In a recent Baptist Press article, that is nothing more than a public relations article, we see something that is sandwiched in the “Other Action” section of a report on the recent North American Mission Board (NAMB) Trustee meeting. The report reads:
“Trustees approved guidelines for NAMB church planters in relationship to other church planting networks.”
After contacting the Vice President of the Communications Group with NAMB, Mike Ebert, and being caught up in the voice mail network and finally leaving a message I still cannot find a copy of the guidelines. To be fair it maybe Ebert is traveling and will not be in the office until Monday. NAMB is within their rights to make this decision. The problem exists that we are now partnering with other church planting networks and no one I can find has any idea what those guidelines are that we operate within.
Let me make this as clear as I know how. NAMB is an autonomous entity and they constantly scream that we need to trust them in their appointments and those that are funded. I say, fine I want to trust you. However, with the trustees recently removing the 2006 Presidential restrictions and now announcing “guidelines for NAMB church planters in relationship with other church planting networks” without producing such guidelines it seems something is not above board. If we are asked to trust someone then that someone should produce the openness and transparency needed for us to support.
According to William Thornton the Partnership Guidelines are five statements. You can see them here.
In Part I we looked at the issues presented by Dr. Harris as outlined in the Baptist Press (BP) coverage. Now we want to observe the responses to these concerns to see if any deal with the issues raised by Harris.
As already noted BP never spoke with anyone in agreement with Harris. There are many that do agree with him just ask the Christian Index trustees. Or you can ask those who attended the recent gathering of the Baptist State Editors in Phoenix. Also, it has been well noted by SBC Tomorrow and From Law 2 Grace the BP story was a “news” story while Harris presented an editorial. The difference in “news” coverage and “editorials” is in the perspective of the journalist. In an editorial the journalist is free to express his/her opinion concerning the facts presented. In a “news” story the journalist is to “unbiasedly” present the facts and allow the reader to make the decision. The BP journalist clearly had a motive in presenting the “news” story without interviewing anyone that agreed with Harris. However, I will not expend any more words covering this point.
Dr. Mohler’s response is a most curious one to say the least. Read more
When I was in the eighth grade we had a debate concerning the issue of creation vs. evolution. I, the dumbest student in class, along with other bright students took the position of creation while the brightest students in the class took the teacher’s position of evolution. We had a spirited debate and it even got, shall we say, rancorous before it ended. In reality no one was declared the winner but the premature closing of the debate came when one of our students appealed back to the facts that evolution violated the second law of thermodynamics. To be honest, I did not know what that was but I chimed in with a hearty “yes” when it stunned the teacher and the side debating a pro evolution stand. Looking back what caused this debate to take the turn it did was due to an inability of the other side to produce the facts that denied their own arguments.
Brad Whitt, in his Young Southern Baptist and Irrelevant article, presented what was called the “shot heard around the world”. What made his column so effective was the issues of facts. It was hard for people to deny his facts and also to say that his information was coming from some older person that refused to give up past accolades. Brad’s article presented facts from a young pastor and no one could dispute them. Some argued against them and others complained he was not using his facts in context but no one could dispute his facts.
If Brad Whitt’s article was the “shot heard around the SBC” the editorial by Gerald Harris is the shot across the bow of the old ship SBC zion. Read more
Mark Driscoll has posted a website about the things others are saying that endorse his book. In this website one will find endorsements by Andy Stanley, James McDonald, Perry Noble and others.
Dr. Denny Burk has critiqued the lastest book by Mark Driscoll co-authored with his wife Grace Driscoll. Laying all my cards on the table, I want the readers to know that I have not read the Driscoll’s latest book. My report is dependent on Dr. Denny Burk’s review along with a review by Tim Challies. These two, in the past, have been gracious to Driscoll and overlooked some of his missteps and even defended him on some issues. However, both give a not so generous review of Driscoll’s latest book. The “not so generous” part of the review, though, is focused on the Driscoll’s misapplication of Scripture and on the graphic details in chapter 10.
Tim Challies describes the book in the words of “sloppiness and inconsistency”. Challies discredits the book for a number of reasons. One, “in at least two places the Driscolls refer to a man’s sexual desire as a “need.”” If sex is a need that is to be fulfilled the looming question is clear. What happens in a marriage when the wife, for medical, psychological, or biological reasons cannot meet that need? Two, “the book is graphic.” Challies says it well, “Some of these acts are so intimate (perhaps invasive is also an appropriate word) that many readers will never have considered that they even exist.” Three, “Mark’s abuse of The Song of Solomon has been widely noted and discussed, but he continues to treat it as a graphic sex manual.” Driscoll would have done well to take Dr. John MacArthur’s advice on this back in 2009. Dr. MacArthur wrote;
There is no hint of sophomoric lewdness in the Bible, even when the prophet’s clear purpose is to shock (such as when Ezekiel 23:20 likens Israel’s apostasy to an act of gross fornication motivated by the lust of bestiality). When an act of adultery is part of the narrative (such as David’s sin with Bathsheba), it is never described in way that would gratify a lascivious imagination or arouse lustful thoughts.
At Ebenezer Baptist Church, where I serve, various ministry groups visit and we often take up special offerings for them. Many times we would find out months later that some members continued to send money to that particular ministry, designating it through the church. But we eventually took a stand and set a policy that the church would only forward funds to outside ministries specifically approved by the whole body and we asked individuals to send contributions to their special interest ministries directly and without the imprimatur of the congregation.
We felt it was inappropriate to tie the church to a ministry without the consensus support of the entire membership.
Now Southern Baptists have learned that the North American Mission Board is not using this same type of discretion in the distribution of church planting funds Southern Baptists have contributed through the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering.