Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Did Anyone Actually Read the Peace Report?

Some of our young leaders may not be aware that at the 1987 Southern Baptist Convention a task force, composed of Southern Baptist men and women elected by the Convention, presented to the SBC a paper offically called "The Peace Committee Report." The full text of this report can be found at the Report of the Southern Baptist Convention Peace Committee.

A member of that Peace Committee emailed me and said it would be good for younger leaders in the SBC to be reminded of what was said in 1987 regarding the future of the SBC. Below are a few excerpts from Section III.

In this section, entitled Conclusions, the Peace Committee makes a statement that seems to be as applicable to our Convention in 2006 as it was in 1987. The statement begins with a question . . .

"How then can we (the SBC) survive . . .?

First, the hostility must cease within the heart of each of us. That brings peace.

Second, our leaders must have and must demonstrate a view of Baptist life that reaches beyond the limits of their own personal theology. No effort should be made or should be permitted to be made which would seek to eliminate from Baptist life theological beliefs or practices which are consistent with the Baptist Faith and Message ...

Third, and most important, nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of genuine cooperation in mission . . .

Finally, we should recognize and freely admit that the greatest source of our strength as a denomination lies in the thousands of local church congregations that support our cooperative undertakings."

All I feel like doing right now is asking a queston . . . Did anyone actually read the Peace Report?

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


JUSTAMOE said...

And, how many who read it did it?

Kevin Bussey said...

We don't just need to read it, we need to live by it!

GeneMBridges said...

As I recall...the attitude then was "Oh, that was directed at the other side." Of course, both sides said that.

JUSTAMOE said...

Golly; the convention the report describes--which isn't the convention that existed or exists today--seems idealic. If God were presenting another "kairos moment" to the SBC in 1987--another one of His famous "strategic seasons" or "opportune times for a reason having to do with going to the next level in maturity and ministry as the Lord's people"--I'm afraid we missed it!

Professors of the seminary classes I sat in only a few years later still were saying, "Brothers and sisters: if this fight ever is to end, it must end with you. Please, don't join it--keep the 'main thing' the 'main thing'."

I'm not certain that we did, or are, or may in the future. Anyone else?

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Friends,

This part of the admonition:

"should be made or should be permitted to be made"

means not only that Hatley and Company are wrong in what they are doing, but that we are wrong if we let them get away with it.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

I agree it would be good for all to read the Peace Committee report. I remember well when it was presented. There was some hope that it would be actually heard and acted on. I sometimes wonder if all on the peace committee even read the report since some of the members have ignored its suggestions. Here are some other important excerpts and my comments after each one.

“It is the unanimous conclusion of the Peace Committee that fairness in the appointive process will contribute to peace. Therefore, we exhort the present and future presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention, the Committee on Committees and the Committee on Boards to select nominees who endorse the Baptist Faith and Message Statement and are drawn in balanced fashion from the broad spectrum of loyal, cooperative Southern Baptists, representative of the diversity of our denomination.”
This has been completely ignored by the conservative resurgence leaders. Appointments by and large have been restricted to those who endorse the conservative resurgence while many highly qualified, theologically conservative Southern Baptists have been excluded.

“Although all Southern Baptists do not understand the Baptist Faith and Message Statement on Scripture the same way, this diversity should not create hostility towards each other, stand in the way of genuine cooperation, or interfere with the rights and privileges of all Southern Baptists within the denomination to participate in its affairs.”
Isn’t this what Wade has been saying.

“We, the Peace Committee, ask Baptist Press, all Baptist state papers, Baptist publications and independent autonomous journals to refrain from using terms and labels, specifically terms such as fundamentalist, liberal, fundamental-conservative and moderate-conservative.”
The dishonest use of labels by the Conservative Resurgence leaders has never stopped. Not long after this, one former IMB trustee named a “hero of the resurgence” by Pressler, said the IMB was controlled by liberals and the missionaries were neo-orthodox heretics. A former member of the SBC Executive Committee, who also served on the BF&M rewrite committee, operated a Website where he labeled my state convention, Arkansas, and its leaders as liberals.

“We recommend that the Southern Baptist Convention request all organized political factions to discontinue the organized political activity in which they are now engaged. We think the following specific activities are out of place and request all groups to discontinue these specific political activities:
(1) Organized political activity.
(2) Political strategies developed by a group with central control.
(3) Holding information/ideological meetings.
(4) Extensive travel on behalf of political objectives within the Convention.
(5) Extensive mail-outs to promote political objectives in the Convention.”
Does anyone believe this recommendation was taken seriously? The conservative resurgence leaders have never stopped their meetings or political activities. Read the book Columns by Russell Dilday to get an understanding of the political activity during the 90s.

Anonymous said...

In these discussions I am reminded again of the basic sin of how we always want it our way instead of God's way. We are all subject to this sin whether or not we admit it or not. It creeps in when we least expect it and takes hold of us before we quite understand what happened. Like fleas on a dog, we don't know it happened until we start scratching and there it is...fleas again.

NG said...

If that was truly followed would there ever have been a conservative resurgence? I don't think so and I don't know that I would like that. There would still be too many teachers at our seminaries that did not represent the people of the SBC if the guidelines set forth were followed.

I found this statement regarding the politics being played as interesting: "If allowed to continue unchecked, such political activity in the Convention can have disastrous consequences affecting our ability to serve our Lord and do His work." It is appropriate quote to be mentioned on this blog for some reason or another.

Did those on the committee do what they recomended? Some of the names on the committee are synonymous with the conservative resurgence and the politics from my understanding (it happened before my time).

art rogers said...

I would like to accentuate this section, immediately after the section you listed in bold, Wade:

Third, and most important, nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of genuine cooperation in mission . . .

I think this paragraph says gently, and without bogging down in minutae, what the desired out come is for us.

wadeburleson.org said...

I received an excellent email from a missionary on the field who said I could post a portion of it, but not all of it. Unfortunately, this comment section is all or nothing. I won't be editing any comments. If you want it posted you need to write a comment that can be submitted in its entirety.

Kevin said...


Wow there are some impressive names on that list, but is this also left up to the individual to interpret it how they think it reads. There is something that they could grab hold and say that when you went outside the normal parameters of the BoT it violated this as well.

That to accomplish its work, this Committee shall recognize the role of trustees and shall work with and through appropriate Boards, Commissions and Agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention. This Committee shall report on the progress of its work to each meeting of the Executive Committee. The Trustees, Boards, and Agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention, and their officers and employees, shall fully cooperate with the Committee to accomplish the purposes outlined in this motion

I don’t hold to that but can you see how things can be twisted to mean what ever you want it to mean. I do agree with what has been said by you and many of other men and women that have posted and was in this that…

Third, and most important, nothing must be allowed to stand in the way of genuine cooperation in mission . . .

Our mission being to bring those who are lost to the cross of Christ and train them in living a Christ centered life.

Anonymous said...

sorry wade, if you feel free to post then post the comment. I just did not know if you wanted to post it or not, as long as you feel good about it, I'm cool with it.

Anonymous said...

How exciting!! This should be read out loud on Sunday morning in every Baptist church or maybe mailed to members en masse. Now if we could all put it to action...

Anonymous said...

I think it is obvious that the Peace Report did not produce favorable results. The birth of the CBF is proof that the SBC leaders (at that time) did hold others to their personal standard of orthodoxy (mind you, I'm talking about those that left as well a those that stayed). It is funny, however, that the "standard" is now becoming more narrow. Men who cooperated from the late 1970's until the recent present may soon find themselves at odds with each other.

I can't agree more with what you are doing, Wade. This convention's survival depends on leaders who are dedicated to a level of inclusion that can be broadly defined while remaining thoroughly orthodox and baptistic.


Anonymous said...

I wish those who read your blog and respond so positively to it would have been as vocal for the past 25+ years. Perhaps we wouldn't be a fractured convention and the issue you are currently dealing with wouldn't be an issue. In the supporting documents to the 1963 BFM, Dr. Hobbs said the SBC would be fine so long as neither the extreme right or the extreme left in Southern Baptist life tried to impose its persepective on the convention. What began as a correction became an imposition (some might say an inquistion) and, sadly, the other side reacted. As many of us have said for many years, the unity of the Southern Baptist Convention has never been theological conformity but a shared commitment to fulfilling the Great Comission. As long as there are people in positions of power who are willing to do whatever they think necessary to achieve theological conformity by imposing their narrow view of right doctrine, liberal or fundamentalist, there will be no peace. I want to hope that things in the SBC can be different. However, given the present state of things, my guess is these kinds of incidents will keep on happening.