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In an unbelievable letter to missionaries serving with the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention, IMB president compared the IMB trustees to the terrorists who attacked America on September 11, 2001. If you doubt this is true, simply read his letter (unedited, of course), which begins on the preceding page.

Dr. Rankin explains to those on the mission field that when he became aware their integrity and commitment were going to be attacked, he decided to intervene in order to protect them and make the experience not so horrible by asking them to affirm the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message himself.

Evidently this was the most “ethical” thing he could think of to do, rather than show true leadership and defend them from those questioning their integrity and commitment.

Having a Ph.D. in Christian Ethics from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dr. Rankin’s understanding of ethics raises interesting scenarios. For example:

Suppose an alcoholic comes into the pastor’s office and says, “I simply have to have a drink.” Following Dr. Rankin’s example, a pastor could say, “Well, it was obvious he was going to fall off the wagon so I went and bought him a six pack.”

Or a young man comes in and says, “I simply have to have some money, so tonight I am robbing the First National Bank.” The pastor figures the robbery is inevitable, so he tries to help him evade capture by the police.

Christian Ethics is about stopping unethical behavior, not lessening its damage.

September 2002