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

Teamwork Is Needed

Attorney Norman Lamb and I made our way this past Saturday to Norman, Oklahoma to enjoy Oklahoma's 24-17 win of UAB. Some might say Oklahoma did not play well, but take it from someone who has seen the majority of home games at OU over the last 20 years --- UAB is a tough football team and will win 8 to 9 games this year.

The Governor's Reception

Prior to the game we attended two functions; a reception for Governor Henry and the dedication of the Heisman Park statue of former Sooner Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens. This post is dedicated to the first function.

The reception for Governor Henry took place at the magnificent home of a Norman, Oklahoma attorney who is assisting the Governor as he seeks to build up steam for his reelection bid this November.

I am a life long Republican. Former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating (1994-2002), a Republican, is a friend of mine who would often use my office in Enid when he was in the Northwest part of the state. Governor Brad Henry, elected in 2002, is a Democrat. However, when he was elected in 2002, he asked me to be a part of his Inaugural Prayer Service the following January. Needless to say I was surprised at his request, but I took the opportunity to try to say something meaningful and personal.

Years ago the Governor and First Lady lost a small child to death, a very painful, heartwrenching experience for both of them. Not many knew of this difficult experience for the Henrys, but I felt impressed by God to honor the memory of their child by weaving a brief message about the goodness and grace of God in times of difficulty.

I sought to show how we have a High Priest who "is touched with the feeling of our infirmities", and that during our times of our darkness and despair, we have a God who is not indifferent or cold, but grieves for us as a human father grieves over the pain in his child. I pointed out, however, that unlike a human father, our Heavenly Father has the power, and the desire, to work all of our trials ultimately for our good and His glory. I encouraged the Governor and his wife to remember that not all his days in office would be good days, but their compassionate God would be faithful to work even the dark, difficult days for their good.

The Governor and Kim seemed to be very grateful for the message, and though I had seen the Governor just a couple of times since the Inaugural, he was always very warm and friendly.

A Surprising Conversation

The attorney's home last Saturday afternoon was filled with prominent Oklahoma Democrats including Attorney General Drew Edmondson, National Democratic Leader Mike Turpin, current Lieutenant Governor hopeful Jari Askins and a host of others from throughout the state.

I tried to be a wall flower until my church member, Norman Lamb, made all the contacts he needed to make as the Governor's liason for Veteran Affairs. I was only there because Norman and I go together to the OU games, but before we left the reception I ended up having a very surprising conversation with the Governor.

When the Governor saw me he stepped out of his receiving line and pulled me aside for a conversation that lasted about five minutes. He said he had been following the events in the Southern Baptist Convention very closely. He wanted to offer me some encouragement. He said that he had been praying for me and my wife, and he was hopeful that the SBC would begin to recognize that we would be far more effective as a Convention if we could work together rather than label one another, take sides, and then seek to defeat one another politically. In other words, said the Governor, we all needed to realize we all are on the same team.

The Governor is a Southern Baptist. He is a member of a Southern Baptist church in Oklahoma that is considered "moderate." I found it interesting, however, that even a politician like Governor Henry, recognized that in the evangelical Christian world there is very little benefit in partisian politics, and a great deal of benefit in teamwork. He then called his wife over and we visited a few more minutes about other matters before he went back to the receiving line.

The Lesson for Me

I have many, many friends who love Jesus, worked hard for the conservative "resurgence" in the Southern Baptist Convention, and are currently leaders in the SBC. I love them all and am grateful for their convictions, their service and their leadership.

Some of my conservative friends are on the direct opposite pole of Governor Henry politically (as am I on many issues), but the last time I checked, the Southern Baptist Convention has as a purpose the propagation of the gospel, not a specific political idealogy. I think one of the reasons I have a personal relationship with the Governor is because I do not let the differences between us put a wedge in our relationship as evangelical Christians, much less Southern Baptists.

I am beginning to see a growing desire among many Southern Baptists, including those of us who are considered conservative, that we lay aside our political differences and third tier doctrinal differences for the sake of the gospel.

It would be a wonderful day in the SBC if the people who make up the Southern Baptist Convention including Democrats and Republicans, men and women, blacks and whites, tongues speakers and non-tongues speakers, one point Calvinists and five point Calvinists, Landmarkers and non-Landmarkers, could lay aside all our differences and join hands for the proclamation of Christ and Him crucified to a world in need of a Savior.

May God grant it.



In His Grace,


Wade

31 comments:

Robert Hutchinson said...

ditto.

Kevin Bussey said...

Amen!

Thanks for the story. It is encouraging.

Nomad said...

Amen and amen!

Thanks for saying all this.

Rzrbk said...

Your last paragraph says what a lot of us have been praying for during the last 25 years. We began to wonder if anyone in a position of leadership in the SBC would ever make that kind of statement. It seems the separatist tendencies have increased in recent years. You have championed the separatist issues at the IMB. It would have been nice to have someone at the Executive Committee with the courage to speak up when they attacked the BWA and continued their efforts to force out the elected leaders of the national WMU and replace them with their selected followers.

A few years ago a reporter from our state tried to make a blanket statement about the political leanings of Southern Baptists. I reminded him that in the 90s both Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich were Southern Baptists as were Jimmy Carter and Jesse Helms. There were plenty of issues to disagree with each political party about much less the individuals in each party. I hope Southern Baptists never make the mistake of identifying with one particular party on all issues as we have come dangerously close to doing in the last few years.

My governor is a conservative Republican named Mike Huckabee. He is also a solid Southern Baptist who keeps up with what is going on in our convention. I don’t know much about Governor Henry but it sounds like he and Governor Huckabee would have much more in common with each other than either would with the extreme elements in their own political party. We need politicians who have the courage to ask what is right instead of what does my party tell me to say. We need Southern Baptist pastors and leaders who have the courage to ask what does the Bible tell me to do instead of what will make me popular with the conservative resurgence leaders.
May your tribe increase.
Ron West

Donald said...

I am glad you liked the UAB game. So, was it a fumble or not? I told you that UAB would be a good game.

GeneMBridges said...

You spoke with a Democrat in his house. Heavens! What's next, Wade, dining with publicans and sinners?

The scary thing is, I promise you that somebody, somewhere in the SBC will complain about you being in the presence of a room full of Democrats and, gasp, speaking to the Governor.

Just in case that happens, might I propose the following slate of conservative figures for public office/service for your (implicit) endorsement? This way, you can have something to fall back on. ;)

Ben Stein as V.P.

Pat Robertson at DOD (after Rummy retires to his Tuscan villa)

D. James Kennedy at State

Roy Moore at Justice

John Stossel at Treasury

Richard Perle at Homeland Security

Charles Krauthammer at the CIA

Newt Gingrich at the FBI

David Horowitz at the Education Dept

Laura Schlessinger at the FCC

Dr. Dobson at HHS

Pat Buchanan at INS

Ralph Reed at the Bureau of Indian Affairs

Donald Trump at the Dept. of Interior

Charles K. Johnson at NASA

G. Gordon Liddy at the Peace Corps

Oliver North at the UN

Bill O’Reilly at PBS

Ann Coulter as UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador

Paul/Mary Burleson said...

Wade,
I read your blog this morning (as I do every morning) and thought you had misspelled a word, idealogy. So I grabbed the dictionary. The word has two accepted spellings: ideology and idealogy. The guideline for editors at my former company was to always use the first dictionary listing so that we would have consistency across published materials.

So, you are not wrong; but in my world of guidelines you are also not exactly right. However, in the interest of practicing acceptance of differing nonessential views and maintaining fellowship within the family, I have chosen not to request that you make a spelling change. (tongue-in-cheek)

From your once perfectionistic, but changing and growing,
Mom

P.S. I know I do digress from the main subject at hand, but I couldn't resist.

Mac McFatter said...

rzrbk said most of what I wanted to say and probably better. I am thankful to still be around for the beginning of a resurgence within "The Resurgence". There are many older Southern Baptists like myself who never left, but have been "left out" in recent years. Maybe there will be space opened up for us to be a recognized part of the SBC again. San Antonio may be a (re)turning point.
Mac McFatter

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

The meeting with the governor, and what he had to say, brought home a point: what's happening with all the "political" stuff in the SBC mirrors what's happening in politics in society. Perhaps the root cause is the world creeping into the church.

"Loyal opposition" used to be a positive term. And we actually used it.

Some author that I like but can't remember once said "Don't let what your pastor is not interfere with what God does have, in him, for you. Stated differently, why let what someone isn't deprive you of what he is?

Wade Burleson said...

Mom,

You're funny.

The ideology of your comment is consistent with the idealogy of my post.

I'm not sure which is more of a miracle --- for my perfectionist mom to agree that a difference in spelling from the norm is acceptable -- or a move toward teamwork in the SBC.

However, your reformation may just be a foreshadowing of the other!

:)

Wade

P.S. For those of you who don't know, my mother is Supervising Editor for a huge national company, responsible for multi-million dollar contracts.

Mon Sep 04, 10:25:19 AM

Roger Simpson said...

Gene Bridges:

I am going to add:

Rush Limbaugh - Press Secretary

Bob Cleveland said...

P.S.:

It was a fumble.

Final Score:

Sooners 17
Blazers 17
Officials 7

Laura said...

Praise God, my local congregation looks like that -- well, except maybe for the one-pointers. I think we have a 3-point minimum requirement for membership. ;)

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Brother, I have tried to hold my tongue in recent days and strive to say what I have to say with love, respect and even with a tenant to attempt to agree...BUT YOU HAVE LOST IT ON THIS ONE!!!!!

I simply cannot believe that you try to sell this bill of goods as truth! That you would attempt to convince fellow believers to the truth of your ridiculous assumptions and claims borders on the line of deception and reminds me more of a snake oil salesman than a man of God!!!!

So bro....I am calling you on this one! That’s right, no more free ride from me. I can put up with your meandering Baptist ways but to distort the truth in this way is just to much.

UAB is not just a good team! THEY WERE THE BETTER TEAM. That was fumble, you know it, I know it and the whole world knows it. Your sooners did not win, Peterson did...and I guess it will take a little roadie to Dallas for your boys and our boys to convince you of the error of your ways!

Oh yea...that other stuff you posted about...yea I guess you could be right.

(Sorry, I could not resist hehehe)

Blessings and Hook em Horns!
Jack

Wade Burleson said...

Good one Jack.

:)

wade

Jim Paslay said...

I have no problem working with Baptists that might disagree with me politically. I do it all the time since my church has yellow dog democrats in it. We can win people to Christ regardless of poltical persuasion.

It doesn't surprise me that Governor Henry would now want Baptists to forget about the past and try not to defeat him as governor. I would expect that from a politician who is running for re-election. But I cannot forget that Brad Henry is responsible for expanded gambling in this state. I was sitting in the House gallery the day his lottery bill was defeated. Did Governor Henry take the hint? No, he twisted political arms over the weekend after the vote and got what he wanted.

Please don't ask me to gloss over the fact that a Baptist deacon is responsible for the gambling scourge that is hurting our state. Don't ask me to "group hug" Governor Henry and sing "We Are The World" while he goes against the clear teachings of God's Word.

Let me quote from the Scriptures, "Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." I Tim 6:6-10

Now after those verses, will there be anyone who tries to tell us that the Bible teaches only against complusive gambling but not recreational gambling? I hope not!

I can work with Governor Henry and others to reach people for Christ. But it doesn't mean I have to vote for him or support his views politically!

Lee said...

Jim, I don't think anyone is asking you to vote for or support the governor. I think your last statement, that you can work with him to bring others to Christ, is the most important thing you said. His political views or activities (or yours either) aren't relevant in that work, and aren't important enough to interfere with it. Denominational politics shouldn't be that important either.

Wade Burleson said...

Jim,

I do not disagree.

I have communicated this to Governor Henry myself.

Thanks for the comment.

In His Grace,

wade

Wade Burleson said...

Lee,

Thanks for reminding everyone of the point of my post.

Could not have said it better, while like you, do not disagree with Jim.

That's the point. We can work together for the gospel even though we disagree on politics.

IN HIS NAME said...

Wade,

Thanks for sharing a call for Unity in the Body of Christ. David Rogers did a nice Post calling for Unity. I have posted a Prayer calling for Unity in the Body of Believers on my Blof.

http://saved-by-jesus-christ.blogspot.com/

Love

In Jesus Name Wayne

Jack Maddox said...

You guys have missed the whole point of the post...its not about politics, its not about unity...it is in fact another myoptic OU fan's sad attempt of 'pimping' their overblown, overated program...and to prove my point I quote Wade

"...to enjoy Oklahoma'a 24-17 win of UAB"

NEED I SAY MORE!?

Have you no shame Wade?

Jack

Bryan Riley said...

Gosh, the comments are mild. I would have thought someone would have called you the antiChrist by now for standing up for setting aside political differences for the sake of the gospel even though I don't really recall Jesus taking up any political battles.

Thank you, Wade, for this thoughtful call to unity.

Jim, gambling is a scourge and it always sickens me that those who hold themselves out as being for "the little guys" support gambling, the most regressive tax on the books in states where it is used that way.

TruthOfActs said...

Yes—yes, teamwork is needed. The SBC is like a two horses pulling a wagon across a narrow one-way bridge with no banisters.
What happens; each horse is afraid of the drop-off on his side, so they cross the bridge pushing against each other. If the horses are the same size, the wagon stays in the middle of the road, but if one horse is a lot larger you can see what will happen.

In the SBC, the biggest horse is afraid of a ‘made up’ ditch of ‘LIBERALISM’ and has the wagon in the other ditch of ‘LEGALISM’.
Legalism does not trust the Holy Spirit to guide His workers, so it must make more and more rules to insure the work of the Holy Spirit.
The results are easy to see as the CIRCLE gets smaller and smaller.

The following letter to the Dallas Morning News was in yesterday’s edition. Does it make you angry or will it open some eyes?
WHY BELONG TO SBC?
Re: “Minister: Seminary censored sermon—Fort Worth: He says it’s not on Web because he question SBC policy,” Thursday Metro.
The poor Southern Baptist. It seems that when they make the news, it’s usually about them excluding, ostracizing or condemning someone or a particular group. Why anyone would belong to such a group totally escapes me, as one would wonder who would be next on their list to get the boot. I think God that I belong to a church that welcomes, loves and accepts all.

Well—what do you think?
Rex Ray

IN HIS NAME said...

Rex Ray,

I love your analogy; it is so right on as to what is happening in the SBC. Oh yea men of little Faith.

Mat 17:20 He said to them, "Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you."

In Jesus Name Wayne

David L. Miller said...

I recommend the book, "Blinded By Might" by Cal Thomas and Ed Dobson. They are strong conservatives who have questioned some of the involvement of Christians in right-wing politics. Cal, of course, was a huge part of Falwell's Moral Majority.

The point of the book is that there is a natural disconnect between our faith and politics.

Christianity is about truth - holding up the Word of God regardless of how people respond. Politics is about obtaining and maintaining power - and compromising your principles to attain it if you have to.

They say that Christians should be in the political process, but warn against too closely identifying the Kingdom of God and the conservative movement in politics.

They would, I believe, give a hearty amen to what Wade has said here.

GeneMBridges said...

Good point, David. We've forgotten that when the church binds itself too closely to the state, it invites nominialism. Have learned nothing from the Age of the Imperial Church that began with Constantine? Thereby, it creates the very problems it wishes to eliminate. America's moral problems are a result, IMO, of churches who have for too long neglected the systematic teaching of doctrine and practice and tolerated nominalism far too long in their ranks. Tom Ascol's resolution @ the Convention was actually addressing that situation in the SBC. Instead of repentance, we were told that "these people are some of our best contacts for evangelism." Wow, so much for church discipline and the doctrine of a regenerate church membership.

So, with that kind of attitude, it seems that the churches turn to the state what they have failed to do by force of argument from the pulpits, Bible studies, accountability groups, and classrooms. So, the cycle continues, and people give lip service to the Lord while denying him and not being held to account.

Maybe what the church in America needs some old fashioned persecution. I wonder what would happen if the government decided to take away the 501(c)3 status of the churches? (FYI, my church has not gone that route from its inception, because we want to avoid this problem and always be able to say what needs to be said if that day ever comes). I bet we'd find out really quick "Who is on the Lord's side."

Rzrbk said...

Wade,
As I reread my post I noticed I meant to say you were championing the fight against separatist policies at the board.

There have been comments on the importance of not letting the church be tied too closely to the state and vice versa. I agree Neither should control the other. A free church in a free state is the ideal.

How many of you know that the 2000 BF&M contains the following statement. Church and State should be separate. I find it interesting that our SBC 2nd Vice President, Wiley Drake, has been head of an organization called Americans United for Unity of Church and State. He made the following statement in explaining the purpose of his organization.

Drake said, I happen to be the director and founder of Americans for the Unity of Church and State. We have had and will continue to have unity between Church and State. If people don’t like it, I recommend they go where there is no unity of Church and State—anywhere but the good ol USA. In 2004 he launched an exploratory committee for his run for President of the USA because among other things he felt that George Bush was a wimpy president. In announcing his plans he stated Jesus is King of America.

We can compare his statements with other prominent Baptists. In the book Why I am a Baptist, Billy Graham said, I share with Baptists a strong belief in separation of church and state. R.G. Lee said, There should be complete separation of church and state at all times – no matter what , no matter who, no matter where.

I know when people hear they term separation of church and state it can mean different things to different people and in fact according to the way it is defined I could support or not support the term. However, it has a long history in Baptist life that some would like to change to the detriment of our convention. These are only a few of the statements by Ben Cole’s friend and Memphis statement signer that trouble me.
Ron West

TruthOfActs said...

Truth of Acts said…
In His Name, or Wayne,
Thanks neighbor, for your reply. Most of the time, I feel like I’m talking to a blank wall.
As a small kid, I would ride on my uncle’s hay wagon that seemed like a mountain above the wagon. When we crossed the creek, his horses would lean against each other like two drunks holding each other up trying to walk. They looked like an inverted ‘V’.
I was scared one would push the other in the creek and we would all go in.
As a moderate, I see Southern Baptists not being in the middle of the road of keeping the ‘main thing’ the ‘main thing’, but have a dozen non-essential items forced on others.
From one direction they seem good, but it’s like the difference between birds and fish eating worms; fish have to worry about a hook.
Rex Ray

TruthOfActs said...

Events in the SBC sort of remind me of the war Israel had with their tribe Benjamin.
Once Benjamin’s tribe was killed, except for 400 men, Israel gave these men girls to replace their slain wives.
The reason of the war was over sin. Thousands died trying to avenge the cruel death of one person and thousands died saying, ‘you can’t tell us what to do.’ (Sounds a little Baptist huh?)
So after the war over ‘inerrant’ and the exaggerated number of liberals, more and more winners realize the war was not worth ‘killing’ their brothers and there is a need to join together in winning the world for Christ instead of being laughed at for fighting each other.
“By this, they will know you are my disciples; that you love one another.”
Rex Ray

Rob Ayers said...

"You guys have missed the whole point of the post...its not about politics, its not about unity...it is in fact another myoptic OU fan's sad attempt of 'pimping' their overblown, overated program."

Thems fighting words, worthy of banning from all future comments! :)

From a dedicated Sooner Fan
Rob Ayers

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