Well, the SBC has a new president of the International Mission Board. Hip Hip Hurray.
The trustees were aware that this appointment would draw a ton of attention, support and criticism. Well, of all the candidates they could have chosen, this one certainly hit that nail on the head.
I am not going to reiterate all the criticism leveled at Dr. Platt. Let me say for the record, I have no question in my mind that Dr. Platt is a quality individual and one who is passionate about seeing people saved. I believe he believes passionately in what he sees as “the gospel.” I am confident he and I and the majority of Southern Baptists will not see that in the same light but it is what it is. He is now the new president of the IMB whether I like it or not.
I will make a couple brief comments. First, he admits that he SHOULD have given more to the Cooperative Program. I am sure he wants us all to contribute since that is now the primary source of his income. Anticipating this move, he could have encouraged his church to up their cooperative giving percentages BEFORE being selected instead of not doing so and now his goal is encourage us all to give sacrificially to the CP and no doubt to the LMCO.
Dr. Platt I understand believed it was more beneficial to by-pass the CP and give directly to the IMB. He apparently knew more about what the SBC needed than the rest of us do. Apparently he did not agree with the percentages of monies actually going to the IMB and so he took it upon himself to by-pass his state ministries and the seminaries and contribute directly to the IMB while all the SBC partners tried to walk forward in unity to fulfill the promises of GCR making the CP the primary funding vehicle for convention causes. David Platt chose his own way. What is sad is now he will be asking us to do what he himself did not see the need to do. Consider the following statements of guys who have stood up in defense of Platt’s poor choices related to his CP giving.
Pastor J.D. Greear said:
“It is true, David has wrestled with the CP, but not because he doesn’t believe in cooperating in mission. Because he does.
We all know the statistics, and they are discouraging. Of the $481 million given to the CP in 2011-12, only $96 million (20%) made it to the IMB. If you add in the North American Mission Board’s portion, it is only 29%. That gives even the strongest supporters of the CP an uneasy conscience. This is what David has wrestled with.”
Dr. Russell Moore said:
“I have friends who were concerned because David’s church, The Church at Brook Hills, though they heavily supported world missions, didn’t do so mostly through Cooperative Program channels. I understand that concern. If I didn’t know David, I might be just as concerned. I believe in the CP, and always have. As the president of an entity funded through the CP almost entirely, I would be insane to celebrate the election of someone I thought wasn’t committed to CP.
David believes in the importance of CP. He does not want the mess that we came out of before 1925: a missionary force having to spend inordinate time at home fundraising. The society model doesn’t work in reaching the world for Christ, and he knows that.”
Dr. Hershael York, a professor at Southern Seminary in Louisville and trustee of the International Mission Board said:
“Going through this process has been healthy for David Platt. By his own admission he now sees the beauty and the usefulness of the Cooperative Program as a mission’s dynamo for a large denomination and would certainly do things differently.”
I do not understand how someone can be hired for a denominational position in the SBC and not be an ardent supporter of the Cooperative Program. I do not understand how the trustees of the IMB could simply pass on his record of not giving to the CP and hire him on an, “Oh now I see the beauty and usefulness of the Cooperative Program and would certainly do things differently.” No board of directors of any national corporation would make such a hire based on the kind of support Platt gave to the CP. Not one.
Let’s forget that for a moment. Let’s look at the Annual Church Report. Brook Hills apparently does not see the need to fill out and file those reports either. Now for the record, let me say up front, I do not believe the SBC ought to compel or require churches to fill out an ACP Report. Churches are an autonomous body and can do what they want to do and they should not be compelled to do what they do not want to do; I am not so sure that will be the case in the not so distant future. When it comes to an individual being qualified to serve in a SBC entity or as a trustee of one of those institutions, they ought to come from churches that file a completed and accurate ACP Report and members of those churches that cannot or will not fill out and file an ACP report ought to be excluded from the selection process. If that were the case, Dr. Platt would not be president of the IMB.
So, let’s see; Platt did not believe in the CP prior to becoming president of a CP funded entity; he was pastor of a church that did not fill out or submit an accurate ACP Report. I have not looked very deeply into this debacle but what I have seen does not bode well for this hire. I am sure time will add a couple more questions to this mix and I have not even mentioned his disdain for the use of the sinner’s prayer.