Saturday, September 23, 2006

A Reply to Brad Reynolds, Keith Eitel, Paige Patterson & Robin Hadaway

Dr. Brad Reynolds, Assistant Professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, has recently posted a series of papers on his blog, one written by Dr. Keith Eitel, and the other by Drs. Keith Eitel, Paige Patterson & Robin Hadaway, regarding supposed doctrinal and philisophical problems at the IMB under the leadership of Dr. Jerry Rankin. Earlier on this blog, I have already commented on Dr. Eitel’s first paper. The second paper, which I reproduce in its entirety here, is quite lengthy. However, I believe the issues discussed therein are of a relative enough importance to justify the length of this post.

Dr. Reynolds is a strong advocate of the views taken on both of these papers. On his blog, he has issued a challenge tp those who think they have an answer to the concerns raised on the second paper to come forth. It is in response to this challenge that I publish this post.

I must add that the views expressed in italics below, in response to the text of the above-mentioned paper, are my own, and not those of anyone else. Dr. Rankin, as I understand, already wrote his own answer back in 2003 when the paper was first written. At this point, I am not sure of exactly what Dr. Rankin wrote. It is quite possible that my own views on some of the issues mentioned are different in one way or another from those of Dr. Rankin. I, however, remain supportive of Dr. Rankin’s leadership, and the way in which he has handled these issues.

I would also at this time like to affirm my love and appreciation for Drs. Reynolds, Eitel, Patterson, and Hadaway. Although I have some sincere discrepancies with some things all of these men have written, I regard each of them to be sincere brothers in Christ, and consecrated servants of the Lord.

What follows is a direct transcript of Dr. Reynolds’ post, including the text of the Eitel-Patterson-Hadaway paper, and also my comments in italics interjected throughout…

Dr. Eitel's Second Paper w Drs. Patterson & Hadaway

Brad Reynolds: This second paper will dispel the notion that Dr. Eitel's first paper was erroneous. Interestingly, this paper did not recieve much attention by baptist news agencies and almost NO attention by bloggers...in fact this will be the first time many of you have ever read this!!! It was written to validate Dr. Eitel's concerns, after his first paper was accused of referencing "isolated incidences." According to one Trustee, this paper helped move the Trustees to address needed changes. Other than footnotes it is published in its entirety. It is long but revealing of 2003 and before.As one missionary pointed out recently, it is the responsibility of administrators and professors to protect their students and address concerns their students have. Thank God for the response of Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel and the impetus this response has provided for the restructuring of curriculum at the ILC. Now, I call on all bloggers who have wrongfully accused Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel concerning their papers to issue a public apology.

David Rogers: It would be helpful to know just what you mean by "wrongfully accusing Dr. Patterson and Dr. Eitel concerning their papers." I have written some opinions about their papers, but I am not sure if I have ever "accused" Dr. Patterson or Dr. Eitel, much less "wrongfully accused" them.

Drs. Paige Patterson, Keith Eitel, & Robin Hadaway

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: In keeping with a simple and yet focused discussion format, the following depicts the primary concerns raised by the "Vision Assessment" white paper written by Keith Eitel and the subsequent flow of email and letter exchanges that bring us to this meeting. A given issue is stated, then supporting evidence is offered, and finally a possible way forward is proposed. The incidences cited as examples to various issues are only representative. Numerous other instances could be noted from multiple regions over about 15 years of observed practice on the field. In other words, these ARE NOT isolated incidences. They are systemic problems running throughout the structure.

David Rogers: In my opinion, just stating that the examples are "only representative" and "numerous other instances could be noted" does not prove there are "systemic problems running throughout the structure." In my opinion, it is not objective to claim that the examples given, on their own, even if valid (to which I will respond later), are sufficient to warrant the claim of "systemic problems."

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: In addition, details supporting Eitel’s contentions have been contributed by Robin Hadaway. Some of these comments are from Hadaway’s paper, "Rejoicing Together: Balancing the Biblical Perspectives: A Missiological Analysis."Issue One: What is the precise policy and practice relating to church planting? Are we planting Baptist (not merely Baptistic) churches? If the practice is varied, what are the guidelines for determining whether we plant a Baptist church or not? To what degree are we involved in ecumenical church planting? What theological guidelines do we have to prevent this as we partner with the Great Commission Christians around the world?

David Rogers: I have dealt with the topic of "Baptist" vs. "baptistic" churches earlier on this blog. If this is the headline issue, I think we are mistaken in our emphasis. We should, in my opinion, be more interested in the advance of the Kingdom of God than labels and "denominational distinctives." The term "ecumenical church planting" is, in my opinion, a "red herring." Different people assign different meanings to the term "ecumenical," and we all know that. I think we would need to first define so-called "ecumenical church planting" and demonstrate why it is such a bad thing, before asking what we need to do to prevent it.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Observations

• SD21 data has a curious pattern for gathering the data. 10% of the entire field force was surveyed to discover a variety of things, mostly reflective of how well they’ve understood the Church Planting Movement (CPM) concepts and methods. However, the section designed to determine whether the IMB is planting Baptist churches or not is only an opinion scale from the 15 regional chairpersons of the trustee board in consultation with the 15 regional leaders. This same material could have been easily included in the field survey given to the field missionaries. This in and of itself reflects a skewed methodology, but more importantly it seems to imply that the field findings might mitigate the desired outcomes and demonstrate that we are not consistently planting Baptist churches. Rather we’re planting churches that reflect more the mix of ideas inherent in a blend of Great Commission Christian ideas, often neo-charismatic leaning and quasi Biblical (see a discussion of this GCC concept below).

David Rogers: Once again, I fail to see the problem with planting "baptistic" as opposed to "Baptist" churches. Also, the term "neo-charismatic" needs defining. I will leave judgment regarding the comment of being "quasi Biblical" for the discussion below.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • While on sabbatical in the fall of 2002, Eitel observed five different locations and the network of work in those locations in China. Consistently, there seemed to be an emphasis on the GCC partnerships as vital to the process of planting churches. Dr. David Garrison’s booklet on Church Planting draws concentric circles of levels of partnership. On paper it looks feasible, but in practice in China (Eitel has also observed this in numerous other settings), it breaks down. When pioneers are first entering a people group or city, finding any other believer to work with is an encouragement. Natural bonds of friendship and affiliation develop. The momentum of these relationships carries over and causes the concentric lines of partnership (which are designed to determine when and how missionaries should partner) to collapse. It’s easier to ignore doctrinal differences and not push Baptist distinctives in order to foster a so-called unity in planting the churches. This type of unity is superficial and will usually erupt into conflict after the initial phases of planting the churches.

David Rogers: This, in my opinion, is a biased assumption.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: In order to avoid this syndrome, some missionaries advocate and practice a method of planting so-called churches that means brand new believers are encouraged to share Christ immediately, gather a group of unbelievers together and teach them the essentials of the faith to bring them to Christ, and then in a pyramid fashion, the cycle repeats rapidly.

David Rogers: The terms "so-called churches" and "pyramid fashion" are loaded terms. I would think more specific and objective evidence would be needed before using these terms. For example, what specific "so-called churches" have been planted? And why specifically do they not meet the qualifications of legitimate New Testament churches? On what basis is the term "pyramid fashion" used? And, even if a pyramid-shaped organigram could be demonstrated, on what basis is this necessarily bad? 

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: While this is indeed a great evangelistic tool, it does not foster maturation of the church, leadership development nor establishment of long-term vision or stability for the church. It seems to rely almost exclusively on the early sections of Acts as a foundation for this model while ignoring the patterns of maturation found in the Pastorals and General Epistles. Nevertheless, this rapid reproduction allows the missionary to avoid the doctrinal issues that come with GCC partners yet they do not compensate for it by taking the time to "commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also."

David Rogers: I believe this is a false dichotomy. Rapid reproduction is not necessarily contrary to church maturation and leadership development. While some missionaries may have a natural inclination to avoid in-depth discipleship and leadership training, I do not see the evidence that this is happening across the board in systemic fashion with IMB missionaries. The ideal to which I believe almost all, if not all, IMB workers would at least give verbal assent, is churches that multiply as rapidly as possible, while at the same time making authentic, biblically-sound disciples of Jesus Christ. There is an inherent tension between these two issues, and sometimes we may get off-balance in one direction or the other. But to say that missionaries intentionally seek rapid reproduction as a means to avoid doctrinal issues, is, I believe, unwarranted and disingenuous.
Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • In Islamic contexts, the GCC influences are stimulating unhealthy contextualization patterns that undermine New Testament Church Planting much less anything Baptist. For example, a missionary wrote to me about this very issue. He stated that someone working with Frontiers had come to teach them about how to establish C-5 Islamic churches.

David Rogers: It is not good enough to just throw out the term "C-5 Islamic churches" without specifically referencing the doctrinal problems involved. Certainly, in Islamic settings, questions regarding contextualization need to be seriously studied and considered. Some, no doubt, err on the side of too much contextualization leading to syncretism, while others on the side of too little contextualization, leading to a presentation of an essentially foreign Gospel. Since none of us were present at the presentation referenced here, I think it best to withhold judgment without more specific information. And, even if, on this particular occasion, lines were crossed into unhealthy contextualization, nothing is proved regarding systemic problems throughout the organization.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: This missionary goes on to say that another GCC partner was willing to call someone coming from an Islamic background that is in a C-5 church plant a believer even though that person emphatically denies the deity of Christ.

David Rogers: Once again, just because one "believer" is confused about doctrine, and happens to be involved in a so-called "C-5 church plant," does not demonstrate anything to me. There will always be those who misunderstand, miscommunicate, or distort the essence of any movement. Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Yet, this approach to CPM is encouraged and doctrinal concerns are subsumed to foster a so-called unity. Conversely, Dr. Hadaway reports that his strategy in Sudan called for starting Baptist churches (and calling them Baptist) from the beginning. This work has grown through the team Hadaway started and others have continued to over 85 churches and 100 "outreach groups." His rationale for the persecuted world was "since it was illegal to start any kind of church in Sudan, one might as well start an illegal Baptist church than an illegal non-defined church."

David Rogers: I have no problem with Dr. Hadaway advocating the strategy he advocated in Sudan. But just because one particular strategy may have shown good results in one setting does not mean it must necessarily be "cookie-cutter" duplicated in every setting around the world.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • In 1992 Hadaway (then an SC) attended a strategy meeting where SC’s were encouraged to partner with Eastern Orthodox churches in their strategies.

David Rogers: Why not say here in what specific ways the SCs were "encouraged to partner with Eastern Orthodox churches in their strategies"? Could we not possibly be talking about level 1 or 2 "Strategic Relationships" here?
Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Dr. David Garrison (then a CSI administrator) said at this meeting, "It does not matter the gender of the pastors of the churches with whom you bring into your areas."

David Rogers: Grammatically, I am unsure what this quote means. If it means what I think it means, though, we must remember that this was in 1992, 8 years before the BFM 2000 revision. Once again, if I am understanding correctly, this is not talking about IMB missionaries as women pastors, but rather, the possibility of cooperation (once again, the specific type or level of cooperation is not mentioned) with churches that have women pastors.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: In addition, SC’s were encouraged to include charismatic groups such as the Assemblies of God denomination in their strategies, including church planting.

David Rogers: Once again, there are many different possible ways to "include charismatic groups such as the Assemblies of God" in strategies and in church planting. The SC model involves reaching entire people groups with the Gospel. A part of this is networking with all those throughout the Body of Christ who are also working with that particular people group. If Assembly of God folks are reaching people within our people group for Christ, and planting churches among them, are we to completely avoid them, or ignore them, as we think through our strategies to see our people group evangelized? I would think we must, rather, take them into account, and think together about how we might be able to help each other out, in order to maximize the total evangelistic effort. This does not, however, necessarily involve Baptist missionaries teaching or promoting Assembly of God doctrine.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • In late 1996/early 1997 Hadaway (then a supervisor of SC’s) attended a meeting called by David Weston to plan to enter the country of "Narnia." CBF representatives (husband and wife) were invited by David Weston to this meeting and attended to take part in the evangelism and church planting strategy. They were introduced as CBF representatives in the meeting Hadaway attended. Although today’s SC’s are given the Garrison document concerning concentric circles of levels of partnership, it is still up to each SC how he or she applies the guidance. Each SC has the freedom to partner with whomever they desire.

David Rogers: Once again, what is so patently wrong with CBF representatives participating in a joint planning meeting? Should we "blackball" anyone associated with CBF in anyway from any of our SBC-related activities just because we hold a grudge against them? It was not stated that the CBF representatives were in anyway speaking into IMB workers’ strategy. But, even so, if some CBF workers happened to have some good ideas regarding mission strategy, should it be anathema to even listen to what they have to say?

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • These and numerous other examples can be offered but suffice it to say we’re likely not involved in the formal Ecumenical movement per se, but we’re heavily involved in the Evangelical version of ecumenism by default due to a lack of careful partnering and questionable church planting methods.

David Rogers: What is so bad about the "Evangelical version of ecumenism"? I’m not saying there may not be certain levels of cooperation with certain groups that would be problematic. But to say in "broad strokes" that the "Evangelical version of ecumenism" is a default evil to be avoided is a little extreme, in my opinion, and demands a more specific justification.
Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Possible Solution

• For all forms of church planting, any partners involved should be inherently in agreement with the BF&M 2000. This will provide a clearly Baptist blueprint for the established pattern of the church and all GCC’s should be able to agree with these beliefs or we should only partner with them on more superficial levels, if the doctrinal differences are not so significant as to undermine partnering at all.

David Rogers: This would mean effectively eliminating even many Baptist Conventions and Unions around the world from church planting partnership, and for all practical purposes, leaving us, as foreign American workers, to "break the missional code" all by ourselves. I think that comment #14 on my last blogpost, by British Baptist pastor Robert Dando in response to the BFM stipulation regarding "closed communion," is very enlightening regarding this: "In one sense people may know, this is a old, old question for those in the UK as it was pretty much settled in the early 19th Century here, and there are very, very few "closed" (I think the historic term is "strict") communion churches here." This distancing of ourselves from even other Baptist Unions, in fact, is a trend I have observed in recent years, and the results we have been getting from it are not very encouraging, as far as the number of churches planted and disciples made.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Since 1963 missionary candidates have been allowed to become missionaries without totally agreeing with the BF&M. Missionary candidates have been permitted to register their disagreement with particular points of the BF&M as long as they agree to " teach in accordance with and not contrary to" the 2000 BF&M. However, such allowances place missionaries in the uncomfortable position of ministering counter to their own beliefs- something difficult, if not impossible to do. When IMB leadership asked the Region Leaders (RL’s) and Vice Presidents to sign the 2000 BF& M, two RL’s could not sign the document. One RL resigned his position, while the other signed with an annotation. The IMB is the only SBC agency that allows their personnel to disagree with specific elements of the BF& M. Seminary professors at the six SBC seminaries cannot object to points of BF& M and agree to "teach in accordance with and not contrary to" the BF & M. Presently, even ADJUNCT professors teaching at our Southern Baptist seminaries must sign the BF&M 2000 without annotation. We are in the interesting situation where we have many missionaries and even some Regional Leaders who can serve with the IMB in responsible capacities but could not teach even as a visiting professor at one of our six seminaries. This issue was discussed in early 2002 at an IMB senior Management meeting attended by the President, Vice-Presidents, and the Resident Regional Leader (Hadaway). John White introduced the subject by calling for a "post decision analysis" of how IMB leadership had handled the BF&M 2000 issue. In response to John White’s call for free and honest discussion, Hadaway said, "If anyone cannot sign the 2000 BF&M without annotations they should not be missionaries." The President asked me, "So you would disagree with the IMB’s long-standing policy of allowing missionary candidates to note their points of disagreement with the BF&M." Hadaway replied, "Yes, as other SBC agencies do not given their employees this option." Therefore, IMB trustees could better insure that missionaries will follow the BF & M if all missionaries who are appointed to supervisory, RL, and Vice-Presidential roles are not allowed to express points of disagreement with the BF & M. If the trustees do not desire to revisit the BF&M issue with regular missionaries who have signed with annotations, then this board should appoint only applicants who can fully affirm the BF&M. In addition, those who are appointed to supervisory positions (SC’s, Strategy Associates, Richmond Associates, Administrative Associates, and Associate Vice-Presidents) and those who are elected by trustees (RL’s, Vice-Presidents and President) should affirm the BF&M without annotations.

David Rogers: As I have previously indicated on this blog, I personally signed the BFM 2000, (as well as, upon appointment, the BFM 1963) with an annotation indicating my discrepancy with "closed communion." If this recommendation were followed to the letter of the law, I would be eliminated from missionary service. I find it hard to believe the majority of SBC constituents would be pleased with this, if they were to know the details.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Issue Two: How many of our IMB missionaries are involved in the neo-charismatic movement, and what is presently being taught and advocated by staff concerning "spiritual warfare"?

David Rogers: Once again, the term "neo-charismatic" needs further definition.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Observations

• Each year, Eitel leads three short-term mission teams of students somewhere in the world to engage the fields and contribute to the evangelistic and church planting strategies of numerous SC’s worldwide. When working in a Central Asian country in the summer of 2001, the region sponsored a "spiritual warfare" workshop for our students as a preface to engaging in prayer walking through a city. The individual leading the workshop was seconded to the IMB from Frontiers and said he wasn’t taking an extreme approach to spiritual warfare. However, he studied at Fuller Seminary under John Wimber, Peter Wagner, and Charles Kraft. He definitely showed strong influence if not full embrace of their extremist positions e.g. territorial spirits, new revelations, and a complete lack of understanding whether seeking after spirits is more important than simply speaking the Gospel. When prayer walking, we were strictly told not to talk to the people of the city but only to be open to a word from the Spirit.

David Rogers: Just because someone studied at Fuller Seminary under John Wimber, Peter Wagner, and Charles Kraft does not mean they fully embrace their ideas. I wonder what type of ideas Dr. Eitel himself was exposed to while he was working on his doctorate at the University of South Africa. In my opinion, to say "He definitely showed strong influence if not full embrace of their extremist positions e.g. territorial spirits, new revelations, and a complete lack of understanding whether seeking after spirits is more important than simply speaking the Gospel" is a personal opinion of Dr. Eitel. Since I was not there, I am unable to judge whether or not this was indeed the case. Dr. Eitel may think that I myself show strong influence from Wimber, Wagner, and Kraft, since I too have read many of their works, and have gained some interesting insight from them. I definitely do not accept everything they have said or written, though.

In any case, the fact that someone from Frontiers came to give their perspective on spiritual warfare to a group of IMB workers in Central Asia, even if his views were extreme, does not trouble me so much, as long as our workers were given opportunity to debate and point out the extremes in what he was saying. IMB workers, at least for the most part, are responsible adults, and are able to sift through the teaching that is being offered to them from the outside. Sometimes it is good to be exposed to new ideas, and to be aware of trends from the greater evangelical world. As 1 Thessalonians 5.21 says: "Test everything. Hold on to the good." And a couplet I learned in high school: "Read all the books upon your shelf, but do the thinking for yourself."

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Career missionaries often speak of problematic workshops where such ideologies are given and without any critical biblical reasoning allowed. They’re often made to feel as if they are not fully Christian if they even raise a question about the legitimacy of any aspect of such a presentation.

David Rogers: Once again, the use of the term "often" is, in my opinion, overly subjective to be of any use, unless there were further specific information given to back it up.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Missionaries on the field are implementing these things. One lady missionary felt she had to exorcise her curtains of evil spirits. Many who embrace these things are taking it in without thinking it through biblically. Most that fall prey to these strange doctrines have had little or no theological education and don’t have the tools with which to analyze what they’re hearing.

David Rogers: Once again, the terms "many" and "most" are pure conjecture without specific evidence to back them up. The only example of "these things" the missionaries on the field are "implementing" is of one lady. And, even in this particular case, without giving any more specific details, I believe I have good reason to question the validity of the use of the phrase "exorcise her curtains of evil spirits." The last time I checked, cleaning your house of potential evil spiritual influences, and "exorcism" are completely different things.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Possible Solution

• Short-term solution would be to redesign the workshops throughout the field structures and bring the subject into biblical balance. Primarily, creating a "reactive" not a "proactive" approach to dealing with the demonic world. That is, be proactive about speaking the Gospel and only stop to deal reactively with demonic issues when/if necessary.

David Rogers: If John says "the whole world is under control of the evil one" (1 John 5.19), Paul talks about opening eyes, turning people from darkness to light, and "from the power of Satan unto God" (Acts 26.18), and Jesus sent out the 12 and the 70 with authority to cast out demons (Luke 9, 10), I am not sure it is extreme to be "proactive" in dealing with the demonic realm. I intuit a different approach to the realm of the demonic on the part of the authors of this paper to that of my own. If my view can be demonstrated as unbiblical, I will be happy to dialogue about it, and adjust my views accordingly. However, I suspect a larger percentage of Southern Baptists than the authors would want to admit would also be sympathetic to my view. As these questions are not dealt with in the BFM, I believe it would be unfair to impose them as expectations on all IMB missionaries.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Long-term, strengthen the required biblical and theological requirements for appointment to give the missionaries better depth understand of Scripture and practice in analyzing issues theologically.

David Rogers: I have my M.Div. from Southwestern Seminary, having transferred in a number of credits from Mid-America Seminary. Apparently, my studies have not kept me from coming to the views I espouse on these issues. Maybe, if I got my doctorate, I would be able to discern the error of my ways. ;-)
Seriously, I think theological education is a good thing, in general. But, in my opinion, based on 16 years of international missionary service, more seminary education does not necessarily translate into greater effectiveness on the mission field. Of course, missionary candidates need to be adequately trained, but sometimes the skills needed on the mission field are somewhat different from those taught in our seminaries.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • The IMB receives career, associate and apprentice missionaries from many theological seminaries. In addition, the IMB receives ISC (Journeymen, Masters and ISC) missionaries who have not attended college at all. Since the missionary force comes to the IMB with such varied backgrounds it is no wonder that different beliefs and practices come into conflict with one another on the field. Theology and PRACTICE courses are needed at MLC so that missionaries understand the acceptable parameters for personnel.

David Rogers: I personally went through MLC in 1994. Although it was not perfect, I, in general, felt I received a good base of training, in both theological and practical issues, during my time there, and left feeling I had a pretty good idea of "acceptable parameters for personnel." That is, unless my own thinking falls out of line with the parameters alluded to here. Of course, since I have not been present for subsequent orientation sessions, I cannot objectively comment on the content of them.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Issue Three: What is the policy and practice of the IMB regarding gender roles? Are women placed in supervisory roles such as Strategy Coordinators over men? Are women encouraged to learn to baptize converts and administer the Lord's Supper? Are women urged to be the de facto pastor "leaders" of house churches or any other missionary assignment like the Strategy Coordinator role?

Observations

• One lady student, while serving in her 2+2 assignment, was asked if she wanted to be the SC for a particular city. She declined sensing it was best for a man to serve in that capacity. When the male SC and his wife went home and chose not to return, a lady SC was put in his place. Our student was suddenly ordered to perform the ordinance of baptism for a set of new believers. She was distraught as these are exactly the kinds of things she wanted to avoid. She did more than her share of evangelizing, but she didn’t think it was right to perform pastoral-like functions. Until she appealed to a higher authority that intervened and got her SC to relent, she was in a predicament. The lady SC, by the way, had never been to seminary, was middle-aged, and divorced yet served in a pastoral-like role. Our student thus described the conflict she felt having to sign the BF&M 2000 and then being taught to perform both ordinances while at the MLC (a practice that has only recently been stopped, at least temporarily).

David Rogers: Of course, anyone "ordering" a missionary colleague to "perform" baptisms is out of line inasmuch as it represents a very poor leadership style. I definitely think the preferences and convictions of this 2+2 missionary should have been respected. It is instructive, from my perspective, however, that the higher authority did have the wisdom to intervene in this case, indicating this was perhaps an isolated incident, rather than something endemic in the system. Personally, however, I believe the idea that "performing ordinances," necessarily linked to a "pastoral-like role," comes much more from our denominational traditions (as inherited from Roman Catholic, and later Protestant Reformation traditions) than from the Bible. Although the BFM does state that both ordinances are "church ordinances," it never states that their "performance" is a prerogative limited to pastors.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Curtis Sergeant, the former associate vice president for Strategy Coordination, has had significant input in the design and implementation of the MLC curriculum and teaching of the CPM methodology, especially over the past 2 years. He interprets the BF&M 2000 very strictly and concludes that as long as lady missionaries are not serving specifically as pastors of local churches, then the IMB is in compliance with the document. Yet, he turns around and says in an email correspondence to Eitel, " . . . if anyone asked me, I would certainly have nothing against it [having ladies administer the Lord’s Supper] . . . All disciples are ministers, however, including women." Again, in the MLC handout he uses to teach on CPM methodology, he concludes by giving the reader an impression of what the newly established church might look like. "They [the churches] frequently have women in key roles in the church. Women are viewed as ministers, as having spiritual gifts just as much as men, even in patriarchal societies." Again, in his D.Min. Project, he affirms this same value with the fine line of distinction affirming that a lady should not "pastor" a local church but may do all the ministries of a pastor e.g. administer the ordinances, teach, and lead. By emphasizing that the New Testament requires multiple elders in a local congregation, women can fully participate in leadership roles without holding the title of "pastor", functionally circumventing the restrictions he acknowledges elsewhere. Sergeant has had significant influence on the SC structure on the field in numerous regions. He states in his Project that over the course of the years he personally taught 727 SCs (Strategy Coordinators) and was the primary resource person for 150 others (see page 14 of his Project). Additionally, in his present role he teaches hundreds of new missionaries headed to the field and encourages ladies to assume leadership roles that are pastor-like, even the performance of ordinances.

David Rogers: Having not gone through MLC orientation since the influence of Sergeant was introduced, it is difficult for me to comment directly on this matter. From certain things I have read, I can say there are certain elements of Sergeant’s strategy that cause me concern. However, on the particular points referenced here, as long as he is not saying that women should be pastors or elders, I see his reasoning as biblically sound. Yes, all disciples are ministers. Yes, women have key roles in the church. And, yes, in certain occasions and settings, women are called upon to teach and lead (Acts 18.26; 21.9; Romans 16.1; Titus 2.3-5). Hopefully, this would not mean occupying the office of pastor, nor teaching or "usurping authority" over men (1 Tim. 2.12).

*regarding "performing" ordinances, see previous comment.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Throughout the world, lady SC’s function and are in roles that restrict them from being a pastor of a local congregation but are unrestricted as to their ministry functions, fully assuming pastor-like leadership and decision making roles.

David Rogers: This point, as long as it does not involve specific pastoral authority in a local church setting, is outside of the dictates of the BFM 2000, as I understand it. I do, however, agree that care should be taken, in accordance with 1 Tim. 2.12, to not put women in roles of "spiritual authority" over men. The application of this in Southern Baptist life, however, has been and continues to be very subjective. What about female Sunday School teachers in mixed classes? What about female nursery directors who supervise male nursery workers? I think we need to be prepared to be consistent with this before we get overly dogmatic in our application on the mission field.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • During an SC training in Eastern South America in September of 1999 Kathy Hadaway heard a single, 25 year old female tell some other participants that she regularly "preached the main Sunday message and gave the invitations" in many Baptist churches in Brazil. ESA Regional Leader, Hadaway met with her and forbade her to continue in this practice. A year later at another meeting, Kathy Hadaway heard another single, female missionary say, "they won’t let us preach in the U.S., so we come down here where we can preach." This sort of latitude in the role of women on the mission field led to the ordination of Ida Mae Hays by a local Baptist church in Brazil in 2001 shortly before her IMB retirement. In the same service she received the title of Pastor Emeritus. Hadaway, Kathy Hadaway, and IMB trustee Johnny Nantz asked Rev. Hays to rescind her ordination in a meeting at the Atlanta airport. She told us, "I don’t want to be a pastor," and said the action by her local church was strictly honorary. Despite some misgivings the ESA trustee committee decided to believe Ida Mae Hays and graciously allowed her to retire without rescinding her ordination. However, a year later she was called to become the senior pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina. Today she enjoys the joint titles of Emeritus IMB missionary and Senior Pastor of a Southern Baptist Church in North Carolina.

David Rogers: Once again, this does not appear to me to be representative of the IMB at large, and, as the person in question was already retired from the IMB at the time of the writing of this paper, this example seems to me to be largely anecdotal.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Possible Solution

• Fully re-evaluate the SC model. Ascertain the pastor-like functions inherent in the actual practice of being an SC. Cull out those functions and restrict those assignments to men. Create a different role with a different title to assume complimentary duties that enhance the SC’s functions in establishing churches. This complimentary role can be performed by either ladies or men as long as there is a male SC.

David Rogers: This suggestion assumes there are indeed "pastor-like functions inherent in the actual practice of being an SC," an assertion that I would personally question. It also fails to distinguish between functions that some may subjectively deem to be "pastor-like," and those the Bible actually describes as "pastoral."


Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • The IMB trustees need to clarify the proper roles for all missionary women, including the issues of ordination, supervising men, preaching, and administering the ordinances.

David Rogers: This is fine with me, as long as they don’t go beyond the Bible and the BFM in their clarification.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Issue Four: What is the rationale for the approved abandonment of many of our "harvest fields in places like Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa?

Observations

• A joint, "ad-hoc committee" of trustees and senior IMB leadership designed and implemented "New Directions" in 1997. This committee recommended to the Board of Trustees the internal absorption of CSI (Cooperative Services International) into 14 (later 15) new regions (an expansion from the former 10 areas). New Directions was called "a new paradigm" of overseas leadership and was designed to have a "dual focus" to reach the harvest world and the unreached world. The idea was that Southern Baptists would have a global presence.

• A couple of years into New Directions, leadership began speaking of "Strategic Directions for the 21st Century." It became evident that the IMB planned to scale down work in the places where Southern Baptists had been working for many years (except parts of Asia). In one of the Regional Leader Forums, Hadaway asked the Senior Vice-President-Overseas, about the change from a dual focus to a strictly unreached people focus. He replied, "We’ve changed our mind." The decision to change from a dual focus to a single focus was reached by staff with minimal trustee input and was not announced to field missionaries until several years later (last Fall).

• At the Global Summit of Senior IMB leadership and the 15 Regional Leaders in August of 2003, another restructuring appeared on the horizon. In a strategy exercise Hadaway was assigned to a table with Curtis Sergeant, former Associate Vice-President for Strategy Coordination and three other Regional Leaders. Sergeant’s notes (which he shared with the group during the exercise) called for reducing the 4 America’s regions from (approximately) the current 1,200 missionaries to a projected 200 during the next 2-4 years. In addition, Sergeant called for placing about 1,200 IMB personnel in S. Asia (India), and approximately 1,150 missionaries in E. Asia (China). The President and Overseas Vice-President verbally affirmed this "strategic realignment" advocated by Sergeant and the Global Research Department (GRD) during the ensuing discussion. Hadaway asked them, "Do you think Southern Baptists are ready to support a mission board with almost 45% of their personnel in only two countries, India and China?" The response was to the effect that it had not been thought of in that way.• The software used by the IMB Global Research Department (GRD) during the Global Summit weighted every strategic category heavily toward population. In other words, the number of people in a country outweighed every other factor. The office of Strategy Coordination is recommending a radical shift based upon a one-to-one ratio of IMB missionaries to population (see Hadaway paper) instead of strategically placing personnel according to multiple factors (including receptivity and Church Growth principles). Therefore, the heavily populated countries in Asia will within four years make the IMB effectively an "Asian Mission Board" with almost 65% of all IMB personnel assigned to that continent (the 5 Asia regions). Is this the vision of the IMB trustees or the staff? Such a redeployment will mean abandoning Latin America to the charismatic influence (70% of all evangelicals in Latin America are said to be charismatic) and ignoring the plight of the desperately poor people of sub-Saharan Africa who have considerable fewer resources than most of the world.

David Rogers: Should the theoretical "abandonment" of Latin America to "charismatic influence" be a major consideration, when we are making decisions regarding the evangelization of the totally unreached and the almost totally unreached? Yes, the Great Commission includes teaching our disciples to obey all the things that Jesus has commanded us. But, I believe there comes a stage in missionary strategy when we hand over the primary responsibility for the continued carrying out of the Great Commission to the national church.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • The IMB leadership is proposing another regional reorganization. Staff’s plan calls for the America’s to be reduced from 4 to 2 regions. Sub-Saharan Africa will be reduced from 3 to 2 regions. (Asia is being reduced from 5 regions to 4 regions, but the rationale given for that was so it would not seem the America’s were being singled out). Rather than planning this restructuring with the trustees (as was done in 1997), this radical change in strategy (abandoning the harvest) and structure (reducing regions from 15 to approximately 11) was decided with little trustee input, with most trustees being informed after the fact.

• During the May 2003 RL Forum the Regional Leaders were told that due to the budget shortfall and strategic needs, the Overseas Leadership Team (OLT) and administration desired to look at the IMB organization. With this on the horizon the Regional Leaders asked to have "some input" into possible quotas or rumored restructuring. The impetus for reconfiguration did NOT come from the Regional Leaders, but from the administration and the Overseas Leadership Team. The Overseas Leadership Team had planned and proposed a similar restructuring in 2001 (Hadaway wrote the "Rejoicing together paper for that meeting), but was overruled by the President. During the discussion at the August 2003 RL Summit it became apparent that the Associate Vice-President for Strategy Coordination and the statistics office were leading the process down the reconfiguration road. During the ensuing discussion some Regional Leaders disagreed with the quota system and with a reduction in regions. However, when it became apparent that the reconfiguration would happen in the future it was understood that the Regional Leaders should support the OLT and administrations direction. However, it was not the RL’s idea.

David Rogers: It is apparent that Dr. Hadaway is distraught over the lessening of emphasis on the regions that are near and dear to his heart, having served there for many years. I feel I am able to be somewhat sympathetic and empathetic to his concerns, having served in Western Europe for 16 years, a region which does not always get a whole lot of relative "press" or resources either. However, I tend to believe, at the same time, that those in the Overseas Leadership Team are not necessarily biased towards one region or another, inasmuch as they are doing their best to objectively look at the comparative needs and opportunities in the world in which we live today, and allocate resources accordingly. Do I always like the decisions they make? No. But I am prepared to accept them, believing they have the needs of the whole world at heart.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Possible Solution

• Trustees represent the will of the churches of the Southern Baptist Convention. Do Southern Baptists want approximately 1,200 missionaries each in China and India, and 50 each in Brazil, Mexico, Kenya, South Africa, and Russia? How would it be possible for the long-term influence of the IMB to continue in sub-Saharan Africa, Eastern Europe, and Latin America with this kind of emphasis? Trustees need to create a "Global Strategy Committee" to jointly decide IMB strategy to make sure IMB strategy conforms to the will of all Southern Baptists rather than staff.

David Rogers: The conforming of IMB strategy to the "will of all Southern Baptists" is a very complicated question. First of all, in my opinion, the majority of Southern Baptists do not have the missiological perspective necessary to make informed decisions regarding IMB strategy. That is one reason we hire staff who spend years studying missiology. Ideally, the trustees should have a much more informed view of missiological issues. But unfortunately, this is not always the case.

At the same time, I believe the recent "blogging revolution" within the SBC, especially as it relates to the IMB, is doing a good bit to educate many more people about missiological issues faced by the IMB. Up to now, the only direct contact between on-field missionaries and Southern Baptists "in the pews" has been speaking engagements during Stateside Assignments, and occasional prayer letters. For the most part, this communication has been limited to more personal aspects of ministry, rather than education on philosophical and strategic concerns. In the meantime, IMB staff and trustees have occupied the role of communication filters between the on-field missionaries and the churches.

 
Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway:
• It is impossible for the IMB to send people exactly where everyone feels called to go. IMB leadership is responsible to Southern Baptists to develop a world-wide strategy deployment. However, a balance needs to be struck between the "call of God" and the "strategy of the IMB." Many who feel called to go to some parts of the world are being denied that opportunity. At one SBC seminary there is a young qualified couple (with a baby due) graduating in May who felt called all their lives to Latin America. There were no openings in some regions in Latin America (due to the quota system) until 2005 and in some regions longer. This couple had to choose another part of the world despite their long term calling to work with a Latin American people group less than 2% evangelical. They could not understand why an unreached people group in Latin America of more than 500,000 and less than 2% evangelical was less important than an unreached people group in another part of the world. Unfortunately, many couples like this would decide to go to the mission field independently. Such couples would be supported by Southern Baptist churches, in turn causing a negative impact on the Cooperative Program.

David Rogers: I am also understanding of this concern, as my wife and I originally went to Spain with an interdenominational mission board for this very reason. Eventually, however, the opportunity opened up for us to work with the IMB, and we were appointed as career workers in Spain. At the same time, though, down through the years, I have seen various missionary units convinced that God had called them to work in a particular part of the world, when other people were able to see that they were not particularly well cut out for work in that part of the world. I have come to see the wisdom, on the mission field, of first determining priority needs, and filling them accordingly, rather than placing people according to their personal preference or subjective sense of call.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Issue Five: Finally, why is there such a de-emphasis on theological education for long-term missionary appointment? Is not the lack of theological depth worsening the problems faced on the field as well meaning missionaries are inevitably dealing with complex choices regarding the interface between culture and the claims and expectations of Christ?

Observations

• As noted in Eitel’s "Vision Assessment" paper, there is a historic trend in the SBC, especially since WWII, to see the influence of Neo-Orthodoxy. The pernicious effect of this influence is a gradual, perhaps even unconscious prioritization of religious experience over objective doctrinal truth. As we partner with GCC’s (Great Commission Christians) on the field, they are usually from backgrounds that affirm an interdenominational or non-denominational priority, and often hold varying degrees of neo-charismatic convictions. So within evangelicalism itself, there’s a downplay of doctrinal truths for the greater practice of unified partnering. So the religious existentialism of Neo-Orthodoxy flows over into evangelicalism and is known as neo-evangelicalism. We find ourselves in the middle of this pool of thought. Now more than ever there’s a need for missionaries to be keenly aware of theological trends and to know how to articulate a biblical position on any given doctrine along with an understanding of historic Baptist convictions regarding doctrine. This all means theological education must be required and emphasized for career appointment of missionaries.

David Rogers: Other than the prefix "neo," I fail to see the connection here between "neo-orthodoxy," "neo-charismatics," and "neo-evangelicalism." As a matter of fact, most Charismatics and Pentecostals tend to be more solid in their beliefs regarding inerrancy and biblical authority than many Baptists. Of course, there are those who place too much importance on experience. I am not saying that there are not excesses in the Charismatic and Pentecostal world that we as Baptists need to avoid. But, by in large, I believe this is an over-generalization, and false "guilt by association."

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Neo-orthodoxy has infected the IMB at times through the missionary training system. When Robin and Kathy Hadaway (former RL Eastern South America) were in missionary orientation in January & February of 1984, Alan Neely of SEBTS taught Universalism and Liberation Theology as truth. The Hadaway’s complained to the program (Parks’ presidency era) director of the Missionary Orientation Center (MOC) and were told by him, "every class complains about him and I’ve asked him to ‘tone it down.’" However, we later learned that Alan Neely taught these sessions to every MOC (and later MLC) class for 5 years! This Director went on to become an Area Director, an IMB Vice-President, and was a principle defender of Daryl Whiteman (See Eitel’s Vision paper) when he was criticized for his teaching at MLC in the late 90’s. This person retired as an IMB Vice-President two years ago, still in charge of the Missionary Learning Center. Trustee pressure succeeded in removing Daryl Whiteman from teaching at MLC. This underscores the necessity of recruiting leaders for senior IMB leadership positions that will take the concerns of conservatives seriously (see Eitel’s "Vision Assessment" paper).

David Rogers: I believe it is unfair to "broad brush" indict present IMB leadership due to association with those brought in under the Parks administration. I did have the opportunity to sit under Daryl Whiteman’s teaching at MLC, and learned a lot of interesting and valuable things from him. In a number of ways, he was an incredibly insightful anthropologist and missiologist. However, some of the views he advocated were probably outside of the bounds of Southern Baptist orthodoxy, and thus, the decision to remove him justified.

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Yet, within the past twelve years, there has been a consistently more flexible allowance made for those without significant seminary training. Career consultants have informed students as each policy change has come out. Initially it was an M.Div. degree with 2 years of experience required for appointment to work with church development or church planting assignments. Then the Strategy Coordinator role developed and folk could be appointed with as little as 20 semester hours of seminary. Later it was raised to 30 semester hours. Now a new policy has emerged that eliminates the need for seminary at all since the IMB cannot fund the hours at the seminaries any longer. An additional two weeks will be added to the MLC experience to compensate for seminary training.

• These short cuts are all encouraged in order to expedite or rapidly get missionaries on the field so we can complete the task. So the tyranny of the urgent commands the policy and careful preparation for a qualitatively healthier church-planting outcome is sacrificed for advancing rapidly.

David Rogers: In my opinion, there is perhaps a modicum of truth to this observation. I believe that at times there has been a tendency to elevate the goal of sending out more and more missionaries above the goal of fulfilling the Great Commission. Normally, these two should not be in conflict with each other. But there are times when the "good" becomes the enemy of the "best."

At the same time, however, I believe that the best training for missionaries does not always occur on the seminary campus.

I think my blogging colleague in Western Europe, "Stepchild," had an interesting insight here:

"Discipleship cannot be taught in a classroom. Reading a good book by a proven and experienced church planter is not enough. We need mentors. We need current practicing disciple-makers to be teaching and leading others as they make disciples.If I could have a conversation with someone of the IMB's Board of Trustees, this (among other things) is what I'd say. We need to radically rethink our approach to training and equipping disciple-makers. The bar has been set way too low. It isn't enough to have a seminary degree or to have signed the Baptist Faith and Message 2000. We need to be mentored. We need leaders who are currently in the thick of cross-cultural ministry to guide us in wisdom and that long-lost art of missions.Until we have such a network of relationships, we will not be able to guarantee the theological integrity of our work. We will continue to be criticized by seminary professors and denominational politicians. We will remain on the sidelines of what God is doing around the world because we are debating the science of Christianity and mission while the artists are being used to build the Kingdom."


Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: Possible Solution

• Re-examine the policies that govern these types of appointments and minimally require a return to the 30 semester hour policy for all engaged in SC, church planting, or church development assignments (whether the IMB pays for the hours or not—SBC seminary education is intentionally inexpensive compared to other seminaries). Perhaps there is a need to even return to the earlier policy of requiring a professional degree from a seminary &/or enhance development of the 2+2/3 programs. Practical, hands on experience in conjunction with the overall learning structure of a full M. Div. program, only enhances the candidate’s preparation. Hence, continued development of the 2+2/3 programs with each of the seven seminaries (inclusive of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) would seem a positive development.

David Rogers: In principle, the 2+2/3 programs are, in my opinion, a great idea. I wish I could have had that opportunity when I was in seminary. However, if the 2+2/3 programs are used as a tool to infiltrate and spy on the IMB, and promote the personal agenda of seminary missions professors, I wonder if the cost is worth it. 

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: • Prior to the development of the SC program (formerly NRM), everyone had to have an M.Div. (or the professional equivalent such as MRE, M. Music, M.D. or be the spouse of someone with one of these degrees) in order to become a missionary. The only missionaries who were permitted to come to the field with 30 hours were "business managers or treasurer types" who would not be interacting significantly with nationals. Hadaway served as an SC, has supervised and trained SC’s, and has supervised a region as an RL. He believes it would be best to return to the previous requirements for missionary career, associate and apprentice appointment (at least one spouse would possess an M. Div., MRE, professional graduate degree in their field plus 30 seminary hours, or age equivalent church work experience plus 30 seminary hours for older candidates).

David Rogers: Upon finishing this reply, I want to reiterate that I am not, and could not, in any way speak officially for the IMB, in relation to the concerns raised. It would be beyond the scope of my experience to determine whether there are (or were at the time of the writing of Eitel, Patterson & Hadaway's articles) or not systemic problems throughout the entire organization. I am at this time merely responding to the particular information included in this article, on the basis of my personal observations, as well as to Brad Reynolds' inference that, if no one gives an adequate reply to the things written here, he will take it as a tacit acknowledgement of their validity.

35 comments:

Nomad said...

David,
Wow, you went to a lot of work and and a lot of trouble to respond to this!

I only wanted to make one comment and that concerns the RL who resigned rather than sign the BFM2000. You need to know that he only resigned his position; he did NOT resign from the board. His rationale: he could not, in good conscience, sign it as an RL, because he knew the next step would be to make all field personnel sign it. He refused to sign it to "protect" his personnel. After he resigned his position and transferred to a differnt region, he signed it without reservation. However, his right-hand man Strategy Associate refused to sign it and resigned over the whole ordeal.

dwm III said...

David,

Good post. You make some valid critiques of the paper. However:

Patterson, Eitel & Hadaway: This missionary goes on to say that another GCC partner was willing to call someone coming from an Islamic background that is in a C-5 church plant a believer even though that person emphatically denies the deity of Christ.

David Rogers: Once again, just because one "believer" is confused about doctrine, and happens to be involved in a so-called "C-5 church plant," does not demonstrate anything to me. There will always be those who misunderstand, miscommunicate, or distort the essence of any movement. Does one bad apple spoil the whole bunch?

I don't think the problem here was with the church. I think it is with the GCC who said that this person, who denied the diety of Christ, was a believer.

I haven't finished reading, but I thought that I would say that while it was on my mind.

Through Christ,
dwmiii

David Rogers said...

Dougald,

You are correct. In my haste to get this out, I misread this sentence.

If the GCC partner him/herself was inferring that belief in the deity of Christ is unnecessary for regeneration, I would agree this particular GCC partner had doctrinal problems. What the Patterson-Eitel-Hadaway paper does not specify, however, is whether the GCC partner really believed this or not. Perhaps he/she was using the term "believer" in another sense of the word. The paper does not tell us either to what extent the particular partner mentioned was involved with the IMB missionaries, nor if they were willing to admit their error when confronted with it.

Without this added information, there are a lot of different conclusions I could jump to.

martyduren said...

David-
Thanks for your thorough and thought provoking response.

antonio said...

When will the madness end? I ask my self. At what point has seminary become the Holy Spirit and taken the place of Christians having the ability to study the Word without sitting in a classroom for 3 years of which four year prior are busybody years?

Your brought out some excellent rebuttals. Moreover, if I had a belief that I was right (and only me), I could take results from a pole or take a pole and probably twist the results to fit my likings. I actually heard several weeks back that 50% of the studies we read and hear about are completely inaccurate.

David Rogers said...

abrasseau,

And 39.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

mr. t said...

David,

This post had to be a monumental task. You did a great job.

I am grieved. I don't see the spirit of Christ in this position paper by P.E.&H. I sense a pharisaical spirit. Instead of rejoicing over the hundreds of thousands that have come to Christ and been baptized into New Testament churches since New Directions, they see the need to "correct" the error of our ways! There is no hard evidence of widespread incidences like the ones they mentioned.

I won't say more, Jesus said it best in Matthew 23 when He described the ministry of the religious elite:
"For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers"... and
"Woe to you, scribes and pharisees, hypocrites!" (Religious elite). "For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves."

Well, I'm sure they are not "sons of hell"... but they sure are acting like it.

GuyMuse said...

A most interesting read on a Saturday afternoon. With so much material to comment on, I thought you did an excellent job in responding to the observations of
BR/KE,PP,RH. It would be most interesting to hear any replies the four would make to your reply.

My own take on what is happening is that Christianity has been involved in a major paradigm shift for several years now. George Barna calls it a "revolution." Others have referred to it by different names and descriptions, but the underlying tension arises between the status quo vs. new thinking. I like what Arthur Schopenhauer is attributed, All truth passes through three stages:
First, it is ridiculed; Second, it is violently opposed; and Third, it is accepted as self-evident.
This pretty well sums up for me what is happening across the SBC and especially with the IMB and her missiology.

Reggie McNeal puts it like this, "You are being asked to lead during a time when you are not sure where all this is going. If previous history is an accurate
indicator, the kinds of changes we are undergoing will not settle out for another century or more. This means that some of you are giving direction to the great-great-great grandparents of the leaders of the Christian movement when it all makes out on the other side of the postmodern wormhole...Your courage to believe with partial sight will be rewarded one day when a full view is afforded..."


It seems that throughout history the H.S. has a way of not allowing us to settle in to our ruts. He is always doing something new. It is this "new" that causes the friction. Those aligned with the status quo resist the changes and circle the wagons. Those open to the new changes often will take them to extremes to make their point. What usually takes place is that over time the extremes are corrected, assimulated, and soon become the norm which then leads to a whole new cycle of change.

Jerry Corbaley said...

David,

Could you email me?

corbaley@sbcglobal.net

Thanks.

IN HIS NAME said...

David,
May the Holy Spirit continue to guide and protect you as stand for the Truth. Thanks for writing this post.

Jerry Corbaley,
You can e-mail David by getting his e-mail address in his profile.

In His Name Wayne Smith

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

David,

I echo Nomad...WOW, and again I say WOW. I have spent two days reading, and rereading this post...knowing that much more than two days went into your rebuttal of what was written.

Thank you for a very well thought through and written post. I am confident with people such as you, Guy, Nomad and Stepchild, the IMB will be in good hands for the ensuing years.

Grace and Peace,

Paul said...

Very well done, David.

antonio said...

David,

Well, I just visited the other blog to see if there was a response to your post and to say that I felt any less than to vomit would be an understatement. Lately it has been very hard for me to control my tongue but I know that if I speak my mind, I am no different that them [those who writing unbecoming comments]. People all over the world are watching these blogs and our dialog. You keep it clean and for that I am thankful. I am also thankful that you chose to post this because I nor my pastor back home would have known otherwise. Oh to the day when we realise we are not called to be liberal or conservative but children of the King. I see a people blinded by arrogance and filled with hate, and it scares me. It breaks my heart to sit in another country, ministering and see my home so torn. I love the SBC and if it were not so I would not be a part of it. It tears at my soul to watch. If only our hearts would break so that we would fall upon our knees crying to the Heavens, we could look past ourselves and hear the voice of our great Creator.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Solid my friend.

Very, very solid.

The silence from anyone attempting to rebut is deafening.

In my opinion it is because rebuttal is impossible.

Anonymous said...

David,
My colleague - you make some valid points however I think that you may also reflect the differences that can exist between different regions of the world. In the region where I serve all of the problems mentioned and more exist. In my regional group - there is wide dissatisfaction because of many of these issues and more. There is a sense of fear that anyone who speaks out will "pay" in the long run and so people talk quitely among themselves. Obviously in your area things are different - but I do think that your "rebuttal" so to speak reflects only your region - whereas I could write an affirmaiotn that would be quite reflective of my region as well. I would tend to trust the persepctive of Dr. Eitel, Patterson and Reynolds because I know thay have had contact with many IMB personnel from across the world - not jsut Europe. I know of several people myself who have written Dr. Patterson directly askign that their anonymity be protected. And in that respoect I find something very unhealthy in the IMB that such an attitude of fear exists that people to not feel the freedom to discuss these issues openly. Actually I am not sure if blogging is the way to deal with any of these issues any more than it has become a means to divide many churches recently including two very prominent ones in Memphis.

Anonymous said...

One final thing - to answer Wade - if I had the time I could write you an entire book on the issues that are pervasvive throughout at least four regions that I have familiarity - but God has not called me to do that.
David - it is that same "cookie" cutter mentality that is the problem at the IMB - if youare not using "house groups" and shunning the traditional church - then you are not a good missionary. Our pre-furlough evaluation form in our region has the misisonary evaluated on their effectiveness in planting house groups. I applaud those who can and do use house groups effectively. However when you live in a culture where it is not usual or even culturally appropriate ot have people in your home and then you are told that you are NOT to use your own home - then what are you to do.
Finally using Wade's logic - Jerry Corbaley posted an excellent blog on glossolalia a week ago and no one has bothers to respond to the excellent points that he made. So maybe to quote Wade:
The silence from anyone attempting to rebut is deafening.

In my opinion it is because rebuttal is impossible

David Rogers said...

Anonymous,

I think you make some valid points, and I respect your opinion. Hopefully, the idea of needing to be afraid of reprisals from the IMB for expressing your opinion is unfounded. Dr. Rankin has specifically written me: "I would want any of our missionaries to feel the freedom to speak out and voice their convictions without fear of reprisal."

In regards to Jerry Corbaley's blog, I sent in a comment about 5 or 6 days ago, and am still waiting for it to be posted.

Wayne Smith In His Name said...

David,

I pray you consider the source of these anonymous comments. I see some comments as not coming from Brother or Sisters in Christ. I know your earthly Father would have taken a stand on some of things that are happening in the SBC.

In His Name

Anonymous said...

David,

I feel so torn regarding this issue. On one hand, I lament the attempt of those to narrow what it means to be SBC and the move toward exclusion of those who don't measure up to the standards that are dictated from Ft. Worth.

On the other hand, as an MK, I saw first-hand what New Directions did to my parents, (ran them off the mission field). My parents are very conservative, BF&M 2000 agreement, non-tongues, (ie pass the Ft. Worth tests). Yet they experienced under the Rankin regime a trend toward centralization of authority, and iniatives increasingly being Richmond driven rather than field-driven. When they questioned New Directions as it was taught to them (fuzzy doctrine, 3 women meeting in a house called a church, etc...) they were branded as trouble-makers, marked and then driven off the field.
While on "home assignment" they were told they could not go back to the place God had called them to, that they had to go somewhere else. At their age, after so many years of faithful service, they were told to learn a new language and go to a new place.

The IMB leadership under Rankin has become in many ways heavy-handed. They formulate the plan and you better follow it or there are repercussions.

I have talked to many missionaries and friends of our family, that have been on the field for many years who also have experineced the same thing. Most play the game, fill out the reports, nod their heads, and then continue on in trying to follow the Spirit's leadership. They definitly do not feel that they can dialogue about what is handed down from Richmond, to do so would cause them to be branded and marginalized.

Don't want to hurt my parents any further, so I will remain anonymous.

Torn

Anonymous said...

David,

You make some very interesting points. I agree with you that the "Fort Worth camp" makes a very interesting assumption by equating SC's with a pastoral role. This is either an assumption made on their part or a political power play (I would not rule this out). I am inclined in this situation to assume that it is merely an assumption which would be consistent with their view of chapel here at SWBTS. In the way in which chapel is conducted at SWBTS, it is obvious that Dr. Patterson views it as "church" at least in a functional sense and must be governed as such (I would disagree with him on this because it would be a sorry church if all it did was hold three services every week!!!). I think that the Fort Worth camp is fundamentally mistaken in the duties of the SC which are primarily administrative including mobilization, coordination of projects, and the strategic placement of personnel so as to have have their greatest impact for the Kingdom.

I really appreciate your quoting "Stepchild." He seems to capture the 'missiological illiteracy' that exists in our churches today (including, sadly, among the clergy). This exposes the poor job that seminaries are actually doing in the educational process EVEN/ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE SEEKING THE ALL REVERED M.DIV. DEGREE (I do not wish to elaborate here on the shortcomings of the current Seminary program). I think that the IMB/SBC should really step up their efforts to inform churches of mission work and how they can/should participate in an effort to alleviate this issue.

Thank you for your openness and willingness to engage such important issues,

SWBTS Student

Anonymous said...

I hurt for the MK who wrote the post on your blog - asI too have heard the same things over and over again. In the last week I have received emails form three misisonaries facing the same situation. Those who have spoken out feel threatened,ostracized, or are retaliated against when it comes budget time, evaluation time, or juts in other ways. Apparently in Europe this is not the case and therefore you should feel fortunate not to have to face this situaiotn - however in many areas this is not true.

Bob Cleveland said...

I had lunch yesterday with a missionary who left the IMB over all the things that have been going on. IMO, it was in accordance with his principles, which I find to be sound.

We should not mistake a lack of rebuttal as anyone's inability. My pastor often says "A bobcat can beat a skunk any day of the week, but it's not worth the stink".

Notably absent in all the stuff I read is the acknowledgment that only the Holy Spirit can perpetuate and prosper and guard the Church, on the foreign mission field, and nobody seems to have missed His involvement so far. Is it any wonder there's controversy?

Bob Cleveland said...

WHOOPS!!!

I had Jerry Corbaley's blog, referring to unknown tongues, in mind when I commented about rebuttals. NOT this one.

David Rogers said...

“Torn”,

I am truly sorry for what happened to your parents. Since I have not been all around the world, and interviewed missionaries, it is hard for me to know whether what you are describing is really a reflection of “systemic problems” or rather, specific incidents in specific contexts with specific local leadership. I do know that New Directions involved a lot of change for everyone, and that change is not always easy. I would hate to think, though, as you say, that for calling attention to what they felt to be problems on the field, your parents were really “branded as trouble-makers, marked and then driven off the field.” If that is the case, I find it hard to think that Dr. Rankin and the higher level leaders in Richmond would have approved.

In any case, I don’t really feel qualified or in a legitimate position to become an arbitrator or sounding board for specific cases on the mission field. If I started getting a lot more comments like this, I would probably have to start being a lot more selective in my comment moderation. I think the best place to address these type of concerns is probably “in-house.”

God bless you,

David

Anonymous said...

David,

If you started to get more stories like this, instead of "moderating" them, maybe you should see that this is not the case of isolated problems but recurring issues.

MK

Anonymous said...

David,
you said,
"I don’t really feel qualified or in a legitimate position to become an arbitrator or sounding board for specific cases on the mission field."

My point was not to use you as a sounding board or an arbitrator. In your lengthy rebuttal of Eitel, Patterson, and Hadaway, you repeatedly made the point that they were exaggerating their concerns. I merely wanted to inform you that I have personally found some of their critiques to be VERY true.

I abhor their attempt to narrow the parameters of what an IMB missionary should look like. I abhor their attempt to take us back to the day of landmarkism (I had Patterson for Systmatic Theology, I know of what I speak).

But on the other hand, Rankin and his staff have a heavy hand on the IMB and have instituted strategies that have in effect destroyed the ministries of missionaries. How many? No one knows. But I know of some first hand. In your own testimony you did not begin IMB, because of their quota system. Hopefully you will be able to stay where the Lord has called you and not have to suffer what my parents went through: While on "home assignment" be told that they were not allowed to go back unless it was to ship their things to another place. They shipped them home. Now in a place where the Saudi's have built a mosque and have sent missionaries, we have no missionary because according to New Directions, one should not be there.

David, I am saying that there is wrong in both camps.

MK

David Rogers said...

MK,

I do not think I clearly came out and said they were "exaggerating their concerns." I did say that I do not believe the evidence they present is sufficient to prove their case. And I also said that many of the concerns they mention are only really concerns if you take a certain view of interpretation of Scripture and missionary strategy, with which I do not agree.

I will agree that the testimony you give does add some legitimacy to the argument that not everyone on the field has been happy with New Directions, and some have gone through a lot of grief as a result.

Anonymous said...

MK,

I have heard many similar complaints to the ones you are voicing. Great pain is clearly evident in your writing. There has certainly been a great amount of hurt and misunderstanding in places that used to be the main grounds for IMB mission work (I witnessed that this summer in Brazil and have heard stories from retired missionaries serving in South America). On the other hand, I personally know other missionaries from Central America that see the importance in the shift in focus for the IMB and are quite supportive of the New Directions. I sympathize with your concerns of the growing nature of Islam around the world (I am sitting in a Panera Bread only 2 miles away from a gigantic mosque in Texas that was just opened last year). However, I appeal to you to think about three questions:

1. What about all the millions of people who live near mosques in places where there was no local Christian population to even make a stand at all (whether that is in Europe, North Africa, or Asia)? Do they not deserve the possibility of hearing the gospel and to grow in the faith?

2. How much weight should be given to what God shows those in authority over us with regards to His call? I know that this is not in vogue in our contemporary induavidualistic society.

3. Should we ever consider such a thing as an "exit strategy"? The idea is that we train up leaders so that we "work ourselves out of a job." At what point, do the local believers need to be the experts for reaching their country? (FYI, i do not think that the IMB obviously did not do a very good job in developing and implementing an "exit strategy" in the traditional mission fields.)

I am so sorry that your family has had to go through this whole experience.

Another IMB MK

Anonymous said...

To answer the anonymous MK that just wrote and his three questions:
1. Why does it have to be either or - why not both and. Part of this is the tension between the reposnsive versus non responsive fields. In addition - who says that Southern Baptist have to be the ones to reach each of these - I am delighted if we are - but what if by staying in Brazil and extra 20 years we mobilized and trained and motivatd a contingent of Brazilian missionaries that would go everywhere and impact far greater than maybe the IMB could merely because they were not from Amaerica. In the Muslim country I work in - people from other countries in the non-aligned movement often can make greater strides than Americans that are looked on with suspicion. If we are not so concered for getting the credit ourselves for evangelizing these other groups - and don;t mind if others ge tthe credit - then why not stay in some of these other countries and help them sevelop a vision for the world.
2.When I went through the process great emphasis was put on sense of call - and suddenly it has nto become so important anymore. We can uproot and spend several huindred thousand dollars trying to get you to learn a much more difficult language which at your advance age you might not be able to learn and sepnd thousands of dollars moving you. Why not leave the person where he feels called do and then take the extra money to send someone to the other place.
2. I am not sure if an exit strategy is needed - maybe a reduction strategy. Using the criterion that the IM uses we should re-assign most of our home misiosnaries and also send most people living in many part of the south to other places. Using your second quesiotn - why not just do away with individualism altoether and sense of call and instead just send eveyr pastor to what we feel the greatest need is. In the wolrd we live in - there are few coutnries where I personally believe we need an exit strategy - and possibly maybe we need to be inspiring some of them to sned misiosnaries to the US. I currently know of three copoes with the board who are looking at resigning and raising their own support and then returning independently. What will happen now as has happened in the past is that their church will most likely dip into cooperative program funds and Lottie MOon funds to support their home grown misisonaries and then IMB misiosnaries will suffer.

David Rogers said...

Torn MK,

You make some very good points, for which I, in general, have a lot of sympathy. Unfortunately, however, missionary strategy is not an exact science. And, although God's resources are unlimited, the IMB has to deal with budgets and allocations, and sometimes the choices are not at all easy to make.

What I do not see here, however, is any kind of "conspiracy," but rather an honest, albeit fallible, attempt to be the best stewards possible of the resources God has entrusted into our hands.

Anonymous said...

David,

I understand that you can really only say what you are saying. It is the "official line."

Would it not be better to direct new missionaries to areas that are deemed strategic areas rather than to go to older missionaries who are in the middle of or near the end of their careers and force them to leave the place they have given their lives to serve?

My parents place of service is much like where you are at. In the mind of the IMB it is "christian" when you and I know it is not. What would you think if somebody came to you while you were on furlough (remember that term?:)) in Memphis and told you that you must go to the jungles of Peru to reach an unreached tribe or leave the IMB. You cannot go back to field, because of other unreached groups that are out there. (If you can stay where you are, then my parents certainly could haved stayed where they were).

My mother is quite outspoken, and spoke against the claim of those who taught New Directions that new churches could be 3 women meeting in a house, that they could have fuzzy doctrine etc... They ran a center that reached many children through all kinds of camps, but becuase it was not a 'church planting' ministry they were told to shut it down.

When they resisted, I fully believe the forced reassigment was they way the IMB chose to deal with them. They knew at their age they would not reassign to a jungle.

Sorry David,
Eitel and Patterson are very wrong in their tactics, but some of their claims concerning issues with New Directions are valid.

MK

I am finished blogging on this. I wish other missionaries would be more vocal about their experiences. Missionaries are some of the godliest and sweetest people I know!

Trustees should do exit interviews with all missionaries that left the field in the last 10 years. I think their is an important story to be discovered!

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

David,

MK said, "Trustees should do exit interviews with all missionaries that left the field in the last 10 years. I think their is an important story to be discovered!"

I would like for our trustees to want to and try to speak with any of us. I know that there are some "hot spots" which trustees like to go...At one time, the missionaries living in Paris complained to their Area Director about all of the trustees coming to their city, keeping them from ministry.

I have not seen a trustee on the field where I have been serving for over 15 years. But then, maybe the area of the 10-40 window where I serve is not a "hot spot," we certainly have no church planting movement within 5000 miles of us.

Anonymous said...

David, Excellent post. I was not an SBC missionary but was a missionary. I have been SBC all my life. I currently work in SBC missions and work in conjunction with the IMB. I think your critique is dead on.

You are so right in saying that more education does not necessarily make a better missionary. An MDIV guarantees nothing but that you have an MDIV.

Having worked in advertising it seems like some are using the old advertising tactics we use to employ. Create a problem in the minds of the people(The problem that missionaries are not being taught proper Baptist theology or trained in Baptist missions ideas), then offer a solution. The solution: Come to our seminaries for a full degree ( VS 20 hours for some) and we will train them better.

I am all for being well trained in theology and missiology. I am not sure our problem is education. I think our problem is that those in the education industry of the SBC want more control over what is being done in missions and all of SBC life. They feel they know better than the rest of us and therefore should be in control of this aspect of SBC life.

I think they offer a great service but when you begin to seek to manipulate things to gain control, I think that is wrong. IMO that is what is happening.

M said...

I truly appreciate this response to the Eitel, Patterson, Haddaway paper. Many of your rebuttals resonate with me.

I wanted to comment briefly on the impact of New Directions in tradional fields of work. I am an MK that grew up in a traditional field. I currently serve in a security 3 area. My parents and their colleagues were very hurt by the New Directions move in the late 90's. Having listened to them and observing the organization during that time I have become convinced that New Directions was not a bad strategic move (in fact it has been great for mobilizing people to the least reached peoples of the world), but it suffered from terrible implementation.

Our leadership came to a point where it was very difficult to lead 5,000 employees in multitudinous settings with the old paradigm of leadership and management (which was also influenced by business management trends, that part has not changed). New Directions has enabled this organization to place people in some of the most difficult places to access in the world. In the process there was a major crisis in finances. Choices have to be made regarding where to send new personnel. The traditional places I have been, the national church has had so much exposure to us that they have resorted to the same infighting and bickering that we do in the states. I have seen other organizations that used a healthy exit strategy in the same place and they now have their own sending agencies going to unreached peoples. This illustrates to me that it is high time that we transition out of those locations.

Having said that, the method of transition to new directions was very poorly implemented. My parents were among hundreds (possibly thousands)of others that felt that their decades of work were invalidated. Forcing people to changes nations, regions, and job assignments in the twilight of their career was wrong. Anyone who has studied organizational transitions knows that change needs to be made gradually and sensitively. Our organization was anything but that in the traditional areas. They could have left traditional field structures and introduced some of the new ideas gradually. Instead they put everyone into teams regardless of ministry and made everyone focus on a people group. There was a lack of forsight and care involved in this transition. But it is not new or particular to Jerry Rankin. My parents went through 7 paradigm shifts with Board during their tenure. Each time involved a clumsy transition period. OUr innate Western mentality is very results oriented, and each time people want to see change made immediately.

It has upset me that so many have been so hurt by the New Directions transition, but I blame the transition implementation not the missiology.

David Rogers said...

m,

I think you have some very valid points.