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2010.09.08

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Ron Hale

Peter,
Thank you for taking the time to write and talk about the elephant in the room.

Theologically, we believe that man is a free moral agent; we can and will make spiritual decisions. In regards to missions, we as church leaders and members make choices.

When we make choices, we are not "free" to decide the consequences of our choices.

While Dr. Ezell is one of the most likeable men on the planet, nevertheless, he led his congregation(s) to make missional decisions. The statement that caught my attention the most was ... Dr. Ezell's church giving "0" to the Annie Armstrong [North American Mission Board] offering in 2008.

If he is not asked "hard" questions on matters like this by the NAMB board, then it means they must not care about the future of this great and historic offering -- one that blessed me for fifteen years as an appointed HMB/NAMB missionary.

peter

Thanks, Ron. Kevin Ezell is undoubtedly a terrific guy. And, he sure needs to be encouraged for his church planting passion. Nonetheless, as one who relates to SBC churches, inspiring them to reach beyond the stars in sacrificial giving to NAMB, he must be considered a fully flat tire.

With that, I am...
Peter

Darby Livingston

Peter,

Here's just a thought because I don't really know anything about Kevin Ezell. But is it possible that he hasn't led his church to be big givers to the cp because of a disagreement with the way the funds have been historically used? In that case, perhaps he has no problem leading a cp-funded entity because he (and the trustees who appoint him) have every intention of changing the face of the cp to more closely align with the gcr recommendations. Again, just a thought.

Darby Livingston

Perhaps an elaboration is in order in light of your last point. I haven't a clue why those who support him for this post seem inconsistent with the gcr statements you quoted. I suppose the choices are at least: 1) it is politically inexpedient to outright slam the cp, so folks verbally celebrate it with every intention of changing it over time (like some politicians do with U.S. government policy), or 2) they really don't see a disconnect between the gcr statements and Ezell's appointment (seems unlikely), or 3) they are being outright dishonest (seems even more unlikely). I'm guessing you have a theory.

peter lumpkins

Darby,

Thanks. From my perspective, a candidate for a position at this level should never be seriously considered for what he or she *intends* to do in life, ministry, or leadership but what he or she has actually accomplished. And, since non-participation (at least in 2008) reflects poorly on what one thinks about a missions agency, I cannot see how being appointed to lead the missions agency one denied/denying support is a wise decision.

Furthermore, I remain unsure why the GCRTF sees no disconnect between Ezell's missions giving record and his candidacy to lead NAMB. It's hard to say.

However, Ezell is definitely their friend and has very close ties with Al Mohler.

Consider: Ezell's church gives substantially more to SBTS every year than IMB & NAMB *combined*. My own guess is, that rugged support for SBTS is surely one reason Mohler supports his nomination for NAMB.

Consequently, as partnerships with states are forfeited per the GCRTF report, look for partnerships with seminaries to skyrocket under an Ezell administration. It will all come under the rubric of "church planting" but seminaries--especially Southern & Southeastern--will be supported big time through NAMB.

With that, I am...
Peter

Ron Hale

Peter,
First, let me say that I have an overwhelming respect for the the many SBC pastors and staff that have led their congregations in giving to the Cooperative Program, Lottie Moon offering, Annie Armstrong offering, state mission offerings, Children's Home offering, etc.

Many of us have believed that it is "the way we do missions" that has been our unifying factor over these many years.

It seems the rules are changing before our eyes.

Allow me to give you an example. The GCR was to lift very high the giving to CP [our church gives 10%). However, I don't see it being lifted high in practise. Dr. Danny Akin [Southeastern]played a vital role in writing and promoting the GCR.

Allow me to share two things that Dr. Akins is lifting up:

First, he is lifting up 9Marks Ministry.
9Marks was started by Dr. Mark Dever, the pastor of Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. In researching the Annual Church Profiles [ACP's] on Capitol Hill Church from the Southern Baptist Directory Services [operated by LifeWay] they do not fill out ACP's and have not for many years and show "no" reported gifts to the Cooperate Program. If there are reported numbers of SBC giving -- then I implore someone from the church to show them. On the flip side -- I wonder how much money is Capitol Hills giving to Southeastern Seminary? Will this be now counted as "Great Commission Giving"?

Second, Dr. Akin is lifting up the new Church Planting movement by the Founders Ministries. This group was organized in 1982 with the express purpose of "reforming" the SBC to the docrinies of grace [5-point Calvinism]. Dr. Akin's "shout out" for the new Reformed SBC church planting group can be read on: www.PLNTD.com -- along with many other key SBC leaders. The founder of the Founders Movement wrote a book entitled: The Quiet Revolution: A Chronicle of Beginnings of SBC Reformation. It looks like the plan is unfolding right along with the unfolding of the GCR.

Yes, things ARE changing.


Tom Bryant

This shows 2 things about our future convention.
First, that all the wording changes that went on in the convention about the CP was only to get votes and not about any real heart change on the part of the authors.
Two, that we are seeing not the death of the Cooperative Program - that will continue on in a smaller way - but the death of the concept at the core of Southern Baptist - Cooperative Ministry.

Scott Shaffer

Others are asking the same questions. Check out this article: http://www.abpnews.com/content/view/5685/53/

Dr. James Galyon

Ron,
I believe your concerns about Capitol Hill in regard to ACP reporting are fair. On a positive note, Paige Patterson has been very friendly w/ Mark Dever and encouraged by the evangelism taking place through that congregation. In regard to PLNTD, I don't know much about what is happening there, but this may be a positive as well. Perhaps the Founders guys are focusing upon planting Calvinistic SBC congregations rather than "reforming" existing ones. I'm not in the loop, but if that's the case, I'm sure that is something you could rejoice about.

Ron Hale

Dr. Gaylon,

Thanks for your reply to my post.

I came away from the SBC in Orlando feeling like we were promised that our convention leaders were going to be committed [more than ever] to the Cooperative Program --otherwise, everything that was said, voted on, and promised was a sham.

SBC leaders and laymen who choose to put forth their names for boards, committees, and especially leaders of agencies should understand the "Law of Sacrifice."

We must "give up" to go up! Our call is to lead by example. Convention leadership [agencies, seminaries, colleges, state conventions, associations] calls for responsibility and real sacrifice -- proven sacrifice to the SBC cause(s) that the leader will in turn ask Southern Baptists to support.

Also, when SBC leaders continue to spotlight men in our convention that do not model cooperative sacrifice to SBC causes, I feel that is sending the wrong signal to our emerging leaders in SBC Life.

Blessings!

peter

Appreciate the feedback all. I've been tied up at Bible Conf in Atlanta. Also, the links are appreciated. I read Hankins "open letter." NAMB TRUSTEES should weigh this carefully. Ark. Baptist Convention ex. dir has publicly agreed with Hankins. This is not the way NAMB wants to get their "fresh start."

With that, I am...
Peter

kim

Peter,

I too noticed the giving of Dr. Ezell's church to the seminaries as well. My thoughts were the same as yours, and you had the courage to ask the tough questions. Thanks for all your research on this.

Our family was on the home mission field while I was a teenager. My father was the pastor of a new church in a rough area. CP funds were so helpful for us, and the churches who also helped us by sending volunteers each summer for Bible School, witnessing to neighboring areas, etc., kept this teenager uplifted. Many in this area were hostile to the Gospel, and we got picked on quite a bit for being Christians and pastor's kids to boot. Having youth from other churches come and visit and help every now and then was such an encouragement. I still remember getting gifts for Christmas because of missions help. The church was just too small in the beginning to fully support a pastor with a family. God worked through the CP giving to help this family get the Gospel out, and still help a pastor take care of his family. I say all this because the changes I see coming down the road to CP make me disheartened.

I am disappointed that the praise for CP that happened at convention, so far, doesn't match up with some of the decisions that are being made. I understand that Dr. Ezell seems to be well liked and admired, and that's fine, but is that all we look at when recommending someone for a job? I'll probably get fussed at for this comment, but it looks more like a good ole boys network when we just put forward our friends for these positions without looking, as Peter as said, to see if they actually believe in what the job is, and have supported it all along.

A. Price

Well said Kim!

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