Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Missions and the Local Church: Part 2- Ecclesiology is Essential

Before one can ask the question of what is missions? One must answer the question, what is the church? What is its function? How is one church or local believers supposed to work with another church of local believers? What is the responsibility they have towards one another in Christ?

These are questions I won't answer here, in fact, all I want to do is raise questions in this post. I hope that these questions stimulate us as we think about what the church is supposed to be biblically. One important question that I have is this: Have the church and its mission been separated from one another? Or, has the mission of the church been separated from its mission?

Growing up in several small country churches one of the best things that would happen is to have the opportunity to meet a RLM (Real Live Missionary). I don't remember any of the RLMs that I met actually being from my local church. It wasn't until I moved to a church in Nashville, NC that my father pastored for a while, when I actually met someone who had spent more than two weeks in another country doing mission work. Even my language betrays the bifurcation of the church and its mission. See, I am discussing missions as the work that only happens overseas. I probably should correct that.

But, I digress...My point here, is that no one went out from our church to do missions (even planting churches in our local area--unless of course there was a church split, which usually we arrived after this at churches). There was always a feeling that the RLMs were someone special who God called out from Churches, but usually not ours.

It also seemed that as I began to meet missionaries from different local churches, their connection to the local churches after they had left was slim. Very few people contacted them and the church never really held them accountable. They were, however, held accountable by a missions sending organization and their donors.

Does this communicate a close tie between the church and the one's sent out? What about a tie between the church and its mission? What are your experiences? Do we think that this is a biblical model? How can we change, if in fact, there needs to be one?

The mission organizations have done wonderful things, but I think they have run their course, at least in their present structure. Next time we'll look closer at why I want to change that word "lead" to "serve." And, what it would mean to "serve" Southern Baptist churches in doing missions.

Through Christ,
Dougald

16 comments:

Alan Knox said...

Dougald,

You raise some good questions. My history is very similar to yours, except my father was not a pastor. "Missionaries" were like baptist superheros. We had magazines and even comics devoted to telling us how special missionaries were. And, of course, we did our part when we gave our offering. We were a "mission-minded" church because our Lottie Moon offering went up each year.

Someone we met with recently went overseas. We still communicate with them - through email and skype. We also plan to send someone over to encourage them and help them this year. We also had a couple of single ladies move overseas. We sent a couple with them to help them in their travels.

We're still not where I would like us to be. I would love for us to pay for someone to move (wherever God sends them - another neighborhood, another state, another country) and support them until the husband can find a job to support the family. I think this is our responsibility.

Thanks again for this post and the questions. I'm looking forward to the discussion.

-Alan

dwmIII said...

Alan,

Thanks for the comment. It is great to hear about the people that your church has sent out recently.

It is funny to me how RLMs are viewed. I think your baptist superheroes was a great way to put it. But really, we all should be living how we envision missionaries living, right? That is giving up everything for the sake of Christ.

How then, do we present this to a chruch in hopes that they would press on to maturity? Of course there is the question, how do WE ourselves press on in this manner?

Through Christ,
Dougald

Alan Knox said...

Dougald,

I think you hit on the answer with your last question: "Of course there is the question, how do WE ourselves press on in this manner?"

As a pastor, I am called to be an example to God's flock. If I think that God wants his people to take the gospel to the world, then I must model that by taking the gospel to the world. More to my immediate context, if I think God wants his people to take the gospel to their neighborhoods, then I must take the gospel to my neighborhood.

If God expects his people to love those who are unlovely, immoral, hurting, and mean, then I must love... nah... that would be too radical.

-Alan

wlh said...

Dougald,

I am glad you made this post. You and I both know that Life is mission. And we both know how big of a struggle it is to live consistently with the truth. How much more of a struggle it is to have a church that lives consistently with it!

Alan,

I am encouraged by the efforts you have made and those of your church. (I still remember how everyone looked at you funny in class this past semester when you brought up the notion of fellowshipping with missionaries that have been sent out from the church, but I am with you!)

Fellows, I see one of the greatest areas of growth that not just our convention but churches in America in general could see progress is living consistently with our missionary nature.

How does the way we live, the way we work, interact with our neighbors, encourage other believers, serve one another change, if we live according to the truth we know? THE TRUTH OF THE SCRIPTURE (FORMS) TRANSFORMS OUR WORLDVIEW.

In the past, I struggled with immorality. I still find it difficult to look at other people in the eye without temptation. But, I have learned to remind myself that these are people created in the image of God, designed to live in relationship with God, but who cannot because of sin, yet whose purpose is to worship and glorify God only if the blood of Jesus covers them. They are potential God-worshippers. (I don't like not-yet Christians as a the term, they cannot be not-yet something about which they have never heard.)

If this is true, not only can I look at them with purity on my part, I can see them with compassion. Not look down on them, or become angry at them for the feelings of shame that arise in my own heart from past sin.

"There go I but by the grace of God." I can love them as my neighbor. Then the message of my lips will be matched by the message of my life. This is a big step for me!

This is a big step for the church as well. Mission is nothing without love as love is nothing without obedience. And isn't this what all Christians are called to do?

Growing in love

Wes

dwmIII said...

Alan,

Yes, we should model it and encourage others to do the same--with passion. By passion I mean a good deal of passion mixed with compassion.

When I was in college, I heard so many pastors talk about how bad their congregation was. I always felt that was the attitude not to have towards your own church. I appreciate the fact that there are brothers out there who believe that they should model Christ to their congregation. So, I guess, my brother...keep on modeling Christ and encouraging your fellow brothers and sisters to follow Christ. May we all do the same as well.

Wes,

Thanks for the comment. I do think it is difficult to, "practice what we preach." It is a struggle and I have to admit I am thankful for a friend who can encourage me to do the same. Let us renew our strength in his word and encourage one another.

Finally, to all bloggers out there...

I want to say that I hope that this is a place where we can talk about these things and really encourage one another to run the race. And, if you are not a pastor the call still goes out to you, because I am not a pastor. Let us run the race, be like Christ and encourage our brethren in doing likewise.

Through Christ,
Dougald

Anonymous said...

Dear blogger,

I heard of your blog forum from a friend. Your blog post is very interesting. I do see some of your points but I don't think you have really thought through the logistics of the way you are advocating sending people to be international ambassadors.

First of all there is no specific perscription in the Bible as to how churches are to send people to the nations. As I have observed Southern Baptists churches I have been impressed by the collective and cooperative sending of international ambassadors to the nations. The lack of contact with International Ambassadors of the Gospel is not an issue with the sending agencies but with the lazy American church members who can't get off of their lazy butts and so much as make a phone call or write an e-mail to people serving overseas. I mean technology today has made it so very easy to communicate with people. But the fact of the matter is that the majority of American church members are so caught up in their own lives and as church bodies they are concerned with building bigger and better facilities and starting bigger and better programs that they could care less. Then they complain that they "don't have enough contact with their international ambassadors" when the whole time they have failed to take any initiative of their own.

Secondly if you remove all sending agencies, very frankly, there would be very few local churches that could afford or even care to send International Ambassadors to the field. So as you seek to throw rocks at the collective cooperation of churches through sending agencies I challenge you not to be so prideful as to think that you have all the answers about how it all should function. Show some respect for what the collective decisions of Southern Baptist churches have been in the area of Intenational M work. Be careful of sounding like you and your compadres have the collective wisdom to solve any problems that exist in the realm of Missions and namely the way Southern Baptist Churches have chosen to carry out International Missions.

Also I am sensing from some of the comments the idea that international ambassadors should not be looked upon as hero's of the faith. If this is the idea being communicated I believe it is a grave mistake not to hold these kind of people in high regard. The church today is lacking in hero's!!! I guarantee there are probably men that you would look back upon in history and hold in high regard and consider your hero's of the faith. Men like Adoniram Judson, George Mueller, William Carey, John Owen, Jonathan Edwards, David Brainard, Jim Eliot or Bruce Olson (aka Bruchko) you might consider hero's of the faith. We are lacking these kinds of hero's in our day and I believe many modern International Ambassador's can be these kind of people for our day and age.

I hate to put it so bluntly but I really have no stomach for the kind of armchair strategy and theology that is being spouted forth these days. Please forgive me for the bluntness of this post.

(For reason's of security I must remain anonymous)
yours truly,
anonymous M

Anonymous said...

Dear Blogger,

I posted the previous post. Just had to comment real quick on your statement "See, I am discussing missions as the work that only happens overseas." If you would just call it what it is you would find your dillema solved. It is "International or Overseas Missions" that happens overseas. You can also have local missions, state missions, national missions, and so forth which take place in other locations rather than overseas.

Just wanted to mention that. Thanks for bearing with me.

Anonymous M

wlh said...

(Dougald, I know you will want to respond to anonymous as well, but I think I have something to say here as well)

Anonymous,

Grace to you! I pray that the church that sent you to the mission field will respond to you with the care that you need!

I understand your frustration, but from a different angle. I grew up in a church over 1200 people who barely gave over $20,000 to International Missions every year. We had a few people go on short term trips, but we did not focus alot on missions, in that sense. Don't get me wrong, this church evangelized! They had a heart for the lost, and yes, programs too. But international missions was a side issue.

Currently, I attend a church with a little over 300 people which gives on average $80,000 to the annual Christmas offering plus over $100,000 to support local missions and mission teams going to other countries. We have at least 4 families serving overseas and we have sent teams or will send teams to them at least once per year.

Which of these two churches do you think is the norm??? (Hint: you had a critique of American churches that shows which one you think)

Our goal in critiquing missionary methodology, including the role of missionary agencies, is to inspire churches to see their biblical and God given role in sending and supporting missionaries.

You said, "First of all there is no specific perscription in the Bible as to how churches are to send people to the nations." Though you will not find a propositional statement saying, Thus sayeth the Lord, Missions is to be done x, y, z. We do have examples in Scripture of which we should take note.

First, Paul (the apostle) and Barnabas (also called an apostle) were sent out after prayer and the laying of hands by the church in Antioch (Acts 13). As they go through the cities, nothing of the church is mentioned, but at the end of the journey, in chapter 14, it says that Paul and Barnabus were appointing elders in every church. So after giving an account in Jerusalem for God's work among the Gentiles, and, sadly, after Paul and Barnabas split, the commenced the second journey in order to visit the brethren and "to strengthen the churches" (15:41). It would be from these churches that Pauls companions and financial support would come, Philippi, Ephesus, Thessalonica, Corinth, etc. Note that at the end of his journey, he returned to Antioch (Acts 18: 22).

The church(es) were supporting Paul and Paul returned to them to edify them and from them to pass on to other areas (i.e. Rome into Spain, etc).

So, we would have to agree with you that there is something very good about the cooperation between churches in the SBC. However, there is weakness here. We cannot overlook it. It is psuedo-cooperation. Only in the area of funding, separate agencies take those funds and does mission work. It is extremely rare that first baptist meets up with second baptist and does a cooperative mission work. This is a travesty. I doubt this is the type of cooperation you would want between churches you are planting overseas.

You are right in challenging us to think through the implications of seeing the church, not agencies, as the primary sending agent of missionaries, but don't assume we haven't thought through it, nor assume we are but armchair quarterbacks. We are both very active is going, funding and sending missionaries and missionary teams. There is also a danger in disdaining theological inquiry. If I can't discern from the Bible truths that have implications for missionary practice, then neither can you, even if you are on the mission field. You think too highly of your position. I appreciate your obedience, it is commendable before God, but you are not a first class Christian, with all us others being disobedient second class Christians. You didn't say this directly, but it is implied. I'm not against hero's, but hero's as you call them are not the exception, they are the rule. We are trying to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ that obedience is not only for the called, but that all are called to obedience. Praise God you are doing what you are doing, but does that make you a hero? The Bible sets up men and women of faith, not so that we would admire them (trust me, they all had dark sides), but that we would imitate their faith. That is what Paul asks us to do in Philippians as well.

Now, I hope from this point forward we will be able to discuss what does the Bible say that is important to our missionary methodology, thus our ecclesiology, and thus, the way we live.

Peace to you my friend,

Wes

dwmIII said...

Anonymous M,

Thanks for joining us in our discussion! First, let me say that I can see your frustration. Churches don't make an effort to connect with their M's and that is a thing that I think the local church needs to work at better.

I also can imagine your frustration as many have spoken out against the IMB and other orginizations lately in a way that seems to indicate that they would like to do away with them. And, I'm sure that this causes some to be on the defensive.

Here, as I think Wes has pointed out, we do not think they need to be done away with. We are asking the question that needs to be continually asked about anything, "Is this the best way to do it?" My point was to say that honestly as a church member I felt a big disconnect from those who were missionaries and I felt it was there because of a missionary sending orginization. That was my perspective and I cannot change that.

What am I doing to correct that? Well, I just finished a booklet for my church that says what m's from our church are out on the field and how we can support them in their ministry. It also lets them know about their work, has prayer requests and even a list of things they would love to receive in a care package. We also hope to send teams to encourage them and we have had people willing to go. In my communications with these Ms I was just not getting the information but communicated the love that our church had for them. Recently, our church had a phone conversation with one of the ones we had sent out right in the middle of our worship service. I say all this because all of our Ms serve with a missionary sending orginization and my comprades and I have been active in trying to keep contact with them.

Second, as far as the "armchair" comment goes. Many of the missionaries that I have talked to about missionary strategy have blown off anything that I questioned with the same response. "You have no experience, what do you have to offer?" That, my brother, is something that is frustrating and I believe also comes from a prideful attitude.WE GET NO DIALOGUE! Praise God I have dear friends who have served with orginizations and have dialogued with me. But, just know that our questioning is not that we have the answers. That's why we have the blog and your experience and insite will be helpful here. Please share with us some of your ideas we are open to them. Just be prepared that we might ask questions and challenge them which happens to be a good thing.

Third, if I communicated that I wanted to do away with missionary sending orginizations than I have to give my humble apologies. That is not my intention at all. But, I just think that they should function as a "servant" rather than with a "leader" mentality. The stated goal of the IMB is to "lead Southern Baptists in doing missions." I just want to change it to "serve."

Which brings me to my fourth point. You are welcome to comment here, but under no circumstances are you to steal my thunder!!! :) Yes, I think missions societies should be around to help those churches that are financially unable to send Ms out. Or, maybe even poor baptist associates could be helped. As far as cooperative missions go, Wes has already stole my thunder with his comment and I wish that he would refrain from doing so also!!! :) This is a post that will be written in parts so please give us time to explain ourselves.

Fifth, we are actively working in our church in a way that reflects our missiology. Currently we are leading short-term teams to Central Asia and working with a non-US planted church. We are working alongside of them with a commitment to what we call "mutual discipleship." Our church also knows that we are not just doing this for two weeks out of the year, but we have already challenged them to be thinking about going themselves to possibly even die in these remote countries along with our brethren who live there. We have challenged our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to leave their nice homes and live in a yurt.

Finally, though we will forgive your "blutness," know that it may where thin after some time. We do encourage you to enter in the discussions to help edify everyone who reads. I think in time you will find we are probably some of your closest allies.

Through Christ,
Dougald

Anonymous said...

Dear Friends,

This will perhaps be my last post, sorry for getting you guys all riled up. I appreciate your candid responses and how you both are seeking to be involved in overseas work and encouraging other brothers to do the same. This is to be commended! Also your theological inquiry is right and good and I apologize if I made it sound as if theological inquiry is not to be had amongst brethern because it is! It is what makes us stronger and spurs us on to righteousness. Perhaps my perception of your argumentation stems from my current perception of the Southern Baptist blogosphere. It seems to me individuals are using the wonderful blessing (or time eating curse) of blogging to hurl their accusations of how things in the SBC are not to their liking and should be changed to their specific interpretation of "examples in Scripture." Of this I am very weary of. Forgive me if I have wrongly placed you gentlemen in this category. It seems at this time in SBC life many are searching for battles instead of searching for opportunities for cooperation within existing structures. I dare say that you have seriously set your energies to really understanding how your denomination's sending agency (IMB) is currently making every effort to connect with SBC churches of every kind. Because the IMB is not an entity to itself it does what the churches tell it to do! The IMB is governed by the churches. It is different from other sending agencies like Campus Crusade or others in that is does what the collective will of the churches is. Maybe not individual church members like yourselves, but the collective will of the churches. It is the churches sending the people not the IMB as you percieve. But there must be organization to it all and that is where the collective will of SBC churches has determined that they will organize their efforts in the form of the IMB. I am thankful for the way Southern Baptists are going to the nations! I challenge you to seek every way possible to work with, encourage, and support your denominations' efforts. Just from reading your responses it seems there are other reasons besides your proposed bibilical reasons that have led you to be so against the way your churches do missions. But don't let personal vendetta cloud your view of scripture and your application of it!

I will now write a little individual note to each of you in a separate comment. Please know that I commend your fiery desire to seek after the Lord as He moves you to the nations! Also forgive me for calling you gentlemen armchair theologians and strategists. I was sinful in writing that for it implied negative things about your character. May God give you the grace to forgive my trespass against you.

Yours truly,
Anonymous M

dwmIII said...

Anonymous M,

I can understand your frustration with the blogosphere. There were many things I wrote that I wish I had not written when I first entered it. That is something I warn people about when they desire to enter the blogosphere. You can trust here that is not our goal! We hope that our blog is a place of encouragment to the brethren who we may never see. And, to get a different perspective, like yours. That is the purpose of our blog. There are also good one's out there that are really not about church politics at all. Try alan knox's blog. There you'll find a refreshing air that has some challenging questions for everyone. And, its very encouraging.

So, with that said, we hope that when you said that this is your final comment, you meant for this post. We desire your comments and perspective here, and as you serve feel free any time to share something with us, either personally through email, or post it here. We would love to rejoice with you with what God is doing where you are.

I'll put my email address in an other comment because I haven't linked it to my blogger account. Let me know when you have received it, then I will delete it so that spammers can't get it. :)

Through Christ,
Dougald

dwmIII said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wlh said...

Anonymous brother!

I am with Dougald in welcoming your insights and comments. Truly, we need input from people in other contexts obeying the Word, in will encourage us and all three of our readers. ;)

Please, as Dougald concluded, consider us allies. We are for missions and for missionaries. We might take some exceptions with the vision of the IMB, but we consider it a great asset. Are we on a vendetta against the IMB? NO!

Here is how Dougald and I began our discussion about overseas missions:

It began back in 2001 when the IMB fell short of its fund raising needs. As a result, the IMB had to reorganize to survive. We began discussing ways we could help raise missions awareness in the churches that would lead to greater support of missionaries. As we began our discussion, and studied scripture more in depth, we became increasingly convinced that we had not been viewing the sending of missionaries correctly. We being Dougald and I. We feel that the mission organization of the IMB has, through the fault of, as you said, "lazy American church members" who allowed the IMB to usurp the sending authority of the local church. Don't take that as a perjorative statement about the IMB. SBC churches, in general, prefer that the agency does the work so they can focus on other things.

We think the church, not the agency, can benefit from being the primary sending agency of missionaries. We also happen to think the Bible says this as well (hence the missionary nature of the church).

The IMB is recognizing this little by little, see Project Thessalonica for instance. The structures of the IMB are valuable for on-the-field organization and support. But, we will contend that there may be an equally as good(Okay, we will probably argue better) way of church planting.

So, we see our blog as a forum for discussing all things missions, we will get on soap boxes, but we need your comments to inform us and encourage us and to encourage others.

Thanks for your time and input!

Wes

Anonymous said...

Mr. Wes,

Peace be upon you! If you are reading this comment now you have read my previous apologies. I do very much mean them with all my heart! I am glad there are fiery young men such as yourself investing their lives in the pursuit of knowing God's Word! It encourages my heart greatly, dear boy!

I appreciated your excellent reference to the ministry of Paul as referred to in Acts. I also appreciated your correct admission that "... you will not find a propositional statement saying, Thus sayeth the Lord, Missions is to be done x, y, z." It is quite true, there are no specific propositional statements concerning missions and that is my point in case. Therefore we must have lots and lots of grace in this area of interpretation similar to the kind of grace we should possess when discussing eschatology! Perhaps you have eschatology all wrapped up but I am still trying to work all of that out! And Calvin never even wrote a commentary on Revelation so I don't feel too bad! But that is beside the point, pardon me!
You also stated that "We do have examples in Scripture of which we should take note." This is true and obviously you were referring to the book of Acts. Acts is full of examples of the early operations of the church and the way things took place.
You also stated in reference to Acts, "The church(es) were supporting Paul and Paul returned to them to edify them and from them to pass on to other areas (i.e. Rome into Spain, etc)." Yes this is true and it is also true of many IMB M's these days. As you made reference in your statement that it was the "church(es) supporting Paul" this is happening today with many many people that serve from Southern Baptist Churches through the IMB. And your statement that this is "psuedo-cooperation" is simply not true. It sounds like it is not true of your church from what you said! There are churches working together and combining efforts on a very very broad scale within Southern Baptist Churches but you must do your reasearch and find out. They aren't going to notify you of it specifically. You should call make inquiry find out for yourself instead of drawing premature conclusions!
I disaggree with you strongly that the problem is with the IMB! For the IMB and those who serve with it are people from Southern Baptist churches! They are going to the nations the way SBC churches have collectivelly decided to send people to the nations! Therefore your problem lies not with the IMB it sounds like you have a bone to pick with the collective opinions of Southern Baptist churches.

Now I must move on to a different issue I believe you misunderstood. And that was my speaking of hero's. I agree wholeheartedly that it is the faith that we are to imitate. There is none righteous no not one, and not even faith is our own it is the gift of God! But there were specific events in their lives that we are called upon to remember not for the glorification of the servant but of his Master! I by no means hold myself in this regard nor do I consider myself any kind of hero. In fact, my dear boy, I am a sinner by birth with no righteousness, faith, or courage of my own. I was dead in my trespasses and sins until God invaded my life saved my wretched wretched soul and made me His child. No, I do not not hold myself in high regard for I am merely a slave of God, but I am worthy only because I am clothed in Christ's righteousness and He has chosen to call me a son and a brother. But though I do not hold myself in high regard I do consider my brethern working overseas to be hero's. And yes you are right it should be the norm which is why I state that we are lacking these days. But there are Ambassador's that I know today who I believe are in the category, as Hebrews puts it, "men of whom the world was not worthy", the people spoken of there were those who suffered much. Many International Ambassadors today are suffering the abuses of hell and I believe that the stories of their stand for the faith would like Paul's conversion and call to ministry cause the churches to like Galatians 1:24 states "And they were glorifying God because of me."
This is the purpose I believe stories of hero's of the faith produce if one's heart is right before God. They lead to greater glorification of God and not man. Excuse me for not making that clear but I hope that I am making that crystal clear now.
I found your comment "You think too highly of your position. I appreciate your obedience, it is commendable before God, but you are not a first class Christian, with all us others being disobedient second class Christians." I guess in this comment you were flying off the handle concerning the armchair theologian comment by me. You stated "You didn't say this directly, but it is implied." You are right that I didn't say it but wrong that I implied it. You totally missed the spirit of what I was trying to communicate. But I forgive you I understand that it was most likely brought on by my sinful act of calling you and armchair theologian.

Once again I commend you for your activity in oversea's work and your passion to seek after the Lord.

I will read whatever response you post but will not post again. I hope perhaps this brief dialogue will help us both in our pursuit of seeing the nations worship Christ. Sorry you had to put up with this old timer meddling in modern missiological thought, perhaps I am a bit outdated. May the Lord bless you in your life and if you have a family may he bless them too!

yours truly,
Anonymous M

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dougald,

If you are reading this you have already read my apologies in my previous post. I want you to know that I mean them with all my heart.

I appreciate gentlemen like yourself throwing their energies into edifying the church. It sounds like your efforts in your local church are very great and that you care about their involvment in the oversea's work very much. For that I commend you! May you grow stronger in the Lord daily.

I appreciate your explanations and reasonings for your views. They are quite helpful in understanding your position. You must be the Public Relations Officer for your website, I can tell, you have a smart and gracious demeanor at least as far as typed words can communicate. Press on for His glory, my boy, do not grow weary as the battle rages on, hold fast to the sword of the word and grip it with the confidence of the Holy Spirit as you make war with your sinful nature and the powers of darkness in this world. Be bold in the Spirit and do not fear death for it will mean a swift entry into the very presence of our King! My lad, take care of your compadre Mr. Wes, He will benefit from your instruction and encouragement. He strikes me as a young lightning rod, we need those, but hold him steady.

I will read whatever response you post but will not post again. I hope perhaps this brief dialogue will help us both in our pursuit of seeing the nations worship Christ. Sorry you had to put up with this old timer meddling in modern missiological thought, perhaps I am a bit outdated. May the Lord bless you in your life and if you have a family may he bless them too!

yours truly,
Anonymous M

thank you for your e-mail, I can not promise that I will e-mail but I might. You may remove it now for fear of the spammers.

wlh said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your response. I am glad for the opportunity to end our conversation on a high note.

You are right in discerning my frustration over previous comments. I apologize for reacting bluntly and harshly. I am sorry for accusing you of snobbery. There is a distinction between what your comments made me feel and between what you were actually saying. I am sorry for transferring my misunderstanding onto your character. Please accept my apologies.

Regarding the other issues, throughout this forum, my desire is to demonstrate biblically that the examples in Acts have theological underpinnings throughout both the Old and New Testaments. Certainly there are practices that are free to be changed from age to age and context to context. But, there are certain things that when examined in light of prophetic expectation and apostolic teaching will shine brightly as wise methodologies. We don't have to agree on all these, but I hope to present a good case for them. Please feel free to respond.

Regarding cooperation, I'm all for cooperation. I am thankful for Southern Baptist Cooperation. In fact, I will be arguing heavily for cooperation. I call the current situation "psuedo-cooperation" for shock factor. I do admit I may be overgeneralizing in my previous posts, simply, my experience is limited to my experience. But, even my church that I currently attend, which I hold forth as a good example (and I do believe it to be an exemplary church), we do not cooperate much with other churches (we do some). I would love to see more of this micro-cooperation. (Cooperative Program, etc, being macro-cooperation). Macro-cooperation might fail within a generation or two if the micro-cooperative functions of the convention do not expand.
Anyway, this sounds too technical for my own taste. Honestly, I would love to see churches in the US cooperate to plant other churches in a similar manner that the IMB and other organizations instruct churches to be planted overseas. (see we are on the same team here).

Brother, please come back to visit as we unfold our missiology and ecclesiology, even if it is just to read.

God Bless,

Wes

P.S. You can email Dougald and he will send you my email.