David Platt is My IMB President, Too

August 27, 2014

by Bart Barber, pastor
FBC Farmersville, Texas

The International Mission Board is reporting that Dr. David Platt is the new President of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. I had opposed his election. He now has my support. Here’s why:

1.  According to our system, I had my say. The trustees had the opportunity to give full consideration to the questions that I raised. I trust that they did so. I do not regret having raised these concerns, but I respect our system of polity. I freely acknowledge that the trustees had access to more information than I had. More of them favored his election than opposed it.

2.  The very critique that I made of Platt requires that I support him now. This is the way that our system is supposed to work. You engage yourself in the process. You advocate vigorously for your point of view. Together we Southern Baptists come to a decision. Unless the decision is so bad that we cannot follow Christ and abide by it, we coalesce around the decision that we’ve made and we move forward for the sake of our Great Commission task.

From the bottom of my heart I urge any of you who have talked about cutting your CP support if Platt were elected not to do anything so reactionary and foolish as that. If you were to reduce your support of the CP in reaction to this decision, in my mind you’d be putting yourself into the exact same category as the critique that I made of Platt. Please don’t do that.

Instead, do what I said that Platt hadn’t done. Get involved in our polity. In good faith, help us to make decisions and appoint people even better than we have done so in the past. Don’t disengage; do the hard work of consensus building and peacemaking for the cause of the Kingdom.

3.  I’m committed to making my initial post about David Platt a self-unfulfilling prophecy. If I still worry that the man most responsible for rallying us all to support the Cooperative Program is not someone all that committed to or passionate about the Cooperative Program, then guess what that means: I just have to do more myself to promote the Cooperative Program in order to make up for it.

Southern Seminary exists today because four men agreed among themselves that “the seminary may die, but we will die first.” If just four hundred Southern Baptist pastors were to make the same commitment regarding the Cooperative Program, I don’t think any power on earth could stop us.

I neither storm off from this election in protest nor throw up my hands in hopelessness. Rather, I simply acknowledge that a task lies before us and I put my hand to the plow. I hope you all will join me.

If Cooperative Program support was not considered important in this season of Southern Baptist decision-making, together let us make certain that it will be in the seasons to come.

You may read Bart Barber at Praisegod Barebones.