wish to see Him glorified among the nations as well. I appreciate that they have put up with my own faults as well. There are many who serve with no agenda other than faithfully supporting Southern Baptists' obedience to the Great Commission, and to send and support God-called Southern Baptist missionaries. Some have worked behind the scenes to resist the implementation of these policies and opposed these practices. A few have dared to publicly dissent until such was also voted out of order. I appreciate them greatly. I also love and appreciate those with whom I disagree."

It is because of people like Rodney that I remain a Southern Baptist. It is because of people like Rodney that I will be in Indianapolis. It is because of people like Rodney that I will continue to resist the narrowing of the doctrinal parameters of gospel cooperation and the Baptist Identity initiative within the Southern Baptist Convention. When God called, Bible-believing, Christ-honoring, Southern Baptists are being forced out, then it's time for the silent majority to make their voices heard.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

162 comments:

Pamela said...

It is no surprise that he and many have said to themselves 'enough is enough'. I was amazed at the debate that the IMB would dare to ask about a person's private prayer time. I would have left on the spot. It is nobody's business what I say to God or how I say it. It is my relationship with the Lord, not anyone else's. I would never agree to be re-baptized. NEVER.

I remember not long after I accepted Christ as a teenager I was in a denomination where they baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. I was talking with a friend who was not a Christian. Her family attended a church that baptized in Jesus' name. She had the nerve to tell me I was not saved because I had not been baptized right. My sassy 15-year-old self boldly told her that I was saved because I confessed him as Lord and believed that He was raised from the dead. Thank God she did accept Christ before she died:)

If the SBC, my former denomination and other groups do not wise up and get back to Biblical principles they will continue to see good people leaving them. They will no longer be able to claim (as some groups do) that they are lukewarm and backslidden. No they wised up.

Those of you in the SBC that are concerned about this please take the time to make your voices heard. It's almost like God is scattering His people out of religious madness.

Mark said...

One money quote:

"Organizational compliance is not a biblical reason for baptism or re-baptism."

Wade,

Fire up the network and let's start supporting our SBC brothers and sisters that the IMB refuse because of their stupid de-facto policies.

Kingdom-minded,
Mark

Alan Paul said...

The only way to change anything concerning funding is to stop funding it and then drum the idealogues out of leadership.

People will be lost to hell. Not a pretty thought. But then again, if the narrowing continues, they will be lost anyways because there will be no one to lead them to the truth. So, with nothing (ultimately) to lose, the IMB and SBC must be de-funded and that takes churches and individuals to determine that no more of their money - the money they are charged by God to be good stewards of - will go to these organizations that are implementing policies that are extra-biblical.

Anonymous said...

Wade - In my view, Alan Paul could not be more wrong. Please don't stop supporting us. None of your dollars go to the trustees.

Your post is once again very telling of a sad situation. But your title is a little off. Please know that the Hammer has not fallen. He was hammered. Rodney will be fine. And the rest of us he has left to continue the work in CEE will be fine. I can't help but to have faith that God will yet again sort out a mess that man has created...

if we don't give up!

Alan - 200 bibles are being delivered tomorrow in the heart language of the people. These bibles were purchased with Lottie Moon dollars. Thank you all for giving!

Bob Cleveland said...

How long DOES it take for an IMB trustee to examine a hot anvil, anyway?

(If you don't know the old saw, let me know....)

NativeVermonter said...

Okay, I totally respect Mr. Hammer for following his convictions, one would expect nothing less. I get that this is worth the fight and it sounds like “Gentleman start your engines,” will have a whole new meaning this summer. So what does one do after resigning? Do you give up on the people that God has called you to? Does a disagreement outweigh those who need to be saved, mentored and discipled? Clearly a missionary who resigns is at a crossroads. I can only say what I would do if in this situation. I would get myself a job and start sending letters to various churches to solicit support. I would scratch, claw, beg, to do everything possible to stay where I believed God had placed me. If all that fails and then I had to come home, well then I would be at peace.

Missions did exist prior to the formation of the IMB did they not?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Hammer did the right thing.

He did all he could to change policies of his employer with which he disagreed, and when that wasn't enough he stepped aside.

That said, it's so discouraging to see the SBC lose valuable personnel (current and potential) due to these board decisions.

Charles Brazeale
Neosho, MO

Anonymous said...

Wade, what does it say about IMB Senior leadership that they asked Rodney to be quiet?

Pastor Hilliard said...

I just received a call from one of our missionaries who told me about this post and knows first hand what is happening on the field. Things are getting out of hand. It is time to act.

I will say to any of our missionaries who read this blog, PLEASE, DO NOT resign. We need you to stay not only for the Great Commission but to also to help in the battle to cease the narrowing. We cannot give up the SBC, IMB, etc. to the legalists (let's call them what they are). We fought the liberals and we won (PRAISE GOD!). It is time to take up the battle against the legalists!

We had no tolerance for the liberals. We can have none for the legalists. Liberalism keeps the truth from people. Legalism keeps people from the truth. Both are evil.

Honestly, I'm not completely sure what we can do yet but I'm ready. And I won't hide who I am or what I believe. Secrecy has no place. We are Christians and we ought to be able to open our mouths and speak freely and honestly.

John Fariss said...

Sounds like Yogi Bera time to me, "It's de ja vue all over again!"

Wonder how long it'll take the party loyalists to chime in with cries of, "Anecdotal!" and "It's just his perception!" and "One resignation doesn't change the statistics, and statistics show no significant change in missionary numbers!" and "Wade's making something out of nothing--he doesn't even know what was in Hammer's letter to the trustees!" maybe even "Wade is attacking our missionaries, as well as harming our image!" or "He (Wade or Hammer, take your choice) should keep quiet and suffer persecution like the Bible says!" or "If Wade wanted to do something about this, he shouldn't have resigned from the BoT, but since he did, he should shut up!" Bets, anyone?

Dan Paden said...

Awright, I'm torqued off. No more Mr. Nice Sunday School Teacher.

As far as I can tell from my limited command of Baptist history, the Southern Baptist Convention was formed to facilitate cooperation upon an agreed-upon basis between autonomous Baptist churches on missions and seminary training. If some elements within it are on the verge of abandoning that mission, if they are, in fact, trying to substitute a Landmarkist vision for the one upon which the Convention has agreed, they have done picked themselves a fight.

Waged with love, of course.

Anonymous said...

nativevermonter said, "so what does one do after resigning?"

Just a suggestion, but they could do what Keith Parks did.

I saw it coming in 1979 and left Southern Baptist -- but I am Baptist(I just don't put Southern in the front)

Tommy Greene

Pastor Hilliard said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pastor Hilliard said...

Tommy Greene,

There is nothing wrong with Southern Baptist. There are simply tares in the wheat. But don't assume the whole field is full of only tares.

Tom Parker said...

How many more people like Hammer are we going to lose? I just can not understand how dissent is considered so dangerous?

DT Boy said...

I totally understand where Mr. Hammer is coming from on his convictions. I am currently support by NAMB funding and have had thoughts such as "If I say this on a blog will my funding dry up?" That just is not right. since those thoughts God has shown me that He controls my provision and that I have the freedom in His Son to speak my convictions about things and so I have.

I am saddened by the termoil that Trustee policies have created on the field. The worse part of it is that the policies seem to be creating stumbling blocks for service and therefore also causing a stumbling block for worshiping God. This in and of itself would seem to make the policies unbiblical. I know others may disagree with that perspective and that is fine.
On a personal note, because of the issues I see with the narrowing of policies I continue to struggle with the idea of recommending to my students to go and serve with IMB. I am more likely at this point to find other groups for them to go with because I do not want them to become bitter and frustrated over the silliness that I see. For right or wrong that is where I am at.

Anonymous said...

I know the Hammers. They are a wonderful, godly family. The fact that an IMB missionary cannot hold to his/her biblical convictions or interpretations which are in agreement with the BF&M, though different than the BOT, without fear of dismissal is shameful. The BOT have stepped beyond their realm of influence and have made themselves Baptist Cardinals – issuing decrees with which all churches must comply. The best modern-day comparison to the BOT’s inner group’s form of leadership is the communist politburo. Having served in a communist country, I’m amazed at the similarities (no dissent, no accountability, no freedom of information and the power to make changes free of the democratic process). The best biblical comparison for this group would be the Pharisees. I believe that the majority of trustees love the Lord and have the best interest of the IMB at heart. But I certainly cannot believe that is true of all. Let’s be honest. This tree of decision is bare of the fruit of the Spirit.
This event confirms what so many of us on the field believed. I have yet to meet an IMB missionary who is in agreement with the new policies. But we can’t say anything. If an RL is so easily dismissed for disagreeing with the new policies, the termination of a frontliner would be a mere afterthought. Up to this point, neither I nor many others have felt led, like Rodney, to resign. We fervently work to carry out the task to which God has called us while working within the guidelines of the IMB. But we feel the IMB BOT is working against us. Yet, we are now more aware that ever that we are voiceless. We need your help. Please.

an IMB Missionary

Anonymous said...

That's how it works. You follow the policies of those in authority over you or you resign. Maybe you don't agree. I don't agree with every single thing the SBC or IMB does. But you support the trustees in leadership or you resign or you join another convention. I thought you just learned that with your tenure at the IMB. Guesss not.

Tom Parker said...

last anonymous said-"That's how it works. You follow the policies of those in authority over you or you resign. Maybe you don't agree. I don't agree with every single thing the SBC or IMB does. But you support the trustees in leadership or you resign or you join another convention. I thought you just learned that with your tenure at the IMB. Guesss not."

Any valid reason you will not use your name?

Anonymous said...

As am IMB missionary in CEE, I have had ample opportunities to hear Rodney speak. Never once have I heard him speak about the lost of our region that he did not weep for them. Never have I heard him speak that I didn't pray for God to break my heart for the lost even more. He is the best kind of leader--someone who works harder than you do, loves everyone on the field, and believes in the rightness of what we are doing here. CEE is a hard place. We live in places where people are not rushing to accept Christ. The work is slow and painstaking. Someone described it once as ploughing concrete. The loss of people like Rodney and Debbie is devastating. Please pray for our region.

Hershael W York said...

When are you going to publish Dr. Rankin's letter to you?

Monte Erwin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OC Hands said...

How sad, and how tragic for the cause of missions, that a veteran missionary cannot express a different opinion about policies (call them guidelines if you will) that go beyond what the SBC has incorporated in the BF&M. His only recourse is to resign. And, the reason that he dared to voice a disagreement with the policies is that otherwise qualified missionaries were being denied the opportunity to serve with the IMB.
It can be argued that missionaries should just be quiet and do what they are told.
Well, it is not quite that simple. First, the IMB is an agency of the SBC, it is not an entity to itself. The trustees job is to provide support and encouragement to the missionary family, not find ways to prevent missionaries from going overseas, or putting a muzzle on those missionaries who dare to disagree with their imposed policies. Who do these trustees think they are? They are not elected by the SBC, they are appointed. Their primary focus should be on equipping the missionaries for the task they have of sharing the gospel where it is difficult to do so.
I will intensify my prayer on behalf of the trustees and ask that the Father give them wisdom to make decisions according to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and not according to an agenda.
But that may not be all that I need to do.
IF you who have read this blog disagree with the direction the trustees are taking, it is time to send letters to those who are responsible informing them of your displeasure. That is what I plan to do.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hillard, Some of my best friends are Southern Baptist:) I believe in the Priesthood of the believer and I learned a few years back (29) that I could not interpert what I felt God was saying to me - I needed someone to explain to me what God was saying--that did it for me. I am through fighting these battles -- the only battle that matters in the end (and I hope you agree) is the battle for lost souls -- cause in the end that in all that is going to matter.

I am a long ago graduate of CNC college -- I hear you all have a pretty good womens BB coach over there that graduated from CNC

Your brother in Christ, Tommy

ps I agree with your reply to me.

Bruce said...

Monte,

I think a lot of people are now beginning to realize the avalanche that is overtaking them now has its beginning in the CR that some of these people supported and perhaps still do. I am still of the opinion that most of it was smoke and mirrors back then and still is. What's that line about reaping what you sow????

Anonymous said...

last anonymous said "That's how it works. You follow the policies of those in authority over you or you resign. Maybe you don't agree. I don't agree with every single thing the SBC or IMB does. But you support the trustees in leadership or you resign or you join another convention. I thought you just learned that with your tenure at the IMB. Guesss not."

Study your history. There's another option - bring about change. The SBC needed the Conservative Resurgence. Thankfully, those who led to change didn't have the "comply or leave" mentality. What I have learned in over 10 years with the IMB and 30 years as a Southern Baptist is that we are not under papal rule. We do not blindly follow the decrees of trustees and presidents as though they were speaking from the Chair of Peter. We are a priesthood of believers gathered together in local, autonomous churches. Therefore, we have freedom to disagree and, when necessary, bring about change.

Anonymous said...

I was in Sherwood, Arkansas for the CEE meeting. I was blessed and moved. It was at this meeting God once again stirred my heart to consider the mission field. I met many great men who serve faithfully and personally desire to serve alongside them in the task at hand. I have started the process and am seeking God's direction for each step of the way.

Rodney is a blessing and a honest, true baptist with deep a conviction to see lost people saved. I was looking forward to working with him in the CEE region.

This is not only sad but wrong for the powers to be to tighten the noose so tight it is taking the vibrant life of a willing witness out of any part of the world.

I will be in Indianapolis, what can I do? Where can we meet for prayer? How can we surround these mighty men of valor and their families?

Rodney, you and yours are in our prayers.

Darren Casper said...

It's very concerning to me...that a man so personally committed, so informed, so deep in the IMB, in such a strategic position; would at this point decide to resign.

I am not criticizing him in any way for his decision, it just tells me that after patiently waiting, after trying to let the SBC system run it's course, then based upon all the facts as he had gathered them, he saw no hope for change...

And as I said, THAT...is very concerning to me.

Bruce said...

"Thankfully, those who led to change didn't have the "comply or leave" mentality."

Anonymous, I'm not saying your wrong but my medical training leads me to ask for a second opinion on this statement.

Bruce said...

"We do not blindly follow the decrees of trustees and presidents as though they were speaking from the Chair of Peter."

Again, a call for a second opinion. Weren't these types of dynamics exactly what was used in large part to accomplish the CR???

Pastor Hilliard said...

Tommy

"the only battle that matters in the end (and I hope you agree) is the battle for lost souls -- cause in the end that in all that is going to matter."

I confess that I do not completely agree. Paul fought for quite few causes not just lost souls. Most of his letters were to fight for a cause. Truth matters.:)

Bruce,

"I think a lot of people are now beginning to realize the avalanche that is overtaking them now has its beginning in the CR that some of these people supported and perhaps still do. I am still of the opinion that most of it was smoke and mirrors back then and still is. What's that line about reaping what you sow????"

I know it may feel great and cozy to lump this with the CR but you are wrong again (just like you guys were back then). The CR was real, needed, and awesome. But there were some (not all) of those who joined us in that battle who had legalism in their blood. Once we got things back where they needed to be, the legalist tried to keep us going.

The fact is, bitterness has kept you guys watching the SBC for any kind of "hiccup". It wouldn't have mattered what "problem" or "controversy" or "debate" the SBC had. You guys would have jumped up and said "See, we told ya. It's because of the whole CR thing. Ya'll should have listen...blah, blah, blah." The CR is over. Liberalism lost. Now we have to fight your twin brother. Legalism.

Pastor Hilliard said...

I wonder...if all our missionaries would come out of hiding and refuse to be anonymous...what's the worse that could happen? Mass firings? Then again, if something of that nature did occur it would really get things out in the open. Personally, I am in doubt as to whether or not they would actually seek to fire hundreds of missionaries. The repercussions would be too great. You guys should unite and be one voice. Could you imagine a petition of 2000 of our 5000+ missionaries saying, "We do not agree with the new policies." Would they actually fire all 2000 if they refused to shut up and be quiet about it?

Radical measures are needed sometimes to deal with legalism.

Tom Parker said...

pastor hilliard:

You said--"Would they actually fire all 2000 if they refused to shut up and be quiet about it?


I am very afraid they would.

Wade Burleson said...

Hershael,

With respect I ask you, "What letter?"

Dr. Rankin has my complete, unconditional and eternal permission to publish any and every email, letter, or other tangible form of communication initiated by he to me, or I to to him. In regard to the letter to which you refer, you will need to be far more specific than the cryptic comment, and when you reveal to me the letter to which you refer, I will be more than happy to publish it for your personal edification. Otherwise, you will need to wait for the book.

A Simple Student @ SWBTS said...

Anonymous said on Tue May 06, 11:22:00 PM 2008:
"That's how it works. You follow the policies of those in authority over you or you resign. Maybe you don't agree. I don't agree with every single thing the SBC or IMB does. But you support the trustees in leadership or you resign or you join another convention. I thought you just learned that with your tenure at the IMB. Guesss not."

I am not sure that I follow your logic. Have you ever met a person with whom you agree with on every single issue? Most people have one little issue that they can't agree on if they are open about it. I would venture to say that the IMB would be reduced to the Board of Trustees with no actual employees if your logic was followed with all honesty.

A Simple Student @ SWBTS (until May :))

K. Michael Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom Parker said...

K:

Who cares what you think?

Pastor Hilliard said...

Crowder,

And yet the stats show that Baptist don't agree with the PPL position of the IMB. This represents the SBC members how?

K. Michael Crowder said...

"I am in fundamental disagreement with the current IMB missionary candidate policies concerning baptism and private prayer language, and the unnecessary, extra-biblical narrowing of parameters for Southern Baptist cooperation in the Great Commission they represent. While I have other serious concerns, I believe the missionary candidate policies are most in need of redress and illustrate most significantly why change is needed."

Then we wish you the best in the Lord and part as good Christian brothers should, realizing that we Southern Baptists WILL be represented abroad according to our collective conscience prescribes. Your statement above suggests that you can no longer fulfill that which we require and we thus confirm your resignation.

"The IMB is its people. The missionaries and Board personnel ARE THE IMB"

No sir, the IMB is the 8 or so million members of the 45k or so churches which make up the SBC. The IMB exists at the will and pleasure of her churches. She is only an extension of the "missions" line item of many SBC churches. If you want a PPL then keep it private. And do not teach continuationist gobbledygook on the dime of those who oppose such nonsense which only aides in religious syncretism.

Every servant of the Lord is expendable. Every IMB missionary is expendable. The work of the Lord will always continue. Sometimes the Lord removes those who feel their worth is immeasurable.

Jesus never said "upon this rock we will have a picnic."


K

Wade Burleson said...

Tom Parker,

You are both prescient and prophetic. :)

Anonymous said...

"Personally, I am in doubt as to whether or not they would actually seek to fire hundreds of missionaries. The repercussions would be too great. You guys should unite and be one voice. Could you imagine a petition of 2000 of our 5000+ missionaries saying,.."

Read your history, friend. YOu would hear spin like you never heard it before. The missionaries are forming a trade union and demanding things! Tithers would be outraged because the leaders are always believed. A quest for the leaders of the dissenters would be made examples of and those with kids to feed all of a sudden realize how silly they were. We know this already by their prior actions. They have made it clear what they are about.

We have 20 years of teaching the 'spectators' in the pews about authority and how important obeying your priestly authority is. People have fallen for it and now we are reaping what was sown as false teaching for personal power. Instead of being in the Holy Priesthood, most pew sitters are followers of men.

For those who do not think this is an extension of the CR, you are fooling yourselves. Perhaps it was needed but fighters forget how NOT to fight. People who have power for a long time do not know how NOT to have power. They need a cause and they think they are right which makes them even more dangerous. Their arrogance is a BIG clue.

Mr York wants to know about Rankins letter. Whatever that is. I have often wondered how Mr. Rankin can survive that place. He must have diplomatic skills that rival Kissenger.

Mr. York, why the "drama" (deja vu) about the letter. Tell us how it makes Wades post all wrong. :o)

Pastor Hilliard said...

k,

"The survey asked SBC pastors, Protestant pastors and laity their beliefs about private prayer language using this wording: "Do you believe that the Holy Spirit gives some people the gift of a special language to pray to God privately? Some people refer to this as a Private Prayer Language or the 'private use of tongues.'"

Fifty percent of Southern Baptist pastors answered "Yes," 43 percent said "No," and 7 percent responded "Don't know."
http://www.bpnews.net/bpnews.asp?id=25765

How does that jive with you saying, "If you want a PPL then keep it private. And do not teach continuationist gobbledygook on the dime of those who oppose such nonsense which only aides in religious syncretism."?

K. Michael Crowder said...

Pastor H,

Sorry, I reposted to correct a minor gramatical error.

You will have to direct me please to the research of which you speak. But I assure you that most who are polled have not a clue what a PPL is. So it is all how it is dished up.

And, with no direct disrespect to Dr. Stetzer, the LifeWay research results can be placed on the same shelf as "Your Best Life Now" and works by the heretic Joyce Meyer. That would be the shelf marked "CRAP" in your local LifeWay Store. (you can also find copies of the current adult discipleship training books there as well.) :)

Oh, and those who do not "identify" are simply not Baptists.........imho. :)


K

Tom Parker said...

K:

Your comments are nonsense.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Hilliard,

I understand what you are saying, but in the end (when I die) what is going to matter -- the battles I fought or accepting the finished work of Jesus Christ for me?

I know that there are battles to fight, but what do they matter?(except the battle for those lost souls) As the song says the War is over but the battles rage on.

It was said, "I am the way and the truth(so I Know Truth matters) and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me."

I don't disagree with your response--I probably look at things a little different than you do, but that is ok and we are still civil to each other -- is that possible? ;)

Have good evening I'm off to bed

Tommy

Pastor Hilliard said...

"You will have to direct me please to the research of which you speak."

I did.

Pastor Hilliard said...

Tommy,

Yes, good answer. Good night.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Pastor H,

202.5 Sr. Pastors responded in the affirmative and that, based on the question asked, and by whom it was asked, is to be considered indicative of the SBC as a whole?


The only thing that this proves is that Stetzer has spoken to 202.5 of the of the craziest men of God the SBC has.


Too bad lifeway won't send a few more missionaries overseas with the money they are waisting on stupid research.

Anonymous said...

Money could not buy the good PR that 'K" is for the problems in the SBC. In every comment one sees the hate, pride, arrogance and bitter spirit of what is becoming of the SBC leadership and how they have trained these young men who have been taught to follow earthly leaders not Christ.

I do worry for him, though.... If the Lord does not teach him humility, servanthood, compassion and love... soon. God only disciplines those that are His.

Lucy

pastorleap said...

K Michael,
You are entitled to your opinions. I believe in healthy, robust debate and the exchange of ideas, even when they are as vapid and divisive as yours often are. However, you went way too far with that last comment. To refer to Lifeway Research's work as "crap" on the level with "heresy" is just uncalled for and unnecessary.

I have met Ed Stetzer on at least 2 occasions and he is a gentleman and a brother in Christ with great concern for our convention. Furthermore, I am personal friends with Dr. Brad Waggoner at Lifeway Research and know him to be a humble, Godly, and very wise man with no ulterior motives except to see our convention continue to grow and bring glory to Christ.

Both of them are scholars to whom you couldn't hold a flame and both have sufficient experience to deserve (at the least) your respect.

These men don't need me to defend them, but I get tired of your childish attacks. That one was too much.

Discuss the issues, bring your perspectives to the table, even try to convince others why they are wrong, but in the future, do so with respect. These men are your brothers in Christ.

"The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly." (Prov 15:2)

Terry

K. Michael Crowder said...

"Otherwise, you will need to wait for the book."


Wade,

If you write a book about all of this for YOUR personal edification then you will do more damage to the Kingdom than all of your detractors combined. Wade you are becoming a most liberal and evil force in the SBC. If you write a book which seeks to expose private matters within the SBC, I promise to author a resolution condemning you for treason before God and man against the SBC and will then seek the unseating of the messengers of your church at every Convention I attend for as long as I shall live.


:)

You have lost all your scruples.

Pastor Hilliard said...

k,

Thank you for sharing so clearly your views.

I honestly don't think I need to respond.

Your words speak for themselves.

As a conservative SBC pastor, I can assure you that you don't speak for me in the SBC.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Terry,

Simmer down flipper! I did not mention Brad Waggoner and specifically cautioned that my remarks meant no disrespect to Dr. Stetzer. As to holding a flame to either? How dare you. I hold my flame to my Lord and my God. One's notoriety in academia is hardly a testament to one's sanctification. Even Drs. Mohler, Moore, and Akin would agree with that.

My comment was 2 fold. First, I indeed doubt the science behind their methods, and secondly, such business is a waste of convention monies (imho).

Blog fodder.........that is what it has become.......utter crap!

"nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. These promote controversies rather than God's work"

(1 Tim 1:4)


K

K. Michael Crowder said...

Pastor H,

I never claimed to. I have always only spoken for me and me alone.....except for that one time when I clearly spoke for all (I forget what the topic was).

Anyway, nice to know that you are a conservative. Me too....in fact, 98.9% of SBC Sr. Pastors consider themselves conservative. It's the new buzz word. "Conservative Evangelical Christianity" WooHoo!


Kum Ba Yah My Lord...


Heck, even Wade considers himself a Con-evan-istian. Thus proving........not a doggone thing.

Anonymous said...

Bruce,

I think I understand your point of view in requesting a second opinion. As to the first statement you referenced, I do think the SBC needed a CR. Unfortunately, in my opinion, at some point the Conservative Resurgence turned into a Fundamentalist takeover that was more about power than scripture. I choose to believe that there were leaders of the CR that were on the right track. But I also acknowledge that there were/are also some leaders who see godliness as a means to personal gain. Part of my point in this statement is that conforming or leaving is not the only option. Change is possible. Secondly, I agree that there are too many SBs that blindly follow their leaders. I think many in the current power structure promote this unquestioning dedication to their leadership. As one of my seminary professors said of those leading the fundamentalist takeover, (before he, Dr. Dilday and others were fired) "We want to teach you how to think. They want to teach you what to think." He was right.

anonymous IMB missionary

Rex Ray said...

Pastor Hilliard,
My uncle was a SB missionary for 38 years; his son 39 years, and his grandson 20 plus years and still active. My son lasted 7 years.

For my uncle and his son, the Foreign Mission Board was little more than a check sending agency. Wonder how their freedom to spread the Gospel produce such good results in the countries where they worked (China; Korea) without the ‘corporation of rules and control by the present IMB?

I’m glad you see the situation. You say, “We cannot give up the SBC, IMB, etc. to the legalists (lets call them what they are.)”

Yes, let’s call them what they are! Just as leopards don’t change their spots, these legalists didn’t drop out of the sky. They’ve been in the SBC many years. They don’t trust the Holy Spirit to control missionaries so they have taken on the responsibility by building a wall of rules to keep sin out but really makes prisoners within.

Years ago, there were six missionaries having a meeting in our home. Two were ‘sent home’ until they could decide to obey orders or not. (He had written an email stating he had been in the foreign country 15 years, and would not listen to a ‘kid’ telling him how to do his job that had been there less than a month and didn’t know beans.)
Two were facing being fired if the husband accepted being a pastor. They said they had seen more people saved as interim pastor in less than a year than their previous 18 years so they were going to listen to God rather than man.

One missionary wrote in the Baptist Standard their supervisor told them: “Tonight I’ll pray, and tomorrow I’ll tell what your decision will be.”

Since I’ve retired, I’ve spent about a year and a half on 18 overseas volunteer mission trips in construction. I’ve met many missionaries, and the saddest question was: “If I just preach the Gospel, would I be a Conservative or a Moderate?

Missionaries want to fulfill their call from God. Baptists want to help, but missionaries are used as pawns to ‘keep that money coming in.’ which legalist spout ‘We’re right because look how much money we got!”

Hilliard, I could tell where these legalists came from, but I don’t think you can handle it.

pastorleap said...

K Michael,
I know you believe you are being cute and funny, but please don’t address me as “flipper.” My name is Terry. I’m sure I could come up with a hundred different cutesy names to call you which would gain me the applause and accolades of many on this thread, but my Christian judgment tells me that it would not be appropriate. I’ll call you K Michael, please call me Terry.

Again, your words ring hollow as you state that you “mean no disrespect” and then proceed to disrespect a brother. You really believe that you are “boldly standing for truth” I’m sure, but you are only showing your own immaturity and lack of spiritual substance.

As per my “flame” comment, I do indeed “dare.” You are attacking the intellectual credibility of these men and their work and clearly (based on the constant empty-headed remarks you post) you are in no position to be doing so. I said nothing about the sanctification of these men, although I can equally attest to that as well. There is nothing unholy or sinful about using the intellect that God has given you for His glory in ministry. This manifests itself in many capacities. Theirs happens to be in studying churches and leadership for the greater edification of churches and Christian leaders. They are also Christian men who preach, evangelize and contribute to their local churches. Why don’t you e-mail Dr. Stetzer or Dr. Waggoner and ask them yourself about their credibility, motives, and methods? Better yet, e-mail Dr. Rainer at Lifeway and demand an explanation for this “crap” (as you call it). After all, these are denominational employees, so hold them accountable if you see the need.

Using one’s intelligence is not a sign of Godliness it’s true, but it’s not sinful either. But I don’t expect you to know anything about that since you clearly post with an anti-intellectual tone. I understand why after following your comments.

You “doubt their science” but you earlier admitted that you were not even familiar with the research…hmmm…if you’re not even familiar with the research, I think we can assume that you know much less about the “science” behind their studies.

If there is so much “blog fodder” and “crap” here, I am sure you would find your time used more wisely by not coming back. I am sure I speak for more than a few when I say you could certainly find something better to do with your time than to sit around reading such “crap.” We would applaud your decision to not come back. It would show real spiritual discernment on your part…but alas…I am certain that you will still be here tomorrow. I think you like the attention.

As per your quote of 1 Tim, I am sure that you, being such a spiritually-discerning fellow, know that Paul’s injunctions to Timothy about elements of folk-Judaism which sought to lead people away from Christ are light-years removed from the reporting of church and ministry trends by Christian men with a passion for the gospel and the local church, right? Have you had a hermeneutics class yet?

I will not give you the pleasure of further responses. As others before me have noted, to respond to your invectives only fuels the fire, and that, I will no longer do.

I will pray for you tonight my brother.
Terry

Anonymous said...

"If you write a book which seeks to expose private matters within the SBC, I promise to author a resolution condemning you for treason before God and man against the SBC and will then seek the unseating of the messengers of your church at every Convention I attend for as long as I shall live. "

1. It is telling that you think sin and legalism by leaders should be private. You are real into the authority thing, aren't you.

2. You teach revenge such as this to your congregation? Or is that only reserved for the professional in charge?

3. YOU condemn Wade for treason before God? You sound like a meglomaniac. You really do sound like one sick puppy. You need to get OUT of ministry. You are not qualified.

4. Does your congregation know about your comments here? Do you share them church wide? I think you should. If not, I think someone who knows your church and loves Christ, should. For your own sake.

5. I think your resolution idea is a very good one. I think you should do it anyway. It might just help you to see yourself more clearly.

Martin

Anonymous said...

It is a sad day for us all when the Bible is not enough and Godly men and women who are actually doing what the Lord has called them to do have to stop speaking truth or step down.
I too know the Hammers and am so sad to hear this, but am so proud to be able to say that they were my leaders. When I first heard Rodney speak a few years ago I thought "this guy is too good to be true!", but he wasn't. As I got to know him better I realized that he truly meant what he preached and also practiced it! I then realized just how much he was willing to do to serve the Lord...and now I see it even more.
I pray that they will continue to speak out against anything that is against God's word.
Pray for us all as we try to figure out where we go from here. Many decisions will be made during the next days and weeks.

David said...

Many have biblical convictions. A few also have the courage of their biblical convictions--and are admired for it. Others whine.

CmlCros said...

KMichael is doing his best to distract from the real issue here.

The real issue is that we're being told to agree with "changing" policies and that if we voice dissent then we are no longer welcome with the IMB. It's not just on the large level it's happening on local teams as well. Research shows that at any given time between 20-30% of our personnel are new on the field. This is because turnover is so high. The first 1-2 years of service are basically language and culture learning, not much ministry so at any given time 20-30% of our people are starting from ground zero.

Why? There are alot of reasons but when we read about us losing good, seasoned, well-respected guys because the BOT are creating policies beyond both Scripture and the bfm and we should weep. We should be calling for the termination of trustees, not the termination of IMB personnel.

And by the way, if 2000 of us signed a petition....2000 of us would be returning to the US.

Darren Casper said...

Mr. Crowder writes, "If you want a PPL then keep it private. And do not teach continuationist gobbledygook on the dime of those who oppose such nonsense which only aides in religious syncretism.

"And, with no direct disrespect to Dr. Stetzer, the LifeWay research results can be placed on the same shelf as "Your Best Life Now" and works by the heretic Joyce Meyer. That would be the shelf marked "CRAP" in your local LifeWay Store."

Wow...this is very telling of those who hold to the cessationist view.

It's a disappointing day about Rodney Hammer's resignation, but it's also very enlightening to hear the heart of Mr. Crowder and his cessationist band of brothers.

As I wrote earlier, while it would be nice to think that the cessationist and continualist could all fit and do mission underneath the same SBC umbrella, but when you read the fiery rhetoric like this coming from the cessationist camp...sure makes you wonder.

I also wonder if Mr. Crowder's honest transparency on this post is reflective of the position of many other cessationist SBC leaders who sometimes post on Wade's blog?

ml said...

Totalitarianism is a concept used in political science that describes a state that regulates nearly every aspect of public and private sectors. Totalitarian regimes or movements maintain themselves in political power by means of secret police, propaganda disseminated through the state-controlled mass media, personality cults, regulation and restriction of free discussion and criticism, single-party states, the use of mass surveillance, and widespread use of terror tactics.

NativeVermonter said...

Mr. Casper,

If you are trying to lump our main man from Sullivan, MC K. Crowder with an entire belief system than that’s like trying to build the longest bridge in the world in China…oh wait they did that. Nonetheless, please don’t pick out the most flamboyant comments and say this person speaks for entire group of people. Frankly, I don’t know where I stand on the debate but I would say they same thing if you had said that about a person who holds to the continualist position as well. There must be a fancy name for this kind tactic.

If the umbrella is big enough for the Arminian and the Calvinist then surely it is big enough for the Cessationist and the Continualist. I just don’t know if it’s big enough for the Illinois and Missouri fan :)

Joe W. said...

While one anonymous email from a young M, serving somewhere, cannot be seen as indicitive... I must say, this very disheartening and troubling.

A couple of questions...

1) Why would a man with such a heart for missions choose this "Hill To Die On"?

2) Is the IMB really turning away that many otherwise qualified people because of these 2 guidelines? I would like to know the numbers.

I don't have the answers. I support the IMB, I support Dr. Rankin, and I believe all Southern Baptists should continue to support the IMB with prayers and finances.

Gary Snowden said...

As one who spent 16 years with the FMB/IMB, this to me is just the latest chapter in a very sad saga of what once was the pride and joy of Southern Baptists--our foreign missions endeavors. As the comments of several current missionaries indicate, the problem of low morale among these fine folks is a direct result of the ongoing actions of the Board of Trustees who have become a law unto themselves. Wade's blog has pulled back the curtain allowing Southern Baptists at large to see the nefarious work of those who prefer to work behind closed doors rather than in the full light of day where careful scrutiny of their actions would assuredly prompt censure and condemnation.

I'm afraid that Camel Cross's comments about the outcome of a proposed petition by 2000 missionaries would indeed result in the dismissal of the entire group, or at least the firing of the suspected ringleaders of the rebellion. The sad truth is that the climate of fear and suspicion that the BoT has fostered is a constant drain on the emotional energies of so many God-called missionaries who are sincerely striving to fulfill their calling and reach the lost with the gospel.

Douglas Shivers said...

k.,

I finally get it! You're actually on Wade's side. You're one of us. Brilliant. You're pretending to be the meanest, loudest, most obscurantist "example" of a Landmarker-Fundamentalist. It became clear to me in these posts. You outdid even some of the most rabid of BBFI leading lights from the 60's and 70's.

A wonderful caricature!

P.S. - You are kidding aren't you?

Lin said...

"The sad truth is that the climate of fear and suspicion that the BoT has fostered is a constant drain on the emotional energies of so many God-called missionaries who are sincerely striving to fulfill their calling and reach the lost with the gospel."

That 'climate of fear' did not happen overnight. It took a while to permeate throughout the ranks and for middle management folks to learn and emulate.

It also takes a long time to correct.

I do think it would be interesting to see the turnover metrics. Sometimes metrics are manuipulated not to show that small increases are really large numbers of replacements.

It would also be very interesting to see the results of an anonymous frontline enviromental scan. (Ensuring anonymity is the key) But that won't happen. The leadership does not care what the frontline thinks.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe W.

You ask:

Why would a man with such a heart for missions choose this "Hill To Die On"?

That question is like asking a man robbing you with a gun to your face, "Why did you choose to give him your wallet?"

Rodney is not choosing to die. He is being forced to a missionary's death. I suspect Rodney will recover due to the good graces of cooperative, conservative Southern Baptists and will be back in Europe - supported by churches who appreciate what he is doing.

Wade Burleson said...

K Michael Crowder,

You write:

Wade you are becoming a most liberal and evil force in the SBC. If you write a book which seeks to expose private matters within the SBC, I promise to author a resolution condemning you for treason before God and man against the SBC and will then seek the unseating of the messengers of your church at every Convention I attend for as long as I shall live.

A couple of things in response. I have been through similar treatment by men with a similar attitude to yours. No longer am I surprised by such dogmatic and Orwellian statements, personal threats, or the kind of spirit you display. It has become passe' to me.

Nevertheless, I will give you my official response to such a threat:

I would receive any resolution offered by SBC pastor K Michael Crowder that condemns me as 'evil and treasonous before God' as a true and accurate reflection of the differences between the two of us, and would humbly and gratefully receive such an honor as a badge of merit.

:)

Doesn't work Michael.

Jon L. Estes said...

Ca we get Jerry Rankin's e-mail address? Or be directed where it can be found.

Wade Burleson said...

He recently changed his email address due to the amount of spam the IMB server was receiving. I do not know the new email address, but would suggest you call the IMB or go to their website.

Kelly Reed said...

http://youtube.com/watch?v=r5P7QkHCfaI

The IMB Trustees seem to be playing this part well.

“You [Rodney Hammer or Missionaries] will not draw into doubt those things which the [IMB Trustees] have judged already. Things which have passed into usage, rite and observance…

You wait in vain for a disputation over things that you are obligated to believe. Now give your answer.

Will you [obey the policies] or will you not?”

To which the answer seems to be more of--"my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Here I stand, we can do no other. God help [us all]."

I am thankful for the steadfast conviction of our missionaries.

Dave Samples said...

Wade,

I will be in Indianapolis and I would hope that this issue will receive some attention and debate. I have a young couple in my church beginning their IMB journey in the very near future. I do not want them abused by the very organization that I am paying to send them.

Jon L. Estes said...

Every informed Southern Baptist will have to make one of three choices...

1 - Ignore the trustees actions

2 - Join the trustees in their actions

3 - Stand against the trustees actions

What say ye?

The time for blogging only has come to an end, we must take up our cross and follow Jesus.

Steve said...

Dr. York,
With all the evidence of how the missionary force is being damaged by these rules of men that do not come from Scripture, you try to change the subject?
When there is a funeral in your part of Kentucky, do you try to get everyone to forget the deceased and talk up politics or sports instead? Worse yet, do you run down the deceased so that you can remind everyone of your self-esteem?
This sad day of this marvelous missionary family depating the field is like a funeral to the SBC. You obviously have disregarded what damage to the cause of Christ is continually being done by the toadies on the IMB BoT.
I feel embarrassed and insulted by these political men of the board and by your boosterism for them.

Bruce said...

Pastor Hillard,

It is probably comforting to you to categorize me as a liberal since I see things differently than you do. In reality, given a set of questions regarding the essentials of the faith, I bet our answers would be very similar on all of them. This is what I mean about the CR being the beginning of the avalanche now. These tactics of division were employed then and still are now.

Bruce said...

Pastor Hilliard, Sorry, I left out an i in your name.

Mike Ruffin said...

Surely no reasonable person would question that, when a good history of the SBC in the late 20th-early 21st centuries is written (as opposed to a moderate polemic or fundamentalist love letter), the present troubles will be treated as an extension of and even as a result of the so-called "Conservative Resurgence"?

Back in the day, many of us thought that once "inerrancy" was accepted as a creedal affirmation (I know, the word is not in the BFM but we all know that the statement "The Bible is inerrant" is more central in official SBC life than the statement "Christ is Lord"), it was just the first brick in what was going to become a very large wall that would further and further define the doctrinal parameters of cooperation.

We can trace a direct line from June 1979 to today. Call it a new Baptist "Trail of Blood"--or "Tears."

K. Michael Crowder said...

Mr. Casper,

As an Associate DOM two doors down from my own Association, I feel responding to your comment would be more productive than responding to the typical banter we see here towards anyone who holds to certain convictions. I indeed understand, at least in Missouri, that the issue of accountability (too much that is) married to funding is something that angers your camp as much as it does me in regards to the lack thereof, and this issue is not unique to state conventions for it has I am sure always been an issue with our mission boards. Now, however, the issue is heightened with the IMB guidelines as well as new charismatic streams flowing into the SBC. But sir, I speak for myself alone. You may be correct though in assuming that I am not the only Southern Baptist who wishes that his convention not turn into the Assemblies of God. Their success abroad is due to emotionalism and syncretism. I wish our missionaries in Europe and other places could see this.
I do not like the direction the IMB has gone over the last 10 years. I suggest a return to an old way of doing missions that begins with water, food, shelter, schools, teaching folks to read and plant crops, and stops the orality, Jesus Films, and other seemingly more effective methods which do not truly connect the Spirit of God to the souls of man. (my opinion of course.)

We failed big time when we started counting and stopped listening. I again make the comment that if today, the man from Macedonia came calling, we might not hear him, unless of course he was in the 10-40 window.
Now, with the gross onslaught of heresy which flows from Azuza Street, many young SBC'ers desire an emotion filled ride to heaven. Since they are incapable to reading Scripture to their neighbors and living a life pure, holy and pleasing to God as an example of Christ to the lost, then they raise a few bucks, pop in the buds, and off to Spain they go--Throw back a couple in the name of being relational, and then plant a church by asking the unredeemed what makes them tick. If the only way to plant a Baptist church is to make it a charismatic church, then please let us call those missionaries home and wait on the Lord to send us some with an authentic passion. Cutting corners will not do in Kingdom work.

As to Ed Stetzer, yes, I disagree with many of his church planting philosophies, no I have never planted a church (I have as of yet not been called to this task). And finally NO, I in no way question his motives, nor his desire to see the Kingdom grow and the Lord glorified. I simply feel his current position at LifeWay is neither needed nor productive for the work of the SBC in the Kingdom.

Kevin M. Crowder

Rick said...

K(evin) Michael Crowder,

As one pastor to another: Practice what you preach.

http://odeo.com/audio/16153983/view

A minister is not above his own teaching, is he?

(If the above sermon isn't yours, then I will apologize for this comment, retract it, and make a totally different one.)

Rick Boyne
Pastor
Immanuel Southern Baptist Church
Wagoner, OK

www.immanuelsouthern.com

K. Michael Crowder said...

Rick,

How funny. You know that was my first sermon not quite a year ago.

I am curious as to why you feel the need to post a young pastor's first sermon in an effort silence him?

Allow me to quote a dear brother"

"Doesn't work [Rick]"


PS: I am afraid this sermon will forever be my Payday Sunday. *shakes head*

Pastor Hilliard said...

k,
I'm listening to right now.

Anonymous said...

I don't know which concerns me more, the attitude of some who arrogantly claim to hold the keys to the SBC kingdom or the utter disregard for the Scriptures that we claim to uphold.

How can a person make such a statement as "do not teach continuationist gobbledygook on the dime of those who oppose such nonsense"? How can our trustees add a "validity requirement" to baptism that cannot be supported by a single biblical passage? (This is not a question of the passages that support the security of the believer but a question of the passages that speak to the validity of the one who performs the baptism.)
Is there any tangible action that can be taken in June that can change this policy or are we doomed to see our dimes support this gobbledygook?
Todd Pylant

Sean and Lendy said...

Otherwise, you will need to wait for the book."


Wade,

If you write a book about all of this for YOUR personal edification then you will do more damage to the Kingdom than all of your detractors combined. Wade you are becoming a most liberal and evil force in the SBC. If you write a book which seeks to expose private matters within the SBC, I promise to author a resolution condemning you for treason before God and man against the SBC and will then seek the unseating of the messengers of your church at every Convention I attend for as long as I shall live.


:)

You have lost all your scruples.
---------------
K,
Have you read A Hill On Which to Die: One Southern Baptist's Journey by Judge Paul Pressler? You speak as if there have never been any books written on the events of the past 30+ years that were purely for personal edification.

CmlCros said...

KMC,
You said "I do not like the direction the IMB has gone over the last 10 years. I suggest a return to an old way of doing missions that begins with water, food, shelter, schools, teaching folks to read and plant crops, and stops the orality, Jesus Films, and other seemingly more effective methods which do not truly connect the Spirit of God to the souls of man. (my opinion of course.)"

Have you ever been overseas? I didn't think so. I live in a closed Muslim country and in many ways it is similar to Western Europe in that traditional approaches can not be used. Here we dig wells, build schools, dig ditches with the intention of staying overnight in their homes. Because they are an oral culture we then spend the 2-3 hours before dinner telling stories from scripture. If the person is interested then we have materials they can view or read. There's no other way to do it here.

Western Europe is more similar than one would think. The days of standing on a street corner handing out bibles is gone. Even I don't like those guys. The most effective way is to sit, have coffee, be their friend and share life. Because Christ is the foundation and center of our lives then it's very natural to share Him as we develop the relationship. The relationship is key because the Great Commission isn't to evangelize but to disciple. Discipleship can only happen through relationships. It's not about throwing back a few Buds, it's about living with people....not occassionaly leaving the mission compound to go give away bibles....relational is much harder.

Rick said...

Kevin,

My point was not to silence you, nor to humiliate you, but to help you to remember the very first thing that came out of your mouth the very first time you got up to preach.

Pity you think that it "doesn't work".

I am not your enemy; I don't even know you. I have read for many months words that you have written that I can't imagine you or anyone else would ever speak out loud to someone's face.

It is OK to disagree, even strongly, with someone, but you have entered into a realm that doesn't seem befitting of a minister of the Gospel. If you are just doing it for "shock value", you aren't pulling it off very well. If you are doing it out of a genuine heart of concern, then you have betrayed your heart with the belligerence in your "voice".

No, my point was not to silence a young pastor by "exposing" his first sermon. (My first sermon was not even recorded, TTL) My point was to help you to think about what you write before you write it. It's obvious you have a way with words; use it for good and for the Glory of God!

In all sincerity,

Rick Boyne
rick@immanuelsouthern.com

Anonymous said...

The people who are concerned about this can go to Indianapolis (or wherever next)all they want.

What will happen? The powers that be will bus in the maximum number of messengers from every one of their churches and any others they can convince it is a "battle for the Bible" or some such - whatever will convince that particular person of influence that they should be on their side. If they can't get enough adults to come they will register any baptized child of those coming as a messenger to meet the quota, and will overwhelm the vote. I saw it the one time I attended a Convention.

Those who are not so power hungry, and not willing to resort to such tactics, just concerned about the way things are going. will not resort to such tactics and will lose the votes again.

That is how it goes when there are people power hungry enough to use any means to keep their power.

I wish it could be otherwise.

Susie

Pastor Hilliard said...

k,

it was a fine sermon.

Are YOU a happy Christian?

Jon L. Estes said...

It seems absolute correct doctrine, to the liking of a few, has become the priority of our mission sending agency trustees, not winning people to Christ.

Demanding the silence of a true Southern Baptist or the loss of his ministry over the winning of souls should send SB's into an outrage.

I guess keeping our missionaries in line is a more important task than doing all we can to tell people their is hope and hell does not have to be their destiny.

Is the SBC, according to our trustees actions, in the wrong business?

Anonymous said...

In my previous comment I neglected to say that I hurt for Rodney and for the others before him who have finally had enough and left or been forced out. The missionaries have a hard enough task without being dumped on by those who are supposed to be supporting them.

I don't think the present leadership would have liked Lottie Moon, though they gladly take money given in her name.

I try not to judge other people, but some people make it difficult.
Do the leaders really care about mission work or just their own egos?

Susie

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why some people get upset with Michael Crowder. I enjoy reading what he posts. He absolutely hilarious not to mention rediculous. I have suspected this all along and after today I know it's true. He is not really a person. His posts are fictious to just see how far someone can go to be so totally rediculous and to upset people. I would encourage people to do like I do, read his posts and laugh so hard you cry.

Buddy

Lin said...

K, it was a fine sermon! Where is that same guy on this blog? :o)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why some people get upset with Michael Crowder. I enjoy reading what he posts. He is absolutely hilarious not to mention ridiculous. I have suspected this all along and after today I know it's true. He is not really a person. His posts are fictious to just see how far someone can go to be so totally ridiculous and to upset people. I would encourage people to do like I do, read his posts and laugh so hard you cry.

Buddy

K. Michael Crowder said...

"I have read for many months words that you have written that I can't imagine you or anyone else would ever speak out loud to someone's face."

Of course. This is blogging. And because of the topics, and because of the venue, the power play is sometimes the best move. Those who are offended have every right to be offended. That was the point my dear friend.

People today NEED to be offended in their sick and sinful ways. That is not legalism, that is love, for the posterity of the Convention.

My reading of 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 in no way negates my stance against liberalism and the new "wide-tent" approach to Wade's conevanistian religion.



cmlcros:

I used an EvangeCube the other day for the first time. I used it in a children's sermon. I realized something. The pictures kept them attentive. What I said and read from Scripture connected their souls to the Spirit of God--or at least planted a seed. They will likely remember that moment because of the EvangeCube. But they attain salvation by the hearing of the Word of God and by the regeneration of the Holy Spirit.

I do not doubt that orality has a place. But apart from the reading of Scripture, I find it to be a tool which lacks faith in the Spirit to do His thing.

No I have never been overseas. I pastor a church in which 25-30% of the active members are functionally illiterate and who live and die by the KJV which they do not understand just like your folks do with the Koran.

So....different....but not different. I pour Scripture out upon my folks. I immerse them in the Word of God each week in many forms. I try to leave the stories in the sandbox.

k

Anonymous said...

K michael,
preaching is "oral communication"

How can they hear unless someone tells them?

Using stories to oral people groups is very effective, even if they happen to be in the US of A. Isn't that what Sunday School basically does??

Darren Casper said...

Kevin Crowder,

Thank you for your response.

I suppose that this is one of those matters where two brothers must simply agree to disagree.

Just because one of our missionaries or one of our pastors holds to a continualist position, that does not mean that he/she is going the way of practices that are in far left field in terms of doctrinal error.

If you love Jesus and His gospel, which I'm sure you do, and if you believe that His Gospel is the exclusive path to heaven, then brother we are on the same team and I support you and and am with you. We may not agree on everything, but I won't "throw stones" at you.
The ministry is too tough for us to be shooting at our own.

Sincerely,
dc

Anonymous said...

If you think YOU are offending people TOWARD Christ, you are dead wrong. You still have too much "Pharisee" in you for that.

You communicate NO godly sorrow in your words. Only arrogance and pride. And many of us think you say aloud what many in the SBC leadership think and implement behind closed doors. They don't think much of their brothers and sisters in Christ. Only of themselves.

Lucy

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Mr. Casper,

You wrote, in response to the comments of Mr. Crowder, "Wow...this is very telling of those who hold to the cessationist view."

Please let me echo the thoughts of Mr. Hilliard by saying that to lump all cessationists in with the likes of Mr. Crowder is akin to lumping all black pastors in with the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

I personally am a cessationist who doesn't even find any real credible scriptural support for the notion of a PPL.

With that being said, however, I'm extremely saddened over the news of Mr. Hammer. It's really been bothering me how much we're narrowing the parameters of cooperation in the SBC.

I personally have no problem with anyone practicing a PPL in their own personal prayer times. Even though I may have a difference of opinion on the matter, I don't think someone should be precluded from service on that basis alone. If they were teaching it and doing it publicly, that would be a different issue. But who knows, if I had to face what some of our missionaries face, there's no telling what might come out of my mouth in my private prayer times.

As for the baptism issue, the whole thing to me is just ridiculous. I have no problem with Landmarkers in our convention, but to push their extra-Biblical beliefs on the rest of us (particularly requiring our missionaries to be in line with them) is going too far.

The CR was, in my opinion, a much needed and necessary step in saving our convention from the ceasepool of liberalism. We must not, however, let our convention drift toward the abyss of legalism. Either extreme will, IMHO, lead to a weakened SBC that will slowly be relegated to an ineffective and non-influential deonomination.

Considering what we have, the greatest plan for sending missionaries the world has ever known, it would be a shame to let it all end up on the trash heap of history because a few of our influential leaders think that some people's baptisms aren't legitimate.

Shane "George" Lambert said...

And to Mr. Crowder,

Please don't think I'm comparing you to Jeremiah Wright. I was just trying to make a point.

I believe you have the best of intentions in what you're saying, and I probably would agree with alot of what you believe, I just disagree with the way you are saying it.

I think Mr. Casper's last post sets the right tone for all of us. Let's cooperate to win this world for Jesus, in spite of our differences.

Anonymous said...

If I had a hammer
I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening
All over this land
I'd hammer out danger
I'd hammer out a warning
I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land

Anonymous said...

I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather be a hammer than a nail
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Away, I'd rather sail away
Like a swan that's here and gone
A man gets tied up to the ground
He gives the world its saddest sound
Its saddest sound

I'd rather be a forest than a street
Yes I would, if I could, I surely would
I'd rather feel the earth beneath my feet
Yes I would, if I only could, I surely would

Bruce said...

A serious question for those who believe the CR was necessary but are now concerned about legalism: why weren't you concerned about or recognize the legalism before now? Or did you see it and ignore it because the legalists were helping to accomplish what was perceived as a needed purge? In other words when does legalism become bad and when is it acceptable?

Jon L. Estes said...

Bruce,

I don't think we who supported the CR believe that a stand for inerrancy was, is or ever will be legalism. It, for we in the local churches a matter of the nature of the bible.

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Bruce,

I can't speak for others, but as for me, I was only eight years old in 1979. I didn't even know what a conservative, moderate, liberal or legalist was back then.

As I have studied the history of the SBC and what happened in 1979, it is obvious that some of the folks who helped bring about the changes in the convention were the legalists that you speak of. Some, but not all.

I've never, nor has anyone I know of, said that leglism was a good thing as long as the legalists were helping the conservatives accomplish their goals. Legalism didn't just become bad in the last two and a half years; I'm not real bright, but I'm smart enough to know that.

I've always denounced liberalism when it attacks or casts doubts on the authority of the Bible. I've always denounced legalism when it's reared it's ugly head in our convention. But it's only recently that we've had a vehicle (blogging) to make our feelings widely known.

Shane "George" Lambert said...

I second the words of Mr. Estes!

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Sorry, it's "legalism", not "leglism". Like I said, I'm not too bright.

Anonymous said...

Is that "ICHABOD" that I see over the IMB BOT & RVA????

How sad.


On the field (for how much longer???)

Anonymous said...

K. Michael,

You wrote, "If the only way to plant a Baptist church is to make it a charismatic church, then please let us call those missionaries home and wait on the Lord to send us some with an authentic passion. Cutting corners will not do in Kingdom work."

All I can say in response is that you obviously have never met Mr. Hammer or had the opportunity to listen to his vision for missions in Central & Eastern Europe.

~ An IMB Missionary

Pastor Hilliard said...

Bruce,

Estes has it right. To lump inerrancy in with legalism shows the liberalism of those who think that way.

The nature of Scripture is an essential.

Tom Parker said...

We have (had) the CR, but liberalism is still the boogy man. The word liberalism gets thrown around so casually, but where are these liberals in the SBC. I guess we will just keep bickering with each other.

Jon L. Estes said...

Well Tom,

It seems the legalist says all who do not believe their way, sign their creed are liberal.

Hasn't Wade already been called a liberal. If a missionary quits for any reason, they are a liberal.

We just need to get on board and learn the language skills.

Sad, truly sad!

Bruce said...

Pastor H,

Thou dost complain too much. Please reread my post. To be clear I did not lump the two together in any sense other than the suggestion (which others have also stated) that the legalists were a force in the CR and the inerrancy debate. I did not equate the two. The fact that you keep trying to brand me as a liberal I think speaks volumes, and illustrates a mindset that places people in camps for the sake of simplicity.

Shane "George" Lambert said...

Mr. Parker,

I believe the time for bickering is over. Unfortunately, some legalist leaders in the SBC have made that more and more difficult.

You ask, "where are these liberals in the SBC?"

I don't know who they are nor how many of them exist, but I'm not so worried about them these days. I don't think they threaten our convention today nearly as much as the legalists do.

We've already won the war over the authority of the Bible. Praise God for that. Let's just be careful that we don't lose this war over cooperation.

Anonymous said...

Rodney and his father are 2 incredible men. His dad was one of the best professor I had in seminary (and yes sir, you were sometimes a little cranky)!

This is tragic but the "hammer" men always land right where their Saviour wants them.

Ish Engle said...

As a usually silent observer (not Baptist but with many SBC friends and family) I find myself wanting to weigh in on two points.

First, just because someone practices a private prayer language does not necessitate them teaching it to people and planting "charismatic" churches. It has been noted on this blog that there was NO anecdotal evidence for the PPL rule (er, guideline). It is a slippery slope argument to say that a person's private prayer time will cause them to handle snakes, roll in the aisles, and start performing faith healings.

Second, to Mr. Crowder, how can a practice of Jesus be considered a lack of faith? You wrote, "I do not doubt that orality has a place. But apart from the reading of Scripture, I find it to be a tool which lacks faith in the Spirit to do His thing." The parable of {fill in the blank for there are many} speaks ABOUT Scripture, but is not a reading of OT Scripture. Are you accusing Jesus of lacking faith in the Holy Spirit to do His thing? If Jesus gave us the example of sharing the Gospel message in stories that help people relate (ie, parables), why do you dismiss the practice?

To k crowder, I don't mean that as an attack, though I'm pretty sure it comes off as one. I dislike the inability of this media to share facial and voice expressions. I am curious as to your understanding of A) parables, and, B) orality.

Anonymous said...

Rules that the IMB has implemented in the past that I have not liked and have kept Southern Baptist from the mission field.
1)lack of College & Seminary degrees
2)Limited English
3)2 years of college for expouses
4)Age requirements of candidates and their children .
To name a few
so what is
new ?

Anonymous said...

Some people when they feel threatened in their authority resort to the one thing they have left -- raw power. Saul unleashed his fury on designated servants and representatives of God's people, faithfully serving in ministry (1 Sam 22:16-19), simply because he perceived that they supported a different side. He wiped out an entire village in Israel as if they were God's enemies. Even Saul's men, loyal to Saul, were repulsed by the idea, and they refused to lay their hands against God's anointed servants (v. 17).

When people have a weak biblical case for their convictions, questionable evidence for their assertions, and a less than stellar track record in supporting the agency, the leadership, and the missionaries serving faithfully with the IMB, then they will resort to the only thing they have left -- raw power. The IMB trustees, behind closed doors:

1. Passed a gag order, refusing to allow any trustee to question publicly any policy they made.

2. Sought to squelch the opinions and views of the IMB president on the two disputed appointment policies. Then when it was finally released, marked those views with utter disdain and intense disrespect.

3. Refuse the repeated attempts of one of the regional leaders serving on the front lines to bring a report on how those policies affect the work, the workers, and potential workers on the field.

4. Have created an atmosphere in the organization that has made the servants around the world extremely nervous and in fear that their jobs may be in jeopardy.

Such actions reveal a group of people so closed-minded that they don't want to hear anything negative about their actions -- that they might be wrong.

What do they demand? Loyalty. They are not content with loyalty to the unfettered word of God, loyalty to the lost masses in which they serve, and loyalty to the Lord who not only desires evangelistic fervor but also unity among his people. Instead they demand loyalty to their own authority, loyalty to their interpretation of the scripture, and loyalty to their vision of missions -- devoid of any negative feedback from the field. The exhibition of such actions reveals raw power from which the Spirit has long departed. Resorting to worldly power tactics demonstrates a lack of spiritual vitality and a power that is actually quite fragile.

Any organization that is not run by the power of God's Spirit (and the fruits will demonstrate this), the best it can display is worldly power guided by worldly wisdom. Jesus said, "By their fruits you shall know them" (Matt 7:16, 20).

The loss of Rodney Hammer to IMB service is a great tragedy.

IMB missionary on the field

CmlCros said...

To the last anon IMB guy....
Great post....you nailed it.

Once again to KMC,
First of all my people group is 80% illiterate. They only the Gospel of Luke written in their heart language which isn't very useful because most of them cannot read. When we get together and tell stories we're not telling Dr. Seuss stories. We spend weeks at at time memorizing bible stories word for word in local arabic. These are what we share when we tell stories.

If someone is seriously interested we have variouos MP3 type resources we can give out. Mostly sermons and stuff like this because there are only two books of the Bible in audio form. For this reason we use various resources such as a special Islam version of the Jesus film which provides them with some OT background about the birth of Christ.

Please don't assume to know things about orality until you've seen it and experienced it. Jesus used this method and it was extremely effective. We're also thinking ahead to church. The church here will be in small groups in homes. They will most likely be led by untrained, uneducated men with limited resources. Most of what they learn and teach will be oral.

We also have to worry about security. Last week a couple in the south got arrested because they were handing out materials left and right. Now they're looking at getting kicked out of the country for good. When they leave so does their ministry. It's better to be wise as serpents and gentle as doves....orality helps with this.

Anonymous said...

We are praying for Rodney and Debbie.

Anonymous said...

As a former field worker, I must weigh in that Rodney is someone I'd follow into battle. He's Tom Hanks in "Saving Private Ryan." The report in BP says Rodney, who is on stateside assignment right now, expects to return to the field as a "normal" missionary. That's kind of cool...if the BOT will allow it. Seems like Rodney would just be crawling upon the sacrificial altar; daring, if you will, the BOT to can him.
As tragic as this story is, it's still remains to be seen whether the Hammer Benevolence Fund will need to be kicked up by Wade (a'la Klouda Fund) just yet.

Anonymous said...

In regards to Mr. Crowder, I wholeheartedly agree with Pastor Hilliard - we should allow his words (and his tone) to speak for themselves.
I'll simply let Someone else's words speak for itself:
"Fine speech is not becoming to a fool; still less is false speech to a prince" (Proverbs 17:7).
"A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool" (Proverbs 17:10).
"A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion" (Proverbs 18:2).
"A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are a snare to his soul" Proverbs 18:7.
"Do not speak in the hearing of a fool, for he will despise the good sense of your words" (Proverbs 23:9).
"Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you be like him yourself"(Proverbs 26:4).
Last, and certainly not least:
"If a wise man has an argument with a fool, the fool only rages and laughs, and there is no quiet." Proverbs 29:9.

-IM Fletcher

Anonymous said...

It is very disappointing to read a personal letter sent to the missionaries of CEE on a public BLOG. The letter was originally posted on the BLOG of the CEE Regional Leader which is a password protected vehicle for internal communication.

Rodney is well respected across CEE and he has done an excellent job leading us to be on mission. He always encouraged us to stay focused on the task. His personal views never created an atmosphere of dissent or caused personnel to question their calling, sending agency or purpose.

I've read many reactions to this latest event, yet very few pause to consider the 400 adult missionaries serving across CEE and the range of emotions they must be feeling.

BLOGs provide a forum for countless armchair Baptist historians and missiologists, but sadly their ranting does nothing to encourage those most deeply affected by the resignation of their regional leader.

In the past 24 hours the missionaries of CEE have had a message intended for them posted on the internet, read countless posts by people who talk a lot about missions, but seem to know very little about the life of missionaries and have had to respond to colleagues who feel stunned and dismayed at the resignation of their regional leader.

This has not been fun for those serving in CEE, the Hammers or even IMB leadership. How about a week of posts celebrating the activity of God across CEE and how awesome it is that Southern Baptists are part of that.

Serving proudly in CEE.

Shannon

Joe said...

Shannon,
As usual you have put into words what I am feeling. Thanks, brother!

Serving in CEE as well,

Joe

Wade Burleson said...

Joe and Shannon,

Quite revealing that the only two missionaries who write comments that could be interpreted as being critical of me or this blog feel enough comfort to reveal their names and locations of IMB service. I respect your feelings, and affirm your right to convey them on this blog. I also look forward to the day when the same type of comments could be made by your fellow missionaries, missionaries who would take the opposite viewpoint of yours, and feel safe enough to reveal their identities.

Blessings to the both of you in your service to our Lord.

In His Grace,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Joe and Shannon,

I know both of you and serve alongside you. I think you also know your feelings do not represent all of us in the CEE missionaries, not even a majority.

Pastor Burleson's comment above is the first one I read in this entire comment stream, then I read the two of yours. He understands the reality of the situation - better than the two of you.

Joe said...

Wade,

Shannon wrote, "How about a week of posts celebrating the activity of God across CEE and how awesome it is that Southern Baptists are part of that."

I think this is a great idea. How about it?

Joe

Joe said...

Wade and anon-
I will not speak for Shannon. However, I was speaking mostly of Shannon's reflection on Rodney's great leadership of CEE and how we are hurting for him, his family and the CEE family.

Joe

Anonymous said...

Joe and Shannon,

Yes, we are the ignorant dupes who just pay for you to be able to do missions. We don't understand a thing. But be sure and tithe to CP, right?

And of course, we have NO right to know what the Trustees are doing, either, do we? Just pay for it and shut up, right? Don't ask questions. Don't tell the negative truths.

Quit insulting the people who pay for missions. They have EVERY right to know what is going on. But, it looks like your future promotions are secure.

Lucy

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Joe,

I would agree with Shannon's assessment on Rodney's service.
Obviously, I would disagree with his assessment of what should, or should not, be public.

Elisabeth said...

My heart goes out to all you missionaries in the CEE.

This post and all the comments really illustrate problems in the Southern Baptist Convention and the IMB BoT.

Anonymous said...

Rodney and Debbie Hammer have been great regional leaders. I am sorry to see them leave their posts, but understand the principle that if one cannot live with the policies of one's employer, it's impossible to stay. I respect the Hammers' decision. I would have preferred that they stay on because of all the good they could have done, but it was their decision, not mine.

I was wondering if anyone on this blog has any idea about Dr. Page's appointments and the Committee on Nominations' appointments to the trustee boards. Dr. Page's election was purported to be a turning point. To those of you who are in a position to know, will these appointments make any difference? Should the Hammers have held out for future changes?

I also respect the regional leaders who have not decided to leave. I don't think that it is a reflection on them to continue serving.

Shannon and Joe get the best comment awards for this blog.

Louis

K. Michael Crowder said...

Wade,

Interesting day. Your peeps can be a little rough. But then I suppose I should wear the comments as a badge of merit seeing as where they are coming from. Not really. I felt sorta cruddy all day at all the things I felt the need to say. For calling you evil I am sorry. As for Vestal and Dilday and the Generals of Hell comment----the jury's still out on that one. I truly find the CBF to be a work of the Devil, and no apologies there. What saddened me the most, and what removed a fraction of the respect I had for you, was hearing the young Daniel Vestal champion the conservative cause on the yootoob vid while calling his supposed brothers in Christ "militants." And then to lead a cause which is as vile as the CBF. One really must question his heart. Oh...to the sad thing....that is Wade, that you sound so much like him. I am afraid that you are turning to the dark side. And so, as Master Yoda would say....."Give up that which you fear to lose."


I am of course speaking of your rumored vast book collection. I will speak in tongues for books. :)

The IMB has become the last refuge for the disgruntled SBC Church. With state conventions gobbling up CP dollars, with seminaries refusing to hire liberal profs, with Dr. Land speaking only for me and a handful of others, funding the IMB and NAMB is about all some church have left to do to do missions. And so now, every church wants to make sure the IMB represents THEM.

While I disagree with the general direction Dr. Rankin has taken the IMB, and while I disagree with the apparent chaos of the BoT's, and while I disagree with some of the methods and desires of some M's, I will always lead my church to support to the maximum and fullest extent possible the CP, AAEO, and LMCO, and the HS.

I still believe in the CP and the HS. We give and we pray. And whenever the Spirit directs, I will go.
*****************

To D.C. Thank you for your kind remarks. Sounds like you are an upstanding guy.


cmlcros:

I do not know everything about orality (Chronological Story telling/storying). I know what I have read, I know what I have been told (through stories hehe) and I find some of it to be bad, and some to be good. But here is an interesting story. When I first mentioned this on Wade's blog many months ago, I was doing some research into Operation GO in Nicaragua. I really wanted to "GO" and sought to receive information on several occasions only to have my emails tossed around and ultimately never answered. (On more than one occasion) I thought to myself---is this what it means to be shut out of ministry for having an opposing view? The interesting thing is, I would have hiked miles to pass out copies of John and show the Jesus Film. It was through the website and writings of Dr. Palmer that made me first question this practice, but also eager to go help. Strange dichotomy of passion I know, but the passion was soon faded for various reasons. Maybe it was a God thing, or not as the case may be.


Still, I was shocked to be ignored.


Lastly to whomever,

Jesus sometimes spoke in parables. We are not commanded to do likewise. Every Word that proceeded from the mouth of Christ was The Word of God. Defend orality if you will. Do not use Jesus to do though. We may expound and exposit Scripture, not reduce it. That is my opinion.

K

(My sincere apologies to all my detractors who did not get mention in this post, there are simply too many to which I could respond, I have chosen but a few.)

And YES! I AM indeed a happy Christian! :) With many many !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wade Burleson said...

K Michael Crowder,

Apology accepted. One of the things that may surprise you is that when you actually meet people, converse with them about their love for Christ, and join with them in prayer and a desire to see others know our Lord, the heart will grow fond of those you once considered part of 'the dark side.' My prayer is the Lord allows you to build some friendships that prove the veracity of what I just wrote.

Ish Engle said...

K. M. Crowder:

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. I see your point, though I disagree. I think mostly just a wording thing. I do not see how telling illustrative, anecdotal stories that help someone relate to Scripture and to our Lord is reducing Scripture. Maybe I have a different understanding of orality than you... interesting.

As for Jesus, to whom should I turn for example if not He? Again, if speaking in stories that reach people helps them to meet Him, how is this wrong? How is the story of the train man and his son limiting the Gospel message? How do examples of people who have given all limit the Message?

Paul spoke to the culture he came into contact with in stories to which they could relate; look at Mars Hill, he referenced the poets and play-writes of Greece.

Do you have a different understanding of orality? What does that mean to you? What do you do to illustrate points in Scripture? Do you ONLY quote Scripture, or do you include more recent examples?

I am truly keen to hear your perspective on this point. Thanks in advance for another thoughtful, kind response.

In Christ,

Ish

PS -- Again, because of the medium and the tendency for these conversations to heat up, let me emphasize that I am NOT being sarcastic, just disagreeing and possibly confused by how you use the term "orality". I sincerely would like to hear your understanding of the term and how you think it lessens Scripture.

K. Michael Crowder said...

Ish,

"Here is a quote from an article on CHRONOLOGICAL BIBLE STORYING:

"Therefore, an unsaved oral communicator (illiterate, functionally illiterate or semiliterate) can be introduced to Christ, can become a believer, can be discipled, can be trained as a minister, and can become an effective shepherd (pastor) of a church without ever becoming literate. In the not so distant past, individuals, in numerous countries and church settings, would not be allowed to be baptized until he or she became literate. That is ceasing to be true in many places. Chronological Bible Storying is not prejudiced against oral communicators becoming literate, but it is not dependent upon hearers becoming literate to hear the Gospel, or become an active church member and/or leader. In fact, in most places where Chronological Bible Storying has been used, literacy training enrollment levels have tripled and quadrupled after Chronological Bible Storying was used among a people."

Source: http://www.miskitomissions.com/ChurchPlantingMovements/BiblicalStorying/tabid/64/Default.aspx


Here is my problem. And maybe Dr. Palmer (surely Guy Muse could bring him into the discussion) or another missionary could shed light on a solution to my problem.

According to the above statement, a missionary could tell an illiterate lost person a story about Christ, lead them to the Lord using a Bible story book/track (I am good so far) then use another track to train them to be a pastor who tells the same story to others to win the lost to the Lord. Then Dr. Palmer gets kicked out of Nicaragua and 10 years later we come back to find that the story has changed and the "Oral Gospel" has been lost. Why? No one could read the Word of God; because no one was taught from the Word of God.


That is my problem.

William Carey did not tell stories. He preached the Word in Bengali.

K

K. Michael Crowder said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Lucy,

I think that you have misunderstood Shannon & Joe's comments. They are in no way ungrateful for the support of SB's at home. We are truly grateful for financial support and prayer support of Southern Baptists.

But, as an m in CEE they are expressing their hurt that Rodney has been put in a position where he has had to choose to no longer serve as our RL. And that before we have even had a moment to digest this information that effects us so profoundly, it is food for fodder on a blog.

I find Mr. Crowder's comments to be demeaning to me as an m. His lack of understanding and respect for our expertise in the field is hurtful.

To hear people comment and say things like, stop funding the IMB. That is hurtful as well. What about my family? Are we to starve?
What about our people group that we've poured our lives into for lo these many years? Are we to pack up and go home and leave them in darkness?

Lucy, we want SB to come along side us and to hurt when we hurt. To help us understand what is going on in our convention and why we feel that we cannot express our feelings about things that actually effect us, like having someone that wants to come work on our team but can't because the person that baptized them was some how found lacking (not their salvation experience, but the person baptizing them).

We plow concrete here in CEE! The fruit is small, the discouragements are daily, and we need to know that those at home are standing in the gap.

Lucy, I know those 2 that commented. I know their hearts. They were not insulting those that support us. That was not what they said and it was definitely not what they meant. I thought you were a little harsh to some folks that are hurting.

Another m in CEE

Ish Engle said...

KMC --

OK. I don't think we're that far off actually. My (LIMITED!!) exposure to illiterate, oral story cultures, though, has shown that they are not like "telephone", where the story changes in the retelling. They seem more like that favorite movie of your 4 year old, where they've watched it so many times that they quote right along with the movie. In a public setting, with a repeated story, it truly is remarkable how little the story changes.

Just my perspective. I understand your concern, and definitely support it as a valid concern. I guess where we differ is that I believe that God has already put a mechanism in place to handle it.

Thanks for the reply. :-D

K. Michael Crowder said...

"I guess where we differ is that I believe that God has already put a mechanism in place to handle it."

Yes he has, the written, and ONLY special, and salvific revelation of God to man.

(2 Tim 4:1-2) "Preach the Word"

K

Anonymous said...

I apologize if I were too harsh. Here is what I had a problem with:

"It is very disappointing to read a personal letter sent to the missionaries of CEE on a public BLOG. The letter was originally posted on the BLOG of the CEE Regional Leader which is a password protected vehicle for internal communication."

Would Shannon care to elaborate? What is he/she implying here? Does this mean the information was to be kept under passcode protected and not made public?

"I've read many reactions to this latest event, yet very few pause to consider the 400 adult missionaries serving across CEE and the range of emotions they must be feeling."

What does this mean? There are just too many ways this can be understood. Some of them not very good. Is this an insult to Wade's post? Are we to begin every comment with 'I acknowledge the 400 m's in CEE and their range of emotions...' to please this person?

"BLOGs provide a forum for countless armchair Baptist historians and missiologists, but sadly their ranting does nothing to encourage those most deeply affected by the resignation of their regional leader."

What does this mean? It sure sounded like an insult to me. We are arm chair theologians? Is this person saying that Wade should devote his blog to encourage them? Is this a rebuke for posting the story about Hammer? Could this person be any more elusive?

"In the past 24 hours the missionaries of CEE have had a message intended for them posted on the internet, read countless posts by people who talk a lot about missions, but seem to know very little about the life of missionaries and have had to respond to colleagues who feel stunned and dismayed at the resignation of their regional leader."

What does this mean? Are we bad peole because we did not respond the way Shannon thought we should? This sounds like an insult to those who hold the rope for those who go down into the well.

"This has not been fun for those serving in CEE, the Hammers or even IMB leadership. How about a week of posts celebrating the activity of God across CEE and how awesome it is that Southern Baptists are part of that."

What is this? We JUST found out that Hammer resigned. Perhaps Wade should have had a week of posts celebrating the CEE BEFORE he posted about the resignation?

Sorry, but I don't do vague very well. This person used a lot of words to say very little that I can understand. What is the meaning behind all these words.

Is this person upset with Wade? With us? What? We need a translator! After all, we are just ignorant arm chair theologians.

I don't mind being called mean or even misunderstood. Maybe I am dense, but I sure did not see Shannon's comments as anything but insulting to all of us.

Arm Chair theologians?


Lucy-

kingofbleh said...

Religious denominations which only validate baptism performed my one of THEIR clergy....

Roman Catholic Church
United Church of Christ
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints
Jehovah's Witnesses
Southern Baptist Convention

hmmm.......

Ish Engle said...

KMC-

Now that kind of reply is why people here get upset with you. I NEVER disagreed with you about the Word of God. I have NEVER suggested preaching anything but the Gospel.

I merely suggested that for a group a people who cannot read and have a strong oral tradition, God made that strong oral tradition a mechanism for retention. Giving them a book does NOT help them keep faithful to the Gospel -- THEY CANNOT READ!

You must also be intentionally ignorant as several people here (and many on Voice of the Martyr's and other mission websites) point out that in most Arabic and Communist countries, written copies of the Gospel result in execution or maiming. In that situation, "Here, read this book, but don't get caught or they'll chop off your hand or head," doesn't work well to win soul's to Christ.

But hey, your in Missouri. Those Arabs just need to conform to your way of doing things, then you can share the Gospel. Why would you EVER want to reach them where they are at? Make them change first! Yeah, that'll work --- NOT!!!

CmlCros said...

KMC,
I understand your fear of orality. I guess the gospel isn't intended for those illiterate poor people in the Muslim world. In this country girls in the villages can't go to school past 3rd-4th grade because they're parents won't let them. I guess they can all go to hell because the word of God is only written and therefore they can't take part. BTW, Did Jesus and the disciples walk around with Leather Bounds under their arms?

Also, theology is also screwed up in places where there is a written word. People screw up the interpretation of scritpure even when they have multiple copies of the Bible. It doesn't just happen in oral cultures.

K. Michael Crowder said...

"I guess the gospel isn't intended for those illiterate poor people in the Muslim world."


I cannot answer that. The Gospel is for the elect. I never said one must read. But one indeed must HEAR the Gospel. They must HEAR the Word of God as presented in Holy Scripture. I let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Every Gospel presentation MUST include the Spoken Word of God. On this point I will NEVER waiver.

ArnoldandJoy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ish Engle said...

KMC --

You wrote: "I never said one must read. But one indeed must HEAR the Gospel. They must HEAR the Word of God as presented in Holy Scripture. I let the Holy Spirit do the rest. Every Gospel presentation MUST include the Spoken Word of God. On this point I will NEVER waiver."

No, you never said one must read, but you did say that only the written Word counts. How do you use the written Word if you do not read it?

Also, NO ONE HERE HAS EVER SUGGESTED THAT GOSPEL PRESENTATION NOT INCLUDE THE SPOKEN WORD OF GOD! I had to shout so that you'd hear. All we said was that sometimes, in some cultures (even today) the presentation needs to be oral and not written.

Do NOT accuse me of trying to preach other than the Gospel when I merely said we should communicate in a way they can understand.

CmlCros said...

KMC,
Do you not listen to what we all are saying?
When we use orality, we tell scripture. What else do you want to know?

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

In your first comment you made the snide statement to Shannon and Joe "But, it looks like your future promotions are secure."

Clearly you are unaware of what promotion means within the IMB. The benefits of promotion are more work, more frustrations, more travel which takes you away from your family, less sleep, less time available to spend sharing the love of Jesus with nationals. There is no pay raise whatsoever, no additional vacation time, no better retirement package.

There is little or nothing to be gained from a worldly standpoint by being promoted as a missionary with the IMB.

So, to imply that their comments were somehow self-serving not only shows that you are inconsiderate but also quite unknowledgeable.

Anonymous said...

"There is no pay raise whatsoever, no additional vacation time, no better retirement package."

Seriously? You make the same amount as say, Rankin? Or a VP?

Anonymous said...

"They must HEAR the Word of God as presented in Holy Scripture"

K, what translation is the most accurate in your opinion?

Anonymous said...

""There is no pay raise whatsoever, no additional vacation time, no better retirement package."

Seriously? You make the same amount as say, Rankin? Or a VP?"

Rankin and VP's are not missionaries. They are Richmond Employees. Yes they do get raises. A missionary (as I said) promoted to a higher position as a missionary does not get a raise.

Rodney Hammer, who this thread is about, did not make more as a Regional Leader than anyone else because of his position. There is a minimal increase every 5 years of service not related to position or title.

Tom Parker said...

KMC:

You sure have knowledge on everything far beyond your years. You're even an expert on missions work. Have you ever been on a mission's trip? You're scary man. You just love the attention.

Rex Ray said...

Louis,
You said, “I would have preferred that they [Hammers] stay on because of all the good they could have done…”

Who’s to say by their leaving, more good for the Lord may be done by causing ‘spiritual bosses’ to be replaced by ‘spiritual leaders’?

Oh, I forgot that’s already happened when Hammer replaced Floyd. But the IMB trustees wanted Hammer to be like Floyd in being a ‘boss', and taking orders from the ‘higher ups’ who think they know, from an office, more than missionaries on the field.

The IMB actions and rules imply missionaries don’t need for guidance from the Holy Spirit because missionaries have the IMB.

Today, I learned from Hershael York’s blog that missionaries are not allowed to own swimming pools. Wonder if the rules exceed the 600 plus that Pharisees had?

In a nutshell, the problem is that missionaries are treated as un-trusted employees that don’t have a union to represent them. Maybe that’s what they need…a union to protect them from their employers.

A new concept was expressed in 1997 by a letter to missionaries that stated:

This is an awesome moment to stand before you and attempt to articulate the beginning of a new paradigm in overseas administration and structure. Such an expectancy has been created regarding these recommendations that it seems the whole world is waiting with bated breathe for what I am going to say…the guidance and anointing of God will require a significant shift in attitudes and ways of functioning…put the policy manual on the shelf and focus on the task of winning our world. We are starting with structure, but the real evidence of change will come when the following characteristics are reflected.
1. A passion to know the Messiah and make Him known with a total abandonment that supersedes concerns of finances, family, and personal fulfillment...
2. A confidence and willingness to follow the wisdom and guidance of God-appointed leadership whether we necessarily understand or agree.
3. A recognition that the IMB provides the best, most equitable support possible, within available resources, and letters about cost of living become a thing of the past.
4. A passion to share at home what God is doing and mobilize support for overseas work so that there is a no consideration of what counts as a furlough obligation or not.


Recommendations to the Board
April 9, 1997
Overseas Organization and Administration Task Force
1. Rational for New Directions
A. God is accelerating the redemption of all the lost peoples of the world. We are in the midst of the greatest overseas opportunity in history. We must make whatever changes necessary to keep pace with what God is doing to complete the unfinished task.

B. At this unprecedented moment in history, our overseas advance does not seem to be keeping pace with the opportunities or with what the Father is doing through others.

C. Our organization and culture must be flexible, responsive, change-oriented and innovative to meet the challenge off continuous rapid change.

D. To facilitate the ownership and responsibility of each field team member to maximize his or her potential and to fulfill his or her God given call.

E. To provide administration and leadership that will function efficiently, eliminate overlap and create synergistic effectiveness.

II. Recommendations to Trustees

As we consider afresh our vision to lead Southern Baptist working with the Father and to bring all the peoples of the world to faith, we recommend the following:

A. That the IMB reconfigure its work into 14 geographic regions overseas (as attached). By placing the number of personnel, each region will be positioned for growth and kingdom impact. Regions will utilize the unreached people group methodology with CSI type components as appropriate.

B. That new leadership profiles and job descriptions (as attached) be adopted for all new regional leadership positions. The Regional Leader will give primary focus to strategic leadership; administrative task will be handled by the Field Administrative Associate; and the Field Strategy Associate will lead in strategy planning and implementation. All of these positions will be with field personnel status.

C. That a new position be created in the Office of Overseas Operations for an Associate
Vice President for Strategy Coordination and Mobilization as defined by the attached job description.

D. That Regional Leaders will lead field teams to focus on bringing all peoples of the world to faith; to be reflected in the way they work; the way they are organized and the way they are accountable.

E. That current area leadership which includes Area Directors, Associate Area Directors and Field Associate Area Directors continue to function in their present assignment until the new organization is put in place. We anticipate organizational changes to begin July 1, 1997.

F. That the trustees Overseas Organization and Administration Task Force serve as the search committee for election on the Regional Leaders and interview prospective candidates for Associate Regional Leaders, Field Administrative Associates, and Field Strategy Associates.

G. That the trustees Overseas Organization and Administration Task Force study and make future recommendations for structuring trustee organization.


Lewis, with ten years in operation, if this new concept is so great, how many countries, denominations, etc. have copied the Southern Baptist way of missions; including firing their missionaries that would not sign a creed?

Anonymous said...

Shannon and Joe (serving in K?),

I agree with you.

It seems as though we on the field are being used by factions in the States to further their own positions in what is the latest phase in a seemingly never ending conflict. I mean honestly, how did this thread turn into an argument over orality?!? I guess in some twisted way it’s reassuring to see that it’s not just the “baby” Baptists over here in Europe who struggle, but our own folk as well.

I’ve heard the name of the gentleman running this site for a number of years, but it took this event to get me interested enough to finally Google it. It’s actually rather disappointing seeing the level of discourse. That’s the Internet for you.

I try to follow Paul’s advice in 2 Tim 2:4 “No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs – he wants to please his commanding officer,” the CO being Jesus, who will not be resigning, as Rodney’s latest email confirms. However, as we do seem to have the ears of many people who would not normally be interested in CEE, let’s take over this blog as you suggested Shannon. I’ll start.

This Sunday a young man named Luka is going to be sharing his testimony in our small church. My part of the world is one that has yet to see a massive moving of God, and so we wildly celebrate every conversion. Yet Luka’s story is beautiful because when he gets baptized this summer he will represent an entire family that has been born again. He father was baptized 7 years ago, his mother and sister 2 years ago. When his mother shared her testimony before her baptism in ’06 she made the following comment, “Today is the end of a twenty year struggle with God.” Twenty years ago a stranger had given her a Bible, and it took all those years, and the transformed life of her husband, for her to come to Christ. Today her entire family is a light to their friends and family in a very, very dark place.

The question for those of us in CEE is do we have the determination to stick with it for 20 years, to see the fruit? Or are we going to get caught up in civilian affairs?

Eric

PS – BTW Lucy, the CEE site is password protected for security reasons. Not to protect the information from you, but rather from some of the governments over here, who, believe it or not, don’t actually want us here sharing the Gospel.

Anonymous said...

Eric, You have me all wrong. I am your biggest supporter.

For some reason, a few have re-interpreted Shannon's comment to mean something other than what it seemed to originally communicate. Just call me confused.

Lucy

Anonymous said...

Lucy,

CEE has a website that dispenses general information about our region.
http://www.hope4cee.org/

We also have a blog started by Rodney which is only for missionaires. It is used to dispense information to us and allows us to have direct feedback to Rodney. That is where the letter which was posted for us that was sent by someone in our region to Wade's blog.

I believe from my reading of the entire letter that Rodney intended to share the information in the letter with the SBC public. His reason for resigning as Regional Leader was to enable him to be public in his convictions about the 2 new policies for missionary appointment. His purpose for resigning is so that he can advocate for changes publically.

A CEE m

LivingDust said...

As I have read the responses to the "The Hammer Has Fallen" post I am both saddened and dismayed at the vitrol and angry words being exchanged. Why is it that folk are so angry and embittered? Surely if we were sitting together in a room we would not speak to each other in such form.

There are many issues that need to be addressed as we work to "cooperate" under the SBC umbrella, but ALL OF THEM PALE in comparison to the import of calling sinners unto repentance and pointing them to Calvary.

Anonymous said...

There are great things happening across CEE and Rodney Hammer's leadership has served as an inspiration to those serving in the region over the past eight years.

This summer in Ukraine an effort to start 125 new churches is under way. The Ukrainian Baptist Union has launched Project 125 to address the need for a Christian witness in every regional city of the country. These are county seat towns and cities that have no Baptist church. In areas where the regional cities have a Baptist church, our national partners are going to the next level of the population or into another region of the city.

I've been blessed to encourage many Ukrainian church planters and meet with various leaders who are providing direction for this project.

Our CEE motto "Hope for every heart and a church planting movement for every people" is being followed by faithful missionaries and is being embraced by wonderful national partners like those found in Ukraine.

Pray that the doors will remain open and that many others will be empowered to follow their calling to serve.

Shannon

Anonymous said...

Southern Baptists’ willingness to give through the Cooperative Program can impact the lives of people like Peter for eternity. Like most Hungarians, he does not know God. On the other hand, Peter is unique from most Hungarians in that someone knows and cares about his ignorance.

For the past five years IMB missionary Joey Martin has made Budapest, Hungary, his home. This places him in the middle of a nation with one of the world’s highest depression and suicide rates. Hungary also has been devastated by the loss of every major war it has entered, demoralized by the communist regime that has been absent for only a generation, and unaware of its desperation for the hope of Christ.

Joey met Peter at a gym. Although Peter stopped going to the facility for 10 months, Joey was able to befriend him and gain a language partner in the process. Now they meet weekly at McDonald’s, with the conversation running the gamut from politics to relationships to fishing.

Joey has had many opportunities to share his faith with Peter, who asks questions and is typically intrigued by Joey’s “strange” ideology. Yet Peter says he does not want Christ. He indeed has been blinded to the truth.

However, this story is not without hope. One evening Peter asked Joey about how he gets paid, and Joey responded honestly about the Cooperative Program of Southern Baptists. Peter was shocked that people in the United States would willingly give their money so someone like him could hear a message. This idea is greatly juxtaposed with the Hungarian state church that the government requires people support with taxes.

The generosity and love of people who have never met Peter seemed to ignite a spark in his heart.

As much joy as this spark calls for, it is a far cry from surrender to Christ. Peter is typical of most Central and Eastern Europeans, who are not won by flowery, eloquent words, but instead require long-term friendship.

“I learned long ago that mission work isn’t ‘romantic,’” Joey said. “We often have visions of people turning to Christ by the hundreds or thousands, while in reality we learn to be thankful for those who listen with an open heart.

“It is not for us to know the outcome, only for us to faithfully share how Jesus can take broken lives and restore them.”

www.hope4cee.org said...

On a picturesque hillside sits a dilapidated farm where Georgia and Milan live with their two sons. Their life has not been easy. Milan is an alcoholic and has, in the past, been abusive and hostile to the Gospel. He worked and lived away from home in the capitol city, and left the upkeep of the farm in Georgia’s hands.

These conditions caused Richard Bell, International Board worker who is involved in the heifer distribution project (HDP) in Croatia, to doubt their suitability for receiving three bred Holstein cows, but Georgia’s kind spirit and generosity convinced him otherwise.

“She was sensitive and accepting of any spiritual conversation and was immediately open to attending a Bible study with the one believer in the village,” Richard said.

Sharing the gospel is the goal of Richard’s program. Croatian farmers are often poor with little hope of providing for their families. Through giving them Holstein cows, the HDP provides them with a potentially steady income and helps them start anew. While the workers befriend them and hold them accountable, they also have the opportunity to guide them toward a relationship with Christ.

“Georgia cared for those cows like they were her very own children and even hand- milked them after the three calves were born,” Richard said. “Even better, she was also a faithful participant in Bible study.”

Milan also came to Bible study but was very disruptive and hurtful. However, he did accept a Bible and eventually left his work in the city and came back to the farm to help Georgia.

“He came again to Bible study carrying his Bible and sat quietly,” Richard said. “We were all amazed!”

Though the family has continued to have some struggles, their lives have improved. Once impoverished, they now receive a regular income from the sale of milk. Milan is more open to spiritual things, and has become a better care-taker. In fact they used their new income to buy their first tractor.

“It has been three years now since the beginning of the project and Georgia is now milking five adult Holstein cows,” Richard said. “We feel certain that she has come to know the Lord, and she is a joy to visit!”

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