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

Issues versus Recognition

The individual with whom I conversed last week about allowing his name to be nominated for President of the SBC called me and told me he has decided he will not allow his nomination. He gave me a reason, which I found very interesting, but nonetheless, I affirmed him and his decision to not run.

I have said from the beginning that the issues which we face as a convention are critical. The President of the SBC will have a great deal to say regarding our future, and more importantly, will be able to help chart the course. The issues as I see them are:

(1). We must stop narrowing the parameters of cooperation in the area of missions and evangelism. We cannot, we must not, define Southern Baptists in more narrow terms than our Baptist Faith and Message and more importantly, we cannot disenfranchise committed, conservative Southern Baptists who hold to the integrity of the Scriptures but differ on the interpretions of minor doctrines of the sacred text.

(2). We must broaden the base of service in the SBC to include more than just a few who are recycled in their appointments. This broadening of the tent of service will insure that the SBC will remain broad in cooperation, grasssroots in the authority structure, and viable for the next generation of Southern Baptists.

(3). We must actively seek to engage the new generation of Southern Baptists who are unfamiliar with the SBC by ceasing the attachment of perjorative labels on fellow Southern Baptists, and more importantly, forsaking any exclusivist spirit which refuses to cooperate with those we identify as "different" from us. Even though I have spoken clearly and directly against Landmarkism in the SBC, I love my Landmark brothers and look forward to cooperating with them in our work. Unfortunately, the spirit is often not reciprocated. The same could be said of any other minor doctrinal issue where there is disagreement. We are large enough as a convention to work together in fulfilling the Great Commission without demanding conformity in issues of soteriology (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), ecclesiology (Landmarkism vs. traditional denominational views), eschatalogy (dispensationalism vs. other views), missiology, etc . . .

Young leaders in the SBC need to rally around the gospel. We as a convention must learn to emphasize the essentials, display a charitable spirit to those who disagree with us on the non-essentials, and most of all, work together to further the Kingdom of Christ.

(4). We must elect Presidents of agencies who are empowered to lead according to the vision God gives to them. Trustees are responsible to hold accountable administration and to help establish policy, but trustees must never confuse their roles with those of administrators. Therefore, there must be trustees elected to the different agencies who take seriously their responsibility and accountability to each other AND the SBC at large.

(5). We must move in a direction where people in our world know what Southern Baptists stand for, not what we stand against. We are for the the proclamation of the gospel. We are for the good news of Jesus Christ. We are for helping those in need both materially and spiritually. We are for so many good things.

Ronnie Floyd has announced that he is running for President of the SBC. I have commended Ronnie for being willing to serve Southern Baptists. If he is elected I will pray for him and his family, help him succeed as he leads our convention, and do everthing in my power rally people behind him.

There are some who may see the Presidency as an honor or a recognition. But the SBC needs a President who understands what the issues are and is willing to address them. The election this year for President will give the people of the SBC a choice. Ronnie has a vision for the future, and the other candidate will have one as well. It will be the decision of the body as to which vision is best.

Who will the other candidate be? I'm not yet sure, but this one thing I know --- there will be another one.

In His Grace,


Wade

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I have commented once before. I am a young minister (just turned 26) and in my short ministry i have started one church and seen it grow from eight members to 45 before being called to serve a church in North Dallas so my wife could continue her education. The interesting aspect from what i have read on your blog is the struggle that you seem to be engaged in is something that has been raging since 1979. I attended a moderate seminary at Logsdon Seminary of Hardin Simmons University. During my time at the seminary the history i read and the men i visited wiht seem to be the very struggle that you are once again engaging in and the result before was removal and exclusion. So now my question is as a young minister why should i remain hopeful that this time around will be any different? Thanks for all you do and may God bless you. JJ

Anonymous said...

Grace and Peace to you Wade!
I thank God for you because of the stand you are taking. I know you are a man of God and I want you to know that I am a young man who has been called to the ministry, currently attending seminary and do not see 'eye to eye' with most Southern Baptist's on the 'minor doctrinal issues' you discussed in your post.

I have found myself wondering if I belong in the SBC due to the fact that I do not fall into a specific 'label'. Thank you for affirming me that the SBC is 'large enough as a convention to work together in fulfilling the Great Commission without demanding conformity in issues of soteriology (Calvinism vs. Arminianism), ecclesiology (Landmarkism vs. traditional denominational views), eschatalogy (dispensatationalism vs. other views), missiology, etc . . .'

God Bless you and may he lead you through this next step in your life.

patrickbarrett said...

we are praying for you Wade.

Rod said...

Yes, there must be another option. I am ashamed our leaders are rallying around someone with such a low CP percentage with no hint of hesitation. Dr. Akins defense of FBC Springdale's low CP giving was poor statesmanship IMO. Why not own up to this glaring deficiency? Talk about the Beltway being out of touch with the grassroots. But Greensboro keeps getting closer...

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

I thought your interview in the Texas Baptist paper was dead on target! We need a man of wisdom like you. I hope you will allow your name to be nominated.

Anonymous said...

YES!

REX

martyduren said...

Dorcas Hawker?? I should have guessed.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

In your Thursday, May 11, 2006 blog, entitled "A New Nomination for President of the SBC," you said, "If this man (i.e., the unnamed individual you had approached about nominating) decides to allow his name into nomination for the Presidency, I will not allow mine." But, now that this man has declined, you say, "Who will the other candidate be? I'm not yet sure, but this one thing I know --- there will be another one."

What is this? Waffling? "Playing hard to get?" I honestly don't want to accuse a man whose integrity I respect greatly of double-talk. But, it is difficult not to think that, since there are numerous people willing to nominate you, why you would answer that way.

Let your Yea be Yea and your Nay be Nay! When you went ahead and answered all of the 15 questions directed to Ronnie Floyd, you implied in the strongest way that you were ready to accept the nomination if the man you asked turned it down. What, if anything, has changed since then?

Please don't bow to a "crisis of courage" just because it is a daunting decision!
One of Many Supporting You

OKpreacher said...

Wade,
Do you think that Bob Reccord would be a good candidate for SBC President? I thought he would be good, but let me know what you think.

OKpreacher.

Wade Burleson said...

RDB,

I don't think Bob would be a good candidate.

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I can be guilty of many things but a lack of courage is one charge not levelled at me by those who know me --- regardless of their position for or against me.

Ann said...

Wade, I have often been told that I have the gift of discernment. (It hasn't gone out of existence, has it?) Today as I have been reading selected blogs it became clear to me that it is
YOUR insights and convictions that we have been reading and reading about. It is your "position papers." It is you with whom we agree and in whom we have confidence. You are the one we trust to lead where you have said you would. Thank you for trying to find us someone else but no matter who you endorse or even nominate, messengers cannot have the assurance that they will be voting for a leader they want. Any other "alternate candidate" will not have the same rsults as the one we trust. God be with you.

Wade Burleson said...

JR,

You MUST quit saying very personal things about others for your comments to be posted! :)

P.S. Our church's mission points numbered four last year and all were quite successful in reaching people for Christ.

Dorcas said...

Marty -

A woman as president of the SBC? Now you are talking about a revolution. :)

hashbrown said...

Mary Mohler for president

Anonymous said...

Dorky and....

brad reynolds said...

My fear: this is paving the way for years of disagreements and dissensions. I hope I am wrong, but with all the feuding I hear about, already, on Blogs and Trustee Boards this will certainly come across to the world as a "Baptist Blowup."

Perhaps an Olive Branch would be more in keeping with the Spirit of Christ than an alternate candidate.

Praying that the name of Christ not be harmed by our feuding over non-essentials.
BR

Bob Cleveland said...

I do feel the need to write, in light of the letter from Anonymoous.

The other man refused, so the only thing I can conclude is that you will allow your name to be placed in nomination. I wouldn't imagine that would mean you will nominate yourself, but only what you said.

Unless someone has nominated you, yea or nay is not yet called for.

It also does not seem your style to say you'll be a candidate when it DOES depend on someone else actually nominating you, and not just talking about nominating you.

To accuse you of waffling, playing hard to get, or having a crisis of courage is completely inappropriate.

I, for one, see that, and someone certainly needs to say it.

With all the cautions I know I've thrown at you, should you eventually be a candidate, I'll be very sure you really, REALLY know it's God's will for you.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Should our prayers be answered, let it be said that we would like to volunteer to be your first campaign workers:)

Burleson 2006
"Openness and Transparency through Grace and Truth."

Hiram Smith said...

Dear Wade,

Wade, you say in your May 16 blog, “Ronnie Floyd has announced that he is running for President of the SBC.” This is significant news to me. I knew Dr. Floyd had agreed to accept Johnny Hunt’s nomination of him for the SBC presidency, but that is far different from “running” for the job. When and where did Dr. Floyd say he was “running” for “President of the SBC”? Do you recognize the difference in these two courses of action?

You may want to check the spelling in paragraphs one and seven of your May 15 post. I hope KFOR doesn’t smear you and the SBC too harshly today. But, don’t be surprised if they display inventive ways to distort the truth.

You spoke of Ross Perot on May 13. Do you know his religious background and present affiliation? If you know please pass it on. Thanks. Years ago I thought I heard it, but have been unable to verify it.

On May 11, you answered some of the questions that Tad addressed to Dr. Floyd concerning the SBC presidency. I’d like to add my comments to those already posted on Tad’s questions and your answers. Tad’s questions in boldface are followed by your answers and then my comments in double brackets:

1) What does the term "missional" mean to you within our denominational context? Do you see any valuable messages for the SBC coming from the Emergent Movement? What harmful messages are coming from the movement?

The term "missional" within a denominational context means that we are intentionally seeking to engage the cultures of the world, including our own, with the gospel of Jesus Christ. We become all things to all people in order that we might win some. We are "missional" about all we do --- we are on a mission.

Sometimes churches and denominations get stuck in a rut of doing what we do because we have always done it that way before. The young pastors in the "Emergent" or "Missional" churches of our convention can help us see that our methodology must remain fluid, while our theology must remain constant. I'm not sure that there are any harmful messages coming from this movement. However, a couple of cautions might be advisable. Young leaders must first not judge those who are not "like them," for if "missional" pastors begin to judge others, they will be no different than those from whom they came. Young leaders must also be aware of the tendency of some to compromise the message of the gospel.

[[Wade, are you advising ‘young leaders’ to avoid being like the conservative older leaders who helped lead them into following Christ? What’s wrong with “those from whom they came”? Are the older leaders the ones you refer to as “some” who “compromise the message of the gospel”? If not them, who?]]

2) Cooperation has become the mantra for many pastors who are voicing their concern that many powerful political players in the SBC have an agenda to narrow the parameters of cooperation along specific, doctrinal boundaries that go beyond the BFM 2000. The highest profile example of this narrowing of cooperation are the new IMB policies on Baptism and the use of Private Prayer Languages. What is your position regarding these new policies? In what ways should Southern Baptists cooperate with other denominations and entities in order to fulfill the Great Commission in the world?

My position regarding the new policies on Baptism and Private Prayer Languages? No comment (see the new IMB trustee policy handbook forbidding sitting trustees from criticizing Board approved actions).

[[Hopefully, Dr. Floyd will respect the standards of conduct adopted by the IMB just as if he were one of the trustees and therefore make no comment. Otherwise, very likely, his words will only become grist for those who, like you, have already announced their opposition to him being elected president of the SBC.]]

I do believe we as Southern Baptists can, and should, cooperate with other evangelical churches and denominations in reaching the world for Christ. These Great Commission partners are our friends, and are on the same mission as we. It would be foolish for us to ignore them or pretend they did not exist, particularly on the mission field.

3) There are a growing number of young leaders in our denomination that have embraced a "reformed" view of the doctrines of grace. I recently attended the Together for the Gospel Conference in Louisville. There were close to 3000 pastors at this conference and over 70% of attendees were 20-40 years old. Do you believe Reformed Theology is a threat to the SBC and the Great Commission? What value, if any, is there in having a denomination that allows for theological diversity within the boundaries of the BFM 2000?

The only threat to our denomination is the attempt to narrow the definition of what it means to be a Southern Baptist, or to narrow the parameters of cooperation in missions and evangelism. "Reformed" theology is not a threat to evangelism in our denomination. Southern Baptists have a long history of pastors who hold to the doctrines of grace and Calvinistic thought. On the other hand, there are many Southern Baptists who are not Calvinistic. The problem is when either side tries to so narrow the parameters of cooperation that a point comes when one group does not consider the other group "true" Southern Baptists. The SBC is large enough to allow for theological diversity within the boundaries of the BF&M. Diversity is the heritage of Baptists. We must stop the demand for conformity of interpretation of those doctrines that are not essential to salvation.

[[Wade, doesn’t the term, “The only threat,” somewhat misstate the situation regarding “threats to our denomination”? Who is the “we” that “must stop the demand for conformity”? Whose brand of conformity must be stopped? Surely not the brand adopted by you and your anonymous and volunteer crusaders? Would you stop only that brand of conformity that is called traditional, the brand preferred up to this point in time by trustees, convention messengers, and many of us in the pews? Whose doctrines are non essential? In your world of ideas, who has authority to determine which doctrines are essential and which ones are not essential?]]

4) Where do you stand on the freedom of principled dissent from concerned trustees of any of our SBC agencies?

I believe confidential matters among Boards should remain confidential and if a trustee violates confidentiality he ought to be censured or disciplined. However, to discipline a trustee for principled dissent, in my opinion, is a very unwise move. The suppressing of principled dissent is often the sign of weak support for one's position. I am of the firm opinion that strong positions, based upon the Word of God, can withstand dissent, but principled dissent is dissent based upon the Word of God and by all means should be allowed. A Christian's conscience is bound to the Word of God, not the opinions of man.

[[But, would you deny a Baptist body’s prerogative of setting standards of conduct for its members, as long as those standards do not explicitly violate scriptural standards? Some time ago the IMB gave a rather persuasive biblical case defending those Board decisions that you oppose. When are you going to make as strong a biblical case for your views?]]

5) What is your opinion of the Executive Committee's recent call for the convention to only appoint leaders from churches who give at least 10% of undesignated receipts through the Cooperative Program?

I believe if you read the report of the Cooperative Program Study Committee you will see it is simply an encouragement or a request for Southern Baptists to take into consideration the amount of support a church gives to the CP before voting someone from that church into office. I think that is a fair request, but I would be against any standardization or bylaw recommendation that requires a certain percentage given to the CP. Southern Baptist people are smart enough to know what is best, and while it is fair for the request to be made, it is also fair for churches to either choose to give ten percent to the CP or not, and likewise, it is fair for the messengers to abide by the encouragement to elect only those candidates to office who give ten percent to the CP or to simply ignore the request. That is the beauty of every entity in the SBC being autonomous.

[[A ten percent exclusionary standard makes little sense to some of us in the pews, who believe that our main job is to fulfill the Great Commission, a job much bigger than just routing money through the Cooperative Program. Why not just specify a fixed dollar amount, rather than a percentage? After all, dollars buy things, percentages do not? Many churches do great cooperative mission work directly, without routing their mission resources through the three tiered channel of the CP. Direct missions can be a more efficient way of cooperating and doing mission work. Why not salute those exemplary churches among us like Springdale, FBC Dallas, FBC Jacksonville, Thomas Road, Shadow Mountain, etc., rather than adopt rules that exclude their leaders from positions of leadership in the SBC?]]

6) FBC-Springdale/Pinnacle Hills is an atypical church from the standpoint that it covers a lot of geographic ground, and it is frankly huge in terms of attendance every week. How does your work in NWA reflect the vision you would cast in the SBC?

This question is a good one for Dr. Floyd, but does not apply to anyone else.

[[Oh yes it does. Dr. Floyd’s actions are evidence of his vision for doing missions cooperatively and directly. Like Emmanuel, Springdale is doing the work Christ has called them to do, which is more than just giving to a bureaucracy established to do missions work. Every pastor should have a vision for his respective Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, etc. Wade, just change the church name to the name of the church(s) you pastor and your designated geographical area, this question will then apply to you and any other candidate(s) you are supporting. What is your answer to the question when tailored to you and Enid?]]

7) Critics of the "mega-church" paradigm would say that there is a problem with churches which are already large launching satellite locations rather than planting new works. For example, it leaves the appearance that the senior pastor is drawing attendance based on personality rather than sound preaching because his work is not producing more senior pastor-caliber believers; it masks over discipleship with "spectator" Christianity. How would you respond to those critics?

I personally am in agreement with the critics. I believe there is something wrong when the work of the ministry or the preaching of the gospel can only be accomplished via videotape or the broadcasting of a "main personality." We are to make disciples of Christ, and in the discipleship of Christ's church the Spirit will appoint to each appropriate gifts for the building up of the body. If a church becomes too large it is impossible for proper discipline, proper mentoring, and proper discipleship to occur. I would wholeheartedly recommend a new church plant over and against multiple sites of one church with a video preacher, but because I believe in the autonomy of the local church, I also believe only individual churches can, and should, make those kinds of decisions.

[[Wade, I’m sorry you and your fellow critics find fault with the size of those early, large churches at Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and the large dynamic missionary-minded churches of today. The view you express here seems rather unvisionary for a pastor and church. It is terribly uninspiring. Your past descriptions of Immanuel’s missions program are much more inspiring. What you call a “mega-church” may not be to your liking, but, thankfully, God is not so narrow in what He approves. He obviously blesses many congregations you call “mega-churches.” What church membership number is “too large” to suit you? Those who are following your lead need to know what membership number makes a church too big for “proper discipline,” “mentoring” and “discipleship”? Wade, in this instance, don’t you recognize that your quickness to express such judgements is inappropriate and tends to provoke confusion and disharmony among some believers, particularly those who are ‘babes in the faith.’ Why turn their attention to wondering about whether their church is too big to be right? What is the origin of your criticism of large churches, such as those God raised up in the first century and the twenty-first century? Do you believe Spurgeon, who’s autobiography you recently read, also opposed churches growing into what you call “mega-churches”?]]

8) In our consumer-driven culture many churches take a pragmatic view of ministry that allows for almost any method as long as it produces the desired results. The internet is a buzz with talk of a fire truck baptistery at FBCS, fully equipped with confetti canons. Is this methodology defensible from a theological perspective? How do you respond to those who criticize your church for using such methods?

It does concern me when one of my members, Yacouba Seydo, baptized in the Nigerian river by a non-Southern Baptist, cut-off from his Muslim family because of his faith in Christ, accepted into our church upon his statement of faith and baptism, but can then be rejected by one of our agencies for an invalid baptism, while someone who who is baptized in a fire truck with confetti and family applause, within one of our Southern Baptist Churches, is deemed appropriately baptized because it happened in a Southern Baptist Church and allowed to serve as a missionary within the SBC.

One is baptized upon threat of death. The other is baptized in a veritable party atmosphere. The one who gave up everything for Christ is considered "improperly" baptized because of "who" baptized him (a non-Southern baptist), but the one who was baptized in a fire truck during Southern Baptist Sunday School is considered "properly" baptized.

If all is accurate as reported then something is indeed rotten in Denmark.

[[Not “rotten in Denmark,” but in the mind and heart of anyone willing to condemn the “if all is accurate” conduct of others. How can you justify writing publicly such criticisms against the conduct of Christian brothers, especially when you admit that the conduct you criticize is not accurately known to you? Such criticism is a strange way to express love for brothers in Christ.]]

[[Was Yacouba Seydo baptized into a church that confesses any of the historic Baptist confessions of faith? Why didn’t you make this elementary information clear in your condemnation of a good faith decision made by Southern Baptist servants. Weren’t those you accused of “rotten in Denmark” conduct simply doing their assigned task of determining whether Yacouba met the established baptismal standards for appointment as a Southern Baptist missionary? How can you condemn with such a definitively harsh and disparaging metaphor the good faith decisions of those earnest God-fearing IMB personnel? I thought the new IMB trustee conduct guidelines forbade a trustees from making such an accusation as this, especially outside of a trustee meeting.]]

[[In the eyes of many faithful Southern Baptists, those whom you condemn are neither wrong nor corrupt, as your “rotten in Denmark” metaphor distinctly and emphatically declares—that is, if words and dictionaries have any meaning at all. I believe that IMB staff and trustees possess the competence, spiritual understanding, fairness and basic willingness to correctly apply IMB standards in missionary appointment decisions. I have no knowledge of this matter other than what you have disclosed, but firmly believe those IMB decision-makers decided the case of Yacouba in good faith, and did so competently. Since you apparently do not share that confidence, what motions have you made as a trustee to change the procedures and standards for missionary appointment decisions? Isn’t that the proper way to correct such problems within any of our SBC agency-entities? Isn’t that specifically your responsibility as a trustee? When I voted for you being made a trustee, I believed that you would confront problems with motions and properly ordered persuasion. Why not go back to doing things that way? If done well, over time, you could probably bring your fellow trustees over to your position.]]

9) There are some who believe that membership numbers in most SBC churches demonstrate a lack of integrity because many of these people are on our membership roles, yet never darken the door of our churches. Do we need to change our view of membership as a denomination? Would a revival of church discipline be beneficial for us as a denomination?

When I came to Emmanuel, Enid fourteen years ago there were 3,600 on the rolls and about 750 in small group attendance. Today we have 2,000 on the rolls and 1500 in average small group attendance. Because we pastors are called "undershepherds" and shepherds are called to know their sheep by name, we take it upon ourselves to know our sheep individually and care for them spiritually. We do practice loving church discipline, but it is always done in grace, only on violations of clear commandments of God's Word, and always for the purpose of restoration, never removal from the church, unless of course there is no repentance. So, I would say there does need to be a revival of discipline within the SBC.

[[How do you feel about a “revival of discipline” and of good faith efforts to follow biblical instructions in this blogosphere house you have built? Do you realize that more than one or two of the commentators in your bloghouse write more like the “young widows” described in I Timothy 5:13 than like the man described in the first few verses of Psalms 15. What happened to those blogging standards you were working on? I apologize for not having sent you any more suggestions. Their preparation is still on my ‘todo’ list.]]

10) What are the most important objectives for the SBC in the next 10 years?

We must engage the hearts and minds of young pastors in our convention. We must show them that the SBC is a place for cooperative ministry, and that their is a place for evangelical conversatives within our denomination, even if they don't "do church" the way their fathers did church. We must expand our parameters of cooperation and include men and women in the appointment process who are conservative and evangelical, but have been left out in recent years. We must recongize that we live in an age of increased accountability and heightened awareness of issues within agencies, and as a result, all of our business must be conducted in as open and transparent venues as possible.

Our objectives remain the same. We desire to take the gospel to the nations. The question we face in the very near future is clear: "Will we stop the narrowing of the parameters of what it means to be a Southern Baptist?" This is THE key objective in the next ten years. Our gospel witness is at stake.

[[Tad, isn’t this a rather presumptive question, asking for a ten year vision to qualify for a one year office term? Or, do you plan to pursue a by-law amendment giving the president a ten year term? Please clarify the assumptions and intentions implicit in your question? Apparently, Dr. Floyd has decided not to indulge the gotcha-styled questions with answers for your inquisition exercise. For this I am truly thankful.]]

[[Wade, where did you get such a politically styleized answer and phrasing for what reads like a sadly parochial vision! Are you serious about saying we (and our next president) “must engage . . .,” “show . . .,” “expand . . .,” “recognize . . .,” and even adopt your view of your disagreement with the IMB? I pray that next year’s SBC President will have a much broader and more realistic vision, one that is more biblically based, for his year or two in office. And, let’s hope Dr. Floyd doesn’t follow your example of announcing a platform of answers, opinions and objectives in a campaign to win supporters and/or votes.]]

[[Tad, Wade and others who prefer to put confidence in plans and promises rather than in leadership performance and track records of service, you may be able to justify to yourselves the demeaning practice of insisting on answers to secular styled platform-oriented questions. You both may justify in your own minds the questioning of trustee nominees with your platform-styled questions, even ones designed to commit those who answer to an eight year vision and set of objectives. But, who is in office for ten years? Weren’t Russian Communists the last to attempt to live by ten year plans?]]

[[May God give our future officers a clear vision for following His leadership, not just some man’s plan, nor any ad hoc set of questions or set of ten-year objectives? I pray that Southern Baptists will resist these secularist styled methods, which resort to selecting and electing people to leadership positions based on their answers to questions about visions and objectives, rather than electing them based on their firmly held beliefs and track records of performance! Weren’t New Testament pastors and deacons qualified and selected based on their beliefs and track records, rather than on answers, objectives and promises given to self appointed inquistors? The criteria used in the New Testament should be very adequate for us today, even preferable, for selecting SBC Presidents, trustees and other officers. Let’s not use promises but performance as criteria for selecting leaders.]]

11) What are the most important cultural issues for the SBC in the next 10 years?

Without sounding trite I wish to propose the most important cultural issue for the SBC is how we can recognize that we ARE the culture. Too often we withdraw from culture and become isolationists who condemn, when Jesus told us to go into the world and be people who effect change by our love and our example. How does a homosexual change? By the power of the gospel. How do teenagers stop engaging in promiscious sex and cease having abortions? Through the power of the gospel. How does a city shut down its bars and fill its churches? Through the power of the gospel. I would suggest our greatest need is to be a people who engage the culture with the power of the gospel. Refreshingly, I see this happening all across our land.

[[Wade, I pray our next SBC president will be far more focused and concrete in his vision for impacting cultural issues than what is expressed in your ‘answer.’ Your questions and glittering generalities about piety versus degenercy are hardly likely to stimulate or guide efforts that are likely to make a significant impact on our sin-sick culture with Christ and His moral teachings.]]

12) Apart from your weekly study of the Bible, what are the three most important books you have read recently which have influenced you in the ministry?

The Autobiography of Charles Haddon Spurgeon
The Life of God in the Soul of Man by Henry Scougal
William Huntington; Saved Sinner by Dr. George Ella

13) World Christianity has taken a dramatic shift to the Southern Hemisphere. This shift is mostly in the form of Pentecostalism and Catholicism. In what ways should the IMB be adapting to a rapidly changing world in order to spread the gospel effectively to the ends of earth?

The best advice I could give on this is that we must recognize that Christianity will not look like FBC Smallville, Texas in other countries of the world. When we try to formulize what "church" looks like, and then demand that missionaries and others follow our Western Americanized formula, we are asking for trouble. The IMB is full of creative, conservative evangelicals who know what they are doing.

I say we let the administrative staff lead, and we do our best to support and follow, while maintaining our fiduciary responsibilities for financial, legal and moral accountability.

[[Wade, why take this judgemental jab against IMB trustees? Are your fellow IMB trustees really as wrong-headed as is clearly implied by your criticism and advice? Does this mean that you disapprove of the IMB’s formally approved and adopted standards for the kind of churches IMB missionaries are committed to starting? What motions have you introduced to revise those standards?]]

14) Are there kingmakers calling the shots in the SBC? Should agency heads or seminary presidents attempt to influence the boards of other agencies for the purpose of undermining agency leadership?

Yes, but not for long.

Absolutely not. To the extent that may have been, or continues to be a problem that should stop. I think steps are being taken to insure it does not occur any longer.

[[Sounds like you or your hand-picked man have already won the SBC presidency. Just how do you justify blogging opinions and judgements that are to your liking, thus increasing the politicalization of the Convention, while condemning some of our best and brightest spritual leaders for expressing their judgements? Some one said tyrants are the last to realize that they live in a tyranny. How do you justify seeking to squelch some of our proven spiritual leaders?]]

15) Finally, as a younger leaders in the convention, what will you do as president of the SBC to bring younger leaders to the table? What ideas do you have to develop leadership within the denomination? Are there ways to ensure that involvement in SBC life can include a broad coalition of leaders from various demographics, such as age and church size? What is the role of the small and medium size church in SBC life?

There must be a very intentional, purposeful attempt at bringing younger leaders to the table. Conferences and national meetings targeting fellowship and training among young leaders is essential. In addition, the appointment powers of the President of the SBC are such that he can facilitate more involvement among young pastors across the convention. Some of our best, brightest pastors in the SBC are in small or medium size churches. Engaging younger leaders to participate in the SBC should be a priority for whoever
becomes President of the SBC.

[[“Leaders” of what? Who has been declared official designator of new “young leaders”? One thing that real “leaders” seem to have in common is that whether they are young or old, they never claim the title “leader” for themselves. Not even when called such by older ones, even those older ones who are now, or have been real leaders. Is it possible that a little bit of gullible infantilism has crept into the hearts of some young preachers within the SBC during recent years, causing them to think of themselves as real leaders, without supporting evidences? Is a fraternity of “young leaders” being organized as a special interest group within the SBC? Are they now a voting block? Will they “overthrow the resurgence establishment”? How sad to see adults with graduate degrees appear oblivious to the repugnance of presumptiveness on display. How quickly some claim the title “young leader,” with no more justification than someone’s grandfatherly gesture calling them “young leaders.” By what criteria have members of this fraternity been dubbed “young leaders”? What motivates young preachers to claim a title made hollow by the absence of clear and concrete evidences that answer questions such as--Who have they led? Where did they lead? What good purposes were accomplished by their leading? Are they leaders of their peers, of their parishoners, of their juniors, of their seniors? What are the tangible accomplishments of their leadership? Etc.?]]

Wade, may God bless you in your quest and the SBC as we move toward Greensboro. Whether or not any resolution I may offer is accepted, I pray that many good decisions will be made for Christ in Greensboro, and that a great revival will be experienced there. Thanks again for your ice-breaking gesture of shedding light on the inner workings of one SBC agency-entity. We need to formalize and expand the exposure of how all SBC agency-entities operate.
Hiram Smith
Psa.23:1

Anonymous said...

Did Brad ever get his own blog? I'd like to read and post there. Sometimes "transparent" is a compliment. "See right through you" never is.

Alan Cross said...

There should be another candidate - you are right. Wade Burleson. You have a vision that we all need and you are willing to fight for what is right. Why are we so afraid of controversy? If it is over the truth, we should not be afraid. Paul was never afraid to stand up for what is right. It does not mean that others are terrible or evil. It just means that Wade and others are articulating another vision for the future. How bad have things gotten that when any other conservative group speaks up to share their thoughts, they are shouted down as divisive? Take the nomination, Wade, and lead us.

LivingDust said...

Brad,

Your fears are in delayed mode - the people of the SBC have ALREADY had to endure years of "disagreements and dissensions" at the hands of the self-important ones.

In regards to the olive branch, please clarify - will the kingmakers of the SBC be offering Southern Baptist people an olive branch?

Praying that "all-new" leadership will be in place after Greensboro.

Jeremy Roberts said...

Wade, after this new nominee is announced publicly, will you please inform readers of why you're holding out on this?

Maybe you're not sure who this person is, but you just know someone will be there.

Although I am very obviously a supporter of Dr. Floyd's nomination, I would like to pray for this other candidate that they will live above reproach despite all of the personal attacks many will probably throw his/her ways just like Pastor Floyd has had to receive his unfair share of personal attacks.

We can and should all pray for this mystery person generically, but it would be nice to know who we're praying for.

Anonymous said...

Nothing would make me happier in Greensboro than voting for YOU.

JUSTAMOE said...

Wade:

Regarding your statement that there will be a second presidential candidate this year in June:

Will there be a second candidate for SBC president despite the one you mentioned declining to agree to be nominated because the one remaining announced candidate, in your opinion, will not deal directly with the important current issues?

Someone said, "If you've got the stuff, you don't have to tell anybody--they'll come to you!" Wade, 99% of the bloggers here--and everyone with good sense reading the SB Texan article--is now coming to you. Brother, honestly, for a time such as this "you've got the stuff". Please, before you go to bed tonight, call back the most-respected and most-articulate potential nominator who has inquired of you and tell him/her that you'll agree to be nominated as president of the SBC in June. The time is too near, and the issues are too important, to delay longer. You've been sought-out; you aren't seeking anything--but people are confident you'll do a magnificent job in the position (an anecdote probably already in your files and similar to this situation: George W. Truett's "calling" to the ministry--the CONGREGATION apparently experienced that calling BEFORE he did--and the church and the Spirit were determined not to let him rest until he yielded).

Thanks. (Let me know if you need help editing your acceptance speech.)

patrickbarrett said...

“My fear: this is paving the way for years of disagreements and dissensions.”

Brad,

my fear is that others will use this fear as an excuse to completely avoid necessary dialogue. On the surface, what you’ve witnessed might seem unhealthy and even divisive. But how many times have initial fears proven themselves to be unfounded? A little friction is healthy, and what might seem to threaten the purity of the gospel and the church’s witness to a lost world is often the very thing that fuels incredible growth. Please consider the conservative resurgence in our own convention, along with the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. Our generation is now enjoying the fruit of both periods of great friction. Because of the men who initiated them, neither one of us feels threatened for justification by faith alone or has to sit in a Southern Baptist pew where inerrancy is denied.

I appreciate the spirit of your comments, and I want to add that most SBC bloggers have been honest with their concerns, but absolutely full of Christian charity. This blog is a PERFECT example. I don’t think they have become forums for dissension. Rather than paving the way for years of dissension, I believe you are witnessing the necessary friction that will bring the gospel, not non-essential doctrines, to the forefront of Southern Baptist life and mission.

Thank you for urging us to pray. You are definitely right. This discussion will result in a “Baptist Blowup” unless the Lord intervenes.

Wade Burleson said...

Hiram,

Thanks for your post.

I would encourage you to begin your own blog. I believe your interpretation of my answers to Tad's questions is way off base. The beauty of my blog is that people can read for themselves.

I stand by what I have written.

Blessings to your efforts as well to shape the SBC in the manner you deem best.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

What if...

God looked at the SBC and the IMB and saw things He did not like?

He saw some of the things we've seen recently ... manuevering motions to avoid a public discussion that might have, in a manner of speaking, cleared you in the "gossip & slander" statements?

He saw "exclusivism", which I believe is repugnant to Him?

He saw a group .. organization .. structure .. that had lost sight of the fact that our attitude is to be that of unworthy servants?

If so, I bet He'd eventually do something. If so, perhaps that might be termed a "Baptist Blowup".

Maybe that's just what the Doctor (that Great Physician) ordered.

All we can do is walk in the light He gives us. Every action. Every statement. Every intention. All the time.

He'll do the rest.

Bro. Ray said...

I read the comments here often, but seldom post. I did post similar comments as this on a Pro-Ronnie Floyd blog (Not that this is a negative Ronnie Floyd blog...)

I don't believe that Dr. Floyd is just seeking recognition nor does he lack a grasp of the issues. I am just burdened about the entire process of the "kingmakers" choosing a candidate and the candidate claiming "God's special revelation" to him to fill that role.

There is a certain fallacy that just because a church is big, that it is more blessed. Is Dr. Floyd a better leader than a pastor of a smaller membership congregation, averaging 150 worshippers? I for one am weary of the misleading dogma that only the mega-church pastors are the God called leaders of this convention. I do not believe I am alone in this weariness!

I certainly mean no disrespect to Dr. Floyd. However, he has yet to utter any words or demonstrate by his actions anything that would indicate he means no disrespect for the rank and file Southern Baptist pastor.

This may sound like bitter grapes from a pastor of a non-mega church. I personally assure you it is not. I look forward to Greensboro and a harmonious convention, regardless of the number of presidential candidates.

Blessings,

Brian Armas said...

Wade- As you are well aware, Pastor Floyd is not "running" for President. In his blog, dated 05/09/06 he says "What do we do? We pray…we do not run for President. We pray. We seek the Lord."

I would encourage you to do the same. Don't run. Just pray that God would bring about the result that He desires. We all know that we are a very strategic point in the SBC. We need God to choose the man to lead us for the next 2 years. The last thing we need is a race.

t. d. webb said...

Wade,
Does his post on this specific blog mean Hiram Smith will not be your nominator or campaign manager for the Greensboro convention? . . . Bummer! ;^)


In His Grace and Peace,

Tom

t. d. webb said...

Wade,
This Okie just caught your appearance on the "Baptist Blowout" (The only "blowout" was KFOR's reporter's in the failed effort to sensationalize the disagreement that exists on these issues. Neither, you nor the Duncan pastor took the bait, praise God!) Should KFOR-TV send a reporter to the SBC convention, they will probably only get an interview or two from a country singer. . .they think the convention will be held in . . . NASHVILLE! However, accuracy in reporting has never been a forte in KFOR's reporting. . .even during "sweeps week"!

In His Grace and Peace,

Tom

Anonymous said...

To Brad Reynolds,
As kids, my twin brother had the ability to shoot a mouthful of water ten feet through his buck teeth. He would throw his hands in the air and yell, “Peace! Let’s have peace” after getting me wet.

You remind me of him with your fear of disagreements and dissensions. Livingdust stated correctly that your stated fear has been going on for many years.

Your real fear is, if Wade becomes president, autonomy of the church and INDIVIDUAL priesthood will be restored which would require a new BFM.

Once again, let me thank you for your post. Without it, I wouldn’t have near as much to write about.
Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

Barney,

It is proper blog etiquette to keep comments on posts brief. If you make the comment longer than the original post, except by the specific request or permission of the author of the original post, one should start his own blog rather than weigh down the comment section. I have chosen to place comments that criticize me on my blog regardless of length.

Jack Maddox said...

Hiram posted the Blog version of the 119th Psalm

Currently a committee is placing chapter and versus for clarity

Giggeling while ducking grenades
J

Anonymous said...

Is Hiram Smith really the President of a seminary in TEXAS??

kevin said...

Wade I do hope you will allow yourself to be nominated.

Let's all remember to keep this positive. I look forward to telling my network positive things about Wade's vision instead of negative things about opposing candidates. I do have some of the same concerns others have shared/written about Floyd, and I think it is completely fair for those issues to be brought to the forefront. Let's do our best, however, to stay positive. Wade has modelled this for us through his ordeals in the past.

Phillips Lynn said...

Pastor Wade,

My respect and admiration for you has grown over the past months. I appreciate the way you have conducted yourself under "fire" and believe that you truly love the Lord and display Christian character.

I am praying for you and your ministry as you seek God's will for your life.

If God were to lead for your nomination as President of our convention, you would have my vote and support.

Anonymous said...

Hiram,

What do you mean by "Emergent Movement"? You may have explained it farther down in your comment;however I was exhausted before I reached that point.

I notice that your have your own blog. Could I suggest that, rather than use so much space on Wade's blog, you post a brief statement and then refer those who have interest to your blog. I think that would be a very thoughtful thing for you to do.