I continue to marvel at inaccurate and misleading statements made in the press by a one of my fellow trustees, former Chairman Tom Hatley. You would think that he would learn to stop making ludricous allegations against me. However, his actions only reinforce my determination to maintain this blog on a consisistent basis. I will continue to be positive and encouraging in all my comments about my fellow trustees, but I will not let false statements go unchallenged.
According to an article in the Florida Witness:
"Hatley said his primary concern about Burleson’s attendance at the trustee forums has been driven by concerns for the security of IMB workers worldwide." .
“The whole purpose of the forum is so we can talk about places where we have to keep our missionary stuff secret and if you put that on blog sites, you can’t be a trustee in those meetings,” Hatley said. He believes other SBC boards do not have forums because they are not dealing with sensitive information that has mostly to do with the work of missionary personnel and the high security threats the IMB deals with".
My Response: That is utterly ridiculous. I know what can, and can't go on my blog, and there is absolutely not one instance of anything appearing on my blog that either violated confidentiality or put a missionary in harm's way.
The truth is that I will not let leadership violate policy or trustee guidelines by conducting business in forum --- an act that is contrary to our own bylaws and guidelines. All our business should be done before the eyes of the Southern Baptist Convention. Period.
And further, it is both ungodly and a lack of integrity to slam a Christian brother behind closed doors with baseless charges, asking people to "trust us" with supportive evidence, and then be unable to produce that evidence. Whether that kind of action takes place against an administrator, missionary, or fellow trustee, it should never happen.
Thank God forums are now back to prayer meetings and praise reports. That is the way it should have been the last few years.
IT GETS WORSE
“He came seeing if we would throw him out,” Hatley said. “We didn’t. As it turned out there was nothing of that high security nature and I’m sure our chairman didn’t feel like it was worth the controversy.”
My Response: Again, that comment is absurd. I did not come to the Forum "to see if I would be thrown out." My fellow trustees and I have much more dignity than Mr. Hatley gives us credit in having. I began a new sermon series in my church the Sunday night before the IMB. I could not catch a plane to Richmond until Monday morning. I did not initially think I could make it to Rockville in time for the Forum, but my plane landed early. Mr. Hatley's comment is over the top. I will be at every Forum and every Exececutive Session during my tenure as a trustee.
"It’s true," Hatley told the Witness, that trustee Wade Burleson from Oklahoma presented some motions of concern at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Greensboro, N.C., in June. “But that’s just one person,” Hatley said, “that’s just the orchestration of two or three people in this convention"
My Response: Tom, the entire convention voted on my motion and requested a report be presented in San Antonio regarding the five concerns in the motion. I am looking forward to the investigation into these manners, trusting it will be conducted by an independent panel, and I will particpate fully in the process as requested by the panel. I would urge you to read the recommendation again. It is not the orchestration of one or two individuals, but a motion approved by a majority of the messengers at the convention.
Well, I think that sets the record straight. I look forward to continuing to work with all the trustees of the IMB, but I will not let misinformation and untruth, told to the press, go unchallenged.
Let's get on with the work of missions --- the very reason for which we were appointed.
In His Grace,