Monday, June 05, 2006

The Change Coming to the SBC Is Substantive

A reporter called today and asked what I thought about Jerry Sutton "throwing his hat into the Presidential ring" of the Southern Baptist Convention. I basically said it was a blessing for Southern Baptists to have multiple candidates because it was evidence that a new day was dawning in the SBC.

Please allow me a moment of personal privilege. I love the Southern Baptist Convention. I am loyal to my fellow Southern Baptists and I'm proud, in a good sense of the word, of the phenominal work we have accomplished for the Kingdom throughout our country and the world. I realize there are other wonderful, evangelical denominations and non-profit ministries that a doing a great work as well, but I rejoice in what God is doing through the SBC and I believe our brightest days very well may be ahead.

What excites me the most is that any attempt by an oligarchy to control the direction of the convention is splintering. The attempt by a few to control Boards and the nominating process in order to get "our men" in positions of service is over. I believe that Southern Baptists have now said "enough" to the methodologies of the past. It is time for us all to prayerfully seek to elect those men and women in the Southern Baptist Convention who display a love for Scripture, a passion for the lost, a support for our cooperative mission efforts, and a disinterest in poltical appointments. In other words, we need people who are willing to serve and don't see appointments as "rewards" for past loyalty or service.

Now to my opinion of the three men.

I believe they are all good men who have reached hundreds of people with the gospel of Jesus Christ and have built great churches.

Paige Patterson and Johnny Hunt support Ronnie Floyd.

Judge Pressler and others support Jerry Sutton.

Frank Page is supported by those who believe that it is time for our convention to be led by people who support the Cooperative Program. His church, giving over 12% to the CP and a record dollar amount in the history of the South Carolina Conveniton, is a model of CP support.

For that reason alone, and trusting in his personal pledge to me to appoint a broad section of Southern Baptists, I believe Frank Page is the best candidate of the three.

I am grateful our convention has a choice this year.

It should be interesting.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson


Arkansas Razorbaptist said...

I wish someone would explain Big Al's support of Coach Floyd. said...

I think Al was probably being nice and sent a personal note that Pastor Floyd then called Al and asked if he could use it publicly. Al's support was a little different than Paige's.

Jack Maddox said...

So Wade, since all has changed in the SBC and we are now on the right path, will you be slowing down on your bloging which has, according to some' been a source of conflict, hurt, and at the very least misunderstanding?

Jack Maddox

Bowden McElroy said...

Allow me a moment of cynicism: Change is not substantive until after it occurs and a pattern has been set.

I hope you are right; we'll know in a year or two. It is important that, whatever good things occur next week, we don't all come home believing the job is done. said...


You make a good point. Logical, reserved, and wise.

One has to admit though that some significant changes have occurred in a very short period of time.

I do agree, we must remain vigilant. said...

Jack Maddox,

The only people my blog "hurts" are those who have been exposed regarding agendas they have sought to keep hidden.

The only conflict my blog has generated is in respone to conflict initiated by others through actions that demanded immediate answers.

The only misunderstanding that comes from my blog is from those who do not read it. It's hard to read it and misunderstand anything. The language is quite clear and I eschew obfuscation ( :) my favorite pun!).

So to answer your question, I can stop blogging when we do our business in openness and transparency, and Lord willing we are headed that direction -- but we are not quite there - yet.

Bob Cleveland said...


If there has not been (relatively) organized dissent before; if there has not been an election of candidates with differing views on important issues; if there has not been widespread interest in the issues previously; if there have not been "Grass-roots" folks out here voicing their concerns in ways that are hard for leadership to ignore; if those with real concerns haven't realized that they're far from alone ... then change is already here.

I hope leadership realizes this.

A century or more ago, in Haiti, the French government kept the roads in gross disrepair, which hindered travel and hence communication among the slaves. They didn't anticipate that the slaves knew how to use voodoo drums. It cost France their rule of the nation.

No I am NOT comparing anything to that, other than the fact that leadership must realize that open communication changes things.

Kevin Bussey said...


Your blog hasn't hurt anyone. Unless it hurts those who don't believe in full disclosure and doing things above board. Thanks for keeping me informed on things I wouldn't have known without you.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,
This is interesting. With the Judge supporting one candidate and Dr. P. Supporting another, would you not agree they are still in the Good Ole Boy system?

Also, does this not take the energy out of the IMB issue?

Anonymous said...

I might still vote for you. =)

Anonymous said...

"Avoid, discussions that lead to more and more hurt." 2 Timothy 2:16 and "Do not have unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, suspicions and constant friction. 1 Timothy 6:3-5
I just wish everyone can get along in the SBC.

Anonymous said...

Hey Wade,

Do you have a position on the Resolution on Integrity that Tom Ascol has written?

I know you get a lot of traffic on your website and it would be wonderful if you would give the resolution a PLUG, before the convention.

Anonymous said...

I found your comment about "leaving the methodologies of the past behind" to be an interesting one. While I applaud your courage in taking on the oppresive center of power that has so effectively exercised the methodologies you speak of, and I celebrate the passing of this era, I remain frustrated and skeptical. It is ironic that the giant was only challenged when it turned on those who are now at odds with Southern Baptist leadership. For many years good and faithful Baptists have been trampled under the feet of this giant, and many who now are agast at the behavior of Southern Baptist leaders supported and applauded the trampling of others in the past.

I hope in this new day of options, openness and principled dissent, that the new leaders of the SBC (if new leaders are elected) will recognize the abuses of the past and seek to make real peace and reconcilliation with those who have been injured by the Conservative Resurgence. It would be a most Christ-like thing to do.

Matt B said...

I was just reading the posts about yesterday's mystery preacher. Come on guys, has Spurgeon come back from the dead in order to be a member of a Southern Baptist church for the last thirty-four years? (number 7 on the list) Could he really affirm the BFM thirty-three years after his death? (Numer 8 on the list) Surely you give your detractors room to question your intellectual judgment :' ). Could it be, Oh, could it be a certain preacher that we will be honoring this year at the convention? HMMMMMMM...

Anonymous said...

Wade have you seen my notes? Stay out of trouble. said...


I think Tom's resolution is well written and needed. I'll do what I can to promote it. said...

Matt B.

U B Close :) said...


The IMB issues continue to amaze me. Everything would be out of the spotlight of the convention if it were not for increasingly incredulous actions taken against me. I have committed to abide by the policies against dissent. I am willing to work within the parameters of the Board, and I have not said one thing at the last three Board meetings unless ASKED to speak (except for a brief public comment that we already had a committee establish our doctrinal guidelines for missionaries --- the BFM 2000 Committeee).

But for some reason trustee leadership at the IMB could not leave things alone. We'll see if there is now a change in approach.

I will continue to work as a Board member, within the established system, to overturn any policy that violates Scripture or our Baptist heritage.

Ultimately only the Board of Trustees govern. The Convention holds us accountable for our actions.

W said...


You said, "I will continue to work as a Board member, within the established system, to overturn any policy that violates Scripture or our Baptist heritage."

Are you suggesting that on a board of several Christians, God has given you, sole authority on what is a correct hermeneutic of Scripture?

As an outsider looking in, it seems odd that only one person is having the trouble. Could you please comment?


SavedandSure said...

The suspense grows!

Methinks CHS (Spurgeon) would laugh, too, to read some of the many silly things that have been written and spoken about him since his graduation to glory -

and some have appeared in recent days on some Baptist blogs!

Bob Cleveland said...


Quoting one of my favorite preachers (his initials are Whisperin' Wade)....

"The Convention holds us accountable for our actions."

My bride and I will be at the convention. What can I do to see that the quotation is factually accurate (not just theorically).

Like the dog said as he was eating out of my garbage can ... "I'm at your disposal".

Anonymous said...

It looks like several positions will now have three people running.
Putting a third name in the hat
takes votes away from someone else.
Humm, I wonder? It is possible.
Mac McFatter
Semmes, AL

Anonymous said...

I pray earnestly that effective leadership and change will come to the SBC. I have attended both a Baptist college and seminary, and now work at a different Baptist college/seminary. The effects of all the bickering in leadership are substantial to the success (or lack thereof) of our young ministers/missionaries. Those of us in our 20s and 30s are forced to "take sides" with either the BGCT or SBC just to get our respective educations. This is ridiculous! Why should we fall through the cracks because of petty arguments and cronyism? I've heard and read too many arguments of who quoted this out of what book and what scripture says to prove whatever point, but let's get our noses out of the books and look at what's really going on. Firing off an email from one's cushy office to another with an opposing viewpoint does not help a poor, young seminarian feed his wife and three kids. The young church leaders are becoming more and more jaded because of this. An effective leader (e.g. Christ) works with and for the people and not against his brother. The question should not be what someone's views are on a particular issue, it should be what action are you taking to affect it? What/Where are the priorities of our leaders? I wholeheartedly agree that our brightest days are ahead, but we have to actively support and nurture those who will take the lead in the future. We need those who will lead by active example.

g2sd said...

Thank you for posting my thoughts on your blog.

I have read some, but never posted here before.

To me the Memphis meeting and the system you have orchestrated with this blog is the system you are abhorring. If such a methodologies do exist, are you not exchanging one for another?

There is more depth to Ronnie Floyd that just who supports him. I truly believe there is a large number of people who believe that the CP issue is not a deciding factor. It my personal opinion, I believe it is a smoke screen to detract from other leadership qualities he possesses.

I am hard pressed not to model my church after a church that baptizes 1000 people a year and does over 20% in total missions expenditures.

We all have our preferences, that is what make the SBC so great. I like having a convention where all can agree that we agree on enough to get on mission.

Writer said...


I appreciate your comments about the SBC changing and isn't it good that we have all these candidates, but you need to know that this is politics as usual.

The reason why Patterson is supporting Floyd and Pressler is supporting Sutton is not as "innocent" as it may seem. Their strategy is to run Sutton to split the anti-Floyd vote which will bring victory to Floyd. My sources tell me that Jerry Sutton has no intention of mounting a real campaign for President. If you think Patterson and Pressler are divided at the convention, you need to think again. The master politicians are at work and they are very, very good at this kind of thing.

I have my own issues with Frank Page, but if we're not united for one candidate, then the Patterson-Pressler strategy is going to work. Someone wrote on here that they still might vote for Wade. That's all well and good, but that kind of thinking will play right into the Floyd camp's strategy.

Let's all take Wade's advice and vote for Frank Page. said...


Very interesting thoughts. said...


Nobody under heaven's sun would have paid any attention to my blog were it not for actions of others.

No system created here.

What you read is what it is.

Open. Transparent. Honest.

No hidden agendas.

g2sd said...

Wade, you are a risk taker. Inspiring.

It was your actions that I read about in BP that lead me to this blog. Not others.

Anonymous said...

To W. (the mystery man),
First, who are you? You deny being Brad, (I think I hear a rooster crowing) but you appeared when he disappeared.
When Brad stopped nipping at Wade, you started. Your blog reveals the same as Brad would have written. Does Brad have two blogs?
Your, “Could you please comment?” sounds just like Brad to me.

Does being so nice and courteous make your knife in Wade’s back hurt any less?

You like to dish it out, but you dodge answering questions. If you want your questions answered, why don’t you set a good example?
You’ve had plenty of time to answer my question of May 30, so I will ask it again: “Confessions are only guides in interpretation, having NO authority over the conscience.” Since the BFM states it has NO authority over the conscience, how does the IMB use the BFM to fire people?

Rex Ray

CleverDever said...

What was the name of "a reporter?"

GeneMBridges said...

I truly welcome the news of Dr. Sutton running. As I've been saying for the past several months, one of the big problems in the SBC has been the perception that the election for SBC President has been "fixed," before the Convention meets. It's been more free than Cuba but less free than Iraq.

The perception was that muliple candidates would split the Convention, but that wasn't the original argument offered. The original reason the candidates were selected was to ensure that they fell within a particular theological class. Now that all those running are in that class, that should be enough. The SBC CAN, no MUST, have a truly free election again. This is the first such one in years. That says a lot. It and the one elected will be closely watched by all parties as a result. Whatever happens, however, the messengers will be able to say that they elected a President freely, and that, even more than having "your" candidate win (whoever that may be for any voter) is far more important for the health of the Convention than his winning.

The question that will need to be answer, no matter who wins, will involve the comportment of the leadership after his election. Will they go hunting for spoils of victory, seeking to excise all who opposed them or will they be gracious? I pray it is the latter and not the former.

LivingDust said...

I am of the opinion that a vote for anyone other than Dr. Frank Page is a vote for "business as usual" at the SBC.

Dr. Page's press release following his decision to allow his name to be nominated for President of the SBC addressed key issues and the need for significant change.

It was very encouraging to me as a SBC layman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the balanced response to the news that we have a third candidate for "da Pres..... ! It has been refreshing for me to hear young men under forty (and for me I usually refer to anyone onder 60 as a "young man!") expressing emotional agitation which has led to action (Attendance as indicated by their Pre-Registration for the 2006 SBC)! Now, maybe, there is growing realization that to reprogram our Trustee "Pool" from those who have previously served, is a formula for "doing the same old thing..... and getting the same old results!" How sad, when you consider the breadth of the agency/Trustee "Pool" that would be available were it broadened to encompass those faithfully serving in over 40,000 churches!
I believe this is the year to possibly see that formula changed! In my opinion, the less verbal positioning by terms that often describe our personal revulsion for someone's perceived theological positioning, but may be misleading to the reader or hearer that just might be in agreement with the "real issues" can be, and often is counterproductive! Even our efforts at humor can often be perceived as malicious! I'll use an example that unfortunately was my personal experience;
While pastor of a Great Church in Utah, I was preaching at a "Revival" in Georgia and was asked to mention some of my experience in "Mormon Country"! I immediately launched into my little memorized "ditty".... "Well, I'm from tha' UT-ah State, that's where a Catholic is a Protestant, a Jew is a Gentile..... and a Fundamentalist has four wives!" Now, folks who know anything concerning Mormon theology are aware that they believe anyone not a Mormon is both a "Protestant" and a "Gentile" and the fundamentalist Morman is generally a polygamist! BUT, THAT GEORGIA CONGREGATION DIDN'T KNOW Morman Theology and obviously did not understand or enjoy my attempt at humor! In fact, three of the men were deeply
hurt, since they considered themselves as Biblical Fundmentalists! Through the years I have come to greatly respect there faithful commitment to THE WORD! At the time, my apologies were pretty diluted by the perceived inference! ..... and time does allow healing "balm"! Oh how I pray that we will be deliberative "Gentlemen and Gentlewomen" as we do HIS business in June (and the Future)!

volfan007 said...

while i would agree that a few men shouldnt be running the show all the time, i am very concerned about allowing the tent to be too large. i have voted for the nominee suggested by the powers to be for years in order to keep the liberals out. to continue the conservative resurgence. i appreciate what these men did for our sbc thru the years.

now, i agree that a few men meeting in a hotel room should not determine everything that goes on in our sbc. but, at the same time, how big should our tent really be? what should we be willing to allow under the umbrella? i am afraid that between the five pointers and the tongue speakers and the legalistic landmarkers that we are going to be brought down. i am very concerned. can someone help me here?

Anonymous said...

Brad Graves,

As a former member of FBCS (probably still being counted), I can list many reasons why you would not want to emulate Floyd's style of easy-believeism, trendy theme-based (lite-on God's word), mailing-for-dollars sermons/programs. However, anyone is able to read John MacArthur's books (that clearly point to God's word) and identify the issues at FBCS and can create their own list of things that are contrary to God's word.

Your post seems to indicate you are following in Floyd's footsteps - it is all about the numbers! Problem is, when numbers becomes the focus, shortcuts are taken to bump the numbers up and soon pastors are like Sarah and Abraham - using Hagar to achieve God's purposes - instead of doing things God's way.

With Floyd's minimal support of the SBC CP, why should anyone vote for him to be Pres. of an organization that he choose to not support financially in a meaningful way?

Living too close to FBCS to give my name...

P.S. Ask FBCS to supply all of the "Invitation to Life" and "Ronnie Floyd Winners" letters mailed out over the past year...very enlightning...