Sunday, March 26, 2006

My Thoughts Toward My Fellow Trustees

Sometimes the public airing of differences causes some people to assume interpersonal relationships will suffer. I am of the opinion it is possible to have differences, express disagreement and struggle with the understanding of a brother's position, but all the while maintain a respect and love for that brother.

Obviously there have been in the past few months some disagreements between me and other trustees of the IMB. It is not my purpose in this post to do anything other than offer a positive word toward my fellow trustees, trustee officers, and Chairman Tom Hatley.

I have repeatedly stated that I believe all my fellow trustees deep down desire what is best for our convention, are working hard to make our International Mission Board better, and are praying toward that end. We may disagree with each other on how to get that done, but I wish no animosity toward, or from, my brothers and sisters in Christ.

I look forward to continue working with each of them and offer this pray on their behalf.

"I thank you Lord for my fellow trustees. I ask you to mend any relationships that may be broken. I pray you might bless each of my fellow trustees in special ways this week, and I request you pour out your grace on them without measure."

With sincerity, and in His grace,

Wade Burleson


Anonymous said...

I am pretty new to this whole blog thing. I am a worker who focuses in on an unreached people group in one of the most Muslim nations in the world. I do not always agree with what you say, but different opinions are good. It keeps us on the field informed with what is going on in our convention and company. I believe, as you do, everything done -- policy changes, etc. -- must arise from a solid understanding of Scripture. However, sometimes we criticize/admonish the Board's actions, but fail to look at ourselves and how our actions can help/hinder. On that note, I have one question completely unrelated to your last blog, what is your church doing to support the ms you personally send out? Giving to Lottie, CP, doing trips, etc., are great, but what specifically, if anything, are you and your church doing for your member ms?

Bry M. said...

This is the attitude that we should have toward all Christians everywhere. Two of my favorite quotes that I should have posted a few days ago is "debate your differences vigorously but do not divide over them” and another is, "In essentuals unity, in nonessentuals liberty and in all things charity". Hank Hanegraaff

Bob Cleveland said...

Your latest shows forth a good illustration of (IMHO)the proper manifestation of Christianity in one's life.

I've heard it said that everyone has a "God-shaped hole" in them, that only salvation can fill. That intimates that God sort of "fills in the blanks" for us. But it's the opposite of that. WE are to fit into the place HE has for us, not vice versa.

That requires submission of all parts of our lives to Him. After all, "Lord" means supreme in authority, and it's got to be true in our lives.

There's another phenomenon that I've recently recognized. We all have teachers we've admired and wanted to emulate. Same for preachers. Over the years, we hear their opinions and conclusions about what the Bible says, and adopt them as our own when we agree with them. Then, when we minister to others in teaching or preaching or ministering, we express those conclusions.

Over time, the effect seems to have been generations of people who know the conclusions but not the Bible. We know the doctrine of the Trinity, but don't know where the Bible says that the Holy Spirit is God. Ditto for Jesus.

The same can be said for "eternal security". We can say "No on can snatch us out of His hand", but that leaves other questions unanswered.

I know in my own life, my teaching seems, to me, to have gained immeasurably when I stopped teaching "Lessons" and started teaching the Bible.

Wade, you seem to be a "clean sheet of paper" Christian. I think that's the sort we're all supposed to be. said...


Dr. John Stam is our Missions Pastor at Emmanuel and he has done a marvelous job in helping us understand missions participation.

We have three families in our church that are on the mission field who either work directly for, or in one case, partners with multiple IMB missionaries in Africa, Japan and Russa, and our church supports their newsletters, provides housing free of charge on every furlough, provides transportation to the missionaries when home on furlough.

In addition, we have four key mission points around the world our church has adopted, on top of our support of the IMB.

One of our church members runs the largest evangelical school and orphanage in India. We have given tens of thousands of dollars to support this work, and we are raising $80,000 by Mother's Day to build the fifth floor of the school (1200 students, 1000 orphans).

One of our members runs the largest missionary relief agency in Niger, according to the UN the poorest country in the world. We have sent medical teams, support teams and water drilling teams that number of 100 people in this past year. We purchased the water drilling equipment and shipped it to Niger and then our members trained the Nigerians how to drill.

Our member has started multiple churches in Niger, has a hospital, school and prison ministry supported by the mission, not the government.

Our church has helped begin a thrift store in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in partnership with Hope Outreach. The proceeds of this store go to help fund mission efforts in Niger.

In addition, our church gave $50,000 and sent building teams to New York to construct the offices of Graffiti Church, a church begun by a man from Enid whose family is in our church. Graffiti's ministry includes the planting of nine churches in Manhattan including the Punk Church that ministers to punk rockers in the parks of Manhattan. The New York times ran a feature article on this ministry last week. Dozens of people are coming to faith in Christ through the ministry of Graffit, led by Taylor Fields, Home Mission Board missionary.

Finally, we support every missionary from our church who partners with other evangelical agencies. We believe it is our responsibility to support our members on the mission fields of the world, regardless of the agency through which they go.

All the above is in addition to our Cooperative Program giving, our Lottie Moon giving, and our support of Southern Baptist Missions.

Total missions giving approached $500,000 with 2.2 million dollar church budget

I hope this answers your question Maiden.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for answering the question. I have talked to many international workers on the field who have no/limited contact with their home fellowships. The fellowships send them out and then leave them. There is very little contact with them while they are on the field. The workers come home and know virtually no one. The Board, in effect, becomes their fellowship. I am glad this is not the case with your fellowship.

Anonymous said...


It seems that your church has a heart for missions. I would like to know more about you and your church.

What are you key emphasis points of your ministry at Enid? I think a lot of us would like to know. What would your people say is the emphasis. (I would love to hear from some in Emmaunuel Enid congregation.)

I think our pastors and lay people can learn from your example, that is way you conduct yourself on matters that divide.

Thanks for your example,

James said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I agree with your three points wholeheartedly. I am choosing not to post them.

I am choosing to remain on the Board.

Anonymous said...

Bob bring up an interesting point. People usually are Baptists, Methodists, Catholics, etc because our parents,or friends go to those churches...not because they have carefully studied the bible for ourselves. My observation is that we usually adopt doctrines that our denomination preaches and teaches...not ones we have learned from careful study of the entire bible.
As a result, denominations and their preachers and teachers often hang on to doctrines, that are at very best only peripherally related to core teachings of the gospel.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade: An observation.

I thnk there are a lot of folks out here, like me, who expect our denominational leadership to be held accountable. That goes for the SBC, The IMB, and its supporting organizations such as the BoT. That even trickles down to the local churches and their organizations.

On the other hand, this forum seems to be oriented at getting information out as to what the IMB is doing. The factual issues it's dealing with. The decisions it's making.

NOW: I don't think you, Wade, are going to use this as an instrument of accountability, and indeed you cannot, with the rules now in place. And that's fine.

Frustration arises out here when we perceive injustice and the like within the IMB or the BoT, or even the SBC iteself. That's even worse if we perceive it directed against someone we see as doing what ought to be done, in the way it should be.

In that sense, I think it's fine for me or any of the other folks, to comment on those problems, as long as they are comments you see fit to publish.

What's not fair is to ask you to comment, or to ask why you aren't taking some sort of action, about them. Personally, I don't even want to put you into a position where you have to decide not to comment on something.

If I ever do that, please don't even publish my comment.

Except for putting you on a spot, I think the blog's doing fine. Just fine.

This puts me and the others in a spot. If I see something that needs to be changed, yapping about it here isn't going to end my obligations. I'm going to need to put some feet with my mouth and actually do something.

HEY ... maybe the saying "The loudest boo's come from the cheapest seats" DOES apply. To ME.

Guess I need to move to the Box Seats.

I haven't had this much fun being a Baptist since the evening I unintentionally prayed in an unknown tongue at a Deacon's meeting.

Hang in there. said...

T.D. Webb,

I'm sorry, my friend, but I think I lost the post you sent.

I'll be happy to post it if you resend it.

Villa Rica said...

Brother Cleveland,

You are so very correct. Accountability is that which we need and it is exactally what so many in administrative positions of SBC boards, agencies, and institutions do not have.

What has happened at the IMB is only one example of corrupt practices that are all too prevalent within high positions of Southern Baptist life.

Many would have to say A-MEN to that statement but they are afraid to. They are afraid because they know they would get fired, or black-listed or maybe both.

Some of them did not know that such things as what has happened to Brother Wade went on until they became missionaries, faculty, staff, and even vice-presidents of our institutions. They spent years preparing to serve God as Southern Baptist and now they have to GO ALONG TO GET ALONG. Are they cowards? Some, yes. Have they too become corrupt? Some,yes.

But let us not lump them all together. Some are ordinary people with children, car payments, house payments and everyday expenses. They do not get big perks nor do they have unlimited, ungoverned expense accounts.

Frankly, as Donna Sommers sang: THEY WORK HARD FOR THEIR MONEY. (actually that was:she works hard for her money--Just a little joke about a terrible situation often helps me not to get so angry about that which I know cannot be denied by anyone unless they lie and I have heard plenty of that through the years.)

The problem with some of those people is that everyday life scares them into submission to selected bully boys that are well placed throughout the administrative structure of some of our entities.

That may be hard to believe but it is true.

What is the answer? I think that many of these people would speak up if they knew that they would be cared for by us out here. If they knew we would support them by not allowing them to be fired, demoted, or have their reputations destroyed like so many before that have tried to speak up but were BANISHED IN SILENCE as was tried with Brother Wade.

I believe the Lord is tired with our games and arrogant hearts as
the most wealthy, dying denomination on earth. I believe God may have brought together such people as WADE, ART, BEN, MARTY and others for such a time as we are now seeing.

With the sermon done- a little fun.

Wade the nobel statesman-like a LION

Art the analyst supreme-like an OWL

Ben the prophet fearless-like a BEAR

Marty the journalist all searching-like an EAGLE

Let us go with these boys to Greensboro and take the day.

Villa Rica

Bob Cleveland said...

Lynn Myers:

Your point is important. Jim Cymbala even pointed out (I think it was in "Fresh Power") that we tend to fix on verses which agree with our stance, while glossing over those that don't.

A couple years ago, I led our SS class through a study on the statements of belief of the United Methodist Church and the Assemblies of God, alongside the Westminster Confession of Faith and the BF&M. It was absolutely fascinating.

The class even seemed to enjoy it.

I learned more than I can describe from it, even though I've spent years as a Methodist, a Baptist, a Presbyterian, and some years regularly attending AoG prayer meetings. What I mostly learned was that the BF&M (including the explanatory introduction) is the most responsible expression of faith, of all I've seen. It's the one which most correctly states that, in the end, it's ME and GOD.

It's a fascinating study, and I recommend it to all. Not so that you'll know what others believe, but so you'll end up knowing why you believe what you do.

p.s. to Villa Rica: If the Curmudgeon spot isn't spoken for, put me down. I will be there.

Villa Rica said...

Brother Cleveland,

That spot is open and your request is honorable. Therefore I kight you:

Bob the curmudgeon super-the cantankerous WOLVERINE.

See you in Greensboro. Your talents may be needed to dig up a few things that need to be fixed.

Villa Rica