Former Missionary writes IMB
20 May 2003
Dear Dr. Rankin,
Our Baptist Standard [Texas Baptist newspaper] arrived today and I read the article entitled "Loss of 43 Missionaries in a Day Called IMB Record". As I review the names of those terminated by IMB I am greatly distressed. Six of those people are acquaintances of mine (Ted and Frances York, Leon and Kathy Johnson and Rick and Nancy Dill). We had the high honor of being appointed along with the Yorks and the Johnsons. We attended Missionary Orientation at Callaway Gardens [then the FMB missionary learning center in Georgia] with them in the fall of '82.
Rick and Nancy Dill were coworkers for ten years while I served with the European Baptist Convention. In that time we had close daily contact with each other. I cannot count the times we have traveled together, fellowshiped together as families and NEVER once in all that time did I witness anything but the highest Christian conduct and concern for sharing the gospel with those they came in contact with. Earlier communications from your office cast doubt on their integrity because they would not sign the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. Their explanation as to why they could not in good faith sign has been in several publications and on the internet. Knowing them as I do I fully support their action. If Nina and I were still employed by IMB our names would be on the termination list also. You say signing is necessary to keep faith with Southern Baptist. My question is to which Southern Baptists do you refer? I know of many Southern Baptists who do not agree. The accusation has been made that the missionaries must be accountable. They ARE accountable to God and only Him. I am reminded of the Jerusalem Council when the legalist view of circumcision was required of the new converts. What do you say to the millions of Southern Baptist in Texas and Virginia and the other states who have not accepted the 2000 BFM? Why not let these faithful Southern Baptists express their views on the required signing?
Fortunately I am a member of a church that lets each member decide where their gifts will be sent. I have chosen the Baptist General Convention of Texas instead of the Cooperative Program. My Lottie Moon gifts will be sent to CBF, to the Dills and other specific missionaries. For some time I have felt that the only way to get the attention of those in charge of SBC at this time is withhold funds. I am taking that option.
I have been a Christian and Southern Baptist for over sixty years. As a layman I have been a member of and served in various capacities in small medium and large churches in Texas, Ohio, Nebraska, California, England and Germany. When a Baptist church was not available I was active in the Protestant program of military chapels. Over the years I have helped to start fifteen or more churches in the states and countries where we lived. In all of those instances the emphasis was on reaching the lost not on what creed to follow. I will continue to pray for you and IMB but I cannot in good faith continue to financially support the actions you are taking.
FMB Missionary 1982 -1994
US Military 1944 - 1980
Virginia Baptist State Paper [Religious Herald]
IMB Trustee from Texas: Wyndham Cook, Kyle Cox, David L Evans, A.C. Halsell, John Hatch, Hal Kinkeade, Albert Lee Green, Bob Pearle, Mike Smith, Bill Sutton, Stephen Swofford, Skeet Workman
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