November 30, 2005

IMB and Baptism, Round 2

OK, so in my other post about this, I mentioned my concern with the location of the baptism that the IMB was saying was unscriptural. Reading more about the decision, I have a LOT more concerns.

There is a concern that the IMB is overstepping it's boundaries. It is, in effect, telling churches that baptisms that they have accepted as Biblical and proper are, in fact, neither. The International Missions Board of the Southern Baptist Convention has decided to tell churches what constitutes scriptural baptism and what doesn't.

There is a concern that the majority of the trustees of the IMB didn't vote at all on this issue. The meeting conflicted with some state conventions, apparently, which makes me wonder who was responsible for the scheduling in the first place. It does seem that the deck was stacked, to me at least.

There is a concern that this will expand to other areas. What happens when this is extended to other areas of Baptist polity -- ordinations, for example. I may not be ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention. I was baptized in an independent Baptist church, not a Southern Baptist church. My church has determined that my baptism is scriptural. The IMB would disagree, it seems. But that's not their responsibility.

I think that it's great that the SBC is moving away from the liberal influences of its past. I'm thankful for the conservative resurgance. But this is an area that we are wrong on. A missionary board has no business telling churches that the baptism they have declared Scriptural aren't good enough -- especially a mission board that is funded by those churches. If memory serves, the Soutehrn Baptist Convention was formed because of a disagreement about the qualifications of missionaries. Maybe the IMB folks need to read their history books a bit more.

{And I haven't even started about the "private prayer language" thing. Maybe that's one for another post.}

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 10:55 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
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1 Dude, I'm glad your blogging on this; all alarms need to be sounded.

Posted by: Marty Duren at December 01, 2005 06:33 PM (2divj)

2 Thanks for the heads-up here! Good job. Howie Luvzus

Posted by: Howie Luvzus at December 01, 2005 09:03 PM (88/HO)

3 I think it's a shame that more people aren't alarmed by this. I'm about as conservative as it gets (comes from my IFBx upbringing, I guess), and maybe that's why this bothers me. I think that so many people are just accepting it because "the conservatives are in charge, so it must be OK." It's not, and we need to do something about it.

Posted by: Warren at December 01, 2005 09:13 PM (DPRNU)

4 If it's true that a significant number of the trustees were away, then the vote needs to be retaken. And the idea that it's OK to hold those kind of votes without taking steps to ensure as many people can be present as possible needs to be corrected. Don't they have some kind of quorum?

Posted by: Ryan DeBarr at December 02, 2005 03:08 PM (EZnB/)

5 I guess the quorum was met -- I have no idea what the number is (Marty?), but it looks like 45 members weren't there to vote. The tongues measure passed 25-18 with some abstentions (not sure how many). There are 88 trustees total. Only 43 votes on the tongues issue. I'll assume a quorum has to be half of the total trustee number, so figure at least one abstention there. The baptism issue passed by a 2-1 margin (28-14 or even 30-15).

Posted by: Warren at December 02, 2005 04:40 PM (DPRNU)

6 Warren, The IMB removed the vote #'s from their report, so I can't refer anyone back there. Several trustees have told me verbally that the fall meeting isn't well attended due to conflicts with State Convention meetings. I've also been told that the vote was show of hands and no real count was done, so we might only ever have estimates. Allen McWhite told me he estimated that tongues vote was 80-20 (%) and the baptism was 60-40 (%), but did not give a guess as to the actual voting number. Two trustees have told me there did not appear to be many abstentions, but they weren't sure.

Posted by: Marty Duren at December 02, 2005 06:32 PM (9mE9c)

7 Well, I have to agree that people need to raise a fuss like this. Like you, I see the dangerous side of fundamentalism rearing its head here and there in Convention politics.

Posted by: Ryan at December 02, 2005 06:34 PM (EZnB/)

8 Marty, I noticed that when I was trying to find the numbers earlier. I copied from the original article, and I think Steve McCoy's post did the same. Wonder why they removed the numbers? Ryan, Glad I'm not the only one seeing some frightening similarities. We've got similar backgrounds, so knowing you see something similar reassures me that I'm not just paranoid.

Posted by: Warren at December 02, 2005 06:38 PM (DPRNU)

9 This is one of the most absured things I have ever heard of. We need to get rid of the nuts on the IMB and get some with some bible knowledge.

Posted by: Eloise Thornton at December 09, 2005 09:51 AM (Ef+Z+)

10 It appears that the Apostle Paul, nor anyone else in the Bible, would qualify to be a missionary, ordained minister, or anything else of the IMB or the SBC. Therefore, how does the SBC's rejection of the Bible give them any qualification to have authority over Christians at all? This is my view based on the Bible. I am a missionary to China, who wouldn't qualify with the IMB for several reasons. The most absurd of which is I received the Baptism of Holy Spirit, which Jesus Christ stated as the qualification to be His witnesses. Anyone, anywhere...

Posted by: Bruce Hill, Jr. at December 29, 2005 02:16 PM (ahrLG)

11 Marty, As you have rightly stated, this is a blatant overstep on the part of the IMB. Not only is this a troubling development, but also a fulfillment of the prophecies made by the "moderates" at the time of the resurgence who stated that once conservatives won complete and undeniable control of the Convention, they would systematically begin to purge those who did not agree with them, even from a theologically conservative viewpoint. By narrowing the field in defining what is a true "Southern Baptist", the IMB is making it clear that those not born, bred, and dunked as Southern Baptists are not welcome to serve God in all the capacities of Southern Baptist life. Likewise, they stand in the very dangerous position of seemingly disqualifying a great number of Christians from being Biblical Christians because of the mode of their baptism. This action is an affront to those of the faith who died upholding Scripture as the final authority on all matters of faith and life, people like John Wycliffe, Jan Hus, Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, Melancthon, and a host of others, who would not be accepted today because their baptism wasn't by immersion. Personally, I believe that baptism by immersion is the most Biblical mode, but not the only viable or acceptable one. But then I am a student of church history and the Holy Scriptures not Jerry Falwell and his ilk in whose image the Convention is rapidly being made.

Posted by: D C King at February 01, 2006 04:05 PM (fLf5x)

12 D.C, I think what we need to do is differentiate between people who would not be welcome as Southern Baptists and people who wouldn't be welcome as fellow-laborers in Christ. Baptism by immersion is a distinctive Baptist doctrine -- if you aren't going to hold to it, then why would you want to join a Baptist church? If this was only about baptism by immersion, then there wouldn't be an issue -- as far as I know, both sides of the arguement agree on baptism by immersion. I'm a student of church history myself, and could add more to the list you gave of people who wouldn't be Southern Baptists. But each would be someone who Southern Baptists would work with in evangelistic efforts, even while disagreeing over mode of baptism, ecclesiology, eschatology, and other things.

Posted by: Warren at February 01, 2006 05:49 PM (DPRNU)

13 Warren, I agree with you in that regard. My point was to show that denominational loyalty is beginning to take precedence over Biblical Christianity. One cannot simply define what is acceptable in terms of denominational service without having implications on the Christian faith as a whole. By narrowing the field in terms of baptism and who is acceptable in applying the ordinance, the IMB is implicitly making at least a two-tiered system of Southern Baptist Christianity. The same thing has happened in Presbyterian circles since the American denomination began. They have moved systematically toward legalism and a very narrow view of what it meant to be Presbyterian...only to divide and start the process over and over again, resulting in at least 17 different Reformed and Presbyterian denominations. The process continues to this day. I hate to see that process beginning to start in the SBC, though it doesn't surprise me at all. As a conservative myself, I have pledged my loyalty to Christ and His Word and serve in the SBC because of His placement of me there. Denominations are inventions of men, not God, for there is only "one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all." Again, thanks, Warren, for the response and the insight.

Posted by: D C King at February 02, 2006 09:29 AM (Mbwrj)

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