Baptist Press Continues Anti-Acts 29 Agenda, Publishes Errors of SBCToday

Baptist Press has continued to spread the anti-Acts 29 agenda by publishing the errors of SBCToday in the recent “first person” article entitled “Covenant or Confession” authored by Tim Rogers.

Just last week, I showed how Baptist Press has degenerated into an anti-Mark Driscoll/anti-Acts 29 campaign under the leadership and vision of Will Hall, their executive editor.  It appears that there is no level so low Baptist Press is unwilling to stoop, even publishing known errors and blatant mischaracterizations.   Baptist Press carries the subtitle “News with a Christian Perspective” and sadly enough, the news they are publishing is not fitting for the journalistic ethics of non-Christians.

While I have made it my practice not to comment over at the blog SBCToday, the factual errors in Tim Roger’s blogpost were just too many to ignore, so I set out to explain where he was wrong with the hopes it was simply due to poor research and ill-conceived conclusions based on limited knowledge of how Acts 29 operates.  But I was wrong.  You see, not only did I attempt to correct Rogers of his errors, so did Scott Thomas*, the director of Acts 29.  It was a perfect opportunity for Rogers to own his mistakes, apologize, and correct his article.  Not only did that not happen, but Rogers continued to purport the same claims of his original blogpost in ten subsequent comments**, even after he was explicitly told he was wrong in his assertions about Acts 29 (see my second response here).  What was presumed to be an innocent mistake was proven over time to be a lie through the intentional suppression of the truth regarding Acts 29 by SBCToday.

It was bad enough that SBCToday kept the post up, knowing their entire argument was built upon a lie, but Baptist Press took the opportunity to spread that lie across the Southern Baptist Convention by publishing Rogers’ blogpost on a Friday afternoon when they knew very few people would have the time or opportunity to respond.  As I stated earlier, Baptist Press is not reporting about important matters of controversy.  They have become the controversy in the SBC.  Neither Tim Rogers nor Will Hall has sought to verify what they have written, and it is clear that they have little to no correspondence with actual Acts 29 church planters to validate their assertions.  Consequently, the whole article is based on a false understanding of how Acts 29 operates as a network of autonomous churches.

Aside from the subtle attacks on Danny Akin, Ed Stetzer, and J.D. Greear (whom he later calls out in this comment), what’s behind Rogers’ article is the premise that all Acts 29 churches are required by covenant to commit 10% of their giving back to the Acts 29 network.  He intimates that “some within the SBC have advocated a partnership with Acts 29” though no names are provided, and the fact that there are people in the Great Commission Task Force who are affiliated and sympathetic with Acts 29 necessarily creates controversy and questions whether Southern Baptists are a truly confessional people.

While there are numerous errors to address in Rogers thinking, let me reiterate the matter about 10% giving in Acts 29 because this is the foundation to his entire article. The Acts 29 network does not receive mission money from churches within its network. It is not a funding center like Nashville, nor does Acts 29 have a funding mechanism like the Cooperative Program.  Rather, the 10% giving reflects a commitment of Acts 29 churches to keep the priority of being a network of mission-driven, multiplying churches who dedicate a significant portion of their budget to planting more gospel-centered churches.  As Scott Thomas plainly stated, Acts 29 “does not check on where and how much an Acts 29 church gives and no report is required” (as in an Annual Church Profile).  Unlike the centralized denominational bureaucracy of the SBC, Acts 29 operates as a decentralized network of churches who share a clear theological vision and common missional practice, and Rogers apparently has sought to read Southern Baptist systems into the internal works of an altogether difference organizational structure.

Because Acts 29 holds to the autonomy of the local church, each church determines where and how that money is spent, whether it is to the Cooperative Program, a local church plant, Annie Armstrong, or whatever.  Therefore, to say that dually affiliated Acts 29/SBC churches somehow are forced to face a dilemma between giving to Acts 29 or SBC causes is baseless, and this is precisely what Tim Rogers refuses to admit because his entire article hinges on his interpretation of the Acts 29 covenant (which he reiterates six times after Thomas’ explanation contrariwise).   Rogers wants to point fingers at dually affiliated Acts 29/SBC churches and argue that they are part of the reason why “missionaries are waiting in the pipeline” when, truth be known, there are few other churches in the SBC who have a greater international missions commitment than that of Summit Church where Greear is pastor (ironically enough, when the SBC Annual Meeting was taking place, Greear was in Europe working with IMB missionaries in a leadership summit!).

The bottom line is this: you can either believe Tim Rogers and Will Hall or you can believe Scott Thomas and the pastors of these Acts 29/SBC churches.  Either the director of Acts 29 does not know what he is talking about regarding the practices of Acts 29, or he must be lying in order for Rogers/Hall to have a leg to stand on.  Knowing Thomas and many of the Acts 29/SBC pastors personally, I am convinced they are telling the truth.

Fellow Southern Baptists, we cannot afford to have this type of gross mischaracterization printed from our denominational news wire even if it is in the “first person.”  Whether SBCToday chooses to publish such errors or not is up to them, but to have Baptist Press continue to exhibit unacceptable journalistic ethic to support an anti-Acts 29 agenda under the banner of Southern Baptist is simply inexcusable.

_____________

* Scott Thomas wrote in comment #13 at SBCToday (emphasis mine):

“Like Southern Baptists, Acts 29 churches are autonomous. Acts 29 does not receive the ten percent money. Each church decides where to give their mission money: to the cooperative program, to local church plants, to foreign church plants, to their denomination or to plant a church wherever the Spirit leads.  Nobody checks on where or how much an Acts 29 church gives and no report is required. Further, if an Acts 29 planter receives any funding from another agency, we strongly encourage them to honor those commitments. The covenant is to serve the local church, not Acts 29. We want more churches planted and we don’t care how, with whom or who gets the credit.”

** Tim Rogers’ comments as parenthetically referenced in my article are as follows (and numbered in the meta, emphasis mine):

2: “When a church plants a Acts 29 church, their covenant calls for primary consideration for their missions $’s going back into Acts 29 to plant more Acts 29 churches.”

3: “I have to admit that when SB churches embark on a partnership with Acts 29 there is an un-intended competition for $’s. Let’s face it, monies that are going back into the Acts 29 network are being taken away from the IMB, NAMB, and State Conventions.”

5a: “What I am trying to point out is Acts 29 churches mandate 10% must be returned, SBC church planting does not mandate such.”

5b: “Acts 29 Network success is not so much to do with doctrine as it is with directing church plants to return 10% of their funds to Acts 29. If the SBC would mandate such a program, there would not be any missionaries waiting in the pipe line.”

15a: “While “required” may not be the exact word, if a church agrees with that covenant and then does not respond accordingly there will be a withdrawal of funds from the churches that are sponsoring them. Thus, it may not technically be required, it is monetarily controlled.”

15b: “The president of the SBC has not signed a covenant with his diversified missions organizations that he will primarily designate 10% of his budget back to them.”

44:The 10% covenant of Acts 29 is a violation of the local church’s congregational rule. Therefore a covenant with Acts 29 clearly violates the BF&M concerning congregational polity because someone outside the congregation has already mandated where funds are spent.”

68: “I do not desire to partner with them or turn over $’s to them, but that is another item.”

69: “You need to go on and see that according to the Acts 29 covenant, the church planted needs to place 10% of their primary offerings back into another Acts 29 church plant.”

73: “I am saying if a covenant calls for 10% to go back into an Acts 29 church plant then that is where 10% will in reality end up. If it is a SB/Acts 29 church plant then the SB missionaries are the ones that end up suffering.”

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25 Comments on “Baptist Press Continues Anti-Acts 29 Agenda, Publishes Errors of SBCToday”

  1. Tim Rogers Says:

    Brother Timmy,

    the premise that all Acts 29 churches are required by covenant to commit 10% of their giving back to the Acts 29 network. You have said perfectly what I was trying to say. Thank you for getting it right. You see, by Acts 29 covenanting within their churches that 10% of their primary funds should go back to planting an Acts 29 church, that church is in their network. Thus, 10% is allocated to go back into the Acts Network.

    As to those other quotes that, can you tell me what you are striving to accomplish by those. I am confused as to why you feel the need to place all of those quotes because they are pulled out of context between the article and the comment stream.

    Now, I have not attacked anyone in this article. I merely pointed out a discrepancy in their promoting a Great Commission Resurgence within the SBC and their dual giving allegiances.

    Speaking of someone not doing their research. If you would have contacted me before you hit the publish button you could have saved yourself a couple of hundred words. Brother Scott Thomas and I have been in contact together. I have given him my home, cell, and work number. I left him these numbers on his VM and he contacted me Saturday while I was out. His schedule prevents us from getting together this Tuesday on our Podcast at SBC Today. However, we have given him an open invitation to be our guest any Tuesday that we record the podcast to present his disagreements with our analysis.

    Thank you for taking the time to allow me to comment here.

    Blessings,
    Tim


    • Tim,

      The premise is *your premise*, not the practice of Acts 29. As Scott clearly explained in comment 13 and affirmed in my first comment, your premise is false, and yet you continued to argue it six more times in the comments in spite of the fact of your errors being corrected. This is willful, intentional suppression of the truth. There’s no way around that. The quotes verify that, and should people want to read the context where they are given, they are welcome to do so because the context affirms what I have revealed.

      There is NO discrepancy with dually affiliated Acts 29/SBC churches. Can you not read and make sense of what Scott says when he stated,

      Each church decides where to give their mission money: to the cooperative program, to local church plants, to foreign church plants, to their denomination or to plant a church wherever the Spirit leads.

      You may not have attacked, but you have lied, and that lie has been broadcasted through Baptist Press, an SBC entity supported by our Cooperative Program dollars. I don’t think Southern Baptists would be proud to know their CP money is spent to spread such false information.

      • Tim Rogers Says:

        Brother Timmy,

        Each church decides where to give their mission money: No, wrong again. The church does not decide the elders decide. Huge difference.

        As to further discussion with you. I reference you to Romans 16:17. I have accused no one of telling a lie. Something you freely throw out there with no hint of understanding that you are; 1.) speaking to a Brother in Christ; 2.) Speaking to a fellow Pastor; and 3.) Speaking to one of your elders.

        The comments from me are over with you.

        I Pray for you to have a repentant attitude concerning this issue.

        Blessings,
        Tim


        • Tim,

          You have borne false witness and continue to do so. To lie is to make an untrue statement or create a misleading impression (Webster). At first, I gave you the benefit of the doubt, believing that you simply had a misunderstanding. After attempting to correct you and after Scott Thomas verified that your misunderstandings about Acts 29 were indeed incorrect, you continued to suppress the truth about the practices of Acts 29 churches. Therefore, you have no less than six times made untrue statements and fostered misleading impressions which is nothing short of lying.

          You had ample opportunity to simply admit that what you said was wrong, and yet you refused to believe even the words of the director of Acts 29. From that moment on, your comments were seen as intentional, willful suppression of the truth in spite of the gracious attempts to correct you in your error.

          I am not freely throwing anything out there. You refuse to own your words, admit your errors, and bear witness to the truth about Acts 29. I will let the broader public, and the Christian readership at large determine for themselves whether you have borne false witness or not.

        • tom ascol Says:

          Tim R:

          Hearing you admonish someone about speaking truthfully and being repentant rings hollow to me in light of our conversation at the SBC in Louisville and your yet-unfulfilled promise to me. Log and speck, brother.

          -tom

  2. Tim Rogers Says:

    Brother Timmy,

    One other item. I am not getting into your little, who is lying and who is not back and forth. I do not believe Brother Scott Thomas to be one that gives false information. However, I believe my article along with Brother Robin’s (one you did not point to but here it is) revealed we were on to something. Why? Because the covenant was changed on the website this past Friday to its current reading.

    Blessings,
    Tim

    • pregador27 Says:

      I read the article and the comments addressed by Timmy above along with many, many others under that very long thread. I do not find anything Timmy said to be out of context. I am not impressed by the spirit of SBCToday though.

  3. bfpower Says:

    My heart’s heavy for everyone involved – I beg you to be careful. There are far more important things than being “right” (this is to both of you – I acknowledge I don’t have all the information, so I make no judgment). I pray for reconciliation and harmony for you.

    If you’re being maligned for doing right, take it patiently like Jesus did, with the knowledge that Justice Himself reigns. If you’re just trying to make a point, save face, or win a battle, give it up – else in the end you may find it’s not God you’re worshiping, but yourself. Examine yourselves in fear and humility to see whether reconciliation is truly your aim. You’ll be better men for it, and actions of peace will radiate the love of God, even in taking a “loss”.

    my $.02

    with love
    ben

  4. svmuschany Says:

    Either Scott Thomas (and Brother Tim here) are right when they say that the 10% “tithe” that Acts29 affiliated churches must give, can be given to any mission related orginization/group, including but not LIMITED to Acts29. OR Tim Rogers is right, and that 10% must be given to a Acts 29 related church only. Both CAN NOT be correct. And seeing as one of the leaders of Acts 29 says that the 10% does not have to be given to Acts 29, that it can be given to say, the CP of the SBC, I will believe that He is telling the truth, and Tim Rogers is not.

    Does this mean that Tim Rogers is deliberately lying? No. But seeing as Tim Rogers has not, to my knowledge (in reading both this thread and the thread @ sbctoday) he has not yet touched on what Scott Thomas has said in that the 10% mentioned in the covenant, does NOT have to be given to Acts 29 in any way.

    Oh one more thing…What would be so bad if a church gave 10% to Acts 29, 10% to CP, ect. Oh thats right, we are in the SBC where church giving to state and national SBC causes are often BELOW 10% to begin with. How sad is that!

    • pregador27 Says:

      Maybe some of the giving is below 10% because the SBC leadership/image in some keys areas (like the Baptist Press) are undermining confidence in the SBC. (Not really disagreeing, just something I was thinking about after reading your comment)

  5. Bill Says:

    Brothers,

    Baptist Press is becomming an embarassment and I have written personal emails to Mr. Hall before about BP’s growing personal agendas and biases. It is much more of a public relations spin machine than an independent news agency. As I read BP; which I do much less now than I used to; I feel as if I am listening to Mr. Obama´s press secretary putting the daily spin on all things Southern Baptist. Attacking Mark Driscol and Acts 29 is way over the line. I don’t know if they realize it but I believe they are causing Acts 29 to grow while causing people to turn away from the SBC. The church I pastor is the furthest thing possible from an Acts 29 church but I thank God that they seem to have solid doctrine and a missionary heart. I wish more Southern Baptists had the same heart for reaching the lost and living missionally.

    Brother Ben’s comments above were spoken with such a kind spirit that I’ll close by saying that these were just my $.01 worth…

    Grace and peace,
    Bill

  6. darrin patrick Says:

    Death by “brother”

  7. bkingr Says:

    Timmy,

    Good work on this. I appreciate your work on your blog in this area and otherwise.

    Here is what I wrestle with (Prov. 26:4-5 ESV):

    4 Answer not a fool according to his folly,
    lest you be like him yourself.
    5 Answer a fool according to his folly,
    lest he be wise in his own eyes.

    When is verse 4 applicable and when is verse 5 the way to go? Tough tough call.

    Keep plugging.

    Keith

  8. Brent Hobbs Says:

    Timmy, you’re exactly right to point out, again and again, the misrepresentations by TIm Rogers. That BP picked up the article was just as, if not more disgraceful.

    One thing is for sure when dealing with any of those guys over at SBC Today: the substance of the argument will never be discussed. They are going to turn the discussion into some pedantic argument over whether you called them a name (or LABELED them!), or attacked their character, or accused them of lying.

  9. Matthew Svoboda Says:

    Timmy,

    I just want you to know that your blog is has made it on my “must read” list, which is quite short. I encourage you in your blogging. I have benefited greatly from.

  10. Todd Benkert Says:

    Thanks Timmy!


  11. Tim –

    Great post. As a member of a dually affiliated Acts 29 / SBC church (in Missouri no less) I continue to watch this spectacle with increasing sadness.

    Mr. Rogers’ assertion that he is in any way your elder is laughable. I would further point both Mr. Rogers and the editorial staff of the BP to 1st Timothy 6 – False teachers love to lead others into controversy. In this case the love of money – CP dollars – is the root of this evil.

  12. pregador27 Says:

    Hey Timmy, Thank you for this post. I read the SBCToday article and some of the comments- I began to really wonder if I should remain a Southern Baptist. I am not ready to throw in the towel yet, but it does disgust me that some in such positions would act in such a manner. I hear a little kid whining “Acts29 is getting too much money…” Wah wah… From what I have read of Acts29 they are concerned with planting effective churches. Period. Not money. It seems the SBC opposition to A29 is concerned with money.

    Also, as for missionaries waiting… I considered being a missionary for the SBC, but since we have connections and a place of ministry ion Brazil they will not send us there. It seems odd to me, but whatever.

    Finally, does SBCToday and Baptist Press receive money from the CP? If so, I am going to ask my pastor to make sure the money we give does not go to the CP. (PS- my non-Calvinistic church supports several missionaries on our own over and above the CP. And yes, I am reformed and go to a non-reformed SB church; my pastor and I work very well together.)


  13. Tim Rogers, you said: “As to further discussion with you. I reference you to Romans 16:17.”

    Are you agreeing with Timmy at last that you’re being needlessly divisive and an obstacle to the truth and that we should all have nothing to do with you?


  14. […] Provocations & Pantings Trusting God :: Treasuring Christ :: Triumphing the Gospel « Baptist Press Continues Anti-Acts 29 Agenda, Publishes Errors of SBCToday […]


  15. […] Today, Scott Thomas, Acts 29 Director, posted an article detailing some of the back-and-forth. The clarification is important, if for no other reason that it destroys the straw men used in the other blog posts. My prayer is that this “controversy” stops, for the Devil would love nothing more than to continue this “death by ‘brothers‘” […]

  16. sam Says:

    Your take on this blog post?:

    http://peterlumpkins.typepad.com/peter_lumpkins/2009/08/timmy-brister-at-boiling-point-over-baptist-press-by-peter-lumpkins.html

    I would especially like to know how you reconcile your statement since you accuse Rogers of lying:

    ““let me reiterate the matter about 10% giving in Acts 29 because this is the foundation to his entire article. The Acts 29 network does not receive mission money from churches within its network…Rather, the 10% giving reflects a commitment of Acts 29 churches to keep the priority of being a network of mission-driven, multiplying churches who dedicate a significant portion of their budget to planting more gospel-centered churches”

    with this from Acts 29:

    “This means that when we begin our public services we will give 10% of our internal tithes and offerings… to church planting, 9% under local elder authority 1% to The Acts 29 Board Fund”

  17. Gene Scarborough Says:

    Wow!!! The editors of BP (Al Shakleford, etc.) were fired and replaced by “truth tellers.” Most SBC publications focused on promoting the SBC and damning any competition. All was well!

    NOW–30 years later they are “liars” again.

    Will you fighting and fussing bullies on the playground stop the fussing?

    “Baptist” has become a shame word which now stands for:

    Control
    Political manipulation
    Block voting in national and state elections
    Anti–whatever / FOR–I can’t tell you what
    Criticism–constant
    Trust–NEVER
    Cooperation–you gotta be kidding me!

    This cycle is getting old and ugly without signs of Grace and Love and Peace.


  18. […] 24, Timmy Brister wrote his blog that tried to point out Mr. Rogers’ alleged errors. Brister also recently wrote a blog about […]


  19. […] ensure more funding from the SBC for Acts 29 plants. Her are a couple of blogs to read. Link and Link. […]


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