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

The Decision -- A Motion In Greensboro

After listening to the advice of many people, visiting at length with my wife, and both requesting and receiving from the Lord a peace in my spirit regarding my decision, I am ready to take what I believe to be the next appropriate step in my service on behalf of the Southern Baptist Convention at the International Mission Board.

There will be a motion to the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro, North Carolina requesting messengers to authorize the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to appoint an Ad Hoc Committee in order to to listen to, view evidence of, and possibly investigate further, five concerns involving the International Mission Board.

Further, the motion will request that the Ad Hoc Committee report on its progress to the to the Executive Committee of the SBC with a final report and recommendation given to the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention in San Antonio.

The next meeting of the International Mission Board is during the middle of July in Richmond, Virginia. I will begin my second year of service as an IMB trustee during that July meeting. I hope there will be a new spirit of openness and transparency regarding our work. Blogging has been my attempt to energize and mobilize grass roots Southern Baptists in their understanding of, and participation with, the International Mission Board's ministries through a greater comprehension and appreciation of the IMB's work.

I will continue to seek to build relationships with every trustee of the International Mission Board over the next several weeks. I will continue to privately confront my fellow trustees if I believe there are violations of Board approved policies occurring. I will also continue blogging, ever mindful of biblical principles that guide us, all the while seeking to abide by the new trustee guidelines which forbid trustees from publicly criticizing Board approved policies regardless of one's personal convictions.

I look forward to serving the Southern Baptist Convention as a trustee of the International Mission Board for the next seven years. I know that not everyone will be pleased with my decision NOT to go public with details that serve as the basis for the Greensboro recommendation, but I have an absolutely clear conscience that I am doing exactly what the Lord would have me do.

May God bless the IMB staff and administration, may God bless my fellow trustees, may God bless our missionaries, and may God bless the Southern Baptist Convention in Greensboro.


THE GREENSBORO IMB MOTION

"I move that the Southern Baptist Convention, in session, in Greensboro, North Carolina 2006, invoking Bylaw 26 B of the Southern Baptist Convention, authorize the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention to appoint a seven member Ad Hoc Committee to determine the sources of the controversies in our International Mission Board, and make findings and recommendations regarding these controversies, so that trustees of the IMB might effect reconciliation and effectively discharge their responsibilities to God and fellow Southern Baptists by cooperating together to accomplish evangelism and missions to the Glory of God; and

That this Committee listen to, view evidence of, and possibly investigate further, five concerns involving the International Mission Board which are not limited to, but include:

(1). The manipulation of the nominating process of the Southern Baptist Convention during the appointment of trustees for the International Mission Board.
(2). Attempts to influence and/or coerce the IMB trustees, staff, and administration to take a particular course of action by one or more Southern Baptist agency heads other than the President of the International Mission Board.
(3). The appropriate and/or inappropriate use of Forums and Executive Sessions of the International Mission Board as compared to conducting business in full view of the Southern Baptist Convention and the corresponding propriety and/or impropriety of the Chairman of the International Mission Board excluding any individual trustee, without Southern Baptist Convention approval, from participating in meetings where the full International Mission Board is convened.
(4). The legislation of new doctrinal requisites for eligibility to serve as employees or missionaries of the IMB beyond the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.
(5). The suppression of dissent by trustees in the minority through various means by those in the majority, and the propriety of any agency forbidding a trustee, by policy, from publicly criticizing a Board approved action; and

That this Committee follow the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message Statement in regard to theological issues, and operate within the Constitution and Bylaws of the Southern Baptist Convention; and

That to accomplish the Committee's work all the trustees, officers, employees, and administrators of the International Mission Board, shall fully cooperate with the Committee to accomplish the purposes outlined in this motion; and

This Committee shall report on the progress of its work to the Executive Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and the International Mission Board; and

That the Ad Hoc Committee make its final report and recommendation to the June 2007 Southern Baptist Convention and request that it be discharged."


END OF THE GREENSBORO IMB MOTION


I will seek to answer any and all questions people may have regarding this Greensboro recommendation, but the privilege of a response is reserved for those who identify themselves by name or by their personal blog.


In His Grace,



Wade

Psalm 7

This particular Psalm is often called "The Psalm of Deliverance from Slander." It was written by David on the occasion of Cush the Benjamite slanderously reporting to King Saul, a fellow Benjamite, that David desired to kill Saul and become the King of Israel himself. Listen to David as he cries:

(1) O LORD my God, in thee do I put my trust: save me from all them that persecute me, and deliver me:

(2) Lest he tear my soul like a lion, rending it in pieces, while there is none to deliver.

The pronoun in verse one is plural (they), but the pronoun in verse two is singular (he). Some translations (NIV for instance and NKJV) change the Hebrew plural pronoun in verse 2 to plural believing it makes the first two verses easier to understand.

However, when you compare Scripture with Scripture you find that the devil himself is called "a roaring lion" and he is the soul's great enemy. Spurgeon, in commenting on this verse points out that our struggle is not against flesh and blood (humans who slander), but against principalities and powers (Satan and his demons).

Too often we Christians forget that when fellow Benjamites lie about us, slander our character, or assign to us selfish motives as Cush did David, they are not, nor ever should become, our enemies. Our enemy is Satan himself, and there is not one who can deliver us but God himself. Therefore, David takes refuge in God.

It is interesting to note that slander does have the effect of ripping the soul to shreds unless God delivers. In other words, to say slander does not hurt would be a denial of Scripture, but to call those who slander you the enemy would also be a denial of the text, and to attack those who do slander you would also be a denial of the text. Our trust must be in God.

Psalm 7 has been on my preaching calendar for months. We are beginning our Saturday night service on 07/01 at 7:01 with Psalm 7:1 as our text. Due to my schedule, I will be preaching on this text this Sunday in preparation for the Saturday night service. God has used it to speak clearly regarding direction for me.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

Learn from David Rogers

If you are really interested in the issues we face as Southern Baptists, if you will resist the temptation to allow your judgment to be clouded by personality or hero worship, and if you will actually TAKE THE TIME TO READ, you will learn tons by reading IMB Missionary David Roger's posts on Historical Documents: Baptist-Evangelical Cooperation in World Missions.

Christian Union Principles

In and around the Enid, Oklahoma area there are a few churches that are known as Christian Union Churches. The Christian Union Churches were founded during the Civil War as result of dissatisfaction that the pulpits of evangelical denominations were often more politically oriented than gospel oriented. Preachers would often make political statements rather than preach the gospel and Christ-loving people left the mainlain denominations and formed the new union.

The Christian Union Church is composed of people from all denominations with varied and multiple church backgrounds. Christian Unionists see themselves as an organization of people rather than a denomination of churches. Most Christian Union people have formed congregations in Ohio and Indiana, but there are a few congregations in Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa and Arkansas.

There are a number of people at Emmanuel, the church I pastor, that were were raised in Christian Union Churches. Recently one of my members sent me the five principles around which the Christian Union Church revolves. You might call these people five point unionists :).

The Christian Union priciples are as follows:

(1). The Oneness of the Church of Christ Must Be Emphasized (I Cor. 12:12; Ps. 133:1, Rom. 12:5; John 17:20,21).

(2). Christ is the Only Head of His Church (Eph. 1:22; Col. 1:18)

(3). The Bible Is the Only Rule of Faith and Practice For the Church (II Tim. 3: 14-17; Rom. 15: 4; Ps. 119:97-104.

(4). Good Fruits Are the Only Condition of Fellowship Within the Church (Matt. 7:16; James 3:17).


(5). Our Desire Is To Maintain Christian Union Without Controversy (Mark 9:38-40; II Tim. 2:14; Eph. 4:2,3).


These are five points that the SBC would do well to emulate.

In His Grace,


Wade

Truth Needs No Protection

From John Milton's Areopagitica, 1644.

"Though all winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let truth and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worst, in a free and open encounter?"

Great Commission Christians

Thanks for all your comments on the previous post. I believe the Lord has given me a sense of direction as to the steps I should take. I will be posting this Thursday, June 1, 2006 on the decision I have reached. Not everyone will like the decision, but in the end, I must do what I believe is best, regardless of the opinion of people. Frankly, everyone's comments helped me put into perspective all the issues.

One of my close personal counselors is my father, Paul Burleson, a man that many know around the convention because of his ministry to Southern Baptist Pastors and missionaries for almost the last half century. He pastored during the 70's just a few miles from Southwestern Seminary and I vividly remember the hundreds of seminary students who packed the center section of Southcliff every service (including Wednesday night). I constantly run into people who tell me my father had a great influence on them in both their ministry and their marriage. He has recently begun a blog where he will be posting doctrinal, expositional, and practical helps for interested pastors and laypeople.

For the last several years he has directed a nationwide ministry called Vital Truth Ministries and his new blog site is VTMBOTTOMLINE. He is new to net, but never too old to learn! Stop by for a visit and tell him hello. I know you will profit from his writing.

In His Grace,

wade

In the Counsel of Many There Is Great Wisdom

Throughout my year long service as a trustee of the International Mission Board I have sought the counsel of many people who have helped me work through a few problems that have risen as I sought to fulfill my duty to the Southern Baptist Convention as a trustee of the IMB.

At the request of these counselors and advisors, I continue to work on a succinct post that will detail events that eventually led to repeated attempts by certain trustees to remove me from the IMB either by force or resignation. Through last Wednesday morning, May 24, 2006, I was content and satisfied to quietly serve on the IMB, work through any problems with other trustees internally, as I have sought to do from the beginning of my service, and to focus solely on supporting the direction and vision of our President and IMB administrators as they lead our IMB by keeping the grassroots constituency of the SBC informed. I also expect all trustees, including me, to fulfill all our duties and abide by policies prescribed by SBC and IMB governing documents.

My relationships with trustees have solidly improved over the last two months. At this Board Meeting in Albuquerque I enjoyed breakfast with Bill Sanderson from North Carolina. My wife and I had great conversations with David Button of New York. I laughed with Bill Sutton from Texas and he and I talked about how we could move forward as a Board. Kevin King from Colorado is a wonderful guy who laughs easily as well and enjoys my company as I his. Though these four men and I would not see I to eye on some of the issues, I KNOW I can work with them because we know how to talk, fellowship and work together.

There are many more men and women like these four on our Board. The issue is not whether we all agree, but rather, "will we as trustees abide by policy; will we follow the vision and direction of our President, and will we allow full and free debate on all issues." I believed that we were headed in the right direction since March. These issues were now on the forefront of every trustee's mind.

That is why I was absolutely shocked at the allegations from Tom Hatley at our last meeting. I assumed we as trustees were moving in the right direction. I was very hopeful about the future of my relationship with every single trustee. I have some VERY solid relationships with about thirty trustees, but I was excited about building relationships with the others.

What Went Wrong Wednesday Morning in Albuquerque?

Chairman Hatley issued an Executive Committee report on the "Wade Burleson Issue" Wednesday morning. I knew a report was coming, but I did not know what was in the report. After the Trustee Forum on Monday, Tom Hatley, the IMB Attorney Matt Bristol, and I sat down to discuss "the report."

Tom began reading the intended report and he got no more through the first paragraph when I stopped him and said, "Wait a minute Tom, I am confused. You talk about "reconciliation" and "healing" that is needed as if I am the one in need of these things. Tom, I'm fine with every single trustee. I'm ready to move forward."

Tom relayed to me how the problem was in other trustees who were not fine with me. These trustees felt that my blog had disparaged them. He then began to read from my blog posts that were written prior to the effort to remove me during the January Board meeting in Richmond. He said I should "apologize" for the things I wrote or allowed to be written by others in my comment section. I reiterated to Tom that I will apologize ONLY IF I AM SHOWN WHERE I AM WRONG. I won't apologize to make people feel better.

To this day I can't understand how there is a motion to remove me in January, a unanimous rescinsion of that motion same motion March, AND I NEVER APOLOGIZED FOR ANYTHING. Either you have the goods to support the removal of a trustee and you do it, or you don't. Why would the motion be rescinded if the trustee in question never apologized. I have issued an expression of regret on my blog that the tone of my December 10th blog was too militant, but I have never apologized. On Monday Tom pleaded with me to apologize in order for other trustees to be able to "work with me." I told Tom for the umpteenth time that I stand by everything I have written. Again, let me reiterate, I will always apologize when and if I am shown what it is that I have written is wrong, but I won't apologize just because people want me to in order to feel better about their situation.

In Albuquerque things went out of control Wednesday morning because I refused to "apologize" -- again. I constantly stand ready to defend what I have written if and when given the opportunity. In fact, in an ABP story released last night, new Chairman Dr. John Floyd says that if I had simply apologized the first time discipline would have ended. It is difficult for me to understand how some can't understand these simple words, "I will not apologize. I will not apologize for "gossip." I will not apologize for "slander." I will not apologize for "resistance to accountability." I will not apologize for "loss of trust." I will not apologize for "multiple breaches of confidentiality." I will only apologize if I believe that what I have written falls under these categories, and I categorically deny anything I have written falls underneath these charges.

Please don't misunderstand. I have no HESITANCY to apologize to my wife, my kids, my church, my friends, my enemies, anyone to whom an apology is owed, and yes, even to the Board of Trustees, but I apologize when I am shown what it is that I have written that is factually wrong. I won't apologize just because I expose a problem that needs exposed.

When we were flying home from Albuquerque my wife said to me, "Wade, since you have tried to present the proof for what you have written on your blog to the trustees on various occasions and have been denied the opportunity, and because you continue to come under attack regarding your character and integrity, I think it is time for you to make public the basis for your concerns regarding the behavior of certain trustees and you should give details."

The Proof

Do people desire to know how I know that some trustees (a diminishing number because of recent events and attrition) are violating Board policy and trustee accountability guidelines by seeking to subvert the leadership of Dr. Jerry Rankin and his administration? In other words, do they want proof that stands as the support of my December 10th post?

I'm happy to give it. However, from the beginning, I have believed the best environment in which that information is to be released is the trustee environment.

I wrote at least two emails to every Board member and Chairman Hatley prior to the attempt to remove me in January, 2006, requesting permission to address the entire Board, uninterrupted, as I laid out my concerns. These requests were denied. Since the decision to rescind the recommendation for my removal, I have requested, again, to address the entire Board with the information. This request was denied as well.

Dr. Hatley stated to me in March, after the vote for my removal was unanimously rescinded, that he would not appoint me to a Board committee. When I asked him why, he said, "Because we still have issues with your relationship with some of our trustees. They are offended with you." In an attempt to bring "reconiliation and harmony" to the Board, he desired for me to meet with three people from the (former) Executive Committee and they would hear the information I had gathered to give to the SBC in my defense against the original charges of "gossip and slander," and then they would issue a report to the full Board. I was not to be allowed to address the full Board myself. I was as comfortable with Dr. Hatley's suggestion as an Eskimo lighting a bonfire in his igloo.

I told Dr. Hatley, again, that I would only speak to the entire Board as I had requested. I also volunteered that he could choose to let this "Wade Burleson Issue" end, and I would continue my work as a trustee. But for the latter to occur, he would have to assign me to a committee, and we would forget those things which were past, and move forward into the future. Unfortunately, Chairman Hatley bowed to the wishes of a few very vocal trustees and stated he would not allow me to serve on a committee of the IMB.

I think at the time Chairman Hatley felt that was a very reasonable thing to do (though I and others thought it very UNreasonable) because a few trustees, typified in one particularly angry trustee, who will be named in the near future but not now, tried to make it so that I would (1). Never serve on a committee for my entire tenure as a trustee, (2). Not be renominated to serve a second term because a letter would be written to the Nominating Committee members of the SBC from Oklahoma urging them to not reappointed me for my second term, (3). Never be allowed to speak in a microphone during business meetings (ding!), and (4). I would have to pay my own way to all IMB meetings. I received a phone call from a SBC member not associated with the Board who told me of the desires of this trustee, and of course, I can confirm them as well.

So, I guess Chairman Hatley thought I should be happy that the motion to remove was unanimously rescinded in March, and the Chairman simply refused to place me on a committee because in his mind, others wanted much more "punishment."

Of course, in my mind, I'm thinking true leadership stands on principle and not the fear of rejection by a few vocal trustees who pat you on the back as the leader and constantly praise you for your actions. Chairman Hatley could not give me a reason for not being on a committee, except that to be fully restored would "anger" some on the Board. Again, the implication to me was that I should be grateful I was back on the Board!

Ok, I thought to myself in March when told I would not serve on a committee, fine no problem. I knew the Chairman had the perogative and the authority to do as he pleased when it came to the appointments for committees, and if he felt this would pacify those few trustees who were having mild heart attacks at the very thought of Wade Burleson being on the Board because the Board refused to follow through with the motion to remove, then I'll live with it for the sake of peace. I am learning quickly that ANYTHING you do for the sake of peace rather than principle ultimately does more damage than good. (P.S. The consitution and bylaws do not grant the authority to the Chairman to bar any trustee from offical trustee meetings where the entire full Board is invited, that privilege lies with the SBC alone. The Chairman only has the authority over committee assignments for individual trustees).

So with the actions to restore me in March without a committee appointment, the next question became, what would it take to get me back on a committee? I was told by Chairman Hatley in response to this question either an apology from me, or the revelation of the facts that support what I have written and a corresponding report exonerating me for what I have said on my blog would give my back my trustee privileges of serving on a committee. Since Oklahoma becoming annexed by Texas is more likely than me apologizing for the content of what I have written, then I chose to not complain about my lack of committee assigment and simply wait things out for the opportunity to defend my words on this blog or allow everyone to press forward and forget the past.

The Debate for the Procedure for a Fair Hearing

Tom called me in April and asked if I would meet with the Executive Committee in Dallas to lay out before them all the information I had which would justify my blog entries (particularly the December 10th entry). I thought to myself, "Isn't this reversed of the way it is supposed to have happened. Wasn't Chairman Hatley supposed to come to me in January, PRIOR to the motion for my removal, and ask for substantiation for the things I had written?" But of course, as you know, nobody EVER approached me with ANYTHING remotely associated with the basis of support for my removal from the IMB in January. The charge then was gossip and slander, but NOBODY ever showed the basis for the charge. It's like everyone just assumed that Board leadership should be trusted.

Initially I consented to Hatley's request to meet the Executive Committee in Dallas, but then after seeking counsel, I reconsidered and said I did not believe this would in the best interest of anyone involved.

Instead I told Chairman Hatley, through IMB counsel, that I would share the information to an ad hoc committee composed of new trustee Andy Johnson, seasoned trustee Bill Hickman, fellow trustees Wayne Marsall and Rick Thompson. This group could then issue a report to the full Board regarding the information they received and any appropriate action in response.

This request was denied by the former Chairman Hatley. He said only the Executive Committee would be allowed to see my material. Again, please remember, it is not I who is seeking to meet with anyone. I was completely willing, as Bill Sutton suggested to me, to "Put the Wade Burleson issue behind us."

But for reasons I do not fully know (but have strong suspicions regarding), Chairman Tom Hatley did not want to let "The Wade Burleson Issue" die, and wanted "resolution" before he gave up his chair in May at Albuquerque.

Stalemate

This brings us to our meeting in Albuquerque.

I refused to apologize for what I have written on this blog as Dr. Hatley requested.

If you read Dr. Hatley's offical statement from his report on Wednesday morning regarding "The Wade Burleson Issue" you will notice he says, "Wade apologized on his blog" and then makes a statement to the effect "That's a good start." I laughed and told my wife when I heard him read that, "Well, if he can't get an apology out of me, I guess he'll make one up for me." The "apology" he mentions from my blog was simply a statement saying I feel very sorry that "unnamed" trustees are hurt that they have been lumped into a class of trustees who have violated Board policy by seeking the removal of Dr. Rankin. Notice, I did not apologize for saying certain trustees were doing this.

Dr. Hatley selectively reads from my blog. I have said often that my blog is my salvation. I have been consistent --- I will not apologize for anything I have written.

A Funny Story from the PUBLIC Board Meeting

To show you the how common the knowledge is that certain people have been out to get Dr. Rankin since he was elected President, let me tell you a funny story from the Tuesday afternoon Board meeting when my friend Trustee Johnny Nantz from Nevada was recognized for his eight years of service. Johnny was one of several trustees who were attending their last meeting. Plaques were given to all --- but Johnny. It seems his name was accidently left off the list and he did not get a plaque.

After making some very light hearted comments about being forgotten, Johnny went up to Dr. Rankin and gave him a big hug and said, "That's the only thing I need at my last meeting." Dr. Rankin retorted, "But Johnny, you can't nail me to the wall" (as you can a plaque), to which a trustee hollered out, "It's not like some haven't tried."

Everyone died laughing. You don't laugh unless there's truth to the statement.

Why then are people offended when I simply say what everyone knows to be true? Could it be that I have thwarted the very thing intended?

I think I have, and because of that, I am ready to move on to focus on the important issues of SBC missions.

Blindsided Again

Last Wednesday things changed for me tremendously. I was blindsided, again, with charges that were unsubstantiated. The charges this time were "multiple breaches of confidentiality." When I asked for the rationale for not following Christian protocol and IMB policy by making public very serious charges WITHOUT coming to me in private with substantiation for the charges, the former Chairman refused to even talk with me. What kind of organization do we have when leadership picks and chooses what rules they wish to follow?

It was very evident to me, my wife, Pastor Clif Cummings and other trustees who have contacted me and are writing letters to the Board themselves, that I was the target of a public attempt to discredit my character, disparage my reputation, and in general, cause people to question my integrity.

Where Things Stand Now: Three Options to Consider

I close by sharing with you my perspective of where things are with me now and I am going to ask you to participate in my decision process. There are three options that the Board of Trustees can take in correcting wrong I have seen on the Board of Trustees.

Option (1). I am of the opinion, as well as at least two other trustees who voted to remove me in January, that we should "forget" about "The Wade Burleson" issue, reinstate me to full trustee privileges and work toward the future together. The past is past, the future is the future. This has been my desire ever since the trustees rescinded the recommendation for my removal --- until last Wednesday.

Option (2). The unwarranted, ill-advised attack last Wednesday morning has led me to to seriously consider the decision to publicly reveal names, dates, and events that prove a pattern of behavior of certain trustees that reveal a disrespect for IMB administration, an intentional violation of Board approved policies, and an agenda that is contrary to our President's. Unlike charges that are publicly made against me, I have chosen NOT to reveal names at this time, and you can rest assured, that when this decision to reveal names is made, every single person named will have heard from me privately before it is posted. Everyone except two persons have already heard from me at least once.

The reason I have not quickly made all this public already is because I want to make double dog sure this is the absolute best decision for the SBC as a whole and I am not doing anything to "defend" my name. This is tough for me determine by myself, and that is why I am seeking counsel, praying, and not moving hastily. If there is even an iota of desire to defend my reputation I do not wish to choose this option, but if this is the only way resolution of these of "The Wade Burleson" issue can occur, then by all means, it must be done.

Option (3). A pastor friend who is aware of the situation has composed a recommendation that he would like to present to the SBC that the Executive Commitee appoint an Ad Hoc Committee of people who are not a part of the IMB to investigate the internal trustee workings of the IMB for the last five years to determine whether or not undue influence has occurred, whether or not intentional and willful violations of Bord policies and procedures has occurred by individual trustees, and whether or not there is reason to believe certain trustees are promoting an agenda contrary to the desire and vision of the President. The wording on the motion is being worked on as we speak, and he has requested my permission to be able to make this as a recommendation.

My question for you is simply this: Which option do you like best?

I personally like Option (1) best.

I feel compelled that Option (2) may be needed for the good of the SBC.

I wonder if Option (3) might be the most effective way for this to be handled.

All three options have strengths and weaknesses to them. I would like to know which option you think is best for the SBC at large.

You have till Monday to give me your opinion.

In His Grace,


Wade

The Tipping Point Is Reached

Due to the fact Chairman Hatley refused to talk with me after the meeting to give me the substantiation for the charges of "multiple breaches of confidentiality," and due to the fact that the actions of the Chairman clearly violated Matthew 18 and the new rules on trustee accountability by not coming to me privately prior to making the unsubstantiated allegations public, and due to the fact that the former Chairman has decided usurp the authority of the Southern Baptist Convention by removing me from Executive Sessions and Forums, I have chosen to do three things:

(1). I will attend Executive Sessions and Forums regardless of the Chairman's request trusting in my legal counsel that no trustee can be barred from the business of the full board without approval of the Southern Baptist Convention.

(2). I am prayerfully considering posting next week a blog entitled "Who's Wounded?" in response to former Chairman Hatley's statement urging Wade Burleson “to change his position to follow a biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers and sisters in Christ."

This post is currently in the hands of several of my counselors and advisors as we pray about its release. It will detail names, dates and actions of the events of the last two years by certain trustees as they have acted in an improper manner, in violation of Board policy and Scriptural commands, and wounded many people by their actions. I was in the process of privately confronting these trustees, including Chairman Hatley, and seeking to hold these trustees accountable to the Board approved policies of conduct and decorum in order to prevent further wounding of individuals when my removal was sought. In other words, I was seeking to follow the Biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers by confronting those doing the wounding. Though it is not time for me to release the body of the post, the following is the last two paragraphs:

In conclusion, I both agree and disagree with Tom Hatley. I agree that as a trustee I must "follow a biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers and sisters in Christ.” I am doing that. I am confronting, and will continue to confront, those who are doing the wounding.

I disagree with Tom Hatley in that if he thinks the trustees hurt by, or offended with, trustee Wade Burleson are the "wounded," then he is either part of the problem or a hindrance to a solution. Either way, we are in a much better position to now deal with the real issues than we were a year ago.


(3). I will continue to blog about direction of our International Mission Board and Southern Baptist Convention. I am not an official spokesman for anyone. I am not a reporter. I am simply giving my perceptions to the people who elected me. If people don't like what I am saying, then ignore me, or say something different. There is room for us all in the SBC.

In conclusion, I thought I might share a couple of emails

Gene Bridges sent me an email last night that made me laugh. He said,

"(Hatley) advised Burleson to offer “a verbal apology before this board and not just on the blog site which many will not access, therefore they will not benefit from receiving that apology.”

ROFL...Now think about this one for a minute. Hatley wants Wade to apologize to the full board because the full board is apparently offended by his statements. However, here he admits that members of the board will not access the blog, therefore they will not benefit from receiving the apology. Really? They apparently can be offended by material they cannot access but cannot benefit from material they cannot access. These two propositions logically tug in opposing directions. Brother Tom is a wooly thinker indeed.

While having “no desire to restrict his opinions” nor insisting “he agree with the majority of this board on any issue,” Hatley said that “when character is impugned and motives are judged that a spirit of mistrust emerges that can damage the ability of this body to work together.” He indicated that while Burleson felt these matters stand reconciled, Hatley told the Oklahoma trustee that “others do not enjoy that view and remain hurt by his comments.”

So, it's okay for them to use BP to impeach Wade Burleson and question his motives, but it's not okay for Wade to blog and discuss the motivations of his fellow trustees, whatever they may be, given the fact that no quotes were given. Let's be clear on this. They get to operate under one standard, while Wade must operate by another."

Good thoughts Gene. This blog does not equal Baptist Press or the Southern Baptist Texan.

I do think Baptist Press did a good job in the article about the meeting, though the transcript is lifeless. As soon as possible I will put the audio on my blog so people can hear it for themselves. It is interesting that in spinning the story the way they want at The Texan, they leave out reporter's Tammy Leadbetters comments from the Baptist Press article that I place here:

Reporter Tammi Leadbetter's words for the Baptist Press, not posted by the Texan.

Following the meeting, Burleson sought further discussion with Hatley, asking a reporter to listen in. “You need to hear this. I need a witness,” he stated. As the former board chairman spoke with another man, Burleson asked, “Dr. Hatley, Dr. Hatley.”

As Hatley finished his conversation and returned to gather his papers, Burleson again sought a hearing, stating to Hatley, “Brother, you did it again,” repeating his concern that charges were made without evidence of wrongdoing.

“I will not talk with you,” Hatley responded twice in response to Burleson.


The Board is changing. Believe it or not THE SPIRIT IS GETTING BETTER!!!

What has occurred in the past behind closed doors has been far worse than what happened in the public session in Albuquerque. I am grateful everything is now being recorded for all to see.

In His Grace,

Wade

Who's Wounded?

Tammi Leadbetter has written an article for Baptist Press about the IMB Board Meeting. She quotes Tom Hatley encouraging Wade Burleson, "to change his position to follow a biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers and sisters in Christ.”

I have a question. Who is wounded?

Is it Dr. Rankin, who said to Dr. John Floyd, the new Chairman of the Board and the former Chairman of the Personnel Committee, that the new policies on tongues and baptism put Dr. Rankin in an embarrassing position, only to have Dr. Floyd respond, "Dr. Rankin, you have been an embarrassment to the Southern Baptist Convention from the day you were hired" --- ? Are you referring to Dr. Rankin as wounded?

Is it Wendy Norvelle, acting interim VP of the IMB who had a group of trustees, including Bob Pearle of Texas and Albert Martin of Texas and at least five others, discuss a motion to terminate her in an informal caucus in a hotel lobby, a clear violation of Board policy prohibiting caucusing outside of regular Board meetings for the purpose of planning and conducting Board business without benefit of the entire Board-- ? Are you referring to Wendy Norvelle as wounded?

Is it Mrs. Jerry Rankin who has had to endure endless slanderous comments about her husband regarding the mishandling of IMB finances? One such statement was made by trustee Winston Curtis via phone in the spring of 2005 to Wade Burleson, just prior to the Nominating Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention making its initial contact with Wade requesting him to serve as a trustee of the IMB. Mr. Curtis told Mr. Burleson that Dr. Rankin had "buried money all over Monument Avenue." When Wade Burleson responded, "You mean Dr. Rankin has taken money from the IMB and buried it at his house?" the response was, "No, Monument Avenue is what we trustees call IMB headquarters." Then, Wade Burleson was asked if he knew Judge Pressler, to which Wade replied yes. "Call Judge Pressler then, he knows where all the money is buried?" Subsequently Trustee Burleson learned that a group of trustees had accused Dr. Rankin behind closed doors of spending funds without Board approval only to find Dr. Rankin cleared of all charges by an outside audit--- yet Dr. Rankin must apologize for "lack of communication" before the entire Board.-- Are you referring to Mrs. Jerry Rankin as one who is wounded because of the unsubantiated charges against her husband?

Is it the attorney from Texas who recently served on the Nominating Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and wishes at this time to remain unnamed? He faced extraordinary pressure, intimidation and coercion from certain leaders in the Southern Baptist Conservatives of Texas because he was not placing the "right" people on the various boards and agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention. The tactics involved kept him up at night, cost him hundreds of dollars in his own personal funds, and soured him on the "politics" of the SBC. Are you referring to this attorney as one who is wounded?

Is it Trustee Rick Thompson or Trustee Wade Burleson from Oklahoma of whom it was said, in that same caucus meeting in the lobby of the IMB hotel where a motion was discussed to terminate Wendy Norvelle, "We've got to stop putting weirdos from Oklahoma on the Board" -- ? When trustee Winston Curtis, the one given the responsibility to vet Wade Burleson and insure his appointment to the International Mission Board, heard the weirdo comment, he said, "Yeah, now I know what Ronald Reagan felt like when he appointed Sandra Day O'Conner" -- ? Are you referring to Rick Thompson and Wade Burleson as those who are wounded?

Is it the Missionary Learning Center staff and employees who were rebuked for their poor training skills three years ago in a white paper written by Dr. Keith Eidel, Professor of Missions at Southeastern, containing a cover letter by Dr. Paige Patterson, and sent to every trustee of the IMB; a paper very critical of the staff and administration of the IMB? Are you referring to the staff and administration of the IMB and MLC as those who are wounded?

Is it the former Vice President in charge of training at the MLC who received bodily harm threats via telephone if he did not refuse to stop teaching the heresy he was propogating at the MLC, threats that eventually contributed to his resigning and taking a position out of state? Are you referring to this Vice-President as one who is wounded?

Is it the young pastor and friend who grew in their disillusionment of the SBC because of the power politics being played as they listened to trustee Bob Pearle, pastor of Birchman Avenue Baptist Church and pastor to Dr. Paige Patterson, explain in a coffee shop in January 2006 how the IMB trustees were just a few votes short from forcing out Dr. Rankin? Are you referring to this pastor and his friend as the ones who are wounded?

Is it the young man who was sought out by Dr. Patterson's staff to cull Dr. Rankin's teachings on tape in order to find "fireable charismatic heresy," only to come to an awakening of conscience to realize that this sort of covert subversion of an agency head in the SBC must stop? Are you referring to this young man and Dr. Rankin as the ones wounded?

Is it the wide eyed young youth pastor who witnessed a knife displayed in an intimidating manner at trustee Wade Burleson as he confronted a small group of trustees conducting business in a caucus outside of the regular business session of the IMB in January of 2006 and then wondered, 'Is this what denominational life is all about?' The trustee who pulled the knife later apologized but are you referring to this youth pastor as the one who is wounded?

Is it the teachers at the Missionary Learning Center who became aware that students at Southeastern being trained for the mission field at the MLC were told Southeastern Seminary staff to email Dr. Keith Eidel, Professor of Missions, if they heard questionable teaching, but were encouraged not to confront the leaders of the MLC, which is an instruction contrary to the clear teaching of Jesus Christ in Matthew 18? Are you referring to those teachers at the MLC as those who are wounded?

Is it the family, friends and members of trustee Wade Burleson who have had to endure blistering attacks on Wade's character and integrity because he refused to back down from those few trustees who have intentionally and flagrantly sought to undermine the work of Dr. Jerry Rankin and his staff, but instead has patiently and graciously challenged them to abide by all Board approved policies? Are you referring to Mr. Burleson's family and friends as those who are wounded?

Is it the Southern Baptists who have been denied service as missionaries because, though their local church has received their baptism by immersion after having come to faith in Christ, the IMB rejected them because the baptism did not meet the criteria of being performed in a Southern Baptist Church or one that teaches in eternal security? How do you heal the hurt of a couple being sent to the IMB by their local church, who says their baptism is SCRIPTURAL, only to be rejected by the Personnel Committee of the IMB who has added requirements to baptism not found within the Baptist Faith and Message 2000? Are these missionary candidates the ones who are wounded?

Is it the International Mission Board candidate consultants, who were placed in the very awkward position of having it said of them, "the Candidate Consultants are the reason for the new policies because they were asking for 'clarification' of the old policies on tongues and baptism."
When trustee Wade Burleson asked the Candidate Consultants if they were for the new policies, Chairman of the Personnel Committee, John Floyd, ordered that the Consultants not respond to the question. In reality, the Candidate Consultants were upset because missionary candidates they had cleared for service were being rejected by trustees leading subgroups of the Personnel Commiteee, even though these missionary candidates met all the requirements for appointments according to IMB policy. The Candidate Consultants were asking trustee leadership, "Could you clarify for us why you are REJECTING those candidates we bring to you for approval?" The result was a change of policy initiated by certain trustees, and later approved by the majority of trustees, to exclude certain missionary candidates because of their baptism and private prayer language, a new policy that was NOT requested by administration or staff. Are you referring to the Candidate Consultants as those who are wounded?

Are you referring to IMB administration and staff who have faithfully addressed any charismatic problems on the field, but have had it publicly said by certain trustees in the March 2006 Board plenary session that there were problems on the field NOT addressed by staff? Are you referring to IMB staff as those who are wounded?

Finally, Dr. Hatley, are you referring to me, Wade Burleson? How many times can I be PUBLICLY charged with "gossip" or "slander" or "loss of trust" or "resistance to accountability" or "multiple breaches of confidentiality" in violation of Matthew 18 and the trustee accountability guidelines. Even if these charges are true, and I adamantly deny that they are, you and other trustees are responsible to approach me privately before you publicly make such charges. Are you referring to me as the one who is wounded?

God help us.

I both agree and disagree with you Dr. Hatley. I agree that as a trustee I must "follow a biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers and sisters in Christ.”

I am doing that. I am confronting those who are doing the wounding.

I disagree with you in that if you think that those who are hurt by, or offended with, trustee Wade Burleson are those who are the "wounded," then you are either part of the problem or a hindrance to the solution. Either way, we all are in a much in a better position now to deal with the issues than we were a year ago.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

Reflections in the Denver Airport and Decisions

After a good night's sleep and some reflection time I'd like to give you some observations my wife and I have made about the events yesterday.

(1). There are a number of trustees of the IMB who are rock solid, quiet, and respectful of everyone. Please don't lump all trustees into judgment made about what happened yesterday. Nobody was given an opportunity to speak after the special report, and there was no vote taken. The Chairman who issued the report is no longer Chairman. The Executive Committee who authorized the report has changed. This meeting was the last for several trustees who are now off the Board and a new group will be joining in July. I've got seven years and I am very patient.

(2). What happened in the plenary session is so shocking and stunning to everyone involved that it sucks the very air out of the room. To allege "multiple breaches of confidentiality" without ever coming to me with any substantation privately is absolutely wrong, and it is evidence that the former trustee leadership had no desire to work with me at all or to answer my penetrating questions, but to only silence me. This was not the first time this type of behavior has occurred, but it is just the first time it has happened in a public forum.

(3). I personally believe it is risky for me to attend Forum and Executive Sessions this next year. I knew that I was susceptible to someone trying to trap me on the confidential issue. I would NEVER intentionally breach any confidence, and would immediately apologise and correct the problem if anything were to be ever be pointed out to me. The paragraph in question from Monday's blog about the "blue ribbon panel" was considered by me to be public knowledge, but by the Executive Committee a high level secret. This,"blue ribbon panel" which was debated PUBLICLY ad naseum on Wednesday and then eventually tabled, is supposed to look into revising the policies. As stated on multiple occasions, I have discussed this blue ribbon panel with multiple people in various public places. When people don't like what you write, they will look for anything to discredit you.

I am glad though that this motion was tabled. This blue ribbon panel was to be APPOINTED solely by Dr. Hatley according to the debate in the public session. Since it is tabled that will not happen. I much prefer an independent panel appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention since the doctrinal standards of the convention can only be answered by the convention and should not be answered by individual agencies. It is outside the purview of our responsibilities as trustees.

I would ask my fellow trustees to read this next paragraph very carefully. I do believe that to label something "discussed" in Forum as "highly confidential and secret" is absolutely relative. For example (and I use this as a hypothetical), SUPPOSE there were a very long discussion in Forum about a public report of a sister agency. Now let's say that I post on my blog the report of our sister agency in its totality --- information that I did not OBTAIN in Forum but had received weeks earlier. Am I violating confidentiality because I blog about information that I have which was discussed in Forum but obtained by me separately from the Forum?

I am trying to see both sides. I have tried hard to never to violate confidentiality. The best way to avoid this problem is to never conduct confidential meetings except for personnel matters or security reasons. The pattern in the past has been for very strategic changes to planned behind closed doors and then the trustees are given the changes just prior to an expected vote. Healthy discussion of issues publicly prevents many potential problems.

(4). The intimidating tactics of those who wish to silence me will not work. They've tried multiple times and I think they are beginning to realize I have a backbone of steel. One of the things that the former Chairman constantly pressed me for was an apology to the Board to let him and trustee leadership save face for their push for my removal. I have steadfastly refused to apologize for anything but the tone of my December 10th blog.

It is interesting to me that the Chairman read into the public record only a portion of my blog from Monday where I reiterated my regret for the tone of the December 10th blog. Oh how I wish he would have continued. That is the beauty of this blog. People can read for themselves and make their own decisions.

(5). Finally, the Chairman should have taken the advice of some very wise people and not done what he did yesterday. But what is past is past. I am still a trustee. I will still continue my service. I look forward to continuing to build relationships with my fellow trustees and those new trustees who are coming on board in July.

EVERYBODY REMEMBER --- because of the actions yesterday some amazing things that are happening around the world through the efforts of the IMB will be overlooked.

I intend to remind us all of these great things in the days ahead.

In His Grace,

Wade

This Really Gets Old But In The End It Will Be Worth It All

This morning Chairman Tom Hatley read into the public record a report from the Executive Committee of the International Mission Board regarding the "Wade Burleson Issue." The report was a blistering indictment of my personal character and integrity. I'm used to this approach in an attempt to discredit me or silence me, so I will do the only thing I know to do and give you the information as I remember it with comment. I am grateful that my wife Rachelle was present with me and these things happened in a public forum so that I can discuss them.

(1). Tom Hatley read statements from my December 10th post "Crusading Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives" and said I had not repented of the things I said.

He is only partially telling the truth. I have expressed regret on multiple occasions before the Board and on this blog for the militant language of that post, but I stand by the content and facts of what I wrote. I rewrote the post toning down the rhetoric and I continue to be baffled by the refusal to quote from the new post. I would urge you to read the posts yourself and draw your own conclusions.

(2). Tom read some comments from my posts, written by other people, and held me responsible for what was said because I was the "administrator" of the post..

I have attempted to maintain a high standard on my blog site, but people must realize I try to keep an open dialogue and do not monitor or moderate comments. The quotes Tom read were not my words, but Tom felt I should be held accountable for them.

(3). Tom said that I could not be trusted because of "multiple breaches of confidentiality" and said he was not going to bring this up except for a specific breach of "confidentiality" that occurred in Monday's post.

I am usually a calm, mild mannered person. My blood pressure went through the roof on this one. I became angry. My wife patted my knee and told me to be gracious. I appreciated her counsel and I believe I was as I tell you what I did in a moment.

I knew because trustee leadership does not like what I am posting on this blog I was susceptible to this charge. They would go over everything I wrote with a fine tooth comb trying to find a "breach of confidentiality." This is why I have been fastidious to make sure I only give information that is available to the public.

What infuriated me was that, once again, charges were being made in public without ANYONE EVERY COMING TO ME IN PRIVATE. That is not only unethical, not to mention anti-Christian, it is a violation of the new policies on trustee accountablity voted on at our last meeting.

I was stunned.

(4). Tom Hatley then said he was recommending as Chairman that I not be allowed to serve on any committees of the IMB and attend any forum or Executive Session of the IMB for the next year.

He then closed his report and sought to move on with the agenda. I went to a microphone and said this, "Mr Chairman, could you please explain to me the basis for these very public charges of breach of confidentiality. This is the first I have ever heard of this. If you tell me what it is I have done, and if it is a true breach, I will repent on the spot"

The Chairman then said (the following words are my paraphrase) UPDATE: May 25, 6:00 p.m.--- It seems reporter Tammi Leadbetter either had a tape recorder in the forum or transcribed the words with shorthand so I am going with her exact quotes from Dr. Hatley and not my paraphrase: "I appreciate that and I think repentance is due, but I would not, even after revealing this, I would still not change my recommendation even with repentance because of the pattern of the breach of confidentiality demonstrated. Repentance needs to be shown by action and not just by words. Matters that were shared only in forum, not in plenary session, about the intent of the executive committee to make a recommendation and the purpose of that was mentioned on your blog. It had not been mentioned in this session, so that would be a violation of confidentiality.” Dr. Hatley never read from the blog the alleged breach, never quoted for me or others the offending words, never gave any specifics to the charge and happened to forget he mentioned "multiple" breaches without supplying me or anyone else with evidence. Policy and Scripture states that I am to be approached privately first. That never happened --- again. First it was "gossip and slander" then it became "resistance to accountability and loss of trust" and now it is morphed into "a pattern of breach(es) of confidentiality. Would some one make up us his mind?

I was clueless for a moment trying to remember what I said. Then I said, "Mr. Chairman, I don't understand, could you please explain . . . "

Dr. Hatley rudely interrupted and said, I’m sorry, you’ll have to close that microphone

I left the microphone and sat down beside Rachelle and said, "Sweeheart, was I gracious in my tone?" She said, "Of course." I said, "Was I respectful?" She said, "Absolutely." I said, "Then why in the world is the microphone shut off by the Chairman when I am trying to figure out what it is I have done."

She said wisely, "It's because they don't like what you are saying."

After The Public Session

I went up to Dr. Hatley and said, "Tom, will you please tell me the basis for your charges." He said he would not talk to me. I asked him, "How could you make such public charges and not come to me privately?" He reiterated, "I will not talk with you." Unbelievable.

I left the podium area and waited to visit with IMB attorney Matt Bristol.

Matt very graciously pointed out that the Executive Committee was upset with this paragraph from my blog on Monday, "By the way, I am grateful that the Executive Committee of the IMB is recommending that a blue ribbon panel, including people from outside the Board, take a fresh look at the appropriateness of the new policies. I have specifically chosen NOT to speak out against the new policies, and this post is not criticising the new policies at all, it is simply trying to explain why some trustees may be "hurt" by my blog."

I told Matt that I had discussed this particular course of action by the Executive Committee with Tom Hatley via phone after the EC met in Dallas. In additon, I have had several convesations with denominational leaders in Nashville, Tennesse and with other trustees about this approach in anticipation of how to deflect criticism that will be directed in full force at the IMB for the adoption of these new policies by the Convention in Greensboro.

However, Matt said that this blue ribbon panel idea was discussed in a confidential Forum and it was the first time some trustees had heard about it, and though it was the subject of considerable debate by me privately with others, and in the PUBLIC business session this morning, it was confidential prior to the public business session in the eyes of the EC.

I pointed out to Matt three things:

(1). It never dawned on me that something I had discussed for at least three weeks prior to the business session with many people was stamped "confidential" simply because it was discussed in Forum. However, to whatever extent the EC felt there was a breach of confidentiality, I am deeply sorry and would have removed the offending paragraph immediately if asked!!

(2). I then questioned why in the world nobody ever approached me privately about this offending paragraph in fulfillment of Matthew 18 and our new trustee accountability guidelines, and why my microphone was shut off when I was attempting to ask the basis of the charge. Attorney Matt Bristol said he did not know and regrets that I was not approached before the meeting. My wife wisely said to Matt, "That's not your job, it is the Chairman's." I wholeheartedly agree. Even if the meeting has to take a break for five minutes, find me and ask me personally.

(3). I asked Matt what the other breaches of confidentiality were in the eyes of the Executive Committee (who by the way are rotating off), and he said he did not know. He conjectured that the vote total for the Chairman's election published on my bog was offensive to some, but I argued that a public vote should always be made public and I received the information by just asking in the hallway.

By the Way the Debate On This Issue Needs to Occur

I think last year's Executive Committee led by Dr. Tom Hatley and the new Chairman Dr. John Floyd who was the Chairman last year of the Personnel Committee that established the new policies, are all extremely sensitive because of past, and potential further, criticism related to the two new policies within the convention.

I think Dr. Hatley's and Floyd have a great deal to be concerned about.

Why in the world are we establishing doctrinal parameters at the IMB that exceed the BFM 2000? Does every agency have the authority to determine what they will and will not believe? Can the IMB be Landmark? Can the IMB be anti-reformed? Can the IMB refuse to appoint godly conservative missionaries who affirm the BFM 2000 but don't agree with new doctrinal requirements established at the whim of trustees without support of IMB administration?

The convention better hold the IMB accountable in this area. This trustee is trying but I sure get whacked at every turn.

In Conclusion

I will not abide by the recommendations of the Chairman and will attend Forums and/or Executive Sessions in the future. Counsel for the SBC has informed me it is illegal for a trustee to be barred from meetings at which all trustees are present. Frankly, we should abandon 90% of those meetings in order to let Southern Baptists know what is going on. Things done in the light of day are always better for organizations like ours.

There was the novel approach by Chuck McAlester from Arkansas that nobody blog about PUBLIC meetings.

Sorry Chuck, this trustee will not attend forums or Executive Sessions, but I guarantee you I will blog about what goes on at the IMB in public meetings. If the Board holds Forums next year I very well may hold a forum of my own at the same time and just get to know our missionaries a little better. Everyone is welcome and blog your heart away! :)

Way too much is at stake for the future of our Southern Baptist Convention to not discuss the issues freely.

My wife and I are going out for a little shopping trip. After this morning she deserves some attention.

Let me close with a good word about the IMB. We are doing some great things around the world! Missions is NOT suffering. My goal is to insure the next 100 years are years of cooperation, progress and world evangelism.

I will persevere.

In His Grace,


Wade

The Commissioning Service, Election of Officers and Why I Can't Stand the Longhorns

The Commissioning Service at Hoffmantown Baptist Church in Albuquerque

Rachelle and I enjoyed a wonderful evening as we celebrated the appointment of 94 missionaries to bring our total to over 5,100 around the world. This is really a very moving time, made all the more special for us because of some people we personally helped through the appointment process. I say again, if you have never had the privilege of attending one of these services, you need to make plans to go. It is the highlight of my week. Though this was the last event of Tuesday (7:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.) , I covered it first because of its importance!

The Election of Trustee Officers

The election of officers for the International Mission Board was the first item of business in the public session at 2:00 this afternoon. John Floyd of Tennessee was elected chairman over Wayne Marshall of Mississippi by a 39 to 34 margin, with sixteen trustees either absent or abstaining.

Dr. John Floyd may turn out to be the best Chairman the IMB has ever had. I would have raised two questions today prior to the election, but since I don't know the answers to the questions myself, I did not want to influence the election one way or the other. Obviously, the Lord intended Dr. Floyd to be elected for a good purpose.

The two questions regarding John Floyd as Chairman are not a criticism of his election, but rather, just questions that I believe should be asked and ultimately answered by either the Executive Committee of the SBC or the SBC in Greensboro.

Question One: Is there a conflict of interest when a former staff administrator of the IMB becomes the Chairman of the Board. If the trustees are called by our policy guidelines to support the vision and direction of the President, and the new Chairman has expressed opposition to the current President's vision, is it within corporate and Board ethics to elect that former staff administrator as Chairman of the Board? I'm just asking, and maybe someone can give an answer that can persuade me one way or the other.

Question Two: Is there a policy problem, as some are saying, that because Dr. Floyd draws a pension from the IMB the Board may be in violation of Article 15 Section F of the Southern Baptist Convention bylaws which states:

No person shall be eligible to serve on any one of the above entities from which he/she receives any part of his/her salary, directly or indirectly, or, which provides funds for which he/she has a duty of administration. When such conditions become applicable, that person shall be considered as having resigned and such vacancy shall be filled in accordance with established Convention procedure.

Whether or not this bylaw can be interpreted to include pensions may be a matter of debate, or for that matter, may need further legal clarification. Again, these are just questions and they may be answered in ways I don't expect.

I do believe our Board is now in an excellent position of realizing we MUST support the vision and direction of current administration and I believe Dr. Floyd understands the importance of doing that as Chairman, and he will do his best to fulfill his role as Chairman defined by our policy manuals, realizing the high level of scrutiny he will be under. I will continue to fulfill my role as a trustee to watch closely that every trustee abides by Board approved policy.

John Russell, a wonderful, warm hearted trustee with a solid head on his shoulders who is Associate Pastor at the Bell Shoals Baptist Church outside of Tampa, Florida was elected Vice-Chairman. If for any reason the Chairman must resign for policy reasons, the Vice-Chairman will take his place.

The Chairman's Report

Due to the length of several reports and recognition of trustees who are completing their terms of service Dr. Hatley did not get to his report. He will be speaking tomorrow morning during the 8:30 to 12:00 noon plenary session. I will give you my comments on his report tomorrow. This is Dr. Hatley's last day to serve as Chairman of the Board of Trustees. I believe he has made some good faith efforts to resolve some very difficult issues and I'm sure he is relieved his role as Chairman is coming to an end.

Dr. Rankin's Report and the Financial Report

Once again, Dr. Ranking "rang the bell" as he encouraged us all with a wonderful update on the work taking place through our missionaries around the world. His report, along with regional reports were stunning. Great work is being accomplished by the IMB.

We had a good year financially in the IMB. Trustee Bill Sutton made the outstanding observation that our return on investments was enough to cover all administrative costs in Richmond, so that every dollar given to Lottie Moon AND CP in 2005 went directly to the missionaries OVERSEAS. Not one dollar was taken out for overhead. Investment income covered those costs. That is a great thing, and I appreciate my friend Bill Sutton for pointing that out to us all.

Why I Can't Stand the Longhorns

It is a tradition for trustees rotating off the Board to say a few words to the Board. One trustee, a person I am choosing not to name, took the microphone and then blasted "those who have a lot to say, but say nothing." He then proceeded to use some very colorful descriptive language to identify "those people." I believe it was clearly evident by those who approached me later that my perceptions of his remarks were on target --- he was identifying me --- and most everyone knew it. It got real quiet (remember this is in public forum) and he said, "That person reminds me of that thing on Trustee Barnes shirt! You see that! It's a Longhorn." (As an aside, Trustee Barnes was wearing a Texas Longhorn shirt).

The pontificating trustee continued, "He who says a lot but actually says nothing at all is like that Longhorn --- there are two points (stretching his arms out to show the two points) with a lot of bull in between."

This OU Sooner fan has never liked the Longhorns!

Now I know why! I don't like bull. :)

In His Grace,


Wade

P.S. I signed the BFM 2000 and wrote three comments on the sheet that I will share later. The hour is late. Blessings.

My Good Faith Effort to Work With the International Mission Board Shall Continue With Positive Expectations

Today was a very interesting day for me in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I represent the entire constituency of the Southern Baptist Convention as a trustee, and I feel it is necessary for me to communicate with you some very specific thoughts regarding my good faith effort to continue working with ALL the trustees of the International Mission Board. There are FIVE important things I want the SBC to understand about my service on the IMB.

(1). I do not feel unreconciled, harbor any hard feelings, or dislike any single trustee of the International Mission Board.

My wife is with me here in Albuquerque, New Mexico and we have absolutely enjoyed the fellowship we have had in the hallways, meeting rooms, and around the dinner table with the trustees and missionary candidates of the IMB. I found the conversation to be enjoyable, the spirit to be warm, and the trustees in general to be some of the most wonderful people you would ever want to be around. Only a very small handful of trustees find it difficult to speak to me. But even among those who seem to harbor ill feelings I go out of my way to be friendly, try to get to know them better, and know I would enjoy their company and conversation as much as anyone elses if given the opportunity. In other words, I only look forward to working with every single trustee of the IMB and need no "reconciliation."

(2). Some trustees, according to Dr. Tom Hatley, are "hurt" by some things I have said on this blog, and want me to "repent" of what I have written.

All I can say is what I have already said many times on several fronts, including to the trustees as a whole, and on this blog that there are times when I have used words that have been too "militant" (i.e. "Crusading Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives") and I have expressed regret for the tone of what I have said, but I stand by the content of what I said. My exact words, dated February 4, 2006 reads as follows:

In hindsight, I regret some of the word choices in that post ("Crusading Conservatives"). I stand by everything I said, and will never apologize for saying it, but I just wish I would have said it softer. The secular media and others pick out what they want, and rarely pay attention to the context of the words they choose to use. Anyone who has read all my other posts knows I have a love for all my Southern Baptist friends, even those with whom I disagree.

What else am I supposed to do? My words speak for themselves.

(3). According to Dr.Hatley, some trustees feel that if they voted for the new policies, they were unfairly branded by me as conspiratorial and out to get Dr. Rankin.

It is obvious that those trustees who believe that have not read my blog and only listened to what others have said about my blog. I have both written and stated on many occasions that there are just a few trustees who have sought to undermine and eventually remove Dr. Rankin. I stand by that. I can also prove that. Period.

If some trustees voted for the new policies out of conviction and absolutely had no clue how it would look to have the President of our missionary sending organization being disqualified himself to serve as a new missionary in the very organization over which he presides, then I don't know what to say. Shortsighted maybe? A lack of wisdom? (Nope, already said that). Maybe it is just that these trustees who love Dr. Rankin want to keep our convention "doctrinally pure." I have not given that as an option, so let me address that possibility.

These trustees who voted for the new policies but love Dr. Rankin might say . . .

"We love Jerry Rankin! We would NEVER do anything to "embarrass" or "hurt" Dr. Jerry Rankin, ever! Wade Burleson, we are angry with you that you would imply that we would be a part of a conspiracy to remove Dr. Rankin. We just want to keep the IMB doctrinally pure!!"

My answer: THAT IS THE PROBLEM!

We as trustees have NOT been called by our convention to establish doctrinal parameters for our missionaries that EXCEED the BFM 2000.

If we go beyond the BFM 2000 we then narrow the parameters of cooperation and in effect exclude from participation and cooperation some wonderful, godly, conservative evangelicals who abide by the BFM 2000, but don't interpret Scripture the way the majority of the trustees (at this moment in time) interpret Scripture.

By the way, I am grateful that the Executive Committee of the IMB is recommending that a blue ribbon panel, including people from outside the Board, take a fresh look at the appropriateness of the new policies. I have specifically chosen NOT to speak out against the new policies since the new rule prohibiting dissent, and this post is not criticising the new policies at all, it is simply trying to explain why some trustees may be "hurt" by my blog.

In short, I do apologize if some trustees feel broadbrushed with an allegation that they were part of a group of people out to remove Dr. Rankin. That particular group consisted of just about twelve people out of eighty nine trustees. That is very small number compared to the number of people who voted for the new policies.

(4). I have no desire to publicly embarrass any International Mission Board trustee or Southern Baptist leader with information that places them in a negative or bad light.

I believe we should work within the policies and procedures of the IMB to work through any problems we have as a Board. I was in the process of attempting to work with the people who were part of a problem within the Board by going to them privately when I was removed. It was unwise, unchristian, and an eggregious error in judgment to seek to remove me from the Board in the manner in which it was done. Many who voted to remove me had absolutely no clue what I was dealing with privately, and to this day do not know because I have chosen not to share it except with a select group of denominational leaders and three trustees of the IMB.

Of course, the Board has since unanimously voted, with the encouragement of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, to rescind the recommendation for removal.

People have asked me dozens of time "Where is the apology for the attempt to remove you?"

My answer: Not every trustee who voted to remove me understood what was going on behind the scenes. Second, those who did want me gone for very obvious reasons made a huge mistake. I was prepared to do whatever it took to correct the problem even to the point of suffering personal embarrassment in order for change to occur---and in the Providence of God, the very act to remove me allowed the problem to begin being dealt with convention wide.

Further, in my love for my fellow trustees I have forgiven those who voted to remove me (remember not all voted to remove me, so it is silly in my judgement to seek to vacate the Board).

Prior to the vote for my removal, I asked three times to speak to the entire Board (I have the emails) regarding the problems we were facing as a Board (a small group driving an agenda contrary to administration and in violation of Board approved policy).

I was denied the opportuntiy to address the Board at that time. There is no need to do so now. As I have stated, the problems are being corrected in ways I never dreamed possible.

So, I look forward to continuing my service on the Board. I do not believe it is beneficial for the cause of missions or the gospel for us to focus as a Board on the problems of the past year. New leadership is being elected. New trustees are coming on. The small (let me emphasize this word again --- "SMALL") group seeking to subvert Dr. Rankin has lost their power.

It's time to let the Wade Burleson issue rest.

(5). Dr. Hatley will end his service as Chairman of the International Mission Board tomorrow by reading a statement regarding his final attempt at resolving "the Wade Burleson issue."

I do not know what will be in the statement. Dr. Hatley has the option of changing the wording or not issuing a statement at all.

Let me be clear that I believe Dr. Hatley would like to end his term bringing harmony and peace to the IMB trustees. I really believe him when he tells me this, and I frankly admire his desire.

I HAVE THE SAME DESIRE.

I propose we move forward. I propose we focus on missions. I propose we stop narrowing the parameters of cooperation beyond the BFM 2000. I propose we support Dr. Jerry Rankin. I propose we support New Directions. I propose we support our missionaries on the field. I propose we love each other with a Christian love. I propose we abide by every policy established by the Board. I propose we carefully evaluate the purpose of policies and always involve our staff in policy decisions. I propose we put the past behind us and move forward.

I have seven years left as a trustee of the IMB. I will do all the above.

This is my good faith effort to be the best possible trustee I can be for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. If the Chairman chooses to keep me off of committees in order to appease certain members of the Board, so be it. I am comfortable that I have done exactly what God called me to do --- nothing more, nothing less.

Let me close by reiterating my love for all my fellow trustees, and my excitement about the possibility working with each of them to SOLELY focus on our mission of evangelizing the world.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

Tomorrow's post will address my signing the BFM 2000 and the results of the election for the new Chairman of the Board.

Albuquerque and the International Mission Board Trustee Meeting

Rachelle and I arrived in Albuquerque via Denver about 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time Sunday night. Our church's choir and orchestra have premiered two musicals at Glorietta week over the last ten years and Rachelle and I have stayed in Albuquerque both times at the Marriott off I-40 at Louisiana Drive. The IMB meeting is being held at the Sheraton Uptown, just up the road from the Marriott, and after we checked in at the hotel, we went to our favorite steak restaurant right next to the Marriott.

We enjoyed a great dinner together and as we were leaving I had the pleasure to introduce Rachelle to Johnny and Margie Nantz, the pastor and wife of First Baptist Church, Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnny has served on the IMB for the term limit of eight years and this is his last meeting. I have found Johnny to be a sincere, humble and very wise man. He is a person that I learned quickly to both appreciate and admire. With Johnny and Margie was fellow IMB trustee Paul Brown and his wife Ruth. The fellowship with these four was quite enjoyable and yet another confirmation to me that the SBC has some absolutely stellar people!

Johnny and Margie shared with us the story of their 31 year old missionary daughter in Africa. Three weeks ago she was kidnapped by Mulsim men at gunpoint and driven deep into the African jungle. The vivid details of the kidnapping, the near death of the Nantz's daughter and her remarkable display of courage and faith in the face of certain death, and the incredible providential events that led to her miraculous escape sent chills up my spine. It caused me to remember that everything we do at the IMB, and the ultimate goal of our Board is to be a lifeline and support team for those men and women God has called to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ on the front lines of spiritual darkness.

I left the steak house realizing that no matter the personal costs that may come my way for doing what I believe is right, it pales in comparison to anything 5,400 SBC missionaries do every day to serve our Savior. I know all the missionaries would say they enjoy their ministry and don't consider themselves paying any price at all, but the Nantz's story is simply a fresh reminder to me of what is really important about my service to the IMB --- protecting and supporting our missionaries. That support includes freeing and empowering them to fulfill completely the call of God upon their lives in the people group to whom He has brought them.

There are no public meetings of the IMB tomorrow. There is a closed door forum that I will be attending. The different IMB committees will also be meeting tomorrow night to work through business. The Executive Committee at the Chairman's discretion has removed me from all committees of the IMB until further notice, so I will only be attending the forum and the public sessions. More from Albuquerque tonight.


In His Grace,


Wade

The Blogging Preacher

My wife's favorite blog is Arkansas Razorbaptist which seems to be a blog run by a team. I want to thank them for the photo to the left. It seems to be a cartoon portrayal by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette of what a Southern Baptist pastor who blogs might look like! Mr. Arkansas Razorbaptist asks who this pastor might be?

I know it is not me! The other day my wife took a photo of me slaving over the computer answering the questions posted on my blog site since December. I think this picture was taken on a Saturday. I am usually quite casual and stationed in the back of our media room at the house! Anyway, for those of you who ask a question, this might give you a mental image of the way I respond.

I personally believe if people can maintain a good spirit, honestly respect the opinion of others, and refuse to try to derail thoughtful posts, that blogging can be wonderful for the SBC.

The Lord's blessings to you and yours today!

In His Grace,

Wade

I Believe in the Fundamentals But Don't Call Me a Fundamentalist

I hold to the fundamentals of the Christian faith: the doctrine of the Trinity, the Deity of Christ, His physical resurrection and return, the full inspiration and authority of the inerrant Bible, and salvation by grace through faith. However, I refer to myself as a conservative theologian, not a Fundamentalist. What is the difference? Chuck Swindoll describes the Fundamentalist mindset in a little ditty that sums up the deep seeded problem of Fundamentalism.

Believe as I believe no more, no less;
That I am right (and no one else) confess.
Feel as I feel, think only as I think;
Eat what I eat, and drink what I drink
Look as I look, do always as I do;
And then and only then I'll fellowship with you.

God save the SBC from Fundamentalism.

In His Grace,


Wade

When Southern Baptists Deny the Inerrant Word

Daniel B. Wallace has taught Greek and New Testament courses on a graduate school level since 1979. He has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary, and is currently the professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.

One of the best articles available via the internet on The Bible and Alcohol is written by Dr. Wallace. I would encourage every Southern Baptist to carefully read this excellent essay and then ask this question, "Can a Southern Baptist demand total abstinence of alchohol from other Southern Baptists and actually be a believer in the inerrant Word of God?"


Dr. Wallace says, "One question we must wrestle with is this: If there is a subcultural Christian prohibition that goes beyond scripture, are we obligated to follow it? Should we even endorse it? Ignore it? Fight against it? As we all know, there are numerous Christian taboos that go beyond scripture, depending on when and where one lives. Perhaps this one can be seen as paradigmatic for how to treat the others.

At all points, we must seek to be biblical. This requires resisting the temptation to go beyond what the Bible restricts. As I began to look into this topic (alchohol), I was actually quite amazed at the biblical writers’ attitude toward alcohol. I had expected it to be far more negative than it really was. One lesson I have learned from this is that although I think that I am being biblical, often my tradition and Christian subculture shape my thinking more than I realize.
"

Dr. Wallace also gives an interesting anecdote that sums up a problem I believe we face in the SBC when he writes, "Church historian M. James Sawyer recently spoke at the western regional meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society on Sola Scriptura in the Protestant tradition. In his lecture he noted the irony of the modern milieu:

'Among contemporary denominations we find statements such as that of the [denomination’s name withheld], who in their licensing and ordination questionnaire asks candidates if they agree that the Bible is the ‘only and infallible rule of faith and practice’ for the believer. (The questionnaire on the very next line asks the candidate if he agrees to abstain from the use of alcohol in all forms.)

The point we are trying to make here is twofold: (1) Christians tend to compile rules and regulations that go beyond what is written; and (2) when such grey zones are considered evil, those who do not abide by such rules are often viewed as ‘the weaker brother.’ In reality, the weaker brother in scripture is the one who has too many scruples, not too few (cf. Romans 14)! It is a tragic irony that as one matures in the faith, all too often his life collects more and more oppressive chains of legalism. As much as there may well be good reasons for one to personally hold to certain convictions, we must be very careful about extending such beyond ourselves'."


Dr. Wallace's exposition and exegesis of hundreds of Biblical texts clearly shows the Biblical ethic is moderation (as exemplified in Jesus), though there are examples of total abstinence (as exemplified in John the Baptist). Dr. Wallace concludes his article with a profound statement reminding us of true, Biblical Christianity . . .

"The general contours of biblical teaching are that wine is a blessing from the Lord, something to be enjoyed. But like any good gift from God, it can be abused: in this case, abuse involves addiction and drunkenness. But whenever we condemn others who are able to enjoy God’s good gifts in moderation as though they were abusers, we misrepresent biblical Christianity. At bottom, it seems that biblical Christianity has a much different face than what much of modern Christianity wears. In many respects, we resemble more the ancient Pharisees than the Lord’s disciples."

Your thoughts?


Wade

Frank and I Are on the Same Page :)

Frank Page called me today and said he was allowing his name to be nominated for President of the SBC. I have stated my personal intentions from the beginning --- I would allow my name to be nominated if there were no candidate to arise who is willing to face the issues that must be addressed in our convention.

I have mentioned at least five major issues, but I wish to focus on just two in this post, two issues I have discussed with Frank and find him to be on the same Page as I (nice pun if I say so myself :) ).

(1). WE MUST STOP NARROWING THE DEFINITION OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A SOUTHERN BAPTIST AND WE MUST STOP NARROWING THE PARAMETERS OF COOPERATION IN MISSIONS AND EVANGELISM!

Frank Page understands this.

Some of my reformed friends who are five-point Calvinists are concerned because Frank wrote a book six years ago that attacked those who hold to limited atonement. I spoke directly to Frank about this issue, because frankly, it was a concern to me as well. The book is out of print and Frank said it did reflect his personal views, but he recognized there is a large, and growing number of SBC pastors who would believe differently. He further told me that one of his best friend is a five-point Calvinist and members of his church are five-point Calvinists. In short, Frank recognizes that the SBC is large enough for people who hold to different views of the atonment.

Frank told me that he is willing to cooperate with any Southern Baptist in missions and evangelism, regardless of their Calvinistic tendencies. I have a simple word of caution for those of you who are my reformed friends --- if we reject a Southern Baptist for a position of service BECAUSE he personally rejects Calvinism (and writes about it), then we are no better than our Landmark friends who reject people for service BECAUSE they are not Landmark, or our cessationist friends who reject people for service BECAUSE they speak in tongues (I am speaking in terms of the SBC as a whole).

Our convention is large enough for us all, and frankly, it is healthy for us to be able to discuss these various views and stop rejecting those who disagree. We must learn to WORK TOGETHER FOR THE SPREADING OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. Frank Page is committed to this view of the future of the SBC. Reformed theology in the SBC is not going away, and Frank Page is aware that Calvinists can be as missions minded and evangelistic as the most ardent Arminian (and I would say even more so!).


(2). WE MUST BREAK THE CHOKEHOLD ON THE APPOINTMENT PROCESS OF TRUSTEES AND NOMINEES FOR NATIONAL OFFICE THAT HAS GRIPPED OUR CONVENTION FOR THE LAST QUARTER CENTURY.

There are many, many stories that could be told of the manipulation of the nomination process. This system of control must be broken for the health of our convention. The stakes of the tent must be stretched. The base must be broadened.

Frank is a conservative with a vision for the future of the SBC. There may be more conservatives who announce they are running for President. If so, great! The more the better. We must get to the place where we recognize the gifts of many in our convention and don't just trust a handful to do our thinking for us.

I will continue to focus on the issues. I will continue to participate in the process. I will support every candidate who understands and is willing to face the issues.

Next week (Sunday afternoon through Thursday) I will be in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the International Mission Board trustee meeting. I have the privilege and pleasure of having my wife escort me on this trip.

I'll post from NM Monday.

Blessings this Lord's Day,

In His Grace,

Wade

Why We Southern Baptists Often Look More Like Mormons than Evangelicals

I received a copy of the agenda for the Southern Baptist Convention via Baptist Press and found a very interesting statement made FIVE times in the program:

Because baptism is an ordinance of the church, all baptisms will be conducted with full approval and support of a sponsoring home church, members of each of which will be present to witness.

It seems there will be separate occasions where people will be actually baptized during the convention.

Again, the above statement is made FIVE times in the program. In my view the statement is completely unnecessary. Here's why:

(1). What does "full approval and support of a sponsoring home church" mean?

Did all the members of the home church vote? Did they vote unanimously ("full support")? Did the members of the church hear the person's testimony before they voted? Why are we waiting for the convention to baptize?

(2). What does "members of each of which will be present to witness" mean?

Witness what? Witness that they were truly and fully immersed? Witness the credentials of the person who baptized them? Witness to make sure that the baptism was "official"?

Don't get me wrong! I am thrilled we are baptizing people at the SBC. But I have a novel idea!

Why don't we go out and win the taxi cab drivers of Greensboro to Christ and baptize them at the convention? Why don't we go into the highways and byways and win a homeless person to Christ and baptize him at the convention? Why don't we win a waitress to faith in Christ and baptize her at the convention?

The people to whom the Great Commission was given are the people to whom the privilege to baptize was given. Every disciple of Christ has the privilege to baptize his or her convert.

But wait! Isn't baptism a "church" ordinance! Of course it is! But the church is the "ekklesia" --- the called out people of God. The church is an organism, not an institution. The church is people, not a steeple. The church is a "them," not an it.

We are the church. Frankly, if a person were to be converted to faith in Christ on the streets of Greensboro by one of the messengers of the convention, and then baptized at the convention's baptismal service, I would be ecstatic. Suppose the day after his baptism the convert moved to my hometown of Enid, Oklahoma to take a job with Advance Food Company, and the next Sunday he sought to join our local church (ekklesia)--- here is how the conversation would go:

Pastor Wade: "Tell me about your faith in Christ."

Convert: "Last week I was walking down the streets of Greensboro, North Carolina when a man I had never met before stopped me to ask for directions. After I told him how to get to where he was going he then asked me a question that stopped me cold in my tracks. He asked me, 'I now know where I'm going at this moment in time, but do you know where you are going when you die?' I had just been told earlier that day that my dad was diagnosed with cancer and my thoughts had been upon death and his question sent chills up my spine.

I said, 'Sir, I don't know where I'm going when I die, could you give me directions?' With that, the man told me about Jesus Christ. He told me that because of my disobedience to God I deserved the holy punishment of God for my sin, but that God in His love for sinners like me sent His Son Jesus Christ to bear on the cross the punishment due me for my rebellion to God. There on the street corner of Greensboro, North Carolina I knelt and confessed my sins before God and trusted Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord."

Pastor Wade: Tell me about your baptism.

Convert: You won't believe this, but the man who led me to Christ asked if I would come with him to a coliseum where I stood before 20,000 people and told them that my faith was in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of my sins, and before 20,000 people the man who led me to faith in Christ baptized me as an expression of my faith in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. When I came out of the water people were applauding and shouting "Hallelujah!" and I knew I was one of them!

Pastor Wade: My friend, welcome to our fellowship at Emmanuel Baptist Church. We receive you into our local church (local "ekklesia") based upon your statement of faith in Jesus Christ and your profession of that faith through believer's baptism.

For the sake of my hypothetical story and Biblical argument pretend I was not at the SBC Convention.


Not one person from our church "approved" the baptism.
Not one person from our church "witnessed" the baptism.

We listened to the convert's testimony of faith. We listened to the convert's testimony of baptism. There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism. This convert had faith in Christ. He had faith in THE one Lord called Jesus Christ. He was baptized by immersion, after having come to faith in Christ and is part of the "ekklesia." Our local church RECEIVED HIM INTO OUR FELLOWSHIP!

Question to ponder: How is the above scenario NOT Biblical?

I would propose that refusing to recognize the church in a "universal" sense as all of our old Baptist confessions did, leads us to adopt a very narrow view of the "church" that leads to an institutional understanding of an assembly that far more resembles Mormonism than Biblical, evangelical Christianity.

Finally, this is a post about the SBC --- and the program of the SBC --- and not one word has been said about any other agency.

:)

In His Grace,


Wade