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

A Bright Mind And a Bright Future

David Sanders, is one of the brightest political commentators in nation. He writes on politics and government for the Stephens Media Group and his column is widely read throughout the Southwest.

David is highly respected in his field and well known in Washington. Though he is the son of a Southern Baptist minister, he is not in the ministry himself, but he and his wife will be making their way to Greensboro, North Carolina for the Southern Baptist Convention.

David represents a growing number of very bright, young Southern Baptists who are energized to insure our Convention remains steadfast in proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ and does not get side tracked by the non-essentials.

I would highly encourage you to read a recent opinion piece entitled Concerned and Called to Action.

May his tribe increase.

In His Grace,



Kevin Stilley said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
W said...

How does the recent IMB changes deter from sharing the Gospel?

Can one not effectively share the Gospel in the current SBC? Does the recent changes to the IMB agreement in any way hinder a missionary from telling others that Jesus died for them?

It seems there is another, underlying agenda here.

There are several non-essentials that we affirm and expect. Why is it this particular one that is causing such a stir?


Wade Burleson said...


Cute picture.

I think you need to tell us where in the world you arrived at the false assumption of your paragraph two.

David Sanders says no such thing. David actually says, the Southern Baptist Convention is moving from "doctrinal integrity to one of doctrinal rigidity on theological matters that are unessential for salvation."

How you get "Sanders writes that theological matters unrelated to soteriology are not issues of doctrinal integrity but only matters of doctrinal rigidity" is beyond me.

You have completely altered his words.

He is FOR doctrinal integrity. He is AGAINST doctrinal rigidity.

Please read this post before you respond.

Wade Burleson said...


Recent changes EXCLUDE people, called by God, from sharing the gospel.

Would you like to explain your underlying agenda comment?

The only agenda I have is keeping our SBC from becoming an isolated, independent, Fundamentalist sect.

Rejoicing in the Gospel,


Anonymous said...

Dear W,

It hinders in this fashion, God is calling SBC people to go to hard places around the globe. They were baptizied, by immersion in a biblical fashion. Some were not baptized in a church with eternal security as the belief of the church. It was a consrvative, evangelical church. Later, as a young person, their family switched to SBC. Their baptism was accepted by that church. 20 years later, as an adult, they are told to get rebaptized. Why?

These policies do matter and we will lose out on many things God is doing if we do not reverse them.

I have had two of such cases lately who were ready to go to difficult places, yet becasue of the new policies, cannot go. One can now go after an "exception" The other, I guess, will go with someone else. Our loss not hers.

Bob Cleveland said...


I don't think whether a person has the gift of tongues is important to salvation. I don't think whether a person believes in eternal security is essential to salvation. I don't think a person's view on the millennium is essential to salvation.

All of us are going to be surprised at how wrong we had some things, when we get to heaven.

But ... there are people who ought to be on the mission field, who aren't, because they don't believe like some others want. I had a wonderful letter, this week, from a missionary (not SBC .. he was disqualified) who is doing a marvelous work on the field. The SBC could use more like him, methinks.

That's the tragedy of exclusion for nonessentials.

Phillips Lynn said...


You are correct, there does seem to be an "underlying agenda" in the new policies enacted by the IMB BoTs. The new "rules and agendas" seem to be another attempt to ultimately cause the president of the IMB to resign.

When that apparently failed due to "public outcry" over the "new rules" then an attempt was made to remove Wade from his position on the board in retaliation over "blogging," which also failed due to public outcry.

Then in Tampa, the IMB BoTs chose to "reprimand" Wade by not allowing him to serve on committees which does not allow him to function in the position of which he was elected by the whole of the SBC.

Then they also decided to enforce a "gag order" by developing another "new policy" against "public dissent" of any policy enacted by the IMB BoTs by any BoT member. (By the way, if this policy had been in effect on all the boards and agencies of our convention in the 70s and 80s there would have been no resurgence.)

So you are correct. There seems to be a definite "hidden agenda" in the policies of the IMB.

Thank you for bringing this up so that once again we are able to point out the atrocities of their actions.

darren said...

Great post...
Great to know men like David Sander's are coming to Greensboro

W said...

I will explain my underlying agenda comment later today...I am working on a very thought provoking response ;-)

In the meantime, could you please define for me what you label as the essentials?



Anonymous said...

I'm reminded of the lady who prayed a lengthy prayer in church every chance she got--she repeated, "Lord, brush these cobwebs from my head...", until a deacon cried,"Lord, kill that spider!"

Has the 'powers that be' turned over a new leaf? (Young man, you're out of order."
A parliamentarian advised you to have the new president do something.

That was tried in 2004. A motion was made for the new president to do something, and it was ruled out of order. The man complained that was the same as the past and they were hypocrites.

The 'powers that be' will say to your motion, "Ah, its just that Blogger stirring up trouble."

"A Hill on Which to Die" teaches the only way to change the SBC has to start with the President. That's the only way to "kill that spider."

You started your blog when the IMB SPIDER rejected 'God Called Servants' who pray as Paul.
You protested until the IMB SPIDER POLICY put your job on the line.

The SPIDER says 'Paul's praying" is NOT from the Holy Spirit. The only other sourse is the devil.

To contribute the works of the Holy Spirit to the works of the devil is the definition of 'blaspheming the Holy Spirit.'
Some say this is the unpardonable sin, and will be punished at Judgment Day.

Does the SBC fear God enough to correct the IMB? Or will their pride be the same as Pharisees?
Please Lord, help the SBC not to allow the sin of the IMB.

How many signs saying, "IMB blasphemes Holy Spirit" would it take to get their attention?--maybe only one.

Even better; "Wade Burleson as President will stop IMB blaspheming Holy Spirit."
How many of his 'army' would dare such a venture? God only needed Noah.

Wade, as its "better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all", maybe all God needs is for one to take a stand to influence the SBC to do something about the grave error of the IMB.

Rex Ray

Anonymous said...

I have been waiting to ask this question until you posted something that is more focused on the subject. The subject is "unessential" and/or "nonessential".

You have, at times, clarified by saying "not essential for salvation". Well and good; however, you seem to accept everthing in BF&M 2000. Is a woman required to be "graciously submissive" in order to be saved? If not, then why have this "resolution" in the document?
OR Is it essential for salvation that a woman NOT be ordained and serving as pastor of a church?

I could wish that you would clean up the whole mess while you are in the process of cleaning up some of it.


Matt Snowden said...

Thank you for your commitment to the gospel and your desire to see the SBC honor it above all other commitments. You are in my prayers.

Kevin Stilley said...

Hello, Wade,

Thank you for responding to my thoughts. I have corresponded with David Sanders and he also thought that I read too much into his statement. I regret that I did so in that I know how very frustrating an experience it is to be misunderstood.

For that reason, let us try to be more understanding, by working to clarify our positions. If you and David are NOT saying that doctrines NOT essential for salvation are therefore NOT important and NOT issues of doctrinal integrity, are you saying that these doctrines are, or at least, sometimes are issues of doctrinal integrity? If so:

- - How did you decide that the other IMB trustees were being rigid rather than men of integrity?

- - Are there any issues not found in the BFM 2000 that you think would disqualify someone for service as an IMB missionary?

Per your request I have read your Dad’s article on Essentials and Non-Essentials. I found it very edifying and I think he is someone it would be very enjoyable to work beside. We can all be grateful for his authentic expression of love for God in Christ Jesus, and for the pastor’s heart that he displays.

I admire your Dad, so I hope it won’t be misconstrued when I say that I think his article is like most of the discourse in blogtown right now in that includes unintentional tergiversation. I believe that the equivocation and amphibology in the blogtown rhetoric is destructive. These issues are important enough that we must seriously think through them. Maybe it would be helpful if I illustrate what I am talking about by addressing the six bulleted points in your father’s blog article.

“1. People differ on non-essentials.”

Absolutely. We might even make this statement stronger by saying something like “Orthodox, devoted, loving people differ on non-essentials.” However, the problem with this statement is that essentials and non-essentials are different in accordance with the nature of the relationship. Essential for what? Salvation – Association – Fellowship – Cooperation – Affiliation – Leadership – Service? Surely we must agree that essentials means something different in each of these relationships and it is very problematic that folk are speaking as though there is no categorical difference.

”2. People who differ can work together.”

Absolutely. No one questions this. Personally I have cooperated in projects with those possessing widely divergent theological beliefs. I even taught a seminary class in which there were Episcopalian, Seventh-Day Adventist, Presbyterian, Assembly of God, Lutheran, Baptist and Bible Church students. And, amazingly, we had a great time. People who differ can work together.

However, it remains to be qualified, “how” they can work together. Although, I believe there are more than four levels of cooperation, I personally I like Paige Patterson’s statement regarding this.

- - “As I see the answer to question one, there are four levels of participation with other confessing Christians, but with each level narrowing in the scope of that cooperation. Level one is that which is frequently denominated "co-belligerency" in combating social evils. Here we may be so broad as to cooperate with those of non-Christian faiths in such efforts as those made recently by Jews, Moslems, Hindus, Mormons, Roman Catholics, and evangelicals to impact the United Nations in behalf of the "traditional family."

- - “A second level of participation is prayer, although here at least two parameters must be maintained. First, Christians must remain free to pray in "Jesus’ name" as the Scriptures prescribe. Second, I cannot imagine a situation in which prayer would be appropriate among any but monotheistic faiths. But to gather to pray with other monotheists for peace or at time of great calamity seems appropriate. For Christians who are of the same mind about salvation and its consequences to pray for revival or for the lost is surely acceptable. And caution is needed even here since the follower of Christ must keep in mind that God has obligated Himself to hear only prayer in Christ’s name. Christians must then exercise care lest people of other faiths be led to believe that they can approach God in some way other than through Jesus (John 14:6).

- - “A third level, participation in evangelism such as Graham Crusades, showing the Jesus film, etc. seems appropriate, provided the concept of salvation proffered is fully biblical and without compromise. Also, such efforts should not be allowed to become easy stepping stones to the development of less than New Testament churches.

- - “A fourth level raises the old question of acceptable baptism. Whose baptism shall we receive? On this Landmark advocates insisting on rebaptism for many were probably correct but for the wrong reason. I do not believe that New Testament churches should receive baptism from any communion that fails to embrace the nature of salvation by grace alone. Here the shingle out front is not so important. The confession of faith of that assembly is strategically critical.

- - “Finally, there is one level to which we need never proceed. When it comes to the planting of churches we need to do our own work. First, as indicated above, churches that we plant need to have roots of identification with the people who sent the missionary and to the Baptist people of history. In order to establish churches that will remain true to the New Testament faith, churches need a statement of faith informed by the New Testament. Unless we attempt to argue the unprovable, namely a swift return of Christ, then we must plant churches that have sufficient doctrinal comprehension to pass this on to others until Jesus comes.

Now, back to Pastor Paul Burleson’s list,

”3. No one should have to be quiet about their differences.”

I believe that this statement needs to be qualified in order to be biblical and in order to be practical. Every relationship requires some governance of speech whether it be imposed externally or as an act of self-restraint. Every man who is a husband should know this quite well ;)

As the general manager for a multi-million dollar retail operation I received a new policy or procedure from above almost weekly. I was free to share any concern I had regarding policy or procedure with my territorial vice-president, the VP of human resources, or the president of the company. However, it would have been counter-productive and irresponsible for me to complain to the staff who worked for me.

Or, consider this example. If I come home every Sunday from church and complain in front of the kids about the teaching, personality, clothing choices, ministerial style, sermons, etc. of our pastor, then I should have a millstone tied around my neck and I should be thrown in Lake Benbrook. I am not just teaching them that I don’t care for my pastor, I am teaching them to disrespect the church and worship. Many good Christians cannot figure out why their children do not attend church now that they are adults. The answer? It is the result of their parents thinking they had the “right” to talk about their differences and doing so without restraint.

There are many times when it is right to be quiet about differences, and others when differences should be shared in an appropriate manner, in the appropriate setting, and with the appropriate people.

Now, point 4 from Pastor Paul Burleson’s article,
”4. Respect for another's position is important.”

You take your car into a mechanic because it isn’t running quite right. He says to you, “Wade, I am experimenting with new ways of doing things. Take a big bag of high-quality sugar and pour it in your gas tank.” I dare say that you would not respect him as a mechanic, nor the means by which he arrived at his methodology. You would still love him and respect him as someone with a derived dignity, but you would no longer take your car to him.

”5. When a policy is decided upon because it is best for the work... don't make the basis for it scriptural if there are good people on both sides of the issue theologically. Make it what it is...practical and good for the work.”

I agree wholeheartedly with this statement assuming that the missing enthememe is something like, “When it is agreed that a group of Christians are united by belief in the essentials necessary for salvation, the essentials necessary for association, the essentials necessary for cooperation, and the essentials necessary for affiliation, and a policy is decided upon because it is best for the work . . .”

”6. Real unity is based on at least these factors...1) Agreement on the essentials...2) A right spirit/attitude toward people who differ on everything else...3) A willingness to have ALL share their views and, when necessary, choose a path that is best for the work by mutual agreement with all being heard and respected.”

This is a very good statement. But, I think for it to be practical it must include some additional qualifiers. As pointed out a couple of times previously, essentials can be used differently in different contexts so I think #1 should read “Agreement in the essentials necessary for the level of cooperation, association, etc.” And, I think that #3 would better read, “A willingness to have ALL share their views in an appropriate manner, in an appropriate setting, and with the appropriate people.

This was kind of long, but I think it might be helpful in our quest to better understand each other.

Blessings, and peace,


Deacon Dentist said...

What Bob said!

Tim Batchelor said...


Your previous post and in this one you point out that policies are "excluding people." I think it appropriate to point out that our current situation is that that at both the IMB and NAMB there are way more candidates than dollars to send them. So yes, one person may be chosen over another but it is not a matter of no one being sent with those dollars. Every time a the IMB makes the choice to accept a candidate someone else is excluded. Every time NAMB chooses to fund a position someone else is excluded. My point is that the choice of one candidate over another with current limited funding in no way hinders the gospel. We might argue that the hindrance is that we can't send everyone who believes they are called.

W said...


Thank you for your post and your willingness to publish comments from people like myself who do not see eye-to-eye with yourself.

First, I ask again that you provide your definition of what are the essentials and non-essentials.

Underlying agenda: Based on what I have gathered from this particular blog, people are upset because missionaries who desire to be supported by SBC dollars are asked to become Southern Baptists first. Not certain why this calls for a battle cry for change.

Obviously, each SBC church is autonomous, and this is good. However, the Convention, nor the IMB, are churches. Therefore, it seems that they set-up rules in order to provide safeguards to prevent problems down the road.

Therefore, why are you really calling for change? Is it because the IMB requires a person to be baptized in an SBC church? What is the big deal about that? If a person truly has a servants heart, why would they reject this?

In life, there are a lot of things I do that I don't understand why I have to do them, but I do them anyway. Furthermore, in the church, you and I both do things that are not really neccessary, but we do them anyway. Why? Because we are first called to be servants (doulos) of Christ.

So, what is it exactly, you are wanting to see by doing what you are doing? I would love to have a brief thesis of what you are trying to do.

Anonymous, thank you for your reply, please see the above as a response to your comment as well.

Phillips Lynn,

I can not comment on the IMB happenings between Wade and other trustees because I was not there. What I am about to say, please read, then reread again, before jumping to conclusions:

I was always taught that there are always two sides to every story. Personally, I am skeptical of reports that surface from a single source.

Now, hear my heart. Am I calling Wade a liar for his account of occurances; No, I am not. I am skeptical though. Again, there are two sides to every story...I don't know the other side either, so no need to ask.


Wade Burleson said...

W. and Tim,

The IMB trustees can choose or reject any person they please as a missionary for the SBC.

I do not believe it is appropriate to establish DOCTRINAL parameters BEYOND the BFM 2000 that disqualify candidates --- Period.

Disqualify them because you don't have enough money. Disqualify them because you don't need them. Disqualify them because you just want to disqualify, but don't say, "You can't serve because you don't BELIEVE the way I think you ought to believe. The Convention establishes the doctrinal parameters, not individual agencies.

If you can't understand that we might never agree on this issue.


W said...


I am concerned with the lax view you place on the non-essentials of the faith. I have written a brief overview of this concern on my own blog. I hope you will take a look.