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

Far Enough: The Imbroglio in the IMB and SBC

I have read a handful of comments by people who appreciate the spirit and tone of my 'letter of apology' but can't understand why I would not seek forgiveness for violating the 'new' trustee standard of conduct (2006) that states an IMB trustee must publicly affirm a board action even if he cannot privately support it. Allow me to explain why I cannot apologize for violating that standard in 2006 and early 2007, and why I believe it to be a 'standard of conduct' that may well go down as one of the worst policies ever adopted by any Southern Baptist agency in the history of our Convention.

When an agency of the Southern Baptist Convention allows her trustees to ask any and all questions related to a proposed board action, when agency business and all corresponding debate by trustees is held in plenary sessions under the open view of Southern Baptists rather than behind closed door in Executive Sessions, when every agency trustee is allowed to follow through with due diligence when attempting to examine proposed policies, and when trustees experience a free and open debate on important issues before the board, then it is absolutely unnecessary for an agency to pass a 'standard of conduct' that prohibits trustees from public dissent of any board approved action. For 161 years every agency of the Southern Baptist Convention, including the International Mission Board, did not feel it necessary to stifle trustees from expressing public reservations over board approved actions. But in March 2006, IMB trustee leadership led the board to adopt a four page document called 'Trustee Standards of Conduct' that forbad public dissent of board approved actions by IMB trustees and it superseded the fifty page policy manual (called the 'Blue Book') that formerly governed IMB trustees in terms of their responsibilities and accountability. It was at that same March 2006 trustee meeting in Tampa, Florida where IMB trustee leadership also led the board to rescind the recommendation for my removal from the board, a motion that they had just passed the meeting before.

I was recommended for removal from the IMB board in January 2006 after months of attempting to work behind the scenes as a duly elected trustee to wrestle through some serious issues before our board, but being stymied at every turn by trustee leadership as I sought to find answers to some very important questions that I had as a new trustee. It was only after I repeatedly experienced an unconscionable and heavy handed attempt to stifle debate over the proposed doctrinal policies, and received no anecdotal evidence for their need - though I REPEATEDLY asked for it - that I wrote in December 2005 that certain trustees (without naming them) were pushing some horribly written doctrinal policies for political purposes, including the end of Dr. Rankin's era as President of the IMB. You can rest assured I can support what I have written on this blog, and I will soon do so with the names of those involved. Further, I wrote that these two policies would exclude from Southern Baptist missionary service otherwise qualified Southern Baptists. I also pointed out that both doctrinal policies in question (baptism and private prayer language) exceed the clear statements of the BFM 2000. I said it was time to stop 'the narrowing of doctrinal parameters' of cooperation within the Southern Baptist Convention. The post was entitled "Crusading Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives: The War for the Future of the Southern Baptist Convention."

I felt the need to go public with my opposition to the new 'doctrinal' policies at the IMB because the Southern Baptist Convention needs to see clearly the danger of excluding her own from cooperative mission work, and the importance of a Convention based on cooperaton expanding her cooperative mission efforts, not reducing them. Trustee leadership absolutely refused to allow me to ask IMB staff and Candidate Consultants their opinions of the trustee 'proposed doctrinal policies,' and NOBODY in trustee leadership would or could give me ANY evidence that problems on the mission field necessitated such policy changes. In the end, I was told by John Floyd that there was NO anecdotal evidence from the field that these policies were needed. To him this was a 'doctrinal' issue and the IMB needed to be 'doctrinally' pure and those who disagreed with him and others on the Board on these 'doctrinal' issues were not 'worthy' of appointment. That, my friend, spells trouble with a capital T.

The IMB Trustees Exceed Their Convention Authority

So, you have the very bizarre scenario of trustee leaders of the International Mission Board exceeding their convention mandated responsiblities and taking the action of implementing doctrinal policies that exceed the BFM 2000. Ironically, if those new policies were to be made retroactive, then Dr. and Mrs. Jerry Rankin would be terminated. Of course, it was stated at the time that the new 'doctrinal' policies would not be made retroactive. Yet, the same thing was said in 2001 when missionaries on the field were told that they would NOT have to sign the new BFM 2000 and could serve under the old 63 Faith and Message. Later, the trustees broke their promise and terminated more missionaries in one day than any other day in the history of the IMB. Who's to say those kind of broken promises would not occur again?

At the IMB in 2005 you had the absurd circumstance of a former employee of the International Mission Board, John Floyd, who himself left the IMB as a regional supervisor for reasons that will be articulated at a later date, now serving as the Chairman of the Personnel Committee of his former employer and pushing policies that would disqualify the very President under whom he had previously served if those policies were to be made retroactive. Trustee leadership was furious that I publicly questioned the rationale for their actions. When, in then end, the trustee board voted to adopt the new policies (by a controversial vote total), I took my objection to the SBC through my blog.

Trustee leadership then recommended my removal for 'gossip' and 'slander' but immediately changed the wording (when challenged to prove it) to 'loss of trust' and 'resistance to accountability.' When they realized I would be able to defend my objections to the IMB policies before the entire convention (as I did for over one hour to a select group of Convention leaders in February of 2006 in St. Louis), trustee leadership led the IMB board to unanimously rescind the recommendation for my removal at the very next IMB meeting in Tampa, Florida, in March 2006. In that same meeting trustee leadership asked that a NEW Trustee Standard of Conduct be adopted which states that "trustees must publicly affirm a board action even if they cannot privately support it." I voted against the 'new' trustee standard of conduct, arguing that (1). it was the worst possible policy any Baptist agency could ever pass because it violates every sacred and historic Baptist principle associated with religious liberty and freedom of conscience, and (2). it was a cowardly way to deal with my public dissent because it removed the issue of my objections to the doctrinal policies that exceed the BFM 2000 from being dealt with by the SBC at large. Trustee leadership felt it was better to seek to control me and contain me within the board than to allow the full and free public debate that would occur over these very important issues before the entire SBC if the recommendation for my removal were to move forward.

The Reasons The 'New' Standard That Forbids Dissent Was Violated

After March 2006, several important motions began the process of appearing before the Southern Baptist Convention. One of these motions was offered by me and necessitated that I intentionally violate the 'new' standard of conduct in order to explain the need for the motion. Some of the motions before the Convention included the request to establish an investigative committee to determine whether or not prospective trustees of the International Mission Board were being called, vetted, and approved by sitting IMB trustees to the Board in violation of the bylaws of the Southern Baptist Convention, and the infamous 2007 'Garner Motion' where the Convention was asked to adopt the statement that requested SBC agencies to view the BFM 2000 as the only convention-wide approved doctrinal statement, and as such, a sufficient guide for cooperation. I intentionally violated the "new" trustee standard of conduct that prohibits dissent and wrote about the two poor doctrinal policies of the IMB and how they were damaging to the future of the SBC in order to 'garner' support for those motions. By the way, the Convention passed both motions.

I do not regret violating the 'new' standard of conduct that forbids dissent in 2006 and early 2007 and therefore I cannot apologize for it. The Convention needed to address the issues at the IMB, and they did for the good of our cooperative mission work. I can and do apologize for the fact that my dissent has distracted board leadership from focusing on missions, but I make no apology for following my conscience. Even though I have not written anything about trustees in the last several months, every IMB meeting since the summer of 2007 has been filled with attempts by trustee leadership to 'deal' with Wade Burleson, and I absolutely regret that. However, I have no regrets that I joined dozens of other Southern Baptist leaders in 2006 and early 2007 throughout the Convention to speak to the very important issues within our Convention. The SBC eventually adopted the 2007 Garner Motion and now everyone knows that the narrowing of doctrinal parameters of cooperation at individual SBC agencies is unacceptable in the SBC.

An Olive Branch Rejected

My heartfelt statement last night was an attempt to extend the olive branch to my fellow trustees and put the focus on missions at the IMB and off of me. However, my statement was not accepted. Trustee leadership desired for me to state I was wrong in violating the new trustee standard of conduct that forbids dissent. I cannot apologize for that which I believe is right. My public dissent expressed over the IMB trustees adopting 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the BFM 2000 only BECAME a violation of 'Trustee Conduct' in March of 2006; I had been publicly dissenting for three months. This blatant attempt to stifle me placed me in a position of either continuing and being censured or resigning. I chose the former. I chose to follow the path that I deemed would bring about the higher moral good for our Convention. Others may disagree with my view that I was doing the higher good, but I was willing to put my name, my reputation, and my future on the line. That is how deeply I believed in resisting the narrowing of the 'doctrinal' parameters of cooperation (regardless of the motivation of those pushing it), and how strongly I felt about the attempts to stifle dissent

I have seen the good that has come to our Convention through the Garner Motion and the election of Frank Page. There are a great number of new IMB trustees who do not have any historical context, but certain other trustees have been around for a long time, and they are the ones who are now in leadership. These trustees now understand they are under a great deal of scrutiny in any action they take - as it should be. Nevertheless, current trustee leadership led by John Floyd, Chuck McAlister, Jerry Corbaley and others would not accept anything from me last night but a statement that said, "I was wrong for violating the 'new' trustee standard of conduct that forbids dissent."

Again, I cannot apologize for those things that I did that I do not believe are wrong. History will be my the judge. It did become crystal clear to me last night that for me to continue in my service as a trustee of the IMB, I would be a distraction. Questions would continually be asked, "Has Wade apologized yet?" or "Is Wade on a committee yet?" or "Has the censure been lifted?" These questions are a distraction for the board when they meet. The board needs to focus on missions, listen to the vision of the President and staff, and help them implement that vision.

A Needed Reprimand

The Executive Committee of the SBC strongly reprimanded the Executive Committee of the IMB this past Monday for seeking to bar me from trustee meetings, stating that the IMB Executive Committee had opened up the IMB to a lawsuit from the SBC or myself for violating the bylaws of the convention. The inability for trustee leadership to understand they were violating Convention bylaws when they sought to bar me from meetings is ridiculous, particularly when I told Chairman Floyd this very thing prior to their action. I would have informed the entire board before they voted, but I was not given the opportunity to speak, and after the vote, when I went to the microphone to ask a question, I was told I would not be recognized.

Last night in my final plenary session with the IMB I went absolutely as far as I could go in seeking to bring about a resolution through drafting the statement I read to the full board. I even offered to shut down my blog immediately if the statement were accepted. The Executive Committee said that my statement was not acceptable. The impasse is clear and no resolution can be seen; and the impasse is is distracting to our mission work. The idea that the board 'removed' the restrictions this Monday to my participation in board meetings and was reaching out to me is absolutely absurd. Several trustees told me that both I and the SBC Executive Commitee were excoriated behind closed doors Monday by trustees who were furious that they would have to remove the 'restrictions' from me serving on the Board. One trustee went so far as to say something needed to be done to bar me from trustee meetings, just as if I were a 'pedophile' or a 'murderer.' Two trustees told me they almost resigned on the spot when they heard that, but others 'amened' the suggestion. Such speech would be tempered in open meetings. Nevertheless, any trustee who is tempted to be giddy that I am no longer serving as a trustee might consider waiting until June before they allow themselves to rejoice.

For the sake of the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, I will continue to stay involved in seeking to keep the basis of our cooperation intact and resisting the temptation in the hearts of some to narrow the doctrinal parameters of SBC missionary and ministry cooperation. The Convention will change - or we will die a thousand Convention deaths (Dwight McKissic, Sheri Klouda, Jason Epps, etc . . . ). Jerry Rankin will not now be a victim as others before him. By God's grace, the SBC fold will stop decreasing and start increasing because we are NOT interested in disqualifying everybody who disagrees with us over tertiary issues.

I'm sure not going anywhere.

In His Grace,


Wade Burleson

62 comments:

art rogers said...

So, they have, in fact, set you free to speak with no feeling of restriction.

Good. I look forward to your forthcoming words and accompanying evidence.

Charlie said...

Wade
It was a pleasure meeting you and John. The commissioning at Westside was beyound description. I looked for y'all and wondered where you were. When I read of your resignation I was saddened but fully understand. GOD has plans for you that is beyond your imagination. Hang on for the ride. The 36 newbies were outstanding. GOD surely is alive and in control. If ever in OK, we wll stop in to see you. Sometimes the efforts we make don't come to fruition until later. I still cling to Luke 9:50-51. Blessing for your wife and you. Keep the faith

Charlie

Tim Guthrie said...

Wade,
I still have a question that nags at me - how would you have dealt with a deacon at your church who took your course of action? Has this occured? It is indeed the best approach for any organization? What if it were a staff member? Is there a difference?

Tim Guthrie said...

The one line should have read "Is it indeed..."

Wade Burleson said...

Mr. Guthrie,

If my deacon body went behind closed doors, violated our bylaws or exceeded the church mandate for their responsibilities and authority, and then tried to keep information from deacons who questioned their collective authority or church members who wanted to know what was goin on, not only would I commend the deacon who told the church, I would seek to remove every other deacon who participated in such violations of trust.

In His Grace,

Wade

Chuck Andrews said...

Wade

Thanks, to you, Rachelle, your family, and Emmanuel Baptist Church for the faithful service and testimony of gracious leadership. To anyone who has been in a situation of serving between a rock and a hard spot, no explanation is needed. Your resignation is understood. You are simply following the leadership of the Holy Spirit as you have in the past.

It seems to me that some of us have been living out our struggle with the current SBC leadership vicariously through you. Kind of like the army of Israel watching David go up against Goliath. Though we have supported and encouraged you, we have not had to take the shots, grapple with the stress, risk our reputation, or carry the burden of reform to which you have been called. Some of us have been on the sideline and some in the spectator stands but we’ve not been in the game, as you have. May our disappointment in your resignation not be an added burden. We’ve cheered you on and continue to cheer as you move into the next stage of your ministry to the SBC. With gratitude we thank you for your past, present, and future ministry.

It really is hard to believe how entrenched the powers that be are and how clueless they remain. Although “we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses“ (2 Cor. 10:3f), fortresses are built by men. When destruction begins, it appears to some that we are warring against those very men. The very men who have built the present fortress of power and control were used by God to bring down the fortress of power and control 30 years ago. Now they have climbed the ladder of success going from small seemingly insignificant churches and Bible Colleges to prominent leaders of the SBC and her entities. Time, victories, egos, prestige, commitment, faithfulness, comfort can seduce all of us into building fortresses. Nevertheless, fortresses must be destroyed, lessons must be learned, and changes must be made to bring checks and balances to the future.

Wade, I pray that your example will inspire a free-spoken army to wield, with soul competency, the divinely powerful weapons of grace and truth. I also pray for you as you are released from Trustee responsibility to continue as a leader of reformation in the SBC.

Sola Scriptura,

Chuck

Gary Snowden said...

Wade,

Thank you for your courage to speak plainly about the current leadership of the IMB's BoT. I've followed your blog since its inception and have appreciated hearing a voice of reason tempered with grace in the face of so much hostility and organized opposition to your service on that board. I grieve together with many of the anonymous missionaries who feel that they have lost their sole defender and one who could be counted upon to serve as their advocate with the board. Their inability to sign their name speaks volumes about the atmosphere of fear of reprisal for attitudes and actions that don't toe the party line laid down by power-hungry trustees.

As one whose career with the IMB was cut short by the actions you mentioned of rescinding the earlier promise not to require current missionaries to sign the BF&M 2000, I'm keenly aware of the politics involved. I pray for those who still serve but who now must feel a little more vulnerable to the whims of those calling the shots on the BoT since your resignation.

I would wish that this post could be read by every Southern Baptist as it is high time that the rank and file membership of SBC churches comes to grip with the tragic situation and plight of entities controlled by trustees whose allegiance and loyalty to the generals of the Conservative Resurgence (or fundamentalist takeover) blinds them to their duties and produces the type of un-Christian behavior that you have exposed.

I'm not expecting the Baptist Press or state papers to pick up your post and run it, but I can't think of many things that would have a more salutary effect on the future of the SBC than to see the inner workings of power politics revealed for what they are.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Wade-could you please email me your mailing address? I have something I would like to send you as a small gift.

david@voyagethroughthebible.com

thanks
dm

dont be shy now-i wnat to do this. its really no big deal, i promise.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

You write that you will soon name those involved.

How bitter and resentful of you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous who thinks Wade is bitter and resentful... there are a lot of missionaries who could write down those names that have been serving with the IMB the last 10 years... No one would listen to us though... We aren't bitter, just dog gone tired of the fundamentalist pushing their agenda in the SBC and trying to get rid of Jerry Rankin as our leader.

Chuck and Gary... Ditto ditto, you say it well.

M with YOUR organization

stepleton3 said...

Thank you for the communication of the truth. I pray that your predictions in the next to last 2 sentences will be fulfilled. Thanks for staying the course. Grace and peace, Stan

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

I hope you make the ones who said those disgusting things VERY FAMOUS. I hope and pray that you list their name, post a pic of them and add a link to their email address here very soon. Perhaps even list their church home with contact information as well.

What does saying such a thing say about how seriously they take pedophilia?

Thank God I wasn't standing there when they said it.

Scotte Hodel said...

" I will continue to stay involved in seeking to keep the basis of our cooperation intact and resisting the temptation in the hearts of some to narrow the doctrinal parameters of SBC missionary and ministry cooperation"

Thank you!

"Can two walk together except they be agreed?" For those excluded by the new policies, "cooperation" as now defined appears to be control of funds while excluding service in violation of the one passage of scripture that says "do not forbid ..." by a policy that would disqualify the Apostle Paul himself!

From my chair, that's not cooperation. Something has tipped over and needs to be set right again.

Lin said...

I still have a question that nags at me - how would you have dealt with a deacon at your church who took your course of action? Has this occured? It is indeed the best approach for any organization? What if it were a staff member? Is there a difference?

31 January, 2008

These questions only serve to show us how misunderstood the concept of biblical leadership really is. So many can only think in terms of 'authority' and 'power'. They cannot think in terms of servanthood or the 'Body'.

How did we become so 'Catholic' in our polity?

I am reminded each time I read the church Epistles that they were not written to ONE authoritarian leader. They were written to the entire Body.

Anonymous said...

I was unaware of the purpose of the forced signing of the BFM, at that time. I will not be so naive or uninformed this time.

I support Dr. Rankin as our leader. I'm thankful that Wade Burleson has taken a stand and told me what is going on in my own org.

I think the "apology" is a smoke-screen for an unbiblical narrowing of the parameters for service (I Cor. 14:39). I do agree with Gary, that I feel more vulnerable and even more stifled than I already did.
I also agree with "m in your org" some know more than they can share.

Another m in your org and nameless for obvious reasons

DT Boy said...

Is the Reprimand from SBC EC available somewhere for the rest of the world to see? Or was it a behind closed doors kind of thing?

If the IMB BoT continues on this kind of path what is the role of individual SBC members/messengers like myself? On the one hand I want them to held accountable yet, I fear being labeled somehow with the IMB and thus any my students who wish to serve with them will also be labeled. Maybe this is too Big Brotherish of me but it is what is circling around in my head.

Any thoughts anyone?

David said...

Biblical convictions, and the courage of those convictions: the SBC and its agencies only will be better for the expression--public expression--of them.

Now would be a great time for IMB trustees and their leaders to get their lives right with the Lord and with Wade.

Jon L. Estes said...

Wade,

My prayers are with you as you step away from the BoT and follow God's leading in your life.

I have little and know less but if I can help in any way to keep Southern Baptists in the pew informed and up to date, let me know.

FYI - My specific prayer (top of the list) is that Dr. Rankin will not be blind sided now that there is not someone to expose any slithery plans being covertly carried in the back door.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous who said: You write that you will soon name those involved. How bitter and resentful of you.

Yeah, let's just let the world expose that their is sin in the camp. Let's let the secular media be the one who "uncovers" the personal kingdom building. Or, we could do something really biblical--like, handling it within the Body.

But that would require you to think for yourself and be willing to examine everything that comes out of the BOT of the IMB. But no, that would cause you to be uncomfortable! And you probably couldn't handle that--could you?

M

Jon L. Estes said...

Let's have a campaign to bring all our missionaries home for the convention. Just one week here. Man that would be fun. Of course we need to get them elected as messengers.

How could 4,000 + more votes affect the convention?

Any super wealthy people out there who might want to foot the bill for the cause and name of Christ? I wish I were.

Jon L. Estes said...

Anonymous M,

How do you suggest we handle it within the body? IS not our annual meeting where the body meets to handle these things?

From what Wade has stated, he worked behind the scenes but to no avail. Do you want him to just drop that which he sees as a mandate against scripture and who we are as baptist?

Anonymous said...

Jon,
I think you misunderstood my comment. I'm with Wade and all that he has done. It has been courageous and inspiring. And unlike the Anon who stated that naming names was bitter and resentful--my point is that Wade should name the names! The sooner the better for this M. Plus, I'd love to have all the M's at the convention as you suggested--then, once and for all (okay, maybe for just a time) we'll see that the CR has gone so far that men are now building Kingdoms for men, and not furthering the KINGDOM!

M

Anonymous said...

So you were prepared to shut down your blog and get back in line and keep the focus on missions had they accepted your apology? Isn't that what I read in today's and yesterday's blogs?

Then, rightly or wrongly, they didn't accept your apology...

So now you are going to blast them with your secret information inorder to maintain doctrinal integrity?

Sounds like sour grapes to me.

If the issues are that serious, why would you have EVER been willing to not divulge the secret information to start with.

I hope you will get your secret information out soon so we can get this behind us and get on with the work at hand.

This is becoming nothing more than a distraction, and, I fear, a personal vendetta, maybe by people on both sides.

Lin said...

"If the issues are that serious, why would you have EVER been willing to not divulge the secret information to start with."

Why are you anonymous?

Steve said...

When in the entire history of the SBC has some guy had to be let go and then had the chance to be named chairman of the board of the agency that had had to show him the door? This is like some bank robber being named president of the bank or something.
Whoever put John Floyd on this trustee board owes an apology to the Convention.

Anonymous said...

I am anonymous because my argument doesn't have anything to do with my identity.

Can you answer the question you quoted...

"If the issues are that serious, why would you have EVER been willing to not divulge the secret information to start with."

David said...

Anonymous probably is NOT anonymous, with the technology that blogsite owners such as Wade have at their disposal (cf. SBCOutpost's current thread).

Wade can disclose more names than he has made reference to in the present posting.

Wade knows who I am via email dialog as well as posted comments here.

Anonymous said...

"This is becoming nothing more than a distraction, and, I fear, a personal vendetta, maybe by people on both sides."

If I'm remembering Wade's posts correctly, he has already tried to talk to the trustees individually and privately, to no avail.

Then, he submitted this letter to the entire group, to no avail.

Only now is he going public to the entire body.

If it was a personal vendetta on his part, I think he would have skipped the first 2 steps and gone public right away, no? There is a vendetta/crusade at work here, but not from Wade.

Anonymous said...

That really freightens me. I have said such incendiary things I would never want my identity known.

Don't try to change the subject by talking about my anonymity. Answer the question.

(If Wade doesn't want anonymous comments to appear on his blog, he can turn that feature off in the settins area of his blog controls.)

Anonymous said...

Anon said, "Only now is he going public to the entire body."

Yes. But he offered to sweep it all under the rug if they would only accept his apology. So is it a big deal or is it not?

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
You wrote: “The Executive Committee of the SBC strongly reprimanded the Executive Committee of the IMB this past Monday for seeking to bar me from trustee meetings, stating that the IMB Executive Committee had opened up the IMB to a lawsuit from the SBC or myself for violating the bylaws of the convention.”

The big big question is WHY did the Executive Committee of the SBC wait till 4 days ago to officially reprimand the leaders of the IMB?

This reprimand demonstrates WHO in the SBC has the real power. For years and years, they’ve controlled the SBC as shown by their recommendation to withdraw from the Baptist World Alliance.

At that time their ‘voice’ was Patterson. When caught in untruthful slander against the BWA, the President of the Executive Committee pointed the finger and said Patterson wrote it. To this day, Patterson has never explained anything.

But back to the question at hand…these power people knew all along bylaws were being broken by the IMB. Why did they wait till now to stifle its leaders?

Could it be all about money? Did they realize Klouda may win a lawsuit, and you might be next?

Ahhh…how far has justice declined with the C/R Baptist morals that they have to be kept in check by civil law, or have they been that way all along?

Pastor Noel said...

People have objected to me making anonymous comments. If my humble identity will somehow make people look more closely at what I said, then here it is.

I'm the person who wrote the previously anonymous post...

"So you were prepared to shut down your blog and get back in line and keep the focus on missions had they accepted your apology? Isn't that what I read in today's and yesterday's blogs?

Then, rightly or wrongly, they didn't accept your apology...

So now you are going to blast them with your secret information inorder to maintain doctrinal integrity?

Sounds like sour grapes to me.

If the issues are that serious, why would you have EVER been willing to not divulge the secret information to start with.

I hope you will get your secret information out soon so we can get this behind us and get on with the work at hand.

This is becoming nothing more than a distraction, and, I fear, a personal vendetta, maybe by people on both sides."

Jon L. Estes said...

Anonymous M,

My apologies for misreading you. I thought bringing it to the SBC meeting would bring it to the public arena.

My bad. I'll try and read better next time.

Jon L. Estes said...

Lin,

You don't seem to mind the anonymity on other forums you frequent when they cry for transparency from leadership.

David said...

So, apparently anonymous comments are very welcome here; but, really, comments which don't help the Body or contribute to progress aren't--at least with this anonymous poster.

Got anything else, Anonymous? How to move forward considering the actual condition of things? Unless you also were present, which appears not to be the case, you'll have to take Wade's word for how things truly stand and what the course must be from here--executive session rules and no-comment trustees prevent any other assessments.

Wade's done his part to help. Do yours.

Mark said...

Pastor Noel,

I would respectfully say that I think you're missing the point.

"Getting in line" implies Wade's position is out of line. But when IMB trustee leadership leads the acquiescent trustees to approve doctrinal parameters for potential missionary candidates that go beyond the BFM 2000 without convention approval - they're the ones out of line.

When IMB leadership seek to shut down Christian civil dissent by leading acquiescent trustees to remove, then "unremove" a trustee, then censure, then "uncensure" same trustee - could it not be any clearer as to who has the "sour grapes"?

Why do you poo-poo these actions away as if it's not a big deal, especially in light of all the drama? What the IMB trustee leadership and acquiescent trustees did was wrong in a BIG WAY.

The "distraction" and "vendettas" solely rest on the blessed backsides of the IMB trustee leadership and sheepish trustees without courage or a clue.

That a potential lawsuit is the driving force to motivate both SBC Exec. Comm. & IMB Exec. Comm. to move saddens me.

Mark

Gary said...

To those of you with a parlimentary bent and knowledge of Convention land mines, what would be the correct form for a motion from the floor to vacate the entire IMB BoT and place a hold on the nominations for this year? Part two of the motion would be to instruct an entirely independent Ad Hoc Committee (consisting of laypeople from the 50 churches with highest per-capita giving to LMCO?) to both oversee operations of IMB for coming 3 years, and Reform the ByLaws and accountability to the Southern Baptist Convention, in the form of the churches which make up said Convention.

Yup. Needs *a lot* of work, I agree.

Doable? I would expect there to be much manuevering before, during, and especially after, both in the form of parlimentary thrusts, and one-on-one parries to influence both the dissolution of the BoT and the re-writing of the "Accountability Statement" or whatever it would end up being called.

And still lots to do. New trustees after year 3, how to appoint, accountability, legality given ByLaws of SBC, EC, and IMB. Ad infinitum.

Any takers? Don Quixote? Anyone?

Gary

Lin said...

Lin,

You don't seem to mind the anonymity on other forums you frequent when they cry for transparency from leadership.

31 January, 2008

Hi Jon, Good to see you are supporting transparancy and openess with the IMB. Too bad you did not think the same way with BBC. As I recall, you commented that they should not 'touch thine anointed' using King Saul as an example.

What changed for you?

Now, if you want to call me out again, how about e-mailing me? Let's not do this here.

I supported anonymity in that situation because people were being singled out for abuse from leaders with power. Some even had their income at stake with NO protection.

I would like to thank Pastor Noel for commenting with his real name.

Jon L. Estes said...

Lin,

Situational ethics are not my cup of tea.

Enjoy

Jon L. Estes said...

Lin,

I never supported the lack of transparency of th BBC leadership what I spoke of was the anonymous spear throwing at the leadership.

RKSOKC66 said...

Gary:

You idea needs quite a lot of "fleshing out". However, something that shakes up the governance of the agencies of the SBC is needed. The arcane method of choosing trustees makes it difficult -- if not impossible -- for rank and file pastors and people in the SBC to weigh in on various policies. Regardless of what ever happens to open up the process for nominating and/or voting on trustees, I think the more crucial thing is that we need some sort of referrundum and/or initialtive process whereby any action of any BoT can be taken to the full annual meeting. In order to eliminate "micromanagement" of the agencies (and their BoT) initiatives would require some threshold of the total present and voting to be introduced. For example, if Wade et. al. wanted to overturn the "anti-PPL" provision for the appointment of IMB missionaries it would be up to him to get say 40% of those present and voting at the annual meeting to introduce a motion to open up the business item for discussion. Then for the motion to carry it would need a 2/3 majority. This is a pretty steep criterion, but I think it is needed to keep the annual meeting from being bogged down in minutia.

In the state of California we had Grey Davis. The people kicked him out and put in Arnold. We need something similar in the SBC so that in extraordenary circumstances we can get new leadership.

As is it now, our mechanism enables self-perpuating leadership cliques.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

My we all think very highly of ourselves commenting on this blog including Mr. Burleson. What big egos we have. Maybe we should remind ourselves of what the Lord requires of us.

"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."
Romans 12:10

"Do nothing from krivalry or conceit, but in mhumility count others more significant than yourselves."
Philippians 2:3

"Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, lthey may see your good deeds and glorify God on mthe day of visitation. Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution."
1 Peter 2:12-13

Oklahoma Joe

Gary said...

I agree that we should, as Oklahoma Joe says, "do as the Lord requires us". However...

The Scripture, also directs us to rebuke and to accept rebuke:

Ecclesiastes 7:5 says, “It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise than for a man to hear the song of fools.”

Psalms 141:5, “Let the righteous strike me; It shall be a kindness. And let him rebuke me; It shall be as excellent oil; Let my head not refuse it.”

The Minor Prophets of the Old Testament, one after the other, were "voices crying in the wilderness", standing up against a people who had gone astray. Amos says in 5:10, “They hate the one who rebukes in the gate, and they abhor the one who speaks uprightly.”

1 Timothy 5:20 exhorts preachers to “rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.”

Paul instructs Titus (1:13)to “rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.” He continues, “Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you." (Titus 2:15)

Scriptural.

This should be done while full of grace and with a heavy heart. As far as Wade is concerned, I expect it has been and is. But rebuke it was, and scriptural it was.

Wrong is wrong and should be so stated. Agreeing with wrong just to "get along" is just as wrong.

Rebuke is scriptural and as we can see by example here, can be well applied both personally and corporately.

Gary

New BBC Open Forum said...

JLE wrote:

"I never supported the lack of transparency of th BBC leadership what I spoke of was the anonymous spear throwing at the leadership."

Well, you certainly never criticized it. All you wanted to do was shoot the messengers and stir things up.

I thought the question from the anonymous poster asking, "If the issues are that serious, why would you have EVER been willing to not divulge the secret information to start with," was valid. The fact that the person was anonymous didn't negate the legitimacy of the question.

I can only assume Wade's been sitting on it all this time in the hopes that things would work out and the trustees would see the light. I can understand that, but obviously that didn't happen. Now that it's obvious the lengths to which these men will go to silence dissent, Wade needs to start singing like the proverbial canary, not writing long-winded explanations trying to justify his actions (which most of us seem to support) and encouraging churches to increase their giving to the CP. As someone said, you don't continue to throw money at a corrupt organization that has no accountability. (Unfortunately, we have no choice when it comes to paying taxes.) "Grace" is one thing; "stupidity" is quite another. (Not calling you stupid, Wade! Perhaps just a little naive in this one area.)

If Wade doesn't "open the books" and "spill the beans" now, I won't think as much of him, but I'll be surprised if he does. Wade's too nice for that. I think sometimes we work a little too hard at playing "nice" and not confronting wrongdoing or offending others at the expense of the truth. Was Jesus being "nice" when he threw the moneychangers out of the temple?

This is exactly why Steve Gaines at Bellevue Baptist Church has gotten away with so much. The people who know stuff firsthand just want to sit on it. If half the rumors I've heard about SG are true, he should be sitting in a prison cell now with Bellevue's former "minister of prayer" as his cellmate. (I'm not implying that Steve Gaines is a sexual predator.) To me they're mostly just rumors, so I won't be speaking publicly about them, but people who claim to have proof are remaining silent, at least publicly. It seems they'd rather sit around and gossip among themselves about it. It's why predators like Darrell Gilyard and Tommy Gilmore have been allowed to continue to prey on their victims -- because no one who knew about them would do anything with the information. (The lone Jacksonville pastor who did speak out about Gilyard was pretty much ignored or vilified.)

We've witnessed this firsthand at Bellevue and in the SBC. Men aren't acting like men. They're acting, if you'll pardon the stereotypical comparison, like a bunch of gossipy old women. (One thing I learned a long time ago is that neither sex has a monopoly on gossiping. Both do it with equal skill and frequency.) If you have information that can expose wrongdoing, then spill it. Otherwise, quit talking about it!

On a related note, I wish blog administrators wouldn't allow anonymous, unregistered bloggers to comment. It's just too confusing to read. You never know if it's one anonymous poster or a string of them when you read or respond, and Wade doesn't even have timestamps on these comments, so you can't refer to "anonymous 12:45" or "anonymous 6:15." It creates unnecessary confusion. People can still remain anonymous while using unique screen names.

Thank you, Wade, for standing for truth and integrity. Please don't let them continue to sweep things under the rug.

{dismounting my soapbox now}

Anonymous said...

Gary,

Accepting rebuke is a street that travels in both directions and not just one way.

Oklahoma Joe

Paul Burleson said...

Whomever,

"Sweeping under the rug" is totally different than..

dissenting on principle..

knowing the price you will pay because of bad policies adopted to stop you from speaking of other bad appointment policies that presently are keeping committed, qualified people from serving on the mission field..

paying that price.[censure]..

becoming the issue at eventual meetings..[not liking that at all]..

offering to abide by policies already objected to for the good of doing the work of missions..[backing off for 'missions at the moment' sake..

knowing the whole issue will be addressed at the summer Convention..including a motion said to be coming to remove you from the Board..

knowing the Convention can speak for the policies or against the policies..though she [the Convention] has already spoken once but was ignored..

knowing the Convention can say 'yes' or 'no' to your actions and being willing to abide by whatever decision the Convention makes..

knowing full well all facts and actions would eventually come out anyway for the Convention to be healthy..[since anything or anyone is ONLY as healthy as the secrets they keep..[the more kept the less healthy/the less kept the more healthy]..

and not enjoying for a minute any of this kind of controversy.

"Sweeping under the rug?" I don't think so. That comment's a little too simplistic from my personal perspective.

Anonymous said...

Jon L estes
Your suggestion while impossible far beyoud the $$$$$$$ situation would diffinitely be interesting. I for one am interested in knowing what the actual percent would be of those Missionaries who wish to broaden the parameters particularly the two that seem at this time to be so prevalent?

Wade Burleson said...

I keep an open comment section. Let me encourage everyone to attempt to stay on target with the post. Please go to your own blog if you wish to change subjects.

Also, for those who openly wonder about any possible bitterness in my heart. I want you to know that I realize I am quite capable of being bitter, however, I made a promise to myself and my wife over two years ago that was twofold in nature:

(1). If my wife or I ever felt that I was a distraction for the work of the IMB Board of Trustees that would keep them from focusing on missions - without any hope of resolving the impasse - I would resign. I have fulfilled that promise.

(2). If my wife or I were ever bitter over my involvement in the SBC I would stop participating in the process. I am happy to say that there is great joy in hearts today, a love for all our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are Southern Baptists (even those to whom I will be speaking directly and firmly in the next few months), and I will contiue to participate in the process for the foreseeable future.

Blessings,

Wade

CB Scott said...

It seems that a few have suggested or outright said Wade Burleson is bitter.

Wade is not bitter. That is just not true and very unfair to say of him.

I have studied Wade closely in the last two years. I have met with him. I have eaten with him. I have argued for him. I have argued with him. I have laughed with and at him. We have both argued with Ben Cole. We would have probably cried together except for the fact we all signed a contract that no one would cry in front of anyone.:-)

In the last two years I have read every word of every post the guy has written.

Wade Burleson is not bitter. He has had to stop along the way and do field surgery on himself, but he is not bitter.

It is just a lie to say he is and that is the simple truth.

cb

New BBC Open Forum said...

I apologize for getting "off topic," but I think this is all part of the same big picture, and to Paul Burleson, I never accused Wade of "sweeping anything under the rug." He seems to have been the only one who wasn't willing to sweep everything under the rug. You apparently misunderstood me. Now tucking my tail and slinking back to my own blog. Sorry to intrude, gentlemen.

Pamela said...

I guess if Pastor Wade is bitter, then Jesus must have really been off the chain calling people vipers, snakes, hypocrites and the like. I have yet to read any post where he call a single person that he disagreed with any type of name whatsoever. I'm sure if he did he would immediately correct it when convicted by the Holy Spirit.

It's bad when Christians cannot obey the word and rebuke those in error without being accused of sour grapes or retribution. This is probably why there is still so much sin in the body. The leaders are not doing their job in church discipline. Rebuking is not revenge. It is an opportunity to rescue them for the reaping of their sin. Jesus was NOT beating up on the Pharisees just because they got on his nerves. He did it so that they could have a true relationship with the Father.

I'm sure Pastor Wade's motivation in part was to increase the numbers of people that can participate in SBC missions. He also seems to have a heart for the entire body of Christ, not just the SBC. I'm making my comments as an outsider looking in. This situation is truly pathetic to me. I do not know all the details about BFM2000 or the other stuff. However it is clear that whatever the new regulation is that would have required the IBM trustee members to lie publicly to put forth a fake picture of unity is reprehensible. I could probably present a generic situation like this to a sinner and they would know something was wrong, some of them probably cursing as they expressed their thoughts. This is really dangerous.

Anonymous said...

It is amazing that people can defend Wade for not being bitter, yet accuse Dr. Floyd of not listening to the Holy Spirit and all sorts of devious Machiavellian ploys (cf. previous comment sections) and Wade himself can assign motives that policies were created in order to hurt Dr. Rankin.

I wish people would discuss issues and quit trying to see into the hearts of men. People, discuss ideas and theology, quit guessing about motives.

othoniel a valdes sr said...

It is finish move on

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Cowards hide.

Men with courage name themselves.

It is without a doubt that a handful of trustees in 2005 desired Rankin gone. They told me when they vetted me and sought me to meet with them. Whether you choose to believe it or not is none of my business.

It is also without doubt that there were a NUMBER of trustees who had NO part in any orchestrated attempt to remove Rankin. However, for those trustees to vote for the new 'doctrinal' policies on ideological grounds, and not be able to see that a vote for them is a slap at IMB administration, is without any logical defense except naivity, incompetency or hardline ideology that doesn't care about people, only the 'truth' that God has given them .

Finally, when the new doctrinal policies were passed and Dr. Rankin receives an email from Paige Patterson that in effect says that since his own board has turned against him, doesn't he think it is time to step down, then there has obviously been an agenda for Rankin to be removed.

However, if you think I am defending Dr. Rankin, you are wrong. I am pointing out that ideology can be used as a hammer to beat up those who don't conform, and there are some 'identity' Baptists who are so convinced that the only truth that exists is that truth which they have personally discovered by their interpretaion of (or should I say 'presupposition of') the text - and any other interpretation (i.e. read 'disagreement)of tertiary doctrine is considered heresy. Thus, these identity Baptists rule everyone who disagrees at best 'non-Baptistic,' or worse, a heretic.

The Southern Baptist Convention will die of non-cooperation with those kind of people in Convention leadership.

Sign your name anonymous, or go find somewhere else to comment.

happy gram said...

sigh. so this is why so many baptist churches are now choosing to drop the 'baptist' label from their church name lest they scare people off! cb, your words are truly prose. or a good short story.

DT Boy said...

Since many people seem to have missed my question, I will ask it again :)

Is there any way I could read a copy of the rebuke that was given by SBC EC to the IMB BoT?

I would just like to read it for myself if that is possible.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

It is understandable that many of the comments have requested that we just move on. The challenge for those of us living and working overseas is that we are dependent upon the trustees to do their job of raising funds, recruiting new personnel, etc. and they just aren't willing to do those things. The IMB has become a political football. If Wade is no longer a part of the trustees, he has lost a very important platform from which to speak. Who will speak up now?

Wade has suggested that he is now a distraction that is keeping the focus off of missions, but the trustees focus not being on missions was actually the problem in the beginning, long before blogging. It didn't start with Dr. Floyd but he has certainly continued the political focus. All of the trustees that I have met are committed men and women, but in my contact with them on visits to the field, I have found most of them to be remarkably full of themselves and very aware of their position. We love having volunteers come over...but dread the trustees visiting.

How do we get trustees to focus on serving?

A disappointed IMB m

Paul Burleson said...

New bbc Open Forum,

My comment was in response to "Anonomous" [my 'whomever'] when he posted the following comment...

" Anonymous said...
"Only now is he going public to the entire body."

Yes. But he offered to sweep it all under the rug if they would only accept his apology. So is it a big deal or is it not?"

So, bbc,I think you may have taken my words as a response to your similar phrase that I. quite honestly, had not even read at the time.

Sorry for any confusion created by my words. [I do stand by them in context of the above mentioned comment however. :)]

Wade Burleson said...

DT Boy,

It was given behind closed doors. I requested a copy myself, having missed the forum, and one was not available for me.

RM said...

I find it quite interesting that New BBC Open Forum would actually come on here and say anything about people being anonymous when she isn't willing to publish her name on her anti-Bellevue BC blog.

Wade is right on with his observations. I'm just sad he has had to go through all of this. Never put anything past those who are in control of the SBC.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Apology accepted, Mr. Burleson. Thank you. And I apologize for assuming you were directing your comment at me. Again, that's the problem with "anonymous" posters. Unique but anonymous screen names eliminate that confusion.

I must say I'm confused by Wade's admonition to an earlier anonymous commenter in which he stated, "Sign your name anonymous, or go find somewhere else to comment." Why single out one "anonymous" and not the others? It's your blog though, and you set the rules.

New BBC Open Forum said...

No, Mr. "rm" with "No Profile Visible," you totally mischaracterize me. I have no problem with anyone being anonymous UNLESS they're criticizing others for choosing to remain anonymous. Pot meet kettle.

And for the record, the NBBCOF is not an "anti-Bellevue" blog.