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

Dr. Kevin Ezel To Be Presented as President of the North American Mission Board

My book project over the summer turned into two books, and today the first book entitled Enid's Night of Generals is being released. The second book, Red Earth Courage, will be available sometime in 2011. Both books are works of history, and I thoroughly enjoyed writing them. The respite from blogging has also been refreshing. There are two or three observations I'd like to make as I begin to write again at Grace and Truth to You.

(1). My favorite blogs are those that make the readers think. I have gone back and read my father's blog on several occasions over the summer, using much of the material he has written for my own Bible studies and research. There are many other blogs that edify me in the same manner, and they make blogging and reading blogs worthwhile.

(2). Those blogs that expose the duplicity and dishonesty of spiritual leaders have their place as well. I can't help but think of the Scriptures that speak of judgment beginning in the house of God. For too long we Christians have railed against the burning houses of culture while ignoring the truth-twisting, termite infested foundation of our own house. Blogs will continue to ensure that Christian men and women think twice before they speak or write exaggerations or lies for personal benefit.

(3). There is a vitriol and animosity among bloggers that is difficult to explain. I learned a long time ago, however, that the more someone shouts, the weaker his argument.

It's time to start blogging again. I will write softly.

The Southern Baptist Convention is working hard to move forward with a missions and evangelistic emphasis. To that end, the important matter of electing the new Presidents of the two largest mission agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention is being closely watched. The International Mission Board continues to search for her new President, but the Presidential Search Committee for the North American Mission Board will be presenting Dr. Kevin Ezel for approval as their new President. NAMB trustees are scheduled to gather in Atlanta on September 14 for the presentation of Dr. Ezell.

The influence of Southern Seminary and Dr. Al Mohler continues to be felt throughout our Convention. Dr. Ezel is Russ Moore and Al Mohler's pastor at the multi-campus Highview Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky. He is widely loved by the Southern students and faculty who attend his church for his visionary leadership skills, theological acumen, and heart for missions.

It's interesting to note that Dr. Hershael York, former campus pastor at Highview, is the Chairman of Kentucky's Great Commission Task Force that recently recommended  Kentucky's Cooperative Program receipts be evenly split between the state and the national convention. Over the next seven years Kentucky will move toward 50%  of CP receipts remaining in Kentucky with 50%  going to national agencies, including NAMB.

The ideological and friendship ties between the new crop of SBC leaders is tight. They are good men. However, I hope they will not be unwilling to broaden the tent of cooperation and share leadership with those outside their circle of friendship or theological views. I also hope SBC pastors and churches who are not as influenced by Southern Seminary or reformed theology will not take the same route conservatives took years ago when they decreased CP giving because they didn't like SBC leadership. I can't help but think that even though Southern Baptist Convention leaders change, "the give more song" remains the same. It's just that those who have now joined the giving chorus are those who once refused to sing.

One day, someday, Southern Baptists might actually realize the dangers of demanding conformity on tertiery issues in a convention built on cooperation, no matter which ideology is currently in vogue or in leadership.

These are interesting days.

In His Grace,


Wade

23 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Welcome back Wade! We missed you, and glad you had a great time away from the blogosphere. Looking forward to reading your blog again.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks, Watchdog.

I'm sure there are a few others who aren't quite as excited as you.

Smiling,

Wade

Kevin M. Crowder said...

A hearty welcome back as well. Hoping for a great and profitable year ahead for all. Looking forward to the books!

~ K

Thy Peace said...

Welcome back Pastor Wade.

Christiane said...

Glad you're back, Wade.
(BTW, I love your father's blog and enjoy the people's comments there so much.)

Hi KEVIN, glad to hear from you too.
Hope all is well with you. :)

Josh in FL said...

Wow! Less than an hour in and I'm not the first to say, "Welcome back!"
Oh well.
Welcome back!

=)

Anonymous said...

from all of the "anonymi", welcome back!

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Kevin, Thy Peace, Christiane, Josh, and Anonimi! :)

Anonymous said...

Welcome back.

Louis

T said...

You said: "The ideological and friendship ties between the new crop of SBC leaders is tight."

This is a true statement. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

It ain't WHAT you know, its WHO you know.

In the political "ol' buddy" world that is the SBC I don't think this will ever change. It deals with the rotten nature of man.

Did you really think the new leader would NOT be a friend of Al and Danny?

Comfort said...

Wade, I AM so pleased to see you back. I don't agree with everything you preach, but I've rarely seen a man with your love for the Savior and committment to His people. You have blessed me and my entire family many times.

I'm especially grateful for your willingness, to call sin what it is. That's a message that has been lost in so many churches!

Tom Parker said...

Wade:

Welcome back! I hope you are having a good first day back on your blog.

The good old boy network of the SBC continues on with this high-level position as sadly it always does.

It is one of the reasons the SBC will continue to struggle.

Sheila said...

I want to like Pastor Ezell. I really do. He appears to have top notch administrative skills, something sorely needed at NAMB.

But I must admit I have concerns:

1. His church's anemic giving to the Cooperative Program (2.2% last year). If all churches followed his example, he would not be named as the head of an SBC mission agency because it would have already gone bankrupt.

2. His willingness to let his church be used to advance a partisan political agenda. In 2005, he allowed his church to broadcast an Anti-Fillibuster rally. Source:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A57534-2005Apr15.html

Want to support a particular brand of secular politics? Fine. There are PACs and such made for that activity. If he becomes the face of North American Missions, how will his pro-Republican party stance impact those of us who minister to people in the blue states?

3. His open contempt for state convention leadership. See his remarks in an article here:

http://faith.courier-journal.com/2008_01_01_archive.html

(scroll way down to "Inside Issues and Al Mohler's Nomination"). In this article, he also states that he will be increasing his church's CP giving from 3.3% in 2006. It has since declined to the above mentioned 2.2%.

Wade, you are correct in stating that we need to support the CP regardless of who is at the helm. We are a part of a rich history, and we should always expect it to improve, not cut it at the roots. I pray that Pastor Ezell, as he now will be able to travel to mission fields across this country, will see that we Southern Baptists are working faithfully to reach our neighbors. We may not be of the same opinion on many issues, but we are still worthy of respect.

In fact, we are big believers in cooperation. Cooperation means even though we may not always agree with our leaders, we will support them. We hope that our leaders support the workers in the same manner.

Anonymous said...

Kept checking to see a new blog. Wade i think u are doing a good thing in trying to promote Christian actions instead of trying to make sure we are in total agreement with our so-called leaders. I like to see someone with some influence have a zeal for being lead by Christ.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,

Good to see you back posting.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

Percentage to the CP ought never to be a litmus test for service, just as ones tithing and church contribution record ought not determine one's fitness for service. Though I was against some of the changes in the GCR-TF report adopted this year, the fact remains that "Great Commission Giving" is going to be the new CP in the very near future. Under this new schema, Highview, by all accounts, fairs better than most.

Let us judge the man on the content of his character, not every jot and tittle of the church from which he comes.

Wade's assessment is worth noting, but not indicative of what this man will do. I am more concerned that a top down church planting strategy is going to become the norm, and that powerhouse authors are continuing to control the convention by the power of the pen.

Anonymous said...

Being unable to attend my own church this week I watched Emmanuel live online. It was wonderful to see you speak to the people you pastor and to see that the gracious way you communicate on this blog is how you talk in person to those who know you best.

I was moved by your announcement about the offering, particularly the invitation to those with financial needs. It fit so well with the New Covenant view of giving, but it had never occurred to me to allow God to move both the givers and the receivers in that way! I would love to hear more about how that works at Emmanuel.

Welcome back!

Heather

Joe Blackmon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Wade Burleson said...

Heather,

Thanks for the kind words. We are delighted you joined us via the Internet Sunday.

We always tell people they are free to take from the offering plate as it passes by.

We have some great stories of people who had some needs met by that simple encourgement.

We've practiced this kind of offering taking and giving for years.

Wade

Christiane said...

"We have some great stories of people who had some needs met by that simple encourgement."

I imagine there have been many in need who have been blessed by that kindness.
There is saying that the greatest need of the poor is not for material goods; it is for them to know that someone actually cares about them.

Such a beautiful way to honor Christ, Wade.

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic: That Mom [Karen Campbell] > september 1 podcast: patriarchy/patriocentricity two, part eleven ~ Jon Zens and What’s with Paul and Women, part two

Amanda said...

I've never heard of a church doing that with their offerings. Never. It is VERY encouraging to hear that about your church.

Doug Hibbard said...

Wade,

I'm curious about the sharing through the offering plate. I've been, previously, a part of a church service where we announced, in advance, that the church would be taking an offering to help people with financial needs. Then, at the service, the pastor instructed that, all together, whoever had brought was to bring what they had and put it on "the altar" (read: steps of the platform), and that anyone with a need was to come at the same time and take what they needed.

It was very moving, and the mass chaos of motion protected the identities of givers and receivers.

However, I've also always heard that, for tax/IRS issues, a church cannot just give someone money out of the plate. While I think what you have described happening is a case of church folks doing what they ought to, how does it line up with the legal issues? I'd like to think it's not a problem, but with the IRS, you never know. (My prior church is still sorting out a mistake in reporting 4 years ago that has garnered threats to seize church property. As I've been dealing with that, I don't have a high regard for the IRS right now.)

Anyway, just curious on this one.

Doug