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

2025: The Year that the Deliberation Records for the GCR Committee Will Be Unsealed

Norman Jameson, the editor for The Biblical Recorder, brought to my attention something that shocked me. The Great Commission Resurgence Task Force has announced it will lock up the record of its deliberations for 15 years. That's right, fifteen YEARS. Recording made during the deliberations of the committee are to be sealed for 180 months, not to be seen or heard by Southern Baptists, and opened prior to the Southern Baptist Convention in 2025. Norman has written an excellent editorial on the GCR Committee's decision.

I understand why the CIA seals records. I recognize why the Pentagon or the Special Intelligence Division of Military Intelligence buries minutes of proceedings,  but for heaven's sake, I have no clue why Southern Baptists would want, ever even allow,  any committee of our Convention to "seal" records for 15 years. You would think the Committee actually discovered Jimmy Hoffa's alive and well in Jersey, or maybe they have secret photographs of Area 51 and now know that it is an alien sanctuary. Why in the world would anything in Christian ministry need to be covered up or sealed for fifteen years?

I can't help but think that part of our dysfunction as a Convention is the same problems that paralyzes churches from moving forward in ministry. We have leadership who don't want others to know what they are really thinking, or really doing, or really planning. Leadership believes that since they know best, and since God gave them the authority to lead, then everybody else just needs to remain in the dark and "trust leadership."

Sorry, those days are over. I'm not going to be at the SBC this year, but some brave messenger ought to stand up from the floor and move that all records related to the GCR debate be open to all Southern Baptists. We might actually learn something that will help us.

In His Grace,

Wade

62 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

Does this really surprise you?

Disappoint? Anger? Sure.

Surprise? No.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

If I were in favor of the GCR-TF report (and I am SO NOT!), this one bit of new information would almost make me sick to my stomach...almost as if the Convention were becoming a tad Fascist. These men have no authority to do this, nor is there any precedent for such an act. The facts? A = The fall-out from their sins. When the will of man is forced upon God's people, Satan will do everything to hide in, and hide the details.

Almost like we are now in a day where the ethical thing for Disney Corp. to do is to boycott the SBC.

:)

Wade Burleson said...

Bob,

I would have thought leadership would know by now that Southern Baptists are changing in their views on how Convention business should be conducted. A donut or a dollar to you if someone does NOT oppose this absurd burying of the documents from the floor of the SBC.

Paul Green said...

The Census Bureau seals all individual responses for 72 years. I work for them. What do you think about that?

Anonymous said...

so sad. right now I am spending a lot of time with a life long catholic. we are going thru history and theology as he struggles to break away. I have openly discussed the corruption in all religious organizations including SBC. He wonders why I stay such a corrupt religious group. good question!

The Squirrel said...

Just what's in these records that needs to remain hidden? Were there hours of loud shouting matches and name-calling? Or hours of debate over Ergun Caner's truthfulness? Paige Patterson's decorating expenses? The propriety of the Jerry Falwell Tomb Cam?

When people hide something, the natural question is, "What are they hiding?"

Squirrel

Steve said...

Wade,

I agree with the fact that the decision is puzzling, to say the least. However, there is some precedence here. The Peace Committee sealed their taped recordings, minutes, and hundreds of letters for 1o years.

I'm not saying it's right, just that it has happened before.

I also read that Ronnie Floyd is hoping to have messengers vote on the seven recommendations as a single unit, instead of individually. That would be a tragedy. I hope they are voted on individually, as I see merit in some and not others.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
CONGRATULATIONS for the ‘GCR-TF’!

ONLY 15 years?

The Southern Baptists spent over $60,000 to do their own study to find the truth of Masons over 20 years ago; and the report is still on the shelf!

Kevin,
Love you’re Disney Corp. boycotting SBC.

Bob Cleveland said...

If I were a suspicious sort, I'd think they timed the announcement so that folks would have a hard time drafting an acceptable motion forcing full disclosure, censuring them, or something of that sort.


If I were a suspicious sort.

Which I am.

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

I know it's a cliche but there is a reason a cliche becomes one.

I remember reading someone who said, in speaking about dysfunctional families, "You are as sick as you are secret."

I think my experience with family, [As you know, my family of origon was alcoholic/secretive.] pastoring churches, and being part of a denomination has only verified that cliche to be true. This is further testimony to it.

Jeff said...

Wade, I think that you have defended anonymous bloggers by referring to the Founding Founders of the U.S. who often wrote under pseudonyms. There is another precedent from the Founding Fathers that applies here:

At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the Founding Fathers agreed to keep their discussions secret, and we basically only know what was discussed because of James Madison's diary that was not published until decades later. They agreed to this secrecy because they felt that it would give them greater freedom to discuss all the available options without having to worry about having anything they said be used against them by political opponents. The state legislatures voted to ratify the constitution without having records of the deliberations of the Convention.

William Thornton said...

Indeed.

The Task Force report, Component Two, says,

We must also work toward the creation of a new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention. If we are to grow together and work together in faithfulness to the command of Christ, we must establish a culture of trust, transparency, and truth among all Southern Baptists.

The Task Force members should read their own report.

Wade Burleson said...

Paul Green,

When every citizen in the United States wishes to join Southern Baptist Churches who unite in doing mission work, then your question would be pertinent to the discussion.

I have no problem with Census records being sealed.

Wade Burleson said...

Steve,

Good point. One would think we would have moved beyond the dysfunction of the Peace Committee.

Anonymous said...

Peace Comm?

Wade Burleson said...

Jeff,

Methinks the Southern Baptist Convention should refrain from politics and do Christian ministry. Secrecy in politics is the norm--secrecy in kingdom work is abnormal according to Christ.

Everything is to be brought to the light of day.

See Paul Burleson's comment.

Anonymous said...

The question is why does anyone who knows stay in such an environment? No telling what evil one might be blindly supporting.

There is only one reason to seal them for 15 years. They don't want them public right now. Why?

B Nettles said...

Wade,
I don't know whether Jeff's comment was offered as a defense of the secrecy or as a possible line of thinking that some (the majority) of committee members had. In asking myself why would they do that, I came up with the same reason. Let me add that I think it's a bad conclusion, but there may be some good reasoning here.

I'm speculating here, but the root of this secrecy stuff, in the best case, lies at the way task forces/blue ribbon committees attack issues: brainstorming. In brainstorming sessions, one presents a wide variety of ideas, most of them being stupid. As the ideas are presented and dismissed, the good ones eventually emerge, and as Linus Pauling (2 Nobel Prizes, one in chemistry) said, "To have a great idea, one must have lots of ideas."

In the current SBC environment, as soon as someone says, "why don't we do this," there is a superglue that attaches that statement to that person for near eternity. Even if the person didn't really think it was a good idea, they had the audacity to voice it, so in the eyes of many they obviously believe it. Of course, forcing such an attachment without further evidence is idiotic, but it is routinely done by people who dislike the person who voiced the bad idea. Keep in mind that voicing an idea is not necessarily supporting it.

I am confident that there were many bad ideas discussed, and subsequently dismissed, by the GCRTF. I can understand someone not wanting a bad idea attached to them, especially if they realize that it is a bad idea: "Oh, you're the guy that said we should split the convention into groups of churches of less than 300 and more than 300."

Why not think about what ideas you mention before saying it? That's not how task forces currently operate; it's not the brainstorming model. Is there a better model? Maybe, but what is it?

Why not open the tapes and let people hear all the bad ideas? Probably because there will be some loudmouth that thinks the really bad ones are good. Kind of like Woodie Allen saying Obama should be made dictator (yeah, he really did say that, and yeah, I'm going to idiotically attach that to Woodie forever.) :)

Seriously, full disclosure of full discussions could obscure any good that is in the final report. But 15 years is too long.

Verification word: colodier - is that something you take to clean out your system? Kind of like gut-storming?

Anonymous said...

Typical of those on that committee and yes, I do think they are hiding something.

Makes me glad I left the SBC a long time ago.

greg.w.h said...

I admit to being a little jaundiced about the gcr-tf. I am pretty satisfied with the Great Commission as vision, policy, and procedure. Supersizing it runs the risk of either undermining its clear purpose or, worst yet, attaching it to an earthly agenda. At the very least, it makes it seem that human effort is necessary for God's plan to be realized. If God can raise children of Abraham from a field and if the rocks will cry out God's glory...

But as a (now adult) child of a pastor / international missionaries, I can testify to the seminal work that Great Commission efforts have on those that receive the gospel. And I can also speak of the spiritual impact on the families of those who obey the call of the Great Commissiom.

I personally enjoy an out-of-proportion spiritual blessing that includes a continuing faith in God's presence in my life. All of my children have professed faith in Jesus Christ. And as much as I would love to be able to take any kind of credit AT ALL for either thing, I must confess my complete unworthiness except for God's own choice to bless me.

Yet both blessings are both very organic in nature--not forced or contrived--and I credit Great Commission effort, blessed by th Holy Spirit, for bringing both to fruition. Faithful service by teachers of this writer as a boy--both in the home and in manifold churches--provided me with a faith that weathers adversity well. And similar efforts by continuing generations of new, faithful workers reached my children, sometimes seemingly in spite of my own shortcomings.

As I may have related before, some of that blessing was obtained through the efforts of missionaries like Aunt Catherine Walker. God gave her the vision that--lo and behold--missionary parents might benefit from a moment of relaxation away from their children each summer. So she created Camp Miki as a place for MKs to go each summer for recreation and low-key and fun spiritual instruction. There are many verses that spring to mind today that I first learned through "international friendlies" with fellow MKs near the slopes of Mt. Merapi.

I honestly don't care for the Great Commission "Resurgence" concept. I am not all that thrilled with the task force or the report itself. The crafting and diction of the report leaves me a tidbit cold. If I were to try to put into words why, I would probably mumble something like this: "It feels like we're using the Great Commission to establish and exercise control over the local church and the state conventions."

But as I write that, I worry that the reason I feel that way is, essentially an unwillingness to let others who have been appointed as leaders to exercise leadership. I suspect the concern is that the detailed discussions would be used as a wedge to prevent cooperation.

I write this comment in order to present the tension between my thoughts in both directions, hoping it will lead to both kinds of thoughtfulness--both introspection and grace towards each other--that this discussion fully deserves.

Weezie said...

Obama's birth records are sealed but he has nothing to hide.

:)

(ducking and running.......)

Louise

Anonymous said...

It is noted that this just came out, about the 'sealing' of the record of deliberations for a time frame of years (numbers of years appear to change by some command somewhere).

HOWEVER, a big red light should have been that Johnny Hunt had promised that at least one representative of the Southern Baptist press would be allowed to be present at the meetings of the Task Force.
Notable, that he broke this promise.
Whether it was his own decision or he was told to break it, do we know?

So, when the press was first denied coverage, that would have been a 'heads-up' for what was to come. Hmmm?

Another consideration: that word 'transparency' as in:
"We must also work toward the creation of a new and healthy culture within the Southern Baptist Convention. If we are to grow together and work together in faithfulness to the command of Christ, we must establish a culture of trust, transparency, and truth among all Southern Baptists."

Now this is a big problem.
If you were to vote in support of the whole package, which includes words like 'trust', 'truth', 'transparency';
and you did so KNOWING that it was a lie, as not even the proceedings of the Task Force could answer for the fulfillment of this recommendation, then what OTHER parts of the Task Force report will Southern Baptist leaders ignore at will, if approved?

Precedent? 'do as we say, not as we do'? Ouch.

If the records are 'sealed', of course there are reasons for it, none of them wholesome, likely.

No reporters allowed, even though promised.
Sealed records of proceedings, in violation of second recommendation.

Sounds like an indecisive organization that is floundering and in real distress. That is sad.
L's

Bob Cleveland said...

One of of two things is apt to happen:

1) They reverse the decision and agree to open the records, in a sneaky ploy to gain support for the Report. In which case the SBC assembled should reject the report, overwhelmingly.

2) They stick by this decision, in which case the SBC assembled should reject the report, overwhelmingly.

Word Verification (no kidding): incesil. Make up your own punch line.

Anonymous said...

Far be it from me to defend the current SBC power structure...It makes me sick. And 15 years is probably way too long. But, that being said: there ARE some very smart reasons for keeping deliberation recordings temporarily sealed.

1. As a former VP candidate mentioned: "Gotcha-media." The current climate of the SBC is filled with a lot of hostility. How often have the words of this very blog been misunderstood (at best),twisted, mischaracterized and used against the author. Sealing the records protect the GCR members from that type of abuse and that is a fair protection to offer them. Think about how many people are angered by this report. Bloggers, Executive Committee members, NAMB employees, convention workers, and Pastors. Opening the records gives a LOT of people with platforms to do a lot of damage access to material that they could easily mischaracterize and twist for their own gain. Look, I know none of us are going to feel sorry for Ronnie Floyd if his words are used against him in some way. But keep in mind there are 20-something other people on this Task Force. It is honorable, not deplorable, to protect those people from having rocks cast at them.

2. People make mistakes. We have all been in a meeting and said something that we regretted. Something that wasn't fair, and was either not an accurate representation of what we feel or was accurate but we were just wrong. In such a scrutinized report as the GCR innocent mistakes (not stuff driven by ego and pride) could (read: will most certainly) be blown up to massive issues (see number 1 above!).

3. Evaluate the report- not the people who compiled it or what they said while creating it. The fact that Ronnie Floyd is leading the GCR has already undermined this to some degree. But Southern Baptist need to set aside some differences for the next little bit and evaluate the ideas in the report FAIRLY based on their merits and potential effectiveness. Keeping the records sealed takes the focus off WHAT was said and WHO said it and puts the focus on the critical decisions at hand. Do you think, in the current environment, Southern Baptist are mature enough to do this if the records were made public!? If so please call me to discuss a bridge I am selling. Again- 15 years is a bit long BUT remember that report gives some long timelines for things to happen. I can see where it does make some sense for the records to be sealed until those changes are made.

What is sad isn't that the deliberation records are sealed; what is sad is that we all have allowed the convention to reach such a level of distrust that we automatically assume "closed door" discussions always are driven exclusively by some kind of ego driven power brokering. This is exactly why the convention is dying.

Anonymous said...

Anon:
You said: "Typical of those on that committee and yes, I do think they are hiding something."

Really? Do you know who is on the committee? Is "hiding" something, lying, and acting with incorrect motives "typical" behavior for Tom Biles, Kathy Ferguson, Harry Lewis, Larry Grays? That might be "typical" of a few of the members but not all 20.

Comments like that (the characterization of committee members as dishonest and untruthful) are EXACTLY why, if I were on the committee, I would probably have voted to have the records sealed!

debbiekaufman said...

Everyone keeps equating this to politics. It doesn't matter if the census records are sealed(government) or anything about Obama is sealed(government). As Christians we should be about light, disclosure, honesty, integrity. Politics should never be used as an example. Never. The church is not about politics, but being a light to the world, bringing the gospel. Teaching. Preaching. That is the church's function. Not secrecy. That would include this report.

2 Corinthians 4:1-2
Since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart. Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man's conscience in the sight of God.

Thy Peace said...

I am guessing that the average age of the GCRTF committee is around 45 to 50 y.o. So after 15 years, all of them would be retired.

A prediction:

LU Committee being led by Ron Godwin to investigate Ergun Caner will exonerate Ergun Caner of ALL issues and the records will be sealed for 20 years.

Frank (or Chip) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Frank (or Chip) said...

Paul, what a great word about secrecy and sickness. It is hard to believe that the Great Commission could be an area of secrecy.

Of course, in 15 years when this is released, the likely response will be, "and what exactly was the SBC?"

Anonymous said...

If they have nothing to hide then why in the world would they want the records sealed?

BTW, I do know some of the leadership on that committee and I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them.

Anonymous said...

180 months, too long.

I'd say 24 months, give it two years and an election cycle and turn it all loose.

Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Ok, that's about it for me. Where else does one lead a church towards a Biblically-sound missions-minded group of churches?

I believe I've seen that a book justifying having a Great Commission Resurgence is coming out that has many of the TF members as contributors. I wish I could find the link to make sure I'm not gossiping. If it's not there, someone correct me and delete this comment, but this is about it.

Take our word for it, and listen to our opinions. Pay for our opinions, be it through the CP or by buying the book. But you're not able to figure this out for yourselves.

My mood just soured a bit more the day before I leave for Orlando.

And the Peace Committee is a different story. They were trying to solve divisions, and possibly needed to assure some confidentiality to people that spoke to them.

If the GCRTF is worried about the "Gotcha" media or distracting from the report, fine. Full disclosure June 18, so that we've voted on the actual suggestions. Meanwhile, there ought to be a ban on any employment of GCRTF members until the 15 years are up.

They're behaving like Clinton with the Supreme Court nominee: sure, it might be relevant, but my secrets are more important. Disgusting.

Sorry for the verbal explosion. This nonsense is why young, passionate pastors leave the SBC. Not that states keep 58% or whatever. Because if you're not in the Ronnie Floyd-Johnny Hunt-Paige Patterson happy loop, you're second class.

It might be time to move on.
John

Bob Cleveland said...

Anonymous 01:14 made reference to a level of distrust in the SBC. I don't argue with that, and with reference to the Great Commission being the Commission to go make disciples, I wonder what that "level of distrust" says of the discipleship, on the average, that's going on within the SBC. Particularly when one examines the fact that 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 million members are simply missing.

Which is, of course, the glaring omission of the GCRTF Report.

IMO.

Weezie said...

I do believe I know some brave soul who will be glad to mention it from the floor of the SBC. ;)

Weezie

Lydia said...

Mr Nettles,

I have a bit of experience with what you are saying because I am a certified strategic planner.

The planning team wanted to present a finished, unified, cohesive product. That is understandable.

However, there are several big problems with this view of secrecy not only during the process but after:


1. The configuration of the team. Are they the usual suspects? If newer players were added, were they listened to? Were they intimidated by the influence of others? This has huge implications for the future of the product. We might never know the answer to that.

2. Strategic planning is a lot like politics in that the process is ugly like making sausage. A good facilitator will be someone objective who has no ownership in the finished product and should be the whipping boy during the process.

3. There are processes that can be used within each planning session to deal with ideas and not even know who they came from. Each idea is presented by the facilitator and discussed by the team. Crazy ideas are many times the seed for really great ones.

4. Good planning outcome utilizes the ideas and input of those NOT on the planning team throughout the process. There are great ways to facilitate that throughout the process that are efficient and create buy in as the process continues.

5. Strategic planners know that all of us are smarter than a few of us.

I have facilitated planning with huge companies and smaller organizations. And the very best outcomes were those that actively sought the input of those not on the planning team. The more open the process, the better the outcome. But more importantly, the more likely the plan will be actually implemented in full.

How important is openness and transparency for Christians no matter how many rocks are thrown? Are we mice?

In effect, they communicate to us, by this act of secrecy, that their finished product might not be a unified product. But more like an edict from a few to be implemented by the many. Business as usual.

Byron said...

I think some of the defenses here for SBC secrecy were actually pretty good overall. But I hate secrecy, especially in a religious denomination where truth is (or was and still should be) a byword. I can understand the need for secrecy when matters become more political and/or economic/fiscal than religious, simply due to human nature and the inherent uncertainty in social response to disagreeable information. Which makes me think that perhaps the SBC is too big, not in terms of people, but in terms of organization. The SBC seems at times to be more a denomination of organizational structures than a convention of churches. And I say that as someone who is affiliated with the SBC by church membership. But I am mostly not part of the SBC mainly because I am not involved with it in any meaningful way. So I am not trying to "poke my nose into other people's business" but just offering an observation, welcome or not, by a curious onlooker.

Anonymous said...

I THOUGHT THESE QUOTES BY GRET MEN SEEMED TO FIT HERE.

"It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains."
Patrick Henry


"Man will ultimately be governed by God or by tyrants."
Benjamin Franklin


There are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. James Madison

B Nettles said...

Lydia,
I appreciate all your points, and I wish that all administrators, task forces, blue-ribbon panels, etc., would heed them.

I agree that continual input and feedback from outside is critical to a well-crafted, well-accepted plan. The GCRTF didn't structure its schedule to make that possible, so we are witnessing a great amount of kickback. I don't know whether they consulted a professional strategic planner, but it looks like they adopted an older "trust us" model. I like your model much better; it's one that actually builds trust.

Rex Ray said...

GOOD GRIEF!

If we knew what was in the report, we would be glad it’s been sealed.
In fact, we should want it burned and watch the $250,000 CP funds go up in smoke.

Has anyone read Norman Jameson’s quote of Dan Martin, who was news editor for Baptist Press during that period?

He attended and recorded every meeting of the Peace Committee. Martin said:
“There are only two reasons to seal records from more immediate availability:
1. You’re ashamed of what you said.
2. Or you don’t want to have to live by what you said.”

Martin was right on both reasons. In my opinion (got to put that in there) the ‘GCR-TF’ was/is ashamed of their STUPIDITY as shown in the article next to the one Wade referenced.

The article told of Alabama pastor and SBC presidential candidate Jimmy Jackson’s “serious concerns” about potential negative effects of the GCR-TF report of defining the Great Commission as ONLY planting churches and evangelizing.

Jackson said, “All Christians are to be involved in the ‘make disciples and teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you’ parts of the Great Commission that are not given sufficient emphasis in the task force report.”

He feels adoption of the report will lead to further neglect of church health, weaken Southern Baptists in the long run and diminish the role of lay men and women who are Great Commission Christians when they do the work of the church.

Anonymous said...

This gives a whole new meaning to the Report being DOA.
Did the Convention have fund the expenses for "secret" deliberations, AKA jockeying for position, turf battles--for the Kingdom....?

Rex Ray said...

On June 4, the Baptist Press carried Morris Chapman's "open letter" urging to reject the Great Commission report as it would embark upon a harmful course. He said:

"My responsibility is to alert, even warn Southern Baptists of the impending dangers I see if the last five recommendations are embraced by the SBC."

Chapman said those recommendations, including one that introduces a new giving category to encourage churches to designate gifts to particular causes, would
demote, devalue, and potentially destroy the cooperative spirit in making 'Great Commission Giving' the new metric for recognizing churches whose pastors lead them to give more to designated giving and less through the Cooperative Program."

http://www.baptiststandard.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11221&Itemid=53

Steve said...

Anonymous 5:46 and Byron, I agree with your sentiments. As a SBC pastor, and attendeder of the SBC regularly, and coming from a small church mindset, the good-old-boy system is going to doom this Convention.

That’s what, to me, anyway, Greenville was all about. It was not about CP giving thresholds, as much as it was that the fact that small churches make up the majority of the population and CP giving and giving to Convention causes. Yet we are looked down upon because we don’t hit a magical number in Sunday School, or worship attendance. So a select few get to choose the next president in a back-room, and we’re “told” who to vote for. It is frustrating. And why I want to vote the GCR-TF recommendations individually. I agree with some and not with others. Especially the EX Com reduction of 1%, which I see as retaliation to Morris’s out spoken resistance to the effort.

OK, that’s my rant for the year.

Anonymous said...

I say if the rords are not public--VOTE IT DOWN!!!

Anonymous said...

This is all proof that regardless of how much we claim we've moved forward, we're right back where we started.

After all, you can claim you're moving forward while riding a Merry-go-round yet never actually go anywhere except right back where you started.

We are a denomination riddled with abuse, politics, power, corruption, and as long as we have the Catholic church, hopefully no one will notice us.

That is, until the Catholic church finishes policing itself and then it's going to be a very bumpy ride for us.

Anonymous said...

The hiding of the Task Force proceedings will take place for fifteen years, perhaps.

But what THEN is the purpose of revealing the records at the end of fifteen years?

"It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird: it would be a jolly sight harder for a bird to learn to fly while remaining an egg. We are like eggs at present. And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg. We must be hatched or go bad."
— C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity)

To find out fifteen years from now all that perplexed and troubled the Task Force participants, all that they considered in coming to conclusions, all that was important in forming some sort of consensus:

all that will be lost to the SBC for fifteen years . . . but why?

Dave said...

Frank (or Chip) said...

Paul, what a great word about secrecy and sickness. It is hard to believe that the Great Commission could be an area of secrecy.

That is great statement! It is amazing that the people who claim that they believe in the Bible are always adding to it - to prove it up. God's Word stands on its own - none can improve. We need to be faithful humble servants & leave the results to the Lord, who is the only enabler of the decisions.

Rex Ray said...

HELLO; HELLO,
Is anyone LISTENING?

Do you NOT know or not interested WHY the report has been sealed for 15 years?

That’s one trouble with “All comments must be approved by the blog administrator.”

Unless the administrator has nothing to do but read comments all day, the delay is like changing communicating on the phone to letter writing – SLOW mail.

I believe the end result will be fewer comments, with fewer readers. It borders on making walls to keep sin out but makes prisoners within.

Now Wade, that’s just my opinion of course. :)

Anonymous said...

Wade,

There was a column in todays Financial Times (Saturday, JUne 12, "To Cut of Not or Not to Cut, by Harry Eyres, in the Life and Arts section) about a wider subject of how many are shutting down all criticism and critical thought.

The context here is ho Miguel de Unamuno, a rector of a college, a poet, novelist and philosopher challenged the fascists of Spain in the mid thirties.

He said, speaking of the assault on the University:

"This is the temple of intelligence, and I am its high priest. You are profaning its sacred domain. You will succeed, because you have enough brute force. But you will not convince. In order to convince it is necessary to persuade, and to persuade you will need something that you do not possess: reason and right in the struggle."

This observation was true then, today, and I am sure, tomorrow.

Bob Kellner

Weezie said...

I have read that some of the reasoning behind the sealing is to protect some of our people from the media. Some have also said that we all say things we didn't mean, etc, and when the media gets a hold of that kind of "Christianity" - they use it against us to malign the name.

IF there is a real need to keep media out of our business (which has not been normal protocol) then why not make a motion that every messenger (or pastor, or someother "label" that would exclude media) be privy to the information.

We want young people in the SBC? This generation is one of "genuineness" and honesty. If we don't think someone is "real" - then we pull away. Many have already pulled away and more will do so. Institutional loyalty - just because its the institution - is generally a thing of the past.

SBC leadership needs to get real.

Tom Kelley said...

There would be no need to seal the records if the meetings and discussions had been open from the start.

Greg Harvey said it well: "It feels like we're using the Great Commission to establish and exercise control over the local church and the state conventions."

Let's face it -- the so-called Great Commission Resurgence Task Force is just quasi-spiritual-speak for "Southern Baptist Convention Restructuring Task Force". I suspect that pretty much everything was on the table at the start, from doing away with the CP to making all monies go through the CP, from combining the IMB and NAMB to doing away with one or the other, from combining seminaries to opening more, etc., etc.

Ultimately, the decisions reached likely involved a long term plan (10-15 years, following the pattern of the last "Resurgence"), with the current report just being the first step toward whatever the ultimate desired end-state will be, knowing that too much change too quickly would be rejected outright.

My belief is that they want the records sealed because they want to keep the outline of the longer term plan a secret, lest people, knowing what's planned, would reject the first steps in the plan.

The GCRTF's recommendations are the same tactic as that used by Washington politicians who promoted the recently passed health care reform bill. They have an ultimate end-state in mind (single payor, fully socialized medicine), and, knowing that would not be accepted by the American people at this time, the legislators passed this bill as step in that direction. It is no surprise that the power broker politicians in Washington and those in SBC leadership want to keep their deliberations private -- they simply don't want people to know what they are really up to.

-----
Tom

Paul Burleson said...

There may be many definitions to a "lie." But one I think says it pretty well is what I heard recently.."Something is a lie if it denies others access to knowledge to which they are entitled."

I know who birthed the study and funded it. I know who may be changed by the study. So I would say I know who is entitled to the informatin and not fifteen years from now IMHO.

So whatever the motivation..I do not believe the end justifies the means. A "lie" [by the above definition] is never justified.

Anonymous said...

In the year 2001, a majority of messengers attending the Missouri Baptist Convention annual meeting voted to pursue the course it has for almost 10 years now (sue "break-away" agencies, etc.). Those who opposed the matter remained autonomous, theologically-conservative, CP-supporting Southern Baptists---and walked away from the MBC to form a body more representative of their persuasions (though their CP contributions, I assume, still are not accepted by the SBC).

The Task Force folk are big-chuch people for the most part, used to seeking and getting their way. That's OK---but, at the end of the day, everybody still can do what he/she/they want to do. It seems like all parties ought to keep that in mind.

15 years from now, the SBC may be a shell of its present self---if it exists at all. Because people who have sense enough to know that 2 years' secrecy will do for this situation, instead of 15, couldn't get a fair hearing in 2010. Just saying.

Rex Ray said...

I’VE GOT THE ANSWER!

I’m writing with INVISIBLE INK.

No one can see the article on the same page of Wade’s link (The Biblical Recorder).

That article tells WHY the report was sealed for 15 years.

1. You’re ashamed of what you said.
2. You don’t want to have to live by what you said.

They sealed it to ‘secrecy’ to save face.

Case closed.

If secrecy is all some want to talk about, why don’t they complain about the secrecy of writing the BFM 2000 behind closed doors?

Why don’t they complain about the secrecy of Masons sealed maybe forever? They put the study on the shelf because there were so many Masons that were pastors, deacons, etc.

Anonymous said...

WE PLAN TO MAKE a MOTION at the SBC-ORLANDO 'that all deliberations be made public within 30 days or the GCR report will not be received or voted on'......

Gene S said...

Wade--

As a resident of NC, I applaude Norman Jameson's courage. We have become a CR run state and he is doing his epose' at great personal risk.

Supposedly the whole purpose of the report was to demonstrate clear disclosure and invite churches to join in giving to the CP as they did in the past.

My problem is that even Executive salaries are impossible to find. I went personally to SEBTS to find out how much CP money had been spent to renovate the President's home with a special closet hermetically controlled to house his wife's firs--no one would tell me anything!!

Further, I have asked to see the letters of recommendation of all students whose education is supposed to be funded only if they are from an SBC church with that letter on file.

AGAIN---no one will tell me anything!!!

Why should we give in trust when there is so much hidden from the average Baptist?

Remember: We stopped being adversarial by putting aside mistrust and making AUTONOMY a main function to be sure no one dictated to another church or individual exactly what to do or believe.

I think things are getting worse rather than better!

Anonymous said...

Just so someone doesn't think Gene S is referring to a current story about the "furs" at SEBTS, the reference I Googled indicates this may be associated with the Drummond presidency...

http://weskenney.net/?p=606

Anonymous said...

Gene S--

Federal educational privacy laws prohibit the release of student-specific information such as confirmation students are from SBC churches.

Gene S said...

I'm glad you checked out the "fur closet" incident. All I am saying is that this kind of hidden stuff has been going on in spades since 1979.

It bespeaks the hidden nature of business being conducted using money given in trust by the average church--many of which far outgive the large mega churches from which most of the decision making leaders come these days.

The pattern in leadership selection has been consistent:

Big Church = you are selected President of the SBC

Total obedience = you move up

BF&M 2000 = you must sign

This is NOT AUTONOMY!!! The budgets of all Institutions and Agencies used to be transparent and clear--now they have large lump sum amounts. No one will disclose details, yet we are expected to keep giving in trust???

We only find out about indescreations AFTER our money is spent--and not on enlarging the mission force!

Some examples through the years:

Renovation of the SEBTS President's home / the private jet for the NAMB under Reccord / his private business attached to his NAMB responsibilities & lavish expense account / Pecan Manor for Pattersons renovations & Christmas extravaganza.

This is the tip of the iceburg of what use (mis-use) of trusting church giving on the assumption it is for the Mission Enterprise.

Remember: The entire purpose of the Cooperative Program was to allow missionaries to stay in the field longer while funds were collected and distributed by our mission agencies on their behalf.

This moritorium on disclosure rule is a total disaster!!!

Why do they do it????

Gene S said...

Anonymous--

I am amazed that those who boldly declare "Separation of Church and State" hop on your excuse not to disclose a most relevent part of a student's background.

I have talked with numerous students--the majority of whom are from Bob Jones / Liberty / any number of Independent Baptist churches having no affiliation with the SBC.


You will immediately say, "Jerry joined us." He is not the point!!

My discussions--without being given any access to records or any report without seeing them personally--leads me to posit: Many students are getting a free ride when their church is non-SBC!!

Why don't you prove me wrong!!!

Anonymous said...

One note on this "The majority of SBC is small churches" stuff...

Depends on what you are counting. If you are counting churches then YES the majority of SBC churches are small.

If you are counting people though the vast majority of SBC membership goes to large churches. I can't remember the stat- but is was close to the 80/20 rule. I think it was 25% of the churches have 65% of the membership.

Anonymous said...

Gene S:

You wrote "I have talked with numerous students--the majority of whom are from Bob Jones / Liberty / any number of Independent Baptist churches having no affiliation with the SBC."

There are some SEBTS students in my church, and I KNOW each year they have to fill out an annual certification regarding their church affiliation that has to be signed off by the church. So if there are issues of students demonstrating a lack of integrity in claiming to be SBC when they are not, their churches are complicit in the fraud.

Can you recommend a more accurate way of vetting who is "true SBC"?

Gene S said...

As most things SBC these days, it is beyond my ability to know--since I have only been a part of the SBC for most of my 64 years!!!

If scandal breaks, then we find out.

Frankly, there is little trust of any integrity left in me these days.

It seems the motto of the Communists prevails: The end justifies the means to it!!!