The trustees of the IMB have recently made a couple of decisions that have really hacked some people off. One of the decisions was that if any missionary applying for candidacy with the IMB who practices a "personal prayer language" need not apply. They will not be allowed to go on the field with the IMB. If you are spoiling for a fuss about that, you've come to the wrong place. I do not like that ruling; I think that it is unprecedented, and I do not think the board has the authority to make that decision. There you have it. I am not condoning tongues; I am uneasy about the ability to make this decision based on no national precedent. (I.E. No ruling by the SBC at large.)
But I am so ready to discuss baptism. Go and ask the Centurion if you don't believe me. I have basically been cruising around waiting for this sort of thing to pop up. But before I get to all that, let me post what the board said about baptism:
Regarding a candidate's baptism, trustees voted by a 2-1 margin to establish a guideline that specifies (1) believer's baptism by immersion; (2) baptism follows salvation; (3) baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer's death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ; (4) baptism does not regenerate; and (5) baptism is a church ordinance.
The guideline establishes that candidates must have been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church of another denomination that practices believer's baptism by immersion alone. Also, the baptism must not be viewed as sacramental or regenerative, and the church must embrace the doctrine of the security of the believer.
Over at The Joseph Kennedy Experiment you will find a post about this, and also this quote:
"This clearly overrides the autonomy of the local church, suggesting that a baptism accepted by a local church may or may not be accepted by the IMB and could result in a missionary candidate being returned to his or her church to be re-baptized. This is clearly on overstep of authority."
Really, Joseph? Does it clearly overstep the bounds of the IMB to make this baptistic statement? Let's check our Baptist Faith and Message 2000 on this, shall we?
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water...it is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer's faith...being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord's Supper.
The problem is not with the section on baptism. The problem is that it seems that Joseph and others have no idea what the national convention is or how Southern Baptists cooperate. I'll begin by saying that the IMB should not accept anyone as a missionary candidate who does not adhere to the Baptist Faith and Message. Period. Southern Baptists are funding them. You don't like believer's baptism and refuse to submit to it? That's okay. Go and preach on someone else's nickel. May I also add that if you do not believe in a regenerate church membership and believer's baptism you may feel free to join the Presbyterian church and go with them. Godspeed. Au revior.
Here are a couple folks who are kicking this idea around here for further reference:
We Must Do the Impossible
6 months ago