Pray for the Bennetts in Australia as they with God's help and for His glory are seeking to establish:
Western Plains Baptist Fellowship, and Gilgandra Baptist Fellowship as New Testament Baptist churches.
Compromises of the A.B.W.E. Mission
A Pastor’s Questions Answered
Former ABWE Missionary, Dr. David Bennett
July 17, 2003
Thank you for your email. I am glad you read the June, 2003 AIB Newsletter on our web site www.Bennett.BibleForToday.org and will continue to visit the site. I will seek to answer your questions. I will give first your comment then follow through with my answer.
Dear Brother Bennett,
I recently read your comments on ABWE on the internet. I have a few questions that I would like you to read and reply to. I want to have a better understanding of what you are getting at. Please do not be offended at my questioning. I sincerely want to get WHY you are saying what you are saying. Along with these questions, I am wondering how the missionary responded when you confronted him (was he rebellious? did he listen to you? did he act like he cared? was he willing to change some of his approaches?)?
I was with ABWE for 14 years so had a personal insight to what was then happening. Dr. Waite put together a book concerning my leaving ABWE which is available from The Bible For Today, 900 Park Ave., Collingswood, NJ 08108. The book is B.F.T. #2388 "ASSOCIATION OF BAPTISTS FOR WORLD EVANGELISM - Their Compromise on Biblical separation and their departures from their own Principles and Practices." I am not sure of the price. Brother Michael McCubbins also left ABWE over their compromise. He has written an excellent book which may be purchased from him. You may email Brother MC Cubbins at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I will now proceed with the missionary teaching drama, dance and music. Since I was with ABWE I know many ABWE people and I seek to keep up with what is happening especially with their families. Once I visited the Family News of ABWE's web site and found out a young man we knew years ago had died. We were able to send a sympathy card to his parents. On my visit to the ABWE Family News site 31 January I read the following.
"Friday, January 31
----------and ------- (South Africa) relate that they have started a new program at Grace Baptist for young people and a ministry training program on Wednesday nights. They are very excited to offer drama, movement, music, puppets, creative writing, guitar, and keyboard lessons. They desire to bring the arts back into the church where they originated and center them on God. Please pray for not only these ministries, but also that the ------- can replace their date projector that was stolen a few weeks ago. It will not be covered by insurance as they originally thought."
I was at the time writing a paper on THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AND MUSIC plus a paper on drama and dance in the church so I was interested in exactly what he meant by movement. As you may know contemporary music, drama and dance are spreading through the new evangelicals and even the fundamentalists so I emailed the brother in South Africa 11 February:
Greetings in the wonderful name of our Lord Jesus. I am doing research for a paper and in my research I visited ABWE's web site. There I read the Family News section and noted you are in South Africa and offering drama, movement and music along with other things. I would appreciate your explaining exactly what is meant by "movement"?
Also the statement is made in the Family News that your desire was to "bring the arts back into the church where they originated." By the arts are you speaking of drama, movement, and music? My understanding is that drama did not originally begin in the church but if it did please inform me as to when and what church? If you mean more than drama please explain that as well.
I know ministry and life is busy and questions by those you have never met can sometimes be an inconvenience to say the least. However, I do appreciate your taking time to answer these questions and I look forward to hearing from you.
Your friend and brother,
David C. Bennett, D. Min."
The missionary brother answered my email 25 February. I give part of his email as follows plus have highlighted movement/dance. He wrote:
"I have been involved in music ministry for 22 years. Eighteen stateside, and now almost four here in South Africa. One of the concerns/burdens that I have had for many years is that we have allowed the world to take hold of the "arts" and do all the training from a worldly perspective. As I have studied music history, I have found that there was a time when a great deal of the great music and artistic expression of our world came out of the church. Now I realize that this is a broad sweeping statement. But there was an expression of God's greatness in the way they built buildings, and the music that was produced. I think that we have gone away from that kind of focus. I realize the financial restraints of buildings and the like, but there was a commitment to greatness that I rarely see anymore. Our music has expressed this as well. There is a lot of great music out there that is just not being used today. Budgets and perhaps less emphasis/interest in music may also be creating this environment. I have rarely had a music budget that can empower the church to effectively minister in music. It is expensive, but I see it as a focus thing. Do we want to do this or not? We like good music, but we do not often want to pay for it.
I'm off my soapbox now.
I also realize that a lot of "art" has come out of the world and it does not have a place in the church. But, there was a time when the church took the lead in this. That does not mean that all of the arts originated in the church, but there was significant emphasis on it. I can think back to my days growing up on -------. My home church afforded me many opportunities to grow my music talents through involvement in the choir, orchestra, dramas, etc.
All of this to say, why are we doing very little training in this area that is church based and with a perspective to honor and glorify the Lord? As a church musician, I am burdened about this and believe that the Lord has directed me to do something about it. I think that in most of our churches we would have a mind and heart to train/disciple people. When it comes to the arts, it suddenly becomes controversial. I do not think it has to be that way, but we often respond negatively because of the way the world has used the arts.
Here in our context, and it is important that one understands this, we are really on new ground. There is some opportunity to get training in the arts here, but it is quite expensive. So, we believe that we have a unique opportunity to train up a generation in some of these areas. So, we are doing specific training in music, drama, creative writing, puppets, graphic arts- painting, sculpting, movement/dance. This is our context, and it fits. Our concern is that we help our people and especially our young people to understand that God gave us these things to enjoy, and so we must develop them for His glory and honor, not for self gain. We are endeavoring to create a Biblically centered perspective/alternative to going to the world for training. Again, in our context, we will not have music/worship leadership in the future if we do not do something about this. The opportunities are just not out there like they are in the states."
In my article I did not mention his name and do not feel I should now. My intent was not to change him but to receive directly what was being taught by a missionary serving with an independent Baptist mission board. There is no Scriptural basis for movement/dance in the local church or evangelism.
What I wrote dealt specifically with your "editor's comment(s)".
You wrote "I am sure this man is sincere but he is Biblically incorrect?" What makes him "Biblically incorrect"? Why do you think missions can not be "training in music, drama, creative writing, puppets, graphic arts- painting, sculpting, movement/dance"! Did Jesus not meet the needs of people? Was he not creative in His approach as compared to His contemporaries? What makes this method "nothing but new evangelicalism evangelism." Do the evangelicals and new evangelicals have nothing to offer the body of Christ? Could we not learn a little from their approach (and not take away from doctrine)? You said "This is out and out COMPROMISE with the world," why would you say that? Could it be that some of the biblical mission approaches are contextual?
You ask "What makes him 'Biblically incorrect'?" He is Biblically incorrect for the New Testament does not give a command to do what this missionary is doing. The Bible says; Acts 2:42 "And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers." and 2Ti 2:2 "And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also." What were they to commit? Doctrine.
You ask "Why do you think missions can not be "training in music, drama, creative writing, puppets, graphic arts- painting, sculpting, movement/dance"!" The Biblical principle of missions is found in many passages but I give only a few; Matthew 28: 19, 20 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen." Mark 16: 15 "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." Acts 1:8 & 8:4 "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word." Acts 13: 4, 5 "So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister."
You say "Did Jesus not meet the needs of people?" Yes, Jesus did meet the needs of the people such as providing food and healing as recorded in Matthew 4:23 "And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people." He also sent the disciples out to preach as well as to heal but a study of the Church Epistles does not lead one to the conclusion that this was a continuation of God's goal for His churches. When it comes to the local churches the Bible gives pre-eminence to preaching the Word.
As to "Could we not learn a little from their approach (and not take away from doctrine)?" Doctrine believed in the heart will always determine our evangelistic approach.
You wrote "ABWE is going down the same social gospel road as the ecumenical new evangelical." The ecumenical new evangelicals loss has been that they stop giving the gospel and just try to meet the need of the people in the community but I don't see that ABWE has stopped preaching the gospel. Don't you agree that there should be a balance of meeting needs and preaching the gospel?"
Balance is something all fallen men have a problem in achieving. ABWE began 75 years ago in the Philippines because the Northern Baptist Convention desired for their doctors to do more medicine than preaching. Dr. Thomas desired to do more preaching than medicine so ABWE was formed. ABWE has now come full circle. For instance a medical doctor I know personally resigned from ABWE over the very issue which ABWE came into existence.
It must also be noted whether our working association continues only if they are preaching the gospel or does our association depend on other areas as well? Why will most independent Baptists not support a Southern Baptist missionary? Many Southern Baptists preach the gospel but not supporting a Southern Baptist missionary is primarily due to his association. Note Leviticus 11: 31-33 "These are unclean to you among all that creep: whosoever doth touch them, when they be dead, shall be unclean until the even. 32 And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood, or raiment, or skin, or sack, whatsoever vessel it be, wherein any work is done, it must be put into water, and it shall be unclean until the even; so it shall be cleansed. 33 And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it." If the dead unclean animal just falls on the item it is unclean. If it falls into a vessel whatever is in the vessel is unclean and the vessel was to be broken. God's purpose in all this is that He wants His cleansed people to be separated from contamination. How much contamination is allowed before separation? That is the question each preacher must answer for himself.
"You keep making this statement "a separatist Baptist church should not have anything to do with ABWE!" However, you give little support except to make a big deal out of something without backing it up biblically. This is one missionary who is attempting some new methods explain why I would be a heretic for supporting an ABWE missionary."
At no time was it ever said a pastor was a heretic for supporting an ABWE missionary. If a pastor can pastor a church supporting missionaries using contemporary music, dance, and drama he must agree with that type of evangelism for "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3: 3. On the web site www.Bennett.BibleForToday.org there are two articles I would recommend. They are WHERE TO FROM HERE concerning drama and dance and THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH AND MUSIC.
"You said "ABWE has been new evangelical for many years ... this is really dangerous ground upon which they are treading." What is dangerous? Is it that the church (Independent Separated Baptists) does not and have not done things this way? You said "The Lord Jesus did not tell His churches to redeem culture but to go into all the world and preach the gospel, Mark 16:15." Would you agree that it takes friendship many times for people to "hear" the gospel? Surely, you do not think that we have credibility just because we proclaim Christ. In fact, according to scripture we are hated because we proclaim Christ. I know many preachers that have no testimony simply because they yell from their pulpits every week citing what is wrong with culture but are unwilling to teach, train and become friends with their congregations."
I was on the foreign field with ABWE for 14 years and during that time I saw their compromise first hand. Once the camel gets the head in the flap it is not long until the rest of the camel seeks further encroachment into the tent. ABWE has been very broad in its associations for years and now it seems to be accepting the teachings of Reconstructionism which is dangerous! The Cultural Mandate is not simply making friends and leading them to Christ. If you are not already aware of Reconstructionism there is a lot of information pro and con about it on the internet which you can read at your leisure and decide for yourself.
As far as having friendships with the unsaved we believers will most often have some friendships outside the circle of believers. Our life is to be a light to those in darkness. My wife and I have many unsaved friends. We often have unsaved couples in our home for meals but there is a limit to what we will do even in our witnessing. The believer should always seek to follow the Bible in being a shining light for Christ in a dark world. Some suggested passages are; Matthew 5:16 "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." and Philippians 2:14-16 "Do all things without murmurings and disputings:15 That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; 16 Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain."
Preachers who only "yell from their pulpits every week citing what is wrong with culture" are not being faithful to God's Word. Preachers are faithful when they are preaching "…the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine." 2Timothy 4:2. When preachers do this their people will be equipped to Biblically witness to the unsaved. Expository preaching allows a preacher to confront every issue that arises within his culture without picking texts for the moment.
Brother I will cease here for more light is not necessarily diffused by a multitude of words. As it is stated on the AIB Newsletter its purpose is "To inform and warn God's people of religious, social, and political events in today's world." As in many cases more information must be sought by the reader for a better understanding of a matter.
Thank you for writing and please visit our web site www.Bennett.BibleForToday.org again. If I can be of any further assistance please write.
Your friend and brother,
Missionary David C. Bennett
Missionaries David and Pamela Bennett
The Bennetts Serving the Lord in Australia Since 1979.
Address: Dr. and Mrs. Bennett, PO Box 1241 Dubbo NSW 2830, AUSTRALIA
Send Support to: The Bible For Today Baptist Church --
c/o Dr. and Mrs. Bennett Mission Fund --
Send e- mail to Webmaster@BibleForToday.org with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2012 - 2013 David and Pamela Bennettt - All Rights Reserved Worldwide.