KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A former high-ranking International Mission Board (IMB) leader who resigned over policy concerns has accepted an associational director’s position in Missouri.
The executive board of the Blue River-Kansas City Baptist Association called Rodney Hammer as the organization’s fifth executive director Aug. 19.
In May, Hammer resigned after eight years as IMB’s regional leader for Central and Eastern Europe. He cited disagreement with controversial guidelines the board enacted in 2005 regarding new missionary candidates.
The guidelines prohibit appointment of those who acknowledge engaging in a “private prayer language” — a version of speaking in tongues — and require candidates to have been baptized in a church with an understanding of baptism identical to that in most Southern Baptist churches. The IMB will not recognize believer’s baptism by immersion if done in a denomination with a differently nuanced baptismal doctrine.
In a letter to missionaries in his region at the time, Hammer said he disagreed with the “unnecessary, extra-biblical narrowing of parameters for Southern Baptist cooperation in the Great Commission (the guidelines) represent.”
His resignation triggered a group of current and former missionaries, former board trustees and pastors to issue a statement calling for the IMB to reverse its stand.