Two experiences today have convinced me to follow the third unspeakably precious thing in Twain's trilogy. Prudence is defined as the intellectual virtue which rightly directs particular human acts, through rectitude of the appetite, toward a good end. The prudent man is one who does the good, as opposed to one who merely knows the good. For a while now I have been looking for a principle that would lead me to know and do the higher good in making a decision to write the narrative of events over the past three years at the International Mission Board.
I posted earlier today my experiences as an IMB trustee when I discovered that there were some trustees who were seeking to enforce their belief upon administration that 'no woman should be in a position of authority over a man at the International Mission Board.' I gave a specific illustration and a general description of the successful attempts by some trustees leaders to make the IMB conform to this particular ideology. This morning's post, which is now deleted, related the things that I had experienced, the things I heard with my own ears, and the things I knew to be true because I was personally present when they happened. However, since the former female interim IMB Vice-President's name was mentioned, and it was communicated to me that she does not wish to be in the spot-light, I removed the post. People sometimes get more squemish over their names being mentioned than they do the very issues that need to be addressed. I do, however, respect the feelings of my sister in Christ and have honored her request.
This experience today confirms that it will do absolutely no good to write a narrative of events at the IMB over the past three years. It would make interesting reading, and though it would actually be a historical narrative, some would seek to classify it as fiction because the truth of what occurred over trustee leaders' attempts to establish 'doctrinal' policies that exceed the BFM 2000 is stranger than fiction. The little banal story I wrote today - in preparation of an article forthcoming by Religious News Service - is an illustration that writing about people and using their names - even to illustrate a principle - only brings embarrassment and sometimes anger.
The second thing that happened today to bring me to my decision on whether or not to write a book is a conversation I had with my friend David Sanders. David is an excellent writer and is a key editorial columnist for the Arkansas News Bureau. David encouraged me to not write a book on the basis of this principle:
Over time people respond to the systematic and uplifting teaching of the Word of God. To constantly raise the hood of the car to inspect the engine without repairing what is broken is non-productive. Use the talents God has given you to write, teach, and preach the life transforming principles of God's Word. Invest yourself in those things which are edifying and the change will come.
David convinced me. I have looked under the engine and seen some things that need repaired in the SBC. It is my desire to do some things to help, but ultimately help comes by giving answers, not revealing problems.
I have reached a decision prior to my deadline of March 1, 2008. I will not be writing a narrative of events at the IMB since 2005. I am finishing a new book on Jonah and a chapter on another collaborative book on what happened to 'civility' in Christian life. I will continue to pour my energy into teaching and preaching. We are now broadcasting live via the internet and our church launched this week a new television ministry. One of the men in our church is also taking on the responsibility of expanding our radio ministry nationwide beginning in April, 2008.
In the immediate future, March 3-4, 2008, I will be meeting with Dwight McKissic and a small group of pastors in Arlington, Texas to discuss the establishment of a new fellowship of conservative, evangelical churches - including Southern Baptist - called the Antioch Network of Churches. The Monday night portion of the meeting will be held at the local Holiday Inn and will include the following;
6:30 – 7:00 pm -- The Biblical Basis of the Antioch Network of Churches - Sam Storms
7:00 – 7:30 pm -- A Season of Prayer -- Adrian Moldovan
7:30 – 8:00 pm -- The Historical Basis of the Antioch Network of Churches -- Dwight McKissic
8:00 – 8:05 pm -- Break
8:05 – 8:35 pm -- The Doctrinal Basis of the Antioch Network of Churches -Wade Burleson
8:35 – 9:15 pm -- Vision, Mission & Purpose of the Antioch Network of Churches
We will be writing more on this new network of churches in the near future. If you are in or near the Arlington, TX area on Monday night, March 3, 2008 and would like to join us please come. For more information you may call Veronica N. Griffith, Min. of Communications & Spec. Events for Cornerstone Baptist Church at (817) 468-0083 ext. 203.
In His Grace,