Saturday, May 27

One M's viewpoint of all that is going on in the SBC today

Often we are questioned what we think about of all that is going on with the IMB and the SBC these days. It is a loaded question and hard to put into words. My own observations come from my perspective of the issues and are probably limited in their understanding of what are truly complex issues. What follows is an attempt to express what it is I feel about all that is going on with the IMB, BoT, and SBC in general terms these days.

Exactly, what are some of the broader issues being addressed and gaining public attention? There are many, but those that I relate to as a M, believing them to have influence upon the future of IMB-SBC missions are:

  • the critical need of working together and partnering with other GCC's to reach the world for Christ (see David Rogers series on this topic here)
  • closely related would be the needed harmony within a broadly diverse cross-section of God's people with their own convictions and beliefs (Phil. 2:1-4)
  • policy changes that seek to go beyond things taught in the NT (in other words, "my interpretation" of Scripture is the only one that counts and it applies to everyone else)
  • defintion of church-NT eccelesiology and church practice, ("New Directions", CPM methodology would fall under this category of issue facing us)
  • who can serve or not serve based on extrabiblical criteria
  • narrower definitions of who and what a Baptipst is and believes
  • the role and function of church leaders in the Body of Christ
  • true nature of the "priesthood of the believer" and how this principle is carried out in today's world
  • the role of politics in denominational life, structures of power and accountability tightening the ropes for cooperation rather than loosening them for greater mobility amongst Kingdom partners
  • the growing role of charismatic/pentecostal influences and its impact upon the global church and missions in general
  • not understanding that the center of Chrisitianity is quickly shifting south and that the Western Church is no longer the predominant force in Christendom (In 1900, 80% of Christians were white, Western, northern hemisphere. In 2000, 80% were non-white, non-Western and southern hemisphere. --R. McNeil)

Will any of the above really affect what God is already doing in today's world?

No. I don't think so. Who can stop the mighty rushing wind of the Spirit?

I know this sounds contradictory to what I write above, but the bulleted issues are things having an impact on the future of "IMB-SBC missions." While each is important and weighty, I don't think any of these will be able to stop, or even remotely slow down the coming of the Kingdom of God and His purposes being fulfilled in today's world. God is moving in unprecedented ways in today's world. As Baptists, we are only a tiny percentage of the overall "Kingdom of God." My own observation is that God seems quite content to continue working all over the world through ALL of His Body in multiple ways, methods, denominations, manifestations, programs, using the weak to accomplish his purposes, etc. Who are we to tell the Spirit of God what He can or cannot do?

In order to be part of what God is doing, we need to understand something Tony Dale of House2House magazine writes,

"...it is more important to love one another than to be "right"...It is more important to "confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you might be healed" than to argue over whether or not God heals today...it is more important to "in honor prefer one another" than to make sure we have all the issues of authority types in the church straightened out..."

Tony goes on in his article, but the point is made we need to focus on what Christ and Scripture commands specifically to do and submit our traditions and long-held church practices to the greater authority of Biblical commands and clear teachings. It is amazing to me how we can so easily confuse our traditions and practices with what Scripture really teaches, and then call our traditions and practices "this is what the Bible teaches!"

Jerry Rankin says in his "To the Ends of the Earth" ...

"It is not Christian organizations, denominations, or mission agencies that extend the kingdom. Only through a massive grass-roots force of believers functioning as the church, the body of Christ in the world, can an impact be made on a lost world."

This is what is happening all over the world. Isn't it time we lay aside our "issues" and simply join the Father in what He is doing around the world?

"When people and churches are mobilized and equipped to be all they are divinely designed to be in society and the world, the result will be growth--kingdom growth."

It is about "HIS Kingdom", not OUR kingdom.

"God is moving throught global events in unprecedented ways to make [the fulfilling of the Great Commission] possible as we have moved into the twenty-first century. to stay up with all God is doing has required making fairly radical changes in organization, leadership, and strategy..."


Yes, changes are very much a part of being on mission with the Lord. He is moving very rapidly in today's world. If we want to "keep up" with Him, we too must be willing to quickly change and adapt.

The truth of the matter is that there is a mounting tidal wave spreading all over the earth...a great final harvest of souls like never seen before...a spiritual awakening dawning all over the world...I for one want with all my heart to be a small part of this huge movement of God to bring Christ to the Nations and usher in the Second Coming of Christ.

So there, now you know what I think about all the IMB-SBC stuff taking place today!

8 comments:

Alan Cross said...

Guy,

I left a response to your comment on my blog. Thanks for your feedback. I, too, want to be a part of what God is doing around the world. As a stateside pastor, I don't just want to turn over all of that to the IMB and others, however, especially when they create policies that close the doors of cooperation. I see it more as a both/and approach instead of either/or. I love the IMB and only want to see it get stronger. I think, however, that our frustration comes in when we have small groups of people who dictate everything. I am trying to find ways to help us be effective and engaged and relieve our frustration by spending more time on the lost and less time on the denomination. I think we do that because we only think we can do missions through the IMB. I'm just saying that there are other ways.

Anyway, check out my even longer response. I appreciate your prayers for my son, as well.

A 10-40 Window Missionary said...

Guy,
You ask, "Will any of the above affect what God is already doing in TODAY'S world" (my emphasis). I tend to agree that there will be little affect, short-term. I do think the items indicated will impact the role of Southern Baptists and the IMB in world missions. I thank God that world evangelism does not center on the IMB.

When I first learned that others were far ahead of us in world evangelism, (right about the time that New Directions was presented), I was shocked. I had always been pretty isolated under the old country missions model. Imagine my surprize to find that we were way behind the power curve with world evangelism. Other organizations, individuals and even churches were doing far more than we were doing, at that time, in many areas.

I wish we could get past all of the petty posturing and insistence that IMB missionaries are not up to the task, (as inferred by the "White Paper, and more) and fully join other GCC with winning the world for Christ, without needing to ask some trustee or seminary professor if it is OK.

Kiki Cherry said...

"...it is more important to love one another than to be "right"...It is more important to "confess your faults to one another and pray for one another that you might be healed" than to argue over whether or not God heals today...it is more important to "in honor prefer one another" than to make sure we have all the issues of authority types in the church straightened out..."

AMEN. You know we are totally on board with you on this. And so desperately want to be part of that movement to bring the glory of God to the Nations--no matter the cost.

I am thankful for you guys. And I just told God that. Again. : )

Ross Garner said...

Hi Guy

If you think your denomination has issues ... look what we have to contend with.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/05/28/nchurch28.xml

At one extreme there are very liberal views with no real understanding of the holy lifestyle which we are called to live. At the other extreme there are the Pharisees who seem not to realise that their efforts to make more rules are not going to produce the righteousness that God desires.

Amanda said...

Hi, I saw your comments on both Ken's blog and my Dads (Burning Isles) so I thought I'd check out yours. I've added you to my blogroll and look forward to reading your posts.

Ken Sorrell said...

Greetings Guy,

Excellent post today! To add my 2 pesos into the mix, my concern with all that is going on is two-fold. First, although divisions can be significant and important, it seems we as Southern Baptists enjoy focusing on what divides us more than what unites us. In my former life as a church staff member I can remember hearing pastors and other church staff debating on whether or not they would attend the national or state convention meetings solely on the criteria that they did not think a good fight would break out. My second concern deals with passion. I appreciate your blog and this post simiply because of your passion to impact lostness. I know that the number of blogs I follow is minuscule to the total number available online, however, it is interesting to note the number of comments to a blog that deals with SBC politics as compared to a blog dealing with evangelism and church planting among the lost peoples of the world. To further prove my point, count the number of messengers at a controversial SBC busness session and then count the number of messengers present at the IMB presnetation. May our hearts be broken, again. BTW, I used to be one of those guys who would skip the latter.

tim rogers said...

Brother Guy,

God's Spirit convicted me when I read your comment on 12 Witnesses' blog that I had to stop reading any other comments. You are right in that comment. When we read more on the controversy in the IMB BoT's than we do about the reports of the way God is using people like you and your family we are embroiled in politics.

God HELP US & FORGIVE US!

As I came to your blog, I scrolled through some of your posts. I came across one of your posts where you speak about a model of ministry. The model is MAWL. Model, Assist, Watch, Leave. Who is the author and where can I get the book? I have just completed Reggie McNeal's book and really am interested in digesting this model.

Keep the lights shinning brightly in Ecudor, and we will hold the ropes here.

Serving Him and Supporting You
tim rogers

GuyMuse said...

Tim,

MAWL is very much a key CPM concept. I believe Curtis Sergeant was the first to describe these steps. Most of what I have seen about MAWL comes from short papers shared between M's around the world over the past few years.

Here is a link where you can get some of Curtis' thinking on MAWL:

http://www.wsaresourcesite.org/Topics/cpm.htm

Scroll down the page until you see an article that can be downloaded and entitled: "Insights from a CPM Practitioner." There are several other really great articles to check out as well on the SAM Region Resourcesite.

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Ken,

Excellent comment! I took your idea and commented it on Art Roger's blog. Should be interesting to see if there is any more response to it!

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Amanda,

I too added you to my own blog feeder, so will be keeping up with you this way!

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Ross,

And I thought we IMB-SBCers were the only ones with problems!

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Kiki,

Thanks for the good letter you sent earlier today. I hope either my wife or I can respond back on some of what you write. Seems we have much in common! Anyway, we'll continue to be in prayer for you guys!

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10/40 M,

Thanks for the good comment, but I have a question for you...what "White Paper" are you referring to? You really have my curiosity up. Is this that paper that was sent out by one of the seminary profs awhile back about their feelings on M's?

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Alan,

I love reading your blog and agree with you that it is a both/and, rather than an either/or issue. Thanks for clarifying the issues with me. I agree with you a lot more than you imagine about the whole need of creating viable missional networks! I think we all want to see a continued strong and healthy IMB.