Sunday, May 28, 2006

Truth Needs No Protection

From John Milton's Areopagitica, 1644.

"Though all winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously, by licensing and prohibiting, to misdoubt her strength. Let truth and falsehood grapple; who ever knew truth put to the worst, in a free and open encounter?"



I like Pro 1:7 best.
Pro 1:1 The proverbs of Solomon, son of David, king of Israel:
Pro 1:2 To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight,
Pro 1:3 to receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity;
Pro 1:4 to give prudence to the simple, knowledge and discretion to the youth--
Pro 1:5 Let the wise hear and increase in learning, and the one who understands obtain guidance,
Pro 1:6 to understand a proverb and a saying, the words of the wise and their riddles.
Pro 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.
Pro 1:8 Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching,
Pro 1:9 for they are a graceful garland for your head and pendants for your neck.
Pro 1:10 My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent.

Your Brother in CHRIST


Another favorite.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
Your Brother in CHRIST

Anonymous said...

Brother Wade,

You say that from the beginning you have only wanted to release information of your grievances in the "trustee environment", yet you've spent many thousands of words airing for the entire world to see not only certain individuals' private discussions with you but also internal board actions. If you really mean what you say, take your revealing blog post and share it with no one but the Board Trustees, and then allow the so accused Trustees to defend themselves. If you do not do so, it may indicate that your own intentions are, at best, contrary to your claims.

Jonathan Borland

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,

There you go..That sounds like the "William Wallace" we've been waiting for..Stand up for truth.. Don't forget that these guys will walk away from their jobs at the imb and right back into their congregations and behave the same way.. How many families have they hurt on their own turf? I can tell you from experience -friendly fire hurts the worst!

BSC said...

Hello Jonathan.

Are you still serving overseas with the IMB? I remember well those days we shared in North Carolina at SEBTS and WXRBC. Is your dad still working at Liberty University? I didn't go to ETS last year, so I'm not sure if he's still secretary or not either?

I think your point is well made, though I understand that Wade has shared all the details with Tom Hatley and other trustees in a private forum in St. Louis, MO.

I guess you can see where that got him?


JUSTAMOE said...


You're in the right here, despite the opinions expressed to the contrary as in today's thread. You didn't start this, you didn't ask for this; you observed this as an honest man with good understanding of the standards all are to abide by. You took the necessary steps to help ones in the wrong discipline themselves; so far, they've refused. You've then taken the next prescribed steps for course correction in regard to the matter, and now face decisions about the next step after encountering continued obstinance last week in NM. THERE'S NOT A SINGLE THING WRONG WITH WHAT YOU'VE DONE OR PLAN TO DO AT THIS POINT--the advice of others today notwithstanding.

The truth is objectively the truth--its nature doesn't depend upon our believing it or shouting it loudly. If it weren't you now, it'd be the next Christian man with understanding AND prinicples (of whom there have appeared to be too few) facing the same decisions. You are "for such a time as this," it seems.

Be faithful. If you're willing, tell the whole story--but, again, if you don't it'll be the next believer with understanding and principles. It's only a matter of time until all the SBC knows what's been permitted to take place among us.

Bryan Riley said...

My read of this is that we need not fear the discussion of a variety of doctrines or beliefs because Truth will ultimately win and by limiting the discussion and reacting in fear to things that may (or may not) oppose the Truth we lose. I'm not sure it provides the basis for going nuclear and arguably provides the basis for your first or third options. That's what makes life so fun, though, we can subjectively justify just about any action we take, which is also why it is wise to seek counsel, pray, fast, and prayerfully move ahead in the will of God. I remember a very wise man whom you know well once saying we often don't have a clue what God's will is looking ahead, but we always know His will in the rear view.

chadwick said...

Brother Burleson,

THere is only one way to end all the chaos and bring darkness to light!. . . ALLOW YOUR NAME TO BE NOMINATED AS SBC PRESIDENT! I feel that if you were elected, you could really make a difference in SBC polity without having to participate in the "mud-slinging" that will happen if you start releasing "names and conversations." Christ was silent in the midst of His accusers:
12 And when he was accused of the chief priests and elders, he answered nothing.
13 Then said Pilate unto him, Hearest thou not how many things they witness against thee?
14 And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.(Matt 27:12-14)

You know what needs to be done to defeat the 27 year-old "Denominational Machine." It will not be defeated on your blog, but at Greensboro. WADE BURLESON FOR SBC PRESIDENT IN GREENSBORO!

Chadwick Ivester

Elizabeth said...

In reading Wade's post for the past several months, I seem to recall that he has tried to share his concerns with the trustees on numerous occasions. Why do you think the leadership has done everything they can to keep him silent? Why have they made his position on the board virtually useless unless the goal is to get him to resign in frustration?
When they refuse to take heed, then Wade is responsible to the ones the trustees are supposed to represent. That would be US.

Anonymous said...

I know first-hand what biblical accountability can bring.

While a church staff member some time ago, I confronted the SP on some inconsistencies and double-standards being practiced. I followed scripture and brought these concerns to him personally, in the hope that accountability would help him make appropriate changes.

That was a while back and I'm still "paying" for those actions I took as anidealistic young minister. I'm no longer a full-time staff member, and my enthusiasm for serving the church has been severely diminished. My family has suffered as our income was quickly cut in half, then subsequently cut in half again (yeah you read that right... we're surviving on 1/4 of the income I used to have and flirting with bankruptcy in the process).

The painful truth this experience has taught me is that "God's People" are not truly concerned with truth or doing the right thing... they basically want the waters to stay as calm as possible for as long as possible.

I say these things, Wade, simply to encourage you to make sure you and your family are prepared to "pay" for your actions, however noble they may be. This isn't Hollywood, where the good guys always win.

My thoughts and prayers are with you in the coming days.

Anonymous said...

I believe both #2 and #3 are needed. #2 because the trustees(all) need to be held accountable, church members need to see how their Boards function, and we'll never know the complete truth without it. Rumors will swirl for months(maybe years) if a complete accounting is not given. With full disclosure S. Baptists can decide. As you you've indicated we have too many forums, secret meetings and Executive sessions. All out of the accountability eye of S. Baptists and Baptist Press. You will set a new "tone" if you move for this to happen. #3 is probably going to come regardless of whether it's #1 or #2. S. Baptists are tired of the "give me more CP" with little or no accountability and agency heads picking their own Boards.
Let the "real" trustee system work!!!

Anonymous said...


A few days ago I recommended option #3.

However, after careful thought I no longer believe option #3 will resolve the problem.

I went back and read the report of the "Peace Committee" (ca late 1980s). The "Peace Committee" did a good job in terms of describing the problem facing the SBC at the time and recommending a solution. However, the work of the "Peace Committee" did little -- if anything -- to bring peace. This is not any reflection on the committee but mearly the acknowledgement that the polarizing issues didn't suddenly go away just because the "Peace Committee" issued a carefully reasoned document. The problem, of course, is that the "Peace Committee" did not have any enforcement mechanism to "keep the peace". This is a result of the fact that we as Baptists recognize individual accountability before God and also each local congregation is autonomous. The lack of a ecclestical heirarchy is at once our strength and our weakness. On balance it is our strength.

Getting Baptists to resolve differences is difficult if not impossible. This is intrinsic to our church polity.

Dr. Jordon is serving as the interim pastor of our church. He made comments a few weeks ago that sometimes his job is "like herding cats." This is probably a pretty good metaphor to describe the diffulty of keeping all of us in the SBC on the same page.

Upon reflection, I think that implementation of Option #3 would be essentially a re-play of the Peace Committee in terms of effectiveness in solving the problem. Given that option #1 has already effectively been implemented with no success, I guess of the three enumerated options #2 is the only one left.

I wish I had more wisdom to be able to define option #4.

Personally, I am not interested in arguing this stuff on its merits:

(a) Landmarkism: I have been baptized three times. Once at birth in a Catholic church, once in a Disciples of Christ Church at age 14, and once in an SBC church at age 18. Looking back at it I can say that the Catholic Baptism didn't do much for me (as I didn't even know about it until 30 years later). Only in recent years have I learned about "alien immersion" to the point that I can see what precipitated my SBC baptism.

(b) Tongues and "Private Prayer Language": I don't have any firsthand knowledge about these so I just can't comment. My understanding of Acts 2 is that the miracle was not only "speaking" but "hearing". Its one thing for someone to speak in some "language". It is something else when multiple listeners simultanously hear the same utterance in their own language.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Anonymous said...

It would appear that Brother Borland is not familiar with the specificity of instructions to the Executive Committee (Bylaw 18., E., (9)and I quote the last two sentences of that item;
" . . . The Executive Committee shall not have authority to control or direct the several boards, entities, and institutions of the Convention. This is the responsibility of trustees elected by the Convention and accountable directly to the Convention."
Please note that the sentence does not say that the Board of such entities, but rather the "trustees elected" ". . . by the Convention and accountable directly to the Convention."
It would be understood that safety and sensitive items relating to personnel would be constrained by the need for privacy, but that can hardly be stretched to remove the Convention from understanding what "direction" and "methodology" which might be advocated by a group within those trustees could be purporting to redirect the focus of a particular entity without that change being sustained by the Messengers. If a trustee is thwarted by the leadership of such an entity and has attempted to work within the Charter of that group, it would
appear that adherence to the SBC Convention Bylaws would allow for an attempt to communicate with the Messengers BEFORE HAVING TO MAKE DECISIONS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUES that have arisen, since this would appear to be a part of that Trustees responsibility back to those who elected to have him/her as a representative and to the choice of selection by the Bylaws of the internal entity selected to maintain that accountability (The Executive Committee; see Bylaw 18., E., (1)) " . . . for the Convention ad interim in all matters not otherwise provided for. . . " In light of what has been published both by blog and through releases to the media as well as eye witness accounts, it would appear that Brother Borland's suggestions should not be "well taken" but does remind me of why my suggestions concerning options would be to remain with option #1 until after the Convention in Greensboro and then utilize option #2 if resolution has not been accomplished relating to the restoration of Pastor Burleson (You) as a functional Trustee with the same status as any other trustee with the IMB BoT's! Based on what I have been hearing in regards to preregistration for the Convention it would appear these observations have been fairly accurate? In spite of all the "Nay Sayers" that kind of response is what I love about my Brothers and Sisters of the SBC! When issues arise.... they do too! ....or as E.V. Hill has been known to say; "I Love Southern Baptists for WHO THEY THINK THEY ARE!" Though Dr. Hill was attempting levity.... I believe they are who they think they are..... unworthy of Grace and Mercy, but GRATEFUL FOR BOTH! BTW.... already preregistered! :)

JUSTAMOE said...

Dear Anonymous 1/4 Income:

If you haven't already done so, please see the info at the links below for possible assistance. Blessings to your family despite it all.


(also your state convention leadership department for clergy assistance)

Anonymous said...

Wade, it is apparent that most of the folks, who have shared their perspective regarding the alternatives you are weighing in the IMB BoT debacle, are offering such with the realization that it is the Lord's will you are seeking to follow. Conversely, many of your critics, like death and taxes, can always be counted on coming out of the woodwork when there is controversy. On many occasions, these folks have never been in a comparable position with the person they are "advising". Nevertheless, they perceive that from their vicarious perches on high, they have been annoited to dispense the "hard truth" of criticizm and "put downs" to those (in this case, that would be you) who are actually participating in the process of doing something constructive to improve the effectiveness of the IMB BoT in overseeing the mission programs of the SBC. Moreover, they become offended when their "remarks" are not published by the one who was to be the target of their "open season" rhetoric. . .I can tell you now that such critics and their advice should be weighed in the context of what their motivations were and are.

The essence of this debate is not and should not be about you, Wade Burleson. While there is no doubt that you have become the "point man" in the controversy, the principle issues remain the same: The IMB BoT has overstepped its authority in arbitrarily re-defining doctrinal criteria for one to be allowed to be a missionary representing the SBC in the foreign mission field. Private prayer language and the added prerequisites to baptism procedures are neither essential issues of Christian doctrines, nor are the new requirements Scriptural. Except in very rare instances where missionary security is threatened or for reasons related to privacy issues of employees in the IMB, all actions of the IMB BoT should be open to every Southern Baptist. The right to public dissent by any Trustee on issues before, during, and after deliberation must be unequivocally restored by the IMB BoT. In addition, neither the IMB BoT or its leadership has any right to arbitrarily deny the full participation of any individual Trustee in attending any meeting in which all Trustees would normally be expected to attend. Similarly, if all Trustees are normally appointed to committees, no individual Trustee should be proscribed from appointment to one or more committees.

These issues must be effectively addressed or the SBC will likely be transformed into a dogma factory and SBC efforts in the mission field severely compromised.

In His Grace and Peace,

kjam22 said...

Option 2 sounds like blackmail to me. You're threatening them. You're puting it on your blog as something that might happen in the future. You're saying this isn't about YOU... but honestly... it sounds like it's about you.

This is the craziest thing I've read on the internet in a long time. A baptist pastor is consulting with an attorney and is blackmailing the IMB. He's been banned from executive board meetings, but he's going to attend with an attorney anyway? And it all started because the IMB (a baptist organization) is insisting that it's missionaries be baptist.

Seriously, it gets no stranger than this.

Bryan Riley said...

Wade, you needn't answer, but isn't it true that the attorney you are consulting is simply one of your best friends? It would be no different than the fact that Dorcas or I have commented here, two attorneys, and in a sense you have consulted them. Additionally, we have no idea what you have been threatened with, and if it has included threats that you could be sued for defamation, then it would only make sense for you to talk with an attorney. It is sad to think that Christians would threaten to sue another Christian over internal church matters, especially in light of the scriptural admonitions against, but I don't know why someone is getting in your shorts about consulting an attorney, at least not without knowing more about the whys and whos of the situation.

Having said that I want to challenge in a small way some of the people who feel compelled to jump to your defense (as I just did above). Although I too am a friend of Wade (but as I say it I fear sounding Corinthian like--my first and only allegiance must be to Christ), I don't understand why people feel compelled to make assumptions about those who may challenge you or be of an opinion that isn't their own (we don't know your opinion at this time as you haven't selected an option). It's like when someone initially had no clue who I was and, after finding some information on the internet, jumped to the conclusion that I must be a FBC Springdale man. The assumption was completely errant. How can anyone assume the critics have never been faced with a similar situation? How can they assume what their motives are? At least not unless they know the individual and their individual circumstances, and even then it is difficult to weigh motives.

Wade, I love you and appreciate your heart. Keep your focus on Christ and keep running the race; keep offering your life as a living sacrifice to Him; keep letting Him transform you heart and mind; keep being thankful in every circumstanc; keep praying, with all forms of petition and thanksgiving, without anxiety; keep letting the peace of Christ rule in your heart; keep rejoicing in everything. Whatever happens after that will be God's will.

CB Scott said...

Anonymous that knows first hand,

Do not give up. There are many like you. God will make a way. There are those that will help.

I do not know you, but here is my email: There is help. There are those that will stand by you.


Trevor said...

Dear Ken James,

I've been keeping up with this controversy on this blog and others for a couple of months now, because I'm hoping to find out what the true definition of a "baptist" is...

In your post, you have implied that you know what that definition is.

{"and it all started because the IMB (a baptist organization) is insisting that it's missionaries be baptist."}

Respectfully, could you post that definition?

What is "baptist?"

I hope you can help...

Trevor Davis
Olive Branch, MS

John Fariss said...

"the IMB (a baptist organization) is insisting that it's missionaries be baptist"? Surely you jest! (Says I, tongue in cheek.) Brother, that's wrong on so many levels I hardly know where to begin. The problem is that the IMB's current definition of "being baptist" goes far beyond anything that the Convention has defined. What I have found looking back at history is that what defined a person as a baptist involved the concepts of the gathered church (as opposed to the parish model to which one belonged by virtue of residence), and believer's baptism--that the individual had made a conscious decision to follow Christ, rather than having that decision made for you by your parents or guardians. The mode of baptism was not even in the forefront for a significant period; it was initially effusion, and even after immersion became (rightly) accepted, it was still the decision which which was emphasized. The priesthood of the believer, connected integrally to both these, likewise added to the definition at a quite early date. To these, different baptist bodies added different elements, and went in different, sometimes opposing directions--the Regular Baptists, Separate Baptists, Particular Baptists, Primitive Baptists, Calvinistic Baptists, Armenian Baptists, Landmark Baptists, Seven Day Baptists, Tunker (or "Dunker" or German) Baptists--the list goes on and on. Considering all these, it is not at all controversial to say that current IBM requirements are just one small slice of the Baptist pie, one that (1) seems to be leaning more and more toward a Landmark interpretation and (2) currently seems comfortable with "narrowing the tent." Do I suggest that the IMB embrace as candidates all that it has ever meant to be Baptist? Of course not! I have already said that much of that is contradictory. My point is that being baptist too complicated for solution by a sound bite, and too important to allow a group of less than 100 folks to take us places the Convention has not dared to tread. Brother, I hope will pardon my enthusiasm for the subject, and dialogue about it.

Anonymous said...

Wade, not that this is a laughing matter, but I think it's time for some humor. Do you have another contest for us?

Still praying for you and yours,

Kay S.

Anonymous said...

BSC, is it you they are quoting in the newspapers? If so, how are you, brother? Yes, we're still with the ........ and great things are happening.

BLAMPP, you obviously have a different idea of what it means to be held accountable to the Convention than do I. Using a constructionist interpretation, I do not think that a Trustee of a Convention Organ expressing his frustrations to the world in form of a blog was what the originators of that policy statement and those who approved it meant. Everyone who reads Baptist Press knows about the changes in M qualifications at the IMB. They know this without Brother Wade's inside information. And if they disapprove, they may take action within the proper channels at the SBC to investigate. This they may also do without Brother Wade's inside information.

The two changes that passed are not cataclysmically closing the doors of cooperation. The rules are not so different than the ones that preceded them. The appearance is that these changes were the last straw, so to speak, in a series of changes deemed unacceptable. I would like to be informed of all the other so-called exclusivist changes that this internet-savvy movement would like to see reversed.

Jonathan Borland

volfan007 said...

we should promote the truth. we should defend the truth. we should always seek the truth. the truth will set you free.

the bible is totally true, and we should always stand on the clear, black and white teachings of the bible. of course, we have room for disagreement over minor, gray areas of the bible. but, the clear teachings we must hold to in order to be right with God. and, the essential truthes we must beleive in order to be saved.

Philippians4girl said...

Mr Borland.
Being a part of the media for over 30 years I want to caution you about the comment that "everyone who reads Baptist Press knows". I'm not specifically commenting on Baptist Press. In most cases, they do a fine job. However, I know the media well. I've been quoted in the newspaper with "direct quotes" having said nothing of the same. Wasn't bad, they just thought is was a better read. You read, what the press wants you to read. You see, what the PR department from the seminary, wants you to see. Spin didn't orginate outside. It's alive and well in the "corporate church".
Speaking of Baptist Press, In fact, isnt this the same newspaper that published the vote numbers against Jerry Rankin, while another press gave numbers completely different?
So the question is who do we trust?
Where and when do we make judgements?
According to what I see the in the scripture, the Word tells me to look for good fruit.
I look for, pray for discernment, and I look for a tree with deep roots and good fruit.
I'm confident I've found it but when I'm concerned I go to the Word, I go to my Father and my husband for help. It always comes.

Anonymous said...

Keep shaking those trees man! It seems to me that a little shaking of the trees at SWBTS would help.
Follow the money that is the discretinary money that Paige can get too!!!!!!!!!