Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Implications of the IMB Tongues Policy: The McKissic Incident

I have been comptemplating what I might write about this important issue here on Love Each Stone. But in the meantime, Alan Cross, at Downshore Drift, has just posted pretty much exactly what I would have written, if I had taken the time, and had the "smarts" to do it.

I strongly recommend you go now to Implications of the IMB Tongues Policy: The McKissic Incident and read what Alan has to say.

18 comments:

tim rogers said...

Brother David,

I remember hearing you Dad say one time; "Satan would rather start one church fight than sell 12 barrels of liquor." I do not know where I heard this said, and I believe it was Dr. Vance Havner. But somewhere, someone said; "Satan will use the least of the gifts to divide the church." I am not saying "tongues" is something of Satan, I am just saying look how a gift the Bible records as being from God is dividing the church.

I refer to a statement of Dr. Vance Havner's on revival; "A revival is the church falling in love with Jesus Christ all over again. We are in love with ourselves, in love with our particular crowd, in love with our fundamentalism, maybe, but not in love with Him.

God help us see Revival come to us all. Oh, God, let it begin with me.

Blessings,
Tim

Alan Cross said...

Thanks, David for linking to my post. I prayed a good deal before writing it.

I agree with you 100%, Tim. We should never divide over things like speaking in tongues. That is total foolishness. I have heard it said by cessationists, that those who believe in speaking in tongues bring division in the church. I just believe that this gift is biblical. I am being told it is not. I just believe that those who practice tongues (within the biblical guidelines) should have a place in Southern Baptist life. Others say that you can't practice them or even teach that they exist today. As I said in my post, they are creating the division, not I.

I also said that if the day came that this restriction was placed in the BF&M, I would have to seriously reconsider my affiliation. I say that with great regret. Perhaps God would lead me to stay anyway, although it would be hard to do because it would be against my conscience. My biggest point is to sound the alarm before we get to that point. That would be a dark day indeed. Thank you for your thoughtfulness on this, Tim. You are right on. May revival come to me as well.

IN HIS NAME said...

Tim,

No one can divide the True Body of Christ. The absence of the Holy Spirit may affect some Churches.

Revival needs to come into the Hearts of all believers and let the Holy Spirit Purify their Hearts.

love
In Jesus Name Wayne

David Rogers said...

Tim,

I agree with what Alan says (once again... -- hmmmm, this is beginning to sound like a scratched record):>)

What if there were a big controversy over the proper practice of the gift of teaching? Would anyone propose that, in the interest of unity, we quit allowing people to practice the gift of teaching?

tim rogers said...

Brother Alan,

As we both agree, we should not allow this gift to separate us. Having said that, let me take you back to a post initiated by Dr. Mohler, expanded on by myself, Brother David, and a host of other bloggers. Also, I believe you did some posts on it--Triage.

I would say that the BF&M covers or should cover the 1st and 2nd level issues that we as SB's see is a necessity in order to cooperate within the framework of the convention. Would you agree with that assessment our not?

I am trying to distinguish the difference in cooperation in Baptist life vs. cooperation in Kingdom life. Now, I agree with Brother David that cooperation in Kingdom life will trump cooperation in Baptist life.

Blessings,
Tim

Alan Cross said...

I would agree with you, Tim, on the purpose of the BF&M and the 3-tiered triage approach. The question comes in, I guess, where do you draw the line on this issue? I am in favor of the BF&M2000. I feel that it is a good confession of faith. My concern is in adding this issue into it, which you are beginning to do, de facto, by making the restriction on it a qualification for missionary service. I don't believe that a position on tongues one way or another makes you distinctively baptist. That is a cultural and theological reaction against abuses in other groups, in my opinion. I think that being distinctively biblical should be what defines a Baptist. So, yes, I agree with you again, 100%, with the caveat that I do not see where a position on the continuation of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, or tongues, should be a part of those 1st or 2nd tiers. Others disagree, I'm afraid. That is where the problem is emerging.

One other note: If you were to bring in the Pentecostal view of a separate baptism in the Holy Spirit with tongues as the sign, then yes, that would be a point of division. That is a soteriological issue and I can agree that that position is not consistent with Baptist theology. But, that is not what we are talking about. We are talking about the practice of one of the gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12-14, and it is clear from that text that not all Christians will operate in this gift.

Thanks for your thoughts on this.

tim rogers said...

Brother Alan,

First, Brother David, I do not mean to appear to hijack you blog. I am addressing Alan individually but am also interested in your response. If this is not appropiate, please feel free not to post it.

Brother Alan,
Did you read Bart at Praise God Barebones' post? If you did you know what I am going to refer to. I probably would see myself falling into an "Open but Cautious" viewpoint. (I am using Robert L. Saucy's term, Bart used those Latin words that I never learned.) In other words I believe the miracles still exist, but I have not seen Biblical evidence of its existance today. My point being, that probably qualifies me as a cessasionist.

However, I suggest to you, that when you apply the view that all gifts are still valid today, I would disagree. When statements like this are made I focus more on the word "all" than I do on gifts/miracles. I would not deny that God cannot gift anyone as He sees fit, or perform any miracles He chooses at any time He chooses. If I were to deny that, I would have to deny Scripture. That being said, for the life of me, I have yet to see the gift of apostle operating in the Body today, according to Paul's definition. Question, If we cannot find a person with the gift of apostle, does it mean that gift has ceased? I, am not trying to "catch" you I truly desire to debate the issue. If we say the gift has not ceased to function and one were to stand and say; "I am an apostle called by God to plant churches on the mission field", would you believe the SBC should continue to support this individual? Also, if the BoT's were to write policy concerning this gift would it be viewed as narrowing the parameters?

Alan, I am just trying to make the case that it appears the same standards are not being applied the same way for all of the gifts.

Blessings,
Tim

mr. t said...

Tim,

If we don't believe something in Scripture because we have not personally seen it or experienced it, that is not a valid reason to reject it as real today. There are plenty of things in Scripture that I have not experienced but still believe they are operative today because God's word teaches it. Scripture is our final source of authority, not our experience.

David Rogers said...

Tim,

What do you consider to be Paul's definition of the "gift of apostle"? I think it is important to keep separate here the "gift of apostle" and the "office of apostle." It is also important to distinguish between the "apostles of the Lord" and the "apostles of the churches." As I'm sure you know, "apostle" literally means "sent one," that is, the exact same thing as "missionary."

Alan Cross said...

Mr. T - absolutely.

David - that's exactly what I was going to say to Tim. Again, we're thinking alike.

Tim, I absolutely believe that the Office of Apostle, as in the original apostles have ceased. No doubt. But, the SBC has over 5,000 commissioned apostles on the mission field. The word apostle, comes from apostolos, which means to be sent, in the Greek. "Missionary" is the Latin version of the same word. I only restate that to say that, yes, I do believe that there is a gifting for that. Some people call it a cross-cultural gift. I think that is too narrow, because there also has to be a gifting available to start and establish churches through evangelism and discipleship. Every Christian should engage in these activities, but not every Christian is supernaturally gifted by God to do so in the same way, from what I can see in Scripture as well as experience. "Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers?"

MacArthur defines an apostle as someone who saw Jesus and wrote Scripture. That is a definition of the original apostles to be sure, but it is not all-encompassing to include "the sent ones." That's my interpretation, however.

I'm thinking about putting some stuff together on this and hosting a debate on this issue sometime next month on my blog. I'll invite you, Bart Barber, Baptist Theologue, Jeremy Green, and any other cessationist to join in as long as we follow some ground rules of respecting one another and speaking in love. I think it would be informative and a real chance for the Baptist blogs to promote growth and learning instead of just being a forum to snipe at each other. What do you think?

Baptist Theologue said...

David and I already discussed the biblical arguments on my blog. We were very civil, but there's not much left to say. If you guys want me to rehash my arguments in the future, I will do so, but it probably won't be with as much energy. Frankly, I'm ready to move on to a different topic. I think these types of discussions are very useful if we center them on biblical interpretation and remain civil. Hopefully we can avoid the meanspirited discussions centered on personalities that I have seen on some blogs.

tim rogers said...

Brother Alan & David,

Great discussion. I have just returned from Wed. pm svcs. We had some great time of gathering around each other and praying for each other's needs. What a great concept! Praying at Prayer meeting.

I would love to discuss this further and agree wholeheartedly that the converstation need to be kept on focus. Honestly, I have no desire to engage in conversation that digresses into sniping trying to just get an upper hand in the debate.

Look Forward to the post.

Blessings,
Tim

Ken said...

David,

Once again it is with much fear and trembling I enter into a discussion arena that I may not be very qualified to enter, but here I am. I would like to just bullet point some random thoughts on this topic without taking the time or space for more expressive thoughts.

1. There may be a fear by some or maybe many, that if we now allow for the practice of certain gifts, other denominations will feel validated in their positions which has caused so much division and hurt over the years in our SBC churches.

2. It has always been interesting to me that when talk begins about something else being added to the BF&M the only places you will find real accountability for adherence is in our institutions and agenices, not in our local churches.

3. It is my understanding that many IMB missionaries around the world are experiencing the presence and work of God in ways that would be difficult to share in their home churches in the states. So who detemines the Biblical or doctrinal authenticity of their experiences?

4. Lastly, how do we determine, "what does the Bible say?"when we can't agree on what the Bible says?

One more thought, and this one will probably get me into trouble. How do we as a convention take a stand on a issue like tongues and other intensely debated issues while allowing our "official" SBC publisher to sell books and materials to Southern Baptists that are contrary to the stand in which we are attempting to take? It has always facinated me that the BF&M and other bedrock Baptist beliefs do not impact the sales inventory of LW. Am I the only one who sees that as a huge hypocracy?

When you guys get all of this figured out, please let me know.

Bryan Riley said...

I just want to add here that I think we need to ask ourselves whether we are viewing scripture through the lens of our experience or simply by faith in the promises of God. Are we reading scripture by sight or by faith?

Paul Burleson said...

David,

I agree with whomever of you it was that said there is a difference between the "office" of Apostle and the "ministry" of Apostle. Being "sent ones" would qualify missionaries to be identified with that ministry it seems to me.

That being said, I wonder, since the Apostles were looked to with such respect to solve problems and give guidance to that early church, it might be wise for us as a convention to look to our apostolic ministers [missionaries] to be the ones who can help us with our problems and give us guidance rather than the other way around.....Just a thought.

Paul Burleson

mr. t said...

Paul,

Wow, what a thought worth repeating... you said...

"That being said, I wonder, since the Apostles were looked to with such respect to solve problems and give guidance to that early church, it might be wise for us as a convention to look to our apostolic ministers [missionaries] to be the ones who can help us with our problems and give us guidance rather than the other way around.....Just a thought."

That will probably happen the very day the Lord returns ;-)

Paul Burleson said...

Mr. T,

I agree.

Paul

Johnet said...

Hi David,

I am one of your colleagues living in Central Asia. I have been following your blog for a few months now and have been greatly encouraged from the things you have written. Your writings have challenged me to consider things from a different perspective and I am grateful to you for this.

Regarding the implicatons of the IMB Tongues Policy and the McKisic Incident, I found myself not so much surprised as concerned that the cycle continues, just with another issue. In all likelihood we are headed toward another BFM revision/addition. We have gone from a "suggested" practice to policy at the IMB and now to correct belief. The next step is to codify that belief in the BFM. This is what makes the policy at the IMB retroactive for all IMB workers. For now it only applies to new appointees and will not be grandfathered. After it is added to the BFM all IMB workers will be asked to sign the new BFM to show agreement and accountability to not teach anything contrary to what is in it. Depending on how it is worded in the BFM, this will create a crisis for me. Since I do not practice a PPL I will be able to sign something that prohibits its practice; however, I will have a problem if the prohibition goes beyond personal practice, which ironically is the meaning of "private". However, I do find it extremely difficult to conceive of any succinct statement that can be written into the BFM which would make it restricted practice. To do so would first require developing a set of guidelines to be used in determining which gifts or portions of scripture are no longer applicable to modern living. Funny, sounds a bit "liberal" to me.

I have spent more than 10 years planting churches in Central Asia. I have constantly deferred new believers to the authority of God's word and not my preferred understanding. The most frequent statement I make is a question "Does your conclusion come into agreement with the full counsel of God's word?". I then offer references that may suggest it doesn't when I disagree. Still, the purpose is not simply right belief but right practice based on that belief. The concluding question has to always be "So, since this is true, now what do we do? How does this change the way we live each day?"

How is it that one gets so caught up in correct theology that we miss the fact that God was about redeeming a lost world (something that goes well beyond praying a prayer of mental assent to a certain body of teaching)? Please don't misunderstand me. I am fully convinced that we must have correct theology but it seems the concern or defense of it has often led us to violate the simplier teachings of scripture.

Blessings,
John