Flag planting…for all the wrong reasons

David Rogers, whom I have come to highly value and appreciate, has recently posted some translated comments by Latin American missionary, Antonio Peralta. The most recent post that he offered deals with the topic of denominational loyalty and pride superceding the need for us to evangelize the lost. It is a strong portion of Peralta’s message.

Included in the message is the following quote which I found particularly compelling. Peralta said,

Neither our denominations nor our mission agency will go to heaven, only people redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

So, in light of Peralta’s statement, what does that mean for those of us who are in a denomination? What implications would you assume that this ideaology has to do with our efforts as gospel speakers? I would really appreciate hearing your thoughts!

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

13 thoughts on “Flag planting…for all the wrong reasons

  1. It’s the old story about the drill. Nobody wants one, but they need a hole. So you get a drill to get a hole. Same’s true for a washer and dryer, you just want clean clothes.

    A denomination is just a tag we’ve hung on where it is you work. Nothing more.

    Your task is to do the stuff God’s said for you to do. The denomination helps you accomplish that, that’s all. CP, IMB outreach, etc, are all ways you get a piece of the command to go to all the world.

    You’re supposed to be doing what you’re doing, where you’re doing it. Don’t make it too much more complicated than that.

  2. Brother Micah,

    I want to be careful in my words here because I do not want to alienate myself from anyone. Having said that, I wonder if the post you refer to states the concern that I have with what is going on in the SBC. Your reference is to a post by Brother David on a conference he attended named COMBIAM. COMBIAM appears to be an ecumenical gathering of missionaries on the Iberean Pennisula.

    While I agree with the statement, I also make myself aware of the context the statement was made in. I have no problem with cooperating with other mission agencies in order to promote the Gospel. This, I believe is great. The issue, IMHO, for the SBC is not cooperating with other agencies, it has to do with sending missionaries out of the IMB as SBC missionaries that do not represent the doctrines held by the majority of the SBC

    When I began sensing God’s call on my life I started seeking the area of that call. I thought God was calling me into missions. While I was a member of a SBC church, I was not qualified educationally to be a missionary through the SBC. I began to check out other missions organizations. YWAM was one that I looked at and prayed about becoming a part of. One thing that was made extremely clear by those that interviewed me–“we are not Southern Baptist and as a matter of fact we do not represent any denomination.” That was okay with me and I continued to seek God’s face about His will for my life. Of course you know the rest of the story by now.

    I tell you this to say, “as a Southern Baptist I choose to serve within the confines of a Denomination.” This is a choice that I have freely made. (Of course our Calvinistic brethren may say it was made for me:>))I made this choice because I believe the SB are closer to the NT example of being and doing church. I even believe the SB are closer to the NT example of sending out Missionaries.

    If the definition of planting a flag says; “only those led to Christ by SB Missionaries are the ones going to Heaven” I will adamately disagree and stand on the roof tops shouting it is wrong. If the definition of flag planting says; “we will set parameters around our SB work and will not participate with others that cannot agree with our confession known as the BF&M” I will agree adametely. I also will stand on the roof tops shouting this is who we are and we will not back up.

    I love you in the Lord, Micah, you are my brother. You see Micah, I do not believe denominationalism is a four letter word. (It is more like a 17 letter word.:>)) I understand that there are other worlds outside of the SBC. I do believe we need to be willing to work outside of this world. At the same time I am not ashamed to be a Southern Baptist, it makes not difference what part of the world I find myself.


    ps Sorry for the length. Wife is shopping, and Daughter is watching cartoons. I am being a good Husband and Daddy.

  3. Tim-

    Don’t worry about the length! You know that you’re always welcome to “wax eloquent” here.

    I also believe in the SBC, Tim. I believe it is a phenomenal vehicle with which we can partner together to do missions. If I didn’t believe so, I’d have left long ago.

    I do believe, however, that there are problems within SBC life (I know you disagree with me there) and I hope to see us rix those and move forward with greater success.

    As in all times, however, partnership will be a significant key to our success.

  4. Brother Micah,

    I think I will disagree with your statement about problems in the SBC. I would agree with you that there are problems within the SBC. I just disagree with the level the problems are. Do we need to get some of these issues resolved? Certainly! Do we go about it by forming groups of disgruntled people that have personal axes to grind? No!


  5. Tim-

    That would be where we agree. Two things I would say. First, disgruntled merely means that we are unhappy with something…that only makes sense. If something is wrong, we would be upset about it. Second, NOTHING ever changes in SBC life unless you get a group of people together. One person won’t change the SBC, our polity demands that.

    So, I disagree, we do need to get together groups of disgruntled people if we are to see change.

    By the way, isn’t it at least somewhat telling that since a few people started talking about this a year and a half ago, so many more have come out and explained their frustration as well? When this many people are worried, or apathetic, about something, doesn’t it at least point to the possibility that their is need for change?

  6. Brother Micah,

    Let us take for example the Conservative Resurgence. This is a reformation in the denomination that you and I both are able to benefit from without the dirt from the mud and the blood. Did this take place because Judge Pressler, Dr. Criswell, and Bill Powell were angry at someone? No! This movement came about because people in the pew saw things that needed to be changed and FIRST went to those in leadership to express their concerns. They did not begin by forming a group, placing a statement, then criss-crossing a state in order to “get out the vote” at the next convention.

    Brother Micah, my whole concern centers around the fact that the system is not even being consulted about the need for change.


  7. Brother Tim-

    I love you but I am going to strongly disagree with you now. Dr. Patterson, Judge Pressler, and the others, without a doubt, were upset over the lack of respect for scripture and the former state of our denomination. I might add that their anger was only right. Beyond that, though, there was certainly frustration as well.

    In addition, to claim that their was no mud, dirt, blood, etc. is unbelievable naivety. Tim, even those who were staunchly on the right side (the conservative side) have openly admitted that many of the tactics used were less than righteous and were, at best, a means to an end.

    Finally, be careful when you assume that the convention leadership is not being consulted. I have personally been in meetings where the heads of certain SBC entities were present and were openly supportive of what’s being done. We asked for them to share with us their thoughts and concerns and then I have personally gathered with Marty, Art, Ben and others as we laid hands on, and prayed for, some of these leaders. Trust me, there are some in convention leadership who are very much in support with, at the very least, the ideals of our “movement,” if you want to call it that. I can think of three entity heads, off the top of my head, who would be, at the very least, quietly supportive and that’s not even dealing with those in positions of elected leadership within our convention.

  8. Brother Micah,

    Name names. If you have these entity leaders in support of the movement that you are a part of name their names. I do not doubt that meetings have not occurred within the structures of the SBC, but no entity head has publicly spoken of a need for the type of reformation that is being called for by the group you are with. If you are referring to Greensboro when Morris Chapman and Frank Page were together in the Cole/Burleson suite why have they not come out and stated publicly that you have a legitimate concern that needs to be addressed. What have these men said? Nothing, Nada!

    It is time ot speak out about these entity heads. Why are they not speaking out about the concerns you and others are raising?


  9. Tim-

    You certainly sound frustrated, and I would be as well I imagine, in your shoes. I wish that I could name names. Unfortunately, the persons involved have not given me permission to share their names. I know that’s frustrating and under most circumstances I would never mention it because I cannot support it with names, but I felt I needed to do so at this time to help you understand that there is concern at various levels of SBC leadership.

    Additionally, I have recieved multiple emails from entity trustees (multiple entities, and multiple persons) who have expressed great sympathy with our position but remain convinced that the leadership above them will not allow them success.

    I have been given a number of reasons why they wish to remain quiet, but have also been asked to keep these reasons confidential.

    I full realize that the “confidential” tag can be seen as the abdication of responsibility on my part and I despise that reality. However, if I am to maintain my integrity in this instance it is imperative that I honor their wishes.

    Tim, you know that I value you and find you to be both irenic, and purposeful, not to mention astute. I absolutely mean no offense in my comments. I would encourage you though, to be careful not to assume that because you haven’t heard anything that nothing is occuring.

  10. Brother Micah,

    I just checked you blog and do not have adequate time to respond. I will be gone this afternoon, traveling to another city to do an ordaination service for a young man I led to Christ when he was 15 years old. I do want to respond. Please, I know with the typed word it is hard to see, but I am not offended or frustrated in this. I just have seen this before and you are right it does cause a flag to wave in my mind. I will respond in full on Monday.


  11. With great interest, I have observed that Micah’s post referencing my post is garnering more comments than mine (thanks mostly to Tim 🙂 ). Very interesting conversation the two of you are having.

    In any case, just wanted to butt in a second to point out that, in reference to Tim’s initial comment, COMIBAM is only “ecumenical” in the sense of “interdenominational.” It is in no way affiliated with, or even in sympathy with, as far as I am aware, of the viewpoint of conciliar ecumenism represented by the WCC, and similar groups. Also, it embraces the entire evangelical missionary movement, not only on the Iberian Peninsula, but througout all of Latin America as well.

    Although I have written on other occasions regarding appropriate candidates for SBC-sponsored missionary service, you are correct in observing that this post does not directly deal with that question, but rather cooperation between missionary agencies and missionaries on the mission field.

    I am not sure of exactly in what country “Antonio Peralta” serves. I am also unsure if we have IMB personnel serving there as well. What I am addressing here, though, is to what degree would our IMB missionaries in such a situation feel free to observe the recommendations Peralta gives as far as not imposing denominational labels and structures on the work in countries where the indigenous leadership has opted to not embrace them. Somewhere in the background, in my thinking, is the situation back this Spring regarding the IMB couple who were threatened with dismissal for working together on a church planting team with missionaries from the Christian & Missionary Alliance.

    For the meantime, I’m interested to see where your conversation with Micah goes. I’ll keep tuning in.

  12. Brother Micah,

    Sorry it has taken me so long to respond. I was looking through my blogs and became interested in Brother David Rogers’ blog on an SBTC article. Before I knew it I was responding thus the lateness to get to yours. Then I get here and find Brother David has responded here. Once again, I need to respond to him first if you do not mind.

    Brother David.

    When I used the word “eccumenical” I certainly did not mean to imply that it was a part of the WCC. I now realize that many may have had their minds going there, but that is not what I meant. I should have used the word non-denomination, but I really was not sure if that would fit. However, I did not mean to imply anything derogratory toward the event.

    Brother Micah,

    Here is what I mean when I say “name names”. It has been, as you have noted, a frustration for others when one says things like, “I have been in meetings with certain people and I know some things that others don’t, but I have not been given the freedom to tell you who told me this, but trust me because it is coming from those who are heads of entities.” I do trust you and I believe that you have stated what you perceive to be what they have told you. My frustration is not with you but with those that hold these positions. Those that hold positions of the caliber that you described but will not expose things they know are wrong in my mind, and I use a CB Scott term here, are nothing but “boot lapers”.

    Brother Micah, do not misunderstand that last statement as me being mad or frustrated with you or anyone else. I am not mad and I really am not frustrated. I am more determined to expose this type of junk. If you are being told the things that you say you are told (and I do believe you are being told this) then they are trying to use you and the entire MD group to do their dirty work. If they are in the position to see it, then they need to expose it. This is the entire issue that I have seen behind the JC group. We respect our leaders and do not desire to speak against them. We also call on them to accountability. Our leaders need to address publicly the issues they speak about privately as being wrong. This is what I expect of my leaders. I do not expect my leaders or anyone else to their words as stealth weapons in someone elses mouths.


  13. Tim-

    Thank you for the clarification. In that case, I am in complete agreement with you, as I’m sure you can understand. I am frustrated when I recieve letters, emails, phone calls or see in person, certain leaders who agree with me but for a variety of reasons won’t speak publicly. I’m only hopeful that the SBC will work like it’s supposed to in that you don’t have to be a well known figure to help bring about change. I’m hopeful that we help create (and have already helped start) a grassroots movement to demand greater accountability and equal access for those who are fundamentally sound and who are orthodox in their positions.

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