Explanation of BP news story, text of personnel selection measures given1/13/2006RICHMOND, Va. (BP) — Trustees of the International Mission Board passed two measures — related to private prayer language and baptism — during their Nov. 14-17 meeting in Huntsville, Ala., for IMB personnel selection staff to follow in screening missionary candidates.
The subsequent news story released Nov. 21 to Baptist Press and placed on the IMB Web site contained an unofficial vote count on board action. When questions arose the next day about the figure given for the vote, IMB media staff immediately re-posted a corrected version of the story with BP that removed the specific count reference.
In researching the statistic, staff learned that only the vote outcome – not the vote count – is included in official board minutes. The outcome was that the action had passed. When asked, IMB board chairman Tom Hatley, pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Rogers, Ark., referred to his notes from the meeting and indicated he had written down the figure 50-15 regarding the vote.
While the BP story was replaced, IMB staff did not realize the story posted to the agency’s Web site was not changed because of an administrative oversight. However, as soon as the staff discovered the story on the IMB Web site still contained wrong information, it was immediately replaced.
The specific wording of the policy on Tongues and Prayer Language and the Baptism Guideline are as follows:
Tongues and Prayer Language
That the following policy regarding tongues and prayer language of missionary candidates be adopted:
1. The New Testament speaks of a gift of glossolalia that generally is considered to be a legitimate language of some people group.
2. The New Testament expression of glossolalia as a gift had specific uses and conditions for its exercise in public worship.
3. In term of worship practices, the majority of Southern Baptist churches do not practice glossolalia. Therefore, if glossolalia is a public part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.
1. Prayer language as commonly expressed by those practitioners is not the same as the biblical use of glossolalia.
2. Paul’s clear teaching is that prayer is to be made with understanding.
3. Any spiritual experience must be tested by the Scriptures.
4. In terms of general practice, the majority of Southern Baptists do not accept what is referred to as "private prayer language." Therefore, if "private prayer language" is an ongoing part of his or her conviction and practice, the candidate has eliminated himself or herself from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC.
1. This policy is not retroactive.
2. Any exceptions to the above policy must be reviewed by the staff and the Process Review Committee.
That each candidate’s baptismal experience be examined, during the application process, in light of the Baptist Faith and Message statement and the points listed below:
BAPTIST FAITH AND MESSAGE: ARTICLE VII – BAPTISM
Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is an act of obedience symbolizing the believer’s faith in a crucified, buried, and risen Savior; the believer’s death to sin; the burial of the old life; and the resurrection to walk in the newness of life in Christ Jesus. It is a testimony to his faith in the final resurrection of the dead. Being a church ordinance, it is prerequisite to the privileges of church membership and to the Lord’s Supper.
POINTS TO BE COVERED DURING THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS:
1. The Individual
a. Believer’s baptism by immersion
Baptism by immersion follows salvation
b. Baptism is symbolic, picturing the experience of the believer’s death to sin and resurrection to a new life in Christ.
Baptism does not regenerate.
2. The Church
a. Baptism is a church ordinance.
Baptism must take place in a church that practices believer’s baptism by immersion alone, does not view baptism as sacramental or regenerative, and a church that embraces the doctrine of the security of the believer.
b. A candidate who has not been baptized in a Southern Baptist church or in a church which meets the standards listed above is expected to request baptism in his/her Southern Baptist church as a testimony of identification with the system of belief held by Southern Baptist churches.
3. The Candidate
The candidate is responsible for meeting this doctrinal commitment to the above points.
4. The Consultant
While the candidate consultant should have a working knowledge of many denominational groups, he is not expected to investigate every church.
1. This guideline is not retroactive.
2. Any exception to the above guideline must be reviewed by the staff and the Process Review Committee.