The Chairman has just read a statement into the record that the Southern Baptist Convention is being requested by a 2/3rd majority vote of the trustees of the International Mission Board to remove me as a trustee of the IMB. I hope reporters were present since the doors had been opened and the public invited in. I had several questions about the basis for the motion to remove me, but after the Chairman read his statement, my request to read a statement into the record was denied.
Because I am returning to a family, a church, and a state I love, I believe it is essential that I issue this statement. They told me I am to continue to be a trustee until the Southern Baptist Convention votes, and I will attend Plenary Sessions open to the public, but with such serious charges against me, charges of which nothing has ever been given to me in writing, I have chosen to remove myself from any future Executive Sessions of the Board. The following is my statement.
Dear Southern Baptist Family,
I am deeply grieved by the action of the trustees of the International Mission Board in recommending to the Southern Baptist Convention that I be removed as a trustee of the IMB. This is a very difficult day for me, but I wish to express my love to the missionaries, staff and particularly President Jerry Rankin for their outstanding service in taking the gospel to the ends of the earth. This recommendation is not from staff, but rather it is trustee initiated.
Before you make a judgment regarding the basis for their recommendation to the convention, I invite you to thorougly read the articles that I have posted on my website at www.kerussocharis.blogspot.com or www.wadeburleson.com. I have consistently maintained that a growing problem within our convention is the removal from leadership and service those who do not conform to specific interpretations of the Bible. We Southern Baptists have already fought the battle for the Bible, but I sense that the new battle that must be waged is for the freedom of Baptists to disagree on interpretations of difficult texts in the Bible, and to always remain in fellowship and cooperation with each other in our mission.
My desire has always been to capture the interest and commitment of what I believe is a critical mass of conservative SBC members in general, and a younger generation of SBC pastors and leaders in particular, who are increasingly feeling disenfranchised because of attempts to demand conformity to interpretations of the Bible with which even reasonable, conservative innerantists may disagree.
I am very uncomfortable with the knowledge that for the next few months of my life, my wife and children will probably have to endure an attempt by a few to discredit my character or to disparage my integrity. I place my concern in God's hands, knowing my own heart in this matter. I have sought to be gracious with others, and even though it may not be reciprocated, I am committed to always speak the truth in love.
As you probably know, a trustee is elected by a vote of the entire Southern Baptist Convention and a trustee can only be removed by a vote of the entire Southern Baptist Convention. The vote to remove me as a trustee of the International Mission Board will be June 13-14, in Greensboro, North Carolina.
I simply ask that you vote your conscience. As for me, here I stand. I can do no other.
In His Grace,
P.S. To my beautiful wife Rachelle, I thank you for your trust in me. I love you. To my kids, Daddy would never do anything to intentionally hurt anyone. I know you believe me. To the greatest church I have ever known: You know me. I'll see you all soon.