IMB: MORE QUESTIONS THAN ANSWERS

February 4, 2016

Lonnie Wilkey | Editor
Baptist and Reflector

*This article was originally published HERE and is used by permission.

Earlier this year when the Southern Baptist International Mission Board announced that it needed to eliminate 600-800 positions, Southern Baptists were saddened and shocked.

IMB leaders have allowed the idea to propagate among Southern Baptists that there is a financial shortfall. The cutbacks did not occur because Southern Baptists didn’t give. Cooperative Program giving on the national level has increased in small increments over the past few years and the IMB gets the largest percentage of that offering. Just three years ago (2013), Southern Baptists gave more than $154 million to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, a record amount. Gifts topped $153 million the following year. In addition, the TBC began moving in 2011 toward a 50-50 distribution of wealth for Cooperative Program funds. This is resulting in hundreds of thousands of more dollars being funneled out of Tennessee and through the SBC for Great Commission causes. When the cutbacks were announced IMB leaders acknowledged that they had overspent millions of dollars over the past few years. Throwing more money at something won’t help it until the main problem of managing its money is corrected.

Tennessee Baptists have responded in significant ways to the IMB’s plight. Reports are coming in from churches that are far exceeding their goals for the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering. We are planning an article in the near future about churches that took special measures in order to increase awareness for the needs and saw significant increases in giving. Let us know if your church fits that category.

imb-logoBut as February nears, I’m troubled by the lack of communication coming from the IMB especially with the news last week that the Richmond Communications Center has been eliminated (see story on page 3) and 30 of 40 people lost their jobs. The 10 who remain were transferred to other departments. Chris Turner, director of communications for the Tennessee Baptist Convention, formerly served in that department with the IMB and he shares his thoughts in a column on page 6.

The IMB will not yet release the number of missionaries who took the voluntary retirement incentive (VRI) by the deadline in December. The official response is they want to wait until after the next round of cuts — the hand raising opportunity (HRO) — is concluded in February. Supposedly, the number of people who took the VRI helped relieve the financial pressure. If that’s the case, why eliminate 30 out of 40 people in one of the IMB’s most needed departments?

That’s just one of the questions that IMB President David Platt has not shown a willingness to answer. His absence is disturbing to a number of people including myself. He is the face of the IMB. Since the announcement was made he has not been available to Baptist state paper editors.

A conference call was held Jan. 20 but neither Dr. Platt or any other senior administrative staff member was present to answer questions. Instead, three IMB staff members took our questions so they could forward them to Dr. Platt so he could be prepared when he meets with the editors at their annual meeting in February.

What’s the problem with that? It’s about six weeks after a major event took place. Southern Baptists who are sacrificially giving deserve better than that from the head of the SBC entity that receives the most missions dollars from our churches.

During the telephone conference, editors were repeatedly told, “That’s a good question.”

I would hope so. Editors are paid and trained to ask the “good” and sometimes “tough” questions. Answers are needed.

The IMB had one of the best communications teams in the denomination. With one fell swoop, most of them are now gone or will be in the next three months. These are men and women who have devoted their lives to the ministry of “telling the story.”

While a remnant remains, it’s not enough to thoroughly tell the story of the IMB. Rumors abound that the IMB will employ a marketing/public relations firm. That won’t be cheap and the quality won’t be the same because regardless of how professional those employees might be, they won’t have the heart for ministry that the former communications staff had/have.

Is the rumor true? I don’t know because no one will answer.

There are too many questions and not enough answers. Pray that will change.

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Rick Patrick

“Is the rumor true? I don’t know because no one will answer.”

Herein lies the difficulty. Southern Baptists have questions no one is willing or able to answer. As a result, people begin to speculate and discuss possibilities. They report that “perhaps” something is happening, but with no transparent and accurate information from SBC organizations to confirm or deny, they are susceptible to that horrible charge of gossip, or spreading “rumors.” If organizations will simply and transparently provide the answers, no one will need to speculate.

    Scott Shaver

    “Herein lies the difficulty. SBCers have questions no one is willing to answer.”

    Has this not been the modus operandus for a number of years now? A rather short-sighted tactic to say the least in terms of recent revelations.

    Fine, I’m sure there are folks willing to assume the negative obvious until those asking receive answers.

norm

Odd, isn’t it, that those who made the decisions that led to a $200+ million loss are the ones who decided to put seasoned missionaries out to pasture and lopped the IMB’s communications department (some 30 jobs I hear). Can you imagine what would happen in the secular, corporate world to middle and upper managers, yea a CEO, if a corporation had lost that much money? Do you think stockholders would not summarily fire those who made the decisions that led to that sort of financial travesty?

Think about it, Southern Baptists: More than $200 million lost, and not by accident but by poor decision making. When I see LMCO promotional material coming ’round early next fall, I will give serious thought to how the money the IMB is asking for will be spent. And I will remember what can only be described as deplorable management that squandered that much money and then disrupted the lives of hundreds of servants of God to make up for the loss. This is beyond detestable; it is sinful, I think.

Dr. Rankin had the sense to stop appointing missionaries when the money was tight. Remember those days?

Odd, at least, too, that some other SBC leaders are circling the wagons around the IMB, stating that it is poised for greatness (or some sort of spin like that). What does it say about the discernment of those SBC leaders who would scotch for an IMB that is still led essentially by the same people who lost that much money?

Editor Wilkey is correct in his assessment/comparison to the product of those who have lived at the IMB and know it intimately and that of a professional spin company.
Upper management made poor decisions, and it’s the “little people” who are paying the price.

“Integrity. Integrity. Wherefore art thou, integrity?”

God have mercy on us. Do we honestly think he will bless an agency that has operated so poorly? Let us consider the parable of the talents ……

Scott Shaver

IMO…..SBC “integrity” flew out the back door when the “CR” and the “battles over innerrancy” began.

By the way, these CR winners and co-winners are some of the same personalities breaking the bank, rebutting critics and re-branding now.

    norm

    Scott: You would do well to read more about the CR and its necessity. Seek the volumes written by Jim Hefley, e.g. Any movement fostered and driven by imperfect people will have imperfections for results. Throwing the baby out with the bathwater is not the answer.

      Scott Shaver

      U give away your age bro Norm.
      No need to read about it…was in the middle of it up to my neck.

        Scott Shaver

        You REALLY don’t want to go there Norm. And, in respect for Rick Patrick….will refrain at this point.

      Scott Shaver

      Norm: Don’t you mean it was “necessary” for Page Patterson, Al Mohler, Paul Pressler, Jim Richards etc?

      Lot of the rest of us could have lived and served very well without it. If the baby is actually a rattlesnake, why not throw it out with the bathwater?

        norm

        The necessity was to remove those from our payrolls who ascribed to and taught the JEDP theory, e.g. It was also necessary to remove professors and others who lived on my tithes, and who also derided theological conservatives publicly and in seminary classrooms. Such is a matter of record if you ever read SBTS grad Noel Hollyfield’s thesis. It scientifically tracked how beginning students entering SBTS later graduated doubting, if not denying, the virgin birth, substitutionary atonement, a literal hell and devil, etc. Removing this form of “religion” was the necessity to which I referred. As I noted before, imperfect people like you and me sometimes allow the flesh to get in the way, as do Mohler, Patterson, Pressler, Patrick, Merritt, Floyd, Catt, Page, Kelly, Iorg, Akin(s), Piper, Harwood, etc., et al. Nonetheless, I would rather have had the CR than not. What about you?
        My (late) father, Eldridge Miller, graduated from SBTS in 1961. In an OT survey class, the prof announced that Jonah was not really swallowed by a big fish, but the story was hyperbolic allegory to make a theological point. My dad told me that one could then hear the sound of tearing pages. Everyone turned around to see a student ripping pages from the Book of Jonah, saying, “There goes another book in the Bible I can’t trust.”
        I would say the CR was too long in coming despite its imperfect participants.

          Donald

          Norm is exactly right. The CR was necessary and right. Scott has found it fashionable to attack men he never knew, repeating attacks that were never accurate.

            Scott Shaver

            Unlike you Donald:

            I make a habit of “attacking” folks I do know and have personally engaged. The CR was a crock of bull with devastating consequences. Not being willing to admit that makes it no less true. :0

          Scott Shaver

          Don’t have much respect for supposedly “mature” Christians (especially the educated) who are afraid of JEPD or any other theory attempting to understand Scripture.

          The Holy Spirit always winds up sifting the wheat from tares in such scenarios, if not institutionally, in the heart of the “Ecclessia” and individual believers (hence, “the priesthood of THE believer” as defined by E.Y. Mullins). Notice I refuse to use the collective revision of the term.

          I had a “liberal” (definition assigned by idiots) to a professor when I was a religion student at ETBU in the early 80’s. He threw out non-orthodox views to stimulate seminary students to think about what they believed and got crucified for doing the morons a favor. In retrospect, he did us all a favor with the materials he served up and I always respected him even though we disagreed at various points theologically, ideologically, and politically.

          If the professor from Pop’s seminary class announced “Jonah was not swallowed by a big fish”….he is entitled to his opinion (Holy Spirit again is capable of guiding/intervening in this matter) . Holy Spirit didn’t need Pop, Page, Paul, Al or Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum doing his work. Trustees can decide whether he/she keeps teaching, tenured or not.

          I would say in response to your statement that the “CR was too long in coming” by adding, won’t take anywhere near that long to make an ash-heap of the SBC……already in full progress. Look at the 20 year aftermath. Some progress :)

            norm

            JEDP is not an attempt to understand scripture, but to render it naturalistic, not supernaturally inspired. At Criswell College, fearlessly we studied such theories so we would know the tactics of the enemies of scripture.
            You are correct that any prof is entitled to his opinion. But he is not entitled to teach in a manner that is contrary to the majority of those who pay his salary. Nor is he entitled to berate and belittle those who would question his opinion. Academic freedom cuts both ways. But it never did in the heyday of JEDP.
            Did you read the Hollyfield thesis, ever? You said you were “up to your neck” the the CR, so I guess you would know of it. Also, you never answered my question: “Nonetheless, I would rather have had the CR than not. What about you?”
            Another question, Scott: Do you think the Holy Spirit ever uses humans to help sift the wheat from the tares, and by that I mean, motivates believers to “contend for the faith”?
            Are you aware of SBC polity and how it works? You’re right that the trustee system determines who should be a prof and who should not. It was in changing the trustee boards of our seminaries that we were able to rid ourselves of the E. Glenn Hinsons, Temp Sparkmans, and their ilk.
            Candidly, Scott, for one who claims to have been so involved in the CR, you don’t seem to demonstrate much knowledge of it in terms of SBC polity and its biblical motivations. Rather, you evade the direct questions with diversionary rhetoric. If you want to engage me further, you will have to be a bit more sensible about it.

              Scott Shaver

              Norm:

              By being in the “middle of it” I meant actively opposing the LIES and tactics of the CR via Patterson, Pressler, Mohler etc. They had a bunch of little sycophants like you spouting the same garbage you’re spouting now. An obvious fact of history is that the CRmade shambles of a once functional denomination.

              All the spin in the world doesn’t change whats right in front of folks eyes these days with regard to the “truth” about the SBC. We’re watching it disintegrate and break-up into something pretty bizarre because of the lies and chicanery and mismanagement. Was this the great goal and reward of the CR. Spare me.

              What you call “sensible”, Norm, and what I deem “sensible” are more than likely at opposite ends of the spectrum. So run along now.

              Scott Shaver

              Norm:

              As long as you are providing me with recommended reading lists to enhance my appreciation for the “necessity’ of the CR, why don’t you do the same by examining the innuendo, distortions, misrepresentations and low-life, strong-arm tactics imposed by some of your CR heroes during the period in question?

              Here’s a starting point:

              http://www.mainstreambaptists.org/letters/patterson_correspondence.htm

                Scott Shaver

                Norm, as a case in point, exemplifies some of the overt duplicity characteristic of CR “glory”.

                He mentions who at Criswell College they “fearlessly” exposed themselves at hands of professors to JEPD etc for the purpose of becoming familiar with the “tactics of the enemy”.

                Same breath, he talks about going after professors (elsewhere other than Criswell) for teaching same thing. Riddle me that!

                This is the kind of rationale thinking that causes maggots to gag.

                Lydia

                Scott, correct me if I am way off base but I clicked on the link and read Pattersons initial response to your article (which I cannot find, the link is dead) sounds like the basic apologetic for Calvinism!

                The other problem in reading the letters is that Patterson asserts we cannot know about Jesus without the bible but then later asserts people are saved without knowing the bible at all. I have oversimplified the convo but that was my take away. It is rather confusing.

                  Scott Shaver

                  You’ve pointed out many times, Lydia, the “cognitive dissonance” that these guys rely on to promote their spin. At least Patterson et al are consistent (if not boring) in their trademark use of the tactic. Same thing with Mohler.

            Tom

            Scott;

            I would love to see the long list of what the positives were going to be to the CR and put side by side them what has actually occurred. The SBC that I loved so dearly was and is being destroyed by those that took it over, and now there children, and soon to be grandchildren will finish it off.

              Scott Shaver

              Correct Tom: I agree.

              And the reason so-called “Traditionalists” will not prevail in their current struggle against the shoddy neo-calvinism now infecting their ranks is BECAUSE THEY’RE IN AGREEMENT WITH THE “CALS” THAT THE CR WAS A LEGITIMATE, GOD-INSPIRED UNDERTAKING INSTEAD OF A LOW-BUDGET SMEAR CAMPAIGN for positions, pensions and paychecks. Trads are not going to be willing to connect the dots because the LIE of the CR has been the denominational brand for the last 20 years now.

              It’s comical to watch how this thing is going to end.

              As long as “TRADS” are in agreement that what the CR was legitimate, they’ll die the same death as moderates (denominationally speaking) by the same tactics they approved for use against moderates.

              Very hard pressed to find an honest “Trad” about the true nature of the CR. Hence, they deserve what they’ve got coming and are already receiving.

                Tom

                Scott: It is biblical reaping and sowing. It does not get any simpler than that. But the last one left in the SBC–please turn off the lights.

                  Scott Shaver

                  “Biblical reaping and sowing” says Tom. I say “True Dat”.

            JIm P

            When an obsessive line is drawn about its factuality or fiction in scripture, the core message God means to communicate is completely disemboweled and people get entangled in side line fights while what God is saying conveniently missed.

            The book of Jonah, had a specific message, a specific message, belly of the fish or not. That specific message in not the least important for those who’d rather fight then hear the Lord. The belly of a fish or not in the end wins.

            What a line to fight over.

            And we wonder why the church doesn’t grow.

              Scott Shaver

              Very insightful words Jim P.

              The only problem is Norm and I weren’t discussing/ “fighting” over either a fish or the “core message” of Jonah. We were arguing the necessity of the CR. If you don’t want to discuss/”fight” over the question/subject at hand you might consider disengaging until your preferred topic comes up?

                Jim P

                Are you the Moderator here Mr. Shaver or just empty talk?

                  Lydia

                  Speaking of moderators, my comment at Pravda (voices) was deleted on the Baylor thread. Evidently, SGL/Mahaney gets a pass as new SBC members over protecting child molesters for years.

                  I am wondering if reading the lawsuit would awaken their conscious or not? Maybe they don’t want to know what a sick place it was across the board?

                    Mary

                    Lydia, Lydia, Lydia smh…. there will be no criticism of Calvinists or anyone the SBC elite are in cahoots with. Thus the name SBC Pravda. Be a good comrade and don’t stir up trouble.

                    Scott Shaver

                    Lydia: With regard to PRAVDA, did you expect anything less from the Dave Miller mutual admiration society? Hmmm?

                  Rick Patrick

                  Scott is not the Moderator. That task usually belongs to our Editor, Jonathan Carter. Occasionally, I will assist him. As a general rule, we moderate lightly, removing cuss words and personal attacks that never should have been made in the first place.

                  In the present conversation, this thread is being “hijacked” a bit. We are supposed to be discussing the current state of the IMB, not the Conservative Resurgence of a few decades ago. Can we please get this train back on the track?

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Hijacked”….Rick, or misdirected?

                    Norm: “Scott, you would do well to read more on the necessity of the CR…”

                    Scott Shaver

                    How does one adequately discuss the “current state” of the IMB without considering the dynamics and history behind its current quagmire?

                    The ostrich approach doesn’t cut bait with me.

                    Rick Patrick

                    Scott,
                    We get it. You have issues with the CR and trace the current tensions with SBC leadership back to those days. (Granted, the Calvinism tensions were predicted by Russell Dilday and others.)

                    On the other hand, 95% of those who interact on this site are in complete agreement with the need for the CR, believing it was necessary to address liberalism first. Today, we need to address Calvinism, not by removing it from the convention as the CR did with liberalism, but rather by keeping its influence proportional to its general embrace among rank and file Southern Baptists.

                    Yes, the two issues converge at a historical point, but it is probably unnecessary to relive the CR all over again with every new present-day post. Let’s try to keep the focus on 2016 and not 1985.

                  Scott Shaver

                  For “empty talk” Jim P, it sure seems to be getting under your skin.

                  Did your mother ever tell you about “sticks and stones”?

                  I am not a moderator nor the son of a moderator… but do stay from time to time at the Holiday Inn Express.

                    Scott Shaver

                    95 percent who “interact” or 95 percent who read the site Rick?

                    We’re really gonna go the games-with-numbers route just like the folks we’re criticizing (i.e. Calvinists)?

          Scott Shaver

          In response to poor mistreated seminary students who later “graduated doubting” from SBTS, Norm, I would say that faith faultering before the finish had a flaw in it from the first…Regardless of the desirability/undesirability of professors.

            Lydia

            Well, in my travels I have met many CR outcasts who have never denied their faith. But I have also met many Former Neo Cals who have because, in the end, they could not accept the determinist angry God that holds them like spiders over a fiery pit if they were not really chosen. They couldn’t make sense of this god in the light of babies being born with cancer or freak accidents that killed their children. This all controlling determinist God was just too much in face of such evils of the world .i think it would benefit all of us to pay attention to those types instead of write them off as those who are not of us. Having this brand of determinism ingrained young in real thinkers has caused a shipwreck of faith. Once they are no longer impressed with the celeb gurus, it does not occur to them to run to Jesus, instead. The real legacy of that movement is it is basically Jesusless. He does not fit well with the determinism unless He is positioned as a lesser God, first.

            For what it’s worth.

            Jon Estes

            “The Holy Spirit always winds up sifting the wheat from tares in such scenarios, if not institutionally, in the heart of the “Ecclessia” and individual believers”

            Do you really believe this? I ask because you seem to want to do the sifting here (take on the role of the Holy Spirit – as in your position you state) with those you are in disagreement with.

            Why do you use such a “Holy Spirit will sift” position to defend those who you wish were still in power but you want to control the sifter with those in power?

              Scott Shaver

              Jon: What I believe is what I believe. And yes, I do believe it is the work of the Holy Spirit to guide, instruct and correct believers in Christ.

              Why do I “use”?…….That’s kind of an obtuse question but NOBODY USES the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses us, when and where the will of God dictates.

              As for “defending” those “I wish were still in power”…. You and I must have a different understanding of “power”. Those SBC servants who were washed out their denomination and professions and slandered by CR leaders actually got the better end of the deal, given last 20 years of history.

              What do these “in power” actually have power over?…………………NOTHING. They don’t even seem capable of balancing a check-book or budgeting for missions.

                Jon Estes

                Thanks for the dodge. You did it well.

                Take your own advice and let the Holy Spirit work it out post CR as you believe He would have done prior to the CR if those men would have remained quiet.

                You do believe in the Holy Spirit working it out (sifting…), right?

                  Scott Shaver

                  At least, Jon, we agree on “letting the Holy Spirit work it out post-CR.

                  That’s the reason you and and I are now able to discuss these things openly and publicly online unlike the days of the CR. That’s the reason individual perspectives on the SBC (i.e. yours and mine) are rehashing before the world what was done in secret and behind closed doors 20 years ago. Lot of folks in the pews have access and are getting information that wasn’t available to them when the CR was in full swing.

                  You’re right, Holy Spirit seems to be working it out very well post-CR as the scam is being slowly revealed (from the standpoint of sustance) for it’s true nature. The wheels of justice grind exceedingly slow…..but exceedingly fine.

Tom

This overspending by the IMB and bringing home seasoned missionaries is beyond scandalous IMO. No spin is going to fix the destruction of a once great Missionary organization.

    Scott Shaver

    Tom:

    I wonder how well situated with padded retirements etc are those responsible for the overspending?

Tom

I wanted to add one more comment before I go to bed. I have been a Southern Baptist for soon to be 42 years and it breaks my heart how the SBC has been dismantled over the last 30 years to make her unrecognizable to me and others. To bring up any criticisms over these years has led to basically being told–you are just a critic of the SBC. I grieve for what once was and to be very candid believe is forever gone.

    Max

    Tom, you share my sentiments. I have been a Southern Baptist for 60 years. I have witnessed numerous theo-political battles by SBC leaders, but haven’t seen anything like this! It has been painful to watch a once-great evangelistic denomination become a byword and reproach. Some say that folks like you and me are simply nostalgic and yearn for a day that time has forgotten. But you and I know that it would be best for SBC to return to the ancient path where the Gospel was proclaimed in its pulpits and countless souls brought into the Kingdom. This generational shift in SBC belief and practice does not have a clear sound and poses an uncertain outcome.

      Ken

      Tom;

      I’m not trying to exercise one-upsmanship but just supporting your comments – for I was a SBC member for 67 years before recently denouncing any affiliation with that entity. The overwhelming support for Calvinism fostered and promoted by Fred Luter and Frank Page was all I could take.

Lydia

Once again, the rank and file were conned by those they gave power. And of course you are a horrible sinner if you dare question anything. But let’s face it, they can’t do anything without OPM.

They now have an IMB hero who only saw the ‘beauty of the coop program” when he was appointed. Funny that. His claim to dangerous mission work was to hole up in the scary Dubai Marriott. I am truly amazed at how easy it has been to con so many young men in that movement. Cult of personality works. Dubai resident and blogger Todd Wilhelm (thou art man blog) had an interesting blog post about that whole thing. His daughter was there at the dangerous “undisclosed” location. It would be nice not to have frauds in such positions but that is the new normal. Image is everything.

    Scott Shaver

    Maybe the real “danger” for Platt at the Dubai Marriot was the soft ice-cream machine temporarily not functioning.

      Jon Estes

      “Maybe the real “danger” for Platt at the Dubai Marriot was the soft ice-cream machine temporarily not functioning.”

      I sense you know very little about the way Christians think in Dubai. As I wrote about before, there are many here who are very bold and willing to speak of Jesus as they go. There are many others who are very fearful of such. Both opinions are real and then there are many who fill in the gap between the two thoughts.

      Please remember the events of 2005 – http://www.bpnews.net/20244/two-americans-detained-by-uae-for-distributing-bibles

      Real story – Real women – Real laws,

      In the LifeWay / Platt case, to present one scenerio as the only one — whether it be something like an underground setting and things must be kept hush, hush or to print the names and dates and places for the meeting – without mentioning the other is disingenious from either side of reporting.

      But I understand you have a point you want to make. The problem is, we who are willing to listen to and understand the heart of fear that some of the Christians in Dubai have, gain a better understanding on the subject than you want.

        Lydia

        Jon, you may want to read Todd Wilhelms article I linked to. He talks about what you are saying. And explains the governments position on providing land for churches. Perhaps you could go to his blog and have a convo about fearful Christians. I am assuming you are talking about Muslim converts.

        It surely cannot help Muslim converts for Lifeway and Platt to use Dubai to make themselves look like they are in danger when they were not. Nor did Pipers gimmick help.

        On his site is also an post titled “John Piper goes to Ninevah”. Like Todd, I am glad Piper felt the pressure to take that shameless self promotion Dubai video down. One does not visit another country as a guest, make films in front of a Tower proclaiming our God is going to bring it down. As Todd said, we would not want an Imam doing something that threatening here.

        These amateur missionaries like Platt and Piper using Dubai to make themselves look bold is a fraud. They should put their vast sums of money where their mouth is in Yemen or similar.

        Are you affiliated with 9 Marks there?

        Lydia

        Jon, you may want to read Todd Wilhelms article I linked to. He talks about what you are saying when it comes to discussing your beliefs with Muslims there. And explains the governments position on providing land for churches. Perhaps you could go to his blog and have a convo about fearful Christians? I am assuming you are talking about Muslim converts. Right?

        It surely cannot help Muslim converts for Lifeway and Platt to use Dubai to make themselves look like they are in danger when they were not. Nor did Pipers “burn the tower down” gimmick help. His followers liked it. I get that.

        On his site is also an post titled “John Piper goes to Ninevah”. Like Todd, I am glad Piper felt the pressure to take that shameless self promotion Dubai video down. One does not visit another country as a guest, make films in front of a Tower proclaiming our God is going to bring it down. As Todd said, we would not want an Imam doing something that threatening here. The FBI would investigate such a spectacle.

        These amateur missionaries like Platt and Piper using Dubai to make themselves look bold is a fraud. They should put their vast sums of money where their mouth is in Yemen or similar. Where it would be seriously dangerous for them.

        from the BP story you link:

        “In the United Arab Emirates distributing Bibles is legal as long as tracts or other evangelistic material are not distributed with the Bibles, Crawford said.”
        This was 2005. Surely they were released or we would have heard about it. Wilhelm has said it is illegal to street preach. Add to that my long time missionary family and friends often lamented these sorts of drive by missions approaches that just made it harder for them in certain countries. It makes the person feel good who is doing it but often not helpful for those who dedicated their lives to a place. I fear this is the sort of thing Platt is proposing for the new young and improved missionaries who are not over 50.

        Btw, Has BP covered Mahaneys relationship with Mohler in any way? The many victims? Have they covered Mahaneys hotel church becoming part of the SBC? The jobs and perks handed out to the Mahaney entourage who fled Maryland? The attempt of SBTS to give the non accredited SG pastors students college credit?

          Jon Estes

          Lydia,

          I have read the Wilhelm article you linked a while back. I have no argument with him. I am speaking from experience. I live and pastor in Dubai. The church I pastor reached out and helped the two sweet ladies in the 2005 incident. I pastor people who have real fears concerning being a Christian here. The spectrum on how people perceive how Christianity is dealt with here is broad. There are some resident Christians who would have asked LifeWay to not publicize the Platt event.

          Knowing both sides of the issues here is helpful if one is interested in a clearer picture. So mocking the event as it was presented is done from ignorance.

            Lydia

            “Knowing both sides of the issues here is helpful if one is interested in a clearer picture. So mocking the event as it was presented is done from ignorance.”

            What a strange response. So you think Platt/Lifeway presenting themselves to Americans at home from an “undisclosed location” (which it wasn’t) and they were in danger (which they were not) wasn’t deceptive? Okey dokey. We have different views of ethics/character.

            I would assume the embassy would have had significant influece on the detained women. Not sure what you call help from the church but if I remember correctly you were not there in 2005. Again, I am becoming less and less enamoured with drive by missions. I have some family members who were detained in India under house arrest for several weeks when in college.. They were there on a drive by. About the only thing they accomplished was to make it harder for the real ones living there. They learned their lesson the hard way. But they got to see India.

              Jon

              You are correct, I was not her ein 2005, but the church leaders who housed these women while they were
              under house arrest are. I think I will agree with those who dealt with it first hand.

              The main point of my position is that there are many Christians her e who think they are in danger if they live out their faith in the public square. Whether they should be or not is a different discussion. The fact remains, they are here and the fear is real. For LifeWay to present itself as needing to come from a disclosed location would be supported by these people.

              Why LifeWay chose that language, we will probably never know but speculation and accusation will not end. Maybe because it fits the argument wanting to be made.

              I don’t know if we have different views on ethics and character or not. I do believe one of us sees the story in a fuller light. And that one lives in the city where the event occured and deals daily with great people who are afraid.

              Hey, maybe you can question their ethics and character for being afraid.

              Scott Shaver

              “Drive-by-missions” is a good term that I’ve not heard before.

              For, several years now I’ve wondered what good some folks were actually doing on these excursions. I do see that a lot of em enjoy coming back home with cultural dress and new African names. I’m sure some good is being done but my question has to do with the downsides of “drive-bys”, primarily for the folks in the region.

                Lydia

                Drive by missions could be beneficial if one would go to serve the long term missionary in whatever they need which is most likely grunt work. It is not as glamorous as street preaching or handing out bibles on corners for a few weeks but it lends support to those who made long term commitments and know the culture. If any of those are left…..

        Scott Shaver

        I hear you Jon but I still think the “danger” thing was over-hyped for dramatic effect. You are correct, I don’t know anything about the perspectives of Christians in Dubai but I do have a feel for some of the kind of Christianity VISITING Dubai from over here.

    norm

    I looked for that Platt/Dubai blog post and didn’t see it. A little help?

      Andrew Barker

      norm: I suspect the original pages have long been deleted, but there is an account of the goings-on on Todd Wilhelm’s site. Have a look round yourself the main url is https://thouarttheman.org/

      Andrew Barker

      norm: definitive article is here https://thouarttheman.org/2013/08/17/630/ but as I said, look around as there’s other related stuff there as well.

      Scott Shaver

      Lydia. Can you give Norm a hand?

        norm

        No need for applause, Lydia. ;^>

Lydia

When I get to a real computer will link it

Lydia

Norm,

https://thouarttheman.org/2013/08/17/630/

Tom

The money is definitely going to dry up in the SBC. The older folk and that includes me at 58 1/2 have not been wanted for a long time unless we unquestioningly followed the new “leaders.” We have been told to leave. Where do the “leaders” think the money to do all the things in the SBC come from? It would be very interesting to see their giving records.

    Scott Shaver

    Where do the leaders think the money to maintain and expand the SBC mission (whatever that is these days) is going to come from?

    Very good question Tom.

    View from the pew is that they’re banking on radically “reformed”, “gospel-centered” (whatever that is), post-baby-boomers who collect in strip-malls and re-purposed theaters (not that location matters) for Piper mantras and mosh-pits on Sunday. Don’t think economic trends for the last ten years in this country are warming-up for the next generational “change of hands” with regard to the “wealth” of their parents. They remind me of friends from the 60’s and 70’s whose purpose for existence at that time was to follow rock groups from venue to venue.

    Cat’s out of the bag on deficit spending….so that tactic won’t work any more. Mr. Snakey is looking for a new dance.

    Only relief I see on the horizon (tongue in cheek) is the annexing of the IMB to Platt’s organization which will lead them (SBC) to new un-tapped resources for the expansion of a “gospel-centered” and culturally compatible agenda (whatever that is).

    As far as your local traditional SBC churches are concerned……guess we’re on our own (denominationally speaking). By the way, that’s a very good place to be with regard to SBC issues these days……..for both churches and individuals.

      Lydia

      “Where do the leaders think the money to maintain and expand the SBC mission (whatever that is these days) is going to come from?”

      Good question if one takes a long view. The YRR who took over a church here I am quite familiar with and are down to 200 from 500 attending. However, this established church had many legacies from recent deceased members. Not to mention the debt free building. So the YRR can operate quite nicely for a while with large salaries as they run off dissenters. But that won’t last. And I am not convinced subsequent generations are as generous which is why I think the Neo Cals are dead set on membership covenants, they need to claim that God wants them to direct people’s giving, not the Holy Spirit,. And the younger generation is falling for it.

Tom

Given the financial mismanagement IMO of the IMB,–the very shock of not expanding our missionaries but bringing home seasoned missionaries– it is time to make available to us Southern Baptists the financial packages and other costs of the major IMB staff to us Southern Baptist. We Southern Baptist members fund the IMB and deserve much better stewardship than we are receiving. I will not hold my breath!!

David R. Brumbelow

I was a part of the SBC Conservative Resurgence (CR).
The CR was right, and it was necessary.
Liberalism was slowly gaining supremacy in the SBC. I personally witnessed it on several occasions. I also read it in books published by SBC professors. There was also a growing sympathy for accepting and protecting liberalism within the SBC.

The CR was never intended as a once for all fix of all problems in the SBC. But it did fix the overwhelming problem of leaders in our convention casing doubt on the Word of God.

If you want a comparison – compare how well the SBC is doing in evangelism, missions, church planting, preaching the Bible, and compare that with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and Baptist Alliance (groups formed by moderates and liberals who left the SBC). See which ones are for, or are silent, on same sex marriage, etc.

For more information see:

Brief History of SBC Conservative Resurgence
http://gulfcoastpastor.blogspot.com/2009/08/brief-history-of-sbc-conservative.html

David R. Brumbelow

    Scott Shaver

    Hey David:
    Why is it preferable to compare post-CR SBC history to CBF etc (you pick preferred villains) instead of comparing post-CR SBC history to pre-CR SBC history?
    That comparison doesn’t paint as pretty enough picture or something?

    Scott Shaver

    Respectfully David:

    I don’t think I would have linked to that particular post you’ve provided. More interesting than your slight but understandable historical revision of CR history were the number of comments (better than 95%) who disagreed vehemently with your perspective WHEN YOU WROTE IT.

    After all, we are primarily about numbers and democratic majorities determining the will of God in the SBC aren’t we?

Lydia

I often wonder if the CR would have gone very differently had there been social media. I do know that back then the attendance at conventions was enormous compared to today. It seems the SBC leaned toward authoritarianism and now basically the attendees are not as much lay people as those in paid ministry. I don’t think that bodes well for the future. But our entire culture is leaning that way, too.

    Scott Shaver

    “I wonder if the CR would have gone very differently had there been social media”. Good question for which we can only speculate the answer.

    Just be thankful that the CR is “losing its spin” and the emperor has no clothes these days because of social media.

Tom

David: You said:”The CR was right, and it was necessary.” I say it was wrong and unnecessary. Who is right me or you? IMO, it does not matter at this point in time.

This will be my last comment on the CR. The better question is do I as a SB member trust the current leadership to make the correct decisions–No–because there is little to no accountability.

    Andy

    While we disagree on the Need for a CR, I feel your distancing from the SBC. This is a case where we can be thankful for Baptist polity that basically means the National SBC has no rule over my individual church. I like my church, It has good people and sincere leaders. So it doesn’t bother me that we support the SBC, We also support other missions and ministries that we don’t agree with fully. It wouldn’t bother me a ton if we were not SBC, as I didn’t grow up SBC. I happen to now be in a local autonomous Baptist church that partners with the SBC on some things. Granted, over the past years, we have diminished our SBC support for various reasons. But a lot of the national going-ons just don’t affect our church that much.

      Scott Shaver

      Andy:

      While we have not always seen completely eye-to-eye when interacting online, I’ve always admired your insight, critical-thinking and attention to the CLEAR meaning of scripture. Your tact and skill for “diplomacy” far exceeds mine (what little I had disappearing with age). Guess you had me from the hat :)

      Anyway, I’m gonna follow your lead here….enuff said from my personal quarter about CR (recent SBC history). Will try and stick to middle-ages to 1865 henceforth. Not, however, until a few days/weeks break from this stuff now that I understand the dynamic/logic at work.

      In parting, I will say that what we have here (despite the re-brandings) is an in-house squabble between what used to be represented by the labels “Fundamentalist” and “Calvinist”. Finding “middle-ground” between the two will likely wind up depending upon which side can use the “bible” and “inerrancy” in the quickest and most lethal fashion. IMO

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