Saturday, March 25, 2006

My Conversation with Chairman Hatley

I spent about forty minutes talking with Dr. Hatley about his statements to a reporter published in yesterday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette paper. Dr. Hatley gave me permission to blog about the conversation.

The end result of the conversation, which was very good, was that Tom said he regrets making the statement "Burleson aired information and criticism that is not proper for a trustee to engage in a public forum." Tom regretted the public nature of the comment.

My point with Tom is that he is entitled to his opinion, but to make public statements like that without me ever being given an opportunity to defend the content of my blog is not just.

Again, Tom regretted the public nature of his statement, and did not deny his belief in the statement. He said he did not intend to disparage me. He also said he will not make public statements about Wade Burleson again.

I choose to believe him. I told him I will not discuss the issue of his public statements to the Gazette any further. However, since they are part of the public record, I will be leaving up my post from this morning so that people may see my response. {Update: I have changed my mind and decided to remove my previous post as a show of good faith for Dr. Hatley's expression of regret}.

Further, Dr. Hatley explained that he intends to form a three member committee that will sit down with me and hear my concerns. To his credit, he gave me some input regarding the members of that committee. It is not my intention for that which concerns me to be made public at this time. I believe it is an internal matter that can be, and should be, handled by the Board. My desire, from the beginning, was to have this hearing, and I appreciate the opportunity it affords.

Dr. Hatley has committed to refrain from making public statements about me in the future, and I have committed to write no further about the Gazette article. In fact, if the reporter from the Gazette calls me back for a response to Chairman Hatley's statements I will tell her I have "no comment."

I will no longer be answering any comments on my today's blog entitled "Why Does It Not End?"

From my viewpoint, this matter with the Gazette has ended.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Bob Cleveland said...

Good for you.

You can say that again!

I will.

Good for you. said...


I lost the link, please send it again and I will check it out.

Thanks my friend.


Anonymous said...

Yesterday's Baptist Press report says the new trustee policy "adds to, but doesn't replace, the older policy, dubbed the "Blue Book."

Is that correct?

Thanks for the clarification.

Anonymous said...


I am thrilled about your last post. I pray that everyone will seek to resolved differences Biblically and crave for God's wisdom in doing so. I am thankful that Mr. Hatley expressed some regret. I applaud your decision to not comment on the article any further.

In that same spirit I would suggest that you remove the last post. Dr. Hatley will no doubt be continually and soundly criticized for the bad judgement, for which he has expressed regret. Your last post will serve for many as the primary source that fuels that criticism.

Thus GazetteGate will be extended in duration and scope.

You have already been very restrained and merciful, which is admirable, but I think removing it would be your going the "extra mile".

Perhaps we can all, critics and supporters, learn from your gracious, Christlike example.


(recovering devil's advocate) said...

I have prayerfully considered your request and agree with it.

The post is being removed at this time.


Bro. Ray said...

I'm certain this has been said many times and many ways, but I for one and totally weary of the political machine within our convention! This entire episode is the latest installment of back room maneuvers. I applaud your commitment to principle and your desire to be effective for the sake of Christ and the Gospel.

Unfortunately, the greater percentage of our SBC will never have a voice, such as you now have, or any of the other 88 BoT members currently possess.

I urge you to remain humble and meek.

RB said...

Justome earlier sent me this message:

People in a typing mood: please see the link below, and send an appropriate note to the email address in the article. THIS is a man who REALLY needs our help and prayers right now--please don't delay!

LINK: man in Afghanistan facing death for being a Christian.

I have already sent my email.

This is really important and I encourage everyone to respond. said...

Bro. Ray,

Your prayer is my prayer as well.

Thank you for taking the time to write.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

art rogers said...


Thanks so much for posting this. I appreciate the leadership being displayed by Dr. Hatley.


Anonymous said...

Wade, this Okie is wondering if any "recovering devil's advocates" out there are counseling with Tom Hatley to publicly apologize and retract his remarks concerning you to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette?

In all candor, you have turned both cheeks as you have been faced with one false allegation after the other. Not only has there been no proof offered for the slander you have suffered, there has been no apology for the abuses you continue to suffer. In fact, after rescinding the recommendation for your removal from the BoT, and voiding all charges against you, the IMB BoT voted to further punish you by not allowing you to continue to serve on any committee of the BoT until the Chairman or the BoT as a whole allows you to do so. Though the actions of the BoT have disparaged you in just about every conceivable way, they have sanctimoniously adopted the policy that no Trustee on the BoT may disparage another Trustee (with the apparent exception of the Chairman of the BoT).

As a Christian, I do not believe that Christians should be vindictive with their brothers and sisters in Christ. Personal attacks and ad hominems have no place in Christian discourse. By no means would I advise you to emulate the actions of those who continue to disparage you. However, the principle of fairness requires that Christians may rightly hold fellow Christians accountable for their actions, especially when they make those statements, while they hold an office or position of leadership within the SBC. Otherwise, Paul would have not challenged Peter and his associates for their hypocrisy (Galations 2:11-14).

In His Grace and Peace, said...


My wife recently read what you have written on a Baptist forum in defense of me. She was quite impressed and asked me many questions about you!

I told her I had never met you, but after reading what you have written, I can honestly say it would be an honor to meet you.

You have been diligent in your efforts, very precise and articulate in your choice of words, and absolutely brilliant in your logic.

If it were a true debate you would be given the blue ribbon.

Thanks for a job well done.

As to your comment, I'll tell you what I told my wife who initially questioned my decision to remove my post from this morning.

"Honey, in the end I will always do what I believe God wants me to do, regardless of the opinion of man. I really feel God desires me to remove the post."

Tom, as you speak to those you have befriended online, I hope that my action here will only reaffirm what I have seen you write dozens of time. I do not have an angry bone in my body and stand ready to forgive anyone, at any time, because free and liberal forgiveness is exactly what God has given me.

Keep up the great work Tom!

Tom, you have been a real blessing to me and my family.

I will leave it to you and others to press the justice of the issues before us. Frankly, you are doing a much better job than I ever would.

In His Grace,


Bob Cleveland said...

Some years ago, I was on a flying trip around the country on business. We had a particularly long taxi out to the runway, and the pilot commented on the rough taxi-way by saying "A DC-9 is a fine airplane but a lousy bus".

I've noted the same about most "spiritual" entities. Specifically, churches are wonderful organisms, but (all too often) lousy organizations. I suppose that is attributable to fitting anything "spiritual" into a mold .. a pattern .. and outline. It may be necessary in order to function, but it takes a truly exceptional organization to be an organism, too. I can name only a few, none of which are conventional churches.

Anonymous said...


Since Wade has discussed it with him, that is sufficient and Biblical. Removing the post was a beautiful demonstration of love, "which keeps no record of wrongs."
My guess is that Wade's eariler post generated a sufficient number of emails, blogs, or calls informing Hatley of his transgression. T.D., I assume you called or emailed him since you thought that was good advice.

By the way, great passage you referenced in Galatians 2:11 which makes the point of my council. "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong."

The only ethical option according to the Bible and these new policies, has now taken place.

Here's a good passage from 1 Peter, which I am preaching through on Sunday mornings, "Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.

I believe Wade is blessed.

Anonymous said...

Additional discussion of Hatley's comments to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette have been posted on the "Forums" section of

Hang in there,


Anonymous said...

I fully support Wade Burleson in this controversy because:

1. He has consistently addressed the issues on the basis of principle (cooperation with other Southern Baptists in spite of differences that may exist on nonessential doctrines of the faith), rather than resorting to personal attacks on others.

2. I believe he is correct in promoting transparency and openness on the part of the IMB BoT.

Conversely and ironically, the BoT slandered Wade with unsupported allegations (including "slander" and "gossip"), conspired against him through meetings of some Trustees in private caucus; and now we have evidence that the Chairman has violated the new "Don't disparage a fellow Trustee" policy before the ink was barely dry on the document.

We are agreed that Wade has been gracious and humble to a fault. Respectfully, he needs no reminders from a "recovering devil's advocate" to enlighten him on the matters of grace or humility. One wonders what your advice was to Dr. Hatley, hashman? Surely, you recommended that the Chairman of the IMB BoT unconditionally apologize and publicly retract his disparaging remarks about Wade as published in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.

While this Okie and a Southern Baptist friend communicated by e-mail with Dr. Hatley some weeks earlier on the unfounded assertions against Wade, we were assured by the Chairman that, "No one is trying to silence anyone. The action taken was not an attempt to silence at all." The subsequent passage of the "new policy guidelines" in Tampa by the IMB BoT summarily refutes that pledge, wouldn't you say, hashman? Frankly, the Chairman of the BoT has been so manifestly self-contradictory in his statements that one finds it difficult to rely on the credibility of any of his remarks.

As to your commentary on the example of the Apostle Paul's remark, "When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong." you missed one minute detail, hashman. . .Paul recorded his confrontation with Peter in his Letter to the Galatians, which happens to be included in The Holy Bible, the most published volume in the history of the world! If God hadn't inspired Paul to write the details of the episode into the record, we would, most likely, have no knowledge of the details of the event; and, you would not have had the opportunity of misapplying the passage in support of your "advice" that Wade remove his blog post due to its "flammable" potential.

In any case, Wade has, in an ultimate effort to defer to his critics, removed the blog post, and the facts of Dr. Hatley's deed have been "erased", at least for the time being (Hopefully, the seminary referred to earlier in Wade's blog has been diligent in continuing to make hard copies of Wade's blog posts. This Okie did . . . :^).

Your comment,"Removing the post was a beautiful demonstration of love, which keeps no record of wrongs.", is congruent with the BoT leadership's apparent desire to "keep no record" of their misdeeds. How many reminders does the IMB BoT need to receive before it acts as if it is accountable to some sixteen million Southern Baptists for what it does and says in its role of overseeing the IMB in a Trustee capacity? Moreover, Southern Baptists everywhere must hold its Trustees' feet to the fire based on the record of factual information, which you would apparently prefer to be absent from the record.

Hashman, this Okie agrees with you that Wade is blessed. He is blessed by God with a marvelous, God-fearing family, a wonderful, loving, and supportive church, and thousands of fellow Southern Baptist brethren who share with him the desire that the IMB BoT be rescued from the political battlefield of personal agendas and cutthroat tactics against anyone who dares to raise his voice in principled dissent.

Finally, this Christian continues to be infinitely blessed by God, praising Him for the ministry and witness He has given Wade Burleson in this critical moment in time.

In His Grace and Peace,

T. D. Webb

Anonymous said...


Let's keep this simple. Do you agree or disagree that according to the new policies, right or wrong, a trustees only recourse if he believes that another trustee has broken the policies is to go to the chairman or the BoT?

Back to Galatians:
Are you seriously arguing that since the Bible records wrongdoing, that there is a command or at least license for us to broadcast, world-wide, when people sin against us? And to establish a permanent record of that wrongdoing.

Imagine what our churches would be like if we operated from the philosophy that everyone needs to know when you're sinned against.

The obvious point of the Galatians text was that Paul went to Peter's face. He didn't write a book of the bible about Peter's sin instead of going to Peter. He didn't discuss it in a forum before going to Peter, he went to Peter.

I don't see how your argument can be harmonized with Matt. 18.

I've really enjoyed this discussion. Have nice day T.D.

It's great that disent and discussion is welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Hashman wrote: "Let's keep this simple. Do you agree or disagree that according to the new policies, right or wrong, a trustees only recourse if he believes that another trustee has broken the policies is to go to the chairman or the BoT?"

Hashman, obviously you have had a personal preview of the BoT’s new Guidelines. They have just been posted on the IMB web site early this evening. Under the heading, “Trustee Disciplinary Action”, the guidelines say, “Concerns about possible violations of this policy shall be referred to the Chairman, who shall take appropriate action to address such possible violations, in consultation with board officers and appropriate senior staff.
Since this is a case of the Chairman, himself, being accused of violating the Guidelines, the situation is awkward, to say the least. Ironically, it appears that in spite of the ”years of preparation” by the committee to revise The Blue Book, they didn’t anticipate that the first person to be identified as a possible violator of their new code would be their Chairman. . .go figure!

As to your follow-up observation of the biblical precedent found in The Letter of Paul to the Galatians, this Okie suggests that the record clearly establishes that Paul had no compunctions against publicly calling Peter to task for the latter's hypocrisy in his relationship with Gentiles. Surely, Paul confronted Peter face to face. It is just as evident that Paul publicly wrote of the confrontation he had had with Peter. The specific description of the "accountability session" is explicitly described in Galatians 2:11-14. No, Paul wasn’t required to write a "book" about the episode; and, I'm told computers were somewhat scarce during that time . . . Therefore, the alternative of "blogging" was out of the question ;^) . . . so, God just saw that the confrontation was consisely recorded in a short passage of Scripture. . . :^)

Hashman, you worry about the facts of wrongful private acts being aired to the public by anyone or everyone who is wronged. Yet, in the spirit of the "KIS" (Keeping it Simple) motive, the issue here is not about "anyone or everyone", or a "private act" of wrong-doing for that matter. Rather, the focal question of our conversation should be, "Does a duly elected member of the IMB Board of Trustees (Chairman or not) have the right to publicly wrong another and not be held publicly accountable?" All of us know what would have happened to Wade had he uttered remarks to a reporter of The Daily Oklahoman similar to those Dr. Hatley made to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. How do you spell "d-o-u-b-l-e s-t-a-n-d-a-r-d", hashman? :^(

Hashman wrote: "The obvious point of the Galatians text was that Paul went to Peter's face. He didn't write a book of the bible about Peter's sin instead of going to Peter. He didn't discuss it in a forum before going to Peter, he went to Peter."

In hindsight, it would have been better for Wade to have initially gone to Dr. Hatley with his concern. . . However, Dr. Hatley was all the more obligated to have gone to Wade before publicly criticizing and disparaging him in the press in direct violation of Matthew 18 and the explicit rule regarding such behavior in the new IMB BoT Guidelines. Curiously, hashman, we have heard no outcry from you for Dr. Hatley to be recommended for removal from the IMB BoT for his transgressions. As appropriate punishment, will Dr. Hatley remove himself from involvement in any and all of the BoT committees until after the May meeting of the BoT? One wonders what kind of vacuum would be created if all of us collectively held our breaths until both of the above "suggested" initiatives were implemented? (This Okie firmly plants his "known" tongue in cheek, rather than be suffocated). ;^)

Hashman wrote: "I don't see how your argument can be harmonized with Matt. 18."

Hashman, for some reason you lack elemental understanding of the genesis of this controversy. When Wade Burleson exercised principled dissent against two policies adopted by the IMB BoT, he was summarily subjected to false allegations and disparagement by some of his colleagues. He was not allowed to ask questions or make any defense of himself as the BoT determined to unilaterally take steps to rid themselves of this "gadfly". Furthermore, none of the BoT's charges against Wade were ever specifically identified with empirical evidence. Then, inexplicably, as recently as this past week, the Chairman of the IMB BoT reiterated in public, comments discrediting and disparaging of Burleson. While Wade should have initially gone to Dr. Hatley, in all fairness, Burleson had every right to publicly state his case (even if his remarks were only available to those who read his blog, not printed in the largest circulated secular newspaper in Arkansas) in light of Hatley's previous public attack.

Keeping it "simple", hashman, even then, Wade did not return any personal attack on Hatley. Rather, Burleson gracioiusly asked for an explanation, evidence and justification for the public attack inflicted upon him by Hatley. While Hatley agreed that he should have not gone "public", promising not to "let it happen again", the damage is done. Unfounded allegations circulated as the honest to goodness truth, are just like the feathers let loose in a goose down pillow being ripped open in a 40 mile an hour Oklahoma wind. . . hashman, see if you can pick up all of the blowing feathers, redepositing them in the original torn pillow case. . .

Hashman wrote: "I've really enjoyed this discussion. Have nice day T.D.

It's great that disent and discussion is welcome here."

Hopefully, hashman (this Okie loves alliteration) ;^), this conversation has proven to be fruitful as it pertains to the issues at hand in the IMB BoT. I share your sentiments praising the fact that dissent and discussion are "welcome here". I pray that the IMB BoT will, one day, take the hint and emulate Wade's policies here at "Grace and Truth to You".

In His Grace and Peace,

Anonymous said...

How did this issue happen to get to the Democrat Gazzette?