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

That Which Drives Me Is Personal Conviction, Not Personal Ambition

I have a pastor friend by the name of Chuck Andrews who has gently taken to task a couple of IMB trustees, one who remains anonymous, that Pastor Andrews feels have disparaged me by stating publicly "From (Wade Burleson's) first IMB meeting it has seemed as if trustee Burleson has had an agenda to hurl himself into the national limelight regardless of the consequences.”

My wife and I really appreciated Chuck jumping to my defense. It has been said, "any lie, frequently repeated, will gradually gain acceptance," and since Chuck and his wife Stella know us, Chuck's challenge of the trustees assertion is particularly helpful. Pastor Andrews concluded his rebuttal by writing "the 'Wade Burleson Issue' is much more about the “issues” than about 'Wade Burleson.'"

Thanks Chuck. You hit the nail on the head.

The Issue for Me

I have absolutely no desire to hold office at the SBC level. Zilch. I did not seek to serve as a trustee of the IMB, but due to many family members and church members that are serving on the mission field through the Southern Baptist Convention, I felt to decline the invitation to serve would be like letting go of a lifeline attached to my loved ones. So I agreed to serve.

I did not come to the International Mission Board in a spiritual vacuum. Though I have not been involved in national service since 1995 when I served as Chairman of the Denominational Calendar Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention, I kept up with the direction we have been moving by attending conventions when possible and keeping informed through various publications.

I have been concerned for the last decade that we as conservative, evangelical Southern Baptists have been moving AWAY from the simplicity and power of Biblical Christianity to a Westernized version of a surface morality that looks far more like the Pharisees of Jesus day than Christ's disciples.

There have been a progression of events in the SBC that has aroused this concern in my heart. The boycott of Disney, the withdrawal of participation in evangelical alliances, the overemphasis on national politics, the often anti-reformed rants by a handful of "leaders" of the SBC, and the continuing insistence by some to label evangelical conservatives "liberal" simply because they do not conform to a very specific, narrow ideology and morality.

Please understand. I am not asking for Southern Baptists to ever compromise on our view on the person and work Jesus Christ, the sacred text, salvation by grace through faith, the Trinity, or any other essential doctrine of hte faith. However, I am asking for Southern Baptists to recognize that tolerance WITHIN the conservative, evangelical parameters of the Baptist Faith and Message is absolutely necessary for the Southern Baptist Convention to thrive!

An Illustration from History

When the Protestant Reformation began, its aim was to reform the Church. However, the Roman Catholic Church and the Protestants ended up at literal war with each other. During the Wars of Religion in the sixteenth century and the Thirty Years War of the seventeenth century, neither Catholics nor Protestants succeeded in bringing each other to their knees. The outcome of this stalemate was the doctrine of cuius regio eius religio - or interpreted from the Latin, "he who is the ruler, his the religion."

It would seem to me that there has been within the SBC over the half century a "religious war" between liberals and fundamentalists dissimilar to the wars of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in that blood has not been shed, but similar in that the outcome may be the same --- cuius regio ius religio.

In 1974 Broadman Press published Jimmy Draper's book "The Church Christ Approves." This beloved pastor and statesman, who in the 1970's pastored the First Southern Baptist Church, Del City, Oklahoma, made this startling statement in his book:

"Fundamentalism is more dangerous than liberalism because everything is done in the name of the Lord, in the name of the Lord, the fundamentalist condemns all who disagree with him... he uses the Bible as a club with which to beat people over the head, rather than a means of personal strength and a revealer of God. To the fundamentalist, the test of fellowship is correct doctrine. If you do not agree with his doctrinal position, he writes you off and will not have fellowship with you.

There is no room in his world for those who have a different persuasion. He feels threatened by diverse convictions and writes them off as sinister and heretical. As long as you support his position, he is with you. Cross him, and he has no use whatever for you... the fundamentalist tactic is simple: hatred, bitterness and condemnation of all whom they despise... in the name of the Lord they will launch vehement attacks on individuals and churches, in the name of the Lord they attempt to assassinate the character of those whom they oppose, they direct their attack most often on other Christian leaders with whom they find disagreement....


Lessons I Have Learned

I have pastored Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma for fifteen years. We have an incredible church. There is a love for Scripture among the people. We teach, live and breath grace. The people are VERY mission minded. We practice loving church discipline for violations of Biblical commands, but we are very careful that we do not demand conformity on the personal convictions of some. The fellowship is sweet. The gospel drives all we do. Lives are changed through the ministries of the people of Emmanuel.

I have learned that the convention is not where we are as a church --- yet.

What drives me as a trustee of the International Mission Board is the belief that we must draw a line in the sand and stop narrowing the definition of what makes a "true" Southern Baptist. We must stop narrowing the parameters of cooperation in missions and evangelism by EXCLUDING PEOPLE who, according to Dr. Draper, do not agree with the doctrinal positions of those in leadership, yet affirm the Baptist Faith and Message.

To close this post allow me to ask a question. In your opinion, is the pastor described below a true Southern Baptist?

1. He believes in the deity of Jesus Christ.
2. He believes in the Triune God --- Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. He believes in the sacrificial atonement of Jesus Christ for sinners.
4. He believes in the physical resurrection of Christ from the tomb.
5. He believes in salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
6. He himself has professed his belief in Christ as Lord through believer's baptism by immersion.
7. He has been a member of a Southern Baptist Church for the past thirty four years.
8. He affirms the Baptist Faith and Message.

9. He is an amillenialist and does not accept the premise of the "Left Behind Series."
10. He believes that God has chosen to save a definite number of sinners, called the elect, through the person and work of His Son.
11. He does not believe that the Bible teachings drinking an alchoholic beverage is a sin, but rather, the Christian is to abstain from drunkenness.
12. He and his church accept people into fellowship who have been baptized by immersion after having come to faith in Christ, regardless of the credentials of the person who baptized them.
13. He does not see the Bible forbidding anyone speaking in tongues privately, and if spoken publicly he believes there are several clear Biblical restrictions, but he himself does not have the gift.
14. He is more concerned with the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ and seeing lives changed one by one rather than speaking out against the "evils" of society.

Again, can the pastor described above be considered a true Southern Baptist?

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

47 comments:

70 year old Brother in CHRIST said...

WADE,
We need more Elders (Pastors) in our CHURCHES that fit this Description.
GOD BLESS YOU and YOURS for your stand for the "TRUTH".

Bryan Riley said...

I would say I hope so. I would also say that although I understand we humans like to belong to human-created organizations that have like-minded members, I wish that converted Christians (new creations in Christ) could rest in the Lord and realize that when He made us new creations in Him he made us like-minded (and family) and that we would all work together toward the Great Commission without all the bickering over the little things. The family of Christ is God-created. The SBC and its theology isn't. I wrote on your dad's site that I wonder if God feels like I do sometimes when my 3 children start arguing in the back seat of the car over the silliest things, like who should get to sit in the middle or who got the biggest piece of gum.

t. d. webb said...

Wade, I might consider this purely "hypothetical" pastor a Southern Baptist, if he would do one more thing. . .forego the self-appelation of "Whispering Wade" ;^)

Seriously, this Okie would welcome with open arms this Charles Spurgeon of the Twenty-first Century. . .Southern Baptist, or not! By the way, if this exercise is a test, will the "correct" answer be provided before you leave for Greensboro? :^)

Wade, this brother in Christ continues to petition the Lord to envelop you in His will, working in you His purpose, and gracing you and your family with His richest blessings of peace in His mercy and love. . .

Tom

WTJeff said...

Wade,

If the pastor you describe is not a Southern Baptist, then those in my state who desire to leave the SBC behind are justified. Until you, Mary Duren, Steve McCoy, and others began to blog, I had almost given up on any affiliation with the SBC due to its ever increasing resemblance to the independent/fundamentalist baptist church I was saved in. Grace was secondary to conformity, the length of students shorts were emphasized over the depth of their walk with Christ, and one's walk was deeply flawed if you weren't using a King James bible.

The divide between the BGCT and the SBC has grown so wide, I thought it doubtful that reconciliation could ever be accomplished. So many have been hurt through the years, it still will be many years away. The young bloggers (I'm 42 so I like calling guys my age young!) have shown the true hearts of the grassroots SBCers. Though you may receive great opposition, continue to glorify the One who bought our salvation with His blood.

"May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17:23

The world will know the Father sent the Son when we are one!

Grace,

Jeff Parsons

Charlie said...

I believe he is a baptist. I have trouble with 9 and 10. But he may have trouble with my private prayer language. If you have to be elected then I am. I am pre m- but not a fnatic about it. Jesus came that all might be saved. I love HIM and HE loves me.

Charlie of Gainesville

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Sounds to me like he is, if he wants to be one. If the SBC is where God's called him to serve.

There are a couple of points I don't agree with. There are also a couple that I don't see any evidence of in the SBC today, that I really, really agree with.

I guess the point is, would I want someone with those beliefs serving as a Southern Baptist?

You doggone betcha.

And my guess was Spurgeon, too...

Jake Barker said...

In your list the first 6 are the only requirements for a regenerate christian. Numbers 7 & 8 fill the bill for being a SBC. 9 thru 14 are non-essentials and a matter of opinion that we could debate over till the rapture without either of us being proved "right".

Jack Maddox said...

I would say that this Brother could certainly be, and is a good Southern Baptist. Is that really the issue though? I realize you have been maligned by some and that is as wrong as the maligning and attacks on some of the folks who you stand in opposition to by “some” of the Memphis declaration gang. But again, is that the whole story?

The issue is not "Is Wade Burleson a good Southern Baptist?" TO make this simply about Wade Burleson is incorrect. The issue is the IMB position on Tongues and Baptism and your methodology in responding to it. There are just many folks who really do believe Wade that you chose a poor venue in which to address the issue. To demonize or malign those folks is just as wrong as the unjustified accusations and attacks on you. I believe they have a valid point. As in almost every 'church squabble' this has gotten to the point where both sides have plenty to repent of.

Although Wade you are, in my humble opinion, not only a good Southern Baptist, but a great Christian (will have to work on that amill thing ;) ) I also believe that many of your actions and decisions have not been helpful towards the process of healing and the eventual overturning of what was and still is a bad IMB board decision. However, I will not weigh you heavy and I certainly consider you my brother, a fellow co-laborer, and I pray a friend.

I would agree that the issue should not be Wade Burleson, but it certainly has become that.

Blessings
Jack Maddox

T A Blankenship said...

Though I disagree with a few of the beliefs presented, I would say that, if the church where he is a member has accepted him, and is a SBC church, then yes, he is Southern Baptist.

Jake Barker said...

In your list the first 6 are the only requirements for a regenerate christian. Numbers 7 & 8 fill the bill for being a SBC. 9 thru 14 are non-essentials and a matter of opinion that we could debate over till the rapture without either of us being proved "right".

Jeff said...

I hope so, too. With the exception of two of the list, you'd be describing me. Though I would disagree with them philosophically and theologically, I don't see them as grounds for disfellowship.

charliemac said...

Bro. Wade,
Does your question really matter if each local church is autonomous?
Personally I would not vote to call a pastor who did not include cooperative giving is such a list. Neither would I vote to call a pastor who included statement number 10. I also question the inclusion of reference to the 2000 BFM, but unless it has to be signed as a creed it is not important as far as being a Southern Baptist. But that is me and my beliefs which were formed in a different era of Southern Baptist life when I understood that the reason for the SBC was to cooperatively fund more missions.
Mac McFatter
Semmes, AL

Wade Burleson said...

Everyone,

The pastor described is not me. I'll tell you who it is before the convention. :)

Wade Burleson said...

Jack Maddox,

I am calling you out.

You owe it to me to prove the following statemtent. "To demonize or malign those folks is just as wrong as the unjustified accusations and attacks on you."

Please show me where demonizing my fellow trustees has happened in any one of my posts - ever.

Wade

SavedandSure said...

YES! YES! YES!

Provided he is a Christian man of character, integrity, honesty, and truthfulness - one who does not speak out of both corners of his mouth in an effort to become "all things to all people" - which is not what Paul was or taught in his epistles.

May God provide our churches and denomination with LEADERS who say the same thing to all the people all the time.

Men who speak different things to different audiences at different times are not needed - or wanted - in any LEADERSHIP position.

Jack Maddox said...

Thanks for calling me out Wade! I hope you will read this before you shoot!

My comments on demonizing and maligning were not intended to refer to you, but others who have dome so. As I have re read the post. it does indeed appear I was directing the comment towards you when I was speaking of the overall controversy before us and the actions of some others who support you and have signed the Memphis declaration. I should have been more clear and indicated such in my post

So should you still decide to shoot, please simply shoot me in the foot so that I can learn my manners.

Wade, if you will recall I have been nothing but complementary on this and other blogs concerning YOUR tone and demeanor throughout all of this, although I disagree with your choice to use this venue to bring forth change.

Again, my apologies for the choice of words and not clarifying that I was not talking about you.

Blessings
Jack

Deacon Dentist said...

I pretty much walk lock-step with each of the 14 points, so obviously I would welcome him as pastor of my Southern Baptist Church.

Wade, keep fighting the good fight. There are tons of us 20 and 30 somethings in the pews each week who knowingly or unknowingly are sure hoping that your thoughts are going to become more the norm within the SBC.

As a side-note, this Walt Disney World fanatic feels that the Disney boycott was ill-conceived, unfollowed, counterproductive, and ineffective.

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Thanks for the clarification.

Apology accepted. I appreciate your quick response.

How I wish others would have responded as you when I have asked them for substantiation for that which they have alleged from my blog.

Blessings,

wade

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

Conviction vs Ambition: I have seen lots of evidence of the first, and none at all for the second, in what you post.

Case dismissed.

There's a saying in law (Dorcas .. if I'm wrong, please don't sue me)that's useful if you substitute the word "scripture" for the words "the law":

"When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When scripture is on your side, argue scripture. When NEITHER is on your side, attack your opponent."

So just stick to facts and scripture, and you'll do well.

Oh .. wait. You already do that

Never mind.

Cliff4JC said...

Well I for one am glad the Deacon Dentist would call a pastor like that...because he did. It was me! But he does like Disney a bit too much!

Wade, is it ok for me to hijack this post a bit by asking someone else a question?

Jack, Just out of curiosity; how would you have had Wade deal with the IMB BOT issue? Maybe I'm naive, but I don't see any other way in which he could have gotten anything done. But, I'm listening.

Oh...I think your pastor was Spurgeon.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Wade,

Thank you for not making it the BFM 2000, but just the BFM. My church officially takes the 1963, I take my custom 1925-1963-2000 version! (You are allowed to pick and choose articles from each, right?!?)

So, as long as it's just "BFM," and not BFM 2000, then I love this guy you described. It think he's me!

I'm kinda chuckling at my own response, because we all want the tent to be just wide enough to include ourselves!

Love in Christ,

Jeff

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

I must really be out in left field. Consider the following from the Preamble to the BF&M 2000 .. and this came straight from the SBC website, too.....

"With the 1963 committee, we have been guided in our work by the 1925 "statement of the historic Baptist conception of the nature and function of confessions of faith in our religious and denominational life . . . ." It is, therefore, quoted in full as a part of this report to the Convention:"

And, 3 paragraphs later...

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

(4) That the sole authority for faith and practice among Baptists is the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having no authority over the conscience.

SO ... as I look back at the controversy over narrowing, etc, I'm forced to ask what hill would be worth dying on, if not this?

If they meant what they said in 2000, then to violate that now seems hypocritical.

If they want the BF&M changed, then own that desire and let's get on with THAT debate.

Oh, boy. I can hardly wait!

Marty Adkinson said...

Thank you once again, Bro. Wade, for your very clear presentation and arguments.

Anonymous said...

Fundamentalism cuts both ways. I personally know of a Reformed SBC which would not perit me to be a member of their church because I do not subscribe to all 5 points. Eventhough I'm a current member of a SBC. I would not be allowed to join because their constitution states that to be a member one must acknowledge and believe all 5 points.

Referencing the list, the described pastor would fall within SBC guidelines, but I would not personally attend a church with one which held all those points, if there were alternatives open.

Les Puryear said...

Yes, that person would be considered Southern Baptist. Like some others, I don't personally agree with all the points (I'm Pre-mill-Post-trib, not amill) but the core beliefs are biblical.

Roger Simpson said...

One time I was in Lubbock TX. I wanted to check out the hometown of Buddy Holly.

While there I went to the Baptist Bookstore. This is before the Baptist Bookstores changed their name to Lifeway Christian Stores. I bought a four volume set of red books which are a reprint of THE FUNDAMENTALS.

I have since loaned these books to a pastor friend.

If a fundamentalist is a guy who agrees with the stuff (at least most of the stuff) in these books then I am guilty as charged. I think these books were originally published in the 1910 time frame.

I think the term "fundamentalist" traces to these books but it didn't become a derisive term until later.

The meaning of the term "fundamentalist" has changed to the point to where I wouldn't want to be one any more.

My wife, daughter, and I are members of First Southern Church in Del City OK. I agree with what our former pastor Jimmy Draper said regarding fundamentalism -- as cited in your blog.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Micah said...

Well, aside that I've been a member of an SBC church for 15 years as opposed to 34 years, I concur with every point on the list. Since I've been a Southern Baptist since 9 months in the womb, have been preaching in SBC churches for 12 years and have been a pastor/missionary with SBC churches for 7 years, I certainly hope that it describes a Southern Baptist. If not, I'm in big trouble. :-)

Alan Cross said...

Of course this pastor would be a good Southern Baptist, Wade. I would not agree with him on all his non-foundational points, but I could fellowship and work alongside him.

Bob Cleveland hit the nail on the head and said what I have been saying with little response for months. If they want to adopt these policies, they are in effect changing the BF&M. There should not be theological/doctrinal policies adopted by our agencies that go beyond our confession of faith. The BF&M is the basis of our cooperation and the agencies are the arena in which it takes place. Wade's hypothetical pastor was in line with the BF&M, but would not be accepted by our missions agencies (view on alcohol). It is easier to change our confession de facto by changing the policies in our agencies. Because we are autonomous churches, if our arena for cooperation is closed off, we, in essence, are no longer connected by anything accept name. It seems that this issue could be addressed rather easily at the convention. Anyone who disagreed would show their true motives for control, especially since missionaries were fired for not signing the BF&M2000.

But,the BF&M is too hard to change and it is done under watching eyes. It is much easier to secretly change policies for missionary candidates and make everyone deal with it.

Anonymous said...

I'm reading a book that I highly recommend to your readers:

"The Storms of Providence: Navigating the Waters of Calvinism, Arminianism, and Open Theism" by Michael D. Robinson

Florence in KY

Jason Epps said...

Wade,

The quote about a lie becoming the truth after being repeated often enough comes from V.I. Lenin.

Later,
Jason

blampp@juno.com said...

Wade,
Thirty Comments and all seem to agree! Yes, he could be...... I WOULD HAVE TO SAY "NO", since.......
I see NO MENTION OF THE QUALIFIER WHICH IS CONSTITUTIONALLY IMPOSED:
(Check both the SBC Charter and Constitution...)
The Charter; (last sentence) " . . . - said corporation being created for the purpose of eliciting, combining, and directing the energies of the Baptist denomination of Christians, for the propagation of the gospel, any law, usage, or custom to the contrary not withstanding." Approved, December 27th, 1845 (1845 Georgia Laws, Page 130, Paragraph 3.... I see no statement asserting his desire to accomplish that purpose.... and though he may get along with the fellowship of churches in his era in England, I doubt his church's messengers would be seated as a "church at large" from another continent? 'Course he could always appeal to the Credential's Committee.... who knows? :)
But, then again some of us constitutional purists would rise to challenge if there was Committee recommendation for approval! CONSTITUTION; "Article III Membership: The Convention shall consist of messengers who are members of missionary Baptist churches cooperating with the Convention as follows: 1. One (1) messenger from each church which: (1) Is in friendly cooperation with the Convention and sympathetic with its purposes and work . . ." "And,(2) Has been a bona fide contributor to the Convention's work during the fiscal year preceding. . ." and then the next several items spell out the amount ($250) or additional members in 250 increments up to a maximum of ten. It is also stipulated that they have to be a member of the church by which they have been appointed!
Sorry, though I may love the man's preaching and agree on some of the salient points in his theological aresenal, I wouldn't vote to seat him! With that said, let me hasten to add, I would be delighted to cooperate with him on Kingdom projects where we can agree on guidelines (to be negotiated, of course!) and if he's willing to meet the Constitutional requirements for participation as a Cooperative Church of the SBC.....then, I welcome him as a "MESSENGER" (Notice I didn't say Pastor) from his participating church!

Roger Simpson said...

I think the term "fundamentalist" has been hijacked over the years. Instead of meaning "a person who holds to an orthodox position on the fundamentals of Christianity" it now means a person who holds to an inflexible position of a number of non-essentials.

Maybe today the term "conservative" means what "fundamentalist" used to mean.

It is hard to carry on a discussion when the meaning of the terms change over time. Depending upon a person's background the meaning of "fundamentalist" may mean different things. It depends upon the timeframe that the term first had currency with any given person.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

greg hicks said...

I submitted a comment awaiting approval to another IMB trustee's blogsite noting that since the IMB is accountable to the SBC, I would assume all the trustees would welcome the SBC asking the Executive Committee to appoint a committee to investigate the issues that have transpired at the IMB and report back to the SBC. I aslo asked if he will support the Greensboro motion detailed on your website. I continue to eagerly await his approval and posting and his response to the question. (Wish there was an easy way to ask EVERY IMB trustee the same question...)

Flounder said...

TOTALLY OFF TOPIC:

But...

Wade,
Do you have an opinion about the candidacy of Jerry Sutton?

Blessings!

Flounder

JUSTAMOE said...

Posting for 1001th time:

ANY YEAR'S VERSION OF THE BAPTIST FAITH & MESSAGE (1925, 1963, 2000) IS representative OF THE PERSONAL THEOLOGICAL PERSUASIONS OF EVERY KIND OF BAPTIST EVER WALKING ON THE PLANET EARTH--AND IS BASIS ENOUGH FOR OUR COMPLETE COOPERATION FOR THE PURPOSES OF MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM. NOT TO AGREE THAT THIS IS TRUE IS NOT TO KNOW EITHER THE BF&M STATEMENTS OR BAPTISTS, OR BOTH.

Everyone, permit everyone else to choose his version of the BF&M and cooperate, for Pete's sake! What's hard about that? Are we not all tired of the strife, confusion, and failures?--is the SBC not ready for sustained harmony, clarity, and success?!

Revelation 22

Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

Is this John Piper?

Maiden said...

Arkansas

Piper is not amil

m in europe said...

Bro. Wade,

I've always appreciated your comments, especially those in defense of the m's serving overseas (of which I are one! lousy grammar, but i've been thinking in a foreign language more than English these days). I would have to say that the pastor you describe would be and could be and should be called to service ... and not just to a pastorship, but to international missions.
One sticking point.
number 11.

why is it that a person can hold to the belief that alchoholism is wrong, that drunkeness is a sin, and yet can be 'cast out of the fold' for having a glass of wine? I'm speaking of a m being fired for "the use of alchohol as a beverage". I may be mistaken in this, but the wording in the MFP (Manual for Foreign Personnel) used to be that you could be fired for the "abuse" of alchohol. I'm not sure when it changed.

living and serving in Europe, where wine and beer prodcution is quite staggering, the average m may well find himself in a situation where he could be offered a drink at a church function, while meeting a local pastor, or in the fellowship of European believers. by abstaining from drinking, the m runs the risk of snubbing his hosts or associates (or at the worst, be labeled as a mormon - if he is among local believers for the first time ... don't laugh, it has happened). like all the other m's appointed by the SBC, I've signed the appropriate documents and made the commitment to stick to them, but it does put a barrier between me and the locals.

if the pastor you describe can not only be called to serve, but to lead, then why are m's put to a higher test?

just curious to see what the response may be ... and i guess you KNOW i need to remain anonymous on this one ...

Former M said...

Other than length of pastorate, you describe me. On that basis, I would have to say, "No." I no longer desire to be part of the SBC. It has left me and my understanding of the gospel as a message of grace and acceptance of the unworthy. I cannot support the direction of its agencies over the last several years. The issues are not theology or doctrine. The issues are about control and conformity. These are what make the difference for me.

Twenty years ago, I would have said, "Yes." Today no longer. The SBC has changed. It has not reverted to an earlier state. It has closed its parameters of who is acceptable. That narrowing is exclusionistic and contrary to the message of unity (John 17) and grace (John 8). It seeks to condemn rather than to forgive. This I cannot participate in or claim as my own. I have no problem working with those who disagree with me. I cannot support actions directed at severing unity and working to condemn those who disagree. That is what the SBC stands for from reports I read, as well as my experience with the IMB.

Anonymous said...

Wade,
Have you heard the expression?— “You should have quit when you were ahead.” You should have quit after the first 6 statements.

Those are essential. Before I read any comments, I printed your post and marked 7 through 14 as non-essential. Listing 7—through 14 is doing just what you have been complaining about (rightfully so)—the IMB adding non-essentials to the requirements of being a missionary.

To illustrate non-essential; me being a Southern Baptist Christian for 64 years, I don’t know what “Left Behind Series” means and I don’t care—the same goes for amillenialist or whatever that animal is. Also some doctors say some people become an alcoholic with their first drink.

Some of your non-essentials I heartily agree with but most of the comments have expressed a disagreement with some of them.

Wade, on the bright side, this is the best you have described what fundamentalist have become.

Now you see what the BGCT has been putting up with in Texas a convention that stated from the very first that their program was not to compete with the BGCT but to “contrast” them. The new convention said, “Those who depart theologically WILL BE IDENTIFIED AND CALLED TO REPENT.”

Of course those who departed theologically were anyone that didn’t agree with them.

This also reflects what the SBC has become, and the IMB is leading the way by blaspheming the Holy Spirit in declaring praying like Paul does not come from God.
Rex Ray

Patrick Mead said...

Dear Wade,

This is my first time to write, but I have been reading for some time. I thank my God everytime I read your blog because you are addressing the problems that I have struggled with the 8 years I have been pastoring. I am a Southern Baptist Pastor that fits your description. I long for the day when Baptist truly live up to what they say, "We are people of the Book." Yes we are, and that is why we should see the wider cooperation that you and me (I'm throwing my hat in with you)are fighting for.

May the day becoming when we enjoy are rich diversity and cooperation under the BF&M.

In His Sovereign Grip

Patrick Mead

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine Patterson, Pressler being divided on anthing.

Check out By-law 10, B of The SBC

Anonymous said...

Bro. Wade,
I agree with what you are saying. I cannot believe the direction that the IMB is going by making these policies that are in my opinion un-Baptist. As an Native American Southern Baptist, I am disenchanted with the direction our churches are going, especially our Indian churches who subscribe to a limited interpretation of Scripture that they are told to. For me, through the leadership of the Holy Spirit, I will stand by my convictions and be one of the "the people of the Bible" as we are known. May God continue to bless you in your endeavors.

volfan007 said...

wow, a five pointer who speaks in tongues. what a strange bird that is. that would be like a five pointer giving a passionate altar call. they just dont seem to go together.

i just want to say that we, the sbc, have to decide how large we want our tent to be. we are a denomination that must decide how big to be. we have already told the liberals that we dont want them. thank God. we have been turning our convention around for 27 years now. today, we have to decide if five pointers and tongue speakers and legalistic landmarkers are welcome or not. but, the sbc will decide this, just as you all decide what will be allowed in your churches or not.

i agree that there are many issues that we can disagree on all day and still serve together. others we cannot. even paul and barnabas split on how to do missions. i guess we will be deciding this in the next few years.

John Berry (retired AF Chaplain and Pastor said...

The emphasis on tongues not only misses the important point, but also obscures the real need. If believers realized, first, that every person has the Holy Spirit dwelling within, if they are redeemed,and, second, that every Christian is commanded to be Spirit-filled, and sought to become so, we would be on the way to the greatest renewal in Baptist history. All these other issue would fade into obscurity.
John F. Berry, retired Air Force chaplain and SBC pastor.

Royce Ogle said...

After reading several comments to your post I have a question to ask of many of the commentors.

Does the Southern Baptists have a higher standard for their pastors than Jesus did for those to whom he entrusted the furtherance of the gospel? I would appear so and that is sad.

A careful reading of 1 John will clearly show the willing heart that the test of fellowship is what one believes about Christ and how he loves the brethern.

Secondary seperation is unbiblical and shold be avoided. Any doctrine or teaching that is elevated to the level of the importance of the person and work of Jesus is foolish and wrong.

I was saved in a Baptist church, I taught, preached, and led folks to faith in Christ in Southern Baptist churches. I now am a member of a wonderful congregation of a church of Christ. My love for Jesus and my essential beliefs have not changed on iota. I disagree wholeheartedly with many of those worship with on many non essential doctrines. I also disagreed with every Baptist pastor I have ever had on at least on or more things he taught. My closest relationships with brothers have been with those with whom there was little agreement on giving, worship, sanctification, and eternal security.

I find great wealth and spiritual strength from the ministries of Chuck Swindall, R.C.Sproul, John McArthur, Dr. John R Rice, and Bob Jones Sr. These wonderful servants of God have blessed my life over the years and I disagree with every one of them on some point or the other.

The narrow minded only robs himself of the blessing of God until he leads others to go the same route, then he is living dangerously.

Blessings,
Royce Ogle
Monroe, LA

Anonymous said...

I never saw Wade confirm who the pastor was..but I believe it is Wade himself...