More missionaries will come on field under SBC’s new policy

Wednesday, July 22, 2015
 | 
Bill Bumpas (OneNewsNow.com)

A trustee with the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board believes a new policy on missionary qualifications will open up many pathways of service for more people in the nation's largest Protestant denomination.  

Southern Baptist Convention 620x300Stuart Bell, an Arkansas pastor and a trustee of the International Mission Board, explained that in May the IMB established a single set of preliminary qualifications for all categories of missionaries. The change opens up the pipeline for more Southern Baptists to be involved in spreading the gospel around the world. The streamlining does lift previous restrictions on some controversial issues such as speaking in tongues, baptism, and divorce.

Bell acknowledges that, before he voted to approve the changes, he did have some concerns.

"But something reassured my heart that we're at least able to say the Baptist Faith and Message will reign in any excesses as well as [there being] strong theological training from the field," he tells OneNewsNow.

Bell is confident the Baptist Faith and Message - essentially the denomination's creed - will serve as the standard for missionary qualification and controversial situations can be handled on a case-by-case basis.

"I don't believe Southern Baptists in the vast majority would condone a missionary promoting tongues in the field,” he says. “In a sense, somebody may say they have a private prayer language, but how would I know they have it if it's private? And therefore it should not be something that's promoted by a Southern Baptist missionary."

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