The moment is now for Calvinists & Non-Calvinist Traditionalists to unite and offer a real alternative to the SBC status quo
The coronation of the Southern Baptist President presumptive began in earnest Monday with stories that J.D. Greear would be nominated for President of the Southern Baptist Convention. Immediately (almost as if planned!), elements of the Mohler-Moore wing of the Southern Baptist Convention began tweeting their rapturous approval. Continue reading
Dr. Rick Patrick, Pastor
FBC Sylacauga, Alabama
Exec. Director, Connect 316
David Platt has resigned as President of the International Mission Board. His resignation will not become effective until his replacement assumes the office. Read his RESIGNATION NOTICE.
Southern Baptists are right to express thanks to Dr. Platt for his service to the board during a tumultuous tenure in which 25% of our missionaries were brought home from the field. In fairness, approximately half of these missionary recalls could legitimately be justified on the basis of financial shortfalls. On the other hand, there were alternative approaches for addressing such deficits, including a temporary hiring freeze that would have resolved this issue through missionary attrition within a span of two or three short years.
But that is now water under the bridge.
This is a time to express gratitude for Dr. Platt’s unquestionable passion for the Great Commission. Every Southern Baptist must admit that Dr. Platt possesses extraordinary skills as an expository preacher. He is a bright and godly young leader who can look forward to many years of fruitful and productive ministry.
Personally, I have been blessed by his teaching and preaching ministry on a number of occasions. It will come as no surprise to readers of SBC Today that I disagree with Dr. Platt’s soteriology, but on a great many matters of theology and ministry, we are kindred spirits. We wish for him nothing other than God’s best and richest blessings upon his life and ministry.
Having said that, here is the first draft of a candidate profile for our next IMB President.
1. We need a leader who is mature, experienced and trusted.
If Southern Baptists will take a brutally honest look at the record of recent SBC entity heads installed in positions without adequate seasoning as a leader, they will be reminded of the folly of Rehoboam, who heeded the advice of the younger men rather than the elders. Southern Baptists would be well served to place someone at the helm of the IMB who has successfully sailed through many stormy seas in the past. We need someone who will exemplify the stable and prudent leadership required at the largest missionary sending body on earth.
2. We need a leader who “really gets” the Cooperative Program.
Astonishingly, in this century, Southern Baptists have selected two mission board executives whose ministries were not marked by anything resembling strong support for either the Cooperative Program or the Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong Special Offerings. How can I put this? A man is not even made the President of his local Kiwanis Club or Lions Club if he does not pay his organizational dues. How much more should this be an absolute requirement of the person Southern Baptists put in charge of leading our Great Commission outreach to the world?
3. We need a leader who resonates with rank and file Southern Baptists.
There is a certain kind of “cool” Christian stereotype today, broadly marked by the tendency to sport a hipster personal appearance and the habit of questioning all that is conventional both in Christianity and in Southern Baptist life. Can we please avoid such candidates this time around? We need somebody who looks like a Southern Baptist, sounds like a Southern Baptist, and relates well with the Southern Baptists in the pews who are paying the bills. We need a basic Southern Baptist.
4. We need a leader with a proven missionary sending philosophy.
There is nothing wrong with asking laypeople who are serving overseas (such as students, retirees, and professionals) to cooperate with our full-time missionaries and support them in various ways. But this practice is not, and never will be, anything approaching a legitimate strategy for reaching the world for Christ. We simply cannot pin our Great Commission strategy upon part-time, temporary efforts. Additionally, we must reconsider our strategy for the placement of our missionaries. Yes, we must go where we have never gone before, but we must also go where the fields are now ripe for harvest. The solution proposed by experienced missiologist Robin Dale Hadaway is brilliant. Let us allocate our resources with 40% going to Frontier Missions, 40% going to Harvest Missions, 15% going to Education, and 5% going to Administration.
5. We need a leader whose full-time passion is promoting the IMB.
I want the President of the International Mission Board traveling to some large Southern Baptist Church nearly every weekend, asking them to consider supporting missions with a generous gift through the Cooperative Program in the neighborhood of ten percent of undesignated receipts, along with generous special offerings like Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong. We have a world to reach for Christ. I want our IMB President to beat the drum, loud and proud, for the strong and cooperative financial support of missions, and I want him to have already demonstrated such commitment personally through a life and ministry marked by generous Cooperative Program support measured both in terms of dollars and percentages.
In the days ahead, let us all be faithful to pray that God’s perfect will is done in the selection of the next President of the International Mission Board. And let us pray that God will raise up a proven and experienced missiologist whose philosophy for reaching the nations will once again chart a steady course for the Southern Baptist Convention.
James Robinson Graves blew into the South like a blackberry winter blizzard rolling down the Appalachian Trail. His indomitable spirit and potent pen, mixed with bold and brash persuasive skills, attracted both the admiration and disdain of Baptists for over four decades. Many young Southern Baptists today have never heard of this man, nor his movement.
This Vermonter, born in 1820, arrived in Dixie on the heels of two separate religious movements having left Baptists in the South weak and weary. Both the anti-missions Hardshellers and anti-confessional Campbellites splintered many Baptist congregations, divided families, and after 1845 weakened home and foreign mission endeavors of the newly-formed Southern Baptist Convention.