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

A Prudent Decision

"It is by the goodness of God that in our country we have those three unspeakably precious things: freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and the prudence never to practice either.” Mark Twain

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,


Wade Burleson

75 comments:

Mike Ruffin said...

Well, Wade, get ready. Your Antioch Network will get branded, before you have your first meeting, as something that will be in competition with the SBC. You and your partners in this endeavor will be labeled as uncooperative folks who are looking for ways to circumvent the SBC structure.

Your motives will be called into question. The orthodoxy of your network will be challenged.

Folks will say that your "real" agenda is something other than whatever you say it is.

Personally, I suspect that many of us will appreciate what emerges from this network. We simply must find ways to partner in the doing of missions and ministry that are not continually being weighed down by an improper focus on non-essentials.

So--I have no idea what the Antioch Network will be up to, but I pray God's blessings on you all.

greg.w.h said...

As a matter of encouragement especially in light of Mike's thoughts, I offer this passage that was sent to me today in an email from a very close friend regarding Black History Month:

"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."

"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."


Frederick Douglass, 1857

Wade Burleson said...

Mike and Greg,

Both great comments. I can assure you Mike that I am Southern Baptist by choice and will continue. The ACN is a fellowship of like-minded people for the purpose of cooperative ministry and missions - with some who may not qualify in the current SBC.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

You said "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."

Do you not understand that this kind of rhetoric belittles the one in question and calls into question her integrity in the area of pursuing truth?

jrm

Bob Cleveland said...

(Sound of enthusiastic applause).

Michael said...

Jack,
regardless of the person of whom wade is talking the principle of said squeamishness is true at least among the IMB personnel

(I realize this is an overgeneralization so please take it as one, your experience may differ from mine)

Wade Burleson said...

Jack,

Sheri Kluoda told me she did not wish to be the focal point of criticism, limelight, and controversy in the SBC when I first asked to share her story. When I asked her one question she changed. The question:

"Sheri, if telling your story would prevent another young lady pursuing a Hebrew degree from experiencing the pain you have felt for being refused to use the very the degree in Hebrew that you received from the Southern Baptist Convention's Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary bestowed in fulfilling your career goals, would you tell your story?"

She told her story.

She overcame her squeemishness of having her name known by thinking of the greater good of what would happen to prevent a similar circumstance from happening again.

That is what I mean by the comment.

Blessings,

Wade

traveller said...

May I suggest you consider writing all of your experiences in a manuscript that you keep in case circumstances change and it becomes appropriate to publish your them. At some point in the future, perhaps decades from now, it might be good to have this record for historical purposes. Something similar might be avoided in the future.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I disagree with your rationale about calling the woman at the IMB squemish; however, I do understand it. But let me ask one question --do you not realize that you are still belittling a woman who earlier you had nothing but good things to say about? Her desire for privacy apparently has caused her to diminish in your eyes. Is this fair? Is this your place?

Second -- what is the overall purpose of the Antioch group? How will you set up a doctrinal statement which represents all of the various churches? How will you resolved difficulties when it comes to such an issue as soteriology when you could possibly have Arminian churches (i.e., Assemblies of God) and Calvinist churches (i.e., some SBC churches)?

Please do not read this as an attack but simply as a curiosity question.

AKD

P.S. If you are going to delete my anonymous comment (giving an amen to Jack), please do so on all anonymous comments. Just asking you to be consistent.

jasonk said...

I would love to have read the narrative, but respect your decision not to write it.
The problem with the SBC as I see it is not that too many people want to constantly raise the hood to see what is wrong, but that no one wants to realistically admit that the car is broken.
Your post this morning was refreshing to me for a couple of reasons. One, because I could relate to what happened to you. And two, because it was the first time that I have read very specific reasons for all the things you have said on this blog. I think it vindicated you to some extent (not that you needed it).
As I said, I respect your decision, and I respect you.

Lin said...

"Do you not understand that this kind of rhetoric belittles the one in question and calls into question her integrity in the area of pursuing truth?"

Not at all. There are very good reasons for her decision... as some of us understand. She has to continue working there. She probably has a mortgage, too.

She probably would not lose her job..but then again, she might under other pretenses..later. But we all know life at work can be made miserable in a million little ways for someone who does not follow the party line.

Remember, we are talking about men meeting outside of the 'rules' (closed door.. so to speak) to discuss her not staying in the VP job. Then, they make a motion to get rid of Wade first off. What else may such men do?

The Antioch Networks sounds exciting! Your meeting will be in my prayers.

Lin said...

"I disagree with your rationale about calling the woman at the IMB squemish; however, I do understand it. But let me ask one question --do you not realize that you are still belittling a woman who earlier you had nothing but good things to say about? Her desire for privacy apparently has caused her to diminish in your eyes. Is this fair? Is this your place?"

As I understood the original post, she gave permission. Then, later, decided against.

Perhaps she got a phone call or somthing.

Jack Maddox said...

Lin

The original post said nothing about her giving her permission. In fact, when Wade was asked about this in the comment thread he replied to the effect that it was his story and he did not need her approval.In fact he said in jest that he gave himself permission to post the story. Sorry guys...this whole issue smells like beef and cheese!

jrm

kehrsam said...

I understand and totally agree with your decision, Wade. There is a time for war and a time for peace. I hope that this year's Convention will usher in a time of peace for the SBC. I do not expect this to happen, but I remain optimistic that God's will shall prevail.

Blessings to the Antioch Network. So long as the Word of God is preached, amen and amen.

Kurt A. Ehrsam

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

I won't be near Arlington so I won't be able to attend. I would like to know more about what you guys are doing. Perhaps the meeting could be broadcast or filmed or taped or something?

One other thing: I appreciate the sentiment of your friend David who has advised not to write the book. However, I disagree with his advice. If you truly are the reformer you claim to be, the truth must be told. We need to know what our duly elected officials are doing. Write the book.

K. Michael Crowder said...

fnptjabBro. Wade,

It is only after long consideration and prayerful thought that I am sorry to inform you that my church will not be joining the ACN. This is due in part because of the single alignment policy within the Missouri Baptist Convention--a policy I might suggest Emmanuel consider adopting once your new denomination is up and running. ;)

Tata,

Kevin

plittleton said...

Wade,

I think your friend David has presented you with a false dichotomy. You could actually do both - write the book and pursue kingdom goals. It's even remotely possible that doing the one could greatly aid not only your personal ministry but the overall health and future ministry of an entire denomination because it would learn to avoid and perhaps even detest the sort of back-room dealings that have hampered our cooperative witness and to this day keep qualified people from entering the mission field through the IMB.

plittleton said...

Kevin,

You're a boob.

DT Boy said...

I respect your decision and I always felt like that would be the decision you would make. I am not sure why I thought it but I did.

I look forward to hearing more about this fellowship of churches. I am concerned as to why it is something that is necessary to have and I am also concerned about how it will be perceived by some. Time will tell.

Anonymous said...

Wade

Have you read Jerry Grace's blog about you - great read as usual

http://sbcouthouse.blogspot.com/2008/02/goodby-wade-burleson-naah.html

JIm Champion

Darby Livingston said...

Wade,

I'm the equivalent of a rodeo clown, but I think you're making the right decision. You're a gifted teacher before all else. Since you're talking about writing solid theological stuff - I'm still holding out for a revision/ rerun of you contentment book. :)

Bruce said...

Wade,
I respect your decision and would never suggest that it is the wrong decision. However, I'm wondering if not writing something is akin to having a patient with a serious health problem being told by his doctor that the cure is worse than the disease.

Wade Burleson said...

Michael,

I would say that I am disappointed you won't be associating with the ACN, but then I have made a commitment to never say anything publicly that I cannot affirm privately.

:)

Bryan Riley said...

Love David Sanders, love you, and want to encourage you in this decision and in your ministry. May you continue to grow in wisdom and in the knowledge of our Daddy.

Bryan Riley said...

as for Antioch, I wish I could be there.

greg hicks said...

Hi Wade,

I'm with Les on this one.

One of the issues I pressed Tom Hatley about was putting out broadbrushed statements in a public forum but then not providing the information to substantiate the claim. In his case, I tend to believe that was because he was not telling the truth.

While I believe you have consistently told the truth, I also feel you have an obligation to publish to substantiate things you have hinted at since the beginning of your blog.

For what its worth...

Anonymous said...

Wade,

Several years ago Larry Crab wrote a book entitled The Silence of Adam. Basically stating Adam was next to Eve during the temptation and said nothing to stop her. Also asserting that men many times are guilty of remaining silent when they should speak out.

What would have happened if Adam had told Eve, "Wait a moment, don't believe that snake?" Instead he kept silent and look at the mess we are in today.

Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

Wade
Thanks for keeping us informed. I have read your blog from the beginning. I agree with you on most things. But on this one, I am with Les and the others. Not telling the story perpetuates the "same ole, same ole." I would ask you the same question you asked Sheri, "if telling your story would help to weed out the kind of nonsense that has gone on in the IMB BoT and keep someone else from going through what you had to go through, and help the IMB BoT function more "in the light" and accountable to Southern Baptists, and help us missionaries to have more confidence in our BoT and the system in general, would you do it? I think you know it would. The truth can be painful, but needs to be told. I'm praying you change your mind, if not now, then later. How do we as a convention move forward without the truth. That was my hope in you resigning, that at least people would know the truth. Now M's like us not only don't have an advocate like you any more on the BoT, we don't have the truth of what really went on. Please prayerfully reconsider. You're the only one who can. At least that's how I see it.
Blessings
an M with the IMB

K. Michael Crowder said...

"but then I have made a commitment to never say anything publicly that I cannot affirm privately."

That's funny, I was under the impression that it was your policy to say EVERYTHING publically that you heard privately. ;)


~Kevin

Chris Johnson said...

Wade,

Good post,....I think your friend David Sanders has given excellent advice, not only to you, but for the balance of preachers that give the gospel out on a daily basis.

Blessings,
Chris

Lin said...

"The original post said nothing about her giving her permission."

I am pretty sure I read it in the body of the article. I was looking for it. People change their minds all the time. Especially whistleblowers. It is a scary business. And this puts Wade in an uncomfortable position with her. We have already seen what these few men (and other SBC leaders) are capable of.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that Eph. 5:11 requires us to "expose wrongdoing" AND "show the correct course of action".........can we not do two things at the same time?
[I know some Baptists can't...but others CAN!]

RKSOKC66 said...

Wade:

I believe you should write the narrative of the "disfunctions" at the IMB even if you choose not to publish it right away.

Any document you would produce would have enough specificity that it would almost certainly be possible for an objective observer to confirm or refute your account.

I belive that the greater good would be served by you "going on the record" with your observations. This "record" does not necessarily have to see the light-of-day right away. It could surface after the key protagonists have drifted away from any active role in the leadership of the IMB. I suggest waiting seven years and then publishing your work as a "firsthand historical account".

This way, the truth will come to light without their being any way that your detractors can claim that your covert goal is to "clean house" at the IMB by exposing wrongdoing of selected staff and/or trustees.

If ten years from now we look back on this and see irrefutable evidence of the good ol boy network and cronyism being used to implement a narrowing agenda at the IMB, then your work will serve as a "wake up call" to stay vigilant against any group that would attempt to reprise such misguided activity.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

Wade,
What happens when the car engine is fixed and cooperation in the SBC resumes? It seems that instead of fixing the engine, your building a new one. Will two engines be better than one, or wil they be a distraction to many churches that will be left trying to decide how best to cooperate for the gospel.
Robert

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous Robert,

Wasn't the CR supposed to have fixed the car engine?

Tim

Charlie said...

wade

Charlie said...

Wade
I am sorry you felt the need to start another group. Join Jimmy Carter. What a shame!! It is all about JESUS and not small differences outside of that. I love you because of who you are in JESUS. I speak in tongues and raise my hands in worship because my love for JESUS is so great I can't restrain myself. I believe you need to come to the realization that you are a christain whom chooses to belong to the Baptist church. Satan wins when he can get our minds off of JESUS and on to "doctrinal differences" With a baptist church on every corner, we don't need new groups and building with signs that say church. I hope your church is growing for the "glory" of Christ. "political differences" are a distraction from the work of the Lord and a victory for satan.The HOLY SPIRIT should be your guide. Is HE for more division in the "body"? Be very careful..
Blessings
Charlie of Gainesville

greg.w.h said...

Charlie:

Satan is for division. Jesus said that a house divided against itself will fall.

Now the question back is this: will the purpose of The Antioch Network be to promote unity or to cause further division? Based on the premises that Wade has presented, it sounds like it is a voluntary fellowship of those who seek to minimize irrelevant differences and to promote unity in spite of those differences.

The historical cause of The Antioch Network seems to be in response to efforts to exclude from service those who adhere to certain practices including private prayer language and those baptized solely based on scriptural authority rather than local congregational doctrinal purity authority. And it takes into account two separate cases where those in the Baptist identity movement chastised sitting trustees of SBC entities.

The truth is that the SBC is based on the concepts of congregational polity and if The Antioch Network were to be successful and remain within the SBC, their demographics would prevail over those who create an environment that is offputting to those within our culture who NEED to be loved into the church and not chastised into it. I honestly don't think emphasizing doctrinal purity and heavy-handed church discipline is likely to win many souls to Jesus Christ. Where the spirit and the goals of at least two of the founders of The Antioch Network is precisely what this generation deeply needs spiritually.

I doubt that in the top 10 list of the things that Wade and Dwight have thought about is a strategy to overtake or to take over. I'm just illustrating that when we do the right things and God blesses them, he just as effectively displaces the wrong things as if he were to wipe them out with his own hand. And he does it in an uplifting, exciting, spirit-filled way.

Are your comments to Wade intended to be uplifting, exciting, OR spirit-filled?

Greg Harvey

Dwight McKissic said...

Wade,

“To Whom much is given much is required.” The sovereign God was responsible for your almost three year appointment to the IMB Board. I believe that God had a strategic purpose for your time served at the IMB. You already have been greatly used of God to gain the admission that there was no anecdotal or any other evidence to suggest that there were abuses of missionaries speaking/praying in tongues on the field. Therefore, there was no need for the new policies forbidding missionaries to speak in tongues which as you know directly contradicts the Scripture (I Cor. 14:39). This admission alone made your service on the board purposeful and impactful.

The modification of the “tongues” policy that moves toward making a decision about missionary candidates on a case by case basis as it relates to private praying in tongues would not have happened without God using your voice and keyboard to nudge the IMB Board to this position. The revised policy was a step in the right direction and we have you and other board members to thank for that.

Some of us are still members of the SBC because of your voice and others on the Board who opposed the unbiblical policies of the IMB. God used you to encourage and promote missionaries around the world and to take a meaningful trip to China. I believe the Lord will say to you one day face to face (specifically concerning your tenure at the IMB) – “WELL DONE, THOU GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT, WELL DONE.” The future of the IMB, and the “tongues policy,” Dr. Jerry Rankin –(who admittedly prays in tongues in private)- and the many missionaries who also pray in tongues as well are in the hands of the same sovereign God who appointed you to the IMB. The baptismal policies (that I know are even more important to you) you also addressed biblically, tactfully, and courageously. I will simply trust God to do what He wants done in His timing as it relates to any changes toward these policies.

Because of your wonderful service to our Lord, the IMB and the SBC, when I think of you Bro. Wade, I’m reminded of what the Apostle stated to Philemon, “I thank my God always, making mention of you in my prayers, because I hear of your love, and of the faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus, and toward all the saints; and I pray that the fellowship of your faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing which is in you for Christ’s sake. For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed through you brother” (Philemon 1:4-7).

Brother Wade, I’m sure you will follow the leading of the Lord as it relates to writing a book about SBC issues. This Scripture came to mind as I am pondering your decision and praying about the book: Mordecai said to Esther, “For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” If you choose not to write the book, I know you’ll be driven by a pure heart, determined to do what you believe is the will of God. If you choose to write the book, I know you’ll be driven by a pure heart, determined to do what you believe is the will of God

God has given you much, you have given the SBC and the IMB much. Know this that your labor has not been in vain.

You Are a Brother Beloved,

Dwight McKissic

Ken Coffee said...

Wade, I do not know you personally but reading our blog for over a year, now, has convinced me I would like to. I particularly applaud your willingness to listen to good advice. Not all of us are so blessed as to be able to do that. I absolutely applaud your decision to take the highest possible road. I am sure many will be disappointed, but this is a God-honoring decision on your part, and one God will honor you for making. Blessings.

Ken Coffee said...

Typo alert!!!! Should have read..."reading your blog...."

Paul Burleson said...

Ken Coffee,

Typo or not....you were more nearly correct with 'our blog' I think. This blog has been 'our voice' in many ways over the past couple of years. Wade has had over two million hits during that time but I have to confess, a half million have been from me. ;)

I think many of us feel this way.

Paul B

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

Let me elucidate on my previous comment.

Moses found himself with his back to the Red Sea, Israelites snapping at him from every direction, and Pharaoh's army thundering over the horizon. Moses' instructions to them .. ostensibly from God ... are found in Exodus 14:14.

When Jesus hadn't yet "come out", his momma told Him the folks in Cana needed help with the wine. He responded by making the guys some more wine, even better stuff than they had before. The chief caterer remarked the they usually brought out the cheap stuff after folks had too much to drink, but He did it backwards. My assumption of that says that the folks had already had "too much to drink?

SO .. where are Jesus' words of condemnation of all those drunks? I haven't seen it, any more than I have seen Jesus calling down the Samaritan woman at the well about being an adulteress (other than telling her to sin no more, which I suppose covered more than just adultery).

I see nothing unbiblical about remaining silent, and don't let anyone tell you that your refusal to name names is tantamount to your condoning their actions. That's hogwash.

Steve said...

I read no insult to the whistle-blower who might say, "Keep my name out of it!"; regrets maybe.

Release the info with the names of the guilty, at least. You're making mayonnaise, so break some eggs.

We don't wanna be sayin' "beyerrk, brk brk berk bgeyEERk. Cluck, cluck" (rustle, rustle, scratch....)

Love ya either way -

Dr. Bruce Prescott said...

Wade,

I'm sorry to learn that you have decided to stop diagnosing and exposing the problems with the SBC.

Sometimes people need to hear some bad news to prepare for the good news. Otherwise, John the Baptist would have never been needed to prepare the way.

I have a lot of experience with Baptists who just wanted to preach the gospel, be positive, and ignore all the negativity of the SBC. As you are well aware, the SBC has never left them alone.

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I have been reading through your blogs and agree with alot of what you say. One fear I have as a conservative is that we will get to a point where no one is standing up for what is truth layed out to us very clearly in the scriptures. I believe that the scriptures tell us that when we do see someone teaching or preaching things that not scriptural that we should confront them, and that issue, in love. (all scripture is good for teaching...reproof...) I believe that we should stand against false teaching and be very careful where we are "tollerant" with wrongful use of the scripture.for instance I dont think we should be appearing or on TBN because that brings money to that network, and that network is definately full of false teachers. IF we stand next to someone or something that lends us the appearance of support or agreement with that false teaching. the scriptures tell us we should be the salt of the earth. we should be light in a dark world, remeber that Jesus in his rightous anger overthrew the money changers in the temple. I believe in the scriptures in total, I dont like what the SBC is doing on a number of issues, but we must be careful to draw the line with who we do associate with for the fear of standing in support of false doctrines.

OC Hands said...

Wade,
While I can understand your reluctance to write about the abuses to which you have been a witness, it is somewhat disappointing. The fact is that these abuses will not stop of their own accord. The situation you describe regarding some wanting to prevent IMB employees having "authority" over men is not the first, and will probably not be the last. I have first-hand knowledge of just such an incident several years ago. As some have said "Who will stand up and say --that's not right?"
I know that this decision was not made without prayer, and I do think we must honor it because you are a godly man. So, join us in praying for the next John the Baptist who will step forth and speak out.

RKSOKC66 said...

Greg Hicks:

In your comment you stated that Tom Hatley put out certain statements which could cause one to question his veracity.

Could you please give me the citation for whatever statements that Tom Hatley made which are of questionable truthfullness?

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Bryan Riley said...

Ken, I just wanted to say hello. It was good to see your name pop up and hope that all is well for you in Texas. Thank you for all you did for our church.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
For two years I thought you were going to improve the SBC, but when the time came to ‘put up or shut up’, you decided to ride into the sunset.

To put your decision not to write on Mark Twain is a joke because him wiggling around to say never practice ‘freedom of speech’ and ‘freedom of conscience’ is a joke.

The latest issue of the Baptist Standard writes: “Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma, said he also plans to write a book “to tell everything that has not been told” about recent disputes in the denomination. He said he hopes to have it published before the SBC annual Meeting in June.”

Why have you put your hand to the plow and looked back? You said:

1. “I respect the feeling of my sister in Christ and have honored her request.”
2. “Writing about people…only brings embarrassment and sometimes anger.”
3. “David encouraged me to not write a book…David convinced me.”

THAT’S IT? Two People?

Reminds me about a year ago, of two people (unknown to a hundred of us) complained about one of your post, and you deleted it.
Your obeying two people upset me so I wrote you were like a dog running away with his tail between his legs. I was amazed you printed it, and on five post.

You said, “I have looked under the engine and seen some things than need repaired in the SBC.”

Good! As a former auto mechanic, a car cannot be fixed without knowing the problem. Much of the time finding the problem cost more than fixing it.

The SBC is stuck on high center of what you know is wrong. Please write the book.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I have two thoughts at the moment, one from Ecclesiastes and another from Winston Churchill.

Churchill said "Truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it; ignorance may deride it malice may distort it; but there it is."

Ecclesiastes says "To every thing there is a season and a time to every purpose under the heaven." 3:1

Your 'there it is' time will come. Wisdom as to THAT time is essential. Good for you.

Dad

Becca said...

Wise man, that David is :)

greg hicks said...

Roger Simpson:

1) The orignal public accusation against Wade Burleson for "gossip and slander" as basis to ask SBC to remove Burleson from the Board.

2) The claim that Wade Burleson's blog was full of inaccuracies.

3) The claim that Wade Burleson had violated trustee rules by releasing confidential information.

4) The claim that the new policies regarding prayer language and baptism were in response to issues that had occured on the field.

There's four examples off the top of my head. If I had the time to go through the archieves or had retained my email exchange, I could easily come up with several more more.

truth, not religion said...

Wade, I think you have done the right thing and I commend you for it.

As you know, I have some background in these types of matters.


Some will never get it unless they and their families are homeless at the hands of someone who claims they have the right and are doing God's will.

grace
wtreat

Batchaps said...

Wade,
It has been a while since I've posted; it's busy times in the USMC.

One of the things I've learned since serving with 7th Marine Regiment is that courage is costly; you may have read or caught the news story of Cpl. Jason Dunham, USMC, who was awarded the Medal of Honor (see http://www.cnn.com/2006/US/11/10/medal.honor/index.html for the complete story) I did not know Cpl Dunham but many of the Marines in my battalion did. He was truly one of our nation's finest and he was willing to sacrifice everything for the greater good of God, Corps and Country. When he was faced with making the hardest choice vs. an easier way out he did not blink, flinch or hesitate; he did his duty for he, too, was surounded by a "great cloud of witnesses" and he did not want to dishonor them. It should go without mention the immediate (and long-term) welfare of his friends was also a concern of his. Some would say that Cpl. Dunham's courage cost him everything; I would say that his courage allowed others, some in far away places, to live and carry out future missions that will, ultimately, lead to freedom and peace for a people, who to this point in their lives, which have known neither.

To say I'm disappointed in your decision not to "tell the tale" is an understatement. There are many who were counting on you. I can't imagine the Church Fathers saying to the heretics that peace/unity was more important than truth.

Russ+

Ron said...

It may not be from the Bible but Edmund Burke had a pretty good quote when he said, "All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing." It could have been "say nothing" instead of do nothing. You will have to decide whether this applies to your decision.
I recall in the early days of the CR I spoke with leaders of the IMB who said we believe these trustees are good men. Once they learn the truth about what we are doing they will not continue to follow those that are trying to cause trouble and making false charges against our missionaries and administrators. That was over 25 years ago.
Ron West

Rex Ray said...

David Sanders,
I wondered what words of great wisdom you used to convince Wade not to write his book.

You said, “Over time people respond to the systematic and uplifting teaching of the Word of God.” “Invest yourself in those things which are edifying and change will come.”

“Over time…”? The devil’s favorite trick is to say wait. Wait, wait, wait...tomorrow will be better.

I see your background is politics, and you speak like a true politician by saying, ‘Don’t make waves.’ ‘Don’t upset anyone…they might get angry.’ Sounds like you’re grooming Wade for a political office.

You’re right about one thing…change will come alright. The SBC is already about half Catholic with their ‘top-down rule.’ No one can dissent to the IMB pope.

What advice would you give Jesus? He rebuked the wind, sea, money changers, and the Pharisees.

Your forefathers must have failed with Martin Luther.

Jack Maddox said...

Wade

me thinketh your darned if you do and ...well, you get the picture

jrm

Anonymous said...

becca, wise old man. :)

bwr

Rex Ray said...

Ahhh..Jack Maddox,
Got you surrounded if I can comment before anyone else does. I dreamed of this moment. You can’t get away. The red convertible and the voodoo doll have got you.

Your right that Wade cannot make everyone happy. I don’t believe he is worried about himself, but who deserves to be helped the most.

It might have been helpful to him to have asked all of us to give our opinion before making his decision. Now he’s getting all this advice after the fact. I hope he doesn’t fit the picture of ‘only a fool never changes his mind.’

Wade,
A pastor of 20 years, Joe Worley, wrote this to the editor of the latest issue of the Baptist Standard:

“I discovered that the majority of the members of the committee [that chose a new BGCT Executive Director, Randel Everett] are affiliated by church or personal association with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. It is apparent that their CBF affiliation was important in order for them to be on the committee. This is very disheartening to the majority of us in Texas who still understand the need to be partnership with the fallible SBC. Did we forget that the overwhelming majority of BGCT churches are affiliated with the SBC? Have we become so out of touch with our churches in Texas to think that this does not matter anymore? Maybe I am the one who is out of touch with the ‘new’ BGCT? My sense is that many of us who remained with the BGCT believed that things could be turned around. Unfortunately, the continued actions of our leaders convey a much different outlook.”

Wade, I really want you to analyze the words: “…believe that things could be turned around.”

I believe Worley is referring that the “fallible SBC” could be turned around. I believe your ‘book’ is needed to do that.

I believe the leaders of the BGCT have given up hope that the SBC will change; that it will continue making the circle smaller with their new rules each year. I believe BGCT is ‘gearing up’ to join the CBF. If BGCT leaves, will Virginia follow? If that all happens the conflict will make the devil happier than when missionaries were fired.

Some may think Texas churches won’t follow their leaders. Our church has been a SBC church for sixty four years, but a thirty year member and the most influential person in our church held his thumb and finger an inch apart and told me last year, “I’m about that close to leaving the SBC.”

BTW, Randel Everett was my pastor in Grand Prairie. He has a heart for the lost. I cried when he left.

Jack Maddox said...

"Ahhh..Jack Maddox,
Got you surrounded if I can comment before anyone else does. I dreamed of this moment. You can’t get away. The red convertible and the voodoo doll have got you."

Thats just weird Rex

jrm

Jack Maddox said...

I believe BGCT is ‘gearing up’ to join the CBF.

Rex - I agree!

never thought you wold hear that this side of heaven!

jrm

Rex Ray said...

Jack,
I’m speechless.

Years ago, I said, “The CBF is trying to win the world to Christ; why do you dislike them so?”

“They’re getting money that should be coming to us!”

Jack, was this angry man correct? Is the dislike from CBC leaders all about money? I’ve never given anything to the CBF, but that may change. At least they haven’t fired missionaries or bowed to a creed.

Bruce said...

What is interesting to me is that when folks join the CBF, there is not a response by most SBC folks to consider that perhaps there is something wrong on the part of the SBC. Instead, it is met with suspicion at best and paranoia at worst about those folks who left. I'm not sure most SBC people really admit that the hood of the car needs to be opened let alone hear that the engine is making funny noises.

Jack Maddox said...

Rex

I don't recall ever saying I dislike the CBF. As far as the gentleman's answer to you...you would have to ask him, not me. If folks feel that convictionaly they need to align with the CBF, I say good for them! I would strongly disagree with the gentleman you are referring to.

Bruce

I can certainly understand your statement. It is the same with those of us who left the BGCT for the SBTC. Just ask Rex.

jrm

David Sanders said...

Excuse any typos, I had to write fast. Some are wondering what I said to Wade? He captured it pretty well in his post, but you need to know that my relationship with Wade is built on a love for him and Rachelle that has grown for years. We all face situations where we wonder what the Lord, in his sovereignty, is trying to workout. We're all grateful for the enormous sacrifice that the Burleson family, and frankly, the Emmanuel Enid family, has made why Wade faced the enormous difficulty over the past couple of years. The Lord has used him and continues to use him. He has allowed him to build a vast platform through all the unpleasantness

For those at Emmanuel, you know you have what a wonderful expositor of the Word, but it’s more than that. I've visited with some of you and have heard stories about others in your church. Your passion for the Lord is apparent, time and time again. You rest in His sovereignty and are constantly being transformed the way Paul reminds us in Romans 12. That’s no accident. I have studied the Word under Wade's preaching ministry for 2 years, via the Internet. I cannot begin explain the transformation in my own life.

Wade is a builder...a lot of us like to think of him as a modern day Martin Luther – if the shoe fits…right? What people rarely understand about him -- especially his critics -- is that he doesn't act out of malice (unlike some of his critics). He is a rare bird.

Everything he has stood for over the past couple of years on the IMB was just the continuation of what he'd been doing for years. So what Wade does next will simply be a continuation? Is there a side of me that would like to see him expose more of the hypocrisy -- I'm a political columnist, who delights in shining lights in dark places. Frankly, things have happened and are happening now that will assuredly keep the lights on, but continued vigilance is a must.

But then we come to our dear brother Wade. As I said, he is a builder. He is someone who needs a challenge. I don't know what that challenge will be, but at this time, with what the Lord has given him, HE -- not me or anyone else -- is propelling Wade to channel his efforts into a greater kingdom work. He has laid out plans in this post that are elements of what that may look like. There is a need for others to see and experience Wade's ministry. (I've told him several times he needs to be on television, because there is so little solid Biblical exposition out there.)

So when I said: "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."

The “change” I spoke of – not to be confused with the obscure and undefined change pushed by certain Democratic political candidate :) -- is the change that occurs in the hearts and lives of people. Wade is a big picture guy; the Lord has prepared him for something on a macro level – I don’t know what it is, but I’m sure it will include his writing, teaching and preaching. We know what happens with Wade focuses on something. I still chuckle at the thought of him memorizing the entire book of Romans when he was a kid. I’m convinced that the Lord has great things in store for him, and I have no doubt that when it happens, it will be BIG.

RKSOKC66 said...

Holy Toledo! Memorizing the book of Romans is totally awesome. As I get older I can't even remember when I put my car keys five minutes ago. So needless to say, I don't know much about finding any specific verse in the Bible. I probably "know" 250Bible verses but don't know where any of them are. I'll be a senior citizen in two weeks. Maybe I'm getting prematurely senile.

Roger K. Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Bruce said...

Jack, you will have to get me up to speed on the Texas situation. Were the SBTC churches not able to have local autonomy because of heavy handed top down control of the BGCT, or was there a perceived difference of opinion that led the SBTC churches to choose to leave lest they affiliate with an organization they think is headed down the wrong path?

Jack Maddox said...

Bruce

Obviously I would agree that the majority of church's originally joined the SBTC due to the concern of a doctrinal drift. Many as of late have come on board due to the perception that the BGCT is drifting away from the SBC (Or by perhaps your perception, being forced out) As far as "Top" down leadership, I will assure you in the last days before the formation of the SBTC, the moderated ruled with a very heavy hand at the convention, however I would be hard pressed to say that local church autonomy was infringed upon, just as I would be hard pressed to be convinced of it from the opposite perspective. But this is just my opinion, I am sure you have another.

By the way, I am also pretty sure your question was rhetorical : )

jrm

Bruce said...

Jack, I really didn't mean it as a rhetorical question and thanks for your response. It would seem to me that the use of heavy handed tactics could be employed on either side of an issue. However, in my view there is a very big difference if the heavy handedness is used to PRESERVE freedom of theological debate rather than to STIFLE it. Now, I don't know if this particular concept applies in the Texas situation, but that would be my thought.

Rex Ray said...

Jim Maddox,
You spoke truth when you told Bruce, “I would agree that the majority of church’s originally joined the SBTC due to the concern of a doctrinal drift.”

That so called “drift” was ‘made up’ by those who could not win the leadership of the BGCT. An example was shown by the President of the SBTC, Miles Seaborn, saying: “Every one of us is a warrior to preserve God’s Inerrant Word and he would not give another nickel of his tithe to anywhere he thought was ungodly.”

The BGCT did not and still does not accept the word ‘Inerrant.’ ‘Inerrant’ has eight definitions by the Chicago group of 1978. In my opinion, the BGCT believes ‘Inerrant’ is too confusing with that many definitions and refuses to use the word to describe the Bible. Since the world was without the word ‘Inerrant’ for 1900 years, I wonder if Seaborn believes all previous Christians were “ungodly” also.

Bruce,
The subject was discussed some on Wade’s blog June 3, 2007 as shown below:

Rex Ray said…
WHAT! Jim Richards, the Executive Director of the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention (SBTC) has announced for the First Vice-President?
Wade, I thought you didn’t want the SBC to be run by ‘revolutionary militant FUNDAMENTALISTS’. I know you said you predicted someone else would run against him that you could “endorse wholeheartedly”, but I wish you had said more why Richards should not be elected.
Has Richards changed his mind about what he said: “Theological agreement will be the first foundation of the new Convention. [SBTC] Those who depart theologically will be IDENTIFIED and called to REPENT. To the FOES of SBTC, we say, we’re not in competition with you, but we’ve been CALLED to CONTRAST you.” (Baptist Standard 11-18-98 [November])

Wade, do you think this type person will bring about cooperation in the SBC? Did God ‘call’ Conservatives to CONTRAST Moderates? Jesus said, “I demand that you love each other as much as I love you.”

One way of contrasting was brought out in their news journal, Plumbline October 1998, which offered no proof but stated the CBF had leaders that:
1. Denied deity of Christ, need for his death, and importance of his virgin birth.
2. Called for the ordination of gay, lesbian, and bisexual persons.
3. Proclaimed the Bible does not condemn all forms of homosexual behavior.
4. Referred to God as “mother.”
5. Defended the reproduction and distribution of child pornography.
04 June, 2007


Gary Ledbetter of the STB said…
Anonymous, [Rex Ray]
Just as a historical note. SBTC did not exist in October of 1998. What the Plumbline said before the formation of our convention, and before Jim Richards was executive of the convention is not necessarily the stance of the convention.
04 June,2007

Pastor Chuck Bryce said…
Gary Ledbetter, STBTC.
Thanks for correcting/clarifying someone’s [Rex Ray’s] error on the SBCT stance. Our church is considering cooperating with the SBCT...
04 June, 2007


Rex Ray said…
Gary Ledbetter of SBTC, how can you say, “The SBTC did not exist in October 1998”?
Ronnie Yarber, SBTC administrative director said: “Although the constitutional convention November 10 [1998] will mark the official launch of the new convention, it has been in operation since January. We’re 10 months old. The baby’s learning to walk well. Then it will run and produce.”

Gary, do you know what Yarber meant when he said the babys learning to walk and will run and produce? I known you won’t admit it, but the “baby” was going all over Texas meeting in churches and inviting others to attend to ‘learn’ why they should withdraw from the old convention and join the new.

The “baby” produced the lies of the Plumbline for evidence. It got so bad the old convention formed a committee with a motto of saying, “Enough is enough” in trying to counter the slander by the new convention.

The Baptist Standard printed a letter of mine saying: “How can we show love for our Christian brother by Moderates telling Conservatives, ‘I’m sorry my nose got blood on your fist’ when they’re really thinking: enough is enough!?”

So, the bottom line of your “historical note” is much like the untruth shown by the SBTC in trying to eliminate the old convention.

I noticed you did NOT defend the statements of the Executive Director of the SBTC, Jim Richards which reflected the stance of the convention.
04 June, 2007


Jack Maddox said…
Rex,
Your misrepresentation of the heart of Jim Richards is about as far off as you have ever been my friend…He is very aware of much of the abuses in rhetoric (not unlike your own) that was spewed by many conservatives in those early days…

Regardless of your personal rant and opinion of Dr. Richards I rather doubt you know him at all…I challenge you; again I say I challenge you to find one time he has spoken with the degree of shrillness and un Christ like rhetoric that you have shown him…
05, June, 2007


Rex Ray said…
Hey! Gary Ledbetter of the SBTC, the pastor of Dacus Baptist Church, Chuck Bryce thanked you for correcting/clarifying for what you made out to be ‘my error.’ …
Do you think he still believes it’s ‘my’ error, or do you think he’s changed his mind?... Are you tired of talking or maybe you think you’ve said too much already?
O5 June, 2007


Rex Ray said…
Jack Maddox…
A CHALLENGE? Is that swords or pistols?
Jack, I admire your standing up for Jim Richards that you believe in. It is true that I do not know the man. All I know is what he said. If he has changed his mind and the ways that the SBTC has operated, then that is good, but how about an apology? How about telling their churches that they left the BGCT by believing falsehood?

You say, “Again I say I challenge you to find one time he has spoken with the degree of shrillness and un-Christ like rhetoric that you have shown him.”

Let’s see now. I quoted what he said, and you said I showed him “shrillness and un-Christ like rhetoric.” Looks to me like you are condemning his words to be shrillness and un-Christ like rhetoric.
05 June, 2007

Bruce,
There were no other comments, and I guess you know that Jim Richards is now the First Vice President of the SBC.

Rex Ray said...

Bruce,
Since my “no talkie-talkie” buddy has had plenty of time to reply but has not, he’s probably not going to.

First of all, I’ll explain our feelings toward one another by duplicating what he told Wade on February 18, 2008:

“I actually have a great deal of respect for Rex [Jack] and value his opinion, although I strongly disagree. Rex [Jack] and I jab at each other over these issues and have done so for some time.”

I feel Jack is an honorable man along with others, but so were many with coats of Blue and Grey.

I see the C/R as those on an ‘Inerrancy raft’ headed for Niagara Falls; yelling at folks on the bank, “Why are you drifting away from us?” Both claim to be conservative.

‘Inerrancy’ has become a code word for being ‘doctrinal and political’ correct as shown by Jerry Rankin’s response when the IMB was ‘attacked’ by Patterson for having women in positions over men. Rankin said something like: he could not understand Patterson because everyone on the IMB believed in the inerrant Word of God.

I’m afraid some have made inerrancy some kind of god; as one man yelled, “We have our inerrancy and no one is taking it away from us!”

The devil’s best weapon is confusion, and he has used inerrancy to cause more harm than any word in history. I wish inerrancy would go back to his smiling lips.

Mike Ruffin said...

Rex,

And amen. Inerrancy was (and I suppose still is) a club used to bludgeon people.

It has long seemed to me that, when it comes to being an SBC leader, so long as you affirmed allegiance to the dogma of inerrancy, you could pretty much do and say whatever you wanted when it came to biblical interpretation or denominational administration.

Perhaps those days are passing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, this sounds like the 1980's all over again!

Bruce said...

I think that is precisely the point anonymous. The more things change the more they stay the same.