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

Don't Get Mad Over the Censure: The Policy That Forbids Dissent Should Cause The Pain

In December 2005 I began to express my courteous and public dissent - through this blog - over the two IMB policies that excluded othwise qualified and God-called Southern Baptists from serving on the mission field. The policies excluded Southern Baptists who were (a) baptized by ordinance administrators deemed unqualified to immerse by the IMB trustees, and/or (b) who responded truthfully, and in the affirmative, when asked if they prayed in private in an unknown tongue.

Three weeks after I began my public dissent on this blog I received an email from the attorney of the IMB, a very godly man who is no longer with the IMB, who clarified the freedom of sitting trustees to publicly dissent from board approved actions. In the email, dated January 6, 2006, the IMB attorney states:

I know of no bylaw or policy that would preclude public expressions of opposition to Board approved policies on various blogs. As long as you act in good faith, you can, in my opinion, publicly oppose and even seek to pressure other trustees into re-examining past decisions.

That was exactly what I was doing. My blog was designed to inform Southern Baptists of two doctrinal policies that exceeded the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and that otherwise God-called and qualifed Southern Baptist missionary candidates were being excluded from missions service and ministry participation. I began to call these policies "the narrowing of the doctrinal parameters of Southern Baptist cooperation."

Within three days of receiving this January 6, 2006 email from the IMB attorney, trustee leadership of the International Mission Board sought the adoption of a recommendation for my removal. This recommendation had to be presented to the June 2006 Southern Baptist Convention for approval. The basis for the recommendation for my removal changed from time to time, depending upon who one asked and when one asked, but it was obvious to everyone in the know at the time that my blog - filled with what I believed courteous dissent and written in good faith - was the issue to the trustees who voted for the recommendation.

Then, with a sudden change of heart, on March 22, 2006, just three months before the Southern Baptist Convention was to vote on the motion for my removal, the IMB trustees who sought the recommendation just a scant two months earlier, unanimously reversed themselves and voted to rescind the motion for my removal and expunge it from the record. Ironically, that same day, the trustees passed a four page Trustee Standards of Conduct designed to any stifle public dissent.

The March 22, 2006 'Trustee Standards of Conduct'

For 162 years, the International Mission Board did just fine without a guideline that forbad public dissent. But on the very day the motion for my removal was rescinded, the IMB board of trustees passed a statement saying:

Individual IMB trustees must refrain from public criticism of Board approved actions . . . trustees are to speak in positive and supportive terms as they interpret and report on actions by the Board, regardless of whether they personally support the action.

What is not known by many is the last paragraph of the new "Trustee Standards of Conduct." It made clear what would happen if a trustee chose to 'publicly dissent.'

Depending on the circumstances, appropriate action could include . . . a motion to censure the violating trustee or trustees, or suspend their active involvement with the Board or to take the final action of removal from the Board by action of the SBC.

I opposed this policy, stating to anyone who would listen at the time, that it was the worst policy ever passed by any agency of the Southern Baptist Convention. It was illogical, irrational, and violated the very essence of Baptist identity. We Baptists are, by nature, dissenters. To stifle free and courteous dissent is to deny our Baptist heritage and identity.

I initially thought I would stop my public dissent of Board approved policies on this blog - simply because I did not enjoy the prospect of a censure. But then I realized the only way Southern Baptists even knew about the new policies that were excluding missionaries was through my blog. The only way the SBC knew we were 'narrowing the doctrinal parameters of missionary cooperation and participation' was through this blog and others like it.

I told my wife in April of 2006, less than a month after the policy that forbad dissent was passed, that I was going to intentionally violate it by continuing to publish my courteous dissent of the two policies that continued to exclude otherewise qualified Southern Baptists from missionary appointment. Everyone who reads my blog knows that I have been only affirming of the vision of President Jerry Rankin, am absolutely supportive of the Cooperative Program and the Lottie Moon Offering, and desire MORE missionaries on the missions fields not less. But I intentionally chose to express my public dissent to help get those missionaries on the fields white unto harvest - the very place they belong. I also submitted myself to the guideline which calls for my censure if trustee leadership so desired.

However, in 2007 the Southern Baptist Convention passed the Garner Motion which stated that agencies SHOULD NOT exceed the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message through the implemention of doctrinal policies that go beyond the convention-wide approved confession of faith. I not only felt affirmed in my gracious and courteous dissent, I looked forward to the Board rescinding the two doctrinal policies that went beyond the BFM 2000, and I looked forward to seeing the appointment of those Southern Baptist missionary candidates who were wrongly being excluded.

Yet, the two unbiblical and narrow policies were not reversed after the convention, and I wrote a post about the unwillingness of trustees in our agencies to follow the desires of the SBC. This was one of the posts referred to last week as the basis for the censure. The majority of the IMB trustees last week (not all) voted to censure me. It seems there has been another overwhelming backlash toward the actions of the IMB Board of Trustees regarding this censure. The anger of grassroots Southern Baptists, however, is misplaced.

You Should Be Upset Over the Policies, Not the Censure

I humbly and genuinely accept the censure approved by the majority my fellow trustees. They not only were within their rights to censure me, they should censure me to abide by the illogical policy they passed on March 22, 2006. I chose to publicly dissent knowing full well I would likely be censured. I told my wife last year that the day might come when a motion to censure would be brought.

So be it. I accept it. I will not apologize for courteous public dissent.

I will continue to respectfully and publicly dissent when I cannot privately support board approved actions. To publicly dissent is not a question of loyalty, is not evidence of a lack of unity in the Spirit, but it is in the end, the only way to ensure that the boards and agencies of our Southern Baptist Convention maintain our Baptist identity and live by Christian principles of openness and transparency and refuse to change the Baptist Faith and Message - the doctrinal basis of our cooperation - through back door, hidden agency policies.

The Southern Baptist Convention will eventually decide if it is wise, prudent and Baptist to stifle dissent. I already believe I know their answer. The adoption of the Garner Motion affirms my place in the SBC. Southern Baptists do not desire the largest missions sending agency in the world to narrow the doctrinal parameters of missionary participation beyond the BFM 2000. I am also convinced that the SBC will desire to hear from any trustee who feels we are in danger of violating Scripture and exceeding the BFM 2000 by narrowing the parameters of our cooperation to exclude otherwise qualified, Bible-believing Southern Baptists from SBC missionary and ministry service.

What should upset Southern Baptists is not the censure of Wade Burleson. What should upset Southern Baptists is the policy that stifles the dissent of majority opinions through threat of censure.

The Offer to Resign

There have been some who have questioned why I would offer to resign at the last Board meeting. Quite simply, it was the first time I had ever been confronted by trustee leadership about violating the 'new' guidelines that forbids public dissent and I knew a censure, which would distract us from our mission and purpose, was more than likely coming.

So, instead of distracting the Southern Baptist Convention our from mission business during Lottie Moon, I offered to . . .

(1). Shut my blog down on December 6, 2007, the two year anniversary of it's start, and
(2). Until December 6, 2007, since I was now being confronted about my public dissent, I would abide by the March 22, 2006 guideline that forbids it until I shut down my blog, and
(3). I would resign before the end of the year, and
(4). I would apologize to any trustee who was personally offended by anything said on my blog, because I have never sought to disparage any trustee, but only to write about the issues we face.

However, I said, quite emphatically, that I would NOT apologize for my public dissent because I INTENTIONALLY violated the policy that forbad public dissent because there was, for me, a higher principle at stake. It is like an ambulance speeding because a wounded passenger needs to get to the hospital. It is like a pastor who breaks confidentiality because he has heard that abuse is taking place. To break the guideline that forbids dissent is the lesser of two evils: It prevents our convention from losing her sense of Baptist identity by modeling gracious, courteous dissent.

However, I also said, IF trustee leadership decided to put the focus on Wade Burleson and censure me, then I would accept their decision to censure, respect them for it, humbly receive it as fulfillment of the 'new' Trustee Standards of Conduct, BUT

(1). I would also continue my blog, and
(2). I would not resign, but fulfill my term as appointed by the SBC, and
(3). I would also continue my public dissent, if and when needed (that is, when I could not privately support a board approved action because it exceeded the BFM 2000 or violated Scripture), and
(4). I would humbly accept any future censures as the fulfillment of the March 22, 2006 'Trustee Standard of Conduct Guidelines.'

In other words, nobody should be upset over the censure. I'm not. I freely admit I violated the March 22, 2006 new guideline that forbids dissent. I knew that a censure - more than likely - would be coming. Southern Baptists should be upset with the policy that forbids dissent and threatens censure when it occurs. In other words, if you are angry today, your emotion is misplaced by about eighteen months. You should have been upset, as was I, eighteen months ago on March 22, 2006.

Closing Thoughts

Don't forget that others besides me are being excluded by illogical and ill advised policies, but these God-called missionary candidates are not being heard at this time. They have no appeal. I do, and I intend to represent them to the end.

Also, it is ironic to me that I heard from a former trustee who gave me multiple examples of public criticism by sitting trustees of Dr. Jerry Rankin and his vision for the IMB over the past fifteen years. This trustee asked a very simple question to me: "Is public dissent only forbidden when trustees express disapproval of trustee decisions, or is public dissent also forbidden by trustees for decisions made by the IMB President and his administrators?"

Great question.

I believe that Southern Baptist trustees should be free to express courteous public criticism and dissent for decisions made by both trustees and administrators.

The SBC will soon decide.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

59 comments:

Tyson Wynn said...

Wade,

A quotation from Herbert Hoover sprung to my mind: "If a law is wrong, its rigid enforcement is the surest guaranty of its repeal."

You've done your part and the trustees have done their part. I, too, expect that the SBC will soon do its part.

Keep the faith,

TDW

Wade Burleson said...

TDW,

Great quote. I agree.

Chris said...

Thank you, Wade, for your commitment and your posts. As for the policies, I am outraged. I am outraged that they would consider one person's baptism to be better than another just because of what denominational church it is in. That's ridiculous and un-Biblical. As a possible missionary candidate myself, I find that if the policy does not revert, I will most likely have to go with another agency, because my Biblical baptism by immersion was not good enough according to the policies. Needless to say, I do not find these policies in writing anywhere. I suppose they are, but I cannot find them. Keep on dissenting on these policies. God's grace be with you.

Anonymous said...

All trustees (and we all know you are reading), please note this part of the post:

"Also, it is ironic to me that I heard from a former trustee who gave me multiple examples of public criticism by sitting trustees of Dr. Jerry Rankin and his vision for the IMB over the past fifteen years. This trustee asked a very simple question to me: 'Is public dissent only forbidden when trustees express disapproval of trustee decisions, or is public dissent also forbidden by trustees for decisions made by the IMB President and his administrators?'

As missionaries, we all know the quote given is a factual statement.

The irony is indeed overwhelming.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
“Is public dissent also forbidden by trustees for decisions made by the IMB President and his administrators?”

That’s a good question, but from a different direction than you intended.

I mean by that, this ‘NOT to dissent business’ was started by the IMB president—NOT to trustees but to missionaries.

Is it a little hypocritical to be upset with a policy that affects less than 100 and not be upset with a statement that discourages dissent from thousands?

In 1997, he wrote a letter and approved by the IMB requesting missionaries to have:

“A confidence and willingness to follow the wisdom and guidance of God-appointed leadership, whether we necessarily understand or agree.”

Paraphrased: Follow with no dissent. Is this not the same as the new policy of the IMB?

It’s true that this was only a request, but on May 5, 2003, this request was changed to a demand: “sign BFM 2000 or be fired.”

I love your stand against ‘closed doors’ in the IMB, but how come you never dissented the ‘closed doors’ that produced the BFM 2000?

‘Closed doors’ reminds me of the Scripture, They love darkness because their deeds are evil.

I’m very glad you’re leading the way in standing for the Baptist right of dissent in the IMB.

If its policy can be overthrown, maybe it won’t spread to the SBC where we would end up with a Baptist pope.

tlinasia said...

If the draconian policy passed in March 2007 was equally applied, Jerry Corbaley would have been censured already. His email, even if intended only for trustees, was so full of vitriol and anger against another trustee as to easily meet the (low) threshold set by the policy.

Unless, of course, the intension of the policy was only to silence those not a part of Floyd's favored few.

tlinasia said...

David Rogers has an interesting article on his blog regarding the Arkansas Baptist Convention's vote about "open communion" and "alien immersion"

There is a tantalizing paragraph where he refers to Ronnie Floyd. David writes:
"It is significant to me, as well, that Ronnie Floyd, Senior Pastor of FBC Springdale & the Church at Pinnacle Hills, as well as candidate for the presidency of the SBC in 2006, publicly supported the amendment. According to his blog, his church practices “open communion,” and handles cases of “alien immersion” on an individual basis.

Unless I misread that, members of FBC, Springdale would fail to meet the standard of the IMB for appointment as missionaries...unless they were rebaptized.

David Lowrie said...

Wade,

I commend your commitment to openness and dissent. It grieves me when it appears we are becoming like the Pharisees. Adding to the "Law" as it were is rarely a good idea.

It appears the Word of God gives us amply instructions on how to embrace our conflicts and learn from each other. Let's face it, we are the body of Christ and each of us brings a unique perspective to every problem we face. Keep "speaking the truth in love" and I trust we will find our way out of this mess to a more effective future.

I am also intrigued by the comment about Dr. Rankin's directive to the missionaries. I suspect this movement toward openness should also extend to those the IMB is called to deploy and serve.

I hope and pray that what may appear to be meant for evil will turn out for the good of all.

David Lowrie

Bob Cleveland said...

I'm beginning to see the practical truth, and earthly ramifications, of God closing ears, blinding eyes, hardening hearts, etc in the Bible. Those stories are becoming more real all the time in SBC life.

That was all just a head-nod in the UMC and the PCA.

They're on the menu in the SBC.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex Ray,

You must understand that Dr. Rankin is bound to do as trustees instruct him to do. Your angst toward him regarding the BFM may be misplaced. He could have opposed the desires of the trustees a few years ago, but he would no longer have been President.

You ask why I did nothing back then to help our missionaries who were being singled out, isolated and eventually terminated.

I honestly did not know what was going on at the time.

Maybe if someone had invented blogs back then I would have been better informed.

:)

Gary said...

Wade, Rex Ray, and all,

I started a pretty snarkey comment about all of this, but I'll turn the sarcasm switch off and say it straight.

The Conservative Resurgence has become all that they challenged the heathen liberals of and more. The challenge was that the liberals were "indoctrinating" the weak-minded seminary students with their liberal drivel. Having been at Southwestern in the late 70s and early 80s, I didn't run into many weak minds. Regardless, that was the charge, that and the "Liberal control of Boards and Agencies".

So the Conservative Resurgence occurs. We now have doctrinally pure (but apparently getting purer by the month) seminaries, we are rooting out the 'liberals' on the mission field, and marginalizing 'liberals' in the state conventions and local associations and churches.

What has defined a liberal? Is it an action of one of our annual meetings? Is it something or some document recommended by the Executive Board to the Messengers for consideration? No, it's not.

What defines a 'liberal' is when a group or groups choose to marginalize or remove someone who does not believe the way they do. Cry "liberal, liberal" often enough, changing the subject to the liberalness of this statement or "those heathen liberal open communionists" saying it loud and long, never allowing any discussion about what it is that is really at the heart of the matter, and the person in the pew will eventually admit that "hmm, there must be something to it because 'Dr. I Filla BigPulpit, PhD.' said so."

Those "liberals" of yore were accused of doing the SBC's business in back rooms. Having seen that for about 15-20 years now that we cannot see what is going on until it actually happens, it is OBVIOUS that "the decisions" are really and truly be made in the back room. It is apparent that the SBC College of Those Who Know What Is Best have decided and declared it so. And we, the Great Unannointed, should just be happy that they take such good care of us.

Sometimes however, you just don't hear about it, because you see, they can't talk about it.

Now, when the Executive Committee starts going behind closed doors frequently...

My thoughts are my own. No one else would want them so don't blame them for my thoughts. Wade will disagree on several points. I wouldn't respect him as much if he didn't. Because you see I respect Wade because he is a Conservative, he is just not mean-spirited about it. And that is truly the difference.

Wade, you have my respect. We will disagree about some things, we may get into eye gouging and hair pulling fights about some issues, but at the end of the day it is all about declaring that Jesus is Lord and leading those who do not know Him to know Him. It is not to baptize them in a Doctrinally Pure Southern Baptist Church by a Proper Authority.

And with that, I am...

Gary Skaggs
Norman, Oklahoma

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

Your post is correct, but a bit narrow in one respect (IMO).

Narrowing of parameters: Objectionable. Loyal dissent SHOULD have a voice.

Forbidding of courteous loyal dissent: Grievous, and loyal dissent SHOULD be heard.

Censuring that loyal dissent: Egregious, and worthy of loyal dissent. I liken that to an adulterous thought generating adultery. The thought was sinful, but the act was even worse (yes I know sin is sin to God, etc etc).

If the forbidding of dissent is wrong and objectionable, then following through on its explicit threats is worse, and anger is surely as expectable over that as it is over the principle.

Or not. Just my thoughts. But if you remove the personalities, it's still as worthy of ire. And action.

Sorry to get long-winded but I have to add something. This situation is like the thought process that generates sin. When we willfully sin, we must necessarily, prior to the act, give ourselves permission to do that. That's why the true meaning of repent ... to think differently after (my non-theological interpretation) ... is so important. You are correct in that sense, just was we as sinners must stop the sin in the "permission" process or we'll rarely ever stop the act itself.

But that doesn't excuse the act, and thus the censure is worthy of our anger too (if any anger over the edicts would be allowable).

R. Grannemann said...

This new policy is typical of the Conservative Resurgence pattern. They want total obedience to their program or you get kicked out. I believe the BoT’s legal counsel told them they didn’t have a PRIOR POLICY in place to have a legal case for booting Wade Burleson out the first time (enforcing contracts requires they be agreed to IN ADVANCE). The new policy, we now see, was supposed to cover of that legal nicety.

I was once a supporter of the CR (was at one time a Landmarker and actually thought the CR was too liberal for me), and to this day I believe the moderates should have bent over backwards to address concerns conservatives had about the seminaries. But I gave up my Landmarkism and was surprised later to find the CR people weren’t really like me at all. And I’m sure my wide ranging thoughts in recent years, grappling with science and religion issues, would make me a hated LIBERAL by the CR elite. But I believe if the average Southern Baptist would simply read the Rogers-Yarnell Dialogue on David Rogers’ blog, lengthy to wade through but revealing the neo-landmarkist opinions surely shared by Malcolm’s mentor Paige Patterson and the theology driving a political machine’s attempt to set policy for the SBC through the back door, we would have the votes to win a long string of SBC presidential elections. The problem is getting this message out through the charges of liberalism that will surely come.

Chad & Erin said...

I read about this in the Mississippi Baptist Record. I agree with you that we should be able to publically disagree in an organization we serve.

-Erin
a minister's wife in MS

Jack said...

Fear not, Wade! Help is on the way.

I have notified the SBC's ETHICS & RELIGIOUS LIBERTY COMMISSION of the IMB's unethical policy against your religious liberties and surely (based on the name of the agency he heads) Dr. Land will be coming to your defense soon. :)

James said...

[A few days ago Joseph said] I did say that if something bothered me as much as it aparently bother Wade and many others right now, and I couldn't change it, I would not spend another day being associated with it. Sometimes, it is best to shake the dust off one's feet and move on.

When I was a child in the early 1970s, my church in northern Ohio was considering separating from the SBC because of the liberal bent of its literature and educational organizations, and the unresponsiveness of its leadership.

But a man (I *think* it was Bill Powell) came to our church as told us that the convention was OUR convention and that it was worth fighting (dissenting) for. I know quite well that we weren't the only church he turned from an intent to leave the SBC to an intent to reform it.

After 20 years of effort to wrest the convention from an insular cabal, I'm not prepared to relinquish it to another one now.

I repeat what I've said around 18 months now: If the BoT's new policy on dissent had been respected or enforced widely among convention organizations there would have been no CR.

I realize that there are a lot of commenters here with an axe to grind against the CR. But, in fact, this is just the sort behavior that spawned the CR in the first place.

Darby Livingston said...

"Dr. Land will be coming to your defense soon. :)"

As soon as Larry King, Bill Frist, the Associated Press, George W. Bush, and Fox News get through with him. :)

Anonymous said...

tlinasia:

How do you know that Mr. Corbaley was not censured also. I believe the only reason Wade's censure is public is because he chose to make it so.

I could very well be wrong, but so could you.

RM said...

Knowing many of the people on the BOT, I would seriously doubt that Jerry Corbaley was censured. They just want to be rid of Wade and will do whatever it takes to accomplish it. The worst days are probably still ahead of us.

I have a copy of all of the BOT and their respective states as well as how to reach them by email.

If you would like a copy just write to me at: c-b-c@verizon.net and I'll send you a copy.

The only that bothers the trustees more than Wade is to have a bunch of his supporters emailing them!

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Take it from this parliamentarian.

Every action of the Board taken in Executive Session must be reported in the Plenary (Open) Session.

My censure was made public by the Board of Trustees - not me.

My objection is that the 'debate' (if you could call it that) over the censure motion did not take place in plenary session. I have absolutely nothing to hide and have repeatedly asked that all discussion take place in open forum.

Montana Baptists said...

Wade,
We continue to pray for you. Your voice is clear...keep on speaking.
Ken Colson
Montana

AS-I-SEE-IT said...

I believe the concept "divide and conqueror" is at work here. The insiders now have control. The horrible outsiders were cast out. Therefore, the pure insiders ought to be pure and spreading the gospel like NT churches ... right? By pure I mean having a rightful (daily) relationship with the Lord.

What is happening, as I see it, we are shooting the saints (ourselves) ... in fact ... we are not even taking prisoners. Even in the conservative ranks there seems to be no reconciliation. Where is confession and forgiveness when you need it.

Just think grown men of God calling each other liars. It is a shame and disagrace. I pray that Almighty God will raise up other groups that will take the place of Southern Baptist. We had the opportunity to be special and on mission with the Lord. My brothers and sisters we have fumble the gospel ... shamefully!

A liberal is one who does not argree or abide with the power structure. The insider speaks for God ... evidently they are the only ones The Lords speaks to. Believe or not but I do know what "sound" doctrine is intended to mean.

If we can just get ride of Wade B. and a host of others ... God will bless and the kingdom will move forward. A pipe dream is forming ... we will send 8,000 to the foreign lands. Not with this negative attitude.

It been a long time since I have been to the SBC funny farm ... doesn't seem to me much has changed. Southern Sem was liberal (far, far, to the left) and now is it safe to say that Southern is conservative (far, far, far, far, far to the right)?

Just pondering and wondering??????

Troy

greg.w.h said...

I find it difficult to tamp down anger based on efforts by others to control thinking and control behavior, Wade. From that viewpoint, the policies and the censure are just the obverse and reverse faces of a counterfeit form of faith in my opinion. Both are reprehensible.

The policies introduced the defectiveness of the behavior. The censure confirmed it.

Heads or Tails, anyone?

Greg Harvey

RKSOKC66 said...

Wade:

Reading your blog today implies that your 4 point offer to resign happened before the IMB BoT censured you. I gather this because I assume (maybe incorrectly?) that your narrative flows in time sequence.

My questions are these:

(1) Did you present your four point offer to resign prior to the IMB censuring you?

(2) Did the IMB BoT formally accept or reject your offer to resign?

I ask these question because even though I think I have been paying attention, I can't glean the answers from your blog posts to date.

Anonymous said...

Wade:

I apologize for wrongly asserting that you were the one that made your censure public.

To be clear - are you saying that no other trustee was censured?

Are official minutes available online anywhere?

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous:

To be clear: What happens in Executive Session I cannot reveal. That is why things should happen in the public eye.

Wade Burleson said...

rksokc66

(1) Did you present your four point offer to resign prior to the IMB censuring you?

Yes. To the Executive Committee and to the three man subcommittee sent by the Executive Committee. The Board of Trustees was never told of my offer and I was never given the privilege of speaking to the full Board. The Board was told that I would not apologize for intentionally violating the policy that forbids public dissent.

(2) Did the IMB BoT formally accept or reject your offer to resign?

Again, the IMB BoT never knew of my offer. Only the two small committees. I assumed my proposal was accepted by the Executive Commitee because I was never told before we went behind closed doors as a full Board that a censure was forthcoming. In addition, I had already let both small committees know that if a censure came, I would not resign and I would finish my appointment. I think they like me so much they wanted me to remain on the board.

:)

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

I think they like me so much they wanted me to remain on the board.

Thanks for the comedic relief this afternoon!

Scott Shaffer said...

Follow this linkto a BP News account of resolutions passed by the Southern Baptists of Texas earlier this week. Resolutions passed included: alcohol abstinence required for SBTC staff, regenerate church membership, and affirming the BFM as a minimum theological standard. With regards to this last item, does this mean they have taken a different view of the Garner resolution or does this just plain contradict it?

Bob Cleveland said...

Anonymous,

Since the Executive Session (closed door) decision to censure was reported to the Plenary Session, (public) I believe it safe to assume that, had any other Trustee been censured, it would have similarly been reported to the public session.

If that's not true, it would imply something unthinkable.

Jack said...

Scott: yes the SBCTexas has violated the Garner Motion through a resolution affirming "the confession as an "instrument of doctrinal accountability" for all Southern Baptist entities to employ as the minimal theological standard, while also noting the appropriateness of entities adopting and enforcing "additional theological standards" as part of the unique responsibility of trustee boards."

Surely they will be censured for publicly dissenting with the
entire convention.

RKSOKC66 said...

Wade:

Thanks for answering my questions.

I guess the mystery of the ages is why the BoT and/or various sub-comittees or negotiating groups sanctioned by the BoT took the action they took. Of course, I'm not asking you these questions.

Given the "gag orders" that seem to attach to this proceeding, I guess we will never know.

As a dump laymen I'd would think that once you broached the idea of tendering your resignation (to whatever sub-group the BoT had dispatched to negotiate with you)that your offer would be communicated to the full BoT and that they would act on it one way or another.

With apologies to Churchill I say, "The BoT's action is truly 'an enigma shrouded in a mystery' ".

RKSOKC66 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jack said...

Interestingly, the SBTC's resolution contains a "weasel" clause for the folks who contribute to the CP while it narrows the parameters for those allowed to receive those funds. -Don't want to upset the folks with the checkbooks in the pews dontcha know...

"RESOLVED, that, although we believe the contents of The Baptist Faith & Message to be grounded in biblical truth, we affirm the unabridged liberty of any individual who has not voluntarily entered a fiduciary or employee relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention or any of its entities to accept or reject, in part or in total, the tenets expressed in The Baptist Faith & Message."

Stephen Pruett said...

Wade, I agree the root of the problem is not the censure, it is the rule prohibiting even courteous dissent. Confident organizations that are convinced they are correct and can defend their positions value passionate debate on issues. The BoT does not "own" the IMB. Southern Baptists do. If the BoT will not openly debate issues about which there is internal dissent, there is a real problem. In effect, the BoT has placed itself above accountability to Southern Baptists.

Openness has a way of revealing truth. Chronic whiners and naysayers are typically revealed as such, and principled and reasoned dissent can be easily identified. There is no legitimate reason for an organization supported by millions of Southern Baptists to keep them in the dark about anything other than matters that would risk the security of missionaries.

R. Grannemann said...

Jack and Scott:

The Southern Baptists of Texas Convention is NOT an entity of the SBC. They are an independent state convention and are not bound by the Garner Motion.

Wade Burleson said...

Grannemann,

I agree with your assessment.

I also think it is prudent to listen to what comes out of the SBC.

RKSOKC66 said...

I should have said I was a DUMB layman; not a DUMP layman.

Sorry that my comments are so often are laced with mispellings and typos.

Roger K Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Bill Scott said...

Wade,
Has it occurred to you that the IMB censure was designed to punish, humiliate and retaliate.

For you to resign would have been on your terms and not theirs. You would have been in control in that case. If the IMB BoT ignores your offer to resign and move to censure then they are in control and make the power play.

They didn't want a plea bargain and a lesser sentence. They wanted a conviction to the fullest extent of the "law" and nothing less.

Wade you just don't play well with others :-)

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Thanks for the reply.
Just for the record, my mistake about Rankin’s letter—it was an email and it was not approved until after it was sent.

In fact, one missionary told me the trustees made a rule that no more communication was to be made to missionaries without their prior approval.

Ranking started the email, “This is an awesome moment to stand before you and attempt to articulate the beginning of a new paradigm in overseas administration and structure. Such expectancy has been created regarding these recommendations that it seems the whole world is waiting with bated breathe for what I am going to say.”

You said, “Your angst toward him regarding the BFM may be misplaced. He could have opposed the desires of the trustees a few years ago, but he would no longer have been President.”

I’m sorry but I don’t know what my “angst” is and a dictionary doesn’t help.

It’s a little like my brother, (he spent a lot of time on a newspaper by the teacher’s desk in the third grade) asking me,
“What’s your will?”
“I don’t know. Why do you ask?”
“I heard our teacher telling some other teachers, she was going to break my will if it was the last thing she ever did.”

Anyway, I don’t blame Ranking with anything about the BFM 2000. I don’t blame him for making missionaries sign it. He made them sign it because if he didn’t, ‘destruction’ of the IMB was going to be worse than 9-11. At least that’s what he said.

The question comes to mind that destruction was not going to come from the trustees.

It was coming from the top by Morris Chapman telling Rankin he better get his missionaries in line because of a complaining missionary email that ended up on his desk.

I guess Jerry Grace telling how one shot led to the death of 110 million http://sbcouthouse.blogspot.com makes it possible that one email could cause the removal of so many good missionaries

Yes, blogs might have saved them from their employers.

But tell me; when is it too late to right a wrong?

When will missionaries be treated once again as missionaries instead of employees?

Wade Burleson said...

Bill,

I've thought of that - so has my wife. I honestly don't know, but we are quite at peace that the Lord is in charge.

Joseph said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
James said...

Joseph,

I suggest you read my post to you above. Your suggestion is fatuous, and would permit the nastious people to have the whip hand at every moment of disagreement.

Joseph said...

God is the one who has the whip hand and whom will judge righteously. He is still in control, and not any human (least of all, the IMB trustees) can thwart his sovereign will. Wade could make a much stronger statement by resigning and stopping his childish blog and beginning his own independent mission sending agency. If God is in it, nobody could stop it.

Wade Burleson said...

Joseph,

Somebody can always begin a new missions agency.

It's my desire for the one we have to represent all Southern Baptists.

In His Grace,

Wade

Joseph - a peurile nature is evidence by hiding one's identity. Men of courage reveal who they are.

Joseph said...

My name is Joseph Botwinick from Sherwood, Arkansas. Anything else you would like to know while you attempt to call me a coward? Not all Southern Baptists are worthy of being represented, such as those who don't believe in the inerrancy of Scripture (and yes, they are still there even though they now support both the SBC and the CBF).

Joseph said...

"Somebody can always begin a new missions agency. "

But it takes a special person to hang around an agency that has already shown it is going in a different direction than you and make it all about you. If you truly don't want the focus to be on you and truly want to glorify God, then you should resign and then work as a voting member of the convention to change some minds and some policies, if not some board members. To my knowledge, this is more or less how the CR happened. It didn't come about by men becoming members of boards, openly defying the policies of these boards, and then bad mouthing the board when action was taken on the internet. Wade, there are people out here who actually do agree with you on the issue of boards being open and dissent being allowed. But, that is being destroyed when they see you say in one breath that you don't want the focus to be on you and controversy and then in the other breath, you keep the controversy going. And then, when people don't tell you how great you are because of your defiance and rebellion, you get defensive and imply that we are cowards. You would be better served by listening to those who are not the head nodders your blog normally presents and maybe considering the fact that it isn't about representing all Southern Baptist and defending your honor, but about about representing and glorify God. I don't believe you are doing this the way you are carrying on right here.

greg hicks said...

Joseph wrote, "You say in one breath that you don't want the focus to be on you and controversy and then in the other breath, you keep the controversy going"

Are you serious? The Exec Board initiated and the BOT censured Wade and WADE is keeping the controversy going?

This week it was reported that a Saudi court ordered the victim of a violent gang rape be beaten with 200 lashes.

Wade, you might fare better in a Saudi court...

Joseph Botwinick said...

Greg,

The "He started it" defense is probably expected from my four year old, but is, as Wade would say, rather Peurile in nature for grown adults.

You aren't really serious when you equate a Saudi Court to the IMB BoT, are you?

greg hicks said...

No, actually, I'm not serious. I was using hyperbole to make a point.

But you missed the point. I was not likening the BOT to a Saudi court - I was likening your judgement to that of the Saudi court.

Joseph Botwinick said...

Dear Greg,

I would liken your ridicilous assertion that I am in any way like a Saudi Court to that of the looney left found in places like Moveon.org. Unlike Saudi Arabia, and many other oppressive places like that, I actually agree with Wade that dissent is a good thing and that there should be openess and transparency in the leadership. The other difference between me and a Saudi Court would be that I am perfectly happy to allow someone to emmigrate if they wish to not abide by the policies of the BoT. As a matter of fact, I strongly encourage them to find greener pastures elsewhere. The other obvious difference is that if someone had actually been the victim of a rape, I would execute the rapist and allow the victim to go free. The ironic twist to your assertion is that you seem to think that Wade is some sort of victim or martyr for his cause for no reason whatsoever. I don't think Wade sees himself this way. Maybe I am wrong.

greg hicks said...

Joseph,

Just out of curiosity, your blogger profile indicates you are located in Afghanistan. Were you in Afghanistan, and was it related to mission or military service?

James said...

[Joseph Botwinick said:]But it takes a special person to hang around an agency that has already shown it is going in a different direction than you and make it all about you.

Joseph,

1) The agency is not a self-owned entity. It belongs the churches that make up the convention. Wade is a) a pastor of one of those churches and b) was placed on the convention by persons elected by messengers of those churches.

It is Wade's duty to speak his conscience on that board...not leave when they go off the rails. It is the duty of the board to keeps its actions transparent to the member churches. They haven't done so well in that duty lately. I'm glad one of the trustees is doing what he can to maintain that duty.

Frankly, I believe that either you haven't carefully considered you point or you are not making it in earnest.

However, since you hold the principles that you claim to, I suppose you consider it quite sinful for Brother Andrew to have smuggled Bibles into the Soviet Union, and I suppose you think that Wycliffe and Huss were agents of Satan sowing disunity among Christians?

James said...

correction: "placed on the board"

Joseph Botwinick said...

Hi Greg,

It would appear that I didn't update my profile and went with the default. I live in Arkansas and have never been to Afganistan. Thank you for pointing that out to me, though.

Joseph Botwinick said...

Hi James,

Are you equating what Wade is doing to the acts of civil disobedience of Tyndale and others who decided to place the Word of God in the hands of common people? Do you think it is a civil right to break the policies of a private religious institution and remain as one of its board members? I certainly don't, but if you want to go down that road, be my guest.

Joseph Botwinick said...

"It is Wade's duty to speak his conscience on that board...not leave when they go off the rails."

Not according to board policy, it isn't. I am curious to know if there would be any circumstance that would warrant Wade leaving the board and disassociating himself from them. What if they became open and affirming of homosexuality? What if they rejected the inerrancy of Scripture? Stay as a member and fight, or shake the dust. If it were me, and I couldn't change the board policy from within, which he cannot, then I would leave and either change it from without as a voting member of the convention (the agencies are actually dependent on the convention for their very existence, not the other way around), or start an independent mission agency.

Joseph Botwinick said...

"Joseph said...
This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

17 November, 2007 21:34"

I suppose I am the only one who can see the irony of this on this blog. Unlike you, however, I will not belabor the point, make demands of you, blog for the next two weeks about the evils of censorship, and make this all about me. I will leave you now to your merry band of head nodders and go my merry way. Happy Thanksgiving to you.

James said...

[James said:] "It is Wade's duty to speak his conscience on that board...not leave when they go off the rails."

[Joesph replied:] Not according to board policy, it isn't.

That's what I meant by them going off the rails. You seem to be under the impression that the IMB is the property of the trustees to do as they please. It isn't.

And if SBC leaders had gone off and started their own convention whenever they see a leadership acting wrongly rather than seeking to correct their course would have ensured that the SBC and the IMB would be tiny cottage agency and that the missionaries they support would be isolated and vulnerable. In short, it would have destroyed the very purpose for which the IMB was formed.