2. EFFECT ON OTHER DOCTRINES: Will this teaching likely lead to significant erosion in other doctrines?
In regard to the PPL policy, I think it is a fair assumption to say that this concern is the real “bogeyman” driving the issue. Several have implied that the work of the IMB is in imminent danger of being diverted into “Charismatic extremes.”
Consider, for example, the following quotes:
Paige Patterson, The Church in the 21st Century
With the advent of “Third Wave churches” partnering with other “Great Commission Christians” and the age of post-denominationalism, new horizons force contemplation of questions of cooperation both new and old... To accept the funding provided by Baptists and proceed in a direction distinct from what that supporting constituency believes is no different. The author does not allege that this is what is happening, but it is the case that disturbing reports do continue to filter in from the field. If any of these represent the trajectory of even a few, then that issue must be faced; and a solution acceptable to the Convention must be found.Paige Patterson, Keith Eitel, & Robin Hadaway, Follow-up to Keith Eitel’s “Vision Assessment”
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… In addition, SC’s were encouraged to include charismatic groups such as the Assemblies of God denomination in their strategies, including church planting… 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"?Emir Caner, Southern Baptists, Tongues, and Historical Policy
The contemporary phenomenon of speaking in tongues, along with other Charismatic practices has infiltrated every major denomination in America, including Southern Baptist life… Noting the paradigm shift, one cannot overlook the momentum the Charismatic movement is having on Evangelical life. Yet, Southern Baptists remain very uncomfortable with Charismatic practices, especially when they note the weak epistemology of experientialism latent within the movement. For the most part, Southern Baptists have reacted negatively to inroads Charismatics have forced into the local Baptist churches. This response is largely due to the novel interpretation of how such gifts should be used and the excesses generated. The Southern Baptist response toward the Charismatic movement has always been extremely cautious.Let me make one thing perfectly clear. I am not arguing in favor of making room within Southern Baptist life for classical Pentecostal and Charismatic teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I understand the Baptist Faith & Message 2000 to have already addressed this question. Neither am I interested in promoting manipulative practices common in certain Pentecostal, Charismatic and Third Wave circles that tend towards working people into an emotional frenzy, and falsely promote short-cuts to spiritual maturity and victory in our walk with the Lord. I, on several occasions, have had to teach against these things in churches, warning people of dangers of experiential emotionalism as over against sound biblical interpretation.
I will concede, as well, that, without a doubt, the great majority of those who would like to introduce “Charismatic extremes” into Southern Baptist life would also tend to promote the practice of “private prayer languages.” However, I do not make the corresponding conclusion that everyone who believes in or practices PPL has a “hidden agenda” to introduce “Charismatic extremes” into the life of the church. As I have stated previously on another post, the great majority of hyper-Calvinists also believe in the doctrine of eternal security. However, that does not mean we ought to limit the teaching of eternal security in order to keep a check on the spread of hyper-Calvinism.
At times, I am sure, all of us would like for things to be a lot simpler. It makes us feel more secure to have neat categories of black and white, right and wrong, orthodoxy and heresy. And there definitely are certain things that are, either black or white, right or wrong, and orthodox or heretical. But there are other things that the Bible does not specify quite so clearly. I, myself, out of a concern for shielding myself from something I don’t understand, or is out of my “comfort zone,” do not want to stand in the way of something God may sovereignly choose to do. I understand that He will not go against what He has already revealed in His infallible Word. But I am also aware that my cultural biases can sometimes blind me to what His Word really says.
On the basis of all of this, I believe (and I imagine Grudem would concur) that without a firm answer on question #1, How Sure are We that the Teaching is Wrong?, question #2 takes on a relatively diminished importance. Basing our entire spiritual and doctrinal outlook on the need to avoid the “slippery slope” towards other extremes is a sure path towards legalism and a closed-minded attitude toward the work of the Holy Spirit that I am convinced ends up quenching the Holy Spirit.
Regarding the baptism issue, it is hard to determine just what the new policy is intended to accomplish. Some have suggested that it is closely linked with the PPL policy, intending to discourage those candidates who might originally come from other church backgrounds that are more open to Charismatic practices. I suppose there are others who are strict denominational loyalists (who, if not 100% Landmarkist in their beliefs, are, at least, influenced by Landmark teachings) who just like to keep things “within the family” so to speak. I suppose those of this second group might be afraid that those who were baptized in a non-baptistic church would have a tendency to also de-emphasize biblical ecclesiology. Once again, though, I feel the important question is whether or not there is clear biblical teaching to justify the position taken. If not, I am afraid that, at times, our fears of things getting out of hand and not fitting in neatly with our denominational traditions can actually be an impediment to new ways that God may want to work, and His plans to get out the gospel to all peoples of the world.