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

Albuquerque and the International Mission Board Trustee Meeting

Rachelle and I arrived in Albuquerque via Denver about 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time Sunday night. Our church's choir and orchestra have premiered two musicals at Glorietta week over the last ten years and Rachelle and I have stayed in Albuquerque both times at the Marriott off I-40 at Louisiana Drive. The IMB meeting is being held at the Sheraton Uptown, just up the road from the Marriott, and after we checked in at the hotel, we went to our favorite steak restaurant right next to the Marriott.

We enjoyed a great dinner together and as we were leaving I had the pleasure to introduce Rachelle to Johnny and Margie Nantz, the pastor and wife of First Baptist Church, Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnny has served on the IMB for the term limit of eight years and this is his last meeting. I have found Johnny to be a sincere, humble and very wise man. He is a person that I learned quickly to both appreciate and admire. With Johnny and Margie was fellow IMB trustee Paul Brown and his wife Ruth. The fellowship with these four was quite enjoyable and yet another confirmation to me that the SBC has some absolutely stellar people!

Johnny and Margie shared with us the story of their 31 year old missionary daughter in Africa. Three weeks ago she was kidnapped by Mulsim men at gunpoint and driven deep into the African jungle. The vivid details of the kidnapping, the near death of the Nantz's daughter and her remarkable display of courage and faith in the face of certain death, and the incredible providential events that led to her miraculous escape sent chills up my spine. It caused me to remember that everything we do at the IMB, and the ultimate goal of our Board is to be a lifeline and support team for those men and women God has called to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ on the front lines of spiritual darkness.

I left the steak house realizing that no matter the personal costs that may come my way for doing what I believe is right, it pales in comparison to anything 5,400 SBC missionaries do every day to serve our Savior. I know all the missionaries would say they enjoy their ministry and don't consider themselves paying any price at all, but the Nantz's story is simply a fresh reminder to me of what is really important about my service to the IMB --- protecting and supporting our missionaries. That support includes freeing and empowering them to fulfill completely the call of God upon their lives in the people group to whom He has brought them.

There are no public meetings of the IMB tomorrow. There is a closed door forum that I will be attending. The different IMB committees will also be meeting tomorrow night to work through business. The Executive Committee at the Chairman's discretion has removed me from all committees of the IMB until further notice, so I will only be attending the forum and the public sessions. More from Albuquerque tonight.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...

While we appreciate the motivation behind your desire to protect us, we would profer that you keep working hard at enabling us and freeing us to be able to serve as we have been called. Most of us understand that comfort and security are not to be our driving motivations, and this is certainly not where we find joy. In my years with the board we have been over whelmed by the support and encouragement. The few times of frustration have come from (what looks to us like) a desire to protect us from the very dangers God has called us to engage.

Thanks for allowing me the chance to communicate this to all those who read this blog.


Anonymous said...

My Son was a missionary for 5 years and I know that they are on the FRONT LINE to do GOD'S work. I pray daily for their protection. I'm praying for you and yours. I know yor HEART.
Your 70 year old BROTHER IN CHRIST

Former M said...

What a shame to be flown out to a meeting as a trustee that you are not allowed to attend as a working trustee.

Wade Burleson said...


Point well taken.

Wade Burleson said...

Former M,

I am able to accomplish more than you may realize :)

Wade Burleson said...

North George Pastor,

Please. As one of my favorite TV show characters of the 60's used to say, "Just the facts sir." Your comment was void of fact. I do like your spirit and I am sure it was unintentional, so if you would like to rephrase your comment I would be happy to answer the question.

Anonymous said...

I just said a prayer that you would be allowed to participate in commitee meetings and in closed door sessions during this meeting. Your voice needs to be heard.

2nd Generation MK

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I will be in the closed door meetings (Forum, Executive Sessions, etc . . . ), just not committee meetings (Personnel, Regional Committees, etc . . .)

Wade Burleson said...


Excellent post! I really appreciate someone who displays the spirit you exhibit and takes the time to research.

I will take another look at Keach because of what you and Dever have pointed out. Keach at Horsleydown preceeded Gill, and I am almost positive Keach moderated his views on the only person "qualified" to baptize is an "ordained" minister.

However, I am for certain Gill took the view that baptim identified someone with the universal church of Jesus Christ and was a "prerequisite" for church membership. It was a church ordinance because the church was to investigate prospective members baptism, and if they had not been Scripturally baptized, they were to be baptized "before" admission into the local church, not at the "rite" for admission to the lcoal church.

Of course, for the next 100 years all Baptists used Gill as their "mentor in Israel" on this matter (quote from Spurgeon).

Again, thanks for your excellent comment.

North Georgia Pastor said...

To which comment are you referring?


Wade Burleson said...

The one I didn't post about the BFM 2000

Hiram Smith said...

Dear Wade,

The original subject for the cartoon portrayal of the Southern Baptist preacher in your May 21 blog had to be J. Harold Smith. What a great preacher of the gospel! Here's hoping you and Rachelle have a wonderful time in New Mexico.

I have written much more on your May 19 and 21 blogs, but will now only post this excerpt, and urge you to read carefully and heed well the words of Brad Reynolds and Bob Cleveland. If you could help me get their email address I would appreciate it very much. Guys, mine is hirambetty@yahoo.com.

In your May 19 comment to Brad that began with, “What are you trying to do?” you fell short of your usual whole-truth standard for persuasive blogging when you wrote:

“But, I would be very, very careful about saying things regarding the BGCT. CBF and BGCT are two different organizations.”

Why be so “very careful about saying things regarding the BGCT”? Some of the broadsides you have directed at the SBC seem not particularly careful. And some comments you have simply published without counterbalancing comments by you have been downright reckless.

In this two sentence paragraph, a common rhetorical flaw is apparent to one who has followed these two organizations. Your careful phrasing may be technically accurate, but it is misleading, because it directly leads uninformed readers to draw a fundamentally erroneous conclusion. The second sentence embodies a soft-spin distortion that is commonly employed by lawyers whose code is to “win at any cost, without regard for truth and justice.” But, Baptist believers expect whole-truth accuracy when reading things written by their brothers to persuade them. We are entitled to expect to read the whole truth, written the way that those doing the writing would like to have the matter written to them. It is not too much to expect our believing brethren to faithfully follow the golden rule when writing, is it?

Resources and leadership in the BGCT and the CBF organizations have overlapped from the very beginning of CBF. I was present in Park Cities Baptist Church at that fateful evening business meeting, when BGCT leaders, members of Park Cities, persuaded that congregation to formally initiate the withholding of CP funds by that great church. That vote was the critical first major step taken down the road that led to the establishment of the CBF and the “stealing of Baylor University” from Texas Baptists by BGCT appointed trustees. Out of Park Cities’ fateful vote grew an attempt to Balkanize and then split the SBC.

Whole-truth no-spin accuracy requires that if one writes that the two bodies are ‘different,’ he should also write that they are not totally different, because they are in fact overlapping organizations. The assertion that “CBF and BGCT are two different organizations“ suggests that they are distinct. But, they are only partially different organizations. (Remember your old set theory diagrams. The BGCT and the CBF are classic examples of overlapping bodies--in membership, resources and leadership.) Like Georgia and Alabama during the 'Civil War,' technically they were “different entities” but they were also both members of one body, the Confederacy, united against the Union.

The spirit of the leadership of BGCT and CBF are no less united in their opposition to the leadership and directions that Southern Baptists have chosen ever since 1979. How ironic that you and Texas’ Charles Wade share the Wade name. You wear it first, and he wears it last; your names overlap. The Texas Wade is the chief architect of the division between the BGCT and the SBC, and he has played no small role in promoting the separation of the CBF from the SBC, and the harmonizing of the BGCT and the CBF.

In your next comment blogged to Brad, the “Would you” blog, you concluded with the oft repeated phrase, “That is what we are talking about.” A former CBF pastor at my old home church wore out this phrase. He used the line to acknowledge that the doctrinal persuasion exercise of the moment was concluded and his preferences had not prevailed. He also had an affinity for the line, “Quit bringing the liberal thing up.” Wade, wake up and smell roses, their smell is very different from the aroma of “skunks.” (Please do not take offense at this vivid old metaphor used by dear Dr. Criswell. It is only a metaphor!)

I certainly do not believe that you are a liberal, Wade, but, if you want to avoid being accused of sounding like a duck, you can do it easily, just put aside your duck call. Or, you might just start attacking the comments of some of your CBF bloggers the way you attack Brad’s comments. That would make your blogging appear to be a bit more fair and balanced, not so skewed toward the CBF slant. You might lose supporters, but so what, it’s just blogging.

With you in His service,

Bob Cleveland said...


I happened upon some interesting information while poking around the SBC website. I share it as an observation. It is from the Preamble to the BF&M 2000.

It states, in part:

(Referring to confessions of faith in general) "That they constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord."


"That any group of Baptists, large or small, have the inherent right to draw up for themselves and publish to the world a confession of their faith whenever they may think it advisable to do so."


"Baptists cherish and defend religious liberty, and deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches. We honor the principles of soul competency and the priesthood of believers, affirming together both our liberty in Christ and our accountability to each other under the Word of God."

This is, in fact, the source of my conviction that this is the most individually responsible system, or expression, of faith that I know of. It does seem, however, that recent events "narrowing" our definitions cut into that clarity of position.

This does not pertain to your presence at the BoT meeting, or the Steak dinner I didn't get in on, but thought it might be relevant, nonetheless.

God bless.

Wade Burleson said...


I posted your comment in its entirety, though I debated posting it at all.

The tactic of calling people who disagree with you "liberal" or "CBF" sympathizers is worn out.

The leadership of the CBF have repeatedly labeled me "an enemy" for posting on the door of Oklahoma's formation of the CBF "95 Theses Against the Formation of the CBF."

I find that there are people on both sides who find it easier to label and discard people than cooperate around the gospel.

I am not scared of cooperating with any evangelical who loves Christ and affirms the authority of Scripture, but I seem to be hearing from you, Brad and others, "Good riddance."

We must stop trying to purge our convention of conservative evangelicals who disagree with by calling them "liberals" or infer they are "liberal" sympathizers. That seems to be your tactic.

Anonymous said...

Your 70 year old Brother in CHRIST

Bob Cleveland said...

Hey everybody:

In brief: 2 Timothy 2:14.

God bless.

Anonymous said...

You write:
The leadership of the CBF have repeatedly labeled me "an enemy" for posting on the door of Oklahoma's formation of the CBF "95 Theses Against the Formation of the CBF."

Do you actually mean to say, some in leadership roles in the Oklahoma CBF have....? Are you for certain that the National CBF Leadership ever commented on your Luther-like antic?

Jack Maddox said...

Wade...why is it you continue to insinuate that those of us who share many of your concerns and realize that we do need change yet are cautious concerning the CBF and Neo - Orthodox element in this movement, are calling you a liberal and trying to exclude folks? Wade, that just is not true.
I for one believe that the BFM 2000 allows for many different flavors of Baptist to cooperate together. However, it does 'exclude' those who by their own choice no longer see themselves as Southern Baptist due to their inability or unwillingness to be in confessional agreement with our BFM 2000.

Wade, perhaps I am misreading what you are saying so I stand to be corrected...would you answer this questions for me.

DO you believe and are you advocating that Southern Baptist Church's should begin to cooperate with CBF Church's and causes?

I guess again the question is “How big should the tent be in regards to the BFM 2000?

Would you include leadership of the BGCT in the Big Tent? I realize that there are some who are dually aligned so I suppose my question is more theoretical than anything else.

Thanks for your time and you are as always in my prayers.


Anonymous said...

To Bob Cleveland,
Thanks for verifying my comment on May 2 to GeneMBridges. It is the fourth comment from the last which states: “Baptists deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches.”

Also, the last comment on the post of May 3, I state: “Baptists deny the right of any secular or religious authority to impose a confession of faith upon a church or body of churches.”

You said it a lot nicer than I when you stated, “It does seem, however, that recent events “narrowing” our definitions cut into that clarity of position.”

I agree with you and would more than agree if you made that “recent and past.”

Why do people not see this truth being violated??

I think the cartoon “Pearls Before Swine” explains:

Big pig, “What are you doing?
Little pig, with head in sand: “Life has overwhelmed me, so I have shoved my head into the sand.”
Big pig, Why would you do that?
Little pig, “Because ignoring reality is the next best thing to changing it.”
Big pig, with head in sand: “This is the happiest day of my life.”

You may notice, I’ve been ignoring Wade until my heart heals a little more. Most people know the reason and may feel the same.
Rex Ray

Bob Cleveland said...


I never paid any attention until recently. Truth be known, I'm an insecure sort who thinks of himself as a "Johnny-come-lately" on this stuff.

It always surprises me when someone agrees with me. Makes me nervous.

I plead advancing age.

Bob Cleveland said...


I missed one of your quesions. Sorry.

Jim Cymbala pointed out (in Fresh Faith, as I recall), that we tend to latch onto verses which agree with our positions, and gloss over those which might indicate otherwise. That applies to all sorts of things like election, predestination, free will, alcohol, mode of baptism, etc.

I think the same thing happens in matters such as group actions, regulations, etc. We focus on the ones which affect us, and the ones we agree with, and then gloss over the truth of the others.

It's all natural, I think. I expect it.

Wade Burleson said...


Our church has adopted the BF&M 2000. I led them to do this. I am conservative and evangelical. However, I am concerned about three things with the BF&M 2000.

(1). For the first time in our Baptist Confessional history we have a couple of articles within the BF&M 2000 that go beyond the standard confessional outline. In fact, these articles contradict the very spirit of the introduction of the BFM 2000 which states the purpose of confessions by stating: "(T)hey constitute a consensus of opinion of some Baptist body, large or small, for the general instruction and guidance of our own people and others concerning those articles of the Christian faith which are most surely held among us. They are not intended to add anything to the simple conditions of salvation revealed in the New Testament, viz., repentance toward God and faith in Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord."

(2). It is difficult for me to see the purpose of "signing" the Baptist Faith and Message. Why don't we just "ask." When a person asks me if I believe the Bible, I say yes, but I don't sign it. I believe attaching a signature to the BFM 2000 is contrary to the Baptist spirit of free debate, free dissent, and free dialogue (particularly when the authors of the BFM 2000 go beyond "the simple conditions of salvation").

(3). My interpretation of the BFM 2000 may be different than yours. For instance, in historic Baptist confessions that predate the BFM 2000, the concept of the universal church was clearly articulated. Though the universal church is not addressed in the BFM 2000 there is room to interpret the "church" as universal. This is just one illustration of how interpretations of the BFM 2000 may vary.

Nevertheless, for the purpose of cooperating with fellow Southern Batists I am signing it.

To answer your questions:

DO you believe and are you advocating that Southern Baptist Church's should begin to cooperate with CBF Church's and causes?

No, but we should quit calling them names.

I guess again the question is “How big should the tent be in regards to the BFM 2000?

For heavens sake, anybody who accepts it as a confession should be able to participate --- how is that hard to understand? Can you help me understand how that is hard to comprehend?

Would you include leadership of the BGCT in the Big Tent? I realize that there are some who are dually aligned so I suppose my question is more theoretical than anything else.

Yes I would if they agree to the BFM 2000. Would you not?

Anonymous said...

Jack -- Would not autonomy of the local church have anything to do with what you seem to be wanting to do?

Individual church bodies make their own decisions about who to partner with in missions (or whatever). An entity cannot decide that for them, can it? For if it does, then does that entity then become an overiding body to the church body? I don't think that's the way it works.

Also, are you implying that churches, to be considered SB, must adhere to and use only the 2000 BF&M?

Many SB churches still use the 1963 BF&M as their statement of beliefs. It would seem that you are the one who would want to exclude anyone/ any church that does not affirm the 2000 BF&M. It would seem that you are the one who is trying to exclude fellow conservative baptists. Is this the case?

Jack Maddox said...


Thanks for your answers...as far as the BGCT, yes I would if they agreed to the BFM 2000 but with few exceptions you will find that the BGCT does not thus the dilemma. In fact, as a state convention they reject the BFM 2000 whole heartedly.

The reason I asked about the size of the tent in which you responded quite passionately is that I am simply trying to glean if the BFM 2000 is the 'litmus' test if you will for cooperation. I agree that the question is somewhat redundant and what I am really trying to grasp is would you include those outside of the BFM 2000. I take it you would not.

As far not calling them names, I agree. Don't know that I have ever called them names. However my views on this and other forums have either directly or non-directly been referred to as Hyper fundamentalist, legalist, conformist, and in many ways minimized.

However please understand I am not offended. In fact, I understand those positions and recognize that there are real differences in perception and even dare I say interpretation of the issues before us.

I do believe that Dr. Page is going to be a good alternative candidate for president. I still believe however that he will not represent the kind of inclusive environment that is ought after by many on this and other blogs. In fact, Bro. Wade, I to encourage you to accept the opportunity to be a candidate for SBC President so that there is a man that many in this camp and represented on these forums can vote for. My vote more than likely will go for Dr. Page. (Unless my masters dictate otherwise J ) JUST A JOKE!

Thanks again Wade and we do hope your meetings are producing fruit for the Kingdom and also providing a time of refreshing for you and yours!


tim rogers said...

Brother Wade,
You have stated that "It is difficult for me to see the purpose of "signing" the Baptist Faith and Message. Why don't we just "ask." When a person asks me if I believe the Bible, I say yes, but I don't sign it. I believe attaching a signature to the BFM 2000 is contrary to the Baptist spirit of free debate, free dissent, and free dialogue..." I do not understand that comment. I could be wrong, but I believe that the founders of SBTS signed the Abstract of Principles. Why did they not just take the words of the Professors?
It seems they did it in order to hold everyone to accountability.

Even so Come Lord Jesus,

blampp@juno.com said...

Just an observation; In the Association where I serve we have three churches (out of 50) that are dually aligned (with CBF), there is a contingent group that is small in number in each of these churches, yet two give proportionately more to the CP than some of the other churches. I think you need to remember that the basis for participation in the SBC is monitary. The BF&M 2000 reflected the beliefs of Messengers assembled! Therefore, it is hardly a thermastat for determining Theological uniformity or warmth of theological passion! Well, with the exception of those who were assembled at the time! That was true of the '63 and others..... I have no problem asking folks who serve our agencies to sign an affirmation of the one that is current! To attempt to superimpose that affirmation on the churches or to impose them as guidelines for our churches smacks of "hierarchy" which is unacceptable in Associations made up of Autonomous Churches unless those guidelines have been incorporated in the Institution's (SBC) Constitution and By-Laws.... Hence, my concern for such imposition of guidelines that even go beyond what has been at least agreed on in SBC sessions as reflected in the BF&M! That unfortunately is the problem encountered when an Agency is under "Sole Ownership" yet can only be controlled by the Trustee's who are often serving a second term... or have moved to the Trusteeship of another Agency making the only way to address the issue being; to replace the Trustee which may take from five years to a decade or at least two years to change items in the SBC Constitution! Consequently, the best solution to affect change is to elect a President committed to correcting those areas through the process of appointment choices.... just like 30 to 40 years ago!

Wade Burleson said...


You as a GREAT question. Let me answer your question with a question.

Were you to ask Dr. Paige Patterson, Judge Paul Pressler, Dr. Ronnie Floyd, and Dr. Johnny Hunt to sign the Southern Seminary's Abstract of Principles do you think they would?

Hint: It is an extraordinarily well written Calvinistic statement of faith.

My point is this: Seminaries responsible for the theological education of propsective pastors have every right to be as specific doctrinally as they desire, but you will not find all six seminaries agreeing on the appropriateness of signing Southern's abstract.

The Convention's Confession should be as BROAD as possible, so not to exclude people who disagree on the interpretation of doctrines NOT ESSENTIAL TO SALVATION.

Maiden said...


Patterson actually signed the Abstracts when he became president of SEBTS; it is SEBTS' statement of faith. So, in Patterson's case the answer is yes

Hiram Smith said...

Dear Wade,

Thank you. I applaud your courage and thank you for the courtesy you displayed in deciding to publish my last blog, which was really a hard message to write, though perhaps even harder to read, and harder yet to publish. But, “this is hard country,” the land where believing brothers are open and frank with one another, as Paul was with Peter. May our exchanges, like theirs, based on love and the Lordship of Christ, come to as satisfactory a conclusion as theirs did. May the leaders of the SBC someday discover within themselves your brand of courage, and become more like you in openness, in respect for the singular authority of the Convention alone to add to or take from the BF&M, and in willingness to dialogue with ones like me, who only occupy pews, not pulpits.

In my earliest notes to you, perhaps you recall my complete confidence in you and your commitment to the BF&M. (2000 is unnecessary because the Southern Baptist Convention has only one BF&M). And, I agreed that your original three complaints needed to be addressed very thoroughly and carefully, and corrected unless some then unknown but compelling defense was made on behalf of one or more of the three items at issue.

Your earlier courageous posting of "95 Theses Against the Formation of the CBF" in Oklahoma won my irrevocable respect and support. Learning of your personal family, and your family lineage further secured my respect for you and confidence in you. Learning of the ministries of your church only added to my regard.

I continue writing to you because I do not want the promise that I see in you, your courage, talent and leadership to go to waste. You are at risk of being marginalized by reactions to what appears to be a certain impatience with the established processes and procedures for achieving orderly changes in an SBC agency-entity. From your inside position on the IMB, you can studiously assess the situation and determine what will have to occur in order to achieve the changes that are needed. Perhaps you cannot do it overnight, but during the eight years that, hopefully, you will serve on the Board you can. Consider the incredibly long path trod by Dr. Rogers, Dr. Patterson and Judge Pressler in order to achieve the Resurgence. To them, for their long stand and walk, we are indebted forever and to many other less well known leaders, including you. If you will patiently stay by the stuff and operate within existing procedures, I believe you will also be successful in securing satisfactory corrections in the three original issues you identified.

If you temper and balance your blogging and other efforts to fit the realities of the situation in which you now find yourself, success may come sooner than you think. But, remember, you are the publisher, and being fair and balanced is important in any issue-oriented Baptist publication. A month or two ago, you were in a stronger position for achieving your originally targeted changes, but through proper study and work now and in the future you can regain lost ground and the momentum needed for achieving change.

Since I began the last paragraph in my last comment with: “I certainly do not believe that you are a liberal, Wade,” (and I meant every word of it) I am puzzled the by way you began your last paragraph to me: “We must stop trying to purge . . . liberals . . . and liberal sympathizers. I certainly said nothing about purging anyone. Has anyone actually accused you of liberalism? I certainly have not. Bob Cleveland stated the reasons well for why I try to avoid such labeling. As Jack Maddox so aptly pointed out, Brad did not accuse you of liberalism, even though ”Annonymess” might have written that he did. We neither need to purge liberals nor pay them with CP dollars, as we once did so generously. If we stay on track, “they will go out from us because they are not of us,” or, better yet, perhaps they will come to believe. I assume that you generally believe these things also, otherwise, why did you join the resurgence minded majority?

Wade, I hope this erases from your mind every trace of every notion that I might ever say “Good riddance” to you. Please discount my sometimes harshly direct phrasings. If you knew my lineage and childhood, you would understand my sometimes crudeness with words. It may be twelve years off, but I still expect you to become First Vice President, if not President of the SBC. But of much more importance, I believe you will eventually be most esteemed for really helping open up the inner workings of the SBC and helping Southern Baptists in the pews see the second phase of the Resurgence achieved—namely, changes in how things are done, not just who is doing them. This second phase of the resurgence (changes in how things are done) surely must have been a principal part of the vision God gave those He commissioned to help make the first phase of the Resurgence come to pass. But, a lot of work is yet needed to see the second phase achieved. That is the job incumbent upon you and other trustees, even though that responsibility probably was not mentioned in your orientation to the IMB trusteeship. There is so much more I have to say about the dimensions of the second phase of the Resurgence, but I won’t bore you with them now.

With you in His service,

PS: You’d be wise to add Jack Maddox to the two other commenters I asked you to read and consider with great care.

Wade Burleson said...


One of the better posts I have received.

Thank you.


P.S. The only thing I disagree with is the "losing ground" statement. It may just be a different perspective, but the ground gained is enormous in my view.

Anonymous said...


You along with the rest of the IMB trustees are being prayed for from the far reaches of Asia this week....praying specifically that each of you apply the wisdom gained from the events of the last six months to decisions that will affect many lives and ministries for years to come.

Also wanted to say that there are many "silent" readers of your blog who do not chim in, including me.

I really encourage you to take Hiram's last two posts to heart. I agree with you that his post is one of the best that has ever been posted.


Wade Burleson said...


You make an excellent point. Just a little tweaking. We are now in a stage of Southern Baptist life where you can give to support the Cooperative Program and be a Southern Baptist, but you can't serve or administrate within the SBC unless you "sign" the BFM. I am trying to encourge all my Southern Baptist friends to NOT QUIT giving to the CP even though there are continuing attempts to narrow the definition of what it means to be "Southern Baptist" and continuing efforts to narrow the parameters of cooperation (the most recent efforts go BEYOND the BFM --- "where does it stop?")

This should show us that what we put in our confessions is remarkably important and we should stay away from "non-essentials" over which we divide. Anyone for limited atonement in the BFM 2010? I believe with all my heart some things should not be in a confession meant to identify evangelical cooperation on the mission field, and though some of the greatest BAPTIST missionaries who EVER lived believed in limited atonement (William Carey, Luther Rice, Adoniram Judson), it should not be a doctrine over which we divide in cooperation as Southern Baptists, thus it should not be in a confession (I could include additional examples but this one suffices for illustration purposes and I happen to believe in particular redemption).

Bryan Riley said...

I have some concerns with the following words from Hiram's thoughtful post:

If we stay on track, “they [Hiram's reference to 'liberals,' however he defines them] will go out from us because they are not of us,” or, better yet, perhaps they will come to believe. I assume that you generally believe these things also, otherwise, why did you join the resurgence minded majority?

What this says is that a "liberal" in Hiram's mind is someone who does not believe. Earlier in his post he also states that he applauds Wade for being open and frank. I am glad he applauds Wade for that, but the reason so many may be afraid to be open and frank about their opinions is because when they are they may be cast into that horrid category of "liberal" that Hiram seems to think must not believe. At least, that is how I read this post, but perhaps I am misreading it. Hiram, can you help me? Can anyone?

Wade Burleson said...


Thank you for your very interesting comment. If what you say is true, and Dr. Patterson has actually signed the Abstract of Principles, (and I plan to ask Dr. Patterson next time I see him) then we possibly have a very interesting situation of a Seminary President signing a document he does not actually believe.

Let me give you three examples.

Example One

The Abstract of Principles States:


Baptism is an ordinance of the Lord Jesus, obligatory upon every believer, wherein he is immersed in water in the name of the Father, and the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, as a sign of his fellowship with the death and resurrection of Christ, of remission of sins, and of giving himself up to God, to live and walk in newness of life. It is prerequisite to church fellowship, and to participation in the Lord's Supper.

The Lord's Supper

The Lord's Supper is an ordinance of Jesus Christ, to be administered with the elements of bread and wine, and to be observed by His churches till the end of the world. It is in no sense a sacrifice, but is designed to commemorate His death, to confirm the faith and other graces of Christians, and to be a bond, pledge and renewal of their communion with Him, and of their church fellowship.

My Point: The Abstract of Principles teaches (and I agree) that the ordinances are ordinances of CHRIST, whereas the BFM 2000 states they are "ordinances" of the church. BOTH are true, but if you hold to the fact that they are ordinances of Christ, then "the church" suddenly becomes "followers of Christ" or universal in scope and NOT NECESSARILY the 'local church' as Dr. John Gill brilliantly shows in his "Body of Diviinity."

Example Two

The Abstract of Principles States:


Election is God's eternal choice of some persons unto everlasting life-not because of foreseen merit in them, but of His mere mercy in Christ-in consequence of which choice they are called, justified and glorified

My Point: Did Dr. Patterson actually believe that when he signed the Abstract of Principles? I am sure he must or he would never have signed it, right?

Example Three

The Abstract of Principles States:


Regeneration is a change of heart, wrought by the Holy Spirit, who quickeneth the dead in trespasses and sins enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the Word of God . . .

My Point: The Abstract of Principles teach that regeneration precedes faith, and as a result, Dr. Patterson would have never signed this as President of Southeastern had he not actually believed that, would he?

Dr. Tom Nettles was terminated from Mid-America for teaching this very doctrine (regeneration precedes faith), but now is Professor of Church History at Southern Seminary in Louisville and teaches in accordance to, and in consistency with, that Seminary's Abstract of Principles.

Okie dokie then, I close with three questions:

(1). Did Dr. Patterson sign the Abstract of Principles though he actually didn't believe the Principles?
(2). Has Dr. Patterson grown in his understanding since he signed the Abstract?
(3). Should Dr. Patterson be able to sympathize with anyone who is asked to sign a statement that contains certain doctrines not essential to salvtion, but over which Baptists have differing views?

I hope people can see my point. The Southern Baptist Convention is large enough for people with differing views on doctrines not essential to salvation, and when we start dividing over these points of doctrine we lose our sense of COOPERATION! You can't COOPERATE unless you are DIFFERENT.

Let's stop trying to make people conform on the non-essentials and cooperate around the essentials, and for heaven's sake, let's be careful about establishing parameters of cooperation that go beyond the essentials.

Anonymous said...

To Whom it May Apply,
Please do not blame Dr. Charles Wade for tearing Baptists away from the SBC. The truth is that Dr. Wade and others--like Dr. Cecil Sherman--helped to create a safe haven for those Baptist refugees who were fleeing the atrocities of the "Resurgence".

SavedandSure said...

Inconsistencies in the life and ministry of the current president of SWBTS?

NO! Surely not!

But if the above statements be true.....

Well, he will have a difficult time in his debate with Dr. Mohler in North Carolina in June.

Tim Sweatman said...

Wade & Maiden,

I think you may be talking about two different Abstracts of Principles. The Abstract that Wade originally mentioned is the one for Southern, which does have a decidedly Calvinistic flavor. However, Maiden declared that Dr. Patterson signed the Abstract when he became Southeastern's president; I would presume that it was Southeastern's Abstract that he signed. In that case, Dr. Patterson would not have been signing the Abstract from Southern, and thus he would not have been affirming statements that he disagreed with.

I have a solution that would clear up such confusion. Our seminaries should abolish their Abstracts and use the BFM as their doctrinal statement.

SavedandSure said...

Three cheers for Dr. Tom Nettles and his faithfulness to the truths of the Bible.

To know him is to know a Christ-centered and Christ-filled gentleman, scholar and beloved brother in the Christian faith whose several books have blessed and strengthened thousands and thousands of people!

Maiden said...


The Abstracts have been at SEBTS since its inception; SEBTS followed SBTS in using them. Patterson had to sign them in order to work as a prof at the seminary. You will need to ask Patterson about his interpretation; my guess it that it is different than yours.

Anonymous said...

Your saying, “I am concerned about three things with the BFM 2000” was almost as good news to me as if you had announced running for president.
In fact, if these three things were taken care of, it wouldn’t matter who was president—unity among ALL Southern Baptists would reign again.
Of course that “ALL” is an exaggeration because some diehards like the way it is now. Otherwise they wouldn’t have made it that way.

Wade, don’t you know the can of worms you’ve opened? On your first concern of the BFM going past essentials of salvation, they will yell, “What two articles does Wade want removed? Wives submit to husbands? Only male pastors allowed? Some act as if these two are so essential they fire people. In the 15 century that would be the equivalent of burning at the stake.

Your second concern of being forced to sign the BFM is eliminated by your statement, “Nevertheless, for the purpose of cooperating with fellow Southern Baptist I am signing it.” Can you imagine a juror saying, “I believe the man was innocent, nevertheless, for the purpose of cooperating with fellow jurors I signed he was guilty of murder.”

Wade, can you not sign and keep your job as an IMB trustee? If you have to sign, you know now how our missionaries have suffered from the ones assigned to help them.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...


I follow policy and am in a system established by policy.

This is "Not a Hill Upon Which to Die" for me personally.

It is for others, and I understand.

Anonymous said...

My dear brother,

I wish I could divulge my name, but there are Southern Baptist leaders who seek to damage and destroy the credibility of their fellow brethren.

I am deeply disturbed by how Dr. Hatley has handled this matter.

Even more so, I am equally distraught over the trustees at NAMB.

They cast a blind eye to the abuses of Dr. Reccord --- forced into action when a reporter exposed the corruption.

Did you know that Dr. Reccord tried several times to have that reporter fired? I spoke with the reporter to verify those claims and they are in fact accurate.

There are striking similarities with NAMBs and IMBs trustees.

Wade, I believe it's time to wage a revolution. To surge back to the conservative resurgence.

Anonymous said...

I am one of those who has chosen to no longer contribute to the SBC Cooperative Program. This is due to the current leadership and their methods. Do I still consider myself a Southern Baptist...Yes. Have been for some 72 years. The BF&M 2000 was recently approved by my church. I don't agree with everything in it but nothing serious. I would never sign such a statement. I now send my mission donations to the CBF. I don't consider myself a "liberal"..."moderate maybe"...but until the take over of the SBC by Patterson, Pressley and camp I always thought of myself as a "conservative".

The comments of Dr. Page give me hope that the SBC will be more kind spirited and open to difference of opinion. Can we not agree on one thing...John 3:16...and still work together?