Missionaries attacked

This year International Mission Board (IMB) President David Platt for financial reasons called for a reduction in our missionary force of 600 to 800 personnel. Earlier this year Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary President Paige Patterson called for a different type of reduction. Patterson stated the following in calling for firing 750 missionaries and declaring a battle with the IMB.

Patterson said, “Unfortunately we got about 750 missionaries that need to be brought home. Either they are in this movement (the church planting movement) or else they’re singing ‘Standing on the Promises’ while they’re only ‘sitting on the premises.’ And in either event, they need to be brought home. And so we are fighting another grand battle, this one more subtle than the other one actually.”

Patterson made these charges shortly after the retirement of Tom Elliff as president of the IMB. If Patterson’s charges are true, former Arkansan and Ouachita graduate Tom Elliff supervised, supported and took part in theologically questionable missiological practices along with our missionaries.

I do not believe Patterson’s accusations are true about our missionaries or Tom Elliff. This is just the continuation of years of attacks on our missionaries by Patterson and his political organization.

I am glad Ronnie Floyd has called for revival in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). But no matter how many meetings Floyd organizes to pray for revival, I do not believe the SBC will experience revival or take part in a spiritual awakening until Floyd and other conservative resurgence leaders get on their knees before our convention and ask God for forgiveness for the years of slander against our missionaries and other theologically conservative Southern Baptists by leaders of the SBC.

Ron West
Little Rock


Keep the ABN in print!

I have read the Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine (now called the Arkansas Baptist News) all my life, starting long before the name changed. It is indeed sad that Georgia Baptists have given up their printed news.

I am computer literate, own an iPhone, laptop, Kindle, etc., but I look forward to seeing the Arkansas Baptist Newsmagazine arrive in my mailbox. I read every page (at least some of every page). I am a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, Little Rock, but I began as a young girl in Prescott.

Thank you so much for your continued faithfulness.

June Hines Moore
Little Rock


Why sing the ‘old songs’?

A church member handed me a worn copy of a pocket hymnal titled “The Soldier’s Hymn Book” given to Israel Hunnicutt on March 18, 1871.

As I thumbed through the enclosed selections, I realized how many of the text were familiar to me 144 years later. I thought of the contemporary songs that we are singing and realized that most of those that I learned 15 or even 5 years ago are not even being sung today.

When it comes to valuable lessons of the faith, it is imperative that it is enduring. Yes, we should not hesitate to embrace new expressions of our faith, but we are derelict in our duty as worship leaders to not build upon a strong and lasting foundation.

“Am I a soldier of the cross, A foll’wer of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak His name?” (Isaac Watts, 1674-1748).

Glen Ennes
Republic, Mo.


Word of God, not pragmatism 

This May, International Mission Board (IMB) President David Platt championed a set of new “qualifications that will characterize every missionary” at the IMB.

These changes included removing divorce and the practice of tongues as disqualifying factors for long-term missions. To my great concern, the rationale given at the time was not argued from Scripture, but instead pragmatism – i.e., alignment to the Baptist Faith and Message and the goal to commission “limitless missionary teams.” The implication? Southern Baptists’ overly strict policy for qualifying missionaries was the limiting factor in the number of missionaries we could send.

Fast-forward four months, and we learn that in truth, the limiting factor is not lack of a qualified candidate pool, but a severe budget shortfall. This is not new information. Over the past six years, the IMB is upside-down to the tune of $210 million. Now we are being told the plan to fix the budget is an offer of early retirement to missionaries over 50 with five or more years of service, effectively removing 600-800 of the most experienced, faithful and doctrinally sound mission resources at our disposal. Interesting aside: This same group of faithful servants has also been one of the most concerned about and opposed to the new pragmatic changes in missionary qualifications.

Pastor Appreciation Month is upon us, and as a pastor, I know what I would appreciate from our Southern Baptist leadership. First, to argue for solutions and implement changes based in the Word of God and not the pragmatism of our day, for the wisdom of men is foolishness to God. Second, the honest and clear communication expected of a Christian (Matthew 5:37) by which what we say is consistent with reality, with that which is true.

Brian C. Williams


Great time to be a Baptist!

What a great time it is to be a follower of Christ, a Southern Baptist and an Arkansas Baptist. What a great time it is to be associated with believers who hold to the truth of God’s Word when it is not popular.
Why is it a great time to be Southern Baptist?

Because we have Dr. Ronnie Floyd giving spiritual leadership to the convention. His keynote address at the convention was challenging and bold. His commitment to the truth of God’s Word and to upholding biblical and natural marriage was needed, emphatic and refreshing!

Because we have a state convention that is focusing on prayer, revival of the assembly of believers and an awakening for Arkansas, the United States and the world. The gathering of pastors on Aug. 31 and Sept. 1 was an encouragement to every church leader in Arkansas.

We at Maranatha (Baptist Church) in Nashville are pleased with the direction of both the state and national convention. We are excited to the point that we are proposing to increase our giving to the Cooperative Program next year by 2 percent.

During this time of our seeking the Lord in prayer for revival and awakening, would it not be an appropriate time to consider that our mode of evangelism may be flawed? Is it not time that we stopped using an evangelism method that may produce more “false converts” than true followers of Christ?

Jonathan Edwards says, “A false conversion puts an end to convictions of conscience”!

God can overcome our flawed methods in saving the lost, but would it not be thought-provoking for us to consider focusing on sharing the gospel and leaving the results to the Lord?

Bruce Short