Monday, May 22, 2006

My Good Faith Effort to Work With the International Mission Board Shall Continue With Positive Expectations

Today was a very interesting day for me in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I represent the entire constituency of the Southern Baptist Convention as a trustee, and I feel it is necessary for me to communicate with you some very specific thoughts regarding my good faith effort to continue working with ALL the trustees of the International Mission Board. There are FIVE important things I want the SBC to understand about my service on the IMB.

(1). I do not feel unreconciled, harbor any hard feelings, or dislike any single trustee of the International Mission Board.

My wife is with me here in Albuquerque, New Mexico and we have absolutely enjoyed the fellowship we have had in the hallways, meeting rooms, and around the dinner table with the trustees and missionary candidates of the IMB. I found the conversation to be enjoyable, the spirit to be warm, and the trustees in general to be some of the most wonderful people you would ever want to be around. Only a very small handful of trustees find it difficult to speak to me. But even among those who seem to harbor ill feelings I go out of my way to be friendly, try to get to know them better, and know I would enjoy their company and conversation as much as anyone elses if given the opportunity. In other words, I only look forward to working with every single trustee of the IMB and need no "reconciliation."

(2). Some trustees, according to Dr. Tom Hatley, are "hurt" by some things I have said on this blog, and want me to "repent" of what I have written.

All I can say is what I have already said many times on several fronts, including to the trustees as a whole, and on this blog that there are times when I have used words that have been too "militant" (i.e. "Crusading Conservatives vs. Cooperating Conservatives") and I have expressed regret for the tone of what I have said, but I stand by the content of what I said. My exact words, dated February 4, 2006 reads as follows:

In hindsight, I regret some of the word choices in that post ("Crusading Conservatives"). I stand by everything I said, and will never apologize for saying it, but I just wish I would have said it softer. The secular media and others pick out what they want, and rarely pay attention to the context of the words they choose to use. Anyone who has read all my other posts knows I have a love for all my Southern Baptist friends, even those with whom I disagree.

What else am I supposed to do? My words speak for themselves.

(3). According to Dr.Hatley, some trustees feel that if they voted for the new policies, they were unfairly branded by me as conspiratorial and out to get Dr. Rankin.

It is obvious that those trustees who believe that have not read my blog and only listened to what others have said about my blog. I have both written and stated on many occasions that there are just a few trustees who have sought to undermine and eventually remove Dr. Rankin. I stand by that. I can also prove that. Period.

If some trustees voted for the new policies out of conviction and absolutely had no clue how it would look to have the President of our missionary sending organization being disqualified himself to serve as a new missionary in the very organization over which he presides, then I don't know what to say. Shortsighted maybe? A lack of wisdom? (Nope, already said that). Maybe it is just that these trustees who love Dr. Rankin want to keep our convention "doctrinally pure." I have not given that as an option, so let me address that possibility.

These trustees who voted for the new policies but love Dr. Rankin might say . . .

"We love Jerry Rankin! We would NEVER do anything to "embarrass" or "hurt" Dr. Jerry Rankin, ever! Wade Burleson, we are angry with you that you would imply that we would be a part of a conspiracy to remove Dr. Rankin. We just want to keep the IMB doctrinally pure!!"


We as trustees have NOT been called by our convention to establish doctrinal parameters for our missionaries that EXCEED the BFM 2000.

If we go beyond the BFM 2000 we then narrow the parameters of cooperation and in effect exclude from participation and cooperation some wonderful, godly, conservative evangelicals who abide by the BFM 2000, but don't interpret Scripture the way the majority of the trustees (at this moment in time) interpret Scripture.

By the way, I am grateful that the Executive Committee of the IMB is recommending that a blue ribbon panel, including people from outside the Board, take a fresh look at the appropriateness of the new policies. I have specifically chosen NOT to speak out against the new policies since the new rule prohibiting dissent, and this post is not criticising the new policies at all, it is simply trying to explain why some trustees may be "hurt" by my blog.

In short, I do apologize if some trustees feel broadbrushed with an allegation that they were part of a group of people out to remove Dr. Rankin. That particular group consisted of just about twelve people out of eighty nine trustees. That is very small number compared to the number of people who voted for the new policies.

(4). I have no desire to publicly embarrass any International Mission Board trustee or Southern Baptist leader with information that places them in a negative or bad light.

I believe we should work within the policies and procedures of the IMB to work through any problems we have as a Board. I was in the process of attempting to work with the people who were part of a problem within the Board by going to them privately when I was removed. It was unwise, unchristian, and an eggregious error in judgment to seek to remove me from the Board in the manner in which it was done. Many who voted to remove me had absolutely no clue what I was dealing with privately, and to this day do not know because I have chosen not to share it except with a select group of denominational leaders and three trustees of the IMB.

Of course, the Board has since unanimously voted, with the encouragement of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman, to rescind the recommendation for removal.

People have asked me dozens of time "Where is the apology for the attempt to remove you?"

My answer: Not every trustee who voted to remove me understood what was going on behind the scenes. Second, those who did want me gone for very obvious reasons made a huge mistake. I was prepared to do whatever it took to correct the problem even to the point of suffering personal embarrassment in order for change to occur---and in the Providence of God, the very act to remove me allowed the problem to begin being dealt with convention wide.

Further, in my love for my fellow trustees I have forgiven those who voted to remove me (remember not all voted to remove me, so it is silly in my judgement to seek to vacate the Board).

Prior to the vote for my removal, I asked three times to speak to the entire Board (I have the emails) regarding the problems we were facing as a Board (a small group driving an agenda contrary to administration and in violation of Board approved policy).

I was denied the opportuntiy to address the Board at that time. There is no need to do so now. As I have stated, the problems are being corrected in ways I never dreamed possible.

So, I look forward to continuing my service on the Board. I do not believe it is beneficial for the cause of missions or the gospel for us to focus as a Board on the problems of the past year. New leadership is being elected. New trustees are coming on. The small (let me emphasize this word again --- "SMALL") group seeking to subvert Dr. Rankin has lost their power.

It's time to let the Wade Burleson issue rest.

(5). Dr. Hatley will end his service as Chairman of the International Mission Board tomorrow by reading a statement regarding his final attempt at resolving "the Wade Burleson issue."

I do not know what will be in the statement. Dr. Hatley has the option of changing the wording or not issuing a statement at all.

Let me be clear that I believe Dr. Hatley would like to end his term bringing harmony and peace to the IMB trustees. I really believe him when he tells me this, and I frankly admire his desire.


I propose we move forward. I propose we focus on missions. I propose we stop narrowing the parameters of cooperation beyond the BFM 2000. I propose we support Dr. Jerry Rankin. I propose we support New Directions. I propose we support our missionaries on the field. I propose we love each other with a Christian love. I propose we abide by every policy established by the Board. I propose we carefully evaluate the purpose of policies and always involve our staff in policy decisions. I propose we put the past behind us and move forward.

I have seven years left as a trustee of the IMB. I will do all the above.

This is my good faith effort to be the best possible trustee I can be for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. If the Chairman chooses to keep me off of committees in order to appease certain members of the Board, so be it. I am comfortable that I have done exactly what God called me to do --- nothing more, nothing less.

Let me close by reiterating my love for all my fellow trustees, and my excitement about the possibility working with each of them to SOLELY focus on our mission of evangelizing the world.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Tomorrow's post will address my signing the BFM 2000 and the results of the election for the new Chairman of the Board.


Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Brother Wade,

I'm watching and praying. May the truth come forth.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...

I don't know what tomorrow holds (thank the Lord that HE does), but I want to say that I am proud to have a trustee like you on the Board. I wish there were more like you. God bless you for your kind and gentle spirit. Thank you for your boldness to stand up for what is right and to stand up for us, the missionaries.

Bob Cleveland said...

Well done, and well said.

I think it was Oswald Chambers who said something like (my paraphrase) the hope in serving God isn't that He will answer our prayers, but that, when He does, He'll knock our socks off.

I'm guessing there are lots more socks in jeopardy.

Anonymous said...


This is encouraging. I am still of the opinion that it is too little too late, but it is the better direction. May you continue under the guidance and direction of His peace.

Anonymous said...

Wade ,

Excellent post. I hope the SBC can put this behind and just do missions. I say all that with a watchful and hopeful eye.

Although, it is hard to believe that this "small" caucus group will dissipate and die. I guess in my mind I keep thinking "If they are so small then how did they get these policies passed in the first place?"

I struggle to believe that they have little influence and that they will dissipate and go away. I will pray for them and pray that any illegal caucus groups will stop working to achieve their goals and seek His goals as an entire board.

CB Scott said...


We are praying for you.

cb said...


I could not post your comment. A little too personal about another trustee. said...

Thanks CB.

Give me a call sometime!

Villa Rica said...

Brother Wade,

My brothers, Pancho and Lefty, feel certain you shall do well in Shinar. I agree.

Villa Rica

Anonymous said...

I wonder who our beloved brother might have in mind when he refers to those who act, speak and write as some sort of Baptist POPE?

Surely no real legitimate Southern Baptist would ever do such a thing
and attempt to imitate Diotrephes (3 John 9-11) and "lord it over" (I Peter 5:1-5) their brothers and sisters (and messangers to the convention in North Carolina next month.) NO! Surely not!

NO! Surely not! NO! Surely not!

Tell us it is not true!! Please say you are only joking!!

WTJeff said...


I'm praying that you will be treated with the same grace and Christian love that you have extended to others. Thank you for your example. I'm not sure I would be the example of Christ's character you've been throughout this ordeal.


Jeff Parsons

Anonymous said...

Will continue to Pray for YOU, YOURS, and MISSIONARIES.
Your 70 year old Brother in CHRIST.

Jeff Richard Young said...

Dear Anonymous,

To answer your question, "If they are so small then how did they get these policies passed in the first place?"

These 12 or so trustees do not let their true intention of removing Dr. Rankin be known by the majority of the board. They mask their maneuvers behind something that the majority of trustees will agree with, like having strict rules on baptism or speaking in tongues. They're good at what they do, you have to give them that much.

Love in Christ,


Anonymous said...


My wife and I are with the IMB, living in the 10/40. We've been keeping up with your posts... it's encouraging to know that their is a voice like yours out there. You have articulated what has been on our hearts for some time!

We are praying that God will SOON bring untiy in the Body... specifically, in our own SBC. May we cease from strife and join together in the work of the harvest!

For the nations,

M's in the 10/40

Anonymous said...

May God continue to bless and guide you as you serve the constituency of the SBC. Thanks for keeping us informed and for having a humble spirit of cooperation said...

North Georgia Pastor,

Since you are neither part of the problem or part of the solution I will not give to you the proof. You would have been part of the solution had if this situation had gone to the SBC. It has been my desire from the beginning to deal with the matter in house, and it will stay in house.

Anonymous said...

Dear Pastor Burleson,

If you wanted to deal with this inhouse, why have you been posting for the world to see?

"He who restrains his words has knowledge" (Proverbs 17:27)

A Southern Baptist in Texas said...

No names have been mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Wade. It's not like you are pulling uphill. Outright ecumenism is down hill and momentum is picking up. You can't miss, drive on. You have plenty of help.

Rod said...


I hope this doesn't sound harsh, because I share many of your perspectives. can you say you 'do not feel unreconciled' when you, in reality, aren't reconciled. Didn't I read on your blog a couple of days ago, that you've been excluded from committees. I'm not suggesting it's your problem. How is that reconciliation?

Will the new chairman truly reconcile with you? said...

I am reconciled with everyone. If some choose to not have me serve on a committee, I'm fine with that too. I am still a voting trustee. I still attend all the meetings. My voice is still heard.

I'm comfortable with whatever decision leadership makes

James said...

Can you confirm what Marty has stated on his sight regarding Floyd's receiving of pension? Was this conflict of interest discussed prior to the vote?

James Taylor

Anonymous said...

If Dr. Floyd does receive annuity form the board it is through Guidestone and is annuity on funds he invested from his salary and not CP moneys. If he is ineligible then there are many wonderful retired pastors and church staff who are also ineligble as they also receive retirement from Guidestone as well. That would put al of you who are with Guidestone ineligble. Micah on his website - served witht he IMB for a few years and there were probably funds put in by the IMB to Guidestone on his behalf as well. Does that mean he should be ineligable to be a trustee of the IMB - I would hope not. (By the way - I think he would be a great trustee from whatI have read of his blogs).

XtnYoda said...


So grateful to see your honesty, and refreshing to know there is a voice of intregity sharing with those of us who are not 'imbeded'.

I know it is difficult. You are in my prayers. May God continue to bless you with His grace for the honor of His name, the purposes of His kingdom, and for the verasity of His Word.

XtnYoda, Shalom said...

Mr. Anonymous Missionary,

You must sign your name for me to post your comment, particularly since you are specific in naming people in a critical manner.

Anonymous said...

By the way - I knew you would not print it - which is fine - it was more to try to make you aware - which is your repsonsibility as a trustee - not to protect the president but to protect the missions program and those who cannot say anything because they have no voice.

Anonymous said...

It was all politics in 1979, and it's all politics now.

The basis of virtually all conflict in the church is over control.

Theological & doctrinal statements, the 2000BF&M, and other means serve merely as vehicles to consolidate control and push out those who have the audacity to question.

I wish you luck, but as moderates found out quite a few years ago, the only way to cooperate with Fundamentalists is to obey them.

WTJeff said...


The SBTC has a manuscript posted on it's website of Dr. Hatley's report and your subsequent response. Please look at the following link. Is this how you remember it happening?


Jeff Parsons said...


My wife read the transcript and said the emotion and timing sequence is not conveyed in black and white letters. In addition, the conversation with Hatley after the session was witnessed by the same reporter who put the transcript on the Texan, and Baptist Press ran that conversation (or lack of it as Hatley turned his back on me and refused to give the basis for the charge), but the Texan did not. said...

As soon as I get the audio from the IMB I will post it on the web