Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why I Can't Comment as a Trustee --- Yet

Tonight I will post the message from last evening's revival service, but due to a few emails I have received today, and due to the fact that there seems to be a growing amount of publicity on the possible termination of M's that I know personally, I felt it appropriate to explain my silence on this issue at this time. I will not give any information on this blog that will identify these missionaries or their location of service.

Let me begin with a question posed to me in the comment section of my blog by a former missionary:


Can you comment on the fact that missionaries are under fire related to the policies of constriction under discussion? This couple may not be fired due to tongues or baptism practices, but there appears to be an ongoing witch hunt among missionaries in the field.

We have lost the point of missions when we spend so much energy and resources trying to root out "the liberals" instead of focusing on sharing the gospel with the entire world.

It would seem that our policies are completely out of step with Jesus' Great Commission, caring more for doctrinal and political agendas than taking the message of grace to the world.

Perhaps it is time we evaluate once again the purpose of the IMB. It is not to impose a tight doctrinal vise on the world. It is to fulfill Christ's demand that we take the gospel to all the nations. Falling short of that task is no light matter. So what if we miss the mark on a few specific doctrines "that we [only]understand in part"? We are still under obligation with Paul to share the good news of Christ with every people.

Setting politics aside is not an option if we are to be faithful to Christ? As we continue down this alternate path, we act in opposition to the will of Christ.

Wade's Response to Former M

Former M,

I can't comment pubicly --- yet.

I have spent hours on the phone regarding this issue.

I have met with the M's personally at their pastor's request.

I have given consideration to the administration, believing personnel issues are matters for administration, not trustees.

However, if I find trustees were involved in this decision, or if I discover that there is a philosphical or theological conflict between the M's and their RL over Board approved policy, or if I find that the M's were operating under what they believed to be Board approved policy only to discover that the interpretation of that policy is different than what they were led to believe when appointed, then I will speak publicly. But we are not at that point yet. Everyone is still in the discovery phase.

I am waiting until the appropriate procedures are followed before I comment on the request for termination.

Procedures for termination are as follows:

(1). The Regional Leader makes the decision to terminate.

(2). An official appeal can by made by the M's to the Vice-President for Overseas Operations. That appeal is being made today. If the RL's decision to terminate is overturned, then the trustees are never involved.

However, if the RL's determination to terminate is upheld by the Vice-President, then an appeal by the M's can be made to Dr. Rankin.

Only after the appeals process is exhausted through administration will the Board of Trustees be involved.

I have spoken to several people involved in the internal process on many occasions including the RL, the Vice-President, and Dr. Rankin.

What I have very little patience for is any stated, or implied, attack on this missionary couples character. I'm not saying that has happened, I'm just cautioning anyone involved not to even go there.

Frankly, we may discover there is simply confusion, or ignorance, over Board policy (on one or the other side) and a firmly held belief by the M's that they ARE following policy, and an equally firm belief by the RL that M's are NOT following policy.

Guess who sets policy at the IMB?

The trustees.

So you can expect, at some point, that you will hear from me.

I'm waiting for the appropriate time.

Hope this helps.


I trust everyone understands why this issue needs to be dealt with internally by administration at this time. At some point it may, or may not, become an issue for the trustees. I can promise you one thing: I will stand up for what I believe is right --- regardless.

Tonight I will post about "The Amazing Race," an Old Testament race to the City of Refuge.

In His Grace,



Anonymous said...


I don't envy you your position as trustee. What a hornet's nest.

Jesus will see you through. He will work all things out to His glory. Hang tough.

If there is anything I can do (or not do) to make the burden lighter, just let me know.

In Christ,

Kevin Bussey said...

My heart breaks.... again!

Anonymous said...

My last blog didn't make it to your page but I thought I'd try again. WHy is it not important to convey biblical spiritual truths to those to whom our missionaries are ministering? Is this a non-essential doctrine?

Kiki Cherry said...

I would like to remind everyone that our IMB regional leaders are not out to undermine their missionaries. They are in a tough position, too.

This is not a win/lose situation. We are all on the same team. I can assure you that all of the parties involved in this are feeling the weight of the situation.

Wade, I appreciate your admonition not to assassinate the character of any of our Ms. That includes our IMB leadership as well.

This is not a Landmark issue. It is in internal, regional one. There are several factors that must be considered in a case like this.

For example--if we partner with another GCC organization in planting a church, and there is a difference in methodology between the two organizations, then who ultimately calls the shots? Both missionary units bring their direct authorities into the picture. But what if those authorities disagree?

Cooperating with other organizations can be a great asset to our Ms on the field. But it also brings with it a new set of complexities.

At a time when the IMB focus is on West Africa, does it surprise anyone that Satan would wage an attack such as this on that region of the world?

We need to be fighting FOR our personnel--ALL OF THEM!!!

We should be on our knees fighting for everyone involved in this situation. said...

Mr. Anonymous,

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the point you are attempting to make through your rhetorical question.

Anonymous said...

KC said:
"IMB regional leaders are not out to undermine their missionaries..."

If that's the case, then I shudder to think how they would be treated if their supervisors WERE out to undermine them.

KC said: "All parties involved are feeling the weight..."

Not exactly. All involved are affected, to be sure. But those being terminated usually shoulder a bit more weight than the "terminators" themselves.

KC said" "Cooperating with other organizations brings... complexities..."

Complexities such as being fired. o)

KC said: "Who ultimately calls the shots?... Both missionary units bring their direct authorities. What if those authorities disagree?.."

Freedom-loving, non-paternalistic Baptist missionaries are content to surrender that job to the Holy Spirit. They teach doctrine, train new believers and assist in policymaking as needed; but they also trust that their new local church overseas (one they helped birth) to collectively seek the will of God for that particular congregation, and in the spirit of I Cor 12. No need for outsiders to control or manipulate the process.

In contrast , whenever a person or organization is threatened by healthy dissent, or becomes bogged down with "authority" issues and who's going to "call the shots", there will indeed be chaos and suspicious.I remember Jesus scolding the disciples for arguing about who was going to call the shots.


John Moeller said...

I am sorry, but I am simple minded. The Southern Baptist Faith and Messages states the following:

All Scripture is totally true and trustworthy; There is no salvation apart from personal faith in Jesus Christ as Lord; Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit; It is the duty and privilege of every follower of Christ and of every church of the Lord Jesus Christ to endeavor to make disciples of all nations; God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it.

Since this is from the very lips and hearts of the Southern Baptist Convention, Where is the problem? Do the missionaries adhere to; the Bible being truth? Yes. Salvation is by Faith? Yes. Baptism by immersion? Yes. Make Disciples? Yes. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and He has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are contrary to His Word or not contained in it? Yes, But wait, here is the problem, some MAN has decided to make a doctrine that says a prayer language is not of God, nor in the Bible and push his opinion on others.

The question then is; Will the Southern Baptist Convention support it’s own Faith and Message statement or is our statement of faith invalid, thus making Southern Baptists invalid as a denomination. You can’t have it both ways. Invalidate one part of the statement, then everything is up for re-interpretation. It is not a matter of missionaries’ prayer language. Is our statement of Faith, truth, or a lie? If it’s a lie, then dissolve the denomination, the denomination is no longer of God and must be gotten rid of.

Else the statement of faith is truth and the ones trying to change the statement of faith need to be gotten rid of. Decide! said...


"No comment"


See my pastor friend's post on
"The Debacle of Donut Dissension" tomorrow on this site..


Anonymous said...

the silence of those in authority represents the plight of those in fear. What is it that needs to be hidden? What is it that must be locked up? Fear is now in control and not the Spirit of liberty...This is amazing to me...but it is life in a controlled environment. It must be for power to reign supreme...
Wayne Burns

Anonymous said...

Mr. Burleson:
I read of your plight within the IMB in the March, 2006 issue of Texas Baptists Committed. I continue to be disappointed when sincere, dedicated Christians, as you seem to be, are treated worse than they would be in most secular businesses. However, I have witnessed and participated in the struggle within the SBC since 1979, and I am not at all surprised. This action is simply a further solidification of power, which, in my opinion, is what the struggle has been about all along. I will pray for you, your family, and your congregation, that you will be relieved of the stress and turmoil this incident is causing. I will not pray, only hope, that you and other young Baptist ministers will realize the narrow-minded exclusivity of the SBC political inner-circle.
Sincerely, Jerry Ellis, TX

Anonymous said...

I am an M serving in another region who used to serve in West Africa. I know that the church planting cooperation of the Ms in question with the GCC Ms had the sanction of the RLT under a previous RL. As a matter of fact it was being held up as a model of cooperation among GCCs. What has changed other than a new RL?