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

The Problem in a Nutshell - A Censure Synopsis

I had a new reader of this blog write me and request a brief synopsis of the problem, from my perspective, at the International Mission Board. Interestingly, he told me that he was more excited about SBC missions and felt he knew more about our cooperative work because of my blog. He couldn't understand the basis of the censure after reading about it in his state Baptist paper and asked if I would write a brief synopsis to help him understand the issue from my perspective. With new readers in mind, and realizing that many, many great things are happening on the mission fields, I offer below a synopsis of the problem among IMB trustees.

The Beginning

The International Mission Board of Trustees passed two new policies on November 15, 2005 that forbids any Southern Baptist from being appointed for missions service who (a). honestly admitted when asked that he/she had a private prayer language, and/or (b). were baptized by an administrator of the ordinance, deemed qualifed by the candidate's local church, but 'unqualified' by the trustees of the IMB.

These two doctrinal policies put emphasis on two things the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message treats with silence. To exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptist missionaries on 'doctrinal' grounds NOT addressed in the BFM is a backdoor way of 'narrowing the doctrinal parameters of Southern Baptist cooperation' without changing the BFM.

For six months I sought to reverse the new policies by working within the Board of Trustees. I was surprised at what seemed to me to be attempts by trustee leadership to stifle free debate and dialogue over the proposed policies. A letter from Dr. Rankin voicing his opposition to the policies - a letter which he requested be sent to all the trustees - was intentionally withheld from trustees by trustee leadership. My requests to hear from the IMB's Candidate Consultants and Regional Leaders (staff members) regarding the need for these policies was denied twice by trustee leadership. I found it very disconcerting that our focus on missions was being sidetracked by an attempt to narrow the doctrinal standards of cooperation - with no justifiable reason for doing so.

Public Dissent Begins

In December of 2005 I began this blog in order to graciously and courteously express to the Southern Baptist Convention my dissent over these Board approved actions. In January of 2006 a recommendation for my removal was presented to trustees, by trustee leadership, behind closed doors. Originally the recommendation was for 'gossip and slander' (which was completely without merit), but within twenty four hours the basis for the recommendation was changed to 'loss of trust' and 'resistance to accountability,' which I assumed meant 'you aren't doing what we want you to do.' There can be no legitimate or believable denial that the issue was my public dissent on this blog. The powers that be felt that the policies passed and I should be quiet. I remained both courteous and gracious to all trustees, including trustee leadership, throughout the effort to remove me.

On March 22, 2006, the Board of Trustees unanimously rescinded the recommendation for my removal. Though I was asked to apologize for my public dissent - before the trustees voted to rescind the recommendation - I graciously declined, telling all the trustees that I stood by everything I had written, and that courteous dissent is both healthy and Baptist. However, later that same day the BOT passed new policies that forbid trustees from expressing public dissent of Board approved policies. Rather than allowing the Southern Baptist Convention to decide if I should remain a trustee, IMB trustee leadership determined to deal with it internally by passing new policies that threatened censure for anyone who publically dissented.

I was not particularly keen on receiving a censure and so I initially thought I would cease any public dissent over Board approved policies that exceed the BFM 2000 and violate Scripture. However, I received affirmation from the Southern Baptist Convention through the LifeWay survey that revealed over half of Southern Baptists believe a private prayer language is a legitimate gift from God, and I was emboldened when the 2007 Southern Baptist Convention adopted the Garner Motion which states the Baptist Faith and Message is a 'sufficient' doctrinal standard for Southern Baptist cooperaton. I began to use my blog, again, to seek to implement the Convention's desires.

The Censure Motion

Late last month the trustee who originally went behind closed doors in January 2006 to seek my removal sent an email to all IMB trustees requesting I be censured because it is obvious I had not repented, much less apologized. I published the email for all to read. The email was about me, and I learned two years ago that the best protection for my reputation and character is to have everything said and done be in the open so all Southern Baptists can see. I am ashamed of nothing and welcome complete transparency.

When I arrived in Springfield, Illinois for the last trustee meeting, I felt that trustee leadership was desirous of censuring me. Though no trustee had ever personally contacted me by phone or email with concerns over my blog, I had grown accustomed to things being handled behind closed doors at meetings where the body only hears from trustee leadership.

In my meeting with the Executive Committee on the Monday before the start of the Springfield, Illinois Board meeting I made known my desire not to become the issue - again - within the IMB. I informed the Executive Committe that I would shut down my blog on December 6, 2007; I would resign from the IMB before the end of the year, and I would personally apologize to any trustee who felt he had been 'disparaged' by my blog. I did request to speak to the entire Board - uninterrupted - before I resigned. I asked to speak to the trustees in the Public session, but since I knew trustee leadership would not allow that, I said I would acquiesce to speak to them behind closed doors.

The trustee chairman asked me to put my proposal in writing and dismissed me from the meeting. I was interrupted in the process of writing out my proposal by an event that is so bizarre I felt I was in the Twilight Zone (one of these days I will write about it). I had not completed the proposal by the allotted time, so a sub-committee from the Executive Committee was sent to meet with me. I gave more information to the sub-committee, including the reasons for my decision to resign. They wrote everything down to 'report' back to the Executive Committee. I reiterated to this small committee of three that I did not want Wade Burleson to be the issue at this IMB meeting during the very important Lottie Moon season, and if they would just leave well enough alone, I would be gone by the first of the year. However, if the Executive Committee proceeded with a censure, then I would not be resigning - for reasons that were very clear to that committee.

I did not meet again with the Executive Committee. I assumed through conversations I had the next morning that nothing was going to happen in terms of the censure. However, that night, trustee leadership called trustees into Executive Session, read the three page motion to censure me, did not afford me the opportunity to speak to the Board, did not reveal my offer to the Board, and allowed 'Question' to be called after only one person spoke. One of my trustee friends said after the meeting 'those railroad tracks went right across your chest.' I just smiled.

The Future

The deacons at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, met last Sunday night and voted unanimously to express to anyone who will listen their unqualified support for their pastor. They also did some other really nice things for me that I feel no pressing need to elaborate. I did not know the meeting was being called, and I was not present - having a previous commitment in Oklahoma City for our Oklahoma's Centennial. Needless to say, I have a church that knows me and understands my convictions well. They know their pastor believes courteous dissent is essential for any healthy organization, including their church. Sunday School teachers are free to teach opposite of what their pastor teaches on tertiary issues of Scripture. Deacons and members are free to publicly express their disapproval of church actions. All we ask is that everyone maintain a gracous, loving and courteous spirit. I think I just assumed all Southern Baptists were like us.

Let me assure my Southern Baptist partners in missions and ministry that I will continue to fulfill my service as a trustee of the International Mission Board. I will be paying my own way to the Board meetings. I will continue to try to keep grassroots Southern Baptists informed, and I believe with all my heart progress is being made.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

74 comments:

Stephen Pruett said...

An opportunity to provide the first comment. I just can't pass it up. This is an excellent summary of events. It caused me to think through my perspective on these events, which I learned about almost entirely through blogs. One observation that I find particularly striking is that those who favor the IMB BoT's new policies were not really able to successfully refute other interpretations of the Bible on these issues, nor were they able to establish that their interpretation was superior to others. These issues are not as clear in scripture as some imagine, and the interpretation, particularly with regard to private prayer language is highly dependent on one's presuppositions.

Thus, I wonder if the reason for the desire to shut down debate and dissent involves concern that a couple of favorite positions of IMB leaders are not necessarily the most defensible biblically. Of course there is also the observation that they passed the PPL rule knowing that the President of the IMB would not qualify if he applied to be a missionary (he has stated he has a PPL). The IMB BoT leadership were either trying to undermine Dr. Rankin's leadership or they are remarkably ignorant or unconcerned about the way organizations work and the possible adverse consequences of such a move.

In either case, as a layman who helps pay their bills, I am not satisfied with the performance of BoT leadership.

Anonymous said...

Who were the three people that met with you?

What were you going to say to the Board before you resigned?

Mike

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Why would you not be allowed in a PUBLIC meeting to address fellow trustees? Have I misunderstood that?

Veteran IMB'er

out of the closet said...

What would happen if every IMB M who is presently on the field who practices a PPL openly acknowledged such? I mean, it's NO ONE'S BUSINESS, but it does seem that there might come a time when such knowledge would be helpful and present to BoT, and the entire convention just how many people serving ON THE FRONT LINES need and desire such a PPL to help them face the enemy!

David said...

Wade:

Is the "November 15, 2007" in the first sentence under The Beginning actually 2005 instead--or 2006?

Blessings to your family at this Thanksgiving time of the year.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Are you saying that you worked privately behind the scenes after the vote in Nov. 2005 to get the policies reversed?

Blessings,
Tim

greg hicks said...

Excellent and needed summary, Wade. I could only wish that someone in the know could take your summary of the happenings at IMB and expand it to include the happenings elsewhere around the Convention (McKissic and Klouda incidents at SWBTS, election of Frank Page, etc.). It might help others connect the dots and see the larger pattern as the issues (freedom to dissent, narrowing of doctrinal parameters of cooperation) are far from limited to the IMB, as you well know.

Wade Burleson said...

Mike,

I would prefer - if at all possible - not to name the three people who met with me. It is not necessarily a secret, but anything I say in terms of identifying them has a way of being taken by some in trustee leadership as 'disparaging' them publicly.

I know my heart. It is not my desire to disparage anyone. I do, however, have questions as to why my proposal to these men, which was detailed, was not 'reported' to the entire board?. I'm not sure if these three men told the Executive Committee, or, if they did, why did the Executive Committee not tell the entire board of my proposal?

I do believe that these three men had the ability to say to the EC -

"Look, let's wait. Let's not censure Wade. You may not agree with him. You may not like that he publicly opposes the new policies, but let's not make him the issue. He'll be gone by the first of the year."

Why that did not happen I'll never know - except for the Providence of God.

Wade Burleson said...

Veteran IMB'er,

I do not think trustee leadership desired me to speak in a public setting because of fear of the content of what I would say. They know by now they never have to wory about my decorum. My microphone has been shut off once (when I asked for factual support of something that had been stated as fact), and I have not been recognized at a microphone once. Both times, I graciously submitted to trustee leadership and simply sat down without making a scene. I rarely speak in trustee meetigs - public or private, but usually in response to questions asked.

The only time I spoke in a public IMB meeting in the last year and a half was to ask for a reconsideration of the retirement stipend for retiring missionaries as they move back to the states. I said I felt it was low and needed increased since it hadn't been changed in years.

I'm not sure trusts someone who is prepared, pleasant, persistent, and possibly persuasive regarding his principled position, (pardon the alliteration), but whose principled position is opposite of theirs but represents a number of Southern Baptists.

However, the essence of cooperation is that both sides be gracious and kind to each ohter and REFUSE TO EXCLUDE THE OTHER SIDE.

Wade Burleson said...

Tim Rogers,

I worked privately and behind the scenes SIX MONTHS prior to November 15, 2005. The policies were enacted when I came on the Board by the Personnel Commitee.

They placed me on the Personnel Committee and I told them that this committee had neither the bylaw authority, the sanction of the Southern Baptist Convention, nor the moral authority to exclude Southern Baptists based upon these two new 'doctrinal' policies - adopted by the Personnel Committee - that exceeded the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message and left out many thousands of Southern Baptist from missionary cooperation.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Thanks for the typo correction. Fixed it!!

Happy Thankgiving to you and your family as well!

Belief Matters said...

Wade, please don't take this wrong.

Why not resign now? Your intent was to resign anyway.

Please don't take this wrong:

Why were you going to abandon your principles? Why would you abandon the missionaries who were encouraged by you?

I am not trying to stir the pot. I just don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Wade - This post makes me want to join Emmanuel Baptist Church. But alas, I'm a missionary on the other side of the world.

BM doesn't want to "stir the pot", but he sure is waving a big spoon around.

I say thanks to the Lord for His guidance in those circumstances and not allowing your resignation to come to fruition. And thanks to you for not allowing it to come to fruition now.

Someone above said the BoT would be surprised how many missionaries have a PPL. I don't know about that. But I do know that many of them would be horrified to know how many of us are quite reformed in our theology.

Just setting the stage for the next potential battle. :)

SL1M

Wade Burleson said...

Belief Matters,

Feel free to call me at my church this morning and I will be happy to visit with you by phone. 580-237-0602

Wade Burleson said...

Sl1M,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours as you serve on the fields white unto harvest.

wade

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

Oh my....

jrm

G. Alford said...

Wade,

Please ignore all those voices asking you to resign... Now is not the time to withdraw from the field of battle. If those currently in leadership throughout the SBC succeed in silencing all dissent then the future of the SBC will be dark indeed.

Concerning the attempt by the Georgia Baptist Convention to silence the dissent of Bloggers by passing a resolution against Blogging; I posted the following comment over on my Blog, but I feel it very much applies to this discussion also...

-------
This is not funny… this is an outrage to Baptist principles!

Hey Guys… whoever you are that actually drew up this resolution… I have a quote for you; see if you can figure out where it comes from.

"A free church in a free state is the Christian ideal, and this implies the right of free and unhindered access to God on the part of all men, and the right to form and propagate opinions in the sphere of religion without interference by the civil power."
------

Grace Always,

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Wade,
Do the interviewers of missions candidates ask any of them if they are gluttons?

Seriously, gluttony is a sin as explicitly stated in the New Testament repeatedly. I am curious why a ppl, which is debatable as to whether it is real or not, is used as exclusionary but some other actual sins, such as gluttony, may not be used as exclusionary.

I dont know these potential missionaries or the trustees and whether they are gluttons, liars, greedy, or other, but I am sick of church hierarchies picking certain ambiguous "sins" above other actual sins as reasons to exclude people.

By the way, I am a glutton who has joined a support group for said sin. So though I do not speak in a ppl, I assume I would be unqualified for foreign missions.

Wade Burleson said...

G Alford,

Good one. The Baptist Faith and Message 1925 style.

:)

My how times have changed.

Wade Burleson said...

David,

Nope.

You are being too logical.

:)

Dave Miller said...

David McLaughlin's question about gluttony brings up an interesting conundrum for all of us (99% at least) who are SBC pastors.

There are many things that are clearly marked as sins in the Bible that I can freely and publicly confess to committing on a regular basis, and not be afraid of losing my job (gossip, slander, worry, pride, self-centeredness, greed - the list goes on).

On the other hand, there are many things I would be immediately fired for doing that are not clearly delineated as sins in the Bible. I don't do these things, but I think it is funny that we emphasize them MORE than things that are clearly sin.

Among those are drinking a glass of wine, smoking a cigar or pipe, buying a lottery ticket, speaking in tongues. The list could go on.

Again, I do not drink, smoke, cuss or chew (and I don't go with girls who do). I want to do none of these.

But it speaks to our priorities as a convention that we will permit slander, back-biting and gossip, but we are obsessive compulsive about moderate alcohol, private prayer language, and other such issues.

greg.w.h said...

Dave Miller and David:

Thanks for addressing this. I would also add that when you read Jesus's comments on the "sheep" and the "goats", he emphasized--as Keith Green puts it--what each did and did not do. Not what they believed.

I think it's the important discussion that the SBC churches need to have. Evangelism is important, but discipleship is MORE important. Solid, Bible-based discipleship will not end up with the prioritization you point to, Dave. It will take into account the "safe" sins, will downplay the "unsafe" ones, and it will include a focus on visible fruit being necessary as a proof of real faith.

If we were to focus on visible fruit, the discussions of PPL, baptism, and the number of angels dancing on the head of a pin would all fade. The room for unity with other groups would increase. And some groups that we currently disparage (thinking Catholics since they're always favorite bogeymen for Baptists) could be re-evaluated in terms of consistence of action being a sign of faith...and then THAT faith (not the sacramentalism or "works") being the basis for salvation.

We need a breath of fresh air. I believe emphasizing Dave Miller's questions gets us part way there. Asking the simple question "does our visible fruit properly correlate with Jesus's comments regarding the sheep and goats from Matthew 25" gets us the rest of the way. Everything else is--in my opinion--wood, hay, and stubble.

I know some folks are going to attack what I say and suggest that I believe in salvation by works. You're incorrect to make that statement. But faith without works is dead. And THAT is in the Bible.

Greg Harvey

Belief Matters said...

Wade, Thanks for the offer, I can't right now. Going to the hospital, our church maintance director is having a pacemaker put in, and got to pick up kids from school too!

Plus its not that big of a deal! Please don't take my questions as being against you, I just like to ask questions.

Blessings and Thanksgivings to you.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Help me get this straight. You came on the BoT in July, 2005 and the BoT voted in Nov., 2005. My math is not that good, but isn't that 5 months?

Also, are you saying one Personnel Committee meeting constitutes 6 months of "behind the scenes" work?

Blessings,
Tim

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Greg,
Seems like I remember a gut saying "The root of faith produces the fruit of faith."

I say a big amen-and I'm not even a Calvinist!

I would say we also have to be careful though when evaluating fruit.

There was a guy in a church I used to attend who was a total jerk to everybody. I half jokingly mentioned to my pastor that i wondered if he was even saved. He said, "You should have seen him before he was!"

I never forgot that. We judge people based on a snapshot of our interaction with them.

That said, yeah, a missions candidate or elder definitely should have visible fruit.

Shibboleth, and Happy Thanksgiving
David Mc

Now worried about gluttony tomorrow!

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

uh..that should have been "guy" not "gut."

i dont know if calvin had a gut or not. For more info on the gut, google "omentum".

Gary said...

Wade,

I'm thankful today that someone who has earned the trust of his people, has earned the trust of his peers (some of them anyway), and the trust of enough folk to get elected to the IMB has chosen to take a stand for something positive. I see so many who grumble and gripe and go-along.

Thanks for being the voice. Thanks for being the whipping boy. Thanks for keeping the faith.

I would expect that there are times when you talk with God that the discussions include tears. None of us would feel less of you, since even Jesus cried from time to time.

Thanks.

To quote a favorite praise:

Give thanks with a grateful heart,
Give thanks to the Holy One,
Give thanks because He's given
Jesus Christ His Son.

And now let the weak say "I am strong."
Let the poor say "I am rich."
Because of what the Lord has done
for us
Give thanks.

Thanks to you, your family, your church.

Gary Skaggs
Norman, Oklahoma

Ruddy said...

Keep up the good fight Wade. I'm one of those who has almost lost all faith in the SBC leadership and left for the ABC. I grew up in a DC Baptist church and the church has since abandoned official ties with the SBC.

It feels good to know there is still some clear thinking in southern baptist thought.

greg.w.h said...

David:

I hear you. But if we're going to judge based on completely irrelevant items like drinking alcohol, the whole system is a game anyway.

I admire the Texas Baptist Men of the BGCT. That is a huge ministry that really makes a huge difference. On their disaster relief page, they directly quote Matt 25 and treat it as a charge for action.

As long as we allow the arguments to occur over the esoterica, we are not busy with kingdom work. Wade's efforts demonstrate how unwilling the current leadership is to acknowledge this point. So we have an obligation to re-center the discussion on EXACTLY what is important. Neither private prayer language nor baptismal succession is likely to be on the Holy Spirit's top ten in my opinion.

Greg Harvey

tim sieberhagen said...

Over the past two years my wife and I have gone through the entire IMB appointment process. Due to unforseen family circumstances we had to withdraw at the final hour.

We were asked the following questions in the interview stage: Do you have a private prayer language? Have you ever sought the gift of tongues? Have you ever attempted to speak in tongues? To the first our answer was no and to the next two our answer was yes. After an explanation we were then allowed to continue on in the process.

As far as obesity goes, I can tell you that BMI (Body Mass Index)does play an important part in the process. My brother is an SC with the IMB and he informed me that one of the missionaries returning from the field was told that he had to lose weight before he would be allowed to return. From my perspective, the physicals are one of the most gruelling parts of the process. Out of the many missionaries I saw at the ILC I can honestly say that not one of them were what I would consider obese.

Just some first hand information that may be useful in the discussion.

Anonymous said...

This is interesting, and after reading this, I don't think I disagree with you on any on your points. But, at what point does your dissention become rebellion? Whether in a church or at the IMB, we are commanded to submit to the authority(s) that God has placed over us. Your opposition has been voiced and the leaders chose a different path. Is God not big enough to handle this violation on His own?

God Bless
Terry

Lin said...

"But, at what point does your dissention become rebellion? "

Or we could ask, at what point was it decided we need closed door sessions with the BoT of IMB?

Since when did wanting openess and transparency within the priesthood become rebellion?


"Whether in a church or at the IMB, we are commanded to submit to the authority(s) that God has placed over us. Your opposition has been voiced and the leaders chose a different path. Is God not big enough to handle this violation on His own?"

I often wonder when I read comments like this why the Epistles were written if God is supposed to handle everything. Why did Paul bother to write all of that? Why did John write about Diotrephes? Publically for us to read about for 2000 years.

As to the 'authority' question...I would respectfully request you read and study this in detail. If we are totally under the authority of someone because they are in a leadership position and have a title conferred upon them within Christendom...then,according to you, I could never leave a cult.

How can scripture contradict itself? How can the veil be torn in two and we still have earhtly priests we must go through? How can we ignore how often Jesus taught us that we must not lord it over others, we are servants, and the first shall be last, etc.

Jesus is OUR authority. Period.

You are mistaking spiritual maturity, which we joyfully submit to, with an earthly rulership by position.

There are NO little Christs put over us. Your thinking is what brought us the Catholic church and the divine authority of kings. This thinking brought us the state church and its magistrates.

This thinking makes Martin Luther a sinner for dissenting.

Please think about it and study those verses you are referring to in depth.

Bob Cleveland said...

God was big enough to handle the rebellion of Sodom and Gomorrah without the intervention of Abraham.

He did, too.

Anonymous said...

I guess I struck a cord with lin. You are pretty good at spinning things, so I will not try to debate in this forum. I would like to hear you answer my first question, at what point does dissention become rebellion? I am not trying to nail anyone, but it seems like a valid question.

Thanks

Terry

RKSOKC66 said...

Terry:

Just because someone disagrees with you on some “secondary” or “tertiary” point does not mean they have “authority” over you.

Rather than argue about who has the most “authority” over each other, it would be better if both would cooperate even though they disagree on a few points.

If someone held a different position than me regarding, for example, PPL I’d attempt to cooperate with them anyway. However, I might find it impossible to cooperate with them if they kicked me out or excluded me.

The problem Wade is addressing is that some people in the SBC demand that you conform to their views in lockstep even on “secondary” points which are not enumerated in the BF&M.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City

Jack said...

-Wonder what would happen if we applied the BMI standards the IMB imposes on its missionary candidates to those who wish to serve in SBC leadership? :)

Blessings to all during this season of Thanksgiving,

-jack-

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Jack,
Dangit! You stole my response!

(was that cussing?)

Wade Burleson said...

Terry,

Dissension becomes rebellion the moment those in authority do not permit dissension.

Then, the person dissenting must ask to whose authority will he submit - the authority of his own conscience and of God's Word, or to man's authority.

I have chosen the former and if I am considered a rebel because of it - so be it. I am hopeful that everyone will see the nature of this rebel is one of grace and civility in the midst of his dissent. Let's get everything out in the open - away from closed doors, and I believe the Southern Baptist Convention will hear clearly the issues and will respond appropriately.

In His Grace,

Wade

Gary said...

All,

Regarding 'submit to authority', and the line between dissension and rebellion, don't you think that much the same could be said of Martin Luther? He didn't start out to lead a rebellion, but when 'The Church' ignored logical hermeneutics, it turned out that way.

I don't mean to put Wade up on a pedestal. We're not yet talking about rebellion. We are talking dissension, plain and simple.

Now, if the closed door operations of the IMB continue, there will be open rebellion. That rebellion would be evidenced by figuratively storming the walls, churches leaving the SBC, ignoring non-local church polity, or selectively targeted missions giving, among other potential actions.

I would be hard-pressed to choose which would be worse.

Missions are really what hold our folks in the pew together as a denomination. We can say all we want about our doctrine, but 90%+ of the folks on our rolls couldn't care less, or even know what you're talking about, when you start arguing about Open, Open-closed, closed-closed, alien immersion, PPL, or whether or not you were facing the right direction when you prayed the sinner's prayer, or even if you said 'the right one'. They just know that part of what they give the 'church' goes to Foreign Missions. Most of them will shrug their shoulders when you talk about missions two states away, or down the street, but by golly, they want part of their offering to go to Foreign Missions and don't mess with "those missionaries".

If we do succeed in messing that up, most of them won't much care one way or the other about the SBC or if their church belongs to what denomination, if any. Lots and lots of happy Independent Baptists out there.

Pessimist? Perhaps.

But, IMO, fooling with the IMB is a sure way to get the folks riled up.

All this "dissension" would pretty much go away if the non-security, non-personnel stuff were done in the open. The BoT would also be a lot better behaved.

From the perspective of a born and bred Okie, some of these pastors and denominational workers need to be replaced by folks wearing overalls.

Then, we might have A.Little.Common.Sense.

Gary Skaggs

pastorleap said...

Wade,

Before I start…I am NOT the same “Terry” who is posting above about “rebellion.” Just wanted that to be clear!

I have been a LONG-TIME reader of your blog (and about 20 others) but until earlier this week (when I posted on Boyd Luter's) I have never commented on anything. I guess I have been "afraid" of what some might think if they read my opinions on "that" site. However, this week I felt that it was time to put my voice into the conversations. No anonymity. No fear. I feel that it must be a part of who we are as cooperative Baptists that we should be able to have a voice among one another. We don't have to always agree on everything, especially concerning secondary and tertiary issues, but we should at least have the confidence in one another and in the Holy Spirit to feel comfortable speaking, disagreeing (in civil tones), and yes, even dissenting from one another's opinions. Why we cannot do this in the present environment is beyond me but in many circles of SB life I feel the same pressure to "conform" or be pushed out. Guess I'll take my chances being pushed out.

I don't always agree with the conclusions of some of my brethren. In fact, I am sure you and I probably disagree over some issues. I’m a 2000 BFM guy who is Calvinistic and in the 9-marks/ Founders mold. I don't personally use or believe in PPLs, but I believe there is room for debate and even dissent on the matter without parting fellowship in the support of missionaries. My fear is that the narrowing will continue and will go by many unnoticed until the "narrowers" come after them. By then, the procedure will be old-hat. I am an evangelical calvinist. I believe and preach those doctrines. My church knew it when they called me and I am open about it. Why should I hide it unless I fear the opinions of men over the conviction of the Spirit. I never make it a big issue among brethren, and I have men preach for me who differ with me on the issue. I even hired an associate pastor who disagreed with me completely over the doctrines of grace but was content to not make it a divisive issue and submit to my leadership as a pastor so long as I didn’t go off the deep-end. He and I would do a new members class together where we presented both sides of the argument and shared that this has historically been an area of disagreement for Baptists. (Most believed me by the way!) My fear is that when the "narrowers" begin to make calvinism (or other secondary issues) an issue, there will no longer be any room for dissent or debate...they will just pass some policy somewhere stating "no calvinistic missionaries all." Where will it end? Will eschatology eventually become a “primary” issue rather than a secondary one? Will we all have to be dispensationalists? What about female deacons (notice I said DEACONS…not Elders which are forbidden by scripture…but deacons…I do NOT ordain female deacons, but in light of the unsettled biblical data, is this a primary issue worth dividing over), will that be next? What about invitations in a church service, or Bible versions? Where will this end? I honestly don't know.

This is why I will support you in your struggle. I firmly believe that the place for "narrowing" is in the autonomous local church, where individuals are free to preach their different interpretations on secondary and tertiary issues according to their convictions and the accepted doctrinal parameters of that church. But at the level of SBC cooperation, it will never be possible to make 42,000 churches walk in lock-step on every issue. Isn’t the BFM 2000 enough? Why do we feel so threatened? I was in San Antonio, I heard the arguments, and I still support the Garner motion. I just accept that and believe that we really can cooperate and work together while not agreeing on everything. Continue to stand for your conviction on dissension and I will pray that you will continue to do it with dignity and integrity. The eyes of many are watching, and I believe that this situation is forcing a younger generation of SB pastors to sit-up and take notice of what is going on in the SBC. If it takes something like this to get younger SB pastors passionate about getting involved, then I don't care what side of the issue they come out on, I will just praise God that a new generation of leaders are being made to care about their convention...because that's truly who it belongs to, the pastors, missionaries and churches that have brought it into existence. Not some board in some office somewhere communicating secretly in 153-page documents.

On another note, I felt that the best part of your summary was the final few paragraphs. As a pastor myself, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that your own people are behind you and supporting you. Next to the approval of the Lord Himself and your wife/ family, professionally speaking, the support of your local church should mean more to you than the approval of any board, or even the convention itself. I am sure from what I know of you that it does.

I pray that you and your family have a lovely Thanksgiving, for you have much to be thankful for in the grand scheme of things.

Very few people know me, and even fewer care about my opinion, so I am truly not afraid to use my name anymore. If any brethren wish to chastise me or “set me straight,” strangely, it will be the first time they’ve taken any notice of me at all, so have at it, I'll just be glad to hear from you!

Pastor Terry Leap
Grayson, KY
pastorleap.wordpress.com

m l spencer said...

Brother Tim Rogers,
You seem to love asking questions. How about a few for you.
1. Do you pray before you begin your comment?
2. Do you pray when you review your comment?
3. Do you pray before sending your comment?
4. Do you think you are gracious and sincere when writing to your brother in Christ?
Finally, do you listen to your Heavenly Father after praying?
mel spencer

Jack Maddox said...

ml spencer

I have a few questions for you sir.

Mac or PC?
Boxers or Briefs?
Mustard or Mayo?
Chevy or Ford?

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

To all

There is no doubt that many of us differ on many issues. There is no doubt that many of us have very different visions for the SBC. There is no doubt that many of us have been greatly disappointed with the comments and actions of one another from time to time.

There is also no doubt that we are Brothers and Sisters in Christ who in the end will all bow to the supreme wisdom and will of our Master.

sooooooooo

from one pilgrim to many others

May you all have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving. May you enjoy your families, friends and fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. May God grant you all the blessing of His presence in your homes and your ministries and may we all reflect the love of our Great God one with another. I love you all and wish only Gods best!

Now...back to our bickering!

Jack Maddox and his whole big family!

Anonymous said...

We have chosen to answer for Tim Rogers. It is our opinion the answer is yes.

Signed the BoT for the IMB

Take as a joke....

Lin said...

" at what point does dissention become rebellion?"

There are many more qualified throughout history to answer that than me: Ana Baptists, Our Founding Fathers, Martin Luther, William Tyndale, Sir Thomas More....

To mention a few dissenters who were considered to be in rebellion...

Why would standing up for openess and transparency be considered rebellion?

I keep asking myself why an SBC entity like the IMB BoT wants to conduct business behind closed doors? Why did they feel the need to pass a gag order? Why conduct the censure behind closed doors when Wade wanted it public? So far, no one has answered that question.

Scott Shaffer said...

"At what point does dissension become rebellion?"

That's not very difficult to determine because they aren't the same thing. Dissension is simply voicing a different opinion. Rebellion is open opposition to authority. At least these are standard dictionary definitions.

Applying these definitions to Wade's situation, there was no rebellion until he voiced his disagreement after they enacted the infamous no dissent policy.

By the way, rebellion isn't necessarily a bad thing!

Steve said...

Only the most intolerant, power-hungry, WORLDLY authority structure would dare equate dissention and questioning with rebellion. The leadership of the IMB basically acts & refuses to honestly explain their fiats. This is what people in Communist countries had to put up with until the Soviet collapse.

To think that this intolerant attitude is being carried out by Christians! Much less, the leadership of one of Southern Baptists' most central evangelism agencies! For shame, Dr. Floyd. Is this how you will be remembered for generations? I hope you're proud of yourself.

Bennett Willis said...

A technical question. Our church has from time to time allowed fathers to baptize their childred. Would these be regarded as adequately authorized baptisms under the present IMB policies?

Bennett Willis

Anonymous said...

But wait a second, like the IMB closed sessions, we would love to know the details of the "closed door" deacons' meeting. As Baptists we need to be informed right?

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

But wait a second, like the IMB closed sessions, we would love to know the details of the "closed door" deacons' meeting. As Baptists we need to be informed right?

Yes.

At the church I attend the leadership and staff meetings are all open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother M L Spencer,

Allow me to answer you questions as best as I know how. You seem to have taken upon yourself the role of the Holy Spirit and to settle your desire for these answers here they are.

You asked:
Do you pray before you begin your comment?
2. Do you pray when you review your comment?
3. Do you pray before sending your comment?
4. Do you think you are gracious and sincere when writing to your brother in Christ?

I pray in the morning during my quiet time and then I pray continuously during the day as I desire to seek God's face.

Brother Wade,

Sorry that I fell out of the conversation as I had family things to do. I have tried to review my last question and you probably missed it so allow me to ask it again, but in a different way.

You said: "I worked privately and behind the scenes SIX MONTHS prior to November 15, 2005." You have acknowledged that the policies were in place when you were appointed to the Personnel Committee. You were appointed in July 2005 and the committee seemingly first met with you September, 2005. It was in November, 2005 that this came before the full board. Are you saying that you one meeting with the Personnel Committee constitutes 6 months of private and behind the scenes work?

Blessings,
Tim

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I did not miss your question. I thought I would simply not answer so as to not publicly embarrass you. However, since you have asked a second time, please pay careful attention to what I write, and I would caution you to be very careful in your response.

Orientation for new trustees of the IMB occured the summer of 2005 less than a month after I was appointed an IMB trustee by the Southern Baptist Convention.

The Personnel Committee approved the new policies excluding Southern Baptists for a private prayer language and an improper administrator of baptism in May of 2005. Before I even attended orientation, I read the IMB bylaws thoroughly and at my first board meeting in July of 2005, where I was assigned to the Personnel Committee and first heard of the new policies, I knew that the Personnel Committee did not have the authority to pass 'policy' without full board approval.

It was through my efforts that the attorney issued an opinion that the Board must vote on the 'policies.' Eventually the policies were brought before the entire board in November of 2005. I worked hard to get these policies reversed for the months of July, August, September, October, November, and into December - one month after their adoption by the full board. When I saw that the 'policies' were not going to be reversed by the full board, but in actuality adopted, I began my blog to inform the Southern Baptist Convention of the dangers of any agency establishing narrow 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the BFM 2000. My blog began exactly six months from the time I began working to overturn the policies within the established system of the IMB.

I remind you, Tim, of three things:

(1). I am appointed by the SBC - not my fellow trustees. The policies exceed the BFM 2000 and to EXCLUDE Southern Baptists on the basis of 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the sufficient standard of cooperative ministry (the BFM 2000) is an absolute violation of the trust of the Southern Baptist Convention that appointed me. I felt like the SBC must be informed and my courteous dissent heard.

(2). I did not attend just one Personnel Committee meeting as you state in your comment. I attended four Personnel Committee meetings in the July 2005 IMB Board meeting in Richmond, VA, four Personnel Committee meetings in the September 2005 IMB Board Meeting in Pensacola Beach, FL, and four Personnel Committee meetings in the November 2005 IMB Board meeting in Huntsville, Alabama for a total of TWELVE IMB meetings before the vote on the policies in November of 2005.

(3). You have a history of giving false information in this blog comment section. I have forgiven you once for blatant false information you presented as fact. You apologized and blamed your source. In addition, you falsely stated to me, in writing, you would name your source, but have chosen not to fulfill your promise to me, knowing that I was going to confront your 'source' as I did you, for your falsehoods.

Tim, I fully intend to obey my Lord's command to forgive a brother seventy times seven for the same sin, but I remind you that you are now seventy times seven less at least two. :)

Tim, for some odd reason, you act as if you know what you are talking about as it relates to IMB matters. I can assure you, without qualification or equivocation, that what I write on this blog is true.

Challenge my posts as you often do at your own risk. There is an old Chinese Proverb that goes like this:

He who apologizes often for the same offense is riding the swift current of trust in a hollowed-out canoe of words built with the short logs of memory.

Happy Thanksgiving,

Wade

Charmona said...

Wade,

Thanks for sticking up for our Baptist freedom. I rarely post here b/c I am quite busy now. Many of us out here in our "little worlds" benefit greatly that you take the blows from which we all benefit. Honestly, if you don't stay at this, our group (SBC) can act too cultish -- hush, hush and don't question or disagree with "the authorities." Sad.

Thanks for the steadfast pursuit of classic Baptist liberty.

Charmona

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

I am simply trying to understand. I do not believe that I have placed any false information before anyone in this comment stream. If you are referring to the "one meeting" statement, that is all anyone knows. I do not believe anyone knows that you have 4 Personnel Committee meetings at each IMB BoT meeting.

So, you met 4 times in July, September, and November. Each meeting, I assume dealt with other personnel issues, but you are saying that at each meeting this matter was discussed in order to try and reach a consensus.(?) Would you say that the attorney worked behind the scenes between the scheduled BoT meetings in order to give his legal decision? Or was that something given in the first series of meetings in July? Also, was this issue presented to the Executive Committee to be approved by them before it was able to make it before the full board? If that is the case, would you say that the hold up really had to do with getting it passed the Executive Committee?

As I said, before you forgive me again for something I have not done, I am not stating these questions as fact, I am seeking information. You say that you want everything open to everyone, so I am just asking questions. Besides, I may need you to save that forgiveness for some other time in the future, so I need it to stay at 48. :>)

Blessings,
Tim

Rex Ray said...

The first comment (Stephen Pruett) said:
“Of course there is also the observation that they passed the PPL rule knowing that the President of the IMB would not qualify if he applied to be a missionary (he has stated he has a PPL). The IMB BoT leadership was either trying to undermine Dr. Rankin’s leadership or…”

Bingo!

In 2002, Rankin wrote: “Our board drafted a policy that current missionaries, who had already been processed for appointment in the past, would not be required to sign the revised BFM. To dispel growing suspicions and mistrust which were threatening to undercut the credibility and support of the IMB, I did personally ask our missionaries to affirm once again to Southern Baptists that they would work in accord with the BFM an not contrary to it.”

On 8-12-2002, an email from the editor of the best (my opinion) religious newspaper, wrote: “Jerry Rankin wants missionaries to affirm the BFM to appease the fundamentalists who want doctrinal uniformity, and to avoid any criticism from others who also are concerned about creedalism and coercion. Also, in this week’s paper you will see a story about the latest letter Rankin has sent to the missionaries. If you follow his justification to its logical conclusion, he compares his own board to terrorists.”

I sent the editor the email Rankin sent me that did not deny the President of the SBC Executive Committee contacted him to get his missionaries in line since the President had read an email of DISSENT by a missionary.

The next day the same editor wrote, “Thanks Rex, I think we see eye-to-eye on this. You’re probably right that Rankin fears the Executive Committee, which is home to many of the most zealous trustees.”

Fundamentalists are zealous for doctrinal legalism just as Paul was told: “You see, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law.” (Acts 21:20)

In Rankin’s article of “Reflections on Response to Missionaries Affirming the BFM”, he writes: “The issue is not about individuals being terminated, but it is about the credibility of the IMB being doctrinally accountable to our denomination.”

“Denomination”? The denomination has never jumped on the IMB. It’s been ‘zealous trustees’ like Patterson and Keith Eitel griping about the IMB having women over men etc.

It’s been men like those who are trying to keep Wade in ‘his place.’

If ego had weight, it would be those needing wheel-barrows.

Belief Matters said...

I consider myself a fundie, but I consider legalism wrong. I am not striving for legalism. In fact, I think it is safe to say that legalism is not a problem for just fundies. I have experienced liberals/moderates (since we using these labels) who are just as legalistic in their thinking.
AKA: Their version of tolerance is the only right version.

O BTW, Happy Thanksgiving.......

Therefore, Rex the problem legalism runs north and south on the freeway of theology.

Jeff

Wade Burleson said...

Tim,

I understand a desire for information and will do what I can to provide it.

The attorney for the IMB, who is no longer with them, did a fantastic job working behind the scenes and publicly, to get the Board to realize what could or could not be done according to our bylaws. I have no idea what you are asking regarding the Executive Committee. All I know is I attempted to work six months within the trustee system to overturn policies that exceed the 2000 BFM, are weak biblically, and end up excluding otherwise God-called missionary candidates.

Only after those six months - when there was a stifling of legimitate debate within the trustee system - and the policies were eventually passed by the full Board did I go public with my courteous dissent.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

Have a happy Thanksgiving. I will wait until after the holiday to respond further. Let's all spend time with our families. If I were in Enid I would offer you to come by and enjoy a meal with our family. Of course you would have to hear about how thankful we were for the day that we chose to allow Jesus to come into our hearts. :>)

Blessings,
Tim

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

Happy Thanksgiving to you and to the Lord! It is my favorite of all the holidays; there is no Santa Claus or Peter Cotton tail stealing focus off the things of God. We are so blessed with freedom to be able to congregate, publicize and have a Bible without threat of government intervention.

Thank you for allowing me to express gratefulness to you for your courtesy and openness in these matters that involve me and my church through our tithes and our reputations as Southern Baptist.

I noticed when I opened your blog for reading this morning there were fifty-four (58) comments. I wanted to write this comment before I was distracted pro or con by other people's comments. I have read your blog for quite a while, and I thought I understood your understanding of what transpired and is transpiring at IMB. I am glad you gave a thorough review of everything up to this Thanksgiving Day.

Wade, I am sure if you and I were to sit down there would be much that we would agree on and much that we would disagree about. It could be about the Zero University football team, about GWB and the Iraq war, the millennial questions, how broad a tent should we have as a Convention and maybe private prayer language; however, there are primary doctrines of the Holy Scriptures we agree on and either one of us would be willing die for those beliefs. One these things I completely walk hand in hand with you is about openness and transparency in all Baptist life. I think executive sessions or closed meetings should be far and in between and only when someone's reputation must be discussed, and that person should always have the privilege of being present at some point. Both Alameda Baptist Church and my staff are praying for you to have victory in this struggle for openness.

We remember John 3:16 (AV) so very well; however, we tend to forget the last verses the Lord spoke to this wonder Pharisee named Nicodemus. I am not saying those who are for the closed sessions are evil, but closed sessions can turn evil if we are not watchful. I like plenty of light when I go into a room and I know my people here in Norman at Alameda Baptist Church feel the same way.

Again, here is John 3:21, "But he that does truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God."

Only By His Grace,

Phil Ratliff, Norman

Jack Maddox said...

I have a suggestion

Let's chill on the debate today, turn off our computers and spend time with our loved ones...

Eat some turkey, take a nap, watch some football, go outside and play some football...

but before we sign off lets share 2things we are thankful for concerning a fellow(or sister) blogger

1) I am thankful for Wade's hair. It is an source of hope for millions!

2) I am thankful for Rex Rays name...it is nice and illiterated and we preachers love that kind of stuff!

blessings to you and sympathy for your turkey!

jrm

RKSOKC66 said...

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

Here in OKC we are going to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner. Since neither my wife Donna nor I are endowed with heavy-duty culinary expertise we are going to Mackie's where they have a big buffet with turkey, cranberries, and all the trimmings.

Tim, I have one question. Where are you in that picture? It looks like sand on the beach. Who is the girl in the picture?

I'm going to take JRM's advice and chill-out today (by having my favorite 10-2-4 drink).

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Belief Matters said...

Jack, My sources tell me that if Wade had simply shaved his head there would have been no censure from the BoT. :)

Jeff T

Anonymous said...

Wade, et. al.,

Wishing all who read Wade's blog the most joyful of Thanksgivings. We hope that all of you might find a way to be a blessing to others...(one way to bless us would be to stop the empty and caustic rhetoric.)

A 10-40 Window Missionary

Only By His Grace said...

Caustic-- "sarcastic: very sarcastic, in a way that is particularly bitter or cutting or causes intensely bad emotions
Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2004. © 1993-2003 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved."

Is it really that bad?
Phil Ratliff

Bob Cleveland said...

Jack Maddox: I think that would be Alliterated, not Illiterated. At least, I think since Rex writes stuff, that's the case.

I'm among the most blessed. Peg learned to cook at the side of her mom, who was a cook in a school cafeteria. We always have plenty of food and there are at last count 18 to be here today.

I'm also thankful for the Burlesons all, this blog, and those who comment.

Jack Maddox said...

Bob

Ths is me blushing....

maybe in my case it would be 'illiterate'

hehehe

jrm

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Rogers,

I am on Myrtle Beach on vacation with my family in that picture. The girl is my daughter. We have a tradition in my family that after christmas we go to the beach for some family time. Myrtle in SC is the best we have found thus far. However, it seems that everyone else has found out secret because now it is as crowded after Christmas as it is July 4.

Bill Clinton has a gathering at Hilton Head, lets get the bloggers to gather someplace. :>)


Blessings,
Tim

Anonymous said...

Phil Ratliff,

Yes, some of it is, and some which is may be found on so-called Christian blogs or forums. I have never had the courage (or maybe the stupidity) to introduce those we are discipling on the field to Christian Blogs, and we hope they never find them.

Now, saying all of that, there are some very GOOD examples of Christ-like behavior on some blogs...just not enough.

Anonymous said...

Sorry,

I forgot to sign my last post...A 10-40 Window Missionary

Only By His Grace said...

Anonymous,

Thank you for your reply. You ministry and your calling is much different than mine, and I am sure your upbringing was, too. Growing up I used arguing as a tool: first for self defense and second as a tool to learn. I do not expect others to suffer me lightly when I am wrong and I do not suffer them. I always want to be kind and truthful, but I will not let truth be the victim of gentleness.

When I see unfairness or bullying, I will say something and if necessary do something; especially if that bully or that unfair person is a Christian. I especially abhor social unfairness and legal bullying. One cannot be reared on the streets in a city like Baltimore without developing hate for injustice. I think if argument is kept to the argument while not resorting to some sort of innuendo or ad hominem, argument can be very beneficial.

May the Lord Bless You in His Calling,
Only by His Grace,

Phil Ratliff

RKSOKC66 said...

Tim:

Myrtle Beach looks OK to me.

If my wife and I ever go there we will show up when Clinton is not there.

Roger

Rex Ray said...

If we are just shooting the breeze, I’ll tell a tall tale.

“The last words said from a tree stand were screams from my six week old bride, Belle: “You’re going to step on him!” as my twin brother, Hez, and I were searching for a wounded 350 pound grizzle bear.

At one time Belle had the only gun that would operate as we looked eye-ball to eye-ball with a very angry bear. Even though she had killed a bird at 100 yards with a pistol, we knew she wouldn’t shoot since we were next to the bear.

This story starts with Belle and me going to teach school with my parents in King Cove, Alaska. She had never met them, and was concerned about stories on my dad. We drove to their house in Fairbanks, and the first night there, a chain-saw, from outside, ripped through our bedroom wall at four in the morning. (My dad had decided we needed a window.) I thought she might catch the next plane back to Texas.

We got there in time for my dad, Hez, and me to go on a moose hunt about 50 miles away. Hez taught school at Fairbanks. At a lake, we found a boat and cabin. A friendly note said: “Help yourself, but replenish the firewood.” I went back for my mother and Belle in a two year old 1955 Chevrolet on a jeep only road. (If you ever stopped, you were stuck in mud.) Driving back, I couldn’t see in the dark and drove into the lake yelling, “Where’s the road?” Fortunately, it was only eight inches deep at that location. (My dad got a jeep to pull it out.) We took our shoes off and waded to shore and rowed the boat to the cabin.

In order to see, we had made a tree-stand by tying four twenty foot pines together and making a platform between them. The only moose we saw was a cow that stopped under our stand and kept twisting her ears back and forth as she listened to my dad snore. He was one of the best as years later our young daughter yelled, “There’s a lion in the house.”

The next morning, Hez and I took Belle to see the tree stand. Hez left his rifle in the boat. We were disappointed that Belle would not join us as the steps didn’t look safe.

With binoculars, Hez cried out he could see a bear about a mile away. I grabbed the binoculars, but yelled, “Stop shaking the tree, I can’t see!”

“It’s not me! It’s Belle coming up.”

The bear was catching fish by plunging his head under water. Hez decided to go around behind the bear, and I would stay out of sight and go by the edge of the lake. It sounded like the perfect plan for two rabbit hunters graduating to ‘big-game.’

Our first mistakes were not having extra bullets (Hez had only 3 in his rifle), giving Belle one of our two 45 pistols, and trading rifles. Since bears can climb trees, we wanted her to feel safe. In fact, once we made contact with the bear, it headed straight for her.

Since the lake shore made faster traveling, I arrived on the scene first, but there was no bear. I felt terrible. After a few minutes, he came out of the bushes and wadded into the lake. He was too far away for a good shot, but I figured a bad shot was better than no shot and I blasted away.

He let out a loud roar that made the hair on my neck stand straight out. I couldn’t take my eyes from him and failed to get another bullet in the chamber as I couldn’t find the bolt since it was leaver action.

I was relived he ran into the woods instead of at me which grizzlies tend to do when shot.

“Did you kill him? Did you kill him?

Hez was trying to run on tundra, but he put the breaks on when I told him, “No! I just wounded him…he’s out there where you are!”

The alder bushes were so thick it was difficult to see farther than ten yards. I was scared to go in, but after awhile, I edged in about 30 yards and saw him in a hole.

Hez came up and I showed him where the bear was and told him to make sure he was dead.

About six feet from the bear, Hez said, “I can’t see anything but white fur.” (The bear was a silver-tip.)

It was like a shock-wave when the bear came out of the hole. He had his back to us, but whirled around and charged on his hind legs. We both shot from the hip, and the bullets turned him and he ran off.

It was good that he did because Hez had a leaver wrong and could not get another bullet into the chamber. I ran after the bear and found him lying down. He came at me on his hind legs and I shot him. I worked the leaver but the gun was empty! I grabbed the 45, but he ran away.

Hez came up with the bolt out of the gun. I asked him if he had anymore bullets, and he said no. We traded rifles, and I gave him the 45 with instructions to find the bear, and wait till I get there.

While I’m getting the bolt back in, I heard Hez yell, “I’m going to slow him down!” and he emptied the 45. I gave him a good lecture how dangerous it was what we were doing and he had wasted our safety gun.

Down to one gun, we faced the bear again on his hind legs looking at us. I blast him at point blank range with a 220 grain 30-06. I jerked the bolt back and it whistled over my shoulder. Our eyes locked as if spellbind. I couldn’t get the bolt in! I decided if I don’t get a bullet in, we’re dead. So I looked to see what I was doing…thinking he’s going to knock my head off with one swat. “Lord if you can’t help me, please don’t help that bear!” I look up and he’s gone.

We found him near the tree-stand, and the Lord had called him home. It’s amazing with our experience; no one has ever asked either of us to be their hunting guide.

Anonymous said...

Bro. Burleson, I stand behind one who will put their neck on the line to defend the Christian's right pray privately anyway God leads him. The only thing IMB has a right is that the candidate has a consisent prayer life. No one should have the gall to tell us how we should or should not pray privately.

I applaude your integrity and diplomatic way of handling this unnecessary situation.

God bless you.

Hazel Littlejohn
Panama City, FL

Lucky said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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