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Monday, February 13, 2006 

The New IMB Policies: Can Anything Be Done Now?

Over at "A Baptist Perspective", my friend Jason's blog, another friend of mine (Kelly -- a.k.a., cks) asked an interesting question. Here is what he wrote:
My question to the posters here is simple: What can Baptists who disagree with the IMB's policy actually do about it? What is the nature of the solution in terms of the convention? What on earth can I do Greensboro [sic] (or wherever the convention is being held this year) to mitigate/reverse these changes?
When I spoke to him on the phone, he additionally pointed out that while he has seen many blogs that say something like, "Show up in Greensboro and let your voice be heard," he actually hasn't seen anyone lay out what the procedure would be do change such policies. I assumed that it could be reversed by the majority vote of the messengers to the Convention in June, but I honestly don't know if that is possible. If someone knows the bylaws and can point out what can be done, please share with us.

Additionally, Kelly made another interesting statement that I would like to see some response to as well. It involves his own predicament in relation to his conscience v. that of his church (and/or pastor). I would like to know how such a situation would be or should be handled by your church:
And will Dr. York (my pastor) send me as a messenger when he knows that I disagree with his viewss[sic]?

he actually hasn't seen anyone lay out what the procedure would be do change such policies.

Um...[sic!]. Punk.


I hope someone has something constructive to post here.

what were you, dr, a freakin grader?

gosh, man.

sorry, kelly, i got nothing constructive.

This is going to require some digging. It's a research project with no grade attached, but probably lots of apprectiation. Someone with a lot of time on his hands (ahem, Jason Sampler), and an interest in the incredibly boring realm of Baptistic polity (ahem, Jason Sampler), needs to dig in and find an answer to this question. Otherwise, what?

We're gonna show up at Greensboro and talk to each other in our hotel rooms about how wrong this is? Count me out for that.

Well, without going into specifics just yet, let me address one aspect of Kelly's question. He need not worry if his pastor will 'send him'. According to Baptist polity, chuches are (for the most part) congregational. Chuches vote to send messengers; they are not 'appointed'. Therefore, it is not Dr. York who would be sending Kelly, but his church.

As to the issues that require lots of "time on one's hands" and is composed of "incredibly boring" Baptist polity, that will have to come later.

Several people have latched onto this "will my pastor send me" bweezness. That comment was actually tongue in cheek.

I know my pastor (theoretically) can't put the smack down on my intention to go to Greensboro.

But, I'm not even going to think about going unless someone can identify the point.

Joe, actually Kelly was a grader and an English major to boot, therefore it gives me great pleasure to point out mistakes he makes in grammer. He was told our first year in Seminary on a paper he wrote for Norman's Systematic class by a grader that he was being "too artsy" and need to be more "percise." Pretty funny stuff. Kelly always tells me about my logical fallacies and spelling errors so I have to let him have it every once in a while.

Jason and Kelly,
Regardless of polity, I think Kelly's question about his pastor is legitimate (given that the entire church reflects said pastor's view). Thus, should he be expected to vote according to what the church desires (since he is an emissary of that church) or should he be allowed to vote his conscience? I know in some matters, if I were a pastor, I would not want to send a messenger that would not reflect the views of my congregation.

Finally, if you haven't checked out what is going on over at the Founder's Blog under the Johnny Hunt for SBC Pastor post, then you ought to. Ergun AND Emir Caner have checked in and it is getting rough and yet sad.

You can read the SBC Bylaws at www.sbc.net

Also, check your church constitutions. I know some churches that send only staff members to the SBC as messengers. These are usually the larger churches, however. The point is: check your bylaws and constitution!

Your vote is your vote when you go. Once you are seated, NOTHING anybody in your church can do will change that. It may make you unpopular, but vote your convictions.

As to the Caners. I have responded at Founders twice now and once at Tblogue. I understand Fide-O will issue a statement later.

I'd add that what everybody needs to do every time they show up is simply thank them for doing a great service for Reformed theology, because every time they repeat a false assertion they only make themselves and their position look bad. Remember, one of them, I believe Ergun endorsed Dave Hunt's book and has refused to debate Calvinism, calling it "a cult." The irony here is that I'm nearby where he teaches and Dr. Caner would be horrified to know that a great many of the students the his seminary is graduating are, surprise, surprise, coming out believing the doctrines of grace because they hear his lectures and then go look up the material and find out he has misrepresented it. So, for all his bluster, he truly has done us a great service. Remember Jude 4.

Would someone like to learn this former SBaptist fella what exactly the SBC has done to get its fans in a snit?

I think I've heard something about the Missionary Board (I suppose that's the IMB) not allowing people to go as missionaries unless they interpret things pretty strictly the same as they - is that what this is about?

Just curious. Thanks!

(given that the entire church reflects said pastor's view).

I'm not sure this is the case at all, DR. Why should it be?

This is the fallacy of composition.


Resolutions are the key. Motions from the floor are irrelevant as we can not tell an entity what to do or how to do it. However, resolutions from the SBC will allow us to call them on any policy or action that is in conflict with resolutions passed by the Convention.

We need to resolve that a commission be set by the SBC Executive Committee to investigate illegal caucusing & tampering with the trustee election process by entity heads; that SBC is represented by those who may have a private prayer language and that they are welcome to participate in our ministries; and that the authenticity of believer's baptism is not dependant on a "qualified administrator."

Just a few thoughts. Nice blog.

How dare you make such inflamatory, ill-advised, and untrue statements. You couldn't be further from the truth regarding the situation at hand.

Oh wait, you thought I was talking about your assessment of the situation at Greensboro; I was talking about your comment that D.R. has a nice blog :)

Jason, you are hilarious. When I read the first line of your comment my eyes got big and I felt adrenaline hit my blood stream. I have to go lay down now.


You have made my day. The purpose of my comment was to incite such a response from D.R. Knowing that you were affected is like killing two birds with one stone!

(And in case anyone is unaware, D.R. and I were *unsuccessful* roommates in seminary but much more successful at being friends since I moved out. He's a nice guy and we have a good friendship. Therefore, no one should 'have a cow' if i pick on him [or vise versa] every now and then.)

"Unsuccessful" is probably an understatement.

I lived next door to Jason and DR in NOBTS's Lipsey hall (along with our ever-present, sometimes-friendly enclave of cockroaches). Suffice it to say that, on at least one occasion, myself and two or three others stood outside their dorm room, ears to slatted-door, listening to their domestic squabbles--and voicing the occasional, "Good point, man," to both of the disputants.

They were not happy with us.

Wait, you guys lived in Lipsey?

Dude, I've lived in 3 rooms there. 212, 204, and on the first floor across from the stairs that go up to the kitchen area.

Sweet. Oh the good ole days when I can move back to the P.I. Lipsey. May they come sooner than later.

Thanks Gene for your imput here and thanks for your great responses to the Caner's over at the Founder's Blog. I think something that the anti-Calvinists don't get is that Calvinism is growing in leaps and bounds everywhere. At Mid-American Bapt. Theo. Seminary in Memphis there are actually a large number of Calvinists who are growing larger by the day. And this is the Seminary of the late Adrian Rogers and Bob Pittman, both very opposed to Calvinism.

These guys are going to look back in thirty years and see that their lack of serious engagement with Calvinism will have resulted in them being "Left Behind."

Joe, I think I lived in 204. I can't remember exactly. Kelly and Jason lived next to me in the big room upstairs. The room I lived in was third from the kitchen on the front side. Is that 204? Maybe Jason and Kelly can remember the number they lived in. But yeah, Lipsey rocked. It was the cool dorm when we were there -- quiet, with everyone living like a family. We had some great theological conversations down in the TV room. But the kitchen was pretty nasty. Honestly, Katrina was a blessing for those who had to cook in that kitchen.

DR, yeah, 204, exactly the same as you said. Virtually across from the water fountain/bathroom door, next to the big middle room. Mark Foster and Jeff Wells lived there my first year. Mark would later be my summer roommate. Good times. And I stayed away from the kitchen. The cockroaches in the walls did indeed hold the building up.

I only lived in 204 for a month or so... my first roommate was a Korean straight off the plane from Seoul (it was actually a lot smaller place than that) and I'm hard enough to get along with, without having to cross language barriers too. I moved to 212 (second from the right side stairs overlooking the gym), and stayed there until August when I was convinced to move to the first floor.

I'm still giving my friend Britt (my then-roommate) flack about that one. Two feet of water and three hundred bucks worth of books, the best desk chair of all time, and a bookcase from Target... all slightly angry at him right now too. We've chosen the room directly above our old one for next year, because all our friends who move in there leave to get married.

Stayed there until August... I guess really, late May. We had to leave for MissionLab until August.

Let me explain this as succinctly as possible. In November, IMB trustees passed new rules disqualifying missionary candidates who had private prayer languages and were baptized in churches that disagreed with the doctrine of eternal security. Because of that action, a trustee, Wade Burleson, a pastor from OK, posted on his blog his disagreement with the new rules. From that, many began to see the rules as problematic to Baptist distinctives, as well as Biblical teaching. All of this came to a head in January when the trustees met again and voted to ask the convention in June to remove Burleson as a trustee because of his blog posts. Another series of blogposts by various Southern Baptist eventually led to a great debate between those who support the new guidelines and those who don't. Meanwhile the trustees began to privately reconsider their formal request to the convention concerning Burleson. Last week or so they spoke to Burleson and rescinded the request for his removal. Currently the debate is still raging as to whether the new missionary guidelines should be overturned. This post was about how that could actually occur.

I hope that explains it. Visit Tim Brister's blog at "Provocations and Pantings" linked under my list of Evangelical Blogs for a list of all the blogs where you can get more detailed information.

"At Mid-American Bapt. Theo. Seminary in Memphis there are actually a large number of Calvinists who are growing larger by the day."

Maybe they could lay off the carbs?

Not with all that barbeque in Memphis. Are you kidding? Have you seen the average pastor in Memphis. Has to easily be over 220. Gluttony is a requirement for the pastorate in some churches in Memphis.

Thanks for the response, DR. I figured it was something along those lines.

DR -

Barbeque is protien, not carbs.

I know. I lost my gallbladder to the Atkins diet last year.

Lost a lot of weight, but it all came back and now I have scars and a pain where my gallbladder used to be.

That may be more than you need to know...

Just a minor correction here, DR: Jason never lived with me in the big middle room upstairs. I had that as a private room for the duration of my stay there.

Jason and I lived together in Lipsey 109. (So named for the temperature inside.) Or, it might have been 107, with Chuch Hale in 109. I forget. The point is, my two-hundred room (I forget the number) had a sole occupant. Until I brought in my Sony Playstation. Then it had pretty much seven occupants at any given time.

I miss you guys.

Heck, I even miss the black battleroach who lived in Chuck's sink. Did we ever name him?

oh the good ole days... i hear we're getting three prong plugs in the reconstruction!


I (don't really) hate to correct you, but we lived in 108 (Chuck lived in 107). Remember, we said it was 108 degrees in our room since we didn't get any of the AC during those *somewhat* humid August days in New Orleans.

You are right about the rest of your correction of D.R. We lived in 108. Then you moved upstairs to the 'big room' across from "The Belly". After Adam moved out around March, 2001, D.R. asked me to move in with him upstairs. I was there from March until May. Then he and I left for the summer and, if memory serves me correctly, you moved over to Hamilton for the summer, and stayed there in Fall 2001 when I moved to The 'Tilly. You joined me in 'Tilly 221 in Jan 2002.

I could recite more of the history, but you all get the point.

And to answer your question, Chuck's 'sink cockroach' never had a name, as best I can remember.

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Paul was not interested merely in the ethical principles of religion or of ethics. On the contrary, he was interested in the redeeming work of Christ and its effect upon us. His primary interest was in Christian doctrine, and Christian doctrine not merely in its presuppositions but at its centre. -- J. Greshem Machen.

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