Friday, March 24, 2006

The Unthinkable, Unconscionable, Untenable Position of the IMB

When all the smoke has cleared and all the facts have been uncovered we will learn the truth about what has really transpired at the IMB in recent months and perhaps for even years.

That day will come and probably bring great embarrassment to several involved in the whole flap. I, for one, patiently await that day, when the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth is finally uncovered or revealed.

While the recent Tampa meeting of the IMB Trustees sought to defuse the volatile issue many questions remain unanswered.

Questions like:

1. Was there an outside group of “advisors” attempting to influence Trustee leadership and promote radical change at IMB?
2. If so, who were they and what was their agenda?
3. Where does the obvious animosity directed at Dr. Rankin come from?
4. Was there a small group of Trustees who controlled the entire board?
5. What really prompted the introduction of the two controversial policies on “baptism” and a “private prayer language”?
6. Did Wade Burleson uncover an embarrassing “good old boy network”?
7. Can SBC Missionaries voice their honest opinions about policy without fearing for their positions?
8. Will the new policy manual for Trustees really be the answer?
9. What other problems are known but not yet exposed?
10. Is it time to rethink the way Southern Baptists organize for missions?

In the meantime, while we wait for answers to these questions, we have this giant incredible problem just standing there in the middle of SBC consciousness, staring us in the face, tearing at the very seam of our sense of justice and logic.

WE HAVE A POLICY AT THE INTERNATIONAL MISSION BOARD THAT PROHIBITS SOUTHERN BAPTISTS WHO HAVE A PRIVATE PRAYER LANGUAGE FROM BEING APPOINTED AS FOREIGN MISSIONARIES AND AT THE SAME TIME WE HAVE A PRESIDENT OF THE IMB WHO DOES AND HAS FOR 30 YEARS!

Does anyone else except me see that this position defies both logic and common sense?

Can this be anything but the product of a dysfunctional board of trustees and a broken system?


It is a public relations nightmare that produces suspicion of deeper problems at the International Mission Board.

This is an unthinkable, unconscionable and untenable position.

You would think that grown men and women would know what to do to solve the problem.

Since they obviously don’t let me tell them.

Dr. Rankin – Resign. It’s the honorable thing to do.
Dr. Hatley – Resign. This happened on your watch.

Board of Trustees – Reorganize and appoint a new Chairman and begin the Search Process for a new IMB President. By the way, I would also suggest an apology at Greensboro would be in order.

7 Comments:

Blogger jthomas899 said...

Jim, I share many of your thoughts on this. My heart is sadden by the events that have happen with OUR IMB trustees. How can we ever impact the world, when our leaders are dysfunctional. My prayer is that God will have mercy on us.

3/24/2006 7:12 AM  
Blogger T A Blankenship said...

Jim, why do you think Dr. Rankin should resign?
He has been good for the IMB.

3/25/2006 8:54 AM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Thanks Tim for your question.

Dr. Rankin should resign because he does not have the majority of the Trustees behind him. If he did they would never have passed a policy on a "Private Prayer Language" that would have embarassed the IMB President and the SBC.

For all practical purposes, his leadership is at a deadend. For his own well being and for the good of the IMB he should step down.

3/25/2006 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so the president (open-ended appointment) should resign because trustees (short-term appointment) aren't behind him? What makes you think Greensboro can't lead to a purging that usher a new golden age of the IMB? That thinking really doesn't make sense, Jim. Rankin is keeping the organization's (the Ms - who really matter) focus on the lost. A president doesn't resign just because the Senate and House may be stacked by the other party.

3/27/2006 8:38 AM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Anonymous, It does make sense.

The very fact that the Board of Trustees has passed a policy that puts the SBC in this untenable position of having a President of the IMB who would not qualify for Missionary Service is an indication that Dr. Rankin's leadership has been effectively stymied.

Personally if I were Dr. Rankin, I would not be able to look any rejected Southern Baptist missionary candidate in the face if they were turned down over the new "private prayer language" policy.

Now if you think that all of this is going to change in Greensboro then we're talking about a new deal.

I personally don't think much is going to happen in June.

3/27/2006 8:50 AM  
Blogger Justice said...

Jim, I actually dislike your position -- but, the more I think through it on a logical level, I have to say that for the integrity of the IMB it does make sense.

Ultimately this cannot be about "man" and hurt feelings etc - it has to be about the glory of god and what will best serve to expand His kingdom - not ours.

Nick

4/10/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger Jim Shaver said...

Nick,

I didn't want to write it because it was distasteful to me as well, but sometimes it takes drastic steps to accomplish the desired results.

This IMB problem is bigger than any personalities involved.

Thanks for your comment.

4/10/2006 6:40 AM  

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