Wednesday, February 15, 2006

A Pause for Reflection

This morning Baptist Press issued a press release from the Chairman of the Trustees of the International Mission Board. I drafted a response that I then read to a group of men who have provided me wisdom during this difficult time. Everyone within my accountability group thought I should post my response and I did so one hour after the press release.

I then heard from one person on my accountability group that I had been unable to contact earler. He read my response and told me that he agreed with everything I said, but he wondered if I should wait a few hours before I officially responded. I respect this man's wisdom and have taken off my initial post. I have told him that I will wait until this evening. I am currently seeking to contact trustee leadership to ask them personally about two very serious concerns I have with the press release. I am waiting until I hear from them before I respond officially.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson



Christie said...

You are in our prayers. Looking forward to your response.

Anonymous said...

Can you explain why you have been accused of broken trust and resistance to accountability?

Anonymous said...

This Okie is praying that the IMB Trustees are not making an attempt to dodge accountability to the SBC for their actions in recommending your removal in the first place. I don't play poker (don't have the face for it), but will use the following analogy, anyway. . .with the sincere hope that I am totally wrong:

The IMB Trustees' hand has been called. They are folding because they don't have the cards. They are going back to "Poker School" to learn some new strategies. . .In a few weeks they may be back with a new deck of cards.

Wade, you have been wise to focus on principle, and not personality. Continue to love the people, but be wary of trusting performances until it is demonstrated that these folks understand that missions is more than "my way or the highway". This brother in Christ continues to pray that this issue will be an unqualified victory to the glory and praise of God!

In His Grace and Peace,

Keep your eye on said...

Mr. Anonymous.


Wish I could.

Bowden McElroy said...

I do not see this as a move toward healthy, godly, open governance of our convention.

First,"(handling it) internally" continues the tradition of secrecy and placing the welfare of the trustees above the welfare of the members of the members of SBC churches.

Second, "the committee determined that the matter of disciplining a trustee..." assumes you have been errant and need discipline. Those of us who have heard your story and find you to be a trustworthy man are not convinced you are in need of discipline.

Third, this move does nothing to build my trust in the executive committee of the board: if anything, I am even more disposed to ask how the nature and makeup of the board, and particulary of this committee, can be changed.

Anonymous said...

This missionary wonders if the IMB Board of Trustees reads all of the missionary blogs and if they will want to (regulate) those as well. I hope nominating committee members will continue to nominate people who use technology like blogging to keep us informed and to keep up with the times in which we live. I would gladly re-sign the BFM annually if asked, but this entire situation has grieved me. Please keep the Trustees' actions on your blog so those of us in faraway places know what's going on back home. Blessings to you & yours from the mission field. I also hope each individual trustee would take opportunity at their next meeting to affirm Jerry Rankin.

Anonymous said...

The bottom line for the new policies is that people who are not "true Southern Baptists" but want to work for the IMB anyway will simply give the "correct" answers and perhaps even be rebaptized. In contrast, a real Southern Baptist with genuine integrity who was baptized in a different denomination will not be comfortable being rebaptized, if they are sure that their baptism was valid according to the criteria in the Bible and the B F & M 2000. Thus, the policy will not elminate those it is designed to eliminate, it will eliminate only honest people with high standards of personal integrity. The same could be said for a private prayer language. Only those who are honest and have integrity will be eliminated, probably even before they apply since the guidelines state that they have disqualified themselves from consideration. So we are taking a private and aguably entirely scriptural practice and eliminating applicants who have ever done it. I noticed that in one of the relevant passages Paul stated that we should pray with the spirit (of which tongues are one indication) and with understanding. The IMB in their defense of the policy only cite Paul's statements here and elswhere that we should pray with understanding. In reality, that is an unscriptural "taking away" from the Bible.

Therefore, Wade, I am very grateful that you have decided to continue blogging. Regardless of the time line, the issues that stimulated them, and the rationale for them, these policy changes are a mistake. Your blog is the major reason that there is at least some possibility that they will be reversed.

Anonymous said...

When I go to look at the link of the press release for today (by Hatley), I only get the original article. Is the link correct?

Anonymous said...

When I was very young, my best friend attended a Southern Baptist Church. I was raised in a Lutheran Church. As a family, we attended church and Sunday School faithfully, and I participated in youth activities and choir. I also babysat for families in the church so that the parents could participate in couple's activities, and my parents considered our church and the friends there to be our family. It came as quite a shock to me that my friend feared for my salvation. You see, we wore robes in the choir, AND our pastor wore vestments, AND she was taught that we were 'no better than Catholics'. A few years later, another SBC friend also questioned my salvation because I professed to have no private prayer language.
Since those days, I have had problems with teachings from any church that criticize and condemn other Christians and their places of worship or dictate additional requirements for proof of salvation. We are part and parcel THE Church--the bride of Christ. None of us individually is perfect, but those who have accepted Christ as their personal Saviour through faith given by grace are joined spiritually to be His bride, washed in His blood and presented Holy and Perfect. When we criticize that church, we must be VERY careful because we are talking about the Bride who awaits her Bridegroom. I know that many churches exist because the Lord meets us wherever we are--not wherever someone else might wish us to be. He has places of serenity, places where dress is fine or where jeans and T-shirts are welcome, places where laughing and dancing and 'amen, brothers' are expected, in some churches we find pierced and tatooed deacons, and in others not even jewelry is allowed. Some churches pray 'in the Spirit'--others sing in the Spirit. Some enjoy modern music--others sing only timeless hymns (that may have once been tavern songs!). Some use powerful and meaningful liturgy, while others follow no 'order'. But as long as they teach salvation is by faith alone in Christ as the Son of God and Man, dead for our sins and alive again, ready to return at the right moment in history, you are right--the non-essential must fall away. I do not attend a Lutheran church anymore. The reason I left was the message was being watered down, and made 'nice' so as not to offend, and in the process, I believed that it was no longer the truth. Now, I attend a Baptist church--not SBC--but I go there because the teaching is from God's Word, and the applications are directed by His Spirit. Keep telling the truth. If Christians do not take a stand on God's Truths, who will? And if we, who believe, can't discern the truth, how will we ever be able to expect others to hear and be saved? Satan can't remove our salvation, but he can destroy our effectiveness by pitting us one against the other. I am grateful for pastors like you who are willing to stand on principle based on the teachings of the Holy Bible, and thank the Lord that He has placed you as His man of conscience right where His voice is needed. I will pray for you constantly.
Rebecca Hambright
Vancouver, Washington