Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Patience Is the Operative Word for the SBC

This next week, Monday through Wednesday, July 16-18, in Richmond, Virginia, the trustees of the International Mission Board will convene to conduct missions business. I do not intend to make any motion at the meeting regarding the new guidelines prohibiting the appointment of missionaries who possess a private prayer language or who have not been baptized in a Southern Baptist Church (or one that believes in 'eternal security').

The mood and tone of the board continues to change. New trustees are elected every year, but those who pushed for the new guidelines are still in trustee leadership until 2008, including Chairman John Floyd, who was the Chairman of the particular Personnel Committee that was pushing the new guidelines when I joined the board in 2005. I commend John for his gracious leadership, but he and I are on polar opposite ends of the belief spectrum when it comes to the board's authority to establish doctrinal requisites that exceed the BFM 2000.

I believe the right thing to do is to reverse the guideline that forbids the appointment of missionaries who have a private prayer language, while reinforcing the former policy that any missionary will face disciplinary action for any of the gifts that are overemphasized or abused publicly. Further, any baptismal guideline that subverts the authority of the local church's acceptance of believer's baptism is unwise and ought be reversed. If a Southern Baptist missionary candidate is trusting in Christ alone for salvation, has publicly confessed his faith in Christ through believer's baptism by immersion, and that candidates local Southern Baptist church to which he belongs has accepted his Christian baptism, then I believe we as a board of trustees should fall under the authority of that local church because the IMB board of trustees is not a higher authority on the matter of baptism than the candidate's local church.

It can no longer be argued that the decision of the IMB board of trustees reflects the majority views of the SBC. LIFEWAY's survey took that argument away. It can also no longer be argued that the SBC desires the board to go beyond the BFM 2000 in establishing missionary service criteria - the Garner motion took that away. All that can be said now is what I have been saying for two years: There seem to be some who wish the convention to reflect their own personal and specific doctrinal viewpoints on the gifts (cessationism) and baptism (the 'authority' of the baptizer is as important as the heart of the candidate).

I am patient. I will wait it out to insure we remain a cooperative convention, open to various interpretations of tertiary doctrines as we work together around the essentials of the gospel for the furtherance of the kingdom of Christ through cooperative efforts in missions and evangelism.

In His Grace,



Rev. said...

I realize that you are a trustee of the IMB, but wondered if you knew that a guideline (prohibition) related to glossalalia has been in place for some time for those appointed / endorsed by the NAMB? If so, will you and/or others seek to address this matter? Just curious.

Jeff said...


I will be praying for Jesus Christ to have the preeminence at the meeting next week--not any one side. And should that (the preeminence of Christ) prevail--well, some people will still be ticked off. We'll see. And again, thanks for listing me on your blogroll.

Keep the faith!


Writer said...


The sovereignty of God will carry the day.

This almost unknown doctrine in SBC circles was a wonderful comfort to me during my son's illness. I know this doctrine is precious to you as well and will serve to undergird your patience as given by the Holy Spirit.


wadeburleson.org said...


I did not know until after the IMB entered this discussion. I have called NAMB and inquired as to when it appeared, the minutes of the meeting when it occurred, etc . . .

Nobody is able to answer my questions.

docjoc said...

Would the Apostle Paul be eligible to be sent out as a Southern Baptist Missionary under the
IBC or NAMB guidelines?

Anyone care to tackle this question?

Chuck Bryce said...

He would not be eligible:

1 Corinthians 14:18
I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you.

Unless someone has evidence that Annanias was Pastoring/attending/ or a member of a Baptist Chuch I guess Paul is eliminated here too.

Acts 9:17-20

17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, "Brother Saul, the Lord--Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here--has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul's eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God.

Bob Cleveland said...

At my age, patience and prudence are often in conflict.

Bob Cleveland said...


That's an optimistic "able".

Jeff said...


It sure seems strange that SBC entities cannot answer questions from SBC members. I guess 16 million, oops, I mean 6 million Southern Baptists are supposed to believe that none of our elected/appointed/employed leaders would ever have their own agenda??? Or that the rank and file believer (who is a priest according to the Word) would even attempt to question any of our leaders??

I've only been reading these blogs for a short period of time and one thread that runs throughout is that there seems to be no real transparency once you reach a certain level in the SBC hierarchy. Thankfully, it is beginning to change--but only because we are not afraid to ask questions that matter.


Rev. said...

It was in place at least by 2005, but I believe it was much sooner than that. I'm uncertain as to when it was set in place. Surely someone from the NAMB will let you know something before too long.

wadeburleson.org said...

Art Rogers was told the same thing I was told.

In 1995 it just suddenly appeared in the policy manual book - with no record of trustee adoption.

Anonymous said...

Are there other "Big-tent" conservatives on the board? It seems to me that someone needs to call the IMB BOT to account on this issue. Will they yield to the mandate of the SBC or not?

I can understand why you, Wade, don't want to be at the epicenter of this again, but someone needs to take the stand.

When the SBC speaks, the boards are obligated to come in line, right?

Dave Miller
Sioux City, Iowa

irreverend fox said...


"the IMB board of trustees is not a higher authority on the matter of baptism than the candidate's local church."

I do not understand how anyone can argue with this well put point.

It's as if the IMB is standing on her head and then is telling us that everything is upside down.

wadeburleson.org said...


I agree. We are getting there.

As my favorite Kung Fu artist used to say, "Patience little grasshopper."


wadeburleson.org said...


To be honest with you, I don't really care that much about the private prayer language guideline except for the sake of the fact it excludes people in the SBC I believe are otherwise qualified --

but the baptismal guideline is more irritating to me than a goathead in my sock.


wadeburleson.org said...

A goathead is a sticker that really hurts when you step on it and is found in West Texas. Up close it has two large horns and looks like a goat's head.

Anonymous said...

I am 6'4" and weigh over 300 pounds. It's been a long time since anyone called me "Little grasshopper" - or little anything.


Anonymous said...

The NAMB policy has been on the books since 1987 or 1988, I believe.

Anonymous said...

Since the Protestant church "isn't the 'full church'" anyway, what does any of this matter? (Topic of another blog this week; see the article linked: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/europe/07/10/pope.churches.reut/index.html; obviously, I disagree)

David Troublefield
Wichita Falls, TX

Anonymous said...

That link is:



Anonymous said...

The IMB will be able to tell us when it was enlightened about the policy change as soon as the green man's head appears on the pretty curtains and his voice booms through the speakers for Dorothy, Tin Man, and the Lion.

OBTW - Has OK dried out yet?

Steve Austin
Hoptown, Ky.

Tim Sweatman said...


Once again I find myself less optimistic than you about what the board will do. When you consider that those who are committed to narrowing the parameters of cooperation have relentlessly attacked both the BFM motion and the Lifeway survey, it is apparent that they have no intention of allowing minor things like facts or the will of the convention to thwart their agenda. I would hope that a number of the trustees who personally favor the guidelines would yield to the expressed will of the convention regarding the BFM's sufficiency as a doctrinal guide, but I have little confidence that many will do so.

That being said, because God is sovereign we know His Kingdom will continue to advance regardless of what the board does. The question is will the SBC continue to enjoy the privilege of being used by God for the advancement of His Kingdom. If we persist in separatism and division, we know what the answer will be---a resounding NO.

Anonymous said...

Visit this blog, and find out important information about a left-wing project that Wade supports:


Bennett Willis said...

The text below {in braces}was copied from the link referenced in posting 10 July, 2007 21:30

{The text refers to "ecclesial communities originating from the Reformation," a term used to refer to Protestants and Anglicans. Father Augustine Di Noia, under-secretary for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the document did not alter the commitment for ecumenical dialogue, but aimed to assert Catholic identity in those talks.

"The Church is not backtracking on ecumenical commitment," Di Noia told Vatican radio.

"But, as you know, it is fundamental to any kind of dialogue that the participants are clear about their own identity. That is, dialogue cannot be an occasion to accommodate or soften what you actually understand yourself to be." }

It is nice to know that we are not the only ones with "identity issues." :)

Bennett Willis

docjoc said...

Correct if I am wrong but it seems to me that the Apostle Paul would not be allowed to be sent out as a Southern Baptist Missionary under the “tongue rule” of the IMB or the NAMB.

Am I correct?

wadeburleson.org said...


You are silly.

Show a little courage.

wadeburleson.org said...


Not only would the Apostle Paul not qualify, I'm not sure Jesus would with his baptism in the Jordan.


Jack Maddox said...


Goatheads are a bummer! I hate those things...hurts like the dickens!


Jeff said...

You are right, Jesus wouldn't be accepted by the IMB or NAMB. In fact, he wouldn't be accepted in most of our churches. I love these words from Todd Agnew:

Pretty blue eyes and curly brown hair and a clear complexion,
Is how you see Him as He dies for your sins.
But the Word says He was “battered and scarred,” or did you miss that part?
Sometimes I doubt we’d recognize Him.
Cause my Jesus bled and died. He spent His time with thieves and the least of these.
But He loved the poor and accosted the comfortable.
So which one do you want to be?
Cause my Jesus would never be accepted in my church.
The blood and dirt on His feet might stain the carpet.
But He reaches for the hurting, and despises the proud.
And I think He’d prefer Beale Street to the “stained glass crowd.”
But I know that He can hear me when I cry out loud—I want to be like my Jesus!


OKpreacher said...


I completely agree. Great article.


Anonymous said...

On the alien baptism issue, just consider me a Kentucky cocklebur in Bro. Wade's sock. (I couldn't resist the analogy - grin)

Seriously, Bro. Wade, you write that you don't agree with the IMB board of trustees being a higher authority on the matter of baptism than the candidate's local church, but then you say the IMB board of trustees should reject a candidate's baptism that is something other than "believer's baptism by immersion". So for example if one of the liberal CBF churches sends a person to the IMB who only has been sprinkled for baptism, you seem to agree that the IMB board of trustees should become a higher authority than their local church on the matter of baptism. On one hand you agree with the board being a higher authority, but on the other hand you do not. Why the difference?

I know what your answer will be. You are thinking, well the Baptist Faith and Message plainly spells out that baptism is always to be believer's immersion and this is the confession of Southern Baptists, so the IMB board of trustees has a right to reject someone who has a baptism that is not in accord with the BF&M (should as someone with sprinkling.)

But wait... The BF&M also plainly says that baptism is a local church ordinance and then defines a local church as a Baptist / baptistic church plainly implying that baptisms that are not contacted to a local Baptist / baptistic church should be rejected. This is why I have been saying for the past two years the IMB baptism guideline does not go beyond the BF&M.

hopelesslyhuman said...

And to reiterate, the policies were never about correcting problems on the field, as was originally stated as the reason for the PPL policy. We asked, repeadedly, and no one pushing the policies could deliver the examples needed to support that (false) assertion.

wadeburleson.org said...


Your argument is a hypothetical.

The old policy, and particularly the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, details exactly what biblical baptism is - for believers and by immersion.

Infant baptism, or sprinkling, or pouring is a violation of our confession. Believers' baptism is a major tenet of our Southern Baptist identity.

You are comparing apples and oranges.

But I do love the sticker analogy from my Landmark friend.


Anonymous said...

Take a look at this. Kind of puts things in perspective.


Rex Ray said...

Ben Stratton,
Oh, so sly, so innocently written—one little word of condemnation. A word that puts a hood over the head of one being executed.

Do you remember the highly advertised public execution of a young man who had a board tied to his back, and the foreign policeman shot his pistol through the board? We would never do that would we?

But when it comes to slaying the character of CBF Christians; well that’s a different story…duhh?

The word once was ‘heretic’ or ‘witch’, but now there is a more civil word…“LIBERAL”.

Happy hunting, Ben, you should find many to choose from.

Bonham, Texas

Anonymous said...


Patience is important; so is truth.
Why are you following the leadership of Carter, Clinton, and Underwood? This proves that you are making a huge mistake:

Al (not Mohler!)

Marty Duren said...

It might interest you and others to know that Mid-America Seminary, where Dr. Floyd is employed, distributed a free copy of its most recent theological journal at the annual meeting last month. Among the 8 or 9 articles included were a couple that were critical of Church Planting Movements which were endorsed by the IMB way back at the implementation of New Directions.

Dr. Floyd is listed as one of the editors of the journal. Didn't the trustees pass a guideline about their own behavior that forbade criticism of established policy?

Anonymous said...

I am not a cessationist yet do not think that scripture ever teaches that there is such a thing as a private prayer language. The best exegesis rules this out in both 1 Cor 14 and Romans 8.