"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

IMB Meeting, Monday, January 9th, 2006

Before I detail the events of the day, allow two personal anecdotes to serve as an allegory for events at the IMB today from my perspective.

Cranberry Juice and God's Providence

On the plane trip to Richmond a stewardess spilled a can of cranberry juice all over my suit. I was in mid-conversation with a fellow passenger (sharing Christ), and my brand new suit (Christmas gift) was dyed red. The stewardess was mortified, but I was very gracious and laughed about it, and told the young lady not to worry, these types of things happen. I tried to remove the stain with a club soda and the man next to me said, "Christ really has made a difference in you hasn't he?" I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "It's one thing to tell me words, but it is another to show by your actions." I told him that it was easy for me to be soft and gracious because I believed, that in God's love for me, something better was coming. At precisely that moment the stewardess showed up with a voucher and said, "Sir, the airlines would like to pay to have your suit cleaned. If the stain can't come out, we will be happy to buy you a new suit with this voucher."


Principle: Sometimes things get messy because God is about to accomplish something greater.


Fire Alarms and Never Before Seen Reflection

I was awakened by a very loud fire alarm Monday morning at the IMB hotel. I was not really excited about leaving, but then began to consider, "What if there really is a fire, and I get trapped?" So I called the front desk and let the phone ring, and ring, and ring until someone finally answered. Above the din of the alarms I asked, "Is there really a fire?" The answer, "Someone burned their toast in the continental breakfast room, but by company policy we can't turn off the alarm until the firetrucks arrive." It took 5 painful minutes before the first trucks arrived. But for the first time in my life I examined the evacuation routes located on the back door of every hotel room in America.

Principle: Sometimes a loud alarm causes people to pause and reflect on things never before considered.


EVENTS OF DAY, MONDAY, JANUARY 9TH 2006

9:00 a.m. Breakfast with Fellow Trustee Winston Curtis

Winston is a good friend and the pastor of a church in Duncan, Oklahoma, and has served on the Board of Trustees for three years.

Winston and I went to a little cafe called "Katy's Pantry" and had a wonderful "southern" breakfast and even better fellowship. The only thing I regret is Winston did not bring his family photos as I asked!

As I said yesterday in my blog, Winston voted for the new baptism and private prayer language policies, but his dialogue with me is always refreshing, and never personally caustic. I told him in advance I would blog about our breakfast, and during our conversations I learned a great deal that is beneficial for me through Winston's wisdom, and I came away believing we both understood each other better. Good Christian dialogue in the open has that kind of effect.

What I learned:
(1) Some trustees feel I am harming the effectiveness of the IMB through this blog.
(2). Many trustees think that every trustee should give unconditional and unqualified support of all decisions made by the majority of trustees --- regardless.
(3). The Board is fluid. Winston feels I may have jumped the gun on making these issues broader than just the Board of Trustees, because the Board may change their minds without others getting involved.

My response to Winston:

(1). If I ever felt I was hurting the IMB's mission I would cease this blog. I believe with all my heart I am helping the IMB longterm by standing against the narrowing of parameters of cooperation.
(2). I cannot give unconditional, blind support to the new policies on a private prayer language and baptism. I believe both policies violate the Scripture and are nowhere found in the Baptist Faith and Message. This is a matter of conscience for me. The previous policies of the Board were sufficient. The new policies exclude some of our greatest missionaries of the past including Bertha Smith as a qualified candidate for the IMB mission field.
(3).This blog is necessary BECAUSE the Board has spoken. The forum for this issue is no longer the International Mission Board, but the sole owner of it, the Southern Baptist Convention.

I explained to Winston that there were a ton of people in the Southern Baptist Convention who would not be in agreement with the new "doctrine" of the IMB, and that those churches, some of whom are large contributors to the CP and Lottie Moon Offering, would want to know that there is somebody who is representing their interests on the board. In addition, some pastors have written to me saying they are ready to pull out of the convention because of these new policies. I am doing my best to keep people and churches involved in the SBC. I feel that some trustees are out of touch with where the convention is as a whole. The SBC is conservative on the doctrinal ESSENTIALS, but people are more concerned about cooperating with each other for missions, instead of narrowing the cooperation to only those who only have certain, and similar, interpretions of non-essential doctrines.

That was, is, and will always be, my message.

It was a very good breakfast and I believe Winston heard my concerns. He understands my position that the new policies are but a symptom of a deeper problem within the conventions mission board --- the narrowing of parameters of fellowship and cooperation to the point of excluding people who, in the past, would have been welcomed to serve on the mission field --- including our President, Dr. Jerry Rankin.

10:30 a.m. Visits with Personnel and Staff of the International Mission Board.

I was able to go around to the different offices of the IMB and visit with people who are employed at the IMB. These people are some of the hardest working people on the earth! For example, the Central Asia office at headquarters on Monument Avenue is operated by three people. They service over 450 personal in a huge region of our world, and they do a phenominal job.

I visited with some folks in the finance office and stopped by for just about a minute or two unannounced visit with Dr. Rankin. I let him know that I love and support him, and told him I would continuing praying for him. I have to tell you, I did not know Dr. Rankin before being appointed to this Board, but my estimation of this man has risen immeasurably in the last few months. He is doing a phenomenal, faithful, Christ-honoring job for our convention and all our missionaries.

I then had a very lengthy visit with the head of our Office of Overseas Personnel. Bro. Lloyd is a man of integrity. I discussed with him the practical effects of these new policies, and he stated that it is not the staff's role to establish policy, but to fulfill it. He carefully explained the process by which we have arrived at the new policies and stated that as far and he and his staff were concerned there would never again be brought before the trustees anyone who stated that he or she had a private prayer language. The candidate consultants would also make sure that the baptism of the missionary candidate matched the written policy of coming from a church that taught "eternal security."

I said hello to a few more staff members and made my way back to the hotel.

1:30 p.m. Lunch with Trustee David Button

I did not know David before today. I really like him. He is a Director of Missions in New York, an elected official of a township in that state, and owns a communication business in Waco, Texas.

David was nice enough to buy lunch at a Mexican restaurant for Rick and I. We visited about each other's backgrounds and then we talked about our work on the IMB. David was at FBC Dallas in the late 70's when the "Battle for the Bible" began in the SBC. We reminisced a little about the good old days and then talked about the diretion of the IMB.

I shared with you yesterday on this blog that David had expressed displeasure with an email I sent to all the trustees questioning private caucus meetings of groups of trustees within the IMB. I offered to meet with David over coffee and he ended up buying lunch.

David is a good listener, and I explained, again, that all I am attempting to do is keep our IMB Board focused on the main things --- missions and evangelism, and stop wasting our time on non-essential doctrines that people disagree about. Our narrowing of cooperation by demanding conformity with non-essential doctrinal interpretations of Scripture are resulting in the exclusion of some Southern Baptists from participating in the mission work of the SBC.

In speaking to David I formed a circle with my two hands and said, "This is our convention --- sola gratia, sola fide, solus Christus, sola Scriptura. We agree on the essential doctrines (Grace Alone, Faith Alone, Christ Alone, Scripture Alone). I am trying to keep our convention from," and I squeezed my hands together, "narrowing the boundaries of cooperation further."

David has a background in communications, and though he would not agree with my view on the new policies, I really appreciated his humble spirit, his willingness to listen, and his paying for lunch. (David, I owe you a steak next time).

3:00 to 5:30 p.m. Trustee Forum.

I cannot say anything about this meeting. It is confidential. Trustees must be allowed to speak freely during this time without fear of their words being recorded.

5:30 p.m. Dinner is Missed

I cannot make my way to dinner because I am stopped by several people in the hallways. Some were nice and cordial.

Some were not.

I will not go into details or name names.

However, I was accused of being arrogant, deceitful, a liar, and above all, a man who lacked integrity.

Dr. Allen McWhite, a brilliant theologian and a very soft spoken, gracious man of God, heard the following conversation as we tried to make our way for dinner. Alan, too, was the recipient of a fairly hostile personal attack as well on the way to dinner.

"Wade you are an arrogant person who lacks integrity. You should apologize for your blog and say your sorry for making public what should remain private."

I said, "Let me ask you a question. When Luther stood before the Pope did he stand on truth?"

"That is not illustrative of this situation, you aren't standing on truth."

"I understand that is your opinion. Was that also the opinion of the Pope toward Luther? Did the Pope think Luther was a standing on truth, or did he believe him to be a heretic?

I went on, "The Pope sought to silence Luther, to cause him to repent and recant, because the Pope said, "Luther, you are a heretic." Luther then responded with his famous statement, 'My conscience is bound by the Word of God. I can do no other. Here I stand.'

"Integrity is living your life based upon principles, never the opinion of man. I am living on the principle that I think our convention is going beyond Scripture, and I am standing on what I believe Scripture to teach. I can do no other. Here I stand.'

"That is simply your opinion that you are standing on truth."

"I understand," as a took a deep breath, "but a lack of integrity would involve me laying down my principles out of fear of the opinion of man, or your opinion of me, or fear of persecution. I am living my life with integrity because I will not apologize for standing up against an "extra-biblical" interpretation of baptism and tongues that ends up excluding fellow conservatives from service."

I went on, "If you really believe I am doing something wrong, then you need to make a motion that I cease and desist from this blog."

"I will."

We'll see.

6:30 - 8:00 p.m. Regional Meeting with Central Asia

What a great time this was. Only two missionaries to meet tonight before their appointment to the Central Asia region tomorrow night at the IMB Appointment Service. This couple, in their fifties, reminded me why I am a Southern Baptist. They are going in a pastoral care role to our missionaries on the field in Central Asia, and my heart was excited for them as we all knelt and prayed for them.

Other matters of business were dealt with that were of a confidential nature, but as I said yesterday, I love these interactions with our regional committees and missionaries. It is wonderful.

We dismissed early and I had a fairly heated conversation with a trustee who felt I was "ruining" the IMB with this blog. I asked him if he had ever read it, and he said, "no." I encouraged him to read it for himself and I told him I loved him and said good night.

8:30-10:15 p.m. An Unbelievable Dinner

I went to dinner with three other wonderful men. Fellow trustee Rick Thompson, Senior Pastor, Council Road Baptist Church (as an aside, probably one of the most gracious, humble, sharp pastors I have ever met), and two new friends, Marty Duren, the blogger for SBC Outpost and a pastor himself in the Atlanta area, and Marty's youth pastor Joel.

We had a great dinner and fellowship and it was enjoyable to laugh.

The highlight of the evening though came when we were able to lead a young lady to faith in Christ. This young lady, named Heather, had never met four pastors like us. She waited on us, but because the business was slow we talked to her at length about her relationship with Christ. Before the evening was over she burst into tears, told us she wanted to receive Christ as her Lord, and we pointed her to the Savior and also gave her our email and web addresses so we could follow up with her.

I recall walking into the IMB Building today hearing someone say, "Anyone going to Cambodia?"

"Wow," I remember thinking when I heard that, "What a great place this! A place where others join together to help support our brothers and sisters in the SBC who feel called to go overseas to take the gospel to unreached peoples."

Tonight, four SBC men who support those missionaries across the seas simply went across the street and took the gospel to a Richmond, Virginia lady named Heather in need of a Savior. This is what the SBC is all about.

10:30 p.m. A Meeting for the Ages

As we entered the hotel a group of about 10 or 12 trustees were seated in the foyer of the hotel. I decided to come back down and listen in on the conversation without being observed by the group. After 10 minutes of hearing things that I am not yet prepared to place in print, I went back up to the fifth floor, found Marty and Joel, and went back down to the lobby to confront these men. They said they were simply eating pizza.

I asked them to explain to me what I heard which I believe to be a clear violation of trustee policies and procedures establishing agendas and motions outside of normal trustee meetings. I also asked them to explain other things I heard.

The confrontation was intense to say the least. Some left immediately when I appeared and went to their rooms. Others stayed and we visited.

Marty Duren may blog about what he heard or what was said, but one trustee did apologize to me personally, and I told another if he brought a motion to the floor of the Plenary Session tomorrow afternoon, a motion that I heard him discuss in the lobby of the hotel with the others, but not all trustees present, I would go through the roof. This, to me, was a clear violation of IMB policy and procedures.

Our blue book clearly forbids other trustees meeting in caucus to establish agendas, motions or policies during the course of a regularly scheduled IMB meeting, without other trustees present. This policy prevents politics where prayer and the Spirit of God should be preeminent.

He said he thought planning business for the session tomorrow among this group of trustees was not wrong.

I love these men in the lobby, men who are my fellow SBC trustees. Though I strongly disagree with them doctrinally in the Biblical interpretation of various non-essential doctrines (as I predict upteen thousands of other people in the SBC do as well), I want to cooperate with them in missions and evangelism.

But the motion I heard being made had nothing to do with missions, our missionaries, world evangelism, or anything else to do with the promotion of the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it had everything to do with a private agenda --- period

This is what must stop.

We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Lord willing, and again, I reiterate, Lord willing,

I will post tomorrow what happens in our business meeting since everything in the Plenary Session of the board is open to the public and press.


In His Grace,


Wade Burleson


P.S. Listen carefully everyone. I am blogging to allow people to get in on what is happening at the IMB. I reiterate --- I will NEVER violate any rules of confidentiality.


P.P.S. ABOVE ALL ELSE, we (all the trustees, not just me) love the IMB and want to say to you, "Good work missionaries AROUND THE WORLD!"

We love you and pray for you.

I think over time my fellow trustees will see that we can disagree with each other over non-essential doctrines and still cooperate. It may be painful for a season, but great things are around the corner.

41 comments:

Anonymous said...

So, essentially, the trustees of the IMB have established a set of parameters that are in conflict with the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, since their parameters are not found in the BF&M?

How utterly ironic that since they cannot, in good conscience, sign the BF&M2000 (since they find it deficient) they cannot be appointed missionaries of the IMB, yet they can serve as trustees?

So, do trustees of the SBC entities have to sign the BF&M? Or only missionaries?

Nick said...

Thanks for representing us, Wade. I'll be anxious to hear what biblical justifications are given for the policy this week, if any.

Last week an IMB staff person suggested I check out Pioneers or Frontiers. I hope that in the future, as a result of some of what happens this week, no IMB staff person will feel compelled to advise me to look elsewhere to serve because of this policy.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
I'm praying for you guys on the other side of the world! It's not about us as you have been saying -- it's all about Jesus and reaching a lost world for him.

I couldn't help but wonder if this woman would have found Christ if she encountered four SBC pastors preoccupied with talking politics. But instead she found four guys who noticed her and were concerned about her finding a relationship with Christ. That is what we need to be all about whether here on the field or back home!

God bless you guys!

Derek said...

I receive many concerned emails as to the direction of the board these days. It is good to hear the intent and heart of one of our trustees. Keep blogging. It's important to many voices around the world.

Anonymous said...

Spurgeon said, "I am quite sure that the best way to promote union is to promote truth." Thought a word from Spurgeon, whom you admire, might be encouraging. Wanted you to know we are proud of you and are praying for you as you stand for what we believe to be truth.
Mom and Dad (Mary and Paul Burleson)

Anonymous said...

Wade:

Some thoughts based on your comments about IMB board meeting day 1:

(1) God means for our traveling to and from a meeting such as that of the IMB board to be as much a part of the board experience as sitting for hours listening to reports; thank you for making the most of the opportunities He places before you to share Christ with ones who need Him;

(2) NOT all the members of the IMB board LOVE either the IMB or SBC missionaries and staff--at least, not in the biblical "agape" sense. "Agape" love is defined (see your own Greek lexicon) as: "to pursue always and unconditionally, despite all personal costs to oneself, the total well-being of another simply for the prize that one has become to one" (the "ones" are awkward; the definition is accurate). Read John 3:16; God in Christ has loved us this way ("this way" also is in the Greek of verse 16)--always and unconditionally and despite all costs to Himself (cf the cross), simply for the prize we remain to Him though sinners.

Clearly, from a true biblical and broader perspective, many IMB board members are pursuing--despite all personal costs, it appears (caucus meetings in hotel lobbies can cost them their board seats, and their reputations among us if you were to list their names!)--the total well-being of something (a narrower faction within the SBC; or, an inaccurate theology--e.g., Landmarkism--which wasn't right when it was in-style among Baptists 100+ years ago) or someone (principles within that faction), but not that of the IMB, nor its staff, nor the missionaries appointed by it. Almost-agape can put on a good show and call it "a missionary appointment service," but people truly being "agaped" by someone else have no doubt about experiencing it!

(3) "Truth" can be tested for (see Ken Hemphill's hard-to-get handbook "LifeAnswers" for a brief summary of how to do it), and the recent statements or claims of the board don't pass that test (no pass? no truth). If "facts" have to be made up for a claim to be true, the claim isn't truth (e.g., "It's biblical to hold the new position of the IMB board" is an invention now used to support the actions of the board--but actually is evidence of an agenda other than the truth).

(4) Stay rested!


Willingly-Anonymous Brother and Reader

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,

We have exchanged emails before about all of this stuff with the new policies.

Let me tell you that i just returned from having lunch with a church member of mine who returned from Candidate Conference this past week.

Their Candidate Consultant sat down with them Friday and said that everything looked great. He did want to inquire with them about the wife's 'background' in the Church of God, though she had been a Southern Baptist for years.

My friend's wife has a prayer language. The candidate consultant talked to Lloyd Atkinson, the head of Overseas Personnel later that night, and the next day the CC said to the members of my church (paraphrase)"Sorry guys, we can't send you" So the faithful members of my church, Southern Baptists with a call to the mission field, had to quit the process. Why? Everything else looked great; but the wife had a private prayer language (like the late great Miss Bertha Smith).

The Candidate Consultant and this couple shed some tears together and went their seperate ways.

The Candidate Consultant was very gracious and loving but couldn't send these folks on through the process because the new trustee policy prohibiting a private prayer language went into effect Nov. 15th. Really bad timing.

They were going to go to a city in Central Asia where there is the biggest need. It is a dark place of the world in need of the light of Christ. There are no Christian workers but plenty of persecution will await those who come naming the name of Christ.

My church member's were ready to give their lives for the cause of Christ.

Our church has been praying to send people to this part of the world for 7 years. The Central Asia regional leadership team calls this city our church is focused on "the black hole of Central Asia".

These new policies implement by the IMB hit home. They hit our church where it deeply hurts. It hit the SC where it hurts.

I wanted to let you know all of this because I want others to understand that your concerns that certain people within the SBC are now being excluded from partipating in missions, simply because they do not interpret the Bible the same in areas of non-essential doctrines, are valid.

This couple has never caused a problem in our church with "tongues," and would never cause a problem on the mission field. You are part of the Central Asia regional team. The SC wrote an email to several Florida trustees expressing concern.

We need the IMB trustees to allow this couple to go.

These policies must be reversed . . for the sake of the unreached peoples of this world; peoples to whom God is calling fellow Southern Baptists to serve.

Thanks for all you are doing to help.

Clif Cummings said...

The comment made that I believe that helps to clarify the problem (at least for me) is this one: "That is simply your opinion that you are standing on truth."
It seems that post-modernism has crept into our International Mission Board of Trustees in that some believe that truth is defined by majority vote rather than Scripture.
Truth is never defined by vote!
Continue to STAND FIRM my friend.
May the rest of us continue to pray! This was just day one!!

Rick said...

Wade -

Once again, I say thank you. I appreciate your heart, passion, integrity and courage to face these difficult issues. We will be praying for you and all the trustees as you meet this week. May God's purposes be accomplished as you stand firm in your beliefs and defend the truth.

farouttraveler said...

very interesting stuff. blog on my brother. if you didn't no one would even know what is going on.

a question I have is "When will the big dogs show up?"
read my blog at http://therooftopreview.blogspot.
com

Kevin Bussey said...

Praise God on the young lady who accepted Christ.

Wow! I don't know what to say the other stuff. This is not encouraging. I'm praying for you. What do we do now?

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade, I just found your blog a few days ago. Thank you for providing a source of information for those of us on the field. The most frequent question asked to those visiting from the home office is "What's going on back in RVA?" I had never even seen the new policies (in full) until I found your blog. I'm praying for you. Thank you for standing against political agendas and holding to biblical truth. I've been with the IMB eight years. I'm an SC and a leader of other teams. I have a private prayer language. Not only am I concerned about the lack of scriptural basis for the new policies, but also their inconsistancy. If having a private prayer language will eliminated a candidate from being a representative of the IMB of the SBC, why would it also not elimate a missionary on the field? Likewise, shouldn't all of the missionaries who did not receive a baptism according to the new policy need to leave the field, go back to thier church and get a proper baptism? To say a baptism or spiritual gift is acceptable on Nov. 14th but unacceptable on Nov. 15th is inconsistant. My hope is that they will become consistant by reversing these policies and once again come into agreement with scripture and the BF&M. My concern is that in order to become consistant they will ammend the new policies to apply to all personnel.

Anonymous said...

To whom are the trustees accountable? When they make an unbiblical or extra biblical decision, who will challenge them? What you are doing, Brother Burleson, is right. Whether you intend to or not, your blog holds these people accountable for their actions. I am an IMB missionary and I believe you are doing the right thing. Don't be intimidated.

jvpastor said...

I support you Wade, keep up the good work.

Is it possible to get an independent audit of the actions of the IMB Trustees? Especially the trustees meeting in private caucus?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Wade, for what you are sharing. We feel left in the dark at times on decisions being made in RVa that effect our imb work on the field. It is encouraging to me and gives me hope for the future that there are trustees that stand on God's truth and not the majority's decisions. I am praying for you.
Stand strong.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Please pray about revealing the names of those who violated IMB policy. These are the people who are trying to make "rules" for those of us on the field to follow, yet, do not abide by their own.
Thank you for sharing the truth.
Thank you for the encouraging words for those of us on the field.

Timothy Cowin said...

Brother, Praise God for your Stand! You stand for me.
You have my prayers and may the Lord deliver us from these modern-day pharisess!

fedbeggar said...

Wade, it sounds like you have a great reality TV show on your hands.
kent mckeaigg

Anonymous said...

Wade, Keep going , you are right on the money. There is no reason for us not to know what is happening. From a mission pastors point of view I am seeing more and more churches desiring to not only give more to missions but to also engage in missions themselves with the IMB. I hate to see us close the net and not let more people into the work. Keep it up.

Ken McLemore
Missions Pastor

Mike Rasberry said...

Wade, I think you need be careful lest you become a forum for "the disgruntled". There are numerous CBF types out there who long to attach themselves to an "insider", thereby giving some semblence of authenticity to their abberant positions.

I respect your desire to present the inside workings, and political manuvering which takes place on every level in church life. I too, believe too much emphasis is placed on "side deals" and not enough on the "Supernatural Leadership of God's Holy Spirit." This happens in every walk of church life.

Discussion of a matter among associates is natural and should be encouraged. But we must guard against substituting that for the "leadership of the Holy Spirit."

KerussoCharisAlethia said...

Mike,

All I can say, gently, is to reread some of my posts.

There is a far greater, and different danger in our convention than the CBF.

The CBF has their own denomination, their own missions sending agency and their own seminaries.

This has nothing to do with the CBF and everything to do with the SBC.

In His Grace,

Wade

martyduren said...

Anonymous (a few up)--
The trustees are accountable only to the SBC as a whole. It is only the full convention that can overturn a trustee vote. (That is according to the IMB attorney.)

martyduren said...

Anonymous (a few up)--
The trustees are accountable only to the SBC as a whole. It is only the full convention that can overturn a trustee vote. (That is according to the IMB attorney.)

Your spiritual and physical brother said...

Stand firm Wade. We love you and are praying for and with you.

Brett Burleson

Kelly said...

Wade,
I visited your blog for the first time today. I truly sympathize with your position regarding the IMB policies. I believe you are "spot on" in your assessment. As a trustee for NOBTS, my experience with the EC regarding sole membership has made me somewhat sympathetic to your comments regarding agendas and personalities in SBC politics. I personally sense a "narrowing of the arteries" in our convention. There seems to be a move to centralize both organizationally and doctrinally in the SBC in a fashion that goes beyond our historic mode of cooperation. I believe that this will tend to marginalize segments of the SBC as well as marginalize the SBC itself in the greater evangelical community. I say these things as a conservative who laments the fact that while many in the SBC want to closely guard our confessional identity as inerrantists who hold to biblical authority, there is a functional weakening of biblical authority emerging among us. We must not move from the sufficiency of Scripture in theory or in practice. I applaud your firm stand and your continued appeal to the Word of God.

francie said...

Wow - Mr. Burleson - as i read your recounting of seeing the waitress come to a saving encounter with Christ - I physically got God bumps - Praise God! - that's what it is about - those living in darkness can see the light - Light of the World -- Please share your story with the full body of the trustees - they need to be reminded that the IMB, NAMB, and or that matter - the SBC - we all belong and are under the ownership of God - He is the one who sets the agenda - not us - and He proved it with your encounters on the plane in at the restraunt - that He will have His Glory revealed in His way - not ours - we need to get back to that - not to focus soo much on agendas - now don't get me wrong - God is a God of order and instructs us to plan and implement in an orderly fashion - we need to give our best in discerning missionary canidadates and such - but with His leading - not our own!

Thank you for being willing to be an agent of change from within - May God guard your heart and mind in His Son, Christ Jesus!

In His Grip,
Francie Booterbaugh

Larry and Tanya Floyd said...

There are many thousands of us out here in the American "mission field" who are called to the task of teaching the Bible as 100% inerrant and 100% inspired. I will pray fervently that these trustees see what a massive responsibility they have to us, serving not only in the Nsme of Truth but also in the name of Southern Baptists.

Tim Sweatman said...

Wade,

For the first time I am beginning to have real doubts about the future of the SBC. I can easily see a day in the not-too-distant future where a person will have to be a Landmarkist/Arminian/dispensational/pretrib/premillenial/complementarian/HCSB only or KJV only/cessasionist in order to be found acceptable as a missionary or denominational worker by the SBC leadership. When this happens, the SBC's days of being the global leader in missions will be nothing but a memory.

I haven't reached the point of thinking about walking away from the SBC, as many other younger leaders have. But the next 3-5 years will determine whether or not the SBC has a real future. I pray that it does, but if the attitudes and mindsets you have described are not exceptions among our leaders, then I have real doubts about our future.

Keep standing up for what is right. Don't let anyone intimidate you or silence you. Even if the SBC rejects you, God will be honored by your faithfulness.

Tim Sweatman said...

For some reason part of my previous comment was cut off.

In my first paragraph, "premillienial/complementarian/HCSB only or KJV only" should be inserted between "pretrib/" and "/cessasionist."

Jason Sampler said...

Wade,

I just recently read Marty's latest comments (posted as his final live blog). He noted how somber and disheartened you looked as you walked out of the private meeting. I can only imagine how you took one on the chin. Be strong and don't give in. Remember, you are in the right about this.

In my Bible reading this morning, I read Matt. 10. One of the principles of that chapter apply to you today: Fear the Lord and not men.

Love in Christ,
Jason

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

I just got off Marty's blog. I pray things weren't as bad as he thought. My prayers are with you.

Tim,

There are many of us thinking just like you.

Anonymous said...

I too read Marty's blog. We are praying for you. Stand for truth; not to please men.
You are being prayed for; thank you for the Christ-like stand you are taking.

Dan Paden said...

I'll say only a couple of things here; other comments will be found shortly on my own blog--which, yes, you have seen before, but my wife suggested I be more anonymous, and you know the saying: If Mama ain't happy, ain't no one happy.

I find it almost touching that people are accusing you of being arrogant. I have had that charge leveled against me more times than I can count and I always find it amusing, as I have little enough to be arrogant about.

Most of the time when people label you "arrogant," what they really mean is something akin to "How dare you not admit that I am right!"

I'd rather be accused of being arrogant than be accused of spinelessness.

I appreciate your willingness to confront people who obviously need to be confronted. I'm sure you're doing it in love, but the confrontation needs to take place, and it is clear now that the brighter the light shines, the better! Keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

I've asked reps of media more major than the blog sites we're all reading/posting to get "inside" the executive sessions of this week's IMB board meeting to find out what's happened. None of the reps seem to be reading these blogs, until today. It's time to take the news wider.

Willingly-Anonymous Brother and Reader

Paul said...

Wade,

I want to thank you for the gracious way you have handled everything in these matters. You have been firm yet kind in all of your remarks...moreso than I think I would be. I'm sure today was difficult for you and I know that you must be encouraged by the suupport that has been expressed over and again on this site.

May God bless you and thank you for representing Him and us so well!

Craig Lee said...

Wade,

Thank you for standing for your beliefs. Who am I to say you are right or wrong, although I follow your line of commentary.

I have said for some time the SBC is being sacrificed to the gods of the conservative resurgence (probably harsh but true). I too grew up as a pastor during the conservative resurgence and even participated in some of the Ga politics (what little I mattered). I saw some amazing actions and continue to see the strong arm of men who preach a holy life, but act like the "Inspired Moffia" to protect God's cause. I have found their battle more about their cause rather than THE CAUSE.

Keep standing firm and don't crush under the intimidation tactics that have killed many SBC churches over the last several decades. It just may be their tactics, as taught by their deacons boards will be their demise!

God bless you my brother.

Craig

Anonymous said...

From the NAME Region: Thank you for speaking for, and standing on, Truth. In the midst of this crisis, know that there are many on the other side of the pond who are lifting you, and your fellow trustees, before the Lord. God bless you, Brother. I hope one day we'll meet.

Marjory said...

Wade, How we love you and appreciate all that you are doing and standing for in this week of meetings. We will pray for you!!!

Rita said...

Just a note to let you know of my support for you and your family, Wade. I will stand behind you and with you as you face adversity the same way you and Rachelle have stood with me in my difficult struggles. At times when I felt so alone you and Rachelle were faithful friends. So rest assured you always have a faithful friend with me. I love you both and thank God for you!

john gilleland said...

Thank you for your stand. If its not written in the Baptist F&M these things should never be used as a test for fellowship between brothers/sisters, or for the appointment of missionaries.

Pastor Steven said...

I am a small town pastor. My church membership is less than 150 people. I have been a Southern Baptist all of my life (36 years old now). My church has an annual collection of about $40,000 of about which 1/3 goes to the IMB and NAMB (not lncluding AAEO or LMCO).

In my short life, I have seen the SBC go through many changes, and am sure that there are many more to come. These changes that are now coming to light, thanks in part to your blogs, are startling, to say the least.

First, I am convinced that we as Southern Baptist need to be stringent and thorough in our choosing of missionaries. We find these characteristics in the process of selecting and appointing our missionaries to represent us around the world. The Trustees of the IMB should cling thoroughly to the measures that are passed to ensure that candidates for missionaries are impeccable.

Second, if the measures that are passed to screen these candidates are incompatable with our statement of faith (Scripture, and Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Rev.) then a swift and certain decision needs to be passed to enforce the IMB Board of Trustees, and the policies of the Board, along with the policies of the IMB, to align with our statement of faith (Scripture, and Baptist Faith and Message 2000 Rev.).

Third, if we Southern Baptist are really involved in the effort to reach the world for the Lord, then we will attend the SBC Annual Meeting and make our opinions known that we will not tolerate our SBC, or any of its various entities, to dictate to its members in any way doctrine or beliefs.

Instead, we will not become like the Lutheran, Methodist, or any other religious bodies who dictate what their members believe. No, we will continue to be Southern Baptist, and will decide "from the bottom up" what our Lord leads us to believe, according to SCRIPTURE.