Spring housecleaning of Evangelical missions long overdue...

Because hundreds of millions of dollars are given each year to Christian missionaries and missions organizations who are ashamed of and hide--or often, simply oppose--what is commanded in the Word of God, Baylybog works hard to expose those organizations. Churches, missions committees, and individual Christians give money to organizations like InterVarsity with faith these organizations will use the money to advance the Kingdom of God and His Church--not the Kingdom of Satan. But who will tell such godly givers and their churches when InterVarsity is using their money to pay the salaries of staff workers who are betraying God and His holiness?

Back when J. Gresham Machen was working for reform of the Presbyterian church, the battle lines formed around the church's missions. Missionaries and their missions organizations were betraying Jesus Christ in the Name of Jesus Christ while being supported by naive church members and missions committees who were clueless. So Machen joined forces with other godly men to put a stop to it.

The message went out far and wide that Presbyterian missionaries were betraying Jesus Christ and His Word. This infuriated denominational and mission executives...

so they disciplined Machen and the other pastors who fought alongside him.

Today, churches, their missions committees, and individual believers must turn their giving away from organizations like InterVarsity who have turned aside from the Great Commission and are simply trying to be spiritually relevant in a Christian sort of direction. (And yes, I'm fully aware there are many faithful believers who remain on InterVarsity's payroll and are faithful to the Great Commission.) When missionaries in Muslim lands stop planting churches and baptizing new believers; when Bible translators stop translating the Bible as the Holy Spirit inspired it, but clean up the text so it won't offend this and that subculture; when mission executives vote to approve women teaching and preaching and disciplining men in the churches they fund; when church planting dies and is replaced by missionaries who spend their time on well-drilling and community health initiatives and AIDS prevention and soccer clubs; it's time for those missions, mission executives, and missionaries to be removed from our budgets.

Remember that old saying of the Reformation, "the church reformed, always reforming?" Did you really think it wouldn't be painful? Is it really sufficient if we know and love our missionaries? If we're related to them and went to Cru or Vacation Bible School with them when we were younger? Is the Gospel really a matter of circumcised foreskins rather than circumsized hearts? Should Jeremiah and John the Baptist and Jesus and the Apostle Paul and Machen have to carry their crosses alone? Is there no difficult work we must do to defend the honor of Christ? Are all our own inclinations and all the heartfelt appeals of missionaries writing us about their "deep passion for ministry" inspired by the Holy Spirit?

Is Jesus-talk all that's needed for us to get on board and give? Have we no obligation to make sure our missions giving is being used to guard the good deposit with the help of the Holy Spirit?

Somewhere it is written that no discipline seems pleasant at the time, but it produces a harvest of righteousness. If it's true of our sons and daughters, of our pastors and elders, of our church members and friends, of even Jesus Christ who learned obedience through the things He suffered, then we must live by faith in our discipline of formerly wonderful missions organizations like InterVarsity and Campus Crusade and Operation Mobilization and Mission to the World who have turned aside from the straight and narrow path and are enticing others to join them. Your list may be different than mine, but each of us should be scrutinizing every mission agency and individual whose salaries are paid by our giving for evidence that they are betraying our Lord and His Word.

And if you're wondering what this betrayal looks like, start asking tough questions of your missionaries, listening closely to their answers and asking many follow-up questions. Then, when it becomes evident they are not making disciples who obey everything Jesus commanded, but instead trimming the Word of God to fit the ignorance and prejudice and wickedness and lovelessness of man, cut them off.

To do so is loving. Spiritual. Compassionate. It's just basic godliness in Christ Jesus.

(TB)

 

Comments

My wife and I have talked about this. Almost all of our giving is right now given directly to our church. We believe that they can and will make wise decisions about where that funding needs to go, including but not limited to their funding of missionaries around the globe. We should have come to that conclusion a long time ago, but better now than never.

"...when church planting dies and is replaced by missionaries who spend their time on well-drilling and community health initiatives and AIDS prevention and soccer clubs;" Shocking, simply shocking that Christians would get involved in such work. Somehow I don't feel that these activities and church planting are mutually exclusive, nor church planting the only call of missions. Preventing a baby from being born with HIV, providing clean drinking water so parents and children don't die from diarrhea and parasitic infections of the liver and heart, providing physical outlets for young boys and girls who have been raised in war torn cultures, and doing so in the name of Jesus Christ...seems right to me. And even if one doesn't get the opportunity to drive home the four spiritual laws, there is this element of the Christ follower being obedient to their calling. I'll not judge them. I even may send them some of my hard earned cash.

"Then, when it becomes evident they are not making disciples who obey everything Jesus commanded, but instead trimming the Word of God to fit the ignorance and prejudice and wickedness and lovelessness of man, cut them off." I don't think D.L. Moody ever got someone to obey everything Jesus commanded, nor John Knox for that matter. Those who attempt to pound the Gospel into the hearts of people and drive others to obedience are tyrants. I understand godly submission, but I don't want anything to do with Islam, nor impose that sort of mentality on those we want to reach. It often appears to me that we alienate ourselves from the very ones God wants us to reach by demanding perfection as we see it.

Everything seems so black and white. Other Christians are either "on board" or they are apostate. I suggest to everyone that they be aware of and care about where they invest their money, whether for direct Kingdom work, or in the realm of personal finance and stewardship. I just fear that we are all too often so harsh in our judgement that we lead ourselves into narrower and narrower worlds. The ideal world becomes one where there is only one true mission, one true planted church, one true work being done on behalf of Christ. Not surprisingly that work will somehow have our church's name on it...and we will feel so secure and be so proud.

Tone has meaning along with the definition of words linked in sentences.

I post with fear and trembling.

Respectfully

>>Shocking, simply shocking that Christians would get involved in such work. Somehow I don't feel that these activities and church planting are mutually exclusive, nor church planting the only call of missions.

Help me here. Do you think you're responding to my post? Do you think I believe Christians should not give themselves to the work of compassion? To AIDS ministries? To drilling wells for clean water? To racial reconciliation? To picketing abortuaries? To adoption?

Every Christian should support and be an advocate of such works of compassion.

>>doing so in the name of Jesus Christ...seems right to me.

No, it seems right to everyone. It's simple Christian discipleship. It's simply obeying everything Jesus commanded.

>>Those who attempt to pound the Gospel into the hearts of people and drive others to obedience are tyrants.

Yes, yes. So what's your point? Are you angry at your father? Your pastor? Your wife? Who exactly have you yourself personally seen bashing unbelievers in the Name of Jesus? Then again, maybe you're simply making a veiled attack on the Apostle Paul? Or Jesus? Or John the Baptist? Or D. L. Moody? Billy Graham or his son, Franklin? Tim Keller?

You think there's a whole lot of bashing going on?

>>I don't want anything to do with Islam

That's sad. Really. If you're a follower of Jesus Christ, you should love Muslims and seek to lead them to confess Christ, be baptized, and unite with Christ's Church. But if you want to have nothing to do with them...

>>we are all too often so harsh in our judgement that we lead ourselves into narrower and narrower worlds.

Let's be clear, here: the origin of this post is InterVarsity using money given by the missions committees of churches around the country to promote sodomy. If exposing and opposing this is your definition of "demanding perfection," imagine what you would say to the Apostle Paul's completely-lacking-in-nuance, black and white warning: “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God. Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God" (1Corinthians 6:9-11).

The problem with promoting sodomy in the Name of Jesus using the money of churches who think they're supporting Christian evangelism and discipleship is that it's dishonest and it leads souls to Hell.

...if we believe what the Apostle Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Again, examine your missionaries. Ask some probing questions about their faith and work, then follow up with more. We scrutinize those we give money to for our retirement income. Why not those we give money to for the fulfillment of the Great Commission?

Love,

Amen to a better inquiry of missionaries!

Regarding fighting AIDS, yes, it's a worthy cause; and may I remind the forum that if someone is promoting sodomy "from the pulpit," they're promoting this vicious disease? When we preach Biblical masculinity, femininity, and sexuality, we're doing more to fight AIDS than every effort of the UN.

No, with all my heart I believe that you love and care for people. I also know that you would encourage others to follow Christ's teachings on this matter. I will also accept the probability that when we both stand before the Lord you will have more crowns and treasures to place at Jesus' feet than I. When that moment comes, I will rejoice for you. I mean that in all, and with the deepest of, sincerity. I just "sensed", by the tone of your post, a militancy which could very well accidentally throw very valuable missions efforts away with the bath water. A figure of speech.

I also felt that you created a zero sum game for missions efforts. I see church planting as valuable. I know there are those who are particularly gifted at it and are called. But, there are others who just feel called to drill wells and do so in Jesus' name. They don't feel lead to leave behind a church, just a well. My thought is that this is OK. I'll send some money to a well driller who drills in Jesus's name. I may even send money to someone who just drills good wells for the poor. There is part of me that needs to do due diligence. There is also a strong part of me that knows that no due diligence will be perfect, no organization will be perfect, that some of my hard earned cash will be lost to waste, that someone will simply blow it. But, I let go anyway and then trust that the Lord will judge my heart and that He will guard his resources.

As for pounding the Gospel I mean no disrespect, but often our desire for others to live godly lives leads us into a pattern of pointing out error so strongly that our love is not felt. I can not define it so much as I feel it. I do not think I am alone in this. It is like we blow the horn so loudly that the still quiet voice can not be heard. I am involved with a camping ministry for at-risk youth. One of the little phrases we use with our unchurched youth is that God doesn't speak any louder at camp, you can just hear him better. The children's lives at home are sometimes so difficult and full of static, they just can't seem to think or feel properly there. Sometimes I think the our methods can become, inadvertently, and with all good intensions, part of the static that makes things harder. I think there is room here for all to consider this challenge in ministry.

I make no attack on any of those you mentioned, especially our Lord. There are hard words that need to be spoken. I have no problem with that. It is time, place, audience, circumstance that needs to be considered when those hard words are spoken. Of coarse, not spoken in the sincerest of love means those words will not be of value. All those you mentioned, Jesus excluded, probably blew it sometime in their ministry. We all do. It is so comforting to me to know how broken were and how badly the apostles sometimes did their jobs, how slow they were to learn. If God could use Peter he can use me.

As for Islam, I draw a distinction from the belief system (Islam) and a Muslim, who is a man or woman created in God's image just as am I. They are a large part of the gentile world that we are called to witness to. Islam is oppressive and repressive, that is my point. We need to be careful that we don't sound like repressive and oppressive teachers when we present the Gospel which has its amazing grace component missing in other "religious systems."

My father is dead. His last words to me were I love you and mine were the same to him. My pastor is a life long friend. I met my wife when I was ten and she nine. We've been married for 35 years and have three grown children. I am not mad at her. It is more likely she would be mad at me. But, I got your point and took no offense as I know none was meant. We are just talking things through. I mean to threaten no one.

I must leave for a meeting...

>>There is part of me that needs to do due diligence. There is also a strong part of me that knows that no due diligence will be perfect, no organization will be perfect, that some of my hard earned cash will be lost to waste, that someone will simply blow it. But, I let go anyway and then trust that the Lord will judge my heart and that He will guard his resources.

When you've responded at length, it still seems to me that you have not recognized we're talking about sodomy, here. Sodomy promoted in the Name of Christ by an organization that lives off money given to the Lord by godly and trusting men and women. You keep talking about not expecting perfection and the context is men and women of InterVarsity with salaries paid by Evangelical missions committees--in other words, tithes and offerings given to the Lord--promoting sodomy to students, and doing so as a way of evangelizing those students to the Christian faith.

Reality, man. It's all well and fine to be softspoken and kind and meek and humble as long as we're not dealing with Eli's sons bedding the young women of Israel and pulling the fatty portions out of the pans as they serve as priests.

With respect, good sir, get a grip. Twice now I've tried to get you to recognize what's been the issue leading to this warning I've posted above. Sodomy being promoted in the Name of Jesus by men and women living off salaries paid by the tithes and offerings of the people of God in corporate worship services!

Would you please do me a favor and meditate on that and don't respond for several days? I'd be grateful.

With love,

I do know that the origins for this latest post were rooted in the InterVarsity meeting that has been discussed in previous posts. I know that there is tremendous zeal being focused on this event on this blog site. I was not there. I can neither support nor condemn the speaker who was controversial, nor stand in judgement of the InterVarsity leaders. I do know that over the years InterVarsity has done excellent work for the Kingdom. I am sure we both want to see that continue.

Within each congregation there sits the unrighteous, fornicators, effeminate men and women who seem masculine, practicing homosexuals, thieves, the covetous, drunks, revilers, swindlers, rapists, wife beaters...and the list goes on and on. They are there. They are us. It is my observation, it is my belief, that we evangelicals give no quarter to someone who is suffering from same sex challenges. We will not sup with them. We will not allow them to speak nor serve. We will openly shun them, make jokes behind their backs, berate them behind their backs to our fellow church members, and we respect them less. Men at retreats mock effeminate men by talking in exaggerated lisps. We sit beside the business man who cheats, even have he and his wife over for dinner. When one of our sons fornicates, double clicks on a porn site, or tells off colored jokes we may scold him, admonish him, but in fact we end up keeping him around. Some of us actually think in our hearts, "Well, boys will be boys." One of our daughters loses her virginity and we tell her she can reclaim it. Sadly she has a much harder time than our fornicating son. We joke about how we covet so and so's Audi A6, but in our hearts we really do covet. People like us because we joke and we go bowling with them. We offer community to everyone, including stealth adulterers and fornicators, and when they fall we get them into accountability groups and we work hard to "make them whole again," "set them back on the right path." We see nuance in all these sinful states and we offer hope and assurance even though the pattern of sin in some of our lives continues. We offer little or none of this to the one who is challenged by homosexuality. They are our lepers. Period. Stay away. An effeminate, celibate, God honoring man will often be an outcast for life. There is nuance in all realms of our sexuality, yet we paint all those who suffer from same sex attractions as the same.

We evangelicals are unfair.

I think InterVarsity touched more an evangelical political third rail than they "promoted sodomy." Even using that term is inflammatory and demeaning. It is rhetorically designed to stir deep fleshly passions and does, in fact, create a climate of fear. I am sure on this matter we must respectfully disagree.

I do consider myself an Evangelical. I do love the Church. I do not believe that God has hung the future of His Church, of His Gospel, or His plan for the redemption of His creation on issues surrounding gender roles and human sexuality. I believe He has hung the future of all of us on the cross and the empty tomb.

Respectfully Submitted

>>I can neither support nor condemn the speaker who was controversial, nor stand in judgement of the InterVarsity leaders. I do know that over the years InterVarsity has done excellent work for the Kingdom. I am sure we both want to see that continue.

How is it you can not stand in judgemnt of IV leaders who have indulged the promotion of sodomy yet you can judge their performance "over the years"? Surely a single incident should be easier to master than their performance "over the years"?

>>Even using that term is inflammatory and demeaning.

No, it is an objective term which has historical understanding. If they used "queer" or "fag" you'd have a point.

>>I do consider myself an Evangelical.

Which is yet another example of how Evangelicalism is following the mainstream.

[NOTE FROM TIM BAYLY: Because I'd asked the brother quoted above to stop commenting for a couple days, I've removed his comment and reiterated my request by private e-mail. Sorry the context for this comment is missing, but it seemed the right thing to do. I'll repost his comment in a couple days. He didn't see my request before making the comment, and I appreciate him telling me so.]

By which I mean the mainline churches. Look at the ELCA and PCUSA and that's where Evangelicalism will be all too shortly.

My wife and I support an Indian pastor who does drill wells and does health clinic but it is always with the understanding that it is secondary to getting the gospel message out. The health clinics help them get into resistant villages as well as taking care of both Christian and nonchristian's physical needs. The well provided Christians clean water when the other villagers prohibited them from using theirs and when the Lord dried up the Hindu's well they Christians in that village immediately told the Hindu's they could use their well even after all the persecution the Christians had faced. It became a great evangelistic tool.

Dear Chuck,

Wonderful, as long as we always keep our focus on obeying Jesus' explicit command to preach the Gospel, make disciples of ALL men (women), baptize, teach men to obey everything Jesus commanded, commune around the Lord's Table, appoint elders in every city, and build the Church. These can never be relegated to secondary priorities.

Love,

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