Monday, June 04, 2007

"Neo-pentecostal Practices" and "Clear Baptist Identity"

I am beginning to wonder if a really big part of this whole controversy related to the IMB and private prayer language roots back to different understandings of the concepts “neo-pentecostal practices” and “clear Baptist identity.”

In a comment string on a May 28 post on Robin Foster’s blog, entitled Who is Going to Draw the Line?, I engaged IMB trustee Jerry Corbaley in a dialogue regarding a statement made there. In order to avoid making this post longer than it already is, I will reproduce here only what I consider to be the most relevant portions of our dialogue (please read the entire dialogue in its original context here, if you so desire).

Jerry Corbaley: The following is from the Report of the Mission Personnel Ad Hoc Committee, May 2007 regarding the new guideline on glossolalia.

“The Ad Hoc Committee has concluded that even though field related data and consultation with regional leaders has not indicated a systemic problem with charismatic practices among field personnel, the rapid spread of neo-pentecostalism and its pressure exacted on new churches in various regions of the world warrants a concern for the clear Baptist identity of our missionary candidates.”

The impetus for the guideline is not the scope of public practice of current IMB personnel. The impetus for the guideline is the importance of having missionaries who can make disciples in a context that often includes neo-pentecostal pressures. This type of confrontation can be difficult to confront and difficult to endure. It is similar to what Brother Robin is enduring from many of you. It is unlikely that missionaries who practice assertions of glossolalia (even in “private”) will be highly motivated to oppose such practices publicly.

As direct evidence that this is so; how many people who are publicly speaking in favor of the IMB guideline decision also assert they practice glossolalia? How can one confront another’s public expression of one’s own private practice?

The Great Commission is a call to make disciples, not just converts. In the context of church planting movements, whole future national denominations are forming extremely rapidly, and this includes their doctrine. Our missionaries who are able to be involved in this unprecedented movement of God’s Spirit must be motivated towards doctrine and reproof and correction and training in righteousness. A potential conflict of interest is unappealing to the IMBoT.

David Rogers: I hope I am not interpreting you correctly on this, but in your comment…you seem to indicate that there is an expectation on the part of IMB trustees that missionaries publicly oppose and confront “neo-pentecostal” practices on the mission field.

Perhaps, in your use of the term “neo-pentecostal” practices, you are referring to blatant heresy. It would be helpful for me to know just what you mean by this.

If not, you, as I understand it, are asking for IMB missionaries to be agents of division and strife around the world. It is not enough to believe what cessationist Southern Baptists believe, and quietly go on with our business of making disciples. We must also be ready and willing to publicly oppose and confront those who believe and practice differently on third-tier doctrinal issues.

Please tell me I am not understanding you correctly on this.

Jerry Corbaley: It is the expectation of the IMBoT that IMB missionaries attempt to make disciples of the nations who represent the clear Baptist identity of the SBC. You will find that it is the expectation of the SBC that their missionaries make disciples who represent the clear Baptist identity of the SBC. The IMB and SBC are not embarrassed with who they are…

The IMBoT and the SBC want to send the best personnel possible. The IMB and the SBC believe that missionaries with a commitment to a clear Baptist identity should be sent and that candidates with an unclear Baptist identity should seek to serve Christ in an organization that more closely represents their own faith.

David Rogers: In order for me to respond with any accuracy to the questions you pose in your last comment to me, I will need you first to define what you understand by the terms “neo-pentecostal practices” and “clear Baptist identity.” Otherwise, I am afraid we may be “talking at each other” without any clear and real communication.

Jerry Corbaley: I ask the readers of this comment stream to demonstrate their understanding of “neo-pentecostal practice” and “clear Baptist identity” in the context of the Report of the IMB Ad Hoc Committee.

My opinion is only one opinion. The terms communicate well. I am not interested in undermining the glossolalia guideline by cooperating with efforts that “cast doubt on the whole by focusing doubt on a perceived weak link”…

You do not need my definitions to explain your thinking.

If you insist on an official IMB definition of what is meant by the terms; find a trustee who is interested in launching a multi-year effort to bring the usage of the terms to a vote at an IMB meeting.

David Rogers: I am very sorry, but I must voice my disagreement on “the terms communicate well.” I have a sincere doubt as to exactly what you mean by these terms. You were the one who used them. I am merely asking you to clarify what you meant when you used them.

As to “asking our missionaries to be agents of division and strife around the world,” I clearly stated on the comment in which I used that phrase that I only considered that to be the case if, by “neo-pentecostal practices” you meant something other than blatant heresy. I am now asking you to confirm if that is the case or not…

Once again, I am not trying to be nit-picky here. These are honest questions I have that really do influence how I might respond to the questions & observations you make here.

Jerry Corbaley: We may also have a different opinion regarding your use of the phrase “nit-picky”.

“Neo-pentecostal practices”

I should make clear that it is not my intent here nor has it ever been to defend “neo-pentecostalism.” I do not consider myself to be “neo-pentecostal,” nor do I consider many teachings and practices often linked with the term “neo-pentecostal” to be biblically correct. The problem for me with the argumentation of Dr. Corbaley is the lack of precision in defining our terms. Although some may make a technical distinction between the terms “neo-pentecostal” and “charismatic,” many consider them to be synonyms. The problem is, neither one of these terms has a precise definition that is accepted across the board by everyone. I am afraid that, due to this, we may well find ourselves in situations in which we may be tempted and/or led to “throw out the baby with the bath-water.” In order to illustrate, I refer to a comment I made on another post on Bart Barber’s blog (read here to catch the entire context)…

Also, I imagine there are many different understandings out there of what constitutes "charismatic missions." Some might say that PPL, in and of itself, is already "charismatic." Some might say prayer-walking is "charismatic." Some might say raising hands in public worship is "charismatic." Some might say believing God could speak to you in a dream is "charismatic." Some might say bringing sick people to the front during a worship service to pray that they may get healed is "charismatic." Some might say Neil Anderson's approach to spiritual warfare is "charismatic." Etc., etc. On each one of these items, if we were to make it a litmus test, we would no doubt eliminate a few more workers.

I suppose we could eventually whittle the mission force down to a "squeaky-clean" group with no charismatically suspect issues at all. Would we than have a better corps of IMB missionaries? Perhaps some might think so. But, I would be willing to bet that the majority of Southern Baptists would not be pleased with the end result. And, I believe personally we would also sacrifice a whole lot of effectiveness on the field in working to see the task of fulfilling the Great Commission accomplished. Is it really worth it?

“Clear Baptist indentity”

I believe the lack of precision in the use of the term “clear Baptist identity” may lead to consequences just as serious as those related to the term “neo-pentecostal practices.” I wish to make clear here also that I am in total agreement with the idea that the Southern Baptist Convention has every prerogative to expect that those who receive funds from the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, and Annie Armstrong Easter Offering be compatible in their beliefs and practices with those who are giving their money in good faith that such is indeed the case.

The term “Baptist,” in and of itself, however, has different connotations for different people. The doctrines and practices of those answering to the name “Baptist” run the gamut from the most extreme liberal to the most extreme fundamentalist understandings of Christianity.

Some have suggested as a guideline specifically for Southern Baptists the Baptist Faith & Message. In general, I believe there is a lot of merit to this suggestion. The BF & M is indeed the closest approximation of what we have in codified, officially sanctioned form of the expectations of Southern Baptists regarding the beliefs and practices of those it supports. The problem is, when we try to put this into practice in an inflexible, comprehensive manner, the consequences may end up being contrary to the composite will of the believers and churches that comprise the Southern Baptist Convention.

Case in point: I have made it no secret that I am personally in disagreement with a phrase in the Baptist Faith and Message that seems to mandate the belief and practice of “closed communion.” Because of this, I signed my affirmation of the BF & M, with a caveat expressing my discrepancy with this one phrase. In doing so, I have placed my doctrinal compatibility with continued service through the International Mission Board up for scrutiny of those who pay my salary. If the majority of Southern Baptists really believe my belief on this particular issue ought to disqualify me from service with the International Mission Board, I will see it as my ethical obligation to seek out service with another missionary agency more compatible with my personal beliefs. However, I am not convinced that such is the case.

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary doctoral candidate, church historian, and blogger Nathan Finn, despite being one of the most eloquent defenders of “closed” or “close communion” in Baptist life today (see here), states here, in relation to what he calls “modified open communion” (the view advocated by myself and Wade Burleson): “I think it is probably the majority practice (or at least a VERY common practice) among contemporary Southern Baptists.”

Of course, some kind of official statistical survey would be necessary to determine if Finn’s supposition is really accurate or not. It has recently been shown, for example, that suppositions regarding the majority view of Southern Baptists are not always accurate. On May 29, Jerry Corbaley made the following statement:

The IMBoT has defined glossolalia. I am confident that about 95% of Southern Baptists would agree with that definition. That would be 19 out of every 20 people.

Perhaps this is a good place to start. Someone needs to research what Southern Baptists believe about glossolalia. I do not think the advocates of glossolalia are aware of the magnitude of effort they will have to make. This will take years, and require some purposeful planning.

If the vast majority of Southern Baptists agree with the definition of glossolalia that the IMB has adopted (for internal application only), then the tiny minority who advocates glossolalia have a monumental task. You will have to convince the vast majority. I doubt that rhetoric alone will succeed.

Three days later, on June 1, Lifeway Research released the results of its study on the use of private prayer language that demonstrates Corbaley’s estimates to be way off target. We see here the problems involved with a small group of people, such as the IMB Board of Trustees, making arbitrary assumptions on what they consider to be “clear Baptist identity.” What they, or some of them, consider to be “clear” may not in the end turn out to be so clear after all.

What concerns me most of all, as I have pointed out before here, is a concerted effort to define and codify “clear Baptist identity” in a way that goes beyond the Baptist Faith and Message, and pass it off as the “kosher” version of the composite expectations of Southern Baptists regarding beliefs and practices of those they support with their financial contributions. While it may well be true that there are a significant number of Southern Baptists who see the championing of Baptist distinctives and denominationalism as a cause worth defending, it is my contention that there are a significant number of Southern Baptists (whether a majority or minority I will leave it up to Lifeway Research to determine) who, though in general agreement with the Baptist Faith and Message, do not at the same time consider it the duty of Cooperative Program-funded employees to defend the Baptist Renaissance movement and publicly oppose the beliefs and practices of other evangelical Christians who happen to differ from us as Southern Baptists on secondary and tertiary issues.

I do not believe, for example, that the majority of Southern Baptists expect IMB-related personnel in East Asia to go against the following advice of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization:

Since most Christians in China today have discarded the former denominational structures and are now united on the local level, the reintroduction of denominations would only be divisive and a hindrance to evangelization. Nothing should be done to disturb the peace of our brethren.

(See also Statement of Faith of Chinese House Churches)

Neither do I believe the majority of Southern Baptists expect me as a missionary to “publicly oppose” the beliefs and practices of other Great Commission Christians around the world who don’t happen to dot every ‘i’ and cross every ‘t’ just like we do as Southern Baptists.

Actually, I believe most Southern Baptists are in agreement with the Baptist Faith & Message when it says:

Members of New Testament churches should cooperate with one another in carrying forward the missionary, educational, and benevolent ministries for the extension of Christ's Kingdom. Christian unity in the New Testament sense is spiritual harmony and voluntary cooperation for common ends by various groups of Christ's people. Cooperation is desirable between the various Christian denominations, when the end to be attained is itself justified, and when such cooperation involves no violation of conscience or compromise of loyalty to Christ and His Word as revealed in the New Testament.

I personally think it is important for me to be in line with the expectations of Southern Baptists who send me out and pay my salary as a missionary. I, at the same time, however, believe that most Southern Baptists, while not relegating crucial evangelical doctrine to an irrelevant status, are more interested in the fulfilment of the Great Commission than they are the advance and eventual hegemony of the Baptist Renaissance. If I can be shown I am wrong about this, I will, in good conscience, need to find another missionary agency with which to serve.

70 comments:

Debbie said...

David: I know you know this, but I stress how hard I am praying that you do not have to do this. Men such as yourselves are sorely needed and the SBC and IMB will definitely be the loser in this possible win/lose situation.

R. L. Vaughn said...

I applaud your integrity in placing your "doctrinal compatibility...up for scrutiny of those who pay [your] salary." Whatever system one chooses to work in, he should be open within it.

You mentioned that your and Wade's communion position is "modified open communion". This has probably been discussed on other blogs, but would you mind defining it for me? To me, open communion is "open" to all Christians, but not open to unbelievers. In what sense do you all modify this? Thanks.

Les Puryear said...

David,

How are you supposed to plant churches with a "clear Baptist identity" if you don't know what that means? Whose "clear Baptist identity" does Dr. Corbaley mean? The clear baptist identity of Landmarkism? Arminianism? Calvinism? Open communionists? Closed communionists? Deacon-led? Elder-led? The list could go on and on.

Like you, I'm having a hard time understanding why an IMB trustee is unwilling to define the meaning of that phrase and any other term you wish defined within the context of his remarks.

Les

David Rogers said...

R.L.,

Thanks for your question.

In general, I believe Nathan Finn has done a good job on the post I link to above defining "modified open communion" as: "the belief that any professing Christian who has undergone some type of ceremony called “baptism” (regardless of mode) may participate in communion."

On the comment string on Nathan's post, I made the following comment which helps to further describe my personal position:

"I think the term “modified” open communion best describes my belief, but not the description you give of it.

Upon presiding the Lord’s Supper, I would normally:

1. Explain that, as a Baptist church, we believe that biblical baptism is for believers and by immersion.

2. Explain that, at the same time, we understand there are other Christian groups who study the Bible seriously and come to other conclusions.

3. Explain that, we also believe the Lord’s Supper is a time for believers to examine themselves, to see if they have any unconfessed sin in their lives; and if so, to make it right with God, or with the one they have wronged, before participating.

4. Invite everyone who is truly a born again believer, and who, after examining themselves to see if they have any unconfessed sin in their life (including the sin of disobedience regarding the Lord’s command to be baptized), determine they have confessed and repented of all known sin, and/ or are not currently under discipline from their local congregation banning them from participation, to participate in the Lord’s Supper."

In regards to Wade, he will have to speak more specifically for himself on this one. I am not sure whether or not his view is exactly the same as mine.

Steve Sensenig said...

David,

Reading this stuff hurts. I feel like I can see your heart in this, and I can't understand why someone would brush your questions aside.

Quite honestly, the responses of Mr. Corbaley to your honest questions is very troubling to me.

Now, I'm not a Baptist, and so therefore not a Southern Baptist, so my opinion doesn't mean anything to people like Mr. Corbaley.

But as your brother in Christ, I just want to let you know that I affirm your questions and the spirit with which you seem to be asking them. The questions are necessary.

And may I say, as a non-Baptist, and specifically as a charismatic, I find it personally offensive that Mr. Corbaley would insinuate that you should stand in opposition to me, should we ever be ministering in the same geographical area.

The New Testament has some pretty strong words for those who cause division in the body, and I find it impossible to see Mr. Corbaley's stance as anything but divisive.

My prayers are with you, brother. And should this reach a point where you have to withdraw from your agency's support, I have full confidence that our God will supply all of your needs.

May the Lord bless you for what you are doing to promote unity in the body of Christ. And may your tribe increase. I, for one, am very proud to be your brother in the Lord.

CHRIS HILLIARD said...

Dave,
You won't have to do this if we all speak up and let our voice be heard.

Jonathan said...

David,

I think my sentiments are similar to Steve Sensenig's here. I am also appauled at this arrogance behind the "clear Baptist identity" concept. Although I am not a Baptist, to me, such a concept of "Baptist identity" flies in the face of the Scriptures that clearly teach that as Christians, our identity is in Christ, and not in a denomination.

David Rogers said...

Debbie, Chris, et al.,

Lest anyone misunderstand, and claim I am being overly alarmist here, let me make cleaer I do not know of any move whatsoever by anyone to remove me from my missionary responsibilities. The things I say here are purely hypothetical, and merely pointing out the logical implications of some of the things being said by some.

David Rogers said...

Also, let me say in Dr. Corbaley's defense that he has been very gracious in his acknowledgement that his assumptions were wrong regarding the views of Southern Baptists on PPL, as evidenced by the Lifeway study. I also believe he sincerely wants to do what is right, and what leads to unity in the Body of Christ. He just has some different ideas than I do regarding the best means to work towards this end.

Paul said...

David, one has to wonder if Christ Himself (by the Holy Spirit) is blurring the distinctions between Bible-believers in these last days and reasserting His Lordship over all of His Church, reminding us that He commanded us to love each other.

The shame is that some (in all denominations) are seeing this is a hostile takeover.:)

BTW, I also believe the lines are being blurred among the apostates. In my eschatology (which I hold lightly), there seems to be one false 'church' and one true Church (not 1000 true churches)in the Book of Revelation, but maybe I'm misreading the Johannite canonical genre.:)

Kevin Peacock said...

The same Lord who stated the importance of every jot and tittle of God's law (Matt 5:17-19) also chided the religious leaders because they did not keep "the weightier provisions of the law" (Matt 23:23). In other words, even though all of God's word is important, some things in God's word are more important than others.

Is it being unbiblical in our belief or unbaptistic in our practice to believe that in certain weighty matters we must be in agreement to cooperate, but in other less weighty issues total agreement is not necessary? Is it possible that even within the BFM2000 certain matters might be "weightier" than others?

Paul said...

Oops, so sorry, David. I meant corpus, not genre.

That's what I get for doing the blog thing before rushing out the door while on "vacation."

Now, I need to get back to defining our own ever-blurring denominational identity, with its nearly ubiquitous neo-baptist and neo-reformed practices. Some are purpose-driven; others are just paying/following the pious Piper.

Tim Patterson said...

David,

What is sad to me is how our leaders can be so out of touch with reality... sticking their heads in the sand of their cultural doctrine. Younger generation Baptists across the U.S. and the world are leaving the SBC religious elite in the dust and going on to be part of God's mission to expand His kingdom (not our denomination). While this is happening these leaders "strain out a gnat and swallow a camel". We (like Jesus) should be more concerned about preaching the kingdom instead of protecting our denomination..."seek ye first the kingdom of God..." (no mention of denomination here).

I am not opposed to identifying with a denomination, if it is for the purpose of cooperating to expand God's kingdom (mission). When it becomes a religious sect more concerned with protecting a set of rules... that is when it loses it's purpose for existing.

R. L. Vaughn said...

David, thanks for defining "modified open communion" and explaining how you practice it. That is an unusual view that I have not run across until now.

Strider said...

I don't really have anything to add to what others have said well except that I am with you brother. We work under the command of the King to labor on behalf of His Kingdom. To do less is idolatry. People in darkness are seeing much light thanks to Southern Baptists and I do not believe that SB's want that to stop. I will not make baptist identity an issue here in Middle Earth where I am working. I will teach the truth that Baptists have taught me. End of story.

Alan Cross said...

David,

I agree with you 100% on this as I was involved in much of your discussion with Dr. Corbaley. I also applaud him for his acknowledgment of being wrong on the 95% issue, although in his latest post, it seems as though he is trying to co-opt the PPL survey and say that it say the same thing that the IMB BoT said in their guidelines. Or, am I misreading him there?

I also struggle with the close(d) communion concept as I cannot find that in Scripture. We practice closed communion with children of church members, but we allow visitors and non-members from other groups who have expressed faith in Christ to participate. I am currently thinking through this, however, as I want to line up with what Scripture says. But, if the BF&M2000 teaches this and I am in disagreement, then I am fine with being denied missionary service or other positions. Baptists have spoken through their confession of faith. No problem there. Because churches are autonomous, we are given some leeway, although I am not convinced that my view is out of step with the Baptist majority. Almost every church that I know of practices communion the way that we do. But, still, I would submit.

But, on that, I am open to learning more and need to study the issue more. Only recently have I realized that I seem to have a difference here.

Debbie said...

David: I realize this and was speaking in terms of if you felt you had to leave. Hope that clarifies.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Corbaley said...

Dear Brother David,

The blogosphere has brought about many changes. One of those changes is the opportunity for missionaries and trustees to publicly interact. This public interaction is so rapid, that the phenomenon is somewhat outside of current IMB precedent. For the most part, I think this interaction is good. It shows much promise.

Nevertheless, we are both voluntarily responsible to the IMB also. This relationship to the IMB has tempered all of my responses to you within the blogosphere.

We are both aware that you are, currently, the most out-spoken critic of the Board of Trustees from within the ranks of those employed with the IMB.

You still speak highly of the IMB administration. You have stated that you have not been contacted through this administration regarding the nature of your blogging comments, yet you are aware of that possibility. I think your perception is valid.

Might I suggest, as a Christian brother, that you pro-actively contact your Regional Leader and discuss the issue with him? I am sure he would appreciate such consideration and respect on your part.

For my part, while I am a trustee on the IMB, I have not offered my opinion regarding your criticisms to any other trustee, nor to any member of the IMB administration. I have no plans, nor preference to do so.

However, I would like to ask you plainly; “Is this something you want me to do?”

Within the blogosphere all statements can be challenged very directly. That is the nature of the venue. I accept that.

Yet I am compelled by conscience, because of our particular relationship within the IMB, to hold back in challenging the methods and content of some of your assertions. That is fine as of today.

As for the future, I find such a choice intolerable.

Please immediately contact your Regional Leader and discuss your need to criticize the IMBoT publicly. That is my strong preference. I think he would concur.

Or, please ask me directly to contact the trustees and ask the proper subcommittee to consider your criticism of the Board of Trustees. I will not choose to “rat you out”. Nor do I particularly look forward to the public accusations that will come my way should you outright ask me to contact the trustees. If you want it to happen this way, and have me involved in it, you will have to ask me directly.

I will not insult your sincerity and integrity by asking you to stop criticizing the Board of Trustees. That is your choice.

If you wish to continue “engaging me” in the blogosphere, you must agree to endure the consequences of our very public interaction. It can be no other way in this venue. This is not a declaration that I am going to seek you out. Rather it is an appeal for you to be accountable to the administration you have expressed confidence in. This is also a very polite statement, that your statements and choices, can be directly challenged also. I pledge to do so lovingly, as considerately as I can, and humbly enough that I can spot and confess my own sin. I am confident that you would do the same.

I will not abandon the field of the public exchange of ideas. And since you regularly seek me out, I will not continue at a disadvantage.

I regret the need to even post this comment.

We remain brothers in Christ.

Jerry Corbaley said...

I just read Baptist Press.

Congratulations on your impending nomination as 1st Vice President of the SBC.

I did not realize you were a part of the political machine.

Obviously, I have been useful to you.

As the Lord wills.

My comment to you remains.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Hear this from all the objectivity I can manage in the midst of some very real pain.

I could not believe this post was aimed at me personally. I couldn't.

I had no idea how coldly impersonal your calculation was.

Your integrity, Sir, is suspect.

Rick said...

Mr. Rogers,

I don't think the IMB trustee was advocating that we as IMB missionaries need to seek out pentecostals and challenge their practice of speaking in tongues.

I understood what he said to mean that there is always the possibility that pentecostal practices such as tongues, or slaying in the spirit will creep into churches, outreach groups or Bible studies that IMB missionaries are starting. If this is the case then I think we do have the responsibility as IMB missionaries to counter these practices with biblical truth in our churches.

If there has ever been any practice that has divided more churches in the evangelical world it is the practice of speaking in tongues and if this is practiced in Baptist churches that we start, it will divide them as well.

God bless,

Rick Martinez

www.byhisgrace.cc/martinez

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

Although I can see how you may take the things I say in this post as an attack against you personally, let me assure you that was not my intention. I did see the comments I quoted directly from Robin's blog as an opportunity to illustrate a point about something on which I believe deeply.

I am sorry this has caused you pain. I wish there were something I could do to help alleviate that. I cannot change the views I express here without violating my conscience. However, if you would prefer I do so, I am willing to remove this post in honor of your desire. Just let me know, and I will proceed accordingly.

As far as the rest of the things I have written on this blog, I have written them in good conscience, in the sight of all, and before God.

However, James reminds us: "We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check."

Certainly, among all the words I have posted here, there are some I could have said with more love, or more in line with biblical truth.

If anyone at the IMB wants to call me to account for any of these things, I will be willing to listen to what they have to say, and rectify and repent, if I can be shown that to be necessary. If the expression of my opinions on these issues that I do not feel I should change causes me to expose myself to consequences related to my employment, I will have to cross that bridge, with the grace God affords me, at whatever time that may happen to come.

Jerry Corbaley said...

The issue, Sir, is not my pain. Pain passes away.

The removal of this post or this string of comments would be taken by me as a lack of integrity on your part.

The issue is: That you have challenged the integrity of the International Mission Board repeatedly over the last several days knowing that it would increase your stature among those who are inflammed at the International Mission Board, and increase the chances of your election.

You did so while you were an employee of that Board, and you didn't even bother to check with the administration of the IMB regarding such an ethical conflict of interest.

I was just a means to an end. And frankly, I don't matter.

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Congratulations David on your nomination. I am surprised by Dr. Corbalay's statements and strong response. Especially considering the fact that his exchange with you was quite sincere on both sides and public. I'm very surprised that he thought you are part of a political machine and from what I understood him to say using him. I must say I am reading with my eyes widening with each word.

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

I promise you that when I posted this post I had no idea whatsoever I would be contacted the next day, and asked if I would be willing to let myself be nominated.

Jerry Corbaley said...

David,

The date of this post is June 4th.

In the United States today is June 5th.

Are you actually saying you were contacted to be a nominee today?

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

You caught my mistake. I posted this on Monday morning (Spain time), June 4, and was contacted about the nomination on Monday evening (Spain time), June 4.

Jerry Corbaley said...

So now you were contacted the same day?

Wow.

Jerry Corbaley said...

I use the word "promise" differently.

bryan riley said...

It's after midnight and I haven't read all the post, let alone the comments, but what I read disturbed me. Perhaps I should exercise wisdom and just go to sleep and wait till I read the entirety of this, but when I read all the comment about clear baptist identity all i could think is that if the IMB is about converting the world to a clear baptist identity, i don't think it is worth supporting.

On a positive note, I was excited to read about your nomination today. Thank you for focusing on Jesus and representing Him well.

Strider said...

David, Do you think this means that Jerry wont be voting for you?

Jerry, Asking you a direct question is not questioning the boards integrity. Accusing David of using you is questioning his integrity.

Bart Barber said...

If I read Jerry correctly, here's what he's saying:

Jerry has been abiding by some sort of honor code he perceives to be binding upon him as an IMB trustee that prevents him from fully engaging in vigorous online debate with David.

David, it seems to Jerry, is not abiding by the same honor code, but is directly critiquing Jerry's online statements without reservation.

Jerry wants David to consult with the IMB administration through his RL, or for Jerry to consult with the other trustees toward this end: Either that David is encouraged to end the online engagement or Jerry is freed to participate in it with parity.

That, if I read correctly, is the original point that Jerry is making. Am I right, Jerry? If so, do you have a preferred solution, David?

Jerry Corbaley said...

Bart,

You are correct, though it is considerably more serious than an honor code.

I am praying that David will proactively clear this up with his Regional Leader.

Regarding his nomination, my congratulations are genuine. I will not be attending San Antonio, and so will not be voting. I have no recommendation for any office.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Strider,

You are correct, I am directly challenging his integrity.

Read what I have said again, above.

I hope he deals with this issue while it is still semi-private in the comment stream of his own blog.

As to whether or not David is treating me with integrity? If we were not both members of the IMB, I would not be rebuking him. I would have no problem with it. But there are other considerations that he has admitted may exist, and not yet dealt with.

By the way, Strider, I appreciated the way you never took serious credit when you helped Gondor (as Thorondor?) against the corsairs of Umbar when Denethor was either a child, or not even born yet.

Let me be serious again. Is Baptist Identity something you really don't care about? How do expect Baptists to support the planting of generic churches? Are there no distinctives that you hold as important? Has David's perspective influenced you? Is he right in his opinion of the IMBoT?

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

I am sorry. I truly do not understand. Are you saying that I am challenging the integrity of the IMB because I have expressed disagreement with the new guidelines on my blog, and given my reasons for this disagreement? Or is it something else beyond this?

Bryan Riley said...

There is only one identity to stand for, to live for, to exist for and that is Jesus the Christ. I simply do not understand why, other than the fact that we are in a spiritual war, anyone feels they must stand for something less than that.

How is standing so uprightly on a lesser identity any different than what Luther protested? How is it right, ever, to cause division over something that is not Jesus, and Jesus crucified? Have you ever done a word study in the bible on unity, relationship, divisions, dissensions? Are we preachign the gospel of the Kingdom or the gospel of the baptist church? If it is the baptist church, then I say you are in gross error.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Brother David,

Will you contact your Regional Leader regarding my concerns above?

Please?

I beg you.



Regarding my rising level of concerns in this comment string; perhaps you could have your son explain them to you.
You lead the SBC blogging world in using the phrase "I'm sorry, I don't understand".

Debbie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Debbie said...

Dr. Corbaley: To question David Rogers' integrity is incomprehensible and the last couple of posts almost intolerable for me to read especially after David's gracious responses.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Bryan and Debbie,

I am not ignoring you. Nor will I ignore other questions and responses.

First thing first.

Will David show his Regional Leader the respect and consideration that should be normal for Christians?

Strider said...

Jerry, I hesitate to address your question to me when you are clearly dealing with something between you and David that I don't understand.

But since you credited Strider so much for his past humility I will take the bate:) By the way, this Strider is not a particularly humble or good person but if you have ever been over to my blog you will see that I just tell the story of what God is doing and leave politics etc to others. I think David does a good job of expressing many of my own and other's concerns.

As to your question: I already answered it. You asked if I did not value my Baptist distinctives and Brother, I already said that I teach what Baptists have taught me. Period. Honestly Jerry, I feel that I have been slapped in the face by the controversy over the last year. These policies, Kieth Eitel's white paper calling us Theological novices, and even the board's latest revisions to the policies shout out to me that the Board does not trust us, that you have no confidence in us. Have I taught anything unbaptist? Have I let you down? Who has? We are working hard out here in difficult places and seeing God move in miraculous ways and what I get from you when I read any of your comments is that we are some kind of renegade pentacostals who can't wait to thumb our noses at the SBC. I know that is not your intent- I keep telling myself that- but it is what keeps coming across. This very post was an honest question from David trying to get you or anyone else out there to tell us hey guys! Go share the good news of Christ, we are all behind you! But I ain't heard this yet.

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

First off, thanks for the wonderful phone conversation we were just able to have. It is good to know that we can forgive each other, and continue on loving each other as brothers in Christ.

Also, I just wanted to acknowledge publicly here that I have talked to my Regional Leader about the concerns you mention.

Blessings in Christ,

David

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Corbaley,

I would request, respectfully and courteously, that you be very, very careful what you write.

I would hate for you to cross the line, and it seems to me you may (and I emphasize the word 'may') be very close. I am choosing to believe you are not threatening someone's job with the IMB, but you can rest assured if I find out different, you will hear from me.

Jerry Corbaley said...

David, and All,

David and I have talked together at some length. The conversation was good for both of us. All of my concerns above are laid to rest. David is the man of integrity that I have known, and look forward to knowing better in the future. It is my hope that David continue to interactively blog with Southern Baptists and especially so if he is elected as 1st Vice President of the convention.

I am a trustee of the IMB. When the integrity of the IMBoT is frequently called into question, my name is often associated with such an assertion. I accept that. As the only IMB trustee who is blogging from the perspective of trusting the IMBoT; I often encounter accusations that I attempt to deal with in a faithful and open manner. David has done the same, and I trust him even more for it.

As an IMB trustee who blogs, I am very concerned that I not cross any ethical lines that would result in bringing censure toward me from either the IMBoT, or the IMB Richmond Staff. That is a major part of my motive regarding an open discussion between David and his Regional Leader. Not only did I not ask David what his Regional Leader said; but I told him quickly that I did not need to know. Ask David.

The Board of Trustees are one of my accountability groups. I respect their decisions. I proactively have sought their opinions, and the opinions of Richmond Staff, regarding the nature of my blogging on a regular basis. I have never been rebuked once. If anything, some of them are annoyed with me for the sheer number of times that I have submitted myself to their judgment. To me, this seems like basic Christian cooperation.

I am unaware of whether or not Mr. Burleson will remain under IMB censure during the third consecutive year of his tenure. I would encourage him to be pro-active in restoring his relationship with the Board of Trustees and Richmond Staff. His current threat(while courteous), that I not threaten brother David, is totally unnecessary. Ask David.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Bryan,

There is no doubt that being a Christian over-powers all human priorities. Should the SBC cease to exist, Jesus would go right on building his church, and you and I would find opportunities to serve him.

The recent release of the Lifeway poll has so surprized me, that I am rethinking my concepts of "clear Baptist identity". Perhaps the phrase can no longer be used for the SBC.

And the consequences of having no clear Baptist identity are many. Can I have some time?

Wade Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Corbaley said...

Sister Debbie,

I deeply regret the difficulties you are enduring. I am most impressed with "how" you are reacting.

I hope my previous comment sheds the light you wanted on your questions.

There are other ethical considerations than those between a trustee of the IMB (me) and a missionary/employee (David).

If I am correct, you are a member of Pastor Burleson's congregation. As such, I am most unwilling to come between a shepherd and his flock. It is not my business.

This means that I choose not to address any questions you may have regarding Pastor Burleson and myself.

If, in the past, I have spoken directly to any member of Pastor Burleson's congregation in a way that is inappropriate, then I apologize. I will not knowingly do so.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Corbaley,

Thank you for clarifying you that you were not making threats to David. I chose to assume you were not, but your words were open for misinterpretation.

By the way, it seems that you are also confused. Not only am I not under censure of the IMB board, I am a fully participating board participating in every general session, forum and meeting of the full board, and have been from day one.

You may just have your facts wrong, similar to 95% figure you gave about the number of SBC churches and pastors who allegedly believed your particular interpretation of the gifts.

:)

Blessings, and again, thanks for the clarification.

Wade

Jerry Corbaley said...

Brother Strider,

Southern Baptist missionaries are doing a magnificent job! You have forsaken the temptations toward wealth, power and pleasure in the United States to risk your lives for the sake of the name of Jesus Christ.

I have posted before, and am happy to do so again; that our missionaries have a lower doctrinal failure rate than the pastoral staffs of any of our state or regional conventions. Our missionaries have a lower rate of moral failure than the pastoral staffs of any of our state and regional conventions. This is direct evidence of the faithfulness of our missionaries.

While I regret organizational-wide controversy, it is inherently Biblical. The Old and New Testaments are compilations of controversy. This is what sin does to a world.

Nevertheless Jesus is building his church. Through Christians of many differing organizations, and no organization, the response of the multitudes toward Jesus Christ is several hundred times greater today than at Pentecost. This is all very real, and recognized by the IMBoT.

Though we are accused of being political pawns or plants, the IMBoT is composed of proven Christian leaders from all over the United States. I guarantee you that they are dominated by no one.

Our mission is to provide our missionaries with the best training, encouragement, and material and spiritual support that we possibly can. We do that at personal sacrifice. The trustees are all volunteers, many (most?) of which are not, yet, retired.

We also have to attempt to understand, build trust with, and cooperation amongst, an increasingly diversified, radically independent convention composed of believers who live in one of the most decadent civilizations to ever pollute the planet.

The grace of Jesus Christ astounds me.

I believe these things with all my heart.

Perhaps the reason I appear to be insinuating that the IMBoT is just interested in stateside controversy is because I throw myself in front of accusations against the IMB. The context of such blogging conversations is most often negative in the blogosphere.

I don't get asked much what is going right. Thanks.

Jerry Corbaley said...

If I'm wrong, and you are not under censure; then I have publicly disparaged you. Since I further attest to the honesty of my statement regarding your censure; you now have my encouragement to accuse me of lying about you to the IMBoT and Richmond Senior Staff.

This will enable you to either pursue the Lord's direction in Matthew 18:15, or take my statement directly to the IMB Executive Committee, or directly to the Forum, or even the Plenary Session. You have my cooperation in any one of those venues.

If my statement was in any way untrue, I would certainly be rebuked.

I suppose you could also declare your forgiveness toward me and then refuse to take any other action. While forgiveness is proper, the refusal to do anything about continuing sin is a dodge.

Change of subject.

From a purely political point of view. How much public attention do you want to bring to this comment stream, since David is your preferred candidate? There are a lot of things written in this stream.

Out of respect for David, I did not post my first comment as an article on my own blog.

Out of respect for David, is this a good comment stream for you to attempt to "engage" me?

How long do you think a public confrontation between you and I would remain semi-private?

Do you think any folks from the press are reading it right now?

Wade Burleson said...

Jerry,

I've learned a long time ago to forgive people freely!

Also, I would be thrilled for people to read this post and comment string.

I think it shows the heart of David Rogers. He is a man of principle and conviction, gracious under fire, and the kind of leader we need.

Blessings,

Wade

Strider said...

Jerry, Thank you very much for your postiive answer.

Wade, thank you for always standing up for David, myself, and any whom you feel are under attack.

Jerry and Wade, I realize (especially with the LifeWay poll that clarly demonstrates how polarized we are) that your voluntary jobs at the IMB BoT are very difficult. Representing our work to a great convention of Baptists could not be easy. I think that the controversy over the past year has been self-inflicted and that these issues should never have been raised by the board- but fortunately for you I am not your judge and I am sure that I could not do better.

So, here is a challenge for both of you. For everything you write that is controversial and will reflect badly on us and our work please write something positive that is happening on the field as well. It should be easy to do but will you both do it?

Steve Sensenig said...

I must speak honestly and say that this comment thread has reflected quite negatively on the SBC and IMB.

I have said before that I am not a Baptist, and even more specifically not a Southern Baptist. The SBC is nothing foreign to me, however, as I have some very dear friends in the SBC (I count David Rogers as one of those, even though our friendship has not yet had the pleasure of including face-to-face fellowship). And I have been involved in various levels of ministry within SBC churches in the past.

When the IMB first brought forth their guidelines regarding PPL and "tongues", I was a bit saddened. As one who believes in, embraces, and practices PPL, it is always saddening to recognize that a portion of the body of Christ is willing to say, "That's fine, just as long as you don't expect to ever work with us."

I am glad that David and Jerry have had a chance to talk offline and overcome some of the hurdles of this particular conversation, but the comments that have been made toward David were still extremely uncalled for, and shocking for me to read.

And in following the link on Jerry's name to his profile, I read comments on his blog in which he continued to question David's motives and brush aside David's concerns and obligations.

Most surprising was when I came across a statement that Jerry made on his own blog back in November:

I have decided not to trust the opinions of those who are rude, mean, proud and prone to cast doubt toward the motives of others. (emphasis mine)

Contrast this to the statement above in this comment stream, wherein he said of David:

Your integrity, Sir, is suspect.

and then, again:

The issue is: That you have challenged the integrity of the International Mission Board repeatedly over the last several days knowing that it would increase your stature among those who are inflammed at the International Mission Board, and increase the chances of your election. (emphasis mine)

I fail to see how that is anything but "cast[ing] doubt toward the motives" of David.

And now, we see the same type of insinuations cast toward Wade Burleson.

Perhaps the fact that I'm not a Baptist means that you think I should stay out of this. However, as a member of the body of Christ, I think my opinion is valid in this.

And I think that you should at least know what this looks like to folks outside the SBC.

Frankly, it makes me glad I'm not in the SBC. And that's a very sad thing to have to say.

Wade Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jerry Corbaley said...

Hello Steve,

I regret that this comment string has reflected poorly on the SBC.

I trust your judgment on that. When controversial issues are discussed, sometimes names become involved, then there is also the temptation to take the discussion personally. I was tempted that way. I took my concern directly to David Rogers. My concern with David Roger's integrity was unfounded.

David and I did not overcome "some" of the hurdles, but "all" of the hurdles. I now trust him more than I ever have. We will still disagree on some issues. I accept that and he accepts that.

The blogosphere is subject to very direct questions. The issues between many of us are quite complex and far reaching. This is not an excuse, it is an observation. Like all of us, I will continue to try and be loving, and hopefully, continue to improve.

For me, the issues in this comment string regarding David are resolved. If he wishes to delete the string of comments, or only my comments, then that is fine by me. However, I am willing to answer for what I have said to the IMB, and so I will not remove what the IMB (or David's Regional Leader) will need should they decide to evaluate what I have done.

Should you wish to email me, please do so. We could talk on the phone if you wish. I do care what you think. corbaley@sbcglobal.net

Jerry Corbaley said...

Strider,

I will very seriously consider what you recommend. The more I think about it the more I like it.

Thanks.

Jerry Corbaley said...

David,

Again, I appreciate your candid and cooperative response to my concerns; both on your blog, and in our conversation. I do hope you continue to express yourself as the Lord leads. Obviously, we still disagree on some issues, but your integrity is not one of them.

Would you consider Strider's suggestion to me about attempting to post something "positive" once in awhile? Would you consider posting an occasional personal, positive, appreciation for the IMBoT? You speak well of the SBC, IMB administration, and fellow missionaries, and I agree with you completely.

I cannot remember you ever, anywhere, speaking of the IMBoT in a positive sense. But that might be my polarized perception. Just a thought.

One last question, if you don't mind. When were you asked to pray about being the nominee for 1st Vice President of the SBC?

bryan riley said...

Jerry, thank you for your honest answer to me. I wasn't demanding or expecting an answer. I simply think they are legitimate questions for people to ask of themselves, but I appreciate you taking time to do so here, even (and especially) when you are saying in part that you don't know the answers. That is honesty.

I must say I agree with Wade that I think it would be wonderful for people to read David's blog, including this comment stream.

Bryan Riley said...

I just posted on this conversation and I trust it is helpful to the conversation and to the relationship God desires for us all to have in Him.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Brother David,

When did you first hear from another that you might be the nominee for 1st. Vice President of the SBC?

Or that your name was being considered? Or were asked to pray about it?

When did the general idea of you serving as 1st Vice President occur?

I am sorry to be so direct, but politics is very distasteful to me, and I have grown to be wary of answers that skirt the intent of the question.

Please forgive me, but you changed your previous answer to me in this comment stream, even when it was in the context of your "promise". It is difficult for me to understand how such an important event could be so fuzzy in someone's memory so soon after it occurred.

I would really appreciate a direct answer to this.

Thanks brother

David Rogers said...

Jerry,

I cannot remember the exact hour I first posted this post. On the actual blog, now, at least according to what I see on my screen, the posting hour reads 5:52 pm. It is possible that I first pushed the button to upload this post at that time. It is also possible that I did it earlier, and then later made a few edits, adding in a hyper-link or two, and updated the post at 5:52 pm. I don't remember for sure.

What I do remember is the call in which I was asked to pray about the nomination came at approximately 7:00 pm. I cannot tell you the exact hour and minute. But it was right around that time. Before then, I did not have any idea that anyone was considering the possibility of nominating me.

Les Puryear said...

David,

Congrats on your nomination.

I must say that if the comments made to you by Dr. Corbaley are typical examples of an exchange between the IMB BoT and missionaries, I'm glad I'm not a missionary. It seems clear to me now why our outreach efforts have been less than stellar lately.

Regards,

Les

Jerry Corbaley said...

Thank you David.

I know you are very busy.

I deeply appreciate the sacrifice of your time to set my heart at peace.

Jerry Corbaley said...

Brother Les,

The typical relationship between missionaries and trustees is healthy. As trustees, we trust the testimony of the missionaries in the field and are very pleased with the results. Part of a healthy relationship is the recognition that relationships can always be improved. Both the trustees and the missionaries are in agreement on this. Both the trustees and the missionaries are open to suggestions.

Out outreach efforts are far from meager. God is pouring out his Spirit in a way that is without precedent in the history of the world. This credit for this outpouring does not go to Southern Baptists, but we recognize it and cooperate with it. God is using the faithfulness of the IMB.

You are correct, however, that the relationship between brother David and I is not typical. We are both frequent contributors in the blogosphere, as are you. David asks very direct questions. I accept that. I will attempt to protect his right to do so.

Yesterday I was prevented by conscience from asking the kind of direct questions that David was asking regarding my statements about the IMB. Today, the field is level. I was unwilling to be as direct toward David as he was toward me, until his Regional Leader was aware of what is happening.

Is that too idealistic on my part?

Les Puryear said...

Dr. Corbaley,

I don't know if "idealistic" is the right word. The word I had in mind was "controlling."

Les

Wade Burleson said...

Les,

You comedian you.

:)

Hershael W York said...

David: You probably don't even know who I am, but like so many others I am tremendously indebted to your dad who mentored me and encouraged me so much. I have just posted a lengthy article about why I affirm the IMB position on speaking in tongues in private (I don't use the PPL nomenclature). I welcome lively but loving discussion and debate. I have strong convictions on this, as you will see. BTW, I am going on the IMB as a trustee and you can count on my prayerful support and encouragement. I hope to see you on the mission field one day.

David Rogers said...

Hershael,

Welcome to Love Each Stone. I have been somewhat aware of you due to other references I have seen in the blogosphere and Baptist Press. I am happy to hear of my Dad's impact in your life and ministry. I miss him very much, and am pleased to hear, as I do often, of how others have been blessed by him.

I read your article. I congratulate you on doing a good job of articulating clearly your position. It is one of the better articles arguing against the use of "PPL" that I have read. Although I don't have the same academic credentials as you, I have also studied and written quite extensively on this same subject. I imagine we would both be in agreement that it is ironic that the whole subject of "tongues," which Paul says is the least important of all the gifts, would lead to so much discussion. I wish that didn't have to be the case. I think there are far more important things to spend our time on. However, when such things as the sending of missionary workers, and fellowship with other believers, are affected by the positions we take, the discussion all of the sudden finds a way of becoming much more relevant.

In light of your invitation to "lively but loving discussion and debate," perhaps when I find the time to do so, I will write some response to your article. In the meantime, I would be honored if you would interact more directly with some of the things I have written here at Love Each Stone, both on the subject of "PPL" as well as other matters.

I do look forward to meeting you on the mission field, and thank you for your support and encouragement.