Thursday, September 11, 2008

Report from the Latest IMB Trustee Meeting -- I love what you're doing, but still have a bad taste in my mouth that won't go away

Dr. Hershael York has provided a report of the happenings at the recent IMB trustee meeting. I am pleased with the result of that meeting in a renewed Vision, Mission, and Core Values that will guide the IMB in the coming years. In my opinion, they are well crafted and are exactly the direction needed. They reflect an emphasis on conservative evangelical/Baptist doctrine, a commitment to inerrancy, the exclusivity of the gospel, contextualization, church planting, and mission partnership.

Likewise, I am pleased with the proposals that proceed from this mission and values. Without going into detail, I believe they reflect a needed refocusing and address many of the issues that have been in discussion among those who are concerned with both biblical fidelity, sound missiology, and cooperation with other evangelicals.

I am not pleased, however, with the trustees continued support of the personnel policies (which I infer by the continued inaction on the part of the trustees to reverse these policies) that have been a center point of controversy in the Convention for over two years. It seems that the trustees have decided to ignore the issue and hope that everyone will just forget about it. Well, I have not forgotten.

Reading over the newly stated Core Values, I am struck by the dissonance between core value #5 and the personnel policies. The value as stated is as follows:

We serve churches to facilitate their involvement in the Great Commission and the sending of missionaries to bring all peoples to faith in Jesus Christ.

If this is really a core value, why then do we deny mission service to called men and women of God who are conservative, Bible-believing, and affirm the 2000 BF&M?!?!? The church to which I have recently been called as pastor was recognized by the IMB for being in the Top 2% of per capita giving to Lottie Moon (I cannot take credit for this). As their new pastor, I will continue to lead the church in sacrificial giving to IMB missions and partnering with IMB missionaries to take the gospel to the nations. Though we are a mission-minded, mission-giving, mission-going church, neither of our two pastors are eligible to serve with the IMB under the current policies. Both of us were baptized as believers, by immersion, in churches which did not affirm eternal security. The policies reflect an errant view of Baptism and what it means to be a New Testament church. Further, they narrow doctrinal parameters in a way that is inconsistent with the spirit of the 2000 BF&M, which I wholeheartedly endorse and for which I cast my ballot in Orlando.

My question is this: How can the trustees claim that they “serve churches to facilitate their involvement” when they deny involvement of those who are faithful Southern Baptists?

1 comment:

Todd Benkert said...

If you are reading this post, I encourage you to also check out this site:

See also my previous post about the IMB policies here:

-- Todd