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

The Memphis Declaration and Personal Repentance

I can't tell how pleasantly and wonderfully surprised I was at the spirit of the men and women in Memphis. I had personally met only about ten of the thirty people prior to the meeting, but I can honestly say all thirty made a deep impact on me. I went thinking the discussion would be on concrete motions and resolutions to change the direction of our convention, but I left having experienced a movement of the Spirit of God. God took control of the meeting, and those in the meeting room, and as a result, the refreshingly open and honest dialogue and discussion is something I will never forget. It was evident that everyone desired God to first move in our hearts and to do a work within us.

Which leads me to answer a question that has been posed to me. The Memphis Declaration speaks of repentance. The document speaks of repenting. Who is repenting?

Had you heard the prayers offered, the testimonies given, the ideas exchanged there would be no misunderstanding about the answer to that question. The people around the table were repenting themselves, and for nobody else. Since I will not even presume to speak on behalf of my brothers and sisters who were in the meeting, much less Southern Baptists who were not at the meeting, I will briefly give you those things for which I am repenting.

1. We publicly repent of triumphalism about Southern Baptist causes and narcissism about Southern Baptist ministries which have corrupted our integrity in assessing our denomination bureaucracy, our churches, and our personal witness in light of the sobering exhortations of Scripture.

I repent of speaking of our Southern Baptist Convention as if it were God's gift to the evangelical world. I was confronted full force with the reality that too often I speak in glowing terms of the work of Southern Baptists as if God Himself were unable to save His people if were it not for our missionaries, our seminaries, and our work. Frankly, the Southern Baptist Convention may have triumphed over "liberalism," and yes I played a role in the battle for the Bible of the 80's, but instead of continuing to brag about how Southern Baptists are the only mainline denomination to turn back the tide of "liberalism," I committed myself to speak plainly about our current need of reform. In a moment I will express my repentance over calling people "liberals" who were not "liberals," but my repentance in this area is one of thinking more highly of our convention work than I ought. If the Southern Baptist Convention dies, the Kingdom of God will continue to advance.

I don't want our convention to die, and frankly, I believe some outstanding, new things are being done to make the SBC even better, but until I am prepared to say I am a builder of the Kingdom of Christ, and only secondarily a builder of our denomination, then I am dishonoring Christ and His Kingdom. The Kingdom of Christ and the Kingdom of the SBC are not always synonymous.

I also repented of being concerned about how my church compares in numbers and statistics with other churches. I desire my church to reach people, but concern over how we compare to others is a sign of my pride. I desire to be totally transparent in reporting, and I want our missionaries to be so free of the pressure of numbers as they build the Kingdom of Christ that they enjoy their ministry and don't dread their reporting. God saves sinners, and I am ashamed that I help breed a spirit of arrogance by emphasing how we compare as a denomination with other denominations in winning people to Christ. May our missionaries never feel the pressure from trustees or staff to "produce numbers" in order that we might brag how effective we are. May our missionaries experience our encouragement to remain faithful during times of spiritual drought and barrenness. But I ask myself, how can our missionaries experience that freedom from the pressure to "produce numbers" until I lay down my own desire to be praised of man, and simply minister to people with my eye toward God's glory and not my own?

2. We publicly repent of an arrogant spirit that has infected our partnership with fellow Christians in the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, without the hearing of which men are incapable of conversion.

I repented of my arrogant feelings that some people are not as "theological astute" as I am. I sometimes say I don't understand how people can claim they base their beliefs on Scripture, because I don't understand their beliefs and arrogantly believe I understand all of Scripture. I repented of my "know it all pride."

Wiley Drake helped me. I had never met Wiley Drake before this meeting. Someone once told me Wiley was crazy. If that man is crazy, I ask God to make me crazy too. This sixty year old man works with pimps, drug addicts, prostitutes, hoodlums, drunks and other down and outers on the West Coast. Wiley shared with us all that his heart broadened to other evangelicals when a Pentecostal pastor partnered with him to reach the needy for Christ in California. Every day Wiley and the Pentecostal would pray together. Wiley would pray in English and the Pentecostal would pray in tongues. God is saving people by the droves through the joint ministries of these two men.

Wiley doesn't speak in tongues, but he didn't let his cessationist beliefs overturn his desire for cooperation in reaching California for Christ. Further, he didn't act as if someone who spoke in tongues was of the devil. Wiley loved his pastor friend, has not and will not become tongues speaker himself, but partnered with that other pastor, setting aside petty differences, to reach the lost.

I don't like being around people different than me. But we in the SBC among people who fellowship within the parameters of the Word of God there will be people who are different from me --- not to mention those millions of other Christians outside the SBC who will join us in working to build the Kingdom of Christ. The Spirit of God convicted me of my arrogant spirit toward fellow Christians who believe differently than I on the non-essentials of the faith. God, make me crazy like Wiley.

3. We publicly repent of having condemned those without Christ before we have loved them, and that we have acted as judge of those for whom Christ died by failing to live with a redemptive spirit toward them.

I thought long and hard about this one. I know my heart. I really believe God has given to me a love for homosexuals, adulterers, alcoholics, drug addicts, and others who live lives without evidence of the grace of God. However, I repented of often not living "redemptively" before them. I repented of not caring for their souls as much as I should. I have an anecdote about a Memphis homeless man that I'll share with you one day that is a direct result of the Spirit of God moving in my heart in this area.

4. We publicly repent of having forsaken opportunities to reason together with those who share our commitment to gospel proclamation yet differ with us on articles of the faith that are not essential to Christian orthodoxy

I repented of an unkind spirit toward my conservative brethren who withdrew from the SBC over what they deemed "politics." I would often say that their withdrawal was "proof" of their liberalism. I asked God to forgive me, and I want continued dialogue with conservatives who feel disenfranchised from the SBC like the dear unnamed brother in Memphis who opened my eyes to his "cover to cover" belief in the Bible, his passion for missions, and his willingness to cooperate with us --- though he and his church have been unjustly called "liberal."

5. We publicly repent of having turned a blind eye to wickedness in our convention, especially when that evil has taken the form of slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations and malicious character assassination against our Christian brothers.

I repented of not believing that maliciousness toward brothers and sisters in Christ ever occurred in the SBC. I repented for turning a blind eye and a deaf ear toward people who have approached me in the past with hurt hearts and damaged reputations because of their unjust treatment by those within our SBC. I also repented of personally, and unjustly, accusing some of my former fellow Southern Baptists of being "liberal" when their ministries and their own personal confessions evidenced they were not.

6. We publicly repent of having misplaced our priorities on the building and sustaining of institutions of secondary and far inferior importance than the local church.

I repented of not helping, supporting, encouraging, praying for, and undergirding the local Southern Baptist Churches in my area.

7. We publicly repent of having disrespected the sovereign grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by falsely presuming that our strength as a people of God is found in uniformity rather than unity within the parameters of Scriptural authority.

There were some in the room to whom this statement applied, but not to me. I have been pushing for months to cooperate around unity within the parameters of Scripture and not uniformity of the interpretation of Scripture.

8. We publicly repent of our inattentiveness to convention governance by not seeking to hold trustees accountable to the body which elects them to preserve our sacred trust and direct our entities with the guidance, counsel, and correction necessary to maintain the integrity of those entities.

I repented of not noticing, caring and paying attention to multiple missionary firings, seminary closures, and the firing of agency heads. I am not saying these steps were NOT justified, nor am I saying they were justified. I am saying I repented of my inattentiveness to what was going on. I figured, "who am I?" I wasn't a trustee. Now I realize trustees must be held accountable by someone. That someone is the convention. We elect them all. I repented of my inattentiveness to convention governance as a Southern Baptist this last decade.

In closing, let me say a word about people who seem to be sniping at people who either facilitated or attended this Memphis Summit. Feel free to snipe at me all you want. I'm used to it and find God uses it like sandpaper to refine me.

However, I would like to defend the other participants.

Had you been there, your heart would be different today. Nobody can stay in a room where the Spirit of God is present and leave with a heart of pride or a caustic mouth. The Memphis Summit and the Memphis Declaration may be simply fodder for your anger or bitterness for any number of reasons. Maybe you don't like the organizer? Maybe you desire to make yourself look better by assassinating the character of others? Maybe you wish to embarrass someone for what you deem are critical words, while at the same time overlooking your own? Or maybe the very accusations you make are the very things with which you are guilty?

I don't know (I really don't). My only caution to you is this:

When you snipe at people who genuinely met the Spirit of God in Memphis, left with a greater love for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, and never once gave any evidence of desiring anything but the glory of God, then your sniping may be in actuality a complaint against God. Maybe. Maybe not. However, if it is a possibility your complaint is really with God, I would think long and hard before I criticized.

More tomorrow.


In His Grace,



Wade

57 comments:

Steve said...

Wade, I appreciate how you drew out your own comments on each point. Your responses to point 1, and, er, I think 4 really struck me as poigniant, probably because they resonated with me as well. Good thoughts.

Also, are you sure Wiley Drake isn't a little crazy? It just wouldn't seem right otherwise. ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for spreading a little grace on the unrest that has made it's way into the SBC blogsphere tonight. What came out of Memphis is refreshing. I hope everyone will eventually see it for was it is.

David Rogers said...

This is wonderful!

Would to God this be the match (or one of the matches) that strikes the flame of revival we need so much, in the SBC, and in the Body of Christ around the world.

Shoshana L said...

I’m heartened by the Memphis Declaration. It’s a good start. No doubt, its reverberations will be felt across the SBC. It is a seed sown that will bring fruit in due season if you do not faint.

True repentance is powerful, undertaken both personally and for a broader segment of people. The prophets of old, the watchmen on the wall, often identified with the sin of an entire nation and repented.

Intercessors today pray on behalf of others, presenting them singly or corporately before the throne in Jesus’ Name. In doing so, they identify both with the sin and the sinner because they’ve stood in that same condition and have been—and are daily being--delivered.

Prayer sees eyes opened and hearts change. It brings conviction through the Holy Spirit. Perhaps prayer and repentance will lead to a great awakening within the SBC.

It is one thing to pray that Southern Baptists as a group will broaden their parameters to “work with” those who do not believe exactly as they do in the “nonessentials.” A higher prayer would be the one Jesus prayed in John 17--that we would be one. He would not have prayed it, had it not been possible.

As we submit and allow God to grow us toward that perfect example of “the full stature of Christ Jesus,” the church will begin to come into that unity. And it has nothing to do with denominational statements or creeds.

I’ll believe walls are finally coming down in the SBC when its members quit talking about being proud Southern Baptists, and begin to get a burden for being one with their fellow brethren. It’s possible, it’s necessary, and the Bible need be our only creed.

JUSTAMOE said...

This is the most guts I've seen in more than a decade from anyone in any leadership role in SBC life--unless it's the guts of a Wiley Drake whose love actually causes him to go out and get dirty seeing that the real needs of real people are met in Christ.

The SBC has needed someone to stand up this way for years--thanks to the 30 who've done so as now said (repenting individually as described). If leadership sets the example, then good models are in place.

My expectation, though, is that actual implementation of the Declaration will be harder than drafting its 990 words. Best wishes for executing it--and we'll all be watching for that, too (repentance isn't "getting warm feelings where we previously had no warm feelings"--it's turning 180 degrees in attitude and action).

Bart Barber said...

I stand corrected.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
I copied pasted your May 4 blog and named it ‘The New Wade Burleson.’ It is such a great article I hardly know what to say. In a way, it reminds me of the brother of Jesus. According to Foxe’s Book of Martyrs (not the updated one), for years, James rubbed elbows with guys that killed his Brother as James was the only one allowed in the Holy Place of the Temple since his daily job as a Nasserite was to pray for the sins of the people. The old James prayed in the temple as his brothers in Christ were being whipped. The old James was known as the ‘Just’ and was told by the Pharisees, “Restrain the people for they believe in Jesus as though he were Christ because all the People and we ourselves are ready to obey thee.” The NEW James said, “Why do you ask me of Jesus the Son of man? He sitteth on the right hand of the Most High and shall come in the clouds of heaven.” Many were persuaded and glorified God…Pharisees: “Oh, this Just man also is seduced.” They threw James off the top of the temple.

Wade, because of this meeting, many will be persuaded, but will this 30 get thrown from the top of the SBC? Only time will tell.
Rex Ray

Hershel said...

Wade,
To you and all others at Memphis, Thank You.

For the first time in many years I have hope for what I believe is a needed course correction in the SBC. I was one of those called by some “LIBERAL”. I chose to fight politically what I saw as a political take over of the SBC. I was present at the formation of the CBF. For me it was religious politics, not theology (confessional repentance occurred long ago on this matter).

Though I believe the original manuscripts of Scripture are without error (verbally inspired) I still refuse to use the word “inerrant”. I believe it is misleading to hold up one's bible before a congregation and claim the Word is inerrant when the people do not understand that you only mean the original manuscripts. Therefore, I was told that I did not believe in the Word of God (some of the pain comes back as I type these words. I keep asking God to help me to forgive and love those who falsely accused me).

I vividly remember attending a conservative political meeting where the preacher used Jude, verse 4 as his text, “For certain persons have crept in unnoticed, those who were long beforehand marked out for this condemnation, ungodly persons who turn the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.” He applied it to all of us “liberals” who opposed them.

I remember the CBF meeting where they said, “We have lost. Let us quit fighting and do our thing.” I saw they were becoming separate from the SBC and I had to decide which way to go. I decided to stay with the SBC because of our missions program and because I did not have the heart to form a new convention.

I have accepted the fact that I would be marginalized in my service to the larger body. However, I found a local conservative association that would overlook my CBF background and allow me to minister as their DOM. Recently God has renewed my vision for His church as a missional agency. We have miles to go, but I am convinced if we follow Him he will lead us to a renewal of evangelistic effectiveness.

With your explanation of the Memphis Declaration, I have hope that God will bring a renewed spirit of unity and cooperation to our SBC. May God forgive us for our political wars of the past and lead us to reasoned discourse so we might listen to the hearts of our brothers before we brush them off as heretics.

The young leaders movement is an answer to my prayers with their insistence on honesty, integrity and accountability. May they lead us into a renewal.

Greg Cloud said...

Wade,

I read one of the comments from yesterday's blog about "repenting for someone else's sins" being hypocritical. (I'm paraphasing)

There is good scriptural precident for this. Daniel faced Jerusalem three times a day from exile in Babylon and repented of his people's sins, even though he himself was a righteous man. Why? He figured himself guilty by association. He himself was feeling the punishment of exile from his homeland due to the sins of his people, and felt it his obligation to repent for his role, direct or indirect, in their sin. They were guilty AS A NATION and were punished AS A NATION. He was right to repent, and God honored his prayer.

We as SBCr's, are right to repent for the sins of our denomination, whether we feel guilty of them or not, because if this denomination falls, it will be God's judgment on us all. We will be judged AS A NATION and punished AS A NATION (as it were) and we all will feel the sting of the sins committed. We do already. We all, as you point out so well, are guilty of them either by direct commission, or by remaining ignorant or blind to what was going on.

Lord Jesus forgive us. Heal us to be usable to the greatest extent for Your glory.

Greg

Greg

t. d. webb said...

Praise the Lord for His working through the Memphis "Declarers" to experience true contrition and repentance for His glory and honor. May He use the fruit of this "summit" to bear the seeds which will be planted throughout the SBC to the end that the Lord will richly bless the Convention with the refreshing and unity of those who name the name of Jesus and are called to be used in reaching the world for Christ.

In His Grace and Peace,

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I am not "new" in my theological understanding. I have always been conservative. I have always been a Bible believer. As Spurgeon once said, "I thank God that the doctrines I preach as an old man are the same doctrines I preached as a teenager."

I am new in some understanding of some awful things that have occurred in the name of "the Kingdom" in the SBC, and I may, just may be forced to make them public, though I do not desire to do so.

I am new in my awareness that the attacks on my character will increase without measure. I will have a post tomorrow that illustrates this attack.

However, God has been preparing me for the last few years. I've wondered "why?" about some very strange circumstances God has put me in that were not of my asking. Now I know. God has been chipping away at my comfortable life to show me there are more important issues than one's reputation. I can't control my reputation, but I can control my character.

I am not new in my love for the people of the SBC --- all of them. For this reason you will not see me angry or bitter.

So I hope you understand --- the "new" Wade Burleson you commend is in reality the "old" Wade Burleson --- maybe just a little older and just little wiser.

And of course, if possible for me, more resolved to advance the Kingdom of Christ.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

euroclydon said...

Wade,

Did the thirty men and women sign the declaration? I for one would like to know who participated, how they were invited/notified, and how do I or others get to be a part of this type of meeting. Bless you my brother,

James kuyper

Wade Burleson said...

James,

There will be other opportunities to fellowship like this.

I'm not sure when, how or where, but the intent is to let the Spirit of God move to work toward another meeting open to everyone interested.

Wade

Villa Rica said...

Brother Wade,

My purpose from the beginning has been saturated with a desire to see repentance in the lives of all of us within the SBC.

That has been the subject matter of my post much of the time.

I am beyond joyful with the results of the Memphis Summit.

Praise the Great God who knows the hearts of all men.

Villa Rica

Kevin Bussey said...

Thanks for your transparency!

If we can all be that way maybe God will still use the SBC.

kevin said...

God bless you!

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Yet again, we have had a glimpse of your true measure in this post.

Chris said...

In the Chinese house church movement the strongest most effective call in missions was unity. When there was repentence and unity it was powerful. If you have not read the book-- Back to Jerusalem. Check it out.

Clif Cummings said...

Frankly, I am not surprised that this is one of the fruits of the Mempis meeting.
The challenge now becomes for this "revival through repentance" to spread across the SBC. However, let us not dupe ourselves into thinking that simply more "Memphis type meetings" will cause this. It is not that simple nor that complicated.
God grants repentance leading to the knowledge of truth. 2 Timothy 2:25.
Let us all who have been called into the Kingdom's service ask God to grant to us individually what He apparently by His own sovereign power granted to those who gathered in Memphis.
May we seek this above all else as we look toward Greensboro. May the convnetion's business as usual become unusual. May the convention hall in Greensboro become a gathering place of "unworthy servants" of our Sovereign God and His Kingdom rather than pastors posturing for position in the SBC.
But I must first and foremost pray that God will grant me the dilegence and perseverance to seek the same Spirit of repetance that seems to have been granted to those who gahtered in Memphis.
Thanks AGAIN, Wade.

By Grace Alone,
Clif

Kevin said...

Wade and all
Of all the post on the meeting you were the only one who made it personal. I am not saying Art and Marty or any of the others were wrong only that you made the declaration about were you are. I have really been struggling with some in the blog world and their apparent dislike of the SBC or things that have happened in the SBC. Some like Ben Cole seems in his writing style to detest the entire Leadership in the SBC and that bothers me surly every person that is doing a job whether they have been asked a number of times or not are doing so to be a part of a ministry. The more I read the more I understand that the only person I can look at is the one looking back at me in the mirror. I will be involved in my local association and also at the BGCO I will pray and if asked serve in any way I can even though it is unlikely I would serve in the SBC but I must remain true to that which God has called me to see the Lost saved, the saved discipled and God Glorified. It is who God made me to be and I am willing to work with others to see people saved.

Thank you for serving and reminding us it is about HIM.

IN HIM
Kevin Lancaster

Stephen Pruett said...

The text of the declaration supports your conviction that God was working in the hearts of those present. Thank you for sharing your personal repentance. Probably everyone who has been a Southern Baptist for more than just a short time will find at least one of the articles that will convict them personally. I certainly did.

Wade Burleson said...

Kevin,

I would hope you could, and would serve at the national level.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
AMEN, AMEN, AMEN, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST,
AMEN

Charlie said...

Wade
Praise GOD. I believe the torments and troubles you have been thru is now apparent. It is " for such a time as this" As a tongue speaker I would advise to never say never. I want all GOD has to offer. Anything HE has ever given me is in perfect alignment with HIS Holy Word. You and I are the same in CHRIST. I just ain't smart enough to ask everything in English. I love you in the love of the LORD...

Charlie

patrickbarrett said...

I'm a middle school teacher in Florida, and yesterday I had to write a referral for a student who stole a frog eyeball from the science lab. A young girl came up to me and said, "Kenny won't put his frog eye away!" A few minutes later, I read the Memphis Declaration. God then fascinated me with the fact that my life isn't divorced from the wild, revolutionary thing he is doing around the world and in our convention.

Here I am living with frog eyeballs and the strange wind of personal and corporate repentance. It's a funny life we live.

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jay R. said...

To an outsider looking in this smacks of an indictment upon the establishment more than an article of personal repentance.

My guess is all of you at the Memphis get together had already repented and moved forward from all this, but wanted to put together a declaration to get the "powers at be" to do the same. My guess is it will not work.

All the points are worthy and salient, but be careful confusing repentance with finger pointing.

Anonymous said...

I dare not say one negative thing to do so would be like saying baseball stinks, mom can't bake pies and chevrolets should be junked. And surely I would be guilty of triumphantism and certainly narcissism would reflect in my character. (such wise words those two). So I'll just wait and watch and listen. Your sincerity and honesty is not questioned. It's the end I worry about.

Anonymous said...

Too little, too late for this former SBC'r. They left me years ago, I made it official last year by joining the United Methodist Church/

Greg Cloud said...

Wade,

I just read the last few comments, so negative in flavor. Let me respond with this:

I spent a few minutes yesterday evening just spending time with my 4 children and (believe it or not) explaining the 5 points of Calvinistic thought to them. They weren't bored, they were fascinated. As I read the comments above just now, I am amazed at how quickly some folks will give up on God. He is absolutely Sovereign. His will is always done. It is never "too little, too late" with Him. These folks are thinking in human terms, not divine. He will honor true repentance--His Word says it, and the promises of God are statements of fact. He will take care of His children: you, me, and all those who truly seek to follow Him and leave life in His hands. We obey, and He takes care of the rest. All this will turn out to God's glory...you'll see.

In the King's service,

Greg

CB Scott said...

Wade,

I would like to address the fellow that spoke of being thrown from the top of the temple if I may?

As one that has been thrown from the top of the temple I can say one of three things will happen if you are a child of God.

1 You will open your eyes and see Jesus face to face.
2 You will be an outcast on earth for the glory of God in heaven if your cause on earth was right.
3 You will be brought back to your feet stronger to do a greater work in the Kingdom's Enterprise than you could ever have thought possible.

The 30 are in the Hands of God and whatever happens to them SO BE IT to the glory of God. For His glory is the purpose for the existence of all mankind.

In Christ Free,
cb

Alan Cross said...

Wade, This seems really positive. More of these types of statements helps create course corrections and gives those of us who have never participated hope that things could change for the better and that there will be more openness and accessibility. Praise God for your witness and how God is using all of this.

Paul said...

Wade,

Your comments about the shots your reputation has taken/will take reminded me of this quote from Margaret Mitchell: "Until you've lost your reputation, you never realize what a burden it was."

It showed a lot of courage and humility to post your own repentance. Thank you for such an example. Maybe I've been overplaying my own cynicism.

Anonymous said...

I am glad that I am already a Christian because all of the actions and attitudes of all of you "holier than thou conservatives" would be a big stumbling block to me. I am glad that Jesus is bigger (much bigger) than all of you.

Anonymous said...

Dear Methodist,

You should have little concern now about having to adhere to some ridged statement of doctrine, “open minds, open hearts, open doors”.

dlp

art rogers said...

Wade,

"God make me crazy like Wiley" and "Wiley was emergent before emergent was cool" are two of my favorite quotes, and I echo both of them.

Kevin L.,

I will be posting personal reflections later. Marty and I were asked to post the full declaration online and did. Don't give up on us just yet. ;)

I'll be posting about my journey through the resurgence that led me to Memphis. After that, I will explain my own repentance, having given you the background.

jay r.

I wonder why you won't simply take our word for it that we were speaking for ourselves.

And speaking for myself further, I hope that it will inspire many, but expect that many will prejudge the statement.

We can't control the thoughts of others, and have no desire to try.

art

blampp@juno.com said...

Wade,
I feel like I was there! Wiley has been a dear friend for decades, and though we have often been poles apart on opinions.... our focus has been harmonious and our functions productive....
Greg made an excellent point in regards to praying repentently.... There are numerous witnesses among the Prophets!
Some seem surprised others skeptical, but, isn't wonderful to know that "Our Lord is workin' all da time!"
I almost lost my wife and faithful companion of 48 ("unclaimed treasure") years last Friday and she had a pacemaker implanted on Monday.... so, we're back to normal function today! What a BLESSING to return to read some of the different "blogs" and just get my "socks saturated" with HIS GLORY! (I forgot to take my shoes off before I started reading!) I was Blessed even by the negative, and Yes!, expected comments..... Wow! It's wonderful to serve HIM and enjoy HIS Grace and
Mercy!
It isn't surprising, I suppose, that HE allowed these occurances on the National Day of Prayer, and this is the first time in several years that I have been unable to assemble at our Capitol with other Believers of every denominational stripe and color just TO PRAY!
KEEP "BLOGGIN'"!

Brad Reynolds said...

Wade - this was intended for this post,

I commend you and the Memphis attendees for your repentance and how God worked in your lives. As one who disagrees with much of what is expressed on many of the blogs of those who attended this meeting I do want to thank you for your desire to improve the SBC, to seek God and the salvation of the lost and your openness to different opinions, even on your blog. Yet, I have some questions concerning the statement that came from this meeting. As a fairly young Southern Baptist pastor (mid-thirties) I have some concerns that many like-minded pastors have in regard to the SBC and what has happened at the Memphis meeting.

1. I would like to have seen a statement expressing sincere gratitude to God for the leadership of Dr. Paige Patterson, the honorable Paul Pressler, Dr. Jerry Vines, Dr. Bailey Smith, Dr. Morris Chapman, Dr. Richard Land, Dr. Al Mohler, Dr. Jimmy Draper and others in leading the convention to a recoverance of our historical roots of believing in the authority, reverence, and yes, the inerrancy of God’s Holy Word. While, some may resent the gratitude we express for these men and maintain “the time has long since past” for the honoring of their efforts. This seems, at best, unwise. Is it inherently wrong to express gratitude to God’s saints for being used by Him?

2. I would like to have seen a statement expressing gratitude to the Trustees of our institutions for their labors for the cause of Christ and a respect for their positions. I can certainly understand disappointments and disagreements with the policies our Trustees have set forth throughout their tenures. I feel I am a fairly good Monday morning quarterback and am confident I can explain in what I believe to be unarguable terms why Drew Bledsoe (quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys) made a wrong decision or why President Bush made a wrong decision or why Trustees made a wrong decision. Nevertheless, there is a reason I am not in the positions they are in and even when I disagree I should still respect their appointments by a sovereign God (Romans 13) and their decisions, unless they go against Scripture. There is a difference in saying “I think the Bible specifies a different direction” and saying, “they are unbiblical and sinful in the direction they went”…the latter is a much more difficult position to affirm scripturally. Finally, I should express my gratitude for their willingness to serve as I now express to you. Wade, thank you, sincerely for serving and I am confident God will bring good from all of this.

3. I would like to have seen an affirmation of the inerrancy of Scripture and a commitment to work only with like-minded Christians in missions. I have no doubt that Paul would not have worked along-side Gnostic or Judiazing Christians, even for the sake of a unified stance for missions or for the world.

4. Finally, in the spirit of publicly repenting “of having turned a blind eye to wickedness in our convention, especially when that evil has taken the form of slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations” I call on all bloggers who signed this declaration to remove from their blogs any and all forms of gossip (speculative or otherwise) such as the IMB trustees may “move against Wade Burleson in May.” You see to some of us who are reading the blogs it appears insincere to voice this repentance without living it on the blog sights.

Brad Reynolds

michael said...

for the too later for this former sbc'r. do you think you are going to find perfection in the methodist church, church of christ, missionary baptist, etc, etc? think again. fixing a problem is not running from the problem. people in my home county for instance, left one church amid turmoil (church split) and headed for another. guess what, it has just about split. what does this mean? one thing, repent. not only for those we think are doing bad but for ourselves when we realise that our anger and dislike for what has been going own becomes a sin and it in part seperates us in our relationship with God. Don't run from your problems. face them. we (sbc) have been running too long. it is time to stand up and be the Christians we call ourselves and work out the problems. too late is when the rapture comes (assuming your saved) or you die.

michael said...

by the way wade, after reading the other comment by the one that thinks we (i guess now me because I post[ed]) are holier than thou makes me appreciate your sincerity by allowing comments as such (which only make me laugh).

chad said...

Wade and the other 29,

My wife and I read the Memphis Declaration last night when it was posted.
It made us both sort of uncomfortable. Neither one of us could really pinpoint what about the Declaration kept us from being excited.
I kept picturing Dr. Patterson or Jerry Fallwell reading a copy of the declaration in their offices and trying to guess what thier reactions would be to this.


I think the Declaration was released without enough explanation. Instead of you guys holding the Declaration out to the whole convention saying "We'll dare to sign this, will you?", it seemed like you guys were just falling on your swords for no reason.

I'm sure you are perplexed about the reaction to the Declaration by those of us who were not there. We came to the computer late at night and here is a statement by Wade Burleson and the Founders that didn't seem to call it like we all see it.

Your blog doesn't do all that much to convince us that these things only apply to the 30. That spin on this thing doesn't pass the red face test.

Was putting out this statement an error. I still feel dissapiointed in you guys when I read the statement.

Help me understand

Wade Burleson said...

Brad,

Good comments.

(1). Many statements of appreciation were made, but the Memphis Declaration dealt with our current repentance not the past. I think you will find that not only do many feel gratitude, many are friends of the ones you mention.

(2). There were at least four sitting trustees of agencies present. Kind words were spoken by all regarding trustees, including words on this blog over the last four months.

Accountability does not mean you don't appreciate the work being done, it just means non-trustees are going to pay more attention since trustees are accountable to the convention as a whole.

(3). The preamble and several statements in the body of the document indicate the Bible is "the sole basis of our fellowship."

(4). Blogs by their nature are quick information. It is a good encouagement to insure everything written has factual support. I can assure you I do, and I trust others do as well.

Good thoughts.

Bob Cleveland said...

For a lot of years, I subscribed to what I've seen some of here ... the joining of a church or denomination for what they believe, what they do, what benefit they'd be for me, the "purity" of their doctrine, etc.

The bible says we're baptized into the body of Christ for what we can provide. We're referred to as ligaments or joints, depending on the translation. To me, that mandates that God wants me to be where I can best serve Him, not where I'll get what I "need".

My first 15 years of church involvement were based on the former criteria. That last 25 have been focused on serving God where He put us.

I teach a wonderful group of young married couples. God's anointing has been plain, to me. I also work, indirectly, with our Counseling Center, and am involved with our Prayer Team. When the topic arises about how I can serve where I disagree with some of the doctrines ... or perhaps don't get a lot out of the preaching ... or maybe don't like the music .. or the fact that most people sit quietly in "worship services" when I'm doing my best David Impression before the Lord ... I just ask what that has to do with what I've been called to do.

We came from a decade in 3 Presbyterian denominations, and the teaching of what they believed was much more intense and rewarding there. But the learning didn't lead to nearly as much growth for me, personally, as the last 25 years of exercising the gifts God's given me, in the place I'm called to serve.

The church isn't about personal happiness. It's about personal holiness. That's what I pray God will manifest in me.

CB Scott said...

Brad,

Are you the Brad Reynolds that I know from North Carolina?

IN CHRIST FREE,
cb

Wade Burleson said...

Chad,

I think your reaction is not necessarily a bad one. If a person does not understand what is being said --- fine!

Frankly, I wish 90% of SBC'ers did NOT understand.

I think you will find, however, that a great many will read it and go --- wow!

My position Chad is that those who understand it need no explanation, and those who don't understand it should be grateful for their lack of understanding.

Don't misunderstand. We could help you understand, but we feel it best not to do so unless absolutely necessary.

Just continue ministering and loving people and participating in missions as God leads.

art rogers said...

Brad,

I won't speak for Wade, or anyone else, but I will answer your four questions or points.

1. We didn't address anybody in any way. Some people would have liked us to say things other than gracious for these men. Instead, we intentionally addressed ourselves and no one else.

Also, it was not about the past, but the present and the future.

2. The same as above.

3. We affirmed Scripture in the preamble. We discussed the word "Inerrant," a word with which I have no problem. Because it is a lightening rod and political word, we elected use other words instead. I can't speak for everyone else in the meeting, but I suspect from conversation that they might agree.

4. That statement wasn't about them, but about us and our ignorance of what was going on.

Thanks for the kindness of your words.

art

Brad Reynolds said...

Wade,
Thank you for your clarifications. They were beneficial and insightful and I agree concerning your grace on this blog toward trustees with whom you disagree. However, in posting the Declaration, as you have seen from other posts here, it appears to some that the declaration was a statement which could be taken by others as a critique of how things are done in the SBC rather than a statement of heartfelt repentance by those who signed it. I assume your hearts were sincere before God but to clarify to others there was no intention of critique, I feel it would have been better to express gratitude to the men of whom we spoke (this is even more evident from a post on another blog by an organizer of this meeting).

Further, having sat in an OT class in one of our Southern Baptist Seminaries years ago and hearing the professor claim the miracles of the Bible were fictional stories with theological substance and also claim a common fellowship around the Bible I am not confident that the statement "the Bible as "the sole basis of our fellowship" " has significant meaning concerning inerrancy.

Finally, Thank you for your openness and sincerity.

CB - It is I. Heard you were in Ala. My wife says hello. Miss you
BR

Anonymous said...

A miracle in Memphis!!!

Wade I am touched deep in my soul by your personal repentance. It takes a man touched of God to be able to repent. I am a former IMB missionary who left the IMB after years of service, working with truly destitute rural poor, sharing Jesus, both physically and Spiritually, in word and deed, (at least trying to in deed). We were completely amazed and completely bewildered by the mean spirit that surfaced all during the “conservative resurgence” that led to wonderful missionaries being fired and ministries lost and ruined, etc, etc, etc,, Your words of repentance made me weep. You restored my faith in at least some of the leadership of the SBC . I praise God for you.

You have no idea what your report on the Memphis meeting means to someone like me who has carried hurt around inside for too long now. . I love the IMB and SBC to this day and have a continual deep sad ache in my soul over what has been happening to the SBC and IMB. Praise God for you brother Wade, Praise God for you and all those at the meeting who had the spiritual maturity and wisdom and gentleness and courage to be led of the Holy Spirit. God is indeed a God of miracles and your report makes it seem a Miracle occurred in Memphis. Maybe there is hope for the SBC. Maybe a miracle will happen for the whole SBC!!!!! Maybe it won’t end up an ash heap of cold dead institutions. Thank you so much for making that meeting public. Thanks for being so transparent. How refreshing. PRAISE GOD! I feel completely reconciled to you, and hold no malice whatsoever. God Bless you!!!!!

I especially appreciate your words about not focusing on results, numbers, etc. When new directions started you wouldn’t believe the pressure to “perform” that came with it. We served on the edge for years before serving on the edge was cool.

I have personally buried countless dead babies (dug the grave and buried them! They died of “lack” disease.), We have shared Christ where he had never been preached, and to this day live in what would be considered slum conditions in the states, in a slum in the third world. We have always done human needs ministry as IMB missionaries, teaching people to drill wells, farm better etc, as we also evangelized and started churches. Then came the conservative resurgence and with it “New Directions” , and the pressure to perform and be able to “produce” x church starts per year in hard areas with oral people (complete illiterates) where we knew the people and knew it was unrealistic, and knew what ever started would fizzle was just excruciating.

We are still on the field, doing the same work, but sadly no longer with the IMB, but I must say it was liberation to finally be free of that oppressive artificial burden and be able to finally freely follow the Spirit where he was working. Alll we do now is follow and join God where he is working (as we were taught to do years ago in the IMB) but had to leave the IMB to be free to do that. Crazy.

But you are right, the Spirit is at work outside officially sanctioned IMB or SBC activities. I have been amazed. In the few years since we left the IMB our new church is growing (before we were made to feel guilty for not leaving the church on its own as soon as possible), baptisms up, and we minister to prisoners, started a women’s cottage industry for fifty destitute families, taught hundreds to drill their own family water wells, plus trained well drillers from Cameroon and Ethiopia and Central America, and now free to help a group in Ethiopia who has started 1000 churches (they are a bit charismatic and this would have been a big, big no, no while with the IMB), in the middle of a Muslim area!

We also taught well drilling to believers in Sri Lanka to minister to Tsunami victims. All this should have happened as an IMBer. But because of the production, product oriented way “New Directions” was imposed (from the Top Down) in our region it couldn’t happen with the IMB. None of this could happen with the IMB because of the pressures for numbers you mentioned and suspicion of any activities that don’t produce immediate quick results (“rapid church starts” was the official saying) . We wouldn’t have even dared asked to do half of what we have done since leaving the IMB knowing permission would have been denied. Just think, we ended up sadly having to leave the IMB to be free to follow the Holy Spirit where he was already obviously working. (Avery Willis came to our field and taught us to do this).

So anyway I appreciate your words so much. I pray other IMBers will be freed as I know many of my former beloved fellow missionaries were just as frustrated as we were. That wasn’t why we left, we left over disbelief of missionaries being fired for not signing the 2000 BF and M, but it turned out to be a blessing, and that is not the way it should have been. We should have been able to work and do much of what God is leading us to do and been affirmed in it as IMB missionaries by leadership. We were completely affirmed by our fellow local missionaries, but those activities wouldn’t have been affirmed by leadership as they wouldn’t have been judged to produce “rapid church starts” . It seemed all leadership wanted was for us to hurry up and finish so we could “redeploy to a new area to rapidly start some more churches and then quickly leave again (that would fizzle soon after and be consumed by sects). It was truly crazy to us.

If missionaries are freed to follow the Holy Spirit and not a predetermined “product oriented” strategy (or at least have the personal prerogative to truly have the autonomy to adjust the strategy as the Lord leads) then watch out, the good work already done by the IMB will multiply many, many, times over. It is critical to let missionaries follow the H.S. leading locally and not be micro managed, and that includes being free to work with other great commission Christians who may not agree with us on unessential.

Again Wade thanks for your sweet gentle spirit and also your spiritual maturity in being able to repent. It takes a real man, God’s man, to be able to do that. And hang in there, your simple genuine personal repentance will pour hot burning coals all over some and they are going to be really mad about it, but there is nothing you can do about that. That is there problem. There is no sin in genuine personal repentance.

I again, must remain anonymous for the reason I gave in an earlier post.

A Baptist brother now on the outside looking in (but hopefully not for long!).

brad reynolds said...

Art

Thank you for clarifying your statement I referenced

BR

Hiram Smith said...

Dear Wade,

This is the best way I can figure to give you my comments. Below in [[double brackets]] are my comments to several parts of your May 4 blog:

THURSDAY, MAY 04, 2006
The Memphis Declaration and Personal Repentance
I can't tell how pleasantly and wonderfully surprised I was at the spirit of the men and women in Memphis. I had personally met only about ten of the thirty people prior to the meeting, but I can honestly say all thirty made a deep impact on me. I went thinking the discussion would be on concrete motions and resolutions to change the direction of our convention, but I left having experienced a movement of the Spirit of God. God took control of the meeting, and those in the meeting room, and as a result, the refreshingly open and honest dialogue and discussion is something I will never forget. It was evident that everyone desired God to first move in our hearts and to do a work within us.

[[Why weren’t some concrete items adopted, such as motion drafts that recommend specific changes in SBC operations? And, where appropriate, draft resolutions? Such items would have been much more useful to some of us in the pews who want to see God’s leadership working in and through the existing polity framework for guiding the SBC? If change is needed, let’s do it through established procedures. If you 30 know what changes you want to make in SBC operations, let us read your proposals.]]

Which leads me to answer a question that has been posed to me. The Memphis Declaration speaks of repentance. The document speaks of repenting. Who is repenting?

Had you heard the prayers offered, the testimonies given, the ideas exchanged there would be no misunderstanding about the answer to that question. The people around the table were repenting themselves, and for nobody else. Since I will not even presume to speak on behalf of my brothers and sisters who were in the meeting, much less Southern Baptists who were not at the meeting, I will briefly give you those things for which I am repenting.

1. We publicly repent of triumphalism about Southern Baptist causes and narcissism about Southern Baptist ministries which have corrupted our integrity in assessing our denomination bureaucracy, our churches, and our personal witness in light of the sobering exhortations of Scripture.

I repent of speaking of our Southern Baptist Convention as if it were God's gift to the evangelical world. I was confronted full force with the reality that too often I speak in glowing terms of the work of Southern Baptists as if God Himself were unable to save His people if were it not for our missionaries, our seminaries, and our work. Frankly, the Southern Baptist Convention may have triumphed over "liberalism," and yes I played a role in the battle for the Bible of the 80's, but instead of continuing to brag about how Southern Baptists are the only mainline denomination to turn back the tide of "liberalism," I committed myself to speak plainly about our current need of reform. In a moment I will express my repentance over calling people "liberals" who were not "liberals," but my repentance in this area is one of thinking more highly of our convention work than I ought. If the Southern Baptist Convention dies, the Kingdom of God will continue to advance

[[Sounds like Foy Valentine, David Currie and Buddy Shurden were there, and their views welcomed. If you have not seen and heard the video record of their diatribe against the SBC at the Florida CBF assembly, you probably can’t fully appreciate this observation. But, surely you are somewhat aware of their open hostility toward the SBC.]]

I don't want our convention to die, and frankly, I believe some outstanding, new things are being done to make the SBC even better, but until I am prepared to say I am a builder of the Kingdom of Christ, and only secondarily a builder of our denomination, then I am dishonoring Christ and His Kingdom. " are not always synonymous.

[[A trite truism. I hope you will consider moving denominaitonal building into third place after your church. Since you introduced the comparison, what is your view of the relationship between “The Kingdom of Christ and the SBC”?]]

I also repented of being concerned about how my church compares in numbers and statistics with other churches. I desire my church to reach people, but concern over how we compare to others is a sign of my pride. I desire to be totally transparent in reporting, and I want our missionaries to be so free of the pressure of numbers as they build the Kingdom of Christ that they enjoy their ministry and don't dread their reporting. God saves sinners, and I am ashamed that I help breed a spirit of arrogance by emphasing how we compare as a denomination with other denominations in winning people to Christ. May our missionaries never feel the pressure from trustees or staff to "produce numbers" in order that we might brag how effective we are. May our missionaries experience our encouragement to remain faithful during times of spiritual drought and barrenness. But I ask myself, how can our missionaries experience that freedom from the pressure to "produce numbers" until I lay down my own desire to be praised of man, and simply minister to people with my eye toward God's glory and not my own?

[[Does this mean you would hang on as pastor of a church with numbers going into the tank? Do you want SBC missionaries to remain comfortable continuing in their positions while failing as fruit trees to bear fruit? Such a missions program is not likely to inspire autonomous churches to sacrifice much to support it? Should all Christian workers be indifferent about objective accountability? With all the weight given in the Scriptures to numbers, (even a book is titled “Numbers”) how can you declare such a strong preference for indifference toward numbers?]]

2. We publicly repent of an arrogant spirit that has infected our partnership with fellow Christians in the advance of the gospel of Jesus Christ, without the hearing of which men are incapable of conversion.

[[Probably all believers rejoice that the Memphis 30 have repented of arrogance. We all must guard against this sin, and repent of every occurance of it in our lives. Perhaps this one turnabout justifies the Memphis conclave. Although, why draw so much attention to confession of this sin, shouldn’t such a confession be to God and to those who have been directly sinned against?]]

I repented of my arrogant feelings that some people are not as "theological astute" as I am. I sometimes say I don't understand how people can claim they base their beliefs on Scripture, because I don't understand their beliefs and arrogantly believe I understand all of Scripture. I repented of my "know it all pride."

Wiley Drake helped me. I had never met Wiley Drake before this meeting. Someone once told me Wiley was crazy. If that man is crazy, I ask God to make me crazy too. This sixty year old man works with pimps, drug addicts, prostitutes, hoodlums, drunks and other down and outers on the West Coast. Wiley shared with us all that his heart broadened to other evangelicals when a Pentecostal pastor partnered with him to reach the needy for Christ in California. Every day Wiley and the Pentecostal would pray together. Wiley would pray in English and the Pentecostal would pray in tongues. God is saving people by the droves through the joint ministries of these two men.

[[Shame on you for ever listening without confronting anyone who spoke in such a manner against a brother like Wiley Drake. Have you yet confronted that “someone” and invited him/her to repent? Was that perhaps an instance of the listener incurring the guilt of the speaker because of failing to reply appropriately?]]

Wiley doesn't speak in tongues, but he didn't let his cessationist beliefs overturn his desire for cooperation in reaching California for Christ. Further, he didn't act as if someone who spoke in tongues was of the devil. Wiley loved his pastor friend, has not and will not become tongues speaker himself, but partnered with that other pastor, setting aside petty differences, to reach the lost.

I don't like being around people different than me. But we in the SBC among people who fellowship within the parameters of the Word of God there will be people who are different from me --- not to mention those millions of other Christians outside the SBC who will join us in working to build the Kingdom of Christ. The Spirit of God convicted me of my arrogant spirit toward fellow Christians who believe differently than I on the non-essentials of the faith. God, make me crazy like Wiley.

3. We publicly repent of having condemned those without Christ before we have loved them, and that we have acted as judge of those for whom Christ died by failing to live with a redemptive spirit toward them.

I thought long and hard about this one. I know my heart. I really believe God has given to me a love for homosexuals, adulterers, alcoholics, drug addicts, and others who live lives without evidence of the grace of God. However, I repented of often not living "redemptively" before them. I repented of not caring for their souls as much as I should. I have an anecdote about a Memphis homeless man that I'll share with you one day that is a direct result of the Spirit of God moving in my heart in this area.

[[Praise the Lord for your new vision. Are you now going to establish a rescue mission or two out of your church, or have you already done so?]]

4. We publicly repent of having forsaken opportunities to reason together with those who share our commitment to gospel proclamation yet differ with us on articles of the faith that are not essential to Christian orthodoxy

I repented of an unkind spirit toward my conservative brethren who withdrew from the SBC over what they deemed "politics." I would often say that their withdrawal was "proof" of their liberalism. I asked God to forgive me, and I want continued dialogue with conservatives who feel disenfranchised from the SBC like the dear unnamed brother in Memphis who opened my eyes to his "cover to cover" belief in the Bible, his passion for missions, and his willingness to cooperate with us --- though he and his church have been unjustly called "liberal."

[[Praise the Lord! Wade, in my previous comments, I’ve tried to get you to see this shortage of understanding and respect for your honorable believing brethren in and out of leadership positions among Southern Baptists. Thankfully, the real leaders of the resurgence avoided falling into this trap. If they had fallen into it, the Convention probably would have been split rather than reformed.]]

5. We publicly repent of having turned a blind eye to wickedness in our convention, especially when that evil has taken the form of slanderous, unsubstantiated accusations and malicious character assassination against our Christian brothers.

I repented of not believing that maliciousness toward brothers and sisters in Christ ever occurred in the SBC. I repented for turning a blind eye and a deaf ear toward people who have approached me in the past with hurt hearts and damaged reputations because of their unjust treatment by those within our SBC. I also repented of personally, and unjustly, accusing some of my former fellow Southern Baptists of being "liberal" when their ministries and their own personal confessions evidenced they were not.

[[I am not convinced that the “wickedness” you identify goes on in any significant amount without hearers reacting appropriately--condemning such conduct at its every appearance. If you concretely know that it does occur frequently without proper responses, please convince me. Cite some sources. Does “former” mean that some of the 30 do not now call themselves Southern Baptists? Are they now CBFers, Mainstreamers or what?]]

6. We publicly repent of having misplaced our priorities on the building and sustaining of institutions of secondary and far inferior importance than the local church.

I repented of not helping, supporting, encouraging, praying for, and undergirding the local Southern Baptist Churches in my area.

[[What “institutions of secondary and far inferior importance than the local church” have you 30 been “sustaining” more generously than local churches? This is the first I have heard of this being done by autonomous Baptist church leaders. I’m glad you have repented of this.]]

7. We publicly repent of having disrespected the sovereign grace of our Lord Jesus Christ by falsely presuming that our strength as a people of God is found in uniformity rather than unity within the parameters of Scriptural authority.

There were some in the room to whom this statement applied, but not to me. I have been pushing for months to cooperate around unity within the parameters of Scripture and not uniformity of the interpretation of Scripture.

[[Who among the 30 did this? How? Which others of the 30 are not guilty of this? Should you leave the remaining 29 appearing to stand as confessing this sin, unless in fact they were guilty? This reality underscores what sometimes trivializes publicly announced group repentance sessions. Why did you not insist on being precise with “Some of us” instead of “We” in the public repentance statements? Precision in language strengthens plausibility.]]

8. We publicly repent of our inattentiveness to convention governance by not seeking to hold trustees accountable to the body which elects them to preserve our sacred trust and direct our entities with the guidance, counsel, and correction necessary to maintain the integrity of those entities.

[[Why not mention the general failure of trustees to report to those of us in the pews?]]

I repented of not noticing, caring and paying attention to multiple missionary firings, seminary closures, and the firing of agency heads. I am not saying these steps were NOT justified, nor am I saying they were justified. I am saying I repented of my inattentiveness to what was going on. I figured, "who am I?" I wasn't a trustee. Now I realize trustees must be held accountable by someone. That someone is the convention. We elect them all. I repented of my inattentiveness to convention governance as a Southern Baptist this last decade.

[[Do you intend to introduce a motion requiring that detailed reports be written on these kinds of actions, and that they be made available for all who support the IMB? We need to read them so that we will more clearly understand what is going on in IMB operations. Paul and others in the New Testament told it like it was, as well as the way they wanted things to be. Why can’t Southern Baptists follow their example? That kind of reporting maintained the “integrity” of the first century church. Please do your part to help us follow their example at the IMB and throughout the SBC in the 21st century.]]

In closing, let me say a word about people who seem to be sniping at people who either facilitated or attended this Memphis Summit. Feel free to snipe at me all you want. I'm used to it and find God uses it like sandpaper to refine me.

However, I would like to defend the other participants.

Had you been there, your heart would be different today. Nobody can stay in a room where the Spirit of God is present and leave with a heart of pride or a caustic mouth. The Memphis Summit and the Memphis Declaration may be simply fodder for your anger or bitterness for any number of reasons. Maybe you don't like the organizer? Maybe you desire to make yourself look better by assassinating the character of others? Maybe you wish to embarrass someone for what you deem are critical words, while at the same time overlooking your own? Or maybe the very accusations you make are the very things with which you are guilty?

I don't know (I really don't). My only caution to you is this:

When you snipe at people who genuinely met the Spirit of God in Memphis, left with a greater love for Jesus Christ and His Kingdom, and never once gave any evidence of desiring anything but the glory of God, then your sniping may be in actuality a complaint against God. Maybe. Maybe not. However, if it is a possibility your complaint is really with God, I would think long and hard before I criticized.

[[Point well made, Wade. Please understand that my comments above are distinctly in the spirit of support, as if I had been there. I would like to have been invited and in attendance. However, since I wasn’t, I would like to read a transcript and listen to a recording of all of those uplifting discussions and exchanges you mention. Who organized the meeting?]]

Hiram Smith
Psa.23:1

ScriptureSearcher2 said...

From what I have read and heard about the Memphis Meeting, REVIVAL seems to have started and my prayer is that it will spread across the SBC, nation and world.

CB Scott said...

Brad,

I was in the Memphis Summit. I would really like to talk to you. Call me if you would not mind doing so. My number is 205 787 2704.

IN CHRIST FREE,
cb

Anonymous said...

My first though when I read this was "Wow!". I reread it, thought about it, read the comments here, thought of several more things to say, but for now will just leave it at "Wow!" Others may quibble, I may quibble. After all, we're Baptists. :-) But let's start with appreciation and the hope that good things will come of it.

Susie

chad said...

Wade,

I'm not asking you to help me understand the issue of the old guard "making broader the essentials for cooperation in missions," or the issues addressed in the Declaration regarding the impending irrelevance of our convention.

I'm asking you to explain why this particular document was the shot fired from the Memphis meeting. Why did you address the issues this particular way, phrased in terms of repentance rather than rebuke? To be frank, the statement comes across as disingenuous, especially point #5. I, of course, realize that you and the others at the meeting are sinners, but some of that stuff you guys repented of is like Billy Graham repenting for not sharing the gospel with enough people.

Perhaps you guys, being mindful of how bloody the last war for the convention was, don’t want to be accused of using the same cut throat tactics. Well, let me assure you that the Ergun Caner can handle all 30 of you like Shamgar with an ox goad by making a simple appeal for loyalty to the forefathers of the resurgence who’ve carried us thus far.

Patterson and the Judge were not afraid to be the “bad guys” because they knew they were right, and they knew that most Southern Baptists agreed with them. It is hard to whitewash the dirty nature of confrontation. It seems like you all were trying hard to do that with the statement. Can you imagine Patterson, Draper, Rogers, and Stanley getting together in New Orleans in to issue a statement in 1979 to repent of their low view of the inerrancy and the authority of the scripture? No, that would have been silly. But we were left scratching our heads when we read all the online backslapping about how great the meeting was and so forth and then read this perplexing document.

tl said...

Wade,

After reading through some of the comments by those who are critical of the Memphis Declaration, I have to wonder if the problems in our convention don't come down to one simple word: "self".

I heard an elderly Asian believer, one who had endured much persecution, say, when asked what is the biggest danger facing believers in his country answer: Self.

Not lack of money, not opposition from authorities, not cults. Nothing but plain old "self".

The sin nature dies hard in the individual; it is almost indestructable in man made institutions (even good ones like the SBC).

Cate Hanchez said...

I find it interesting that a reader wrote a warning about how some would try to associate you with CBF. And then in this post Mr. Smith, in making reference to the declaration, says it sounds like Buddy Shurden, David Currie, and Foy Valentine were there and their views welcomed--just a subtle reference, but one that begins to taint what happened there by associating it with CBF. For the record, Mr. Smith should be aware that Foy Valentine has gone home to glory where I for one will be happy to sit down in a room with him when I get there myself.

cameron said...

It's comforting to know that in such an evil day as ours, when our convention is overrun with malicious, character-assassinating individuals, we still have in our midst no less than 30 individuals who can come together and write a divinely inspired document, which no one can criticize without criticizing the very mind of God Himself.

I find it interesting that such a proponent of "unity, not uniformity" as yourself can be as insistent on the universal acceptance of his own opinion as to pre-empt all critiques with "your sniping may be in actuality a complaint against God."

I am not a regular reader of your blog (nor anyone else's for that matter) and know little if anything about this so called Memphis Summit. I found myself on your site this evening by chance and, driven on by curiosity, read this post only to be absolutely shocked by the gross, if not veiled, pride of your closing remarks.

Before you assume that I have some hidden agenda motivating my comments, consider this novel possibility: I just disagree with you.