The Southern Baptist's International Mission Board Should be held
accountable as SBC personnel told to leave China
For over ten years SBC International Mission Board (IMB) presidents and
many vice presidents have been urged to help meet China's Christian
challenge legally. Instead the IMB chose to have two programs in China:
one legal and open and one clandestine and "secret." The IMB began the
Non Resident Missionary program as an avenue to skirt the law in China
and put local Christians under suspicion of being like these covert
Towery letter to Baptist papers and publications Nov. 21, 1997
The approach to China by the IMB is more than just a philosophical
difference with the China Christian Council. It is viewed by many as an
arrogant disregard for the years of suffering and pain that went into
the opening of tens of thousands of churches in China since 1979.
The government has told the China churches if they want to have churches
then they must do it themselves. They are not to depend upon foreigners.
To disregard this causes problems for the local believers because the
unbelieving Party leaders already suspect all foreigners of being up to
no-good. Remember Christianity came to China by foreign force of arms
and illegal treaties. IMB only adds to that shame with such an approach.
There are many philosophical differences in how to do missions. None of
them are perfect, but they do have to be open, honest, ethical and with
mutual trust for the citizens and believers of the land where missions
The IMB has created business fronts both inside and outside China
staffed and funded by IMB as a channel for mission work. These are legal
entities since they are registered with the government, but when a
business engages in religious activity it becomes illegal. In 1994 I
tired to help John Haggai and his associates cease their evangelism
under cover of business to no avail.
It is tragic that many law-abiding SBCers in China will have to leave
because of the IMB actions. Christian friends are welcome in China as
long as they obey the law. The approach the IMB has in China does not
deserve a penny of support from SBC churches. I urge SBC churches and
people to demand of IMB leaders an accounting.