Missionary says BF&M misstates Bible's view of marriage
April 25 2003 by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press

Missionary says BF&M misstates Bible's view of marriage | Friday, April 25, 2003

Friday, April 25, 2003

Missionary says BF&M misstates Bible's view of marriage

By Mark Wingfield Associated Baptist Press

The 2000 Baptist Faith and Message (BF&M) has it backward in describing the correlation between marriage and the union between Christ and the church, according to a veteran Southern Baptist missionary who has resigned.

Bill McCall and his wife, Judy, served 26 years in Togo with the Southern Baptist Convention's (SBC) International Mission Board (IMB). He has been a seminary professor.

Like at least 42 other IMB missionaries, the McCalls have resigned rather than sign an affirmation of the 2000 BF&M as required by IMB president Jerry Rankin.

"We're not trying to be combative," McCall said. "We just simply couldn't sign for reasons of integrity."

The professor's main reason for not signing is somewhat different than the explanations given by others who have not signed.

He cites the document's Article 18 on the family. The second sentence of that section states that marriage "is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church."

That states the biblical teaching in reverse, McCall said. "Does the Bible teach that marriage is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and His church? I checked all of the Bible references given and could not find this. In effect, Paul taught the Ephesians the opposite, that Christ's relationship with the church teaches what the marriage relationship should be like."

In Ephesians 5:22-32, verses cited by the SBC document, Paul "puts the emphasis on Christ and His love for the church," McCall said. "The emphasis in this teaching is the responsibility of the man to ensure that the marriage relationship be correct in God's sight. To state that marriage is God's unique gift to reveal the union between Christ and his church reverses what the Bible states."

Marriage may offer a good metaphor for the relationship between Christ and the church if the marriage is good, McCall said, but Jesus offers a more perfect example for marriage. "Jesus always fulfills His responsibilities to the church; therefore He is a perfect example, always. Man is an imperfect example; Christ is the perfect example."

To test his reading of the passage, the professor copied the second paragraph of Article 18 from the 2000 BF&M and showed it to his third-year New Testament students in Togo without explaining the statement's origin. He asked the students to find biblical references to support the statement.

"When I asked them how it was coming, they were apparently troubled," he said. "Since they thought I had written the statements, they were reluctant to criticize them. When I explained that I had not written them, they were quite free in stating that they could not find any references to support this very part of the statements that had troubled me."

McCall said he could not in good conscience sign and pledge to teach in accordance with such a doctrinal statement.

"That does not mean that I question the need for accountability to our board," he said. "It does mean that if I find conflict between my accountability to the IMB and my accountability to the word of God, I must be accountable to God according to my understanding of His word and my conscience."

Despite this painful decision, the McCalls contend they have no anger.

"We are not mad at anyone," he said. "We still pray for and support our missionaries. ... God's task has not changed, but our place and opportunities for service have changed."

(EDITOR'S NOTE - Steve DeVane contributed to this story.)

News | Opinion | Children | Youth | Youth Q&A | Archive | Calendar | Email Updates | Feedback | Sunday School Lessons | Churches | Church Search | FAQ | LinksAdvertising | Mast Head | History | Staff | Classified Ads | Place An Ad In The Biblical Recorder ClassifiedsSubscribe To The Biblical RecorderChange Your Biblical Recorder Subscription AddressSend A Tar Heel Voices Letter
4/25/2003 12:00:00 AM by Mark Wingfield , Associated Baptist Press | with 0 comments
Filed under:

Blog post currently doesn't have any comments.