Trust: The Irreplaceable Currency of Voluntary Missionary Movements

March 22, 2016

Randy Adams | Executive Director
Northwest Baptist Convention

**This article was previously posted by Randy Adams on his website randyadams.org and is used by permission.

High trust societies prosper; low trust societies don’t. Nearly 20 years ago my wife started an import business to help missionaries in South Asia secure business visas. She imported from a country that manufactured unique jewelry, carpets and clothing. The business was successful in that several missionaries received long-term visas. Financially, though, it was not profitable. A primary reason behind the lack of profit was that the people from whom she imported always skimmed some of the products.

Economists know that prosperous nations have high levels of trust, enabling them to develop banks, stock markets and legal systems that operate with an integrity that builds trust. Poor nations are generally low in trust, often extending little trust of anyone beyond family, ethnic group, or religion.

When I think about the work we do together as Baptists, I am amazed that a voluntary missionary movement such as ours has prospered in miraculous ways – and that is what the Southern Baptist (SB) denomination is – a voluntary missionary movement – an incredibly successful one at that. While we grieve the recent downsizing of the International Mission Board (983 missionaries have left the field, plus 149 stateside staff), it’s remarkable that 3,941 international missionaries are being sustained through the voluntary missions support of Southern Baptists (as of 2/23/16).

In addition, more than 900 churches are being planted each year in North America, 18,000 seminary students are being trained, and thousands more are sharpening their skills and strengthening their hearts through training and events, and so much more. The SB voluntary missionary movement includes dozens of colleges and universities, collegiate ministries, children’s homes, and, at one time, hospitals. The currency that has been irreplaceable in moving our missionary movement forward is trust and good will. More than the almighty dollar, Southern Baptists, and our Northwest Baptist network, have enjoyed a level of trust that has enabled our now 46,000 churches to do Kingdom work together, even during difficult days.

However, while God’s work through the SB voluntary missionary movement has been remarkable, it is not inevitable that God will continue to bless us and use us to bring the gospel to our nation and our world. Jesus said that the gates of Hades will not prevail against His Church, and we believe this absolutely, but local churches do die, and denominations and missionary movements have died as well. The Church continues, but local expressions of the Church have no such guarantee. Have you ever visited the churches that Paul founded in Ephesus, Corinth, or Philippi? Neither have I because those churches no longer exist. In 1776 the Congregationalists had the greatest number of churches in America. Today they are blip on the screen of American church life.

Glossy optimism about the voluntary missionary movement that is Southern Baptist is not warranted. The facts (baptisms, missionaries on the field, new churches planted) indicate that our missionary movement has not only ceased moving forward, but we have actually taken steps backward. Some become uncomfortable when such things are pointed out, but I believe that we must face things as they really are, including how we got to where we are, if we hope to regain momentum in our grand mission endeavor.

For effectiveness to continue and grow, we must build and grow the “trust bank.” How do we do that? Here is a thesis statement for you to consider: Trust results from the credibility of the leader, and the confidence that the leader acts in the best interest of the organization. Believing this to be true, I want to offer several essentials for building and maintaining trust. Please note, though I have referenced the larger missionary movement that we call the SBC, these principles apply to any voluntary missionary movement, including the regional convention that I lead, or that of the local church.

The key to a missionary movement is leadership. Voluntary missionary movements require leaders who:

1. Believe in the missionary movement that they lead. This may seem obvious, but some leaders only believe in the movement “when they are the leader.” The most effective, trust-building leaders are chosen to lead because they demonstrated belief in the movement even before they came to lead it. We see this in the Bible over and again (Acts 6:3; 1 Thess. 2; 1 Tim. 3; many Old Testament examples, with David being one of the best because he fought a giant for his God and country before he became king). Southern Baptists hearts are united by a cause, the Great Commission, but we are also united by the means we have chosen to engage our cause, namely working together cooperatively, which includes the Cooperative Program. To be a Southern Baptist means we believe that the Great Commission is our commission, and that a primary method to fulfilling it is through CP missions.

2. Develop strong and healthy relationships with others who lead the missionary movement. Voluntary missionary movements require trust, and trust is built through relationship. We see an example of this in the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, and we see it throughout Paul’s letters.

3. Are transparent and open to inquiry and accountability. In a voluntary missionary movement, no one is more accountable than the leader. Strong, secure leaders invite inquiry and discussion. Restricting speech will destroy a voluntary missionary movement. “Trust the Lord and tell the people” is an old Baptist saying.

4. Always keep their word and act with integrity. Always.

5. Explain their actions, giving the “why?” as well as the “what?” Knowing “why” a particular course of action was taken, especially if the decision is controversial, will preserve and build trust because it demonstrates respect toward others in the missionary movement. Again, we see this in Acts 15. We see it throughout Paul’s communication with various churches as he explained himself and his teaching.

6. Admit and explain failure. Repent and ask forgiveness when they sin.

7. Think and plan for the long-term. Christopher Columbus, yes, the one who “sailed the ocean blue” in 1492, believed that he was extending Christianity, and that through his efforts and those of others, Jesus could return in about 150 years. Jonathan Edwards, the great revivalist and preacher, wrote in the 1740s that the last people he expected to be reached for Christ were the Muslims, and that by the year 2,000 Jesus could return. He was looking forward 250 years. Leaders of voluntary missionary movements serve as though Jesus could return tomorrow, but they don’t “sell the farm,” trading tomorrow for today.

Those of us who lead aspects of the Southern Baptist missionary movement, whether we are local church pastors, associational or denominational leaders, inherited the trust and good will built by our forefathers. Just as inherited wealth tends to dissipate over time, trust and good will can easily be eroded over time if it is not stewarded well. When a voluntary missionary movement loses these, it loses everything.

Many years ago I read Jay Winik’s book titled April 1865: The Month that Saved America, which focused on the final month of the American Civil War. It was a fascinating book, the thesis of which was that it was not inevitable that the war ended the way that it did, allowing for the United States to reunite and eventually become one again. To paraphrase, he said that great men did great things, at the right time. Had Lincoln, Lee and Grant chosen differently, we would live in a different world today.

God is sovereign. He will accomplish His agenda. But it would be presumption, not faith, to say that God has to bless us and use us to get His work done. As leaders of a Bible class, a church, or an agency that serves churches, we must do all we can to build trust, so that God alone gets the glory as He uses us in ways greater than ever.

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Tom

“While we grieve the recent downsizing of the International Mission Board (983 missionaries have left the field, plus 149 stateside staff), it’s remarkable that 3,941 international missionaries are being sustained through the voluntary missions support of Southern Baptists (as of 2/23/16).”

What grieving? On a scale of 1 to 10. I would rate the grieving I have heard from the SBC leaders about the overspending of 210 million dollars and having to bring home over 1000 missionaries a 2.

Why should I trust the leaders of the SBC? No one is ever held accountable when they do anything wrong. No one will be held account for the overspending of 210 million dollars!

Also this post sure looks like a Public Relations post to me. I truly believe the people in the SBC pews are waking up to what is going on
wake up and realize it can not be business as usual when it comes to funding the missionaries in the SBC.

Rick Patrick

Randy,
Thank you for this statesmanlike article. I especially find agreement with your point number three regarding the need for transparency and openness. (See https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/transparencyagendasurvey to take the Transparency Survey or http://sbctoday.wpengine.com/unity-through-transparency-agenda/ to read the article explaining it.) Surely, once the SBC becomes more responsive to the concerns of the people, greater trust will be built going forward.

    Tom

    But Rick, when and what is going to cause the SBC leaders to be responsive to the concerns of people? According to some SBC leaders if “we” would just give more it would solve the “missionary problem”. It does not appear to me the 210 million dollar overspending and calling home over 1000 missionaries has really grabbed the SBC leaders and created in them a more responsive attitude. All I have seen and heard is SPIN! All is well–it must be God’s will to call these missionaries home.

      Rick Patrick

      There has not been a convention since the announcement. And yes, the leaders will spin things. That’s what leaders do. But many people are very concerned about the direction of our convention right now, and it’s not just related to IMB matters. I am hopeful that Southern Baptists will respond to our current direction with clear and persuasive arguments. As an example, I would point to Dr. Chuck Kelley’s recent sermon on the Great Commission. The statistics he shared give us reason to question our current GCR agenda and strategies. I believe that in time our course can be corrected.

        Scott Shaver

        “Leaders will spin things…..that’s what leaders do”.

        God spare us from “leaders” in that case. Tom is right, you’ll be hearing the same diatribe, platitudes and excuses should the convention be reduced to 1500 members with an annual operating budget of $1500

        While you stand on the “promises” it might be a good idea, at the same time, to hang onto your wallets.

          Tom

          Scott:

          The SBC leaders have discovered an easy out when things go horribly wrong–“It must be God’s will.”

          You see you can not challenge these leaders because that will make you “divisive.”

          The charge of being divisive has been used to remove or shut up many SBC members.

            Scott Shaver

            Exactly the reason, Tom, that current leadership must make sure that 30-something, “Calvinistic” (i.e. “gospel-minded” leadership per inspection of the current tier are the ONLY ones at the reigns.

            You were promised that the new IMB “administration” would be transparent……NOT.

            Was “leadership” transparent last fall with the communications team and tell them that their department was being eliminated so they could make informed (albeit hasty) decisions? Leadership has obviously been planning this move for a while.

            Why was communications staff pushed at the end of December to complete tasks for the “President’s Forum”, giving them a deadline of Jan. 15????? I understand a good number of staff members worked like mules during Christmas holidays to meet the deadline….only to be informed their jobs were in the process of elimination.

            Why were certain existing employees promised jobs in the new restructure? Fat chance.

            Why six-month job renewal reviews now that “stability” has been re-established and the crippled plane has its wheels back on the runway? Six-month performance reviews sounds more like maintenance of leadership status-quo and objectives than either efficiency of effectiveness to me. So much for any sense of “morale” or “job security”.
            Certainly keeps you on your toes.

            How many times, one asks, did David Platt and his right hand, since being in Richmond, ever even spoke to the majority of the exiting communications team? That’s right, such meetings are probably scheduled by their “handlers”. Handlers know they need to whittle staff to 50 or 60 so the board can move em to Alpharetta?
            Wonder how much age discrimination in employment IMB was willing to undertake under advice of its lawyers about couching proposals or directives in “spiritual language”?

            The CR complained about the “moderate/liberal good-ole-boy network”.

            Obvious, isn’t it, that the “good-ole-boy network” running the IMB structure for years has been replaced by a “gospel-minded” (not really) network of 30-something “good boys”? Their mentality is, “why would anybody want to stay at job longer than two years?”

            Why will the IMB also no longer provide photography and other media to churches and various state and convention affiliations upon request? Quality of work is bound to suffer with freelance or contract workers who’ve not forged relationships with missionaries…they’ll be the ones determining content. Security?

            Final question to IMB leadership. How do you write letters of recommendation for folks you don’t know ? :)

            Scott Shaver

            Once you’ve been labeled and “marginalized”, Tom, you don’t have to carry that bag of bricks anymore.

            New lease on life.

              Tom

              Scott: If only the SBC leadership could begin to fathom what they are missing by forbidding women leaders, but there is a bright side. Women can never be blamed for what they did after the CR.

Tom

Rick:

I wish I was as positive as you are about the course being corrected. I was saved in a country Southern Baptist church in 1974. I have heard the course was going to be corrected since 1979 and yet in 2016 I hear the very same thing. I am not optimistic in the least.

Norm

Tom n Scott
Send me your addresses so I can send you some cheese. – Norm

    Tom

    Norm:

    I will have to decline unless you will send me some nice wine to go with the cheese. Thanks for the kind offer.

Scott Shaver

Who needs cheese? Give your address Norm and I’ll send u a cow.

    Tom

    Scott:

    Will the cow you send Norm be a “holy” cow. Or will it be a CD by Aerosmith with the song–“Dream on.”. I truly believe that should be the theme of the SBC for the upcoming 5,000 messengers compared to much higher numbers before the TAKEOVER.

    Or another theme can be–All is well just trust your leaders..

JON

TRUST???

We have to have this thing called trust?

How does one call for trust for those or from those in IMB leadership when, in the SBC, Pastores do not trust their people and people do not trust their pastors. I am not referring to an all or nothing kind of thought but I think a case can be made for the comment.

If we all do not get our heads screwed on straight, the SBC will become like the present Sears and Roebuck. A great history with a present decay into that of no value.

Articles can be written for decades and nothing changed. Until we choose to drop the pettiness and accept the differences (being different is not a bad thing) unite again for the reaching of the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ (regardless if you think you chose Him or He chose you)… We can make a difference. Until then, we can hang out on blogs and feel good about ourselves for getting the upperhand on someone else in the debate.

What would your life be like without the SBC or with one so weakened it is fading into irrelevance? Could you and would you press on, in your churches, working together to reach the world? I do wonder about some.

To add to the list… Traditionalist do not trust Calvinists, Calvinists do not trust traditionalist. Men do not trust the women, women do not trust the men.

Scott Shaver

Naw Tom…..it’s a “sacred cow”.

Been shedding myself of those.

Clif

Rick: I wish I had your optimism. I fear that Randy will suffer from the Kill-The-Messenger (KTM) syndrome. I am sure that many pastors are not dealing with all this because they know that their congregations would immediately KTM. And that is why I expect nothing from the annual meeting in St. Louis. Kill the messengers! will be the cry against all those who are “negative” and “disrespectful” of our leaders. And then there will be: “Y’all are just a bunch of anti-Calvinists! You’re just bitter old men.”
Here is the story that will appear after the St. Louis convention: NOTHING TO SEE HERE, JUST MOVE ALONG SBC messengers met in St. Louis this week and were all together for the gospel!

volfan007

He’s alive, Boys! He ain’t dead anymore. He came out of that grave, like He owned it. And, He’s coming back, to git us, one day!!

    Dennis Lee Dabney

    volfan007,

    Now that will Preach Brother!

    Hallelujah to the Lamb of God which took away the sin of the world!

    Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah and AMEN!

    Preach!

Tom

Vol:

Who are you speaking too? Who said he was dead? And the use of the word boys is condescending. You effort in humor if it was humor failed on me and you send out this silly message on Easter Sunday–shame on you!

    Les

    Tom,

    This quote from an article by Al Mohler:

    ““I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection,” says the Right Reverend N. T. Wright, Bishop of Durham. This is a truly dangerous and unbiblical assertion, made all the more shocking when it is offered by someone of N. T. Wright’s caliber.”

    Therefore, Vol is right on to be joyful about the truth of the resurrection.

      Lydia

      What was Mohlers source for the quote?

        Les

        An interview in The Australian April 13, 2006.

    Les

    Oh, and the statement by Wright is wrong in this sense. He may have friends who CLAIM to be Christians who deny the resurrection. But by definition one cannot be a Christian and deny the resurrection. A point Mohler rightly makes.

Tom

Les:

I must have missed it in the above comments, but please point out who in these comments was saying they denied a bodily resurrection?

    Les

    Tom, I don’t think anyone n these comments did. But why be critical of Vol’s exclamation and exuberance? But on a side note, Southern Baptists and their friends should be thankful that the CR happened and rid the SBC of those profs who did actually deny the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Happy they are gone.

      Tom

      Les:

      Vol pulled that exclamation and exuberance out of the thin air just to get attention.

      I will say it loudly and clearly to you and others–the CR destroyed the once great SBC! It was more like the Salem Witch Trials–lives and careers destroyed for what? I do not know how those that did this to other Christians sleep at night. Who were these professors that denied the bodily resurrection? I doubt even a handful could have been found. What some people call the SBC today–I do not recognize.

      BTW if you knew Vol– he likes to play the middle against the end and I find that extremely disingenuous!

        JON

        Tom –

        I sat in the class (as did my wife) at SEBTS when a professor called Christ ignorant when it came to the Mosaic authoriship of the Law. I believe His name was Dr. Rogers (been a long tme and he has since passed away). circa 1989

        Had anothert professor at SEBTS (name slips my mind but he was young) who believed those people who will never have the opportunity to hear the gospel (unreached people groups) will not be held accountable and go to heaen. circa 1990

        In a former NC Baptist college, I sat under a professor who denied the virgin birth. Had a back and forth with him on this issue (always in calm tones) circa 1978

        They were there in our schools on our dime. Deny all you desire, it happened.

          Tom

          Jon:

          As I said to Les, I am not denying anything. The whole denomination was taken over for the sins of a few. It was wrong and the SBC continues to reap the fruits of this evilness perpetrated on many innocent men and women who would not say the magic words.

          You talk about your dime. I am very confident that many of the CR folks did not put in many dimes until they took over the SBC.

          I still will call it a witch hunt because that is what it was.

            JON

            Tom –

            We will continue to disagree but I will say both sides of the aisle did wrong intheir actions. Proclaiming the Bible to be inerrant was not one of them though.

              Tom

              Jon:
              What do you mean by inerrant? I’ve never seen a simple definition without several qualifiers.

              Does one have to say the word of God is inerrant to go to Heaven?

                JON

                “What do you mean by inerrant?”

                Without error in what it says, teaches and speaks to.

                “Does one have to say the word of God is inerrant to go to Heaven?”

                I don’t think so. Does one have to say Calvinism is wrong to go to heaven?

                  Andrew Barker

                  JON: I thought you would have realised by now that, in Calvinism, only God gets to say who goes to heaven. So why the pointless question?

                    Tom

                    Andrew:

                    All of this talk about the elect from the CALVINISTS reminds of the many Primitive Baptist churches, with there dwindling membership, in my neck of the woods. Ask any of the members if they are going to heaven and they will tell you they hope so. I don’t want a hope so–I want a I know and know now.

          Lydia

          Jon, what possible difference could it make what was taught since people are chosen by God for salvation before the world was formed, Adam sinned or they were even born? Now that the SBC is Neo Cal, the CR seems to be much ado about nothing. Those not chosen are doomed to be damned anyway. Those chosen cannot decide to be unchosen –so any wrong teaching hardly matters. God was in controlling every molecule then and now so whatever happens is Gods design.

          The only thing Paul Debusman did was disagree with Tom Eliff. The 34 year old Mohler fired him a few months before retirement.

            JON

            Lydia –

            It matters because God says it matters. Teachers / Preachers are held to a higher standard.

            Those of reformed persuassion I know believe that we must be true to God’s word because the God who saved us, tells us to be. Being of the elect does not mean we disregard any other part of the Word because somone thinks it makes no sense or is a waste of time. Sorry you feel that way.

              Tom

              How can Calvinism and non-Calvinism cooperate in the SBC world? They are not compatible IMO. The CR was so concerned about getting rid of all of the ‘liberals” and now Calvinism will finish off the SBC.

                Andy

                I guess it comes down to what people decide is important enough to separate over. For some, it’s something like KJV vs Modern translations, for some, it is what one believes about predestination, for others, it is innerrancy.

                I know that in my church calvinists and non calvinists have cooperated for at least the last 9 years. Also, we have one deacon who doesn’t believe innerrancy is the right word to describe scripture…though when asked for details, his view is very similar to what others call innerrancy.

                I find it interesting that you think calvinism & non-calvinism cannot cooperate, but you believe inerrantists and non-inerrantists should have been able to cooperate?

                JON

                “IMO”

                In your opinion it seems they can’t. I’ve been cooperating with non-Calvinists for decades. I’ve had team memebrs who I visited with that are as cluseless about Calvinism as some here who think anyone of that persuasion are evil. Then they can’t understnad why I, a Calvinist, would take time to go witness with the lost. The answer is simple.

                This reformer and my friends believe it is our calling, our mandate, to take the gospel to the end of the earth. We believe it is the power unto salvation. We do not go looking for the elece, we go looking for th elost and as far as I am concerned, every soul I enmcournter without Christ is a part of the elect and I will witness to them to meet the Jesus who died for them. We don’t play God for ourselves and others when it comes to lostness. We leave that in the hands of the One who saves.

                It’s pretty simple.

                Chris

                I believe they should be able to cooperate. Many of the Traditionalist leaders have said the same.

                As long as we agree on the gospel (Jesus died, was buried, rose, and whoever repents and trusts in Him will be saved), believe evangelism/missions, are baptists, and are open/honest, I certainly believe they can cooperate.

                But I think it takes humility from both sides.

              Lydia

              ‘Those of reformed persuassion I know believe that we must be true to God’s word because the God who saved us, tells us to be. Being of the elect does not mean we disregard any other part of the Word because somone thinks it makes no sense or is a waste of time. Sorry you feel that way.”

              This is what makes no sense. In the determinist filter Jesus could not have really meant what He said about repent and believe. In that “inerrant” determinist filter, He said it knowing some had not been chosen and had no ability to repent and believe. So true to what? What boils down to a con that you all perpetuate? Pay no attention to what Jesus is saying, he does not mean it howbit sounds… but we must be true to the other parts?

              Your religion has serious credibility problems. It does not fit the Words of our Lord.

      Les

      Tom, what you detest today many, many love. I had two of those bible denying profs back at the old NOBTS. Saw it with my own eyes. Man more than a few denied the bible Tom. They needed to be gone. Thankfully they are and a great denomination was saved. But you’re certainly entitled to your opinion.

        Tom

        Les:

        When you say many, many love. There sure are a lot fewer people in the SBC than there once was so if I were you I would go easy on the many-many stuff!

        I certainly do detest what happened to a once great denomination. I would never deny that there were a few professors, administrators, etc. that should have been fired. But when anyone who did not have the right belief is fired it is wrong. When you say they denied the bible let me guess they would not affirm inerrancy that has multiple meanings. Sadly, we are talking about history and we will just have to agree to disagree.

          Les

          Tom, when I speak of inerrancy this below from the Chicago Statement on inerrancy is what I mean.

          “1. God, who is Himself Truth and speaks truth only, has inspired Holy Scripture in order thereby to reveal Himself to lost mankind through Jesus Christ as Creator and Lord, Redeemer and Judge. Holy Scripture is God’s witness to Himself.

          2. Holy Scripture, being God’s own Word, written by men prepared and superintended by His Spirit, is of infallible divine authority in all matters upon which it touches: it is to be believed, as God’s instruction, in all that it affirms, obeyed, as God’s command, in all that it requires; embraced, as God’s pledge, in all that it promises.

          3. The Holy Spirit, Scripture’s divine Author, both authenticates it to us by His inward witness and opens our minds to understand its meaning.

          4. Being wholly and verbally God-given, Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God’s acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God’s saving grace in individual lives.

          5. The authority of Scripture is inescapably impaired if this total divine inerrancy is in any way limited or disregarded, or made relative to a view of truth contrary to the Bible’s own; and such lapses bring serious loss to both the individual and the Church.”

        Les

        Tom,

        No it was not that they would not affirm inerrancy, though that would be a problem too. What I saw was a denial that miracles occurred as described in the bible. Denials of the reality of historical Jonah, for instance. I could go on, but that is enough. I suppose we just disagree Tom.

        Tom

        Les: Please define more than a few. Are you concerned that some lost there careers over false charges or over zealous prosecutors of the CR. I hope this never happens to you and please do not be so quick to think it can not.

        The CR opened Pandora’s box.

        Scott Shaver

        What Les saw with his own eyes was an illusion. Was there during the period myself. NOBTS had not a single faculty member who “denied” the bible. This is a LIE, pure and simple. Correct….I said bald-faced “LIE”

          Les

          Aw Scott. We were students there together. What a sweet thought.

          Les

          Scott,

          I really did not and do not want to get into an argument over what I saw and heard at NOBTS 1984-85. But I assure you that I am not lying about it.

          God bless.

            Scott Shaver

            Not looking to argue with you Les. Just looking to offset the lie.

      Lydia

      If those who don’t believe in bodily resurrection are people of integrity who don’t operate on deception, stealth, protect child molesters or partner with vulgar celebrity pastors, I would rather worship with them.

        Les

        Be kinda hard to worship God “together” with unbelievers. But you could try.

          Lydia

          Some of us are around unbelievers all the time in the real world we would sooner trust our kids to than some celeb pastors and their acolytes out there. At least a young woman married to a pedophile missionary would not have to get elder permission to divorce.

          Thanks for the source. I will see if it is online to check the context. NT Wright is considered a huge threat to the Reformed celebs. Piper has tried to label him a heretic for years. For a pseudo intellectual movement, you guys don’t hear scholars out well. You like to cherry pick out of context.

            Chris

            Lydia,

            If you think we are a pseudo intellectual movement, why would you expect us to hear scholars out very well?

              Andrew Barker

              Chris: There’s no doubt that you are part of a pseudo intellectual movement. Just listen to some of the comments from your ‘brothers’!

                Chris

                Andrew,

                I am sure not an intellectual. So if I am in that “family”, I guess pseudo intellectual makes the most sense. :)

                  Andrew Barker

                  Right on both counts Chris. Don’t go and spoil it now!

              Lydia

              Chris, good point! How silly of me. :o)

                Chris

                Lydia,

                Thank you. Don’t be too hard on yourself. :)

            Andrew Barker

            Lydia: Your comments prompted me to do a bit of digging myself and I quickly came up with a much clearer picture. It would appear that Al Mohler used the quote to rally the troops rather than advance any understanding of the truth. The problem lies in the fact that Mohler can rely on his minions not to check out what he’s saying and they just drink it in. If anybody is interested in reading the context of Wright’s comments on this, here it is http://goo.gl/BTuK79 along with other related comments.

            Here’s the end section of what Wright actually says on this subject … “I do think, however, that churches that lose their grip on the bodily resurrection are in deep trouble and that for healthy Christian life individually and corporately, belief in the bodily resurrection is foundational.”

            So for anyone to say they are “familiar with NT” and then give the impression that Wright doesn’t think the resurrection is central to Christian living, is quite revealing.

              Les

              Let’s see how this works:

              “I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe in the bodily resurrection,”

              “I have friends who I am quite sure are Christians who do not believe [that Jesus is God],”

              Hmmm. Let me think…..nope. I’ll prefer a different theologian.

              Les

              Christian and “denial of the resurrection” don’t belong in the same sentence.

              Les

              Here is all of what Dr. Mohler wrote on this matter. http://www.albertmohler.com/2006/04/16/not-all-christians-believe-in-the-resurrection-of-christ/

              Lydia

              ” It would appear that Al Mohler used the quote to rally the troops rather than advance any understanding of the truth.”

              It is all too familiar, Andrew. The biggest advertisement for me to check out NT Wright more deeply years back was Pipers OTT reaction to him on justification and knowing hoe Piper operates. It works the opposite for the troops, In the meantime, while I might not agree with everything, he makes you think and want to dig more instead of just being indoctrinated.

                Andrew Barker

                Lydia: One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that very few, if any, Reformed theologians are able to give a balanced view on something with which they disagree. Piper is just an extreme example of this. However, theologians like Wright who are more scholarly seem to be able to hold a view in mind and present it in a non-confrontational way and allow the listener to make up their own mind.

                Mohler knows that Wright believes in a bodily resurrection and acknowledges this in his article. So what he is really saying is that Wright should condemn as non-Chrisitian those theologians with whom he comes into contact if they don’t happen to agree with him on this point. Since we are instructed not to go round pulling up the ‘tares’, I think the Bishop has scripture on his side on this one! Further more, if you read, yes read for yourself what Marcus Borg said you get a far different picture. He may be saying things we all disagree with, but he’s not aggressively anti in any way. When it comes down to it, Mohler’s main gripe (and that’s all it is) is that Wright uses the word foundation instead of essential. Well, excuse me but Jesus said no other “foundation” …… ooops! Need I say more?

              Lydia

              Andrew, thanks for the IM link. Les dug up Mohler responding to the piece from 2006. Because the reformed always need what they deem a heretical enemy. Surely there is fresher heresy? Hee Hee. Mohler and Wright are as different academically as a Soviet Jr college and Harvard.

              Just glad it is illegal to torture and burn them at the stake.

                Tom

                Lydia:

                I think some in the SBC would torture and burn those at the stake if they could. I want it said–not me. The CR has brought the SBC a long way but it has been in a direction that brothers and sisters in Christ can no longer cooperate about even the basics of the Gospel.

                Les

                Heresy these days is not new. It’a always been around, so no need to look for “fresher” ones. But I notice you didn’t actually interact with the words of Rev. Wright. Figures I suppose. Maybe or maybe not you’re ok with a person denying the literal. bodily resurrection of Jesus and claiming the name of Jesus to be one of His followers. We’ll likely not know what you think about that because Dr. Mohler’s name is involved and he is the go to target. :)

                  Lydia

                  Les, there is nothing to interact with. The australian link is dead. I will take Micheal Spencer’s word on the quote, the discussion and the venue it was from over Mohlers any day.

                  Wright is an academic who interacts. Mohler indoctrinates and controls. Andrew quoted Wrights last input about where it would lead and i agree with it. No need to wipe Borg off the mat. Wright is not out to rally troops and indoctrinate.

                  Les

                  Interesting that while you reject the messenger (Mohler) you don’t take the opportunity to at a minimum positively affirm the necessity that a Christ follower believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus.

                  Anyway, oh how I’ve missed copying and pasting (Andrew :). So here is a bit for you…and not from Mohler.

                  “The resurrection is the foundation of much for Christianity. It has immense apologetic value for defending the truthfulness of Jesus’ claim to be God. It is, without question, the most persuasive argument for the reality of miracles. It provides a historical foundation for the Christian faith and Christian truth that is incomparable among the rest of the world’s religions. However, it is also at the heart of how Christians understand the Gospel and their own personal salvation.” SB pastor Josh McClellan writing for The Baptist Messenger

                  “Hobbs took seriously the challenges to the belief in a bodily resurrection. But he carefully countered each challenge and defended the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ with biblical and historical evidence, concluding that it “is one of the best authenticated events in all of history.”47 He emphasized that the resurrection demon- strated the complete deity of Jesus Christ while giving hope to believers regarding their future resurrection with Christ. The ascension, exaltation and return of Christ point to Christ’s ultimate victory over sin, death, and Satan.” David Dockery about Herschel Hobbs

                  “Believing that the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead is essential for Christians. Merely recognizing that He died for our sins is not enough; we must accept His resurrection in order to receive eternal life. Christ paid our debt, but His sacrifice on the cross means nothing if He possesses no power over the grave. In vanquishing evil and death, the Lord made our salvation possible.
                  Jesus’ resurrection proved He was able to remove sin and its penalty. Assuming Christ remained dead would mean accepting the opposite – that believers are still in sin. And the inevitable end of a sinful life is death. Consequently, a person who denies Christ’s eternal nature looks toward a void future. Bertrand Russell, a famous atheistic philosopher, offered this sad description of such hopelessness: “Brief and powerless is man’s life. On his and all his race, the slow sure doom falls, pitiless and dark.”
                  Instead of enjoying Christian liberty and anticipating a home in heaven, those who reject resurrection are slaves to the present, with no real hope or meaning in life. Career, family, and good works can offer brief pleasure but not the kind of joy that comes from knowing we are right with the Lord and working in His will.
                  Resurrection is not a denominational issue or a point for theological debate. Either we believe Christ rose from the dead and ascended to heaven or we do not. If we reject His victory over the grave, we deny ourselves a place in eternity. But if we accept the truth, Paul assures that we will be saved.” Adrian Rogers

                  Later.

                  Les

                  Interesting that while you reject the messenger (Mohler) you don’t take the opportunity to at a minimum positively affirm the necessity that a Christ follower believe in the literal resurrection of Jesus.

                  I have more that went with that comment but it hasn’t come through for several hours now. But that is enough to start.

                    Lydia

                    Les, I would be thrilled if some Christ followers we know stop promoting those who protected pedophiles and ran from responsibity. Such manly men.. We have another one out of CLC that goes way back. That is what comes from shepherding cults which are now welcome in the SBC.

                    You worry about correct doctrine and Heresy hunting. I’ll focus on the abused.

                  Les

                  Thanks Lydia. You never disappoint in the same lines of comments, and in not taking a stance on doctrine. Misdirection. :)

                    Scott Shaver

                    “Not taking a stance on doctrine” to Lydia?

                    This coming from a guy who’s all over the map “theologically” and can’t even read the road signs from whence he came and where he’s going.

                    Delusion ain’t “theology” Les :)

                    Lydia

                    Les, I have listened to and read a lot of Wright’s stuff and have not seen a pattern of this sort of thing. He tends to be kind about differences and makes a case without condemning the person for wrong beliefs.

                    You brought up an out of full context quote from Mohler from 2006. The quote was concerning a man with whom he Co wrote a book in 2000. The book was on the very topic of the historical Jesus.

                    I heard some of his irenic responses to Pipers accusations. He comes across as someone who simply has a form of class and love for others the Neo Cal movement would never tolerate except for their own who have behavior and credibility issues.

                    I have not seen a pattern. And until I do, me thinks you and Al are grasping at straws. Mahaney and Driscoll both have patterns of behavior that posed and continue to pose a real threat.

              Tom

              Andrew:

              Al Mohler does not get the final word on the subject. But as you correctly pointed his followers will amen and follow whatever he says. From where I sit this is scary and frightening. Do these guys not think for themselves?

                Andrew Barker

                Tom: Plenty of copy & paste regurgitating the party line but not much in the way of independent thinking. Thinking is not encouraged as this tends to bring up ‘problems’ like the truth which doesn’t always sit well with the old guard.

                The crazy thing is, we are being encouraged to trash Wright on the basis of half a quote out of context, when in fact if you Google him on the resurrection you’ll see an excellent veritas video where he goes through the authenticity of the resurrection in splendid detail. :-)

                  Lydia

                  “The crazy thing is, we are being encouraged to trash Wright on the basis of half a quote out of context, when in fact if you Google him on the resurrection you’ll see an excellent veritas video where he goes through the authenticity of the resurrection in splendid detail. :-)”

                  Exactly! I have not heard anyone more beautifully expound upon the resurrection and its full meaning than Wright —in quite a few places. Mohler was using him as fodder for not flaming Borg. That, in Mohlers view, makes Wright a heretic. But since the acolytes have been told to stay away from Wright, (aka Piper, too) how would they know what he teaches and believes about the resurrection?

                  My guess is someday a few of these young men are going to wonder exactly what they paid for at seminary.

                  Tom

                  Andrew:

                  I feel confident the pastors coming out of SBC seminaries are indoctrinated and have not been taught to think independently. If they start doing this they will find themselves in big trouble with the leaders.

                Les

                Tom, chew on this from earlier. I copied and pasted it. :)

                “Christian and “denial of the resurrection” don’t belong in the same sentence.”

                That’s the essence of the problem with Wright’s statements. I haven’t seen anyone declare Wright a heretic. But I have seen some, including me, take issue with the idea that one can love Jesus and deny the bodily resurrection.

                Wright: ““Marcus Borg really does not believe Jesus Christ was bodily raised from the dead. But I know Marcus well: he loves Jesus and believes in him passionately.” You can read it yourself and see if you can finagle a way to ‘find a context” where that’s a good statement. Not to mention, try defending that from scripture.

          Les

          “Some of us are around unbelievers all the time in the real world…” Yeah, some of us indeed are. And there are plenty of unbelievers I would rather trust my kids to than pedophiles. Duh.

          Yeah check out the context. I’m quite familiar with NT. And I don’t know of this movement you disparage. I’m not part of any movement. So you ain’t talkin’ to me.

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