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

Setting the Record Straight --- Again

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.

SAY WHAT?

"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,


Wade Burleson

26 comments:

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

This character needs disciplined for such over the top comments.

Did the Florida Baptist Witness contact you for a responce prior to printing this? If not, don't you feel that they should have? If they didn't, they owe you an apology also.

Sometimes I think that ignorance is bliss. Sometimes I think that I'm never going to read your blog or any other blog again. It was easier before this blogging explosion. But, no, this is not good and the only hope for change is to expose these things with the aim of restoration and roconcilation.

Nothing can be fixed when the average guy is in ignorant bliss.

You've ruined my ignorant bliss.

Wade Burleson said...

I was not contacted prior to the release of this article. However, I know the reporter and she does a good job. In addition, she had a tape recorder when she asked me the questions she asked. I only wish I had been told the nature of what was said by the Mr. Hatley before it went to press so I could have responded..

IN HIS NAME said...

Wade,
I call this mean spiritedness where they spread their venom. This seems to be a real problem in the Leadership and the disciples of the Leaders in the SBC. I think BC has pointed to some of the problems. These disciple don't want to be Trophies on the Wall.

You and Yours are in our Prayers.

A Brother in CHRIST

MATTHEW 15:13
God, Sovereignty—Jesus was confident that God, our Heavenly Father, is in control of this world and in the end shall accomplish His purposes. God is not only Father to us, but He is also sovereign Lord who is working in the world in times and places and ways that are not always evident to us. When time is over, we will see that the Father's sovereignty has been clearly demonstrated, His purposes fully achieved.

Anonymous said...

wade,
I will repay ... - This is said in substance, though not in so many words, in Deu_32:35-36. Its design is to assure us that those who deserve to be punished, shall be; and that, therefore, the business of revenge may be safely left in the bands of God. Though “we” should not do it, yet if it ought to be done, it will be done. This assurance will sustain as, not in the “desire” that our enemy shall be punished, but in the belief that “God” will take the matter into his own hands; that he can administer it better than we can; and that if our enemy “ought” to be punished, he will be. “We,” therefore, should leave it all with God. That God will vindicate his people, is clearly and abundantly proved in 2Th_1:6-10; Rev_6:9-11; Deu_32:40-43.

Kevin Bussey said...

Wade,

I'm sorry you have to continually take these baseless attacks. I'm grateful for keeping us informed and for your positive,Godly attitude.

Worker in the Middle East said...

Wade, as a field worker with a security 3 classification, I have seen more teeth-gritting security compromises from Baptist Press articles than from your website.

Charlie said...

Wade

Tom Hatley is a disgrace to himself and to Southern Baptist. He has creared his own ulcers. What a hateful man. I have never seen one word printed that exhibits the love of Christ in this man. I pray for him but more for me to have faith that GOD will enlighten his heart.

Charlie of Gainesville

t. d. webb said...

Sadly, this Okie believes that the "real" Tom Hatley is before us, as arrogant and loose with the truth as ever. . .Shall we hold our collective breaths until Dr. Hatley has been disciplined by the IMB BoT for his disparaging public remarks about a "fellow Trustee"? If we do, this Okie predicts an epidemic of suffocation. . .

In His Grace and Peace,

BSC said...

Reading this post has made me reevaluate my views on the propriety and ethic of torture in modern warfare.

TruthOfActs said...

Wade,
You say you are setting the record straight as you will not let false statements go unchallenged. That is fine and good, but does this apply to everyone or only you?

Was JLG’s comment (July 5) about the BGCT and BGAV true? He wrote:
“Has the SBC distanced itself from them, or was it not the other way around? In my personal observation, it isn't that we are, or ever have been, at odds with them, but that they are at odds with God, His Word, and those that desire to faithfully serve Him.”

It’s strange how slander is more noticeable when directed at us but not others.

Does two wrongs make a right? When I analyze what Charlie wrote about Tom Hatley, I wonder which is the “speck” and which is the “beam”? Guess I’m in that question also.

Rex Ray

Wade Burleson said...

I agree slander is much more noticeable when it is directed at you personally. I am beginning to understand how those in the BGCT and BGAV very possibly may have been slandered in the past.

The problem is, I just don't know since I have not been involved, and that is probably why most people don't care about my situation because they just don't know what to think.

I have learned in this process to realize there are two sides to every story.

IN HIS NAME said...

Rex Ray,
I see you live in Bonham, look me up and give me a call. Where do you fellowship?

Thanks Wade for this space.

A Brother in Christ

WTJeff said...

Wade,

Thank you for standing up and not fearing confrontation. You've never looked for it, but when it came, you've been able to stand based on the principals of God's Word. I've dealt with my own issues of an incredibly smaller nature this summer and it makes me appreciate your graceful demeaner all the more.

As the Apostle Paul said, "3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ." 2 Cor. 10:3-5

May God give you His strength, mercy, and grace as the strongholds continue to be demolished.

Grace,

Jeff Parsons
Amarillo, TX

Wade Burleson said...

BSC,

You are funny.

William Madden said...

Does Tom Hatley think that blogging is more dangerous to our field missionaries than the SBC's highly public support of the Republican Party and the poorly- thought-out war in the Middle East? I served with the IMB in the 1990's and had the opportunity to observe the practical problems associated with being a "secret" missionary. Neither the IMB's Cooperative Services International initiative nor their effort to put "secret" missionaries into China were very successful over the long-term. There are several reasons for this: 1) when trying to be secret, the missionary's role becomes somewhat ambiguous; he or she basically has to spend a lot of time and mental effort while in-country trying to cover up that he or she is a missionary; in many ways, that cuts against the integrity of his or her witness, 2) Nationals in the countries where our missionaries serve are not stupid, and over time, usually figure out that our personnel are missionaries--after that, it's just a matter of time before they figure out which missions-sending agency is sponsoring the missionary. For these reasons, I suspect that some of our missionaries on foreign fields are not as "secret" as they think they are, and I they are able to continue to serve where they are because they have the goodwill of the local population. Working openly, with the goodwill of the people of the country in which one is serving wherever and whenever possible is always better, in the long run.
I do not say that there are never circumstances where working secretly is necessary, and I do not say that the security of IMB personnel is not a valid concern. But we need to face facts, and the fact is that the transformation of the SBC into an arm of the Republican party (which has turned a blind eye to civilian casualities and abuse of detainees) has been and will be much more dangerous to the security of IMB personnel working abroad than blogging or increased open-ness about IMB meetings, policies, etc. Let's remove the log before worrying over the splinter.

RM said...

Great blog today. Perhaps you could give us Tom Hatley's email or blog (haha) and we could write him and ask him to answer his statements. It might be interesting. The sad thing is that his tactics and employed by many in SBC leadership. Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

An IMB Missionary returning to the field next week

Brother Wade,

While on State-side Assignment I met an IMB Regional Leader who was attending the church planting conference my wife and I were attending. As we were talking he made the statement that if you (a missionary) do not do exactly as you are told to do, or you do what you are told, but do not produce the expected results, you are judged to be worthless. (I think trustee could be put in place of missionary.) It looks like you and I are in the same club. The sad part of this is you and I do not have exclusive membership. There are many present missionaries, or whose who have been forced out through resignation or retirement who are members of the “worthless club.”

I do not mean to say bad things about the IMB as a whole. I would not have spent 20+ years on the field if I thought the IMB was a bad organization. However, there are some folks on the field in leadership positions and on the BOT who are quick to judge a missionary or a trustee to be worthless. That is sad, but a “fact of life” under the new direction the IMB is going.

The former missionary W. Madden, who posted about missionaries who need to be “secret” about their presence, is exactly right. The officials in those countries know who the foreigners are in their country and what they are doing. It is their business and they do it well. We know this to be true because we ministered to two brothers, who were students in our country, who were from a high security country. Often the only people who do not really know the truth of the matter are the field leadership and the BOT.

Maybe this term we can unjoin the “worthless club.”

Sonya D said...

Wade,
I wonder how much of this recent "diatribe" from Mr. Hatley is just anger and sour grapes over the fact that you ARE attending the Forum and Executive Sessions. Isn't this one of the things that Mr. Hatley tried to prevent you from doing as his last act as chairman?
It seems that everytime one lie is exposed, he has to make up another. I've been reading your blog from day 1, and you have NEVER said anything that would put our missionaries at risk in any way.

Rhagaman said...

My question is can God use the SBC as long as the mean spiritness continues by the leadership.

I was introduced to blogs by articles on the Memphis Connection and Wade your posts have really opened my eyes. Keep up the good work. We all know that God's will will prevail but it takes patience for us to see it occur.

blampp@juno.com said...

Wade,
I agree with Sonya d,
Though I haven't read them all, I've read the one's that some have called contraversial, and I have been following these since you started! I thoroughly agree with the questionable activity of calling any witness a "secret" and I believe it is counterproductive! I certainly don't disapprove of people going to fulfill viable functions in a closed culture who are Believers.... but, deliberate deception I believe is counterproductive!
It's great to hear differing opinions and your gracious oversight of those comments in print! I think
Charlie's comments are extreme and border on the same pattern of accusation, as those of his reference!
The facts of our last annual gathering indicate no substantive evidence to support a "removal", and hence the wise tactical manuever of "hoping everything will go away!" ....and the referral back to the IMB BoT, which, if not dealt with in this years interim period, will certainly become a major policy issue for San Antonio SBC sessions, or I am "missing my guess!"

blampp@juno.com said...

Wade,
I agree with Sonya d,
Though I haven't read them all, I've read the one's that some have called contraversial, and I have been following these since you started! I thoroughly agree with the questionable activity of calling any witness a "secret" and I believe it is counterproductive! I certainly don't disapprove of people going to fulfill viable functions in a closed culture who are Believers.... but, deliberate deception I believe is counterproductive!
It's great to hear differing opinions and your gracious oversight of those comments in print! I think
Charlie's comments are extreme and border on the same pattern of accusation, as those of his reference!
The facts of our last annual gathering indicate no substantive evidence to support a "removal", and hence the wise tactical manuever of "hoping everything will go away!" ....and the referral back to the IMB BoT, which, if not dealt with in this years interim period, will certainly become a major policy issue for San Antonio SBC sessions, or I am "missing my guess!"

sbc pastor said...

Rex Ray,

If I understand correctly, you are insinuating that my comments from July 5th are in some way slanderous. Do I understand you correctly? If so, I would appreciate it very much if you would explain how.

RR: "Was JLG’s comment (July 5) about the BGCT and BGAV true? He wrote: 'Has the SBC distanced itself from them, or was it not the other way around? In my personal observation, it isn't that we are, or ever have been, at odds with them, but that they are at odds with God, His Word, and those that desire to faithfully serve Him.'"

I simply asked a question and made an observation. In your opinion, is that slanderous? Thanks and God bless!!!

In Christ,
JLG

Rzrbk said...

Wade,
I can understand your frustration at feeling you are being continually accused of wrong doing or misquoted by an IMB trustee. Many of us on the field have felt the same way at times.

You say you are beginning to understand how others such as the BGCT or BGAV may have felt who have been slandered in the past. Some other groups to think about would be many of our missionaries and staff, the BWA, the WMU and European Baptists and missionaries associated with Ruschlikon Seminary.

As I remember, part of the Memphis Declaration called on each signer to hold those in positions of authority accountable. When does this begin?

Perhaps if all Southern Baptists had done a better job of holding our SBC Presidents accountable for their appointments much of the discontent with the actions of our trustee boards would have been avoided. I know in Arkansas, Tom Hatley’s home state and mine, SBC Presidents have allowed a small group in Northwest Arkansas to control the appointment process for our state for many years. As a result, the trustees from Arkansas have not been representative of the theologically conservative, missions minded, cooperative program supporting Baptists of Arkansas. Let’s pray Frank Page does a better job.

I want to reply to William Madden. I can understand your feelings about CSI and their legacy. While agreeing with you that there are certainly many situations where secrecy is required and where if the missionary’s identity were known it would be dangerous for the missionary and those he or she has contact with, some feel that there are missionaries who spend so much effort trying to hid who they are or spend so much time on their platform that their true reason for being there is ignored. Someone much wiser than me in these matters said in many cases if you just play the game and don’t force the hand of the authorities or embarrass them, they will play the game and ignore you.

In reply to the anonymous IMB missionary who feels he is a member of the worthless club. I know of no regional staff person, or RVA staff person or trustee capable of judging a frontline missionary as worthless or not worthless. I would listen to the judgment of my missionary colleagues, those I supervise, the nationals I work with and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Remember you are where you are in answer to God’s call.
Ron West

William Madden said...

A clarification: Thanks to the many who commented on my posting; I enjoyed reading what you said. I do want to clarify by adding that when I said that CSI wasn't very successful, that I meant only that they weren't successful in staying secret for very long. I don't want my comment to sound like a criticism of the personnel themselves because I went through language school with CSI personnel and was most frequently hosted in the homes of certain CSI personnel during the time that I served on the field. The CSI folks that I knew were some of the nicest, most sincere Christians that I have ever met, and they were committed to going into some difficult places, which caused me to admire them a great deal. My comment was not to fault these people in any way, but just to point out the CSI was, to some extent, a victim of its own success, because the concept of CSI seemed so attractive that perhaps too many people were assigned under that designation, and over time, it was hard to maintain the secrecy given the increasing number of persons involved.

Anonymous said...

Ron West,

Are you a missionary? You may be in the "in club" in your region and thus can do as you please, but the earlier anonymous M who said he was made to feel worthless by his regional leader has a point. There are MANY in a large region who feel that way and it IS the result of a dogmatic, uncaring, anger-provoking regional leader. While we should try to not be affected by the evaluation of such an uninformed regional leader who is abusing his position and power, it does make life miserable for many. And as a result, many have resigned or transferred from that region.

Rzrbk said...

To the last anonymous,

I can assure you I am not in the in club in my region. Any regional staff person or SC will be glad to confirm that for you as they have for me on several occasions. I am trying to figure out what I wrote that made you think I was. I certainly cannot do as I please. Far from it. I was trying to say as you said that, we should try to not be affected by those that judge us as worthless. I realize that is not easy to do. I have no idea what reqional leader the other anonymous was referring to. I have had to spend much time encouraging and counseling those who have been made to feel worthless by the excesses of New Directions. If we all just let the opinions of others who have little direct knowledge of our situation determine how we feel about ourselves and our ministry, we would probably all throw up our hands and go home.
I still put more stock in the opinion of those missionaries and nationals who have first hand knowledge of my ministry than those who judge from afar. I think that is good advice. You may have better advice.
I agree with William Madden that some of the CSI Ms I have known were the most dedicated and effective I have ever met but if we have learned anything from CSI it is that numbers reported do not always determine effectiveness.
Ron West