More on language policy of IMB in private prayer

Christina Paulston paulston+ at
Tue May 8 15:15:59 UTC 2007

Who is the "I" of the IMB  lge policy letter?  Christina
On May 6, 2007, at 12:33 PM, Harold F. Schiffman wrote:

> The Kansas City IMB Meeting, May 7-9, 2007
> This Sunday I will drive to Kansas City for the May trustee meeting of  
> the
> International Mission Board. At this meeting, the report of the Ad Hoc
> Committees studying the new policy forbidding the appointment of
> missionaries with the private prayer language and the guideline that
> forbids the appointment of missionaries who have not been baptized in a
> Southern Baptist Church or one that teaches 'eternal security' will be
> considered. At the St. Louis trustee meeting on November 1, 2006, it  
> was
> stated in the plenary session by trustee leadership that trustees would
> receive the Ad Hoc committee report in advance of the meeting in which  
> we
> would consider it.
> I have not yet received the report via mail, and it was not available  
> on
> the trustee internet site, so after calling the International Mission
> Board staff last Wednesday and learning the offices were closed due to  
> a
> staff retreat until Friday. I called the IMB staff in Richomond again  
> on
> Friday and received a prompt call back from support staff saying the
> report would be made available to trustees in Kansas City. They were  
> very
> helpful and said if I had any further questions to contact Paul  
> Chitwood,
> Chairman of the Ad Hoc Committees. I decided not to contact Paul since  
> I
> had already visited earlier in the day with fellow trustee Rick  
> Thompson,
> Pastor of Council Road Baptist Church in Oklahoma City and he had two
> calls into Paul to ask the same question (where is the report?), and  
> up to
> that time Rick's calls not yet been returned.
> I do not know what the Ad Hoc committe report contains. I don't know if
> there are recommendations or not. I don't know if it is simply 'a  
> report'
> with no action, or a report with recommendations that require action. I
> don't know how long or short it is, and I don't know if the private  
> prayer
> policy and baptism guideline have been reworded, rescinded or left the
> same. I'm sure the Ad Hoc Committee has worked diligently putting this
> report together, and I trust that it will be well written, with  
> supporting
> evidentary, logical and Biblical reasons for whatever action they have
> taken. Whatever happens in Kansas City, we will leave with one of three
> things occurring: (1). The board will keep the new policy on private
> prayer language and baptism guideline as is, or (2). The board will  
> reword
> the private prayer language policy and/or baptism guideline, or (3).  
> The
> board will revert back to the practices of the mission board prior to
> November 15, 2005 in the evaluation and acceptance of missionary
> candidates regarding their baptism and use of a private prayer  
> language.
> Prior to November 2005, missionary candidates had to give to the board
> expression of their faith in Christ and that they had followed Him in
> believer's baptism, by immersion, trusting Christ alone for their
> salvation. If the candidate had a 'private prayer language,' they were
> instructed to simply keep it in their prayer closet and not practice it
> publicly or they would face staff discipline and/or correction.
> My question, as a trustee for the IMB, from the day I heard of the  
> effort
> to implement the new requirements for missionary candidates has been  
> 'why
> do we need the tighter restrictions?'
> There are some who say the policy and guideline are needed, 'because of
> problems on the field.' Well, by George, if there are problems, let's
> change the policies and guidelines, but show us the problems, don't  
> just
> tell us there are and act as if staff has not appropriately dealt with  
> it.
> Others say, "it's a doctrinal issue," well, by George if you are going  
> to
> impose a new doctrinal standard upon the largest SBC cooperative  
> ministry,
> you better be sure that there is clear cut agreement on the issue. As  
> has
> been pointed out numerous times, the issue is not the PUBLIC speaking  
> of
> tongues, for that has always been prohibited by policy; the new issue  
> is
> barring a person from having 'a private prayer language' in his closet.
> There are a handful of people in the SBC who hold to viewpoints on both
> ends of the extremes regarding the gifts, and neither group should hold
> sway. The vast majority of Southern Baptists are hesitant about tongues
> being spoken publicly (and rightly so, for Scripture restricts the
> practice as well), but I think you may be surprised that most Southern
> Baptists don't care what someone does in their prayer closet.
> I am hopeful that a full and free discussion of this report will take
> place in a public plenary session and not behind closed doors. Closed  
> door
> forums are for the protecion of missionaries and appropriate for  
> security,
> but Southern Baptists have every right to know the reasoning behind  
> major
> policy shifts at agencies that occur on 'doctrinal grounds.'  
> Specifically,
> if our agencies determine a shift to an adoption of a total  
> cessationist
> viewpoint is needed at the IMB, then the explanation for the demand for
> cessationist conformity before cooperating in missions needs to be  
> heard
> and understood by the average Southern Baptist who has no access to  
> closed
> door meetings. If there is a desire to accept only those baptisms done  
> in
> a Southern Baptist Church or a church that teaches 'eternal security,'
> then the average Southern Baptist needs to hear and understand the
> rationale behind baptism being identification with 'a church' rather  
> than
> Jesus Christ and faith in Him.
> It should be an interesting meeting. In the past year I have spoken
> publicly in our board meetings only one time. The meetings have been  
> run
> quite well, with proper decorum by all present, and the focus has been  
> on
> missions.
> -7-9-2007.html
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