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

Bringing to Light Criticism that Seems Acceptable

I recently ran across a couple of articles that have been posted on-line and are very critical of the philosophy of the International Mission Board's emphasis on missionaries facilitating 'Church Planting Movements (CPM's).' Of course, facilitating Church Planting Movement's has formed the basic strategy of President Jerry Rankin, Regional Leadership, and the administrative staff of the IMB for the past several years. These articles, which are in The Spring 2007 Mid-America Seminary Journal of Evangelism and Missions, are both well written. They raise some issues that are worth discussing among Southern Baptists, but they are unquestionably - and very publicly - critical of IMB administration and the emphasis that has been placed on CPM's by IMB administrative leadership.

The first article, entitled "An Examination of Nine Key Issues Concerning CPM," quotes at least three 'anonymous' IMB missionaries who are critical of CPM. The writer acknowledges the article's criticism with these words:

Would discussing this issue (CPM) critically be frowned upon by many at the Board and the entities with which it works? Unquestionably.

The author then goes on to list several problems with the IMB Church Planting Movement including:

  • The movement often pushes missionaries to plant churches and disciple leaders more quickly than the biblical pattern.

  • Due to the emphasis on speed, CPM methodology opens up church planters to the dangers of heresy.

  • Current strategy leads to working with questionable Great Commission Christians groups on the field.

  • CPM methodology denigrates working with American volunteers who wish to build church buildings. Thus, thousands of volunteers are not utilized that would like to serve.

  • Wholehearted acceptance of CPM methodology has led to the IMB having a top-down strategy instead of a bottom-up strategy.


  • The second article, entitled "Is Church Planting Movement Methodology Viable? An Examination of Selected Controversies Associated With The CPM Strategy" also contains some very strong criticism of IMB strategy, including the belief that there are misleading reports from the IMB regarding the number of church starts that arise from CPM's. The author writes:

    "Reporting churches that fit man’s definition (of a church) but do not fit the biblical definition (of a church) is a waste of time and dishonest toward the Body of Christ."

    The Identity of the Associate Editor of this Journal

    It might surprise some of you who have kept up with recent events at the IMB that one of the editors of the journal which contains these articles that are critical of the IMB is John Floyd, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the International Mission Board.

    Like my blog, John's journal has some very good things to say about the IMB - alongside its public criticism of the IMB. However, the question that Southern Baptists should be asking is this:

    Why is a trustee censured who is, (1). supportive of our IMB work, and (2). supportive of our IMB President, and (3). supportive of our IMB CPM strategy, and (4). supportive of a broader cooperation on the mission field with other Great Commission Churches, but publicly critical of an IMB trustee leadership decision to push a doctrinal policy that reaches beyond the 2000 BFM in order to exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from missionary service?

    Dr. Floyd was Chairman of the Personnel Committee in 2005 and pushed the new policy that excludes Southern Baptists from missionary service who admit, when asked, that they have a 'private prayer language' (as well as the policy that places qualifications upon the administrator of baptism that the local Southern Baptist church - supposedly the highest authority in the SBC - does not even see as necessary). Even though only a handful of trustees in leadership, including Dr. Floyd, pushed the new doctrinal policies that exceed the 2000 BFM, the inability for a majority of IMB trustees to see that if the 2005 Private Prayer Language policy were in effect when Jerry Rankin was appointed several decades ago, Dr. Rankin would not have been appointed as a Southern Baptist missionary, would not have given years of faithful missionary service to the Lord through the Southern Baptist Convention, and would not have been elected President of the International Mission Board remains a mystery to me. I ask for the 1,000th time:

    How many other Jerry Rankins are out there, otherwise qualified to serve, but are now being excluded because of the new doctrinal policies that reach beyond the 2000 BFM?

    The issue for me, however, has gone way beyond Dr. Jerry Rankin. Whether he remains President of the International Mission Board for the next five years is beyond the scope of my concern. I have chosen to publicly express my objection to back door narrowing of the parameter of doctrinal cooperation through the practice of adopting 'doctrinal policies' at respective SBC agencies - WITHOUT CONVENTION APPROVAL. Soon, SBC agencies, if left unchecked, could exclude other Southern Baptists by adopting other 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the 2000 BFM - and these new policies will be over something other than the tertiary issue of whether or not a Southern Baptist prays in tongues in the privacy of his prayer closet (i.e. it could possibly be over 'particular atonment,' 'elder rule,''moderation instead of abstinence,' 'etc . . . ' )

    I have voiced my concerns over the deeper issue of SBC agencies moving beyond the scope of our responsibilities by implementing 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the BFM on my blog - always in a civil manner - and simply to get people to talk about the issue. I believe I have succeeded. But because of the nature of my public criticism over a couple of new policies adopted by IMB trustees, I have been censured.

    But on the other hand, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, John Floyd, who pushed the new doctrinal policies as Chairman of the IMB Personnel Committee in 2005, who is an editor of a magazine that openly criticizes IMB administrative strategy in reaching the world through Church Planting Movements, and who seemingly ignores the Southern Baptist Convention's advise to view the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message as the sufficient doctrinal parameter of Southern Baptist cooperation, is not even questioned about the criticism of IMB administration in the journal he edits?

    Dialogue, Debate and Civility Are All Needed

    Read carefully. I am not advocating anybody else, including John Floyd, be censured. John is simply doing what he believes is best for the IMB and the SBC - as am I. To censure a Southern Baptist for public disagreement is like cursing a dog for barking. I affirm Dr. Floyd's right to criticise and question IMB strategy and IMB administration policies. We simply need Southern Baptists to see the inconsistency in allowing trustees to participate in traditional criticisms of IMB administration through phone calls, magazine articles, and private communications - but forbid any trustee from publicly questioning or criticizing trustee leadership strategy or trustee decisions. I believe John Floyd, Paige Patterson, and any other Southern Baptist should be allowed to be as critical of the IMB administration's planning and strategy as their hearts' desire. But any trustee who chooses to publicly oppose Drs. Floyd's and Patterson's respective strategies and philosophies should also be given the same freedom.

    Some may not wish to grant it, but this trustee is determined to create an environment in our Convention where people are not afraid to express civil disagreement. I believe this is what the Southern Baptist Convention desires, and in time, it will occur. I am a patient man.

    In His Grace,


    Wade

    P.S. Today is the two year anniversary of my first post. I am happy to say I have stayed the course, and after a lengthy review of everything I have written over these past two years, I can say with assurance that I have focused on the issues, and I have done a pretty decent job of not attacking people - even when the heat has been turned on me quite intensely. Most importantly, my wife says I have not lost my sense of humor. Here is to another two years of blogging in order to keep Southern Baptists informed.

    108 comments:

    Steve said...

    Unbelievable.

    Because of the way you write - clearly, graciuosly, and honestly - people like me are beginning to see the big picture.

    For a long time I got stuck on wondering why you seemed to be making a big deal over two new policies that had nothing to do with you.

    Now I see. Keep it up. You seem to have a gift to see the big picture and help the little people like me see it as well.

    Anonymous said...

    Wade, because of you, I have hope for the SBC. Thank you.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Gentlemen,

    The genesis of this post comes from an email from Bob Cleveland, thinker and SBC theologue par excellance, who himself received an email from a missionary that pointed out the articles in the Mid-America journal. If it weren't for people like Bob, I wouldn't be near as informed as I am.

    :)

    kevin said...

    Very well said, Wade.

    I have a few concerns about CPM strategy, but I support the IMB's overall vision and focus (even though I am no longer with them).

    Your point here is quite compelling--you are censured for dissenting on hiring policy, another is free to criticize the overall strategy of the organization.

    Keep fighting the good fight Wade.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Ironically, Kevin, I think any healthy organization needs people like John Floyd to be free to be able to publicly criticize IMB strategy. My argument, as you rightly point out, is that the freedom needs to be recripocal. To publicly dissent and disagree is not sin. It is also not disloyalty, and it should be something encouraged, not banned.

    I have an article from Harvard Business School that I will post next week that speaks of one of the markers of a healthy organization - the freedom for the minority to publicly dissent.

    Strider said...

    Kenn Sorrel over at Returning to Biblical Mission has done an excellent job of addressing each of the nine points on his blog. I believe in the CPM strategies but we definitely need dialog in order for iron to sharpen iron. I can't make a proper link but you can find Kenn's posts at http://rtbm.typepad.com/

    RRR said...

    Wade,

    I don't understand the similarities between John Floyd's editing a Journal with diverse opinions and your personally expressing opposition to decisions. Did John Floyd himself express opposition to CPM?

    Anonymous said...

    It scares me to think that those of us who have passionately accepted the call to serve through the IMB within the vision of rapidly reproducing CPM's may at some point be forced to accept the strategy of men like John Floyd.

    Oh that we would see the Spirit move in ways uncontainable by man's "strategies." Why are we so hungry to see new churches in foreign lands look like churches in America? Our sights are not set high enough.

    Anonymous said...

    rrr,

    To answer your question, maybe you should ask Dr. Floyd why he is no longer an administrator with the IMB.

    A 10-40 Windows Missionary

    Lloyd said...

    I realize that the content of the journal itself is not the point of your post, but the journal does contain two excellent missiology articles written by IMB staff, one by C. Meador and the other by J. Slack on CPM strategy and methodology.

    Anonymous said...

    RRR is exactly correct in his post...

    RRR said...
    Wade,

    I don't understand the similarities between John Floyd's editing a Journal with diverse opinions and your personally expressing opposition to decisions. Did John Floyd himself express opposition to CPM?

    Scott Shaffer said...

    Wade,

    Is it fair to assume that John Floyd edited the particular articles, even reviewed them, or approved them? I'm not sure we can jump to that conclusion.


    On the other hand, the editors comments are interesting. He writes, "It must be understood that
    all of us at Mid-America Baptist
    Seminary are loyal Southern
    Baptists. We love the International
    Mission Board, and we
    care for and pray for the leaders
    of our international work. In
    fact, we believe the IMB is probably
    the leading international
    mission agency in all of the
    world."

    Bob Cleveland said...

    Wade,

    Well, you know why I got involved in all this mess, right?

    From reading your blog. I knew zilch about all the goings-on until I did. The string has just been too fascinating to put down, since then, that's all.

    greg.w.h said...

    Wade,

    I'd like to shore up your point regarding Jerry Rankin with additional, contemporary testimony of his early years in Indonesia. Though he was younger than my folks and appointed two years before they were, Jerry requested to be permitted to open up a new mission area at the far eastern tip of Java after completion of language school (I think in 1971).

    He and the Indonesian Mission selected Jember as the station and he quickly established himself as a very respected missiologist who was eager to innovate to reach this new area. My parents recalled (in a discussion I had with them this summer) that he was highly respected by the Mission and the discussion of his private prayer language concluded with a note that Paul disallowed the forbidding of speaking in tongues in public and also used the example of a private prayer language in his discourse on the subject.

    I do not recall from my memory whether I was told that he had a private prayer language at appointment or not. I think your comment is correct, but regardless: the fact of his private prayer language was known very early in his ministry and accepted by conservative and moderate missionaries in Indonesia.

    Greg Harvey

    P.S. One very specific memory that I have--I related this on Boyd Luter's site a few months ago--was walking through a room of their house in Jember when "Uncle" Jerry and dad were praying and Jerry was mentoring him. The impression it had on me was powerful: this younger man was sharing freely with my dad both the necessary spiritual preparation to build upon--highly emphasizing prayer--but also helping dad sort through which of his stateside strategies he needed to reconsider in reaching the people of Indonesia. It was done in a loving, respectful way and struck me as a clear demonstration of Jerry's spirit-filled character.

    I'm like most people and don't usually have that clear of memory of events, but that one stood out for me and still does. It's a major part of why I think your opposition to the two policies needs to be supported by Southern Baptists. And why a central document like the Baptist Faith & Message should both the consensus on doctrinal positions and the only repository of doctrinal positions used to set policy.

    Even then, we should be very careful not to exclude from leadership those who GOD has called and has sealed with his spirit and anointed for leadership. Men like Jerry Rankin should always be welcome to lead our missionary and evangelistic endeavors.

    And men like him should be given the freedom to be guided by the Holy Spirit in allying with other believers to reach the world for Jesus Christ. We should put a lot less emphasis on ritual and rules and a lot more emphasis on the spirit of the people we elect and appoint. God has, after all, promised to write his word on our hearts to guide us. Do we need a human-originated set of guidelines given both the Bible, the Holy Spirit, and that promise from God?

    John Fariss said...

    I see the naysayers have already jumped in. Let me recap: you are part of a blog--an electronic journal--on which certain policies set by IBM trustees are criticized; Dr. Floyd is part of a print journal in which certain policies set by the IBM are criticized. You get censured, he does not. The difference is obvious. You are editor of a blog--an electronic journal--on which some contributors get passionate and oppose certain things within the IBM; Dr. Floyd is an editor of a print journal in which some contributors get passionate and oppose certain things within the IBM. You get censured, he does not. The difference is obvious.

    So far the naysayers have been brief and essentially anonymous. Want to make a slight wager that soon a few others (Jack Maddox comes to mind, maybe Living Dust, and if they still showed up here, Volfan007 and Robin Foster) will come out with even longer, better reasoned, more fully articulated explanations as to why a Mid-America journal in which Dr. Floyd is heavily invested is right to criticize--even dissent from--IBM policy, but it's wrong for you?

    John Fariss

    Anonymous said...

    Keep on "keeping on" with your convictions. More than you know are listening and share your concerns. We need men like you to keep our "feet to the fire", as many other fine men and women have given up.
    God bless!

    Lin said...

    "It might surprise some of you who have kept up with recent events at the IMB that one of the editors of the journal which contains these articles that are critical of the IMB is John Floyd, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the International Mission Board."

    I would not think this is a big deal at all if you had not been censured for disagreeing publicly. Not only that but accused of slander and gossip by another trustee.

    Now, Mr. Floyd did not write the article but in light of his position at the Seminary and the fact he is one of the editors on the Journal Committee makes your censure even more sinister.

    If he wants to remain credible and consistent with the IMB policy never being critical but always positive publicly about Trustees decisions, he needs to resign from the Journal and insist while he is at Mid America they refrain from critisizing or questioning any decisions of the IMB while he is Chairman of the IMB. Or, resign from the Seminary where he is a leader.

    But then, that would be silly. Wouldn't it?

    But now he has the best of both worlds. He can insist he is NOT the author and there is freedom of opinion in this Journal that comes out of Mid America. It looks as if the Journal Committee acts as the Publishing Board of which Mr. Floyd is a member.

    Wade could do the same thing. He could be a 'contributer' on a blog that critisizes/questions IMB decisions but not the 'author' of such articles. But that would not be ethical.

    Perhaps the real problem is that this blog allows for feedback while the Journal doesn't?

    Any way you cut it, Mr. Floyd does not look consistent with IMB Policy and your censure. I have to wonder how many other trustees are affiliated with entities that have questioned or critisized IMB decisions or policy?

    Because of this journal, they need to remove the censure asap.

    Does Mid America receive CP dollars?

    Scott said...

    John,

    There are some differences between the journal and this blog that are obvious. First, John Floyd did not write the articles himself. Second, Wade writes his own posts.

    Don't misunderstand, I am not defending JF or the committee that censured Wade. I try not to rush to judgment until I have all the facts.

    James Sissney said...

    Yes, I will agree that Mr. Floyd did not write the articles in question. However, as editor he must approve said articles and allow them to be published. In essence he is allowing a violation of the policies set forth and should be held accountable.

    Jack Maddox said...

    john farris

    Hate to dissapoint you but I see the inconsistancy here also. You guys have got to stop lumping us all together! : )

    I need to research this a little more and think it through, I am a little to busy with a sick grandbaby and our church pageant, but sure, I agree what is sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander. However, this brings me back to another question I asked in a previous post. Why is Wade singled out? It seems that what the BoT are saying is that Wade went way beyond disagreement or dissent. I do not know that he did but it obvious to me that this thing became very personal between Wade and his fellow trustees.

    I think we all need to take to heart the words of the song I am currently listening to by Kutless..."Come Lord Jesus, Come!"

    ps - I dont think livingdust would be counted among the fundie few on this blog : )

    Emily Hunter McGowin said...

    With respect, as someone who has had many articles rejected (and a few accepted) by journals a number of times, I want to point out that even though the editor(s) may not write the articles themselves, they do have unilateral control over which articles make it in and which don't. If Floyd or any other editor in his position had qualms about publishing articles critical of the IMB's CPM, they could have stopped them. It's is not as though the articles were forced upon him, kicking and screaming.

    No, in almost every setting, the editor(s) have complete freedom to fashion a journal into whatever they desire. Hence, an article I penned several years ago that was critical of Millard Erickson's theology of providence was roundly dismissed by Andreas Kostenberger at JETS. He's the editor. He can print (or not print) what he wishes.

    Grace and peace,

    Emily

    Wade Burleson said...

    Everyone has made some excellent comments. Let me reiterate a couple of things and then I am off to OKC for some meetings and hospital ministry.

    First, I believe John Floyd should be free to edit a journal that is publicly criticial of Dr. Rankin and IMB strategy - even as Chairman of the Board. He should not resign. His criticisms, and/or those written that he approves to be printed in his journal, only make the IMB healthier and stronger.

    On the other hand, a trustee of the IMB should be given the exact same freedom. Particularly if that trustee believes a bylaw, or a desire, or an instruction from the Southern Baptist Convention is being violated.

    I do not - for a moment - believe it is the perogative of an agency receiving COOPERATIVE PROGRAM funds to establish 'doctrinal' polices that EXCEED the 2000 BFM and exclude otherwise qualified Southern Baptists from cooperative ministry. I will let my criticism of such action be known until Jesus comes or until the practice stops.

    However, I will refrain from attacking individuals. That serves no purpose. The people who desire to establish doctrinal policies that exceed the 2000 BFM - including John Floyd, Paige Patterson, and others - are all doing what they believe is best for the SBC - as am I.

    The question is a simple one. What does the SBC desire?

    In His Grace,

    wade

    greg hicks said...

    This is devastating to those who censured you, Wade. Thanks for hanging in there.

    And Bob plus anonymous missionary - thanks for making your research available for all the world to see the naked truth about the animals that have taken over the farm.

    Emily Hunter McGowin said...

    Jame Sissney,

    I think I was typing as you published your comment. I'm sorry for repeating what you have said already.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Jack,

    I couldn't leave without responding to your comment. I continue to be am amazed that you can't help but insinuate there is something other than my courteous but firm dissent on this blog that is the issue. Feel free to call any trustee or any IMB leader you desire and ask them how Wade Burleson conducts himself at IMB meetings.

    I have found that if someone finds he may be losing his argument, there is a tendency to attack the character of the one to whom he is losing his argument. I trust that is not your desire.

    In His Grace,

    Wade

    Jack Maddox said...

    Wade

    I am not insinuating anything. If that was the case I would place my statement in the form of a accusation. I have asked the question is all. Why is it that you are singled out. You responded on an earlier post and your response was certainly adequate.

    I, like many Southern Baptists are simply trying to figure all this out. I am not accusing you of anything. I did not vote to censure you. Your quarrel is not with me.

    As far as loosing an argument. I stopped trying to WIN arguments a long time ago. Let God be true , but every man a liar!

    jrm

    Jack Maddox said...

    Wade

    You asked "The question is a simple one. What does the SBC desire?"

    That is precisely the question!!!

    Thats why I hope you will allow yourself to be nominated for President of the SBC this coming June so that your candidacy can be used as a referendum on this whole mess!

    Somehow the convention needs to be able speak to this to clear up the muddy water!

    jrm

    John Fariss said...

    Jack,

    I appologize to you. You are right: I simply lumped you together with others, and should not have done so. In styead, I should have remembered one of my own stories. When I was a kid, Harry Reasoner and Howard K. Smith wefre national news anchors, and usually one or the other had a commentary in the program. I believe it was Smith, who one evening said something to the effect of "Don't label me. Labeling me puts me in with a whole bunch of other people, with whom I may share only one opinion." I appologize to you.

    John Fariss

    Lin said...

    "However, this brings me back to another question I asked in a previous post. Why is Wade singled out? It seems that what the BoT are saying is that Wade went way beyond disagreement or dissent."

    Your question is ironic since most of what has been done was behind closed doors.

    greg.w.h said...

    Jack:

    What I think Wade is saying is this:

    You bringing forth an argument based on the fallacy of the majority. Just because a large group of people believe something does not make it true.

    While you pose your argument as a question, no one on Wade's blog can answer the question for those that took the answer. So you are using an interrogatory to immunize yourself against being called to account for fallacious (and therefore rhetorically misleading) argumentation.

    If you would like to present your argument without the fallacy, you need to go ask the people that voted to censure Wade what their reasons are and probe THEM for actions that Wade has taken that are provably deserving of censure in the real world (as opposed to in this Magic Kingdom where you're allowed to dissent as long as you don't say you're dissenting out loud.)

    I further offer that God needs to strike the record of the prophets and of John the Baptist from the Bible if we were to apply the cynical and controlling IMB BoT policies to the text of the Bible. After all: he spoke out THROUGH those prophets AGAINST national and religious leadership.

    The average Southern Baptist understands the negative aspects of the prophetic role. Your question defends the IMB's position that a majority vote naturally colors any opposition as being unGodly in their behavior. I can see the fallacy in your position from several different viewpoints. Why can't you acknowledge the potential of fallacy in your position from at least ONE of those viewpoints?

    Greg Harvey

    matt said...

    Here's a great out-of-context quote from John Floyd (pages 123-124) in a book review he wrote in the issue of the journal that Wade links to in the main post.

    "The invitation to work together seems to mean to work with them in their system and programs."

    greg.w.h said...

    Boo...try to ignore my grammar and read for what I was trying to write rather than get caught up on what I actually wrote.

    Greg

    Jack Maddox said...

    Greg

    I see your point yet God knows my heart...I really am not accusing Wade. I have spoke to several trustees and I will not divulge their feelings or thoughts as they were private conversations.

    Greg, there have been times I have had conflict within the church over issues that quickly became personal. When this happens the issue is no longer, well 'the issue.' Now it becomes a spitting match between people. What I fear has happened is that this issue is no longer about the policies that were called into question by many, yet it is now about Wade, Ben, Page, Jerry, Robin, Tim, etc...

    When I have had the type of conflict I mentioned earlier it has always been helpful for me to recognize that I also am not without fault, even though I may be principally right.

    blessings
    jrm

    Jack Maddox said...

    john f

    No need to apologize, no offense was taken : )

    jrm

    www.theblindsquirrel.wordpress.com said...

    If CPM is a flawed strategy (at worst) and one tool God uses to engage a people group in a massive revival, then there certainly SHOULD be discussion regarding the strategy.

    The only way to have a better idea is to have a lot of ideas, and the only way to do that is to LISTEN, DISCUSS, DISAGREE, and DECIDE.

    I could say a lot about CPM's and long term results (at least among one people group) but that would be hijacking the post.

    greg.w.h said...

    Jack:

    I trust you. Hence I have tried to respond to the impact your reasoning has on me rather than to claim you aren't trustworthy.

    I offer that while your question might be based on private knowledge, Wade accepted censure because he believed it was the right thing to do. If those trustees you contacted would like to make their own statements out loud regarding the situation, then your questions can be turned into valid and HELPFUL argumentation.

    And Wade does not seem to be against letting that discussion happen out loud. Or--to say it another way--he's willing to take his licks. So why are they reticent to share? (You spoke with them and therefore you might have that knowledge. Perhaps it is possible to give a journalistic summary of their opinion without violating the confidence of any particular trustee?)

    I do acknowledge that when issues get personalized that it clouds the real issue. But I return to the picture of Martin Luther. Are our leaders (meaning not just the trustees but all of the people backing the IMB BoT on its anti-dissent policies) so insecure that they are like the Roman Catholic church and unable to endure meaningful examination and correction?

    If so, it is easily to speculate on where the Convention is headed. We need only look at the intransigence in the RC church regarding REAL issues that continues to today. Though I will note with great satisfaction that they no longer EXPLICITLY practice the sale of indulgences. So in the end--as you noted--God won as he should have.

    Greg Harvey

    Bob Cleveland said...

    Yeh .. I'd be really unhappy with an evangelization strategy that produced a body of believers in which we couldn't find half of them any more, couldn't get more than maybe 15-20% of the believers to be actively involved, couldn't lead those believers in discipleship to bring the tithe to the storehouse, and in which we had to beg people to witness to their faith.

    The real problem is this: that's the strategy, apparently, that was used to build the SBC and its local churches. That seems to be about where WE are, anyway.

    I hardly think the CPM overseas could do much worse. Maybe the results it produces are just like ours, because they face the same problem with human beings, over there, that we seem to face, over here.

    But what do I know?

    Jack Maddox said...

    Greg

    My conversation with these men were private and not nearly as 'juicy' as one might think. Never was anyone of them unkind or did they say anything negative concerning Wade personally. I did not sense any animosity. One was supportive of Wade’s position but simply disagreed with his blogging. I will leave it at that.

    As far as my journalistic assessment...I will leave the journalism to the folks at the Outpost! : )

    Got to run and take care of my grandbaby and shoot a TV spot for our Pageant

    An update on Colton. He is doing very well and is seemingly on the road to total recovery! Thank you all again for your prayers and concern. we love you all in Jesus and pray God's blessings in your ministries and families.

    jrm

    Steve Young said...

    Wade, Thanks for the link, I have not received my copy of JEM yet. I linked and read it in its entirety. Dr. Wilkes, editor, was my D.Min. advisor. I believe he has a handle on church growth and church planting like few others.

    Here is what I saw. Academic and well researched evaluation of CPM. No call for CPM to be eliminated as a strategy. A call for CPM to not be the only strategy. A statement that IMB showed a more bablanced approach through recent years. Solid articles from IMB staffers. No calls for resignations. No charges of going beyond the general consensus of SBC. No call "to get out and vote."

    Actually, if I had not first been to your blog I would not had the least notion of any similarities.
    Steve Young

    Anonymous said...

    This is an apples and oranges comparison. John Floyd did not write the articles in question. He was the editor. Vast difference.

    If he would kept these articles from being published, he would have been attacked, and rightly so, for censorship.

    You are attempting to create forests where there are no trees.

    Barbara said...

    Greg Harvey & Jack Maddox,
    This is Barbara, Pastor Wade's secretary. He read your dialogue on his Blackberry and asked me to comment for him: He says Greg is absolutely 100% correct. Anything and everything IMB Trustee leadership wishes to say about Pastor Wade can be said publicly, for all the world to see. This has been his request from Day 1. He has nothing to hide.

    Scott Gordon said...

    perogative? (forgive the anality)

    As expected, I am one who certainly finds this ironic rather than irenic...

    "However, I will refrain from attacking individuals. That serves no purpose."

    Then the purpose of this post and the subsequent 'support' comments would be?? I mean outside of "it's not fair! I have a right to dissent!...and Dr. Floyd is a two-faced hypocrite."

    Wade, I ask this question:

    If an issue in your church came up and was discussed in a business session in which entailed a heated debate on two opposing perspectives regarding the issues and the church voted to go in a specific direction, the losing party then mills about openly expressing their dissent, led by the chairman of the deacons, and publishes their position in the next newsletter, church bulletin, etc., what would be your thoughts or actions?

    SOLA GRATIA!

    Scott Gordon said...

    Let me clarify (anticipation of repsonse):

    It's not the dissent. The dissent was welcome up to the point the decision was made. Dissent or at least contrary/different points of view were welcome to the discussion. But once the church made the decision, then what???

    Anonymous said...

    Wade,

    Thanks for your service. My wife and I are two that have been excluded. She served as a journeyman before we were married and we were in process when the policies came to light. I remember our meeting with the candidate consultant, I had to ask him if what we were hearing was true (he wasn't volunteering any information), he said yes, "that because I was baptized in a Christian church I would have to be rebaptized or we would not make it past the selection committee". It broke my wife's heart, she started to cry right then and there because we had already discussed it and she knew I did not feel led to be rebaptized. God still got us overseas, just without the network, insurance or training that we could have otherwise had with the IMB. We hope and pray that the policies will be reversed at some point, the IMB is still the best of the best of "sending agencies", but it's going to take more people like you to make sure it stays that way.

    Pursuing a PhD in HK

    Lin said...

    "This is an apples and oranges comparison. John Floyd did not write the articles in question. He was the editor. Vast difference."

    anon, what do editors do?

    GuyMuse said...

    What bugs me about all the above is that people seem more interested in the CPM controversy; and not the real CPM issues.

    Many missionaries, including myself, have carefully read ALL the CPM journal articles. They have even been discussed and debated on our region's "Church Planting Forum". We all need to be dialoging and discussing these kinds of issues. They truly impact our work and are far more important than the focus resting on what many of the above commenters are seeing as the inconsistency in who may/may not criticize the IMB. To me that is a secondary issue. The REAL issue that is worthy of dialog is CPM itself--the pros and cons involved.

    I would encourage readers to click on the journal articles and read them first hand. Then click on and read what missionaries actually engaged in the methodology are saying in rebuttal. Strider above points out Ken Sorrell's excellent blog Return to Biblical Missions where these issues are amply addressed, not only in the posts themselves, but in the comments section (mainly by missionaries actually engaged in the methodologies.)

    Many other IMB missionaries also post regularly about CPM issues. But how many Stateside Baptists are actually seeking to be informed about the real issues? To me it is more important to know and understand the matters being discussed in CPM methodology, and less on the inconsistency of who may or may offer criticism.

    Correct me if I am wrong, but it seems to at least this missionary, that many in the SBC are enamoured more with controversy for controversy's sake, than with the real issues that determine the eternity of millions of lost souls.

    Rick Thompson said...

    Wade,

    There will be some who will see that John's editorial role is not the same as your blog, but that will miss the bigger issue that the policy against trustee dissent cannot withstand scrutiny, especially when one considers that we are in it for 8 long years. Some of us will have opinions outside the board. For the other trustees reading this, I think that is a very fair point to consider.

    Scott Gordon,

    Is it your position that the trustee board of the IMB for the Southern Baptist Convention is the equivalence or at least a similarity of the local church? I am asking because I hear this argument thrown around a lot and it always frustrates me. I am TRUSTEE of the board who brings a particular perspective that stems from my role as pastor of my church, as an Oklahoma Baptist and as a life long Southern Baptist. I don't look to John Floyd or Jerry Rankin as my spiritual leader or shepherd, although I certainly respect and admire them. But let's not confuse the roles here. The board is not my church and the SBC is not my diocese. If we consider our trustee boards as the same as our local church, it's not just our ecclesiology that's screwed up.

    Mel said...

    OH let's get to the important issue of CPM.

    I am blown away at how we lack faith to believe that CPM wasn't handed down by GOD! Those of us who serve in foreign lands and myself having served the past 12 years in Asia can testify that the Lord is Blessing this vision and plan to reach and establish disciples which ultimately results in church. Jesus is our example. Let us not forget the disciples had only a few years with Jesus before he was Crucified. The work of the Father was on going through the work of the H.S. - As it is today with those we lead to Christ. In FAITH we establish HIS CHURCH! Not buildings , not holding to a WESTERN worldview of what CHURCH should be. As Paul often wrote, GOD FOR BID-

    I just wish we as Believers could learn to TRUST Christ to work in those whom HE calls to lead - to impart VISION and a Plan that is FROM HIM! Prov. 19:21 "Many plans are in a man's heart but the counsel of the Lord stands forever."

    The bible has countless examples of men who were given plans that weren't acceptable by mans standards that went against culture and tradition, in that day but that God blessed and accomplished HIS WILL! May we not be so arrogant to think we can come up with a better plan.....

    I think the question ought to be- Is there anything about the CPM that is NOT BIBILICAL? I read in the article that there was a question as to what definition is used to define church. Let me just say that as Paul wrote to the Ephesians, the church in Gal. and Paul wrote in Romans... We must remain faithful to the TRUTH of the WORD OF GOD. IF we stay true to this then we can trust it is going to produce fruit that lasts..... (if you want to know the standard by which we classify a church then ask)

    I just wish, truly, I wish if you are going to give advice or thought on what M's ought to do- Try surrendering to the CALL of going and go and plant a church!

    Then dear Brothers and Sisters you will fully know the depth, the breath of our stuggles to make disciples - and ultimately planting churches.

    How easy it is for you to just go into a church and enjoy the fellowship and I would venture to say FEW of you pastors have planted churches.. you have the luxury of building on something that was already established.

    I thank the Lord that I am called by HIM to accomplish HIS work - that my labor is not in vain.
    Even if my very own brothers and sisters in Christ would like to say otherwise... One Day- I will testify to MY Lord and SAVIOR of the Fruit that He so graciously supplied... grew and established!

    No let me rephrase that- TODAY! I will testify that It is GOD's work and HIS InCREASE! The churches are multiplying- they are growing but it is the work of our GOD in us.. that we are able to report what we report!

    So what if He choses not to use the churches in America - What if we the church of AMerica have become so arrogant and self seeking that we are no longer a worthy to be used.


    Have any of you ever just stopped to think- God is doing something in our day, so that NO MAN can take the Glory of HIS WORK!

    I am not oppossed to dialoging or having discourse for the sake of keeping to the TRUTH of God's WORD. I am against men who are not called to go- telling those of us who are called to go how to do the task God has Called us to!
    It would belike the IMB deciding that they had the right to go and tell a Preacher how to preach or how to Care for the CHurch.. It would be like them deciding you can't add on to your church but rather you need to Split and start another church!

    " I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you wll know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might."
    Gal. 1: 18-19
    Melissa
    Serving Faithfully in E.A.

    Strider said...

    A couple of things to point out here...
    One, this is not apples and oranges. Wade's blog is primarily disliked because of the comments he allows rather than for what he actually says. That is straight apple to apple with John Floyd's editor role.

    Two, as Bart Barber pointed out on his blog not so long ago- disent is not honorable in and of itself, it depends on what one is disenting about that determines history's judgment. That also means that disent has no timeline. An issue is either worth opposing or it is not. To say that just because the majority voted for it has no meaning in eternity. We are all thankful for those who disented about the right things against the clear majority. People like our CR friends, the Reformers, Paul and the Apostles, maybe Jesus all come to mind. Our question is not whether it is right to disent- it is right sometimes and must be allowed- but is Wade disenting for the right cause? I believe in the cause he is fighting, many do not- why can we not talk about that?

    Third, Bob Cleveland is brilliant.

    "The real problem is this: that's the strategy, apparently, that was used to build the SBC and its local churches. That seems to be about where WE are, anyway."

    That is priceless- Thanks Bob.

    LivingDust said...

    Wade,

    Congratulations on 2 years of publishing a blog. You have spent many, many hours writing on issues that are important to Southern Baptists and I have enjoyed reading and contemplating the posts. I respect the tremendous amount of energy that goes into this endeavor.

    As a layperson I have personally benefited from reading Grace and Truth to You. I am now better informed regarding the SBC, IMB and the issue of Baptist cooperation. The blog has made me more considerate and thoughtful of peoples divergent positions on tertiary issues of our faith. Also, it was your blog that introduced to me the writings of A.W. Pink. I particulary enjoy reading "The Attributes of God".

    Debbie Kaufman said...

    Jack: I wish the trustees would be as open as Wade has been. It seems to me closed door talking is alive and well among the trustees even in this. It makes me nervous for the fact that behind closed doors anything could be said. True or not. You are the third person that I have heard say "I have talked to several trustees but I cannot divulge....."

    Batchaps said...

    For those who didn't hear or see Gov. Romney's speech this morning, let me say it was excellent! Here's a link to the transcript: http://www.wapt.com/politics/14788890/detail.html

    The ending is worth posting and reading for those who would refuse to cooperate with other Christians who are not necessarily Baptist.

    "In such a world, we can be deeply thankful that we live in a land where reason and religion are friends and allies in the cause of liberty, joined against the evils and dangers of the day. And you can be - You can be certain of this: Any believer in religious freedom, any person who has knelt in prayer to the Almighty, has a friend and ally in me. And so it is for hundreds of millions of our countrymen: We do not insist on a single strain of religion - rather, we welcome our nation's symphony of faith.

    Recall the early days of the first Continental Congress in Philadelphia, during the fall of 1774. With Boston occupied by British troops, there were rumors of imminent hostilities and fears of an impending war. In this time of peril, someone suggested that they pray. But there were objections. 'They were too divided in religious sentiment,' what with Episcopalians and Quakers, Anabaptists and Congregationalists, Presbyterians and Catholics.

    Then Sam Adams rose, and said he would hear a prayer from anyone of piety and good character, as long as they were a patriot.

    And so together they prayed, and together they fought, and together, by the grace of God, they founded this great nation.

    And in that spirit, let us give thanks to the divine "author of liberty." And together, let us pray that this land may always be blessed, "with freedom's holy light."

    God bless this great land, the United States of America."

    Russ+

    ml said...

    What a shame that American volunteers can't go and build a church building and then come home and feel good about themselves. What a typical throw the money around approach to ministry. As if God really needs our money more than our hearts and time. Maybe that is the reason our American and SBC convention systems are so bankrupt [notice the number reported vs the active adherents] and fraught with maintenance mindsets like keeping control and power rather than kingdom oriented cooperation? Maybe I am way off base? In terms of the timetable seems like Paul planted some churches rather quickly and trusted that the Holy Spirit would take over control since he is the one who really planted the faith of the ones covenanting together. Again a testimony to our American and SBC system does the Holy Spirit control the operation or our elected watchdogs?

    ml said...

    On another note, I guess on a technicality John Floyd could say that Mid-America is not an SBC entity and his journal does not fall under the same parameters as a blog from and SBC pastor. This, however, would not pass the edict that trustees should not voice criticism of the IMB and her policies which is what led to the Burleson censure. Unless Floyd could distance himself as editor over against his writers. Although the editor is help responsible for the content. Anyone from SWBTS in the mid-90's saw this in the firing of Jeff Poole. Then again maintenance mode is fraught which complexities.

    greg.w.h said...

    Barbara:

    Thank you for confirming Wade's position on welcoming open comment from other trustees. I felt I was accurately representing his position, but appreciate you putting a 2x6 under the limb I was on instead of sawing it off! ;)

    ml:

    There was a long period of time where our missionaries led the church-building enterprise and the national pastors basically had to come to our missionaries for approval of their activities. Needless to say, that did not go over well. In addition, church plants fully funded by FMB or direct foreign churches often were weaker than indigenous plants.

    That led to Dr. Cal Guy (professor of missions at SWBTS if I recall correctly) to work with the Indonesian Mission to innovate new strategies for decreasing the visibility of the Mission over the Indonesian national convention and its pastors and granting them more autonomy. He worked with the Mission in the late 60s and early 70s. I do not know how closely Jerry Rankin worked with Dr. Guy, but I will offer that the entire mission enterprise was impacted by Dr. Guy's strategizing.

    Part of that strategy work noted that smaller plants tended to grow faster than more mature congregations. And I also believe that one of the conclusions was that bringing students to the central seminary in Semarang was (my word) cityfying them and causing them not to want to return to their rural homes in the desas (tribal villages).

    I say this to suggest that while a local church in the US sending a raft of people to plant a church building isn't wrong, it is better for that work to be integrated with the indigenous work. The criticism from the article is what I heard referred to as a Stateside-bias missions strategy.

    When you send a raft of people to a mission location, it really needs to be thought out well in advance and it works best if the missionary (or missionaries) in that location wholeheartedly desire that kind of intrusion on their work. Otherwise they really are just tour guides. And I'll also offer that sometimes (this is NOT a general statement) American pastors lack the sensitivity to accept leadership from the on-the-field missionary.

    So what you're saying isn't "wrong", but the situation might be more complex than you are considering it to be.

    Greg Harvey

    Paul Burleson said...

    Scott, [far above]

    I'm not Wade and won't pretend to speak for him. But for myself, some thoughts.

    Apples to apples. [The following is given since the IMB/BOT is not a church and John Floyd is not the Pastor of the IMB and what they've done cannot/should not be compared to a decision we make congregationally.] Let me offer a comparison.

    Suppose someone were to be elected to a school board by the church that owns the school and of which he is a member. Their desire is for him to represent them on the board.

    While being owned by the church, the school board [here-after SBOT] has it's own charter and by-laws for tax and legal purposes, but it's assumed they will not go theologically beyond a document that the congregation has adopted as it's working agreement for the Church.

    The SBOT decides to adopt a theological point that exceeds the before mentioned document. It also would deny the Principal of the school from teaching at the very school he was chosen/approved by the Church to lead had it been in effect when he was hired, How embarrassing is THAT?.

    \The elected trustee resists that policy with questions and asks to speak to the issue. The answer is "no". The SBOT says "and, by the way, keep quiet." He says "I can't, I represent people who I do not believe will approve of this." The SBOT says "we have the legal right to do this." The trustee says "but not the spiritual right to do this."

    The SBOT adopts a new standard for their inner policies that requries a trustee to refrain from disageement publically once something has been adopted upon the treat of censure. But the trustee decides for conscience sake he must speak because there is a greater principle involved. He does. They do.

    Now, is the trustee to refrain from speaking BECAUSE he was censured? Why? Is the trustee to refrain from speaking BECAUSE he's gendering strife? How? Is the trustee to refrain from speaking BECAUSE to NOT do so is to be in violation of his authority? [Who is his authority? They say they are. He says the Church is.] Or is the trustee, by continuing to speak, fulfilling his appointed job in submission to those who elected him? He assumes the Church will ultimately speak their mind on the issue and when they do, he will be silent because they will not be, one way or the other.

    Some facts to remember.

    One, in over 150 years of trustees the IMB/BOT has never censured a trustee though some have been guilty of character flaws that would forbid their holding a position in a local church.

    Two, the trustee offered a resolution to the conflict that does not appear to have been presented to the entire board. [Though it was to the Executive committee.]

    Three, the SBC spoke to the issue in a resolution though some challenge it's seeming clear meaning to most.

    Four, the SBC [Church in the analogy] CAN speak quickly on the action taken against a trustee by the Board but, until then, either the SBC will not be represented by one they elected OR that one elected by the SBC can, at his own expense, remain faithful, in his understanding of service, by speaking and attending WITHOUT dispruption or disrespect, which he believes he has NEVER done.

    Comparing the IMB/BOT to my Church and a decision we make is bad theology and not relly apples to apples at all IMHO. It seems to me what I've stated IS apples to apples. JUST my opinion of course.

    Comment update,

    After reading what Rick Thompson said I don't need to post this, but, Wade, I worked long and hard on it and won't waste the hours so here it is. :)

    Wade Burleson said...

    Everyone,

    Could not have said it better than Paul B. above.

    He's the block from which the chip fell.

    :)

    Scott Gordon said...

    Paul, Wade, et al.,

    So, in the LONG run that "No Comment."

    Come on. Leadership is leadership. And dealing with conflict is dealing with conflict. And building unity (not uniformity) is building unity. Make it as generically apples to apples...

    Wade, for arguments sake, you are the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the IMB of the SBC. You are presented with the aforementioned dilemma...what do you do?

    Please, let's try and answer the question. I'm interested in how you would deal with this scenario if someone on your board opposed the will and direction of the majority of your board. What would happen?

    Sola Gratia!

    Wade Burleson said...

    Scott,

    That's an easy one.

    Allow full and free discussion in the debate prior to the vote. If a trustee asks for information - give it. If a trustee asks to hear from administration and the President - let them. If a trustee asks questions - answer them. Do NOT stifle debate or discussion.

    Second, once the vote has been take, allow any and all trustees to present their minority view. Hold EVERY trustee accountable to be gracious, civil, and courteous. Arguments with no merit will fade away.

    Thrid, do everything within your power as a leader of the Board to keep the focus on the mission of the Board and do NOT take venture other areas that are not within the Board's purview or authority (as in 'establishing a doctrinal parameter of cooperation that exceeds the BFM 2000).

    Hope that helps.

    Wade

    ml said...

    Greg, My comments were based on the preposterous and rateher weak claim that if volunteers cannot be used to build a building then the cpm must be deficient. This mindset reflects the American/Westernization of the gospel and the "church." And it is reflected in our own bankrupt religious system demonstrated in casual adherents and entertain me members. Which then bleeds over into the mission experience as a means to feel good about one-self based on something tangible like build a building. As if the mission experience is about us being able to mobilize volunteers.

    Anonymous said...

    GOING BEYOND the BFM and its documents as guidelines????
    We'll see next week as the Mo.Baptist Convention Executive Board meets where the "Acts 29 group will be declared personna non grata" in MBC life.
    Also they will vote to affirm the Committee on Nominations rule(MBC) that no nominees will be presented who partake of alcohol.
    Interesting days ahead!!!

    greg.w.h said...

    ML:

    Sorry...missed the perspective you were coming from with your comments. I agree that you don't invalidate an approach by noting that it works poorly with extremely short term (two week) volunteers. Not that I think those volunteers should be turned away, by the way, but--as I said--they have to be carefully fit into the strategy.

    Greg Harvey

    David said...

    More than 2000 hits per day for over 2 years--I'd say readers are very interested, even if many of the hits are by those who have opposed your stand. Keep up the good--and gracious--work, Wade. There are too few out here like you, doing what you're doing.

    rgt said...

    Back in Sept in the BAPTISTLIFE.COM Bruce Gourley posed an excellent question
    Church Starting Scam? Or No Scam? You Decide
    http://forums.baptistlife.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4846
    Though dealing w/NAMB it would also be wise to look at for the IMB
    We Baptist have enough problems keeping our churches vital and living...and now I wonder...????

    Rex Ray said...

    Dilemma...
    Jeff Brawner’s 12 page article presents so many good topics; hard to know where to start.

    “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35 KJ)

    Other translations miss the PRIORITY in this Scripture by saying: “Open your eyes and look at the fields, for they are ready for harvest.” (Holman)

    The reason the translators missed the priority is because they were not farmers. A farmer knows when a field of wheat turns white; it will fall to the ground in three days.

    Doors open and close in this old world, and where they are open; that is where God is calling missionaries.

    (Strange how the highest concentration of missionaries is in Israel and that door is even barricaded.)

    Rex Ray said...

    Jeff Brawner article: “Due to the emphasis on speed, CPM methodology opens up church planters to the dangers of heresy.”

    CPM does not follow the method of three years of teaching of Jesus, but follows Paul’s method of starting churches and leaving to start more. Did his short time of training prevent heresy?

    “What magician has hypnotized you?..you used to see the meaning of Christ’s death…did you receive the Holy Spirit by trying to keep the Jewish laws?...No, only after you trusted Christ to save you…have you gone crazy?” (Galatians 3:1-3)

    “You are following a different way to heaven that doesn’t go to heaven at all.” (Galatians 1:6)

    “…false teachers…bring long letters of recommendation…they make you their slaves…take advantage of you, put on airs, and slap you in the face.” (2 Corinthians 3:1, 11:20)

    “…we do not tell them they must obey every law of God or die…the old way, trying to be saved by keeping the Ten Commandments ends in death. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

    G. Alford said...

    Anonymous,

    Speaking about the Mo. Baptist Convention going beyond the BFM and its documents as guidelines... Perhaps tha MBC can take a page out of the Florida Baptist Conventions play book... they just made Jesus out the be a "Drug Dealer"?

    I guess those “Long haired Friends of Jesus” back in the 60 were right after all… Does anyone know where I can get my hands on a Chartreuse Mini-Bus?

    Rex Ray said...

    “CPM methodology denigrates working with American volunteers who wish to build church buildings. Thus, thousands of volunteers are not utilized that would like to serve.”

    My ‘volunteering’ averaged 4 weeks for eighteen trips. We were disappointed that our first ‘missionary house’ in 1994 turned out to be a ‘rent house.’ But we were comforted that the $5,000 per month rent in Japan was used elsewhere.
    Once there was a big argument about ‘American trusses’ not strong enough without a ‘Japan beam’ to support the ceiling of a large church. (We lost, and the trusses had to hold up the beam also, but it looked impressive.)

    A Japanese girl about the age of my daughter, was asked, “Why are you carrying Rex’s suitcase?”
    “I like Rex” made me smile. I had given my testimony in a 90% women’s congregation, about a sad story of killing a dog related to God executing his Son.

    In Kirkastan, I lost a game of ping pong to the missionary’s Muslim translator. They don’t believe in drinking, but few keep the rule. He seemed amazed that I’d never had one drink. Before we left he accepted Jesus.

    The point I’m making is that Christians living their lives in a foreign country make an impact whether they are paid or not.

    Alan Stoddard said...

    Wade,

    I think this post is great truth. The facts speak for themselves. It's a sad reality that politics drives the SBC.

    Two years ago I had the privilege to go to West Africa with Jerry Rankin. We went among unreached people groups (Sokoto Fulani and Tuareg). It was the first time I had ever looked into the eyes of people who had never once heard Jesus name. People who can't read. People who are culturally deep into Islam. The depth of lostness was stunning.

    Yet we are prohibiting people from going on the basis of peripheral doctrinal issues? Sad.

    The guys who make these crazy rules are indicative of the past. I love them, but "Southern" Baptist Convention says it all. Lifeway and Guidestone had name changes. Why? To move into this century. Yet these guys refuse to change "form" to reach people. Sad.

    I hope you stay in the discussion. I have come to appreciate your spirit and scholarship.

    Anonymous said...

    I went and looked at the journal for myself. John Floyd is not the editor in chief or even the senior editor. He is an associate editor. Therefore, this speculation becomes gossip as there is no guarantee that he even had any contact with the article in question.

    G. Alford said...

    Anonymous,

    I suppose in your world the guy who just sets in the car while his friends rob the local 7-11 and murder the clerk is not guilty of anything right?

    Sorry, but according to the laws of this land he is guilty of murder just as much as is his friend who pulled the trigger…

    Anonymous said...

    G. Alford,

    Give me a break! And that is my only response to you.

    G. Alford said...

    Anonymous,

    Wow... that was profound...

    Don’t get your panties in a wad… You come on here accusing everyone on this blog of “gossip” and when I simply point out that Floyd was in the car… You get all huffy…?

    Have a blessed day Anonymous…

    Gary said...

    Anonymous (second above),

    MABTS is not a large school. The Editor of JEM is in the Missions Department, the two associate Editors are 1)Administrative VP (Floyd) and 2) Chairman of the Missions Dept (May).

    You want me to believe that they don't talk about this or ask from input from each other? Something that includes an article which is definitely "goring someone's ox" they are not talking about?

    I have worked with serious research scientists for almost twenty years now. When a peer-reviewed journal is published, that is exactly what it says, peer-reviewed. The author WILL receive grief, pain, and punishment from the Editors if the document goes against the flow. Not because the editor is "anti" anything, because they editor wants to make absolutely certain that the author has their act together and can fully defend their statements.

    Now, if you are saying that Drs. Floyd, May, and Wilkes are just pencil-whipping these through without the attention required, then the process itself is broken and their teaching and administrative loads need to be re-balanced.

    Please do not dismiss out-of-hand the process itself. Dr. Floyd knew exactly what he was doing when he made his mark for this to be published.

    In regards to the article itself, why should we NOT from time to time review what we do and how we do it? We don't worship the same way we did 100, 50, or even 10 years ago. We should be no less diligent in how we do Missions.

    But let's get back to Wade's premise in the first place and I agree that Dr. Floyd had a hand in this process (think of it as a comment on his VERY formal publication page). Either he lets folks make controversial statements, or he agrees with them. The medium is not, or should not, be the issue. The issue should be gracious dissent itself. Do we allow it or not?

    Before you answer, I would encourage you to read Jerry Grace's post regarding dissent. Well that is not how he titled it, but that is what it is about. The context is speaking of Wade:

    "But on this one, I’m in his corner, not because of him but because of the underlying principle. I do believe that Wade is too much of a gentleman to be a disruptive force within the committee. I also believe that the more public disclosure of matters being considered by any SBC agency, good, bad or indifferent ought to not only be done but be our stated policy. This “I know better than you” stuff (I started to use another word) that has been the modus operandi of the leadership of the Conservative Resurgence for the last fifteen years is the prime reason the folks in the pew think the convention is irrelevant."
    http://sbcouthouse.blogspot.com/2007/11/wade-burleson.html

    Others have said it elegantly, "sauce for the goose...". This "rule" (no dissent) shouldn't be here. But since it is, everyone, including the Chairman, should have to play by the same "rules" no matter how petty and short-sighted they are.

    Dr. Floyd didn't see or have input on the article in question? Please.

    Gary Skaggs
    Norman, OK

    John Moeller said...

    Wade,

    I really appreciate your blog but also need to say that humor and laughter is so important......

    Don't forget to laugh!!!

    I will pray that the joy of the Lord and your sense of humor comes back to you in abundance.

    Heck, I may even break out in tongues in prayer and then drink a BIG glass of sweet tea in your honor.

    Your crazy Baptist born and Holy Ghost filled, wild Christian friend, John

    Wade Burleson said...

    Gary,

    Well said.

    Wade

    Wade Burleson said...

    John,

    I disavow any knowledge of you

    :)

    (laughing).

    Gary said...

    Wade,

    Was the big pageant-ending whoodoo last Wednesday or next week?

    If last Wednesday, can you give us a Cliff's-notes version?

    Hope you are going to make it available on the website.

    Gary

    Wade Burleson said...

    Gary,

    It starts tonight and goes through next Wednesday. Live broadcast next Wednesdsay night at 7:30 p.m. via the internet.

    Gary said...

    Wade,

    Thanks. Make sure that Dan takes deep breaths every once in a while ;->

    Got my choir prepping for our program next Wednesday, but will see if I can capture the netcast.

    Gary

    Scott Shaffer said...

    Gary,

    I think there are similarities between Wade's blog and John Floyd's editing of the journal, but I also think the differences are substanial. Before you think I am defending the SBC, understand that I'm not. Wade has every right to dissent, just as John Floyd does. The move to squelch dissent was a sign of a weak and scared institution.

    Now to the differences: John did not write the articles. It really doesn't matter if he edited them, allowed them to be published, or even agreed with their content. The fact remains, they are not his words. The policy prohibits individuals from publicly criticizing the board. John did not do this. For a better comparison, you should compare John's actions with Wade allowing certain comments to appear on his blog. And even Wade has said on a number of occassions that he is not responsible for the comments on his blog.

    Having said this, it is seems obvious to me that Wade is in the EC's crosshairs and they just want him to go away, and his blog. Makes you wonder about why they didn't take him up on his proposal doesn't it?

    Anonymous said...

    Here is a crazy thought. Why doesn't someone contact John Floyd and ask him what his role was in the publication of the article specifically and the theme of the journal?

    Might stop the speculation (i.e., gossip) and we might finally learn the whole story instead of just one side of it.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Anonymous,

    Two things:

    (1). Have courage and sign your name.
    (2). You lack either wisdom or discernment or both. The issue is not gossip about the character of John Floyd.

    In this post John is affirmed in what he did - and my post states the articles are well written and should be matters of discussion. In other words, John should be given a raise as an editor and a commendation.

    The issue is the absolute unhealthiness for Baptists to have a policy that forbids the public criticism of a SBC agency. However, my comment to you is for the reason I have little sympathy for anonymous flamers who attempt to hijack the comment section by inserting matters that have no relevance to the discussion.

    Gary said...

    Scott,

    Thanks for the input. I agree. They had their chance (twice actually - could've thrown him under the bus at the Convention last year) to get Wade and passed. Seems almost like they just want to punish him.

    My point (other than answering Anonymous' post), that I did not so clearly make, was that discussion and dissent are not bad. We should be grown-up enough that when someone feels compelled to make a minority opinion known, we are comfortable enough in our own shoes to allow that gracious dissent.

    If you continue to quash gracious dissent, or not address the legitimate issues raised by such, it will eventually rear its head in revolt. Luther never set out to leave the Roman Catholic church. We all know this history.

    I expect that Wade has no saddle sores from the hard riding he gets from some of those who comment here. I rather imagine that from time to time he ponders some of the criticism seriously.

    What I had learned in class was clarified and rendered during debates in the commuter room at Seminary and the graduate bullpen in College. I got schooled from time to time and ended up being better for it.

    The best iron is forged, not cast. We should welcome civil disagreement.

    Gary

    James Sissney said...

    Gary,
    I agree with you. They had ample opportunity to "rid" themselves of him.
    They chose, it seems, to make an example of him to quiet future forward thinkers.
    This will pass and hopefully the SBC will be stronger because of it.

    A recent poster again asked for Wade to consider a nomination for SBC prez. Wade please accept if asked.

    Jim Sissney said...

    I should say "when asked".

    :>

    Wade Burleson said...

    Already asked multiple times.

    Better ways to invest my time in this stage of my life.

    :)

    Thanks for your confidence though Jim.

    Jim Sissney said...

    Wade,
    Understood.
    I know you will prayerfully follow where lead. Wherever that may be.
    Keep up the good work!

    Bill Pfister said...

    Wade,

    Thank you for bringing this subject to light. Even beyond the issue of trustee cencorship, I appreciate you bringing up CPM and other missional strategy for discussion. I used to work with the IMB and we saw that CPM was not the best strategy for our part of the world yet it was adopted by the upper levels and passed down from Richmond with no discussion at the local level. I also appreciate the discussion about the nature of the church. I was once told by an IMB supervisor that if I had a cup of coffee with another Christian and discussed the Bible that it was a church. I believe there are still serious issues that need to be discussed and corrected not only in the IMB but in all levels of our denomination. I pray that we would all continue speaking the truth in love and asking God to bring reformation to our denomination.

    Grace and love to you,
    Bill Pfister
    Brevard, NC

    Ken said...

    Dear Bro. Wade,

    Certainly you have a right to be critical of anyone at the IMB, SBC, or wherever. But let's be honest: you were not censured because you were critical. You were censured because you violated board rules. In this case, speaking publicly about matters discussed in executive session.

    As a former Seminary trustee, I understand the importance of and the need for executive session. As you know, the board has the need from time to time to discuss sensitive matters that should not be discussed publicly. You violated that. If you want to be a trustee, play by the rules.

    For whatever it is worth, I agree you about the tongues issue but disagree with you on the baptism issue. I also told two of my friends on the IMB that they were making a big mistake by pursuing this policy. I think my words to them were something like, "you are shooting yourselves in the foot." I also made the argument that the policy would disqualify our IMB exec (Dr. Rankin) from service as a missionary. However, If I were on the IMB, I would try to use my influence on the board to affect policy. Anytime you make the fight public, it only serves to cause the other side to dig in. As a matter of fact, I also told my friends on the board that they were making a big mistake taking you on publicly. Guess what -- you have dug in. However, I make the point again, that not only did you make the fight public, you did so in violation of board rules.

    My suggestion would be that all of you find some way to work this out. My hope is that you, Brother Wade will continue to serve on the IMB for the Convention elected you to serve. I also hope that our brothers and sisters will forgive, forget, and move on. I pray that you will, as well.

    Blessings to you

    Ken said...

    Obviously, my post in the third paragraph should read, "agree WITH you."

    greg hicks said...

    Ken,

    You wrote, "As a former Seminary trustee, I understand the importance of and the need for executive session."

    As many have noted here previously, we understand the need to keep confidential matters that deal with missionaries in covert situations.

    Beyond that, enlighten us about the "need for executive session."

    RM said...

    Ken,

    I would like to know specifically what things Wade discussed publicly that caused him to be censured. Your explanation seems lacking and like someone who is trying to get over "shooting themselves in the foot."

    Hiram Smith said...

    Wade, you ask, “Why is a trustee censured who is . . . supportive . . . ?” Your question is so elementary that I believe most elementary school pupils would have no trouble answering it. The elementary answer to your elementary question is simply this: “Wade Burleson has repeatedly failed to abide by the Trustee Standards of Conduct and Trustee Responsibilities.” That is why you were censured! The question is simple and so is the answer. (The quotation is from one of the “Whereas” statements in your own censure resolution.)

    Your censure problem has little to do with what you, or others, support. Many Southern Baptists support those same things. Indeed many, perhaps most of your fellow trustees support some version of the same four things that you said you support. But, so what?

    An overwhelming majority of at least two different (due to rotation) IMB trustee boards (and, I believe, an overwhelming majority of informed Southern Baptists) oppose you being allowed to trash the IMB’s standards of conduct for trustees, and to publish slanderous complaints against your fellow trustees on the IMB and against other SBC leaders, and against the carefully and prayerfully adopted decisions of SBC agency-entities, while you are a trustee of the IMB.

    Once you join those designated as ‘former trustee’ you will be amazed at how quickly you will be relieved of all forms of censure by Southern Baptists. Then, you can cast off all the inhibitions that presently restrain your crusade as dissenter-in-chief. Neither should there be any further need for your whining over your censure. Then you and Ben and can fully indulge your appetites for dissenting and dissecting any and every decision made by any SBC agency-entity that deigns to do anything without your prior consent and approval. Since you relish your dissenting so much, why do you not go ahead now and do what you offered to do in Springfield? Then you can dissent, unrestrained, til your heart’s content? And, you will be beyond the scope of any likely censure by any group of SBC trustees.

    Is it because you realize how quickly your voice and visibility might evaporate once you are no longer a trustee of the IMB? What effect would your “step down” have on your weblog hits? Surely you judged those things that you offered to do in Springfield as being right for you to do. But, if they were right, why should you refrain from doing them without your fellow IMB trustees giving you some special treatment not given to any other trustee? If doing them was wrong, why would you even offer to do them for any price? Nothing your fellow trustees should be able to do should persuade you to do wrong.

    Your conduct in Springfield seems to have placed you in a moral quagmire. You offered to do something if others would “ignore” their responsibilities under the operating rules of the IMB. They refused to shy from their duty, and now because they did their duty, you have refused to do those things that you obviously thought were right for you to do. Perhaps God impressed those things on your heart for you to do them. However, once you then decided to use your own proposed actions as bargaining chips in your futile attempt to get the IMB Executive Committee to refrain from recommending your censure resolution to the full IMB, you crossed a very important line. No bribe should be required for you to do those things you judged to be right. You should not have asked other trustees to “ignore” their duty in order to get you to do yours. You were not justified in asking your fellow trustees to do anything other than accept your “step down” or your sincere and full apology!

    Wade, thanks for replying to some of my earlier questions. I sincerely appreciate your reply. Thanks, also, for allowing me to comment again on your blog. If you have any further questions about me, please ask. Although, I am convinced that the better way to conduct exchanges like this is privately. That applies to questions and answers we have exchanged as well as complaints you or I may have against actions by SBC agency-entities or SBC leaders from time to time. I think that is the biblically preferred forum for such exchanges.

    With my best wishes and prayers for your efforts to “concentrate on personal ministry,” and for your full “restoration” as a trustee of the IMB,
    Hiram Smith
    Psa.23:1

    Rex Ray said...

    Censured—censured? Let me tell you about real censure caused by dissent.

    The deacon body asked its chairman to complain to the local paper about its pornography. He was waiting in the lobby for an appointment with the owner of the paper when the employee responsible walked by. The man asked to speak with him. They talked in his office and he left after shaking hands and being told to come back anytime.

    “What! Why are you still here?”
    “I have an appointment to talk to the owner.”
    “I’ll tell him what you said. You can leave.”
    “No, I’m staying.”
    “You’re not talking to my boss. Leave or I’ll call the police!”

    One city policeman went in with the employee to his office, and a big policeman sat next to the man in the lobby without saying a word as the man explained the situation.

    With a red face, the policeman said, “I’m taking you down those stairs!”
    “What? Why don’t you wait till your buddy decides what to do?”
    “I said NOW!” And in a fit of anger, he threw the man toward the stairs but he went over the balcony.

    The man caught the railing and climbed back over. The policeman was off balance and fell across a table…knocking a lamp over. Women screamed. The other policeman ran out of the office and saw his partner on the floor. The man was holding his hands up and saying there’s no trouble. Both police put the man on the floor and cuff him. The man’s mouth was going like a motorboat of dissent which enraged the big guy and he shook the man’s head by pulling out handfuls of hair. (For some reason the newspaper mailed his hair to him.)

    “I’m not going down the stairs with you guys holding me; you’ll push me and say I fell!

    The man woke up with blood running down the window of a police car.
    “How many times do I have to tell you not to hit someone when you arrest them?” These words came from a third policeman.

    “Take him to the hospital…you’ve got him bleeding like a stuck pig!”
    “Ah, he ain’t hurt. He’s a tough guy.”
    “Well, take him to the county police and book him.”

    The man was told to sit in the back while the city police made their report. They got their cuffs and left.

    “I hear you’re a real tough fighter.”
    “I’ve never hit anyone. Those other guys are the fighters.”
    “Well, we’re going to see how tough you are. You and me are going to have a little fight.”
    “That wouldn’t be a fight; I outweigh you thirty pounds.”
    “He doesn’t understand does he boys? I’ve never lost a fight yet.”

    And with that said, four policeman grabbed the man while the small officer worked him over with a blackjack. (A doctor said later from the depth of burses he was surprised he didn’t have seven broken bones.)

    “Don’t mark his face!”
    “Help me! Help me!” cried the man to someone in civilian clothes.
    “Help? Why, they don’t need any help; they’re doing a good job,” and laughed at his own joke. (The guy was chief of police.)

    The man regained conscious being drug into a cell.
    “Get on your knees!”
    They put a ‘restraining device’ on him that by twisting a crank, he was pulled into a ball. The neck collar almost stopped his breathing, and it took three months for torn knee ligaments to heal. He said the pain was indescribably.

    Ever so often, they would come by taunting, “Have you learned your lesson; your mouth’s not so big now is it?”
    He never said a word.

    A medic checked him ever fifteen minutes. Over an hour went by. At last, he said with much difficulty to the medic, “I won’t be here when you get back.”

    “Quick! He’s dying! Let him out!”

    Once loose, the man almost past out from hyperventilation.

    The man was never charge with resisting arrest, and paid a small fine for loitering.

    I heard this story three months later and couldn’t sleep for two days because the man was my twin brother.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Ken,

    It gives me no joy to correct you in such a blunt manner, but I must challenge the integrity of your comment. You sir, have either intentionally, or unintentionally (I personally believe the latter) lied. You stated in your comment:

    But let's be honest: you were not censured because you were critical. You were censured because you violated board rules.In this case, speaking publicly about matters discussed in executive session.

    Prove it Ken. Back up your comment with fact. You can't, because your statement is false.

    I am a Parliamentarian for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. I have been President of the BGCO for two terms. I chair three boards, and have served on many more secular Boards including the Northwest Oklahoma Board of Regents of Higher Education. I understand Executive Session rules, Robert's Rules of Order, and the corporate laws of confidentiality.

    I have never broken confidentiality rules. I have intentionally broken an internal policy that was passed in March 2006 and was designed to stifle dissent. I broke the policy because of my conscience and the Word of God. Any SBC agency should refrain from establishing a 'doctrinal' parameter that exceeds the 2000 BFM without Southern Baptist Convention approval. The IMB did, and I protested.

    Again, sorry to be so blunt, but Ken, when a man writes as specifically as you - alleging what you have alleged - that man must be challenged to back it up. You, my friend, have hit a dry well.

    In His Grace,

    Wade

    Glen Woods said...

    Hiram,

    I gently suggest you re-read what you posted above, especially your characterization of Wade in terms of engaging in slander and whining, and then ask yourself if that is really how you want to represent yourself and your position. The tone of your comment seems a bit shrill and your accusations of slander and whining are inconsistent with the behavior I have witnessed by Wade on this blog. Maybe it's time to take a step back and get some perspective, yes?

    Wade Burleson said...

    Hiram,

    What I do, I do with intentionality and much thought. I have repeatedly stated that the IMB had every right to censure me because I intentionally broke the March 22, 2006 newly established policy that was designed to stifle trustee dissent. This policy was implemented the day the motion for my removal - which I was fully prepared to debate before the entire Convention - was unanimously rescinded by the IMB trustees. I have dissented on only two things:

    (1). The establishment of doctrinal policies in 2005 that exceed the 2000 BFM WITHOUT Convention approval, and
    (2). The establishment of a policy in March 2006 that stifles minority trustee consent.

    I have consistently, repeatedly, graciously and firmly publicly dissented over these two actions since they were implemented. I was willing to cease the public dissent - and offered to do so three weeks ago - and shut down my blog in order not to make Wade Burleson an issue again.

    Everything I have done has been according to a principle. The offer still stands if the Executive Committee or Executive Board would like to accept it. The only difference now is that I will not be resigning - and for good reason. If you would like to know, feel free to call me.

    Otherwise, let me again encourage you to begin your own blog. You have a great deal to say, and seem inspired to say it, and our convention needs multiple voices.

    Wade Burleson said...

    Glen,

    Thanks for the defense, but I must say I am used to Hiram now.

    I just grin.

    Wade

    Glen Woods said...

    All righty Wade:) I don't comment much here since I am not in the SBC as you know, but I do read all of your posts. I just shake my head in amazement when I hear accusations like that. Anyway, have a great evening and I will crawl back into obscurity. :)

    T. D. Webb said...

    Wade,
    A belated congratulations on the second anniversary of "Grace and Truth to You"! This Okie continues to admire the grace and civility with which you have conducted your behavior, especially in the light of the fact that many have displayed very opposite approaches to the issues and a corresponding lack of civility and/or equity in responding to your right of legitimate dissent at the IMB BoT.

    Notwithstanding the gerrymandering spins and attempts at taking the focus off the obvious double standard that characterizes the practices of leadership within the IMB BoT, your point remains unrefuted. To put the issue in line with terms of certain gastronomical aspects of the upcoming holiday season, this Okie thought a rhyming verse might be in order:

    Gaggles and Gobbles

    They sought in vain to “gaggle” your goose,
    Yet, one must state with cool candor,
    The sauce that they used in their abuse,
    They wouldn’t pour on "their" gander.

    Feathered nests of birds in quest
    They muddy the issues most murky,
    To “gaggle” you, Wade, you pesky pest,
    Does one hear the “gobbles” of turkeys?
    ;^)

    In His Grace and Peace,

    T. D. Webb

    Ken said...

    Dear Bro. Wade,
    Unfortunately, I must agree that you are correct. Indeed, my accusation was wrong. After reading the BP article regarding your censure, I understand that you were not censured for violating executive session, but for violating board rules. I sincerely apologize for the misstatement of fact, but I can assure you that it was not an intentional lie on my part. However, it was a shoddy piece of research on my part. Again, my sincere apologies and blessings to you.

    Bryan Riley said...

    One of the emphases of the article included this bulletpoint:

    "Current strategy leads to working with questionable Great Commission Christians groups on the field."

    Something about such a concern frightens me.

    greg hicks said...

    Ken,

    Still waiting on your explanation for the need to do business in the dark...

    Wade Burleson said...

    Ken,

    Competely, unconditionally forgiven. Thank you for such a gracious example of seeking forgiveness when wrong.

    My respect for your has grown exponentially. How I wish others who have made similar errors, would be willing to follow your example. The fact that some do not does make me wonder whether or not their errors, unlike yours, are intentional.

    In His Grace,

    Wade

    Anonymous said...

    I know this is not the crux of this post, but when I read the item regarding "top-down leadership instead of bottom-up leadership," I almost cried. It is at the core of my frustration these days. Coffee shop leadership is more demoralizing than anything I've ever encountered on the field. I hope these concerns are discussed openly and freely.

    Blessed to serve,

    An anonymous M

    othoniel a valdes sr said...

    interesting
    maybe he thinks that startegy is not doctrine therefore it can be challenge ,or that freedom of the press trumps trustee freedoms & limitations.
    I would like to hear his response why don't you ask him and let us know what he says.

    Wade Burleson said...

    othoniel,

    If you think that only 'strategy' can be challenged publicly and NOT tertiary 'doctrines,' then name the cult to which you belong so that I will know not to join.

    :)