SBC IMB

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Jimmy C, Nov 5, 2003.

  1. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Well it looks like the fundies are once again turning on one of their own. Looks like Jerry Rankin is now under fire.

    One of the critisims leveled is that some missionaries dont have enough seminary training. As I recall this is a fairly recent change by the IMB to allow missionaries to come directly out of (the then Paige Patterson controlled) Criswell College.

    Of course the biggest problem is having WOMEN in management roles!!

    See the following artilce for Associated Baptist PressPatterson airs professor's charges of lax theological scrutiny at IMB
    November 4, 2003 - Volume: 03-99

    By Mark Wingfield and Greg Warner


    WAKE FOREST, N.C. (ABP) -- The International Mission Board should rid itself of "unbiblical" practices and alliances with Christian mission groups that do not enforce strict theological parameters, a Southern Baptist missions professor urges.
    Keith Eitel, professor of Christian missions at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C., outlines his concerns about the theological framework employed by the mission board in an eight-page paper circulated by former Southern Baptist Convention president Paige Patterson.

    For instance, Eitel alleges, because of inadequate theological training of some missionaries, "evangelism, church planting and discipleship are in the hands of theological novices." And women are inappropriately placed in positions of authority over men, he says.

    An IMB spokesperson called Eitel's criticisms "groundless accusations," but nonetheless said the matter will be addressed by trustees next week.

    The document, titled "Vision Assessment," was sent to all IMB trustees by Patterson, Eitel's former boss at Southeastern and now president at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. In a cover letter, Patterson called Eitel "one of the cutting-edge missiologists of our day."

    "Without a doubt, the keenest thinking in missiology occurs on the staff of the International Mission Board. … However, some profitable thinking and planning is also done elsewhere," Patterson wrote. "… The critical importance of this paper, especially in light of the conservative movement in the Southern Baptist Convention, will be apparent to you as you read it."

    Eitel told a reporter he wrote the paper over the summer to summarize his perspective on the IMB's operation after being contacted by an IMB trustee who wanted to nominate him for a high-level position there. Avery Willis, senior vice president and second in command at the IMB, is scheduled to retire at the end of the year.

    In the paper, Eitel appeals for IMB trustees to "synchronize" the mission board "with the theological convictions of the SBC" and to "set the board's course directly back into the evangelical roots that were the convictions of the founders of the convention."

    For this to happen, he wrote, biblical and theological inquiry must not be minimized in importance.

    While criticizing previous administrations of the SBC mission board prior to the fundamentalist campaign that began in 1979, Eitel also raises concerns about the current administration of IMB President Jerry Rankin.

    He especially targets the IMB's participation in mission efforts with what the board calls "Great Commission Christians" -- other Baptist and Christian groups working toward the same missionary goals.

    Eitel charges that these partnerships have "no mechanisms in place to filter or check the entry of unbiblical practices other than the specific theological preparation of the individual missionary."

    And that link has been weakened, he said, because under Rankin's leadership "there has been an obvious and apparently intentional move away from requiring seminary training for the key roles related to church planting and church development."

    Before the Rankin administration, such missionary candidates were required to have at least a master of divinity degree and two years of experience, he says. "Today, one may assume such roles with as little as 20-30 semester hours, and there is a spirit or culture within the board that downplays or undermines the need to even go to seminary at all."

    Eitel adds: "If it weren't for the trustees holding the line on this requirement, I am afraid that seminary requirements would be dropped completely."

    As a result of the change, he says, "I am concerned that evangelism, church planting and discipleship are in the hands of theological novices."

    The theology of IMB missionaries has been under much scrutiny recently. Earlier this year, all missionaries were required to sign an affirmation of the Baptist Faith and Message, which was revised in 2000 by the SBC's conservative leaders. As a result, at least 77 missionaries left the IMB, including 13 who were fired for refusing to sign. New questions about missionaries' qualifications to serve could spark more uncertainty among the IMB's 5,500-member mission force.

    Eitel also criticizes the IMB for allowing women in leadership roles, specifically in the role of regional strategy coordinators.

    "Women, while certainly capable in numerous ways to do ministry, should not be placed in doctrinal or ethical authority over men, and the strategy coordinator role often causes this to happen," he writes.

    These same strategy coordinators -- although he does not single out women alone as the culprits -- because they are "theological novices," Eitel says, "frequently lead their teams to partner with theologically suspect organizations."

    The IMB's lack of stringency on theological and doctrinal training is a holdover from the previous administration of Keith Parks, Eitel charges. That's bad, he writes, because Parks made clear his belief that Southern Baptists should be united around mission more than theological conformity.

    Parks, he says, inherited and built upon a slippery slope toward liberalism that began in the SBC after World War I. This trend, he charged, placed increasingly more emphasis on personal experience than on a strict understanding of the Bible's edicts.

    "Parks was saying that doctrine or theology divides us but missions unites us," Eitel noted. In contrast, leaders of the fundamentalist movement within the SBC like Adrian Rogers "indicated that unless our theological convictions are solidly established squarely on an inerrant Bible, we will have no legitimate or reasonable basis for doing missions."

    Eitel concludes his paper with nine recommended actions for IMB trustees, beginning with an appeal to "recruit administrators committed to theological renewal of the board."

    He also asks trustees to "change the appointment criteria and procedures to encourage theological preparation" and to "change the entire curriculum and teaching staff" at the Missionary Learning Center, where missionaries go for specific training after appointment.

    Larry Cox, IMB vice president for mobilization, told Associated Baptist Press the agency is "very disappointed that Dr. Eitel chose to vent his groundless accusations against the International Mission Board in a public forum instead of communicating with our leadership."

    "Since the distribution of Dr. Eitel's paper to our trustees in September, Dr. Rankin has sent Dr. Eitel a written response, and he has been in communication with Dr. Eitel to arrange for a meeting to try to resolve the misunderstandings in the paper," Cox said in the written statement. "This matter will be discussed with IMB trustees during their meeting in Lexington, Ky., next week."
     
  2. DeanPastor

    DeanPastor
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    If I remember right, Rankin has always been problomatic for Dr. Patterson. Not that they have not got along and worked together, but I remember when Rankin first came on board there was much discusion of his openess to glossalia (Tonques) He even stated that he had at one time 'spoken in tonques' and that Mrs Rankin still did in her private prayer time. This was extrememly troubeling to Dr. Patterson who is a ceasationist. Does not suprise me to see Dr. Patterson back Dr. Eitel on this. By the way, I agree with Dr. Patterson...Dr. Eitel is a brilliant missionologist...one of the best of the best...and I know him to be a very gracious man...I bet there is more to this story than what we are privy to. I dont know enough about this current situation to weigh in
     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    They aren't turning on each other. There is still much to purge. So far, they have been able to rid the SBC of the professing lost, errggg, moderates.
     
  4. DeanPastor

    DeanPastor
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    The problem with Rankin has nothing to do with a "PURGE" Rankin is an avowed innerentist and is highly regarded withen conservative circles. My point is that his charismatic leanings have been problomatic for Dr. Paterson. This has been no secret for a long time...and by the way...Dr. Eitel is very close to Dr. Patterson going all the way back to hs Criswell days. Look for Dr. Eitel to be at SWBTS before to long. Which is by the way a good thing!
     
  5. Jimmy C

    Jimmy C
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    Daniel David,

    Do you not think that Jerry Rankin has been part of the SBC good ol boy network (my new title for fundamentalists after attending the Patterson Coronation at SWBTS - I heard just one to many jokes about saturday night paige and sunday morning paige at that dinner) since the takeover/resurgence? I dont think that he an Eitel will happily be in the same room.

    As to your slam against moderates, I am weary of the thought by some that just because I am not in the same place politically as you that my salvation by grace through Christ is not enough for my salvation
     
  6. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
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    Your blatant blasphemy against God's good work in those folks labelled "moderates" is a vivid reminder of how desperately you need to learn of God.

    Believe it or not, a person can be a Spirit-led believer in Christ and not believe/behave exactly as you do.
     
  7. DeanPastor

    DeanPastor
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    I am pro Conservative resurgance, inerrantist, Fundamentalist....I mean whatever you want to label me....Yet I would be the last one to state that because one is a moderate that they are lost...they may be wrong, but I would be careful in calling into question ones salvation unless they are an outright Christ denyer.

    As far as disagreement within the conservative camp...SO WHAT? Do not even moderates disagree within their own ranks? Sure they do...

    This is nothing more than a issue between views of methodology in missions. Not Fundies attacking one another...geeeeeez
     

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