News: deadline for missionaries to sign - Texas Baptists aiding missionaries........

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Sherrie, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    IMB's Rankin sets deadline
    for missionaries to sign

    By Tony Cartledge

    RICHMOND, Va. (ABP) -- Jerry Rankin, president of the Southern Baptist International Mission Board, is telling missionaries who have not affirmed the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message faith statement they must do so by May 5 or be terminated.

    This marks the first time IMB officials have used the word "terminate" to describe the consequences of failing to sign the affirmation.

    Rankin first requested all IMB missionaries to sign an affirmation of the faith statement more than a year ago, and the vast majority of the 5,500 overseas workers have. But 73 career missionaries have not affirmed the document, according to the IMB. Forty-two have resigned or plan to.

    In letters sent April 11 to the 31 others, Rankin urged most of the missionaries to affirm the statement or resign rather than face firing. In an excerpt from one letter released by the IMB, Rankin wrote: "I am grateful for your years of service and would be delighted if you should decide to affirm the current Baptist Faith and Message and continue your effective ministry with the IMB. Apart from that, I would like to ask that you consider resigning rather than maintaining a position that would undermine the integrity and credibility of the IMB. If I do not hear from you regarding one of these options by May 5, 2003, I will be recommending that the board take action to terminate your service in their May meeting."

    Six of the 31 missionaries were not offered the option of affirming the faith statement, which was revised in 2000 in include the more conservative positions of the current Southern Baptist leaders. Those six missionaries "have clearly and publicly stated positions contrary to the BF&M that are beyond acceptable parameters," Rankin said. "They have adamantly refused to be accountable to the IMB and Southern Baptist churches as requested."

    The six were invited to resign or be terminated.

    The board is not releasing the names of the 31 missionaries who received the ultimatum.

    In the past year, 32 missionaries resigned citing the new faith statement as a factor in their decisions. The resignations of another eight people are expected at the IMB trustee meeting in May. Another couple has decided to resign in August, bringing the total to 42. Other missionaries have resigned without citing the faith statement as the reason.

    Five "units" (or missionary couples) who qualify are being offered the option of retiring with full benefits, according to the IMB.

    "We have total confidence in our missionaries, and my initial letter was a collective appeal to assure Southern Baptists of the doctrinal integrity of the missionaries they send and support," Rankin said. "However, the failure of some to affirm their accountability undercuts the credibility and support of all missionaries serving with the IMB in a time of remarkable evangelistic harvest and unprecedented opportunities."

    "We deeply regret losing any missionary, but we are accountable to the churches in this matter. If a missionary's disagreements are so great that he or she cannot in good conscience promise to work in harmony with the BF&M, we feel he or she has an obligation to Southern Baptists to tell them so.

    "This final letter is to once again appeal to these missionaries to affirm they will work in accord with the Baptist Faith and Message."

    - Compiled by Tony Cartledge
    -30-


    Texas Baptists aiding missionaries
    who resign over faith statement

    By John Hall

    DALLAS (ABP) -- The missionary transition fund of the Baptist General Convention of Texas has supported 41 missionaries who resigned or were terminated after refusing to affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

    The BGCT has dispersed more than $526,760 in financial assistance to missionaries since it was started last year. Pledges and gifts to the fund total more than $1.3 million. Thirteen missionaries currently are receiving financial assistance from the account.

    As of March 31, 141 overseas and stateside missionaries have contacted the Texas Baptist transition team to voice their concern about the requirement that all International Mission Board missionaries and all new North American Mission Board missionaries sign the revised faith statement.

    This number includes 45 IMB career missionaries who have resigned, 12 pending IMB resignations, nine IMB retirements and two terminated IMB missionaries. It also includes two North American Mission Board missionaries who resigned and two terminated NAMB missionaries. The numbers differ slightly from those reported by IMB because not all of those who are resigning have yet informed the IMB, Texas officials say.

    The financial assistance has provided a cushion for missionaries who sacrificed their jobs on principle with no other position waiting for them, said Ron Gunter, who received funds for six weeks. "We came back with nothing waiting in the wings for us," said Gunter, now a BGCT regional representative in Houston. "We had no idea what we were going to do, but we knew we could not stay with the IMB."

    The transition fund "provided for all our needs because we had nothing to fall back on. We had given everything on the field. It was our livelihood."

    Frank Dudley, who resigned from the IMB while on furlough in the United States, received money from the fund for several months before becoming director of Howard Payne University's Harlingen extension center. The BGCT monetary support helped pay bills, but it also served more as a symbolic reminder that others understood Dudley's stance and supported him, he said.

    "It meant more in terms of moral support than financial support," the former West Africa missionary said. "It told us somebody in Texas knew who we were, approved of the choice we had made."

    Missionaries can be marked for the duration of their ministries for choosing not to sign the Baptist Faith and Message, Dudley said. He said he knows missionaries who are struggling to find a new position after refusing to sign. "We recognize we probably had the easiest journey of anyone we know," Dudley said. "We are very fortunate."
    -30-

    [ May 22, 2003, 11:41 AM: Message edited by: Squire Robertsson ]
     
  2. Sherrie

    Sherrie
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    I forgot to say this story was from "ASSOCIATE BAPTIST PRESS"

    Sherrie [​IMG]
     
  3. Speedpass

    Speedpass
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    :eek: YAWN!!! [​IMG]
     
  4. Ernie Brazee

    Ernie Brazee
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    Makes a good case for churches to send missionaries instead of mission boards.
     
  5. Gina B

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    If it's necessary it's necessary. I wonder what the revised statements were? It's hard to say anything negative without knowing, not that I WANT to.
    Wouldn't you agree that you'd rather support a missionary who was doctrinally sound than one who was not?
    Gina
     
  6. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    In the article "revised statement" refers to the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message. You can find it at sbc.net
     
  7. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    This story actually makes the case that the IMB of the SBC is doing the job very well. Also, all missionaries that receive support from the IMB must have first been sent by their local church. All the IMB does, then, is train, oversee, fund the work, handle transportation, visas, etc... so that the missionaries can spend all of the time in mission work (as compared with folks who spend signficant percentages of their time in deputation).
     
  8. Preacher Nathan Knight

    Preacher Nathan Knight
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    I think it serves a better purpose to send the money directly to the missionaries themselves instead of going through a board. especially the SBC, the money gets ate up in the convention before a missinary ever sees it.
     
  9. j_barner2000

    j_barner2000
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    edited to appologize for spelling. not awake yet.
    I have only been involved with the SBC for about 3 years. I am glad to have a board because it reduces duplication of efforts. It allows the church to send forth missionaries who are called to be missionaries without regard to the individual churches ability to fully support them. The board has already dealt with most of the bearocracy involved. They provide excellent training and screening. And I for one have read and agree with the baptist faith and message. If I did not I would not be training in a SBC to become a pastor. The same goes for missionaris. If I am supporting them, I want them to agree with the doctrinal statement I follow. and the missionaries do not have to beg for funding. It is taken care of by the regular contributions of all congregations.

    [ April 16, 2003, 11:00 AM: Message edited by: j_barner2000 ]
     
  10. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    This is another false assumption. When a church sends a dollar to international missions (via Lottie Moon offering or other direct giving), a dollar goes to the field. That's 100% efficiency. Not a single dime goes to administrative support (all administrative funds are covered through other giving...CP for example).
     
  11. j_barner2000

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    This is one thing that many folks who are not SBC members do not understand. I had a hard time with this until I did some research. Even your independant missionaries have overhead expenses to deal with. At least with mission boards, we train, equip and meet special needs as they arrise. I realize many IFB churches believe cooperation is a bad thing, but duplication of efforts is expensive at best.
     
  12. Gina B

    Gina B
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    Jonathan, I can't find it, I even did a search. Perhaps it's right out front and I'm just as blind as a bat, but will you please link it directly for me? [​IMG]
    Gina
     
  13. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    Sure. You can find it at Baptist Faith & Message (2000)
     
  14. Hardsheller

    Hardsheller
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    Do you have facts that support your statement?

    If so would you please provide them?
     
  15. Gina B

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    Thanks Jonathan.
    Does anyone know if there are certain parts in particular that the majority of people who won't sign are saying they disagree with?
    Gina
     
  16. Daniel David

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    Gina, it is over a couple of things.

    First and foremost, it is over the revision of Scripture.

    The 2000 BFM says that Scripture is God's revelation to man. It also took out the phrase that says that Christ is the criterion by which Scripture is to be understood. Thinking people recognize the absurdity of the statement. You don't know anything about Christ except through the Scripture. The 1963 statement was put together by a group of liberals led by Hershel Hobbs.

    Another critical area is the role of women in ministry. The 2000 BFM specifically says that the role of the shepherd is for men.

    On a side note, I am very surprised to see that the spineless ones who won't sign will find protection in the BGCT. [​IMG]
     
  17. Hardsheller

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    I would certainly not call Herschel Hobbs and the rest of the 1963 committee a bunch of liberals. He (Hobbs) may have been misguided on this and in my opinion many other positions but the committee was not by any stretch of the imagination "a bunch of liberals".

    The "bunch of liberals" were the ones who took the 1963 BF&M and looked for loopholes where they could slip in their version of erroneous doctrine.

    The criterion statment was the main loophole where any subjective view of the Bible and the Godhead could be made acceptable at least in their own minds. [​IMG]
     
  18. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    If you knowingly allow for such loopholes, aren't you paving the way?

    Hobbs and the rest of his cronies are like the getaway driver. They helped in the downfall as much as anyone.
     
  19. Jonathan

    Jonathan
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    If you check the history on this one, you'll find that Hobbs wanted the "Jesus Criterion" in there to avoid the type of OT scholarship represented by Ralph Elliot's book where he advocated the view that Melchizedek was actually a high priest of Baal (or Satan). Hobbs' problem with this is that it contradicted with Hebrews 7:1. His solution was to make the point that Hebrews 7:1 is to be interpreted in the light of Jesus being compared to Melchizedek and, therefore, Melchizedek could not have been a high priest of Baal.

    In other words, Hobbs saw this as an example of interpreting Scripture (Gen 14 and Heb 7) through the lens of Christ.

    The problem, as you've expressed, is that this did create a loophole where certain SBC scholars saw it as an license to advocate anything they want and then defend it by say that it fits their definition of Christ.
     
  20. Ernie Brazee

    Ernie Brazee
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    Where is the duplication? Supporting churches send their support to the local church. Local church administers the money for the missionary.

    Our church also has a special needs fund to take care of emergencies and other pressing needs of the missionary.


    No statement of faith produced by a mission board is neccessary, as each missionary we support is reccomended by a church of like faith and practice.

    When a missionary presents his work we then pray for the Lord's leadership as to whether we should support him. Even with the recomendation of another pastor there have been a few we didn't feel led to support.

    This method has been working for over 30 years.
     

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