Conflicting reports on IMB vote tally raise questions about board's intent

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by gb93433, Dec 12, 2005.

  1. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Conflicting reports on IMB vote tally raise questions about board's intent

    By Robert Marus

    Published: December 9, 2005

    RICHMOND, Va. (ABP) -- Conflicting reports about the vote totals for a new International Mission Board policy on speaking in tongues are focusing public attention on what may be a deeper disagreement about the agency's leadership.

    Associated Baptist Press reported, in a Nov. 30 story, that trustees of the agency had voted 25-18 to establish a new policy banning the appointment of new missionaries who had practiced a "private prayer language."

    The controversial prayer practice, related to glossolalia, or speaking in tongues, had previously been practiced by the IMB's own president, Jerry Rankin.

    Wade Burleson, an IMB trustee from Oklahoma who opposed the policy change, said the tongues policy puts the missionary-sending agency "in the absurd position of having the president of our International Mission Board not qualified to serve as a field missionary. This does not make sense."

    Burleson issued an "open letter to the SBC" opposing the tongues policy, as well as a new set of guidelines for missionary candidates regarding what qualifies as an acceptable baptism. Conservative Baptist bloggers went further, suggesting the trustees' vote was a "nefarious" attempt to embarrass and get rid of Rankin.

    The Southern Baptist Convention agency already excludes people who speak in tongues in public worship from serving as missionaries. But IMB trustees voted Nov. 15 to amend its list of missionary qualifications to exclude those who use a "prayer language" in private.

    The vote count reported by ABP originally came from a Nov. 30 posting on the IMB's own website. As of Dec. 9, that story had been altered to remove the vote tally.

    The vote was taken on a show of hands, rather than a ballot or roll call. However, a report of the vote that appeared in the Southern Baptist Texan used a tally of 50-15. The newspaper is the organ of the conservative Southern Baptists of Texas Convention.

    Louis Moore, an IMB trustee and former employee from Garland, Texas, contacted the Baptist Standard Dec. 7 to say the 28-15 vote total, as reported by ABP and the Standard, was inaccurate. Moore said the total was actually 50-15 in favor of the new policy.

    "After the vote was taken, my wife and I were with Tom Hatley, IMB trustee board chairman, so I asked him what the actual vote had been," Moore wrote in an e-mail. "Tom said the vote was 50-15. He should know since he assigned counters and then tallied the vote himself. More than anyone else in the room, Tom was the most authoritative."

    Hatley, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark., was returning from an overseas trip and unavailable for comment Dec. 9.

    The IMB employee who wrote the initial story on the meeting disputed the 50-15 total. IMB spokesman Michael Chute, who was seated in the back of the room, said the 25-18 figure was reported by another trustee counter and, from Chute's observations, was much closer to the actual vote total.

    Chute and another IMB spokesperson said they determined there was "no official count" of the vote, and that is why the original posting on IMB's website was redacted.

    However, the operators of several Baptist weblogs have seized on the discrepancy to illuminate what they say are deeper controversies at the IMB.

    Marty Duren, a pastor from Georgia and proprietor of the SBC Outpost blog (sbcoutpost.blogspot.com), reported on the vote question in a Dec. 3 posting. Duren, pastor of New Bethany Baptist Church in Buford, Ga., said he believed the tongues vote was the result more of a vendetta against Rankin on the part of the Texas trustees than any doctrinal concern.

    "It seems that this had less to do with missionary guidelines and more to do with insulting Jerry Rankin," Duren wrote. "If you truly believe that this is an unbiblical practice, you should have fired him outright rather than this nefarious, insolent move. It is a shame that a vocal minority of trustees, representing an even smaller section of the country, who have a personal dislike for Dr. Rankin would stoop to such a level of using an obviously confusing charismatic practice to further their disdain for the president of the board."

    Duren said he had interviewed several trustees who agreed with that assessment. He quoted one. "Trustee Johnny Nantz of Las Vegas was willing to go on record, saying, 'The issue is not doctrinal, the issue is the removal of Jerry Rankin. This is being used to end his tenure,'" Duren wrote in a Dec. 5 post.

    However, Chute, the IMB writer who disputed the vote count, said he didn't perceive any animosity toward Rankin in the tongues vote. "I don't think there's any truth to that," he said. "That wasn't discussed" during debate of the policy, he said.

    http://www.abpnews.com/www/721.article
     
  2. gb93433

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    Rather interesting article isn't it? Sounds like the "conservatives" are not so east to move when there is a difference in their intellectual and practical theology.
     
  3. Dr. Bob

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    I am glad ANY time the conservative, bible-believing bunch is in the majority.

    And who would have a LEADER who spoke in tongues in ANY BAPTIST group?

    Absurd.
     
  4. R. Charles Blair

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    Dr. Bob - Ever have any "groanings which could not be uttered? Paul and I have. Happy CHRIST-time - Charles - Ro. 8:28
     
  5. shannonL

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    If you let missionaries serve who practice a "private prayer lanquage" into the IMB the next thing you know you have those same missionaries speaking in tongues in public. It would be just a matter of time. Speaking in tongues has never been a part of baptist doctrine so why should things change now? BTW,R.Charles Blair who says those "groanings which could not be uttered" are even audible to those are experiencing these toils of the soul themselves?
    I don't know MR. Rankin other than the time I heard him preach at Southeastern. I say this though. If it is his "private prayer language" why didn't he keep it private? Also, how does "groanings" turn into something known as a private prayer language all its own in the first place? Regardless of what you think of Rankin or those whom some think are trying to put the screws to him the fact still remains as SB people do you want "baptist" missionaries or "covert" "sleeper cell" charismatic missionaries?
     
  6. Bible-boy

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    The key there is "could not be uttered." In other words the individual was silent (no uttering comes from his/her mouth). The individual did not/could not speak or make a sound for whatever reason. When that happens the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf before the Father. That verse says nothing about speaking in tongues or a "private prayer language."
     
  7. gb93433

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    How about Jerry Rankin, the leader of the IMB?
     
  8. nate

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    Ok this is absurd when did we become obsessed with such little details forgive me but someone believing in the ability to speak in tongue's is not going to send them to hell. So we're going to bar men that want to win people to Christ simply because they speak in tongue's. Now I'm SBC and I don't believe in speaking in tongues I don't think the SBC should teach this in their seminaries but to forbid missionaries. We have better things to do.IMO
     

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