Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stifling Dissent Is Not Baptist, And It Is Not Good

We had another great Sunday of worship yesterday at Emmanuel Baptist Church, Enid, Oklahoma. Our church is filled with wonderful people who not only understand grace, they live it. We enjoy freedom to express our divergent views on the non-essentials, celebrate the diversity of backgrounds from which we come, accept each other as equal members of the family of God, and encourage one another to be true to his or her convictions without imposing those personal convictions on others. I think serving as pastor of this church for the past 16 years has probably caused me to assume all Southern Baptists were like this in spirit. Not only is individual dissent, both public and private accepted, it is encouraged. We just ask that people have a gracious, civil spirit when they let their views be known - even their views are opposite of the pastors'. I assumed, it seems now wrongly, that this philosophy was the warp and fabric of Southern Baptist life.

I have discovered in the last two years that some Southern Baptist leaders believe public dissent over decisions that have been made is a sign of denominational disloyalty, or worse, a lack of Christian unity. For this reason, those Southern Baptist leaders see nothing wrong with asking trustees to 'publicly support that which they do not privately support.' To me, that kind of thinking encourages Southern Baptists to either pretend or lie and opens up our convention to a very dangersous future. A better standard would be for Southern Baptists 'to practice courteous and gracious dissent when one cannot personally support what has been approved.'

I believe I have practiced courteous and gracious public dissent in these blog posts for the past two year. The sum total of what happened last week in Springfield, Illinois is that the Executive Committee of the International Mission Board requested I apologize for my courteous public dissent - which they said violated the 'new' Trustee Standards of Conduct passed on March 22, 2006. I refused because I believed that new guideline which stifles dissent is one of the worst guidelines passed in the history of any agency of the Southern Baptist Convention - other than the 1845 IMB policy that allowed the appointment of missionaries that owned slaves. Imagine for a moment that the March 22, 2006 guideline which stifles dissent had been actually been in force in 1845 and I was a trustee then. I might be opposed to slavery, but to abide by the new policy that forbids public dissent I would have to say . . .

"I support missionaries owning slaves because this is the board approved policy."

If grassroots Southern Baptists honestly cannot see the danger of stifling dissent, somebody please tell me right now so I can leave the Southern Baptist Convention tomorrow morning. I personally don't think that this is the case. I believe Southern Baptists desire courteous, gracious, honest, and transparent dissent instead of prohibitions of dissent, and it is for this reason I refuse to apologize for violating the new trustee guideline that forbids dissent. It is also why the controversy which began two years ago is really a referendum on whether or not we as Southern Baptists will allow the stifling of courteous dissent. I believe there is inherent danger in forsaking our Baptist heritage by demanding absolute conformity and pretentious harmony rather than allowing gracious dissent and seeking transparent, Spirit-filled unity in the midst of diversity.

The Background for the Current Censure Controversy

When the 2005 International Mission Board Personnel Committee, chaired by current board chairman John Floyd, passed the new policies prohibiting the appointment of new missionaries who either had a private prayer language or had been biblically baptized but not in a Southern Baptist Church, most Southern Baptists had no idea that the two new doctrinal policies had been inacted and that they exceeded the Baptist Faith and Message 2000, and most importantly, that they excluded from cooperative missionary service hundreds of otherwise qualified and active Southern Baptists who felt called to the mission field.

When I was contacted in early 2005 by sitting International Mission Board trustees and asked to serve with them on the Board, I had no idea that these two policies were being formulated by the Personnel Committee of the IMB. When the Nominating Committee of the Southern Baptist Convention contacted me a couple of weeks later to begin the process of appointment, and when the Nashville Southern Baptist Convention in June 2005 appointed me as a trustee, I still had no idea about the new policies.

My first meeting with the International Mission Board was in July of 2005 in Richmond, Virginia at the International Learning Center. I was placed, like all new trustees at the time, on the Personnel Committee. I very distinctly remember the first meeting I attended where we approved a missionary candidate for appointment and the statement was made by the chairman that had that particular candidate come before us at our next committee meeting, he would have been denied because the new policies would be in effect.

That was the first time I heard about the new policies. It is also the very first time I spoke at an International Mission Board committee meeting. I asked a two word question that would eventually change my entire understanding of the Southern Baptist Convention:

"What policies?" I asked.

When I was told of the new policies that banned the appointment of missionaries with a 'private prayer language' and banned from appointment those missionaries who were not baptized by a 'proper administrator,' even though the missionary candidate's home Southern Baptist Church had received the candidate's baptism as both biblical and valid, things began to click in my mind.

It dawned on me why sitting IMB trustees were contacting me about serving with them.
It dawned on me why I was being asked to join a subset of trustees that were meeting concurrent with the official IMB board meetings.
It dawned on me what some tenured trustees were meaning when they told new trustees that there was unfinished business at the IMB.
It dawned on me why Southern Baptists were being excluded in an agency that is supposed to be known for Southern Baptist cooperation.
It dawned on me why sometimes Southern Baptists were viewed as isolationists on the mission field.
It dawned on me why Jerry Rankin's vision for the IMB was opposed by some.

The Problem Stated

There are some Southern Baptists in leadership who hold to a very narrow doctrinal view of Baptist identity (i.e. "I'll tell you what a Southern Baptist is - look at me - and if you aren't like me, you aren't a Southern Baptist"), so the idea that someone could pray in tongues in the privacy of his or her prayer closet and be a true 'Southern Baptist' was unthinkable to these leaders - even though the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message was silent on this issue and eventually a LIFEWAY survey showed 50% of Southern Baptists considered a private prayer language to be a legitimate gift of the Holy Spirit.

Further, the leftover vestiges of Landmark influence among southern Baptists is sometimes seen in a very strict view of the 'local' church. The inability to see all believers, regardless of local church affiliation, as 'The Bride of Christ' and the 'Body of Christ' causes southern Baptists, influenced by Landmarkism, to refuse to embrace other believers from different denominations and conventions as partners in fulfilling the Great Commission. When there is a strong focus on Baptist identity to the point of religious sacerdotalism there arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians.

Ironically, this strong view of the pure, local Baptist church is being morphed by some into a belief that 'The Southern Baptist Convention' should be treated like a church as well. The SBC is the mother church if you will, and in the case of the baptism guideline, if the mother church tells the members of the 'daughter' church that the baptism they recognized (by immersion, after coming to faith in Christ, trusting in Christ alone for salvation) is not valid because the person who performed the baptism was not a valid administator (i.e. 'a Baptist'), then the 'little' church must listen to the mother and rebaptize that missionary.

I would fight tooth and toenail for any Landmark Southern Baptist who is a cessationist to be free to articulate his views, serve on boards and agencies, and even lead fellow Southern Baptists. But when CANNOT be allowed to happen in a convention built on cooperation, is those who hold to this narrow view of Baptist identity to seek to EXCLUDE other Southern Baptists who do not hold to thier particular views.

A Catostrophe in the Making

In the summer of 2005 I could see the Southern Baptist Convention was headed for catostrophe through the actions of the International Mission Board. But instead of making my concerns known to the Southern Baptist public at large in July 2005, I worked diligently to try to change the policies within the structure of the IMB.

For five months I sought to get the policies reversed:
(1). I pointed out that the Personnel Committee of the IMB did not have the authority, according to our bylaws, to establish policy without full Board approval.
(2). Though I was told that the two policies were 'guidelines,' when I asked why they kept being referred to as 'policies' by certain trustees, it led to a discovery that there is functionally no difference between a policy and a guideline.
(3). I asked for the rationale behind the need for such policies. Where was the field evidence that there was a charismatic problem on the field not being handled appropriately by International Mission Board staff? Where was the documented evidence that there was a problem with 'tongues' being spoken publicly and not handled properly by staff? Where was the evidence than even ONE missionary had been appointed under the old policies that had not been scripturally baptized? I was not given any evidence because there wasn't any. Eventually I was told by Dr. Floyd that there did not need to be any field evidence of a problem - that this was a 'doctrinal' matter, and the IMB could establish a new 'doctrinal' standard - even if it went beyond the BFM 2000.
(4). The questions I raised, behind closed doors (my blog did not begin until December 2005), caused the matter to be brought before the entire board for discussion and debate in November 2005.
(5). During the debate over these policies I asked to hear from each of our staff Candidate Consultants and Regional Leaders on their views of the new 'policies.' My request was denied. I requested that Dr. Rankin's views on this matter, detailed in a letter which had been withheld from trustees by trustee leadership, be given to us.
(6). I was always very respectful and courteous in my speech, and in no form or fashion did I ever hinder debate or disrupt meetings. My behavior was Christian, civil and respectful at all times. I cannot control what others say about me, nor the gossip and rumors spread about me, but I can control my behavior, and I am confident that everything was done with Christian grace.
(7). I know for a fact that trustee leadership resented a 'rookie' questioning them. They told me. They told others. But I pressed on seeking a full and free debate.
(8). The policies were voted on in the November 15, 2005 IMB trustee meeting and passed. There was a very public dispute over the reported vote totals.
(9). Since the policies (or guidelines) have been adopted, I have asked for the number of missionary candidates that have been excluded as a result of the new guidelines. I have not yet been given an official number.
(10). Once the board took action, and believing that the adoption of the policies were a violation of our purpose as a board and the wishes of the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, I decided to take the matter to the convention at large. As a trustee appointed by the Southern Baptist Convention, I was obligated to make my concerns known.

The Major Issue in the Southern Baptist Convention

There are some Southern Baptissts, driven by a denominationally narrow ecclesiology and a very narrow definition of Baptist identity that believe Dr. Rankin, and current IMB administration, have gone too far in their efforts to partner with other evangelicals in doing “whatever it’s going to take” to reach the unreached people groups of the world and make disciples of all nations.

I wholeheartedly agree that it is within the purview of IMB trustees to hold Dr. Rankin responsible for the implementation of his vision. But what is wrong is when a people feel, whomever they may be, that the doctrinal standards of missionary cooperation and denominational service can be altered without convention wide approval. It also doesn't help when the doctrinal changes, implemented through the 'newly adopted' private prayer language and baptism guidelines, disqualifies the President of the International Mission Board from serving as a new missionary appointee were he to be appointed under these new guidelines.

For this reason, I began my blog in December of 2005. I took my dissent, which had been private for six months, to the Southern Baptist Convention at large. In January 2006 a trustee alleged my blog was filled with 'gossip' and 'slander,' and the trustees voted to remove me without ever having presented to the public the proof of the 'gossip' or 'the slander' - even though I requested the proof be made public repeatedly. I knew that if Southern Baptists saw the 'proof' they would see that it was simply courteous dissent. The 'proof' never came.

Of course, the recommendation was altered when read to reporters later that same day in January to say the motion for my removal was for 'loss of trust' and 'resistance to accountability' and not a word was said about 'gossip' and 'slander.' Eventually the entire recommendation for my removal was rescinded and expunged from the record on March 22, 2006 - less than three months before the entire Southern Baptist Convention would hear my defense and vote on the recommendation of whether or not I should continue to serve - and the exact same day the internal 'new' Trustee Standard of Conduct Guidlines which stifled dissent with threat of censure was passed..

The March 22, 2006, new conduct trustee guideline, adopted by a majority of the International Mission Board, contained the following regulation:

Individual IMB trustees must refrain from public criticism of Board approved actions . . . trustees are to speak in positive and supportive terms as they interpret and report on actions by the Board, regardless of whether they personally support the action.

Initially, I really thought it best initially to attempt to follow the guideline prohibiting dissent, and I did my best to 'support that which I didn't support,' but I saw very quickly that when Baptists, or any Christian group for that matter, take away the cherished principle of free and courteous dissent, the group can quickly deteriorate under the whims of autocratic leadership. Exerting absolute authority over missionaries, fellow trustees, or IMB administrators, to the point that everyone fears to speak out lest they lose their job, their position, or their reputation is highly unhealthy and dysfunctional for any organization, but particularly any Christian organization. Further, when you publicly state you support what you don't actually support, you are at best pretending, and at worst lying. Transparency is the opposite of such pretension.

What began with me publicly dissenting against the majority decision of the trustees of the International Mission Board to use a back door approach to narrow the doctrinal parameters of missionary cooperation - without going to the Southern Baptist Convention - has now come full circle. My public dissent began after months of working privately, behind the scenes. What started out as a concern over the direction we were heading as an entity by leadinng our convention, post de facto, to narrow the doctrinal parameters of denominational cooperation has now, again, come full circle.

I am being censured for my public dissent.

The censure is not over behavior - I have been only gracious and civil in my dealings with my fellow trustees. The censure is not over disrupting meetings - I have always spoken softly and only when acknowledged - never disrupting the decorum and order of a Christian organization. The censure is not over anything immoral, unethical or sinful.

I am being censured for my public dissent.

The ironic thing about this whole mess is the censure did not have to happen. I offered the olive branch.

Stifling dissent is the tool of control. But in the grand scheme of things, when autocratic leaders resort to the stifling of dissent, it is a sign that they fear losing control. It is a sign that change is in the air.

I confess, again, my love for all my fellow trustees, and for trustee leadership, including John Floyd, Paul Chitwood, Bill Curp, Jerry Corbaley and others on the Executive Committee who stood by these men in recommending the censure. I realize that the majority of trustees may not fully understand all the issues at play, nor my offer to the above men to step out of the controversy so that the focus could be on fulfilling Dr. Rankin's vision for the IMB. Regardless, the action in Springfield, Illinois seemed to me to be the Lord giving to me clear direction for my immediate future.

I shall continue my courteous public dissent.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson



Steve said...

An eye-opening post, Wade. It is always good to get truth out, even when admin types wish we'd just whistle along with the tune they choose. The Lord could have made us without the ability to make our own minds up, but what would that have made us?

Great to hear that it was a blessed Sunday in Enid!

Bart Barber said...

"there arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians"

Can you identify somebody who fits this description? 'Cause I'm the über-Baptist, and I don't hold this opinion. I've never met anybody who does. Is this just inflammatory rhetoric, or do you know somebody who would actually articulate this opinion?

to-obey-is-better said...

Your post just re-emphasized what I just read this morning. I've been reading through Tozer's "The Pursuit of God".

In the seventh chapter he is references Christian literature in one section, although in my mind it could apply to any area of Christianity. Even more disconcerting for me was the knowledge that this was written in 1948, so his fifty years of reference would now be over 100 years to us.

I quote, "Christan literature, to be accepted and approved by evangelical leaders of our times, must follow very closely the same train of thought, a kind of "party line" from which it is scarcely safe to depart. A half-century of this in America has made us smug and content. We imitate each other with slavish devotion. Our most strenuous efforts are put forth to try to say the same thing that everyone around us is saying - and yet to find an excuse for saying it, some little safe variation on the approved theme or, if no more, at least a new illustration."

If nothing else, living overseas for almost ten years has challenged me and caused me to question all that I believe. Do I believe it because I was taught this way in America? Or do I believe it because it's Truth from God's Word?

I pray that many will stand beside you and not follow hook, line and sinker after a party line that is not always Biblical.

My prayer for my people group is that they wouldn't follow my teachings either, but would follow my teachings only as they align with the Word of God.

Blessings Wade.

There are many of us remembering you that are overseas.

imb m in asia

Steve said...

Wade, I took your sentence on the new trustee policy, changed nouns, and added my sentence.

Individual priests must refrain from public criticism of Church approved actions . . . priests are to speak in positive and supportive terms as they interpret and report on actions by the Church, regardless of whether they personally support the action. Besides, there surely won’t ever be any uproar over a few children being abused.

Out of such policies do disasters come. said...


When we are more concerned if someone is Baptist on the mission field than we are Christian - and as a result we avoid partnership with conservative evangelical denominations in far away places for fear that the converts in the 'church plants' will not be Baptist - and ignore the fact that God sent us out to make disciples of all men, then we have a problem.

I don't consider you the uber-Baptist - close, but no cigar.
You are more than welcome to voice your opinion in my comment section that my words are rhetoric. And, you ought to be grateful that you have the opportunity to voice your opinion. In some Baptist circles that opportunity seems to be shrinking.

Blessings to you.

Wade said...


Ouch. Point taken. said...

Asia M,


Anonymous said...

Wade, Since the CR began I have served in several state committee positions, one state board, two SBC level committees and on two SBC entity BoTs. Never, on any of those places of service was real input encouraged but in fact it was stifled. The first 15 years or so they seemed to be solidifying power and the second 15, holding onto the power. Decisions were made before we knew anything about them and then presented as if our vote really meant something. It only meant something if the vote was contrary to the power structure. It meant that the dissenter had a problem. Most SBC boards, in my opinion, are fronts. Reform is needed badly but the “restructuring” was supposed to help. What the restructuring did was assure that fewer had more influence. The feeling of “us vs. them” permeates so much of Baptist life at every level that we have lost the blessing of connection and inserted the agony of competition. Please help us.

Robert Dando said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
shadrach said...

Erwin McManus talks about churches today seeking community instead of unity. He emphasizes that Christ sought unity behind a common goal, not community in a common bunker.

I agree that some of our agencies have the appearance of having lost their vision, their goal. We are not meant to agree just so we can get along, we are meant to work together as Christ's body.

Thank God for men like Jerry Rankin who have not lost the vision.

As an aside, Arkansas SB's voted to uphold landmarkism in the convention last week.

greg.w.h said...


Since you're posing Wade's question to be a strawman that you then knock down, might I ask a similar question of you:

Who believes that the anti-private prayer language policy and the "baptismal succession" policy are appropriate for the Southern Baptist Convention? I ask this because those policies appear to be on the record at the IMB and you've chosen not to address that as a problem. It suggests to me that either you agree with the policies themselves, or you agree with the leading lights that helped put them in place.

Perhaps you could share with Grace and Truth To You readers the truth of where you stand on these two policies? And if not where you stand, at least your interpretation of why each is considered necessary by those same leading lights (i.e. your opinion?) It's only fair since you chose to question Wade's integrity in how you posed the response to his opinion of the reasoning for the policies.

Greg Harvey

P.S. Shadrach: I, too, noted the failure to reach a super-majority vote to discard the Landmarkist stance for interpreting the BF&M 2000. But a significant majority did vote to vacate those policies. We'll have to believe that it's only a minority--therefore--that still support them. In Southern Baptist life, that means God isn't with them. Alternately, the requirement for a super-majority could be interpreted as the Devil's scheme to stop the proxy-by-majority-approach to interpreting God's leadership. ;)

Anonymous said...

Is it possible that people fight so hard for all of these denominational distinctives because deep down inside they really doubt if you can believe something else and still be a true Christian?

Anonymous said...

1. EBC-Enid seems to be a terrific theologically-conservative, politically-moderate Southern Baptist Church. 'Way to go, EBC-Enid! Seriously, you're to be commended for keeping main things the main things.

2. It's as important to me--and every Baptist whom I know--that Wade's comment "there arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians" not be true among us than that it proves to be true. Bart's point is moot, therefore.

3. The people I help elect to SBC boards should function exactly as Wade has in the matters he describes in this posting. He clearly has acted wisely as a board member, while others on the same board clearly have not--and even have taken steps to prevent the SBC from knowing what it is they've done. That sort of behavior is not at all what the congregation I serve hopes will be done in exercising oversight of our CP dollars.

4. Wade, keep up the good work. Your actions set a great example for other present and future board members, and probably inspires some now.

Bart Barber said...

I neither made a point nor impugned anyone's integrity. I asked a question. There may indeed be somebody somewhere who thinks it is more important to be a Baptist than to be a Christian. Maybe Wade has met such a person. Maybe that interaction explains some things. I don't know. Not knowing, I have asked. And I have met with the same category of response as the young man who asked why the Emperor was walking around naked.

There are people who believe that Baptist theology represents biblical ideas that are important. To believe that Baptist ideas are biblical and important is not the same thing as believing that they are more important than being a Christian, and I think you all know this to be true. I believe that there are people who come to Christ within Roman Catholicism. I rejoice in that occurrence. Yet I am not in favor of organized efforts to plant new Roman Catholic churches.

It is a false dichotomy presented here: We do not have to choose between planting Baptist churches and planting no churches at all. We can, quite simply, carry the gospel to people, rejoice when they receive Christ, show the biblical principles taught in the Bible, and encourage them to do "all things that [Christ] has commanded [us]." How is it that discipleship of new converts to be obedient to the Bible is somehow contrary to the desire that they be Christians? Until and unless you can produce somebody who would say, "If you aren't going to be a Baptist, I would rather that you not be a Christian," you have not produced anyone who believes it is more important to be a Baptist than to be a Christian. It is an empty slur.

Bart Barber said...


I have a blog. I have commented on these issues before. Come over anytime.

Bart Barber said...


My last comment, upon further reflection, seems a little evasive. Without typing some huge missive as a post, and in an effort to stay connected to Wade's point in his OP, let me offer this bit of opinion and analysis:

If some focus had been maintained over the past two years strictly upon the finer points of baptismal theology and Pentecostalism, I think things might be in a different place today. But we've wandered into the ordination of women as a mere matter of personal preference, the welcoming of the CBF back into the SBC fold, the idea of life possibly not beginning at conception, the airing of serious hostility toward leaders in our convention, the assertion that affirming the BF&M does not necessarily mean agreeing with it entirely. No individual in the dissent movement has embraced or exhibited all of these things, but the movement as a whole has included these attributes and more.

Together, I believe that these issues have eroded credibility that might otherwise have supported the assertion that a group of people otherwise in agreement with Southern Baptists were merely looking for flexibility on a few minor points.

Likewise, I have made mistakes in blogging, as have others who generally share my perspectives.

Anonymous said...


In reply to your first paragraph below my posting earlier today: what you met was an "Oh, no! Not more of the same!" reaction to your inquiry.

All of us--SBC'ers--are better TOGETHER than we are alone. Possibly, your postings over the course of time that Wade refers to in his blog today have been from that same perspective exactly. As one reader of them, though, I can say that they haven't seemed to be. I apologize if I've been wrong. Still, "BETTER TOGETHER" must be our motto if cooperation is to continue. I'm sure that you agree.

Anonymous said...


In your quote of Wade's statement you noted his concern that "converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians." Somehow in your comments that morphed into "being a Baptist" rather than a Christian. They are not at all the same thing, though I think your responses seem to treat them as if they are. I don't know that I can cite individuals, but over the years I have seen and heard that attitude expressed in many ways. It was never expressed as contrasting being identified as Baptist rather than identified as a Christian, but none the less communicated. I think you have to agree that something can be plainly communicated without being explicitly expressed. Whether I agree with Wade or not his view is that it is communicated.

On another note my view is that your question "is this just inflammatory rhetoric . . ?" might be one of those cases where a challenge to someone's integrity is communicated even if not explicitly expressed.

Lindon said...

"But we've wandered into the ordination of women as a mere matter of personal preference,"

Deacons or pastors? And where?

" the idea of life possibly not beginning at conception,"

Can you give us an example here? Who?

" the airing of serious hostility toward leaders in our convention,"

What are you speaking of here? Mohler's speech at the convention during his report time? Or something else? What constitutes hostility?

" the assertion that affirming the BF&M does not necessarily mean agreeing with it entirely."

You mean as in ADDING to it by the BoT?

" No individual in the dissent movement has embraced or exhibited all of these things, but the movement as a whole has included these attributes and more."

You do realize what you are doing, right? You are planting a very nasty poison seed without giving specific examples and painting with a very broad brush trying to change the meaning of the word, "dissent" to mean unbiblical liberal.

The exact same tactics used during the CR?

Anonymous said...

Great post, Wade. Please keep sharing the truth. Don't give up. Many are with you. I think that is another thing that frightens those who now temporarily control things and thus seek to stifle your voice. Interestingly, their attempts have resulted in more hearing the truth of what is really going on.

Bryan Riley, I also ask the question you ask above. I think you are on to something, brother.


Anonymous said...

Bart from Den

What!? CBF is welcome in SBC? How does that work?

Anonymous said...

Wade - I have to disagree that blogs are the places where people can share their true opinions. When I saw something on a blog of your outspoken staffperson, and I knew that the information was untrue do to my personal involvement in the matter, I wrote to correct the assumption made on false evidence. My blog was never posted because my known truth did not agree with what the blogger wanted to be true. So I have found that I am not allowed free expression on blogs because I do not hate the people that you are supposed to hate in order to contribute. I try to treat EVERYONE as a person that God loves and who Jesus died for. So I pray for the blogger who rejected the truth, but have a difficult time respecting him, even as, I must admit, I have lost a bit of respect for you (whom I did esteem highly) because you would want this person on your staff.

Sheri Paris

Debbie Kaufman said...

Bryan: I think the answer to your question is yes, that is a very distinct possibility.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Bart - to an extent.

I don't think that anyone has said that anyone wants someone to be a Baptist more than to be a Christian. The problem comes in the fact that a few people are defining "baptist" in the way that they see fit beyond our confession of faith, the BFM. Bart seems to think that his view of what a Baptist is the biblical view of what a true Christian should be, so why wouldn't anyone want to make good Baptists. I agree with that premise, but I have a broader view of what a good baptist is. I don't think that having a ppl eliminates someone from being a good baptist. Bart does. I don't think that your baptismal administrator has anything to do with what kind of baptist you are. Bart does. There seems to be a Baptist Identity that is emerging that has NEVER been formally accepted by any group of Southern Baptists, yet it is being foisted upon us by those in power. That is what we disagree with and it is why is SEEMS as though some care more about making Baptists than they do disciples. I don't think that is the case because they see their view of what a Baptist is as synonymous with what a disciple is. We just all probably differ a bit on what we see a good baptist to be.

I like Bart a lot. We just disagree over the nature of what a Baptist is on some very minor points. And, I agree with him completely: I wish that we would have stuck with the ppl and baptismal administrator issues as well. We would have surely won if we had done so. But, on the other hand, those issues are just symptoms of a larger problem, I guess.

greg.w.h said...


Thanks for the comments in response to my questions. I feel that kind of direct, honest reply very much helps clear the air.

I apologize for tweaking you with the integrity comment. It wasn't exactly the way I preferred to word it, but I got in a hurry to get to work and posted it before I got it reworded.

Since then I've been staring at things like Required Navigation Performance and Lateral and Vertical Deviation (in Difference in Depth of Modulation units), i.e. my "day job". :)

I agree with your analysis of the situation which is why my most recent previous post encouraged Wade to focus in on those policies. On the other hand, I think there is always room to consider how we interact with "all of the redeemed" since that phrase is mentioned in the BF&M 2000.

It would set aside a major distraction from missions, for instance, if we re-aligned with the Baptist World Alliance. It is very tough on the national groups that we helped start to see that we're not involved in the Alliance. They have traditionally placed a great deal of their brotherly love for us into that shared relationship. Recently I had the chance to run across an audio file by Stan Parks where he related to Malaysian pastors his dad's part in helping seat the Malaysian Baptists at the BWA.

I personally think there is plenty of room to be staunch and loving at the same time. I say that because I have four kids and I have to do both. But I will never stop loving or relating to my children no matter what they do. I believe Southern Baptists have a similar responsibility to all of the believers and churches around the world that they helped establish. Even if today there are doctrinal differences with some of them.

I actually watch the Anglican Communion's recent difficulties with great interest to see how they work that out for similar reasons.

Greg Harvey

Anonymous said...

I guess I wonder why we care about being good baptists at all. I know that sounds crazy, given our current denominational culture, but isn't that the first step toward true Christian unity? To let go of caring about our labels other than the label of following Christ??? I mean, there were lots of great followers of Christ before there even were baptists (forgive me landmarkers) and there are lots of them today as well. (Unless of course you don't believe that there are "good Christians" outside of the baptist denomination somewhere deep in your heart, which also might be why some might desire to rewrite history to suggest that baptist churches go back to the first churches (Landmarkism).)

DL said...

Thanks for the more in-depth explanation, Wade. Very illuminating.


Do you think those who single out ppl and non-sbc baptism missionaries for the chopping block are really going to reconsider? Can they really be reasoned with? IOW, if the debate only followed those lines, would we be somewhere else today? If that were the case, then Wade's private efforts within the IMB would have brought forth fruit. It is a mindset that demands conformity to extra-biblical standards and refuses the autonomy of the local church that is at issue - not whether one believes in the ordination of women, life begins at conception, or the cbf be accepted.

Bob Cleveland said...


One question I keep coming back to is this: which is the better witness to a lost and dying world?

Everyone believing the same perfect, detailed doctrine?

Or, a varying set of the redeemed, uniting around Jesus and embracing those with varying views on non-essential doctrines?

It appears to me, that the current controversies are NOT driven by the "success" of the work, or the mission itself, or even the desire to accomplish the mission, but rather by the desire of those in authority to be right.

That's one thing that makes your olive branch's rejection so staggeringly ungodly, if events happened as you've stated.

In my personal opinion.

Anonymous said...


I think some might counter what you are saying by not dismissing "principled" dissent, but questioning whether your "motive" for dissent is principled.

But I would counter this by saying that one could "always" question the motive of a dissenter. Therefore, if questioning the motive of a dissenter would be all it would take to knock down the right to have principled dissent, then how could the validity of principled dissent ever have a valid place in SB life?

It seems the best they could do is to say "Well, we could look at circumstantial evidence and quotes that the dissenter has said in order to come to a conclusion as to his or her motive."

But I would counter that if a person has an agenda against the dissenter, then one could twist the circumstances and quotes to make the dissenter look like he does not have the motive of principle. Accordingly, if questioning or accusing a dissenter's motive of being something other than principle is going to be used to knock down a dissenter's stand, then let everybody recognize that this can always be used against any kind of dissent [justifiably or not].

Wade, I think what has happend is that the drunken sailor has bounced from one wall to the other in SBC history.

I think the moderate influence of old caused people to long for more "structure" in SB life. And, in my opinion, there did need to be more structure.

However, I think this has brought about another extreme--an authoritarianism that seems to resemble something more Presbyterian and/or Independent Baptist, than Southern Baptist to me.

For example, the line of reasoning [which is at least similar to one commenter I have read] that says "I think that leaders need to hash it out in a business meeting, but then after the vote come out in 'unity'" was the same kind of reasoning a PCA [Presbyterian Church of America] pastor I worked under spoke to the elders of the church.

And what I perceive to be a bouncing to the other side, I see to be a problem IN THE DENOMINATION AT LARGE and not just at the IMB.

This is harming, in my opinion, LOCAL churches. We've gone, in my opinion, from moderate mush to conservative authoritarianism.

Southern Baptists,

I would encourage you to be thoughtful about the meaning of Hebrews 13:17 and would suggest you check out this resource in relation to the Hebrews passage.



OC Hands said...

As I have read and listened to the rhetoric surrounding the IMB trustees' inner workings, one thing becomes clear to me. The "trust" that we once had for each other has been eroded, so that now important decisions are made in private (executive sessions) or are arranged in secret ahead of time, dissent is stifled and those who persist in stating their opposition to these decisions (and the way they are carried out) are criticized, denounced, censured, etc. The trustees say to us 'Trust us, we know more than you about this situation.' My question is this--If we are to trust them with these important decisions, then why can they not trust us to evaluate the correctness of these decisions by having open discussions about them, and allowing those with opposing views to express these views without condemnation?
Trust is a two-way street, and when leaders do much of the decision making in private, closed door sessions, it does raise questions in my mind about why and how these critical decisions are made.
It seems to me that even if we do trust the Lord, we don't trust each other. Very scary to me. (and not really Baptistic) or scriptural

Anonymous said...

Thank you standing tall!

Speaking the truth in love is a lonely place. Been there ... done that.


WTJeff said...


I have a somewhat cynical and pessimistic nature at times, so forgive me if it seems predominant in these comments. I think it no coincidence that the new policy on dissent was passed at the very meeting the recommendation for your removal was rescinded. Rather than a change of heart it was a change in strategy. Those in power knew their earlier action had no type of ethical, legal, or policy legs to stand on. So they rescinded the action and passed policies that would either prevent you from blogging your dissent or allow for your removal if you didn't stop. Now that they've censured you, they will be able to point to your continued refusal to live by the new policies and make a recommendation for your removal. The fact that they would not accept a compromise that included your resignation from the board shows that they are much more interested in flexing their muscle, stifling future dissent, then they are a resolution to the situation. I think its a sad commentary and fear what may become of a once effective institution.

Anonymous said...

Bart Barber,

just a few names per your request

David Worley volfan7
Jeremy Green
Paige Patterson
Peter Lumpkins
Tim Roger

and the list goes on

Anonymous said...

Tmax Says:

Ben for something!!!! Keep it coming! I like and appreciate folks who speak their minds and hearts. God gave us both. It is good to use them. However, you do have a command of words. A lot of them.

Southern Baptist have always been a fussing, cussing, fighting bunch since 1845. In the early years it was always doctrine and debate. We have developed a horrible mean streak over the past forty years.

All of that being said, I do appreciate bloggers standing tall. I do not like closed doors! I am new to blogging. I finally learned how to turn the caps lock off.


Anonymous said...

"I finally learned how to turn the caps lock off."

That cracks me up

I was beginning to wonder TMAX:)

Lindon said...

Mr. Ramsuar, That is an excellent teaching article you linked to and I pray everyone will not only read it but do an indepth study.

"I finally learned how to turn the caps lock off."


Anonymous said...

Benji Ramsaur

I do not know what the symbols stand for ... you seem to be in the know ... enlighten me.


Anonymous said...

To Bart Barber:

It seems to me that your colleague at SWBTS Malcolm Yarnell would fall into the category of wanting someone to be Baptist and not satisfied with someone being Christian, but of other denominational preference.

Anonymous said...


About the only thing I'm an expert in is Nathan Finn's dressing habits.

Hawaiian shirt one day

Bow tie the next

Hawaiian...Bow tie [when will it ever end?]


:) [this is a smiley face-my wife enlightened me]


P.S. Keep bloggin brother--caps or no caps :)

Anonymous said...

Benji Ramsaur

Thank your bride for her assistance. It helps the over the hill folks out.


Anonymous said...

I thought what Bryan said hit the mark, "Is it possible that people fight so hard for all of these denominational distinctives because deep down inside they really doubt if you can believe something else and still be a true Christian?" I’ve seen it. I know these people. Good point. But then I thought, we are missing THE point.

As I observe and occasionally comment in the blogging world, it seems to me that a post is written and then we find one or two things about the post that we do not like and offer our dissent against those points. Sometimes they are important points and sometimes the dissenting arguments themselves completely miss the point of the post.

Here, we all are voicing our principled dissent. Who would want to give up that right?

When I was a teenager (30+ years ago) I remember a conversation with my dad about the freedoms we enjoy in this country. He told me something I will never forget. He said that it would not be a foreign power that takes our freedoms from us, but that we would gladly surrender them for the sake of “security.”

Today, some folks have a day off work to honor those who served protecting that freedom. Let’s not surrender something that many have paid a dear price to secure for us.

And if you think I’m just talking about our freedoms that we enjoy as Americans: then you are missing MY point…

Keith Price

Anonymous said...

lindon said: 'the idea of life possibly not beginning at conception,' - Can you give us an example here? Who?"

Please see Rev. Burleson's post of Oct. 26, "The Creation of the Soul," and comments. Rev. Burleson argues that conception creates only flesh, that God adds the soul separately, and that we can't know when b/c it's not in Scripture. This leads to gentle questioning from commenters, and chilling conclusions by "jim." Please read the whole thread, esp. near the end.

To me, this was as troubling as (maybe more than) the PPL, baptism and dissent issues -- which is bart barber's point.

Unknown said...

I am compelled to agree with the anonymous poster (comment #8) who said that at all levels of SBC Life (local/state/national) “Never… is real input encouraged but in fact it is stifled” and on all BOT’s and committees “Decisions were made before we knew anything about them and then presented as if our vote really meant something… Most SBC boards, in my opinion, are fronts.”


Now that this “Dirty Little Secret” is out…. I must admit that this has not been much of a secret… For years now everyone has known this but no one is willing to stand up and say so… I have no idea why that is… Ahhhh…. Perhaps I do know why everyone is silent, especially those who are in positions of leadership, they do not wish to be the next Wade Burleson (Trustee/Leader) with their heads on the block.

I applaud your courage to stand on your convictions and our Baptist Principle of freedom to dissent. “When the Southern Baptist Convention looses the freedom to dissent the Southern Baptist Convention is lost!”

Greg Alford

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,
I appreciate your efforts to bring more light to what has been going on at the Mission Boards. I was denied approval to serve as a NAMB missionary in a telephone interview that consisted of six preliminary questions. As an example one of the questions was have you ever spoken in an unknown toungue. I was also asked do you believe that abortion should is wrong. I was asked if I had consumed alcohol in the last year. I was asked if I had any affiliation with the CBF. I was asked if I felt women could serve as senior pastors. I was asked if I would sign the baptist faith and message 2000. Whenever you set up a situation where a yes answer moves you to teh next round and a no answer gets you disqualified it creates the powerful incentive to "fudge" your answers. This was over seven years ago now so they may have changed their interview method. I hope your voice helps bring more light to the process.
Luke Smith

Jeff said...

Wade, I agree with your title, but how do determine what dissent and what being just plain disgrutle (sp?) is?

Anonymous said...

The Southern baptist could learn a lession from this nursery rhyme

Little Bo Peep, has lost her sheep, and can't tell where to find them.
Leave them alone,
And they'll come home,
Bringing their tails behind them.

Lin said...

Pewsitter, Ok, I went back and looked at it. Why don't you comment there if you disagree? Why don't you ask Jim to explain his comment? (I think you misread his point, btw)

It is a 'discussion'. You are reading sinister views into Wade's viewpoint. I don't even agree with most of it and do not see it as sinister at all. It is a theological discussion. It actually made me want to study deeper especially since we are breeding babies in test tubes these days.

Gee whiz, It's like the magistrates are ready to pounce on anything that goes against the state church's extra biblical traditions. Must we run it by the magistrates first before we have discussions and viewpoints? Oy vey.

James said...

[belief matters] I agree with your title, but how do determine what dissent and what being just plain [disgrutled]?

What does it matter if the complaints (for whatever reason) do not disrupt IMB business?

Disgruntled Burleson could say whatever he wants and if he is lying then the members of the board could go to the associational reporters and say, "Wade's account is not accurate. Here is what really happened."

How could the fallout from that be worse than the BoT hiding its business and stonewalling questions as it acts autonomously against the quite vocal Dissenting/Disgruntled Wade?

Isn't it better just to open the windows let the fresh, albeit sometimes smoggy, air bring some oxygen into the room?

(p.s. Don't tell me again that "perhaps the BoT has good reasons" for stonewalling unless you can give some examples of what those would be)

Jeff said...

You have decided it is stonewalling which carries a negative picture. What are the facts at which you have arrived at that conclusion?

Jeff said...

lin, People are reading to the BoT actions as sinister also. They have come to their own conclusions about how the BoT as responded, and decided it is a cover up.

James said...

[belief matters] You have decided it is stonewalling which carries a negative picture. What are the facts at which you have arrived at that conclusion?

"Stonewalling" always carries a negative picture.

Example: You have an employee who is running a business in your stead. At the end of the fiscal year, you say, "Let me see your books, your employee evaluations, and any EEOC complaints registered against the company."

The proxy says, "That seems to connote a disturbing lack of trust in my leadership. Do you have any reason to doubt I've been doing a good job?"

You say, "Look its my business and I want to see what's been going on."

He says, "Have you considered that I have good reasons not to share this information with you?"

Fifteen seconds of awkward silence.

Are you suspicious yet?

Jeff said...

still happen given me facts for concluding its stonewalling.

You assumed these men and women are operating not based on convictions, but on improper motives.

Lindon said...

People are reading to the BoT actions as sinister also. They have come to their own conclusions about how the BoT as responded, and decided it is a cover up.

12 November, 2007 14:53

How is that when they refuse to discuss it and refer people to a lawyer? How could we dare come to that conclusion when they implement a gag order, refuse to read Wade's proposal in the CLOSED meeting?

You are right. We are reading into it. People with nothing to hide always act like this. Especially Baptists.

Sarcasm intended because I am a bit worn out with you. You are trying so hard to spin the BoT's actions and SILENCE but, sweetie, they are NOT helping you a bit because....There is a PATTERN here with the BoT.

James said...

[belief matters] You assumed these men and women are operating not based on convictions, but on improper motives.

Stonewalling is stonewalling is stonewalling is acting obscurely without any stated reason.

It doesn't matter what their motives are. You can have pure motives and still wish to ways in which you acted improperly. You can believe in your heart that your acts were proper, but suspect they are indefensible.

The point is: does a proxy have the right to act in secret from its principle without giving cause? Hint: The answer is "No, never". Neeeeeeeeeeeeever.

James said...

edit: "still wish HIDE to ways"

Anonymous said...

Belief Matters

Can I ask you how old you are?

Melanie W said...

belief matters said "You assumed these men and women are operating not based on convictions, but on improper motives."

12 November, 2007 14:59

I think perhaps you misread James last post. Seems to me he was trying to say that it doesn't matter if we assume they were operating on convictions or operating on improper motives - regardless of our assumptions a full accounting is still needed.

Perhaps I misunderstood your point - I didn't understand your first sentence of that post at all.

Melanie Warren
Broken Arrow, OK

Jeff said...

You and Wade are obsessed with my age. I refuse to answer and will continue to stonewall any attempts by people to know my age. :)

Gary said...


Doing a little proof-texting of mine own this afternoon:

John 3:19-ff (KJV)- And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

And Barkley has a great study of this:
Gal 5:13-ff For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
For all the law is fulfilled in one word, [even] in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.
¶ [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.
Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are [these]; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,
Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told [you] in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I ask humbly, is there a knew law? Is there a latter prophet?

I love Paul's entre' into this book. My paraphrase: "Have you lost your mind?"

I ask, have we? Have we check our bilical exegesis at the door? Are with by our silence allowing a 'presbytery, synod, and general assembly' to be installed?

I'm not a Landmarkist. However, we need to recall we as Southern Baptists to so because of cooperation. Missions is the glue which really holds us together. If the 'mission' goes sour, even if the people "think" the mission is compromised, then there is no need for cooperation. The whole enterprise is lost.

Woe be unto us.

What is "The Mission"? What are "The Important Things"? Purity of the flock? Or reach the World's Lost?


Gary Skaggs
Norman, Oklahoma

DL said...

Luke Smith,

You're not alone in your experience with NAMB. A similar thing happened to me. I've had issues with NAMB for some time. I always assumed they were an island of stubborn foolishness within the SBC as a whole. Wade has shown me that I was wrong; the IMB and I suspect the whole denomination is awash in extra-biblical bureaucracy.

Anonymous said...

Lindon, I did make 2 anonymous first-time comments at Wade's "ensoulment" post.

Look, I'm not even in an SBC church. I started reading this blog b/c our family has thought about moving from a BGCT church to an SBC church. The censure is in the headlines, so I wanted to get both sides of the story. And while here I browsed around.

What have I done to be called a church magistrate? You asked a series of questions. I referred you to another discussion on this blog, and you blasted. If I stepped out of line or offended, I'm sorry. Have mercy on the pewsitters who sometimes speak up. We did not go to seminary.

This is why your average Jane stays as far away from Baptist conventions as possible. Everyone suspects you of something. Period.

I hope things calm down soon. Peace, out.

James said...

[belief matters] You and Wade are obsessed with my age. I refuse to answer and will continue to stonewall any attempts by people to know my age. :)

Twelve years old. Which means I've been wasting my time.

See how stonewalling and available evidence (such as obstinantly naive replies) can cause people to reasonably arrive at the worst conclusions?

Jeff said...

James, I love it! Great comment. :0)

So NOW I see your point! I still think stonewalling has a negative picture in most minds.

I do confess that it would be prudent if the BoT would do something in a visible way so we can at least digest it.

Believe it or not, I am still in the process of putting all this together. This is why I have been playing the devil.

Poor Bob thought I was trying to attack him, and that wasn't my intention. How can you attack a man wearing a pink hat?

Here's an hint on my age: I was at the SWBTS when President Dilday was there. Does that help at all?

Bob Cleveland said...

belief matter,

You might revisit the term "poor" bob. Try checking it our with someone that knows me.

James said...

[belief mattes]
Believe it or not, I am still in the process of putting all this together. This is why I have been playing the devil.

I do believe you. ;-) Which shows how beneficial candid, explanations can be!

I still think stonewalling has a negative picture in most minds.

Well, of course it does. Which is why those who consider their actions and beliefs to be above reproach so rarely take refuge in stonewalling.

I do confess that it would be prudent if the BoT would do something in a visible way so we can at least digest it.

Unfortunately, it appears they have already done all they consider optimal for their situation: they lawyered up.

Dave Miller said...

So, how about a motion this summer at the SBC that principled dissent is a right of all board trustees. Of course, the powers-that-be would ignore that one just like they did the one last summer

Dave Miller said...

By the way, Wade, I don't mean to cast aspersions on your character, but your "word verification" has given me some pretty strange letter - combinations recently. I may have to report this to the IMB BOT.

Jeff said...

At the risk of getting WAY off target.

"OLD" Bob :) perhaps I already have.......

Perhaps I know someone that knows you .....

Or it could be that I am just having a little fun with POOR OLD Bob....

But who knows, BTW, Is this consider stonewalling?

Bennett Willis said...

Luke Smith 12 November, 2007 13:44

Regarding Luke's experience, it seems that the NAMB may have been using the ppl screening well before the IMB. Is this still the practice?

Bennett Willis

Anonymous said...

This has been going on for a long time, in virtually every agency and entity of the SBC. Part of it is doctrinal, to some extent, although the need to "purge liberals" from the SBC was blown way out of proportion to the real danger, and there is documented proof of that. There is no way a group of individuals involved in fewer than 1,500 churches could have "controlled" the SBC. Nor is there now any danger of a "liberal resurgence" to move things in reverse. Southern Baptists are overwhelmingly believers in Christ, and accept the Biblical accounts of his nature, person, teaching, death and resurrection as being truth, without any mixture of error.

What we have seen, particularly in the last decade and a half, is a narrow, denominational political party that goes beyond the general agreement with conservative, evangelical Baptist beliefs, demanding loyalty to personalities and the positions they hold. When the conservative resurgence first began, I had just left college. My interest in it was sparked by the exposure of the entrenched bureaucrats in the SBC, of individuals so tightly wound up in the system, rotating from board to board because they had friends in places of power to appoint them, and generally using denominational service as a resume padder to get influential, high paying pastorates and denominational jobs. I signed on because I believed that some of the seminaries had drifted away from their Biblical moorings, and that the SBC as a convention was losing its evangelistic fervor and missionary zeal as a result. Well, that's what we were told.

I don't think there is any question that the SBC's seminaries and institutions were re-centered on the truths of scripture, and that those beliefs were made essential parts of serving as a missionary, professor, or even as a denominational employee, as well as being re-emphasized in the publications and literature. What I did not expect to see was the exchange of one entrenched bureaucracy full of people with "Baptist pedigrees" replaced with another. I did not sign on to be a cheerleader for certain leaders in a movement to name and claim the high salaried denominational positions that they wanted as rewards for their service "in the trenches." And I did not expect the movement to drift so far away from some of the historic, traditional Baptist principles like the independence and autonomy of the local church, and principled dissent. Baptists would not have existed had it not been for leaders who graciously and respectfully but firmly dissented.

The irony of all of this is that Southern Baptists have expressed their dissatisfaction with the direction the convention is going in a way that only reduces the level of accountability of leadership to the convention body itself. They have, in increasing numbers each year, stayed away from the convention meetings. They have flatlined their support for the Cooperative Program, which has caused the demand from the SBC to state conventions to increase their giving to the 50/50 split.

The only way to change this, and move the focus back to missions and evangelism, is for messengers to get to the convention and vote their conscience. That can be a catch-22, however, because the only way of generating messenger turnout appears to be more politics. The danger of that is creation of yet another entrenched bureaucracy, unless the rules are changed. The only way to do that now is show up at the convention and vote.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how long the NAMB has used particular criteria, but the ONLY doctrinal question we were asked by IMB personnel dept in 1985 was whether we spoke in tongues.
former africa m

Lin said...

"The censure is in the headlines, so I wanted to get both sides of the story. And while here I browsed around."

Pewsitter, If you come across the other side of the story, let us know. :o)

Anonymous said...

Belief Matters

Can I ask you how old you are?

The reason I asked you this question is to be able to determine whether it is old Age or youthfulness in your questioning motives on this blog. Or are you what they call a TROOL who loves to disrupt everything and stands for nothing.

Jeff said...

I tell you what reveal who you are, and I'll you what my age is.

I find it funny you want to know my age, but you want reveal who you are.

Anonymous said...

I think a perfect example of Bart Barber's (second post at the top) question over Wade's statement: "there arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians" would be David Garrison's (IMB) comment during his speech at SBC (San Antonio, Texas) this year: "Good Muslims make great Baptists." I have to admit, I was (and am) extremely irratated by this commment. Is that why the IMB has missionaries all over the world to make them "great Baptists?" I was under the impression we were bringing them to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, to become believers, Christians. Baptist is merely a denomination. It's not the denomination that gets you to heaven, it's the belief that Jesus Christ died for your sins, rose three days later and will one day return.

Wade, thank you so much for standing up for what you believe in. I wish that more SB's would do the same.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. To be a true SBC type Baptist you have to be converted in a SBC church, be baptized in a SBC church, be a member of a SBC church, graduate from a SBC college or U., graduate from a SBC Seminary, (pastor, staff, missionary, etc) a SBC Church or one of its cousins... to serve in the SBC.

Did leave anything out? It seems to me that we have returned to the closed communion days! Only SBC folks can sit at the Lord's table.

Golly gee, I have done all of that, but I am not sure I understand what SBC stands for anymore.


Unknown said...

Wade, et al,
Your comments a spot-on about identifying with Baptist vs. Christian. Although there are those who will probably attempt to say my following story is not true, I assure you and all who read it that it unfortunately very true.

I served at Naval Air Facility, Atsugi, Japan from Sep 2002-Oct 2005 as the Protestant pastor for the base chapel (I was NAMB endorsed as an SBC chaplain) and became very good friends with several IMB missionaries in the Kanto Plain who served with the Japan Baptist Mission. Initially, I arranged for on-base priviledges for my IMB bro's & sis's so that from time to time they could experience a little taste of America with their MK's and was pleased to learn that there was quite the collegial atmosphere between the IMB, Calvary Chapel, Church of Christ, Presbyterians, Pentecostal's, etc. In 2004 that changed when new directives from the IMB broke up several of the IMB Japan teams, forced them to move to other areas, and did not allow them to "work" with non-Baptists. Some are still in Japan, struggling, and others have since left the Japan mission field due to the "tightening" of cooperative guidelines. I can only contrast this already very difficult situation with my experience as a chaplain in which I was free to cooperate with all Christian groups in the area which resulted in my personal involvement in the salvation and baptism of 48 Japanese nationals in my last two years in Atsugi: this is as many as the IMB/Japan Baptist mission had combined. I keep in contact with most of those Japanese bro's-sis's and they are all still very involved in the base chapel, as Christians, not as Baptists.

I have since left NAMB/SBC due to personal/theological disagreement but continue to serve as a Navy chaplain. I had to decide if I wanted to be a Baptist or a Christian.

No sour grapes here, I still attend a great SBCV church in Chesapeake, VA with my family and most of my friends are either SBC or BGCT chaplains.

Grace to you,


Russell Hale

LEE said...

Thanks, Wade for your information. We just have little over seven months before the SBC will decide about this question?
“Who is a Baptist and who in charge?”

Debbie Kaufman said...

Russ: I want to thank you for telling your story. It hurt to read it, but I believe what you have written is true.

bowtheknee said...

"I was under the impression we were bringing them to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, to become believers, Christians. Baptist is merely a denomination. It's not the denomination that gets you to heaven, it's the belief that Jesus Christ died for your sins, rose three days later and will one day return."

Shhhhh!!!!!! They are listening!!!! : )

Sorry Bart - they are out there. Most of us have had experience with these types of people. One guy I know is so adamant about it he became ANGRY at someone suggesting he try a non-denom church. I was quite taken aback at the venom.

Anonymous said...

Lt. Russel Hale

THANK YOU for your post about the m's in Japan that you had contact with. I am from another part of Japan, but have had simular experiences. THANK YOU, THANK YOU for telling it like it is. We cannot.


Cally said...

You are a throwback to the pre-1979 Hershel Hobbs kind of Southern Baptists that are now extinct in the denomination.

I will be watching along with many to see how long you can remain with these 21st century Southern Baptists.

Stay in it as long as you can and then invest your obvious gifts and talents elsewhere. Hang in there.

Rex Ray said...

Dissent. There are many stories I could tell how this Baptist right has been violated.

The latest one happened last night at our deacon’s meeting with the words: “We want to present a solid front at the business meeting this week. There'be no expressing disagreement with whatever we decide tonight.”

Huh? The first thing that came to mind was your post last week.

We reached an agreement that if a deacon did not speak his disagreement at the deacon’s meeting, he should not speak negative at the business meeting.

BTW, there was no disagreement at the deacon’s meeting.

But even now, I’m thinking if some new point was brought at the business meeting, any deacon should be able to change their mind and speak accordingly.

What do you think?

Jumping from last night to 2000 years ago, I feel our agreement (don’t dissent at the business meeting unless you have done likewise at the deacon’s meeting) was broken in the private meeting of the apostles and elders in Acts 15.

Peter gave the conclusion of that meeting (saved by grace) thinking that would end the discussion, and it was since the multitude was silent.

But then tradition was promoted which pleased the multitude, and the devil had his greatest victory by confusing his greatest defeat—Calvary.

Joseph Botwinick said...

"If grassroots Southern Baptists honestly cannot see the danger of stifling dissent, somebody please tell me right now so I can leave the Southern Baptist Convention tomorrow morning. "


I speak as someone who doesn't know you nor any of the other trustees personally. If I were to see you walking down the street, I probably wouldn't recognize you right away. I have been reading a little about this, however, in BP and on your blog and on other discussion boards. I think it is a shame that things have degenerated to this point as they have. If I had been on the trustee board, I would have accepted your apology for what you were willing to apologize for. And then, I would have recognized that it was a matter of conviction that you would not apologize for violating a rule you couldn't abide by because of your disagreement with it and accepted your resignation and your offer to stop blogging about the IMB. I trust that you are a man of your word and that would have truly been the end of the matter. Here is just an observation on my part. It would appear that the IMB and their policy is incompatible with your convictions and your staying on it. Regardless of what the trustees have done, might it not be the best thing for you to simply resign and work for change as a voting member of the convention instead of inflaming this situation even more than it already is? Or, are you, as you think might have been the case with some of the trustees, allowing a bruised ego and a longing to vindicate yourself to keep the limelight on you and off of the mission of the IMB? If, as a member who works for change through the grassroots level, you don't see any improvement, perhaps it might be time to abandon ship. I know that if the convention ever embraced the heresy of people like Spong and Borg, I would leave post haste. I humbly submit these thoughts for your consideration and pray that God will give us all wisdom as we seek to go forward with our mission, which is to preach the inerrant, infallible Word of God faithfully and to give Glory to God alone.

Rex Ray said...

Lt. Russell Hale,
I know your story is true because I’ve seen it.
I’ve been to Japan 13 trips with an average of 4 week/trip.

It’s about control and power.

One night there were six SB missionaries in our home in Texas. Two had been sent home to ‘think’ things over because the husband had written a dissenting email.

Another two were facing being fired if they disobeyed orders to ‘plant churches’.

In their prayer they concluded, “We must listen to God rather than man” and he chose to pastor Tokyo Baptist Church.

Once this man asked me a sincere question, “If I just preach the Gospel, does that make me a conservative or a moderate?”

Good question indeed.

Jeff said...

Is that the SBC-D list?

Anonymous said...

Anon from Nov. 12 @ 19:57

What do you suppose that David Garrison's comment actually meant?

Of anybody out there, I think that he is working for people to come "to a saving faith in Jesus Christ, to become believers, Christians." In addition, he has consistently partnered with Great Commission Christians to see people come to Christ. He has engaged Muslims, Buddhists, and others to bring them to Christ first and foremost. I believe that you might want to reconsider definitively branding him as being a person who seeks Baptist converts first.

A Simple Student @ SWBTS

In case you are still wondering about him, you might try reading his latest book: Church Planting Movements: How God is redeeming a Lost World.

Anonymous said...

I would encourage everyone to reread this post. Wade did not come on board to try and stir things up. He simply asked a very simple question which any SB and especially any trustee should have asked. The process of answering it has resulted in all of this.

It is the bringing to light, the exposing the truth, that bothers some trustees because it exposes their actions and words, and they obviously do not want to be held accountable for them.

Keep speaking, blogging, and living the truth, Wade. If, it becomes evident later that the effort is not worth it, then He will make that clear to you at the proper time. I, for one, do not feel it is time yet. There is more that needs to come to light, and you seem the be the only one bold enough to stand up and be counted. Where are the other IMB trustees who support your views? It's time they finally took a stand, too. As well as administration and regional leaders that feel the same way, also.


Steve said...

Thank you, Missionary.

The Japan letter is very troubling. I knew that we had SOME hotheaded, intolerant types in the IMB (there just weren't enough seminary jobs for all the CR hangers-on) but I never dreamed that things had changed so fast that our effectiveness had plummeted so. This may help explain the survey results showing so many non-Christians have such negative views of Christians, esp. in the areas of gays & lesbians, intolerance, and hypocrisy.

"Our way or the highway" is so much like the attitude of the insider Jews that Christ railed at; it is disheartening and disgusting to see it being lived out by the stewards of widows' mites today.

P.S.: This whole new rules tightening business the past several years didn't happen just because Paige Patterson's chosen acolyte (or his bro-in-law's) didn't get the FMB/IMB job he wanted, did it? Promise me that ain't the reason.

Anonymous said...

(Bart Barber asked the following in comment # 2 in this thread):

"There arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians"

Can you identify somebody who fits this description? 'Cause I'm the über-Baptist, and I don't hold this opinion. I've never met anybody who does. Is this just inflammatory rhetoric, or do you know somebody who would actually articulate this opinion?”

-Bart, do you not remember the following speech given just five months ago? :

“Someone says, ―You are not ecumenists. You will not build bridges, you will not cooperate. That is a half-truth.

It is absolutely true that we can and must cooperate with other people when it comes to matters of co-belligerency on moral issues. We at Southwestern Seminary do that. Furthermore, when it comes to the possibility of soul-winning and evangelism, we can show the Jesus film with anybody who believes that
salvation is by grace through faith alone.

However, when it comes to planting churches, we plant Baptist churches. They are the people who
pay our bills and that is a separatist tradition.

Yes, I am a Separatist. Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary cooperates with anybody with whom we can, when we can, but in the final analysis, I assure you that we are Baptist Separatists.”

- From Paige Patterson’s SWBTS Report to The Southern Baptist Convention - San Antonio June 12, 2007

Unknown said...

While the Japan thing was/is very troubling, the best thing all can do is:
1. Pray
2. Send your mission teams to Japan.

If you link to the IMB Japan website
you'll find that Tokyo is probably the single largest unreached field on earth (32 million folks!) and, my dear friend & IMB missionary (fellow Texan) Buddy Brents will take all of the help he can get!


Rex Ray said...

Lt. Russell Hale,
You said, “in 2004 that changed when new directives from the IMB broke up several of the IMB Japan teams, forced them to move to other areas, and did not allow them to ‘work’ with non-Baptist.”

That ‘narrowing of the parameters’ may have been promoted by the SBC withdrawing from the Baptist World Alliance in 2004.

The BWA was denied having a booth at the convention. It was like ‘guilty before the trial.’ One person was allowed to speak for the BWA. Patterson had the last say…stating new charges that they were ‘gay friendly.’

Over 100 of these were passed out before the vote:

Soldiers Down
By Ann Rinker and Rex Ray 2-2-04

Please SBC leaders, don’t reject BWA
We’ve loved 99 years. Will you now abscond?
47,000,000 Baptist hearts that lift up Jesus.
Will they become wounded soldiers down?

Persecution from enemies, yes,
But from our own astounds!
You said BWA had drifted left.
Innocent soldiers down.

You accused them of downplaying Jesus;
No evidence could be found.
Your untruth against BWA exposed you.
Should you yourselves be down?

You screamed, “Liberal”, but one falsely accused
Yelled in your ear, so bound,
“Repent and turn from your wicked ways!”
One soldier still not down.

Christ warned, “Teaching as doctrines the commands of men.”
Does His concern, so profound,
Expose “BFM is our doctrinal guideline”,
Demanding unsigned soldiers down?

You claim your interpretation is God.
Your BFM is renown.
Others must bow to this decree or become
Condemned soldiers down.

Your name “conservative” is only a camouflage.
Your creed a mandatory crown!
Anyone questioning fundamentalists is labeled
Despised Moderate soldiers down.

Please, Lord, unite our hearts to lift up Jesus.
This prayer should resound.
“Fire unsigned missionaries!” makes Jesus cry,
Betrayed soldiers down.

You’re only content when you dominate.
You say you don’t want to hound.
But when God speaks to some a different way,
More loyal soldiers down.

You agree with Muslims: “No women over men!”
Though their witness has abound.
Christian women who answered God’s call
Became women soldiers down.

Sorry, BWA, our leaders plan to leave.
You see why moderates frown.
Pray for leaders without a paper-god
Or you’ll join soldiers down.

“It’s only politics…Not my concern.”
This fable has been around.
Awake, dear brother or you’ll become
Another soldier down.

Anonymous said...

(Bart Barber asked the following in comment # 2 in this thread):

"There arises more of a concern that converts be identified as Baptists - even more so than Christians"

Can you identify somebody who fits this description? 'Cause I'm the über-Baptist, and I don't hold this opinion. I've never met anybody who does. Is this just inflammatory rhetoric, or do you know somebody who would actually articulate this opinion?”

-Bart, do you not remember the following exchange between IMB Trustee Jerry Corbaley and IMB Missionary David Rogers in blog postings six months ago? :

(For me the key statement is Jerry Corbaley’s “It is the expectation of the IMBoT that IMB missionaries attempt to make disciples of the nations who represent the clear Baptist identity of the SBC.” But readers can draw their own conclusion from the full exchange):

Jerry Corbaley: The following is from the Report of the Mission Personnel Ad Hoc Committee, May 2007 regarding the new guideline on glossolalia.

“The Ad Hoc Committee has concluded that even though field related data and consultation with regional leaders has not indicated a systemic problem with charismatic practices among field personnel, the rapid spread of neo-pentecostalism and its pressure exacted on new churches in various regions of the world warrants a concern for the clear Baptist identity of our missionary candidates.”

The impetus for the guideline is not the scope of public practice of current IMB personnel. The impetus for the guideline is the importance of having missionaries who can make disciples in a context that often includes neo-pentecostal pressures. This type of confrontation can be difficult to confront and difficult to endure. It is similar to what Brother Robin is enduring from many of you. It is unlikely that missionaries who practice assertions of glossolalia (even in “private”) will be highly motivated to oppose such practices publicly.

As direct evidence that this is so; how many people who are publicly speaking in favor of the IMB guideline decision also assert they practice glossolalia? How can one confront another’s public expression of one’s own private practice?

The Great Commission is a call to make disciples, not just converts. In the context of church planting movements, whole future national denominations are forming extremely rapidly, and this includes their doctrine. Our missionaries who are able to be involved in this unprecedented movement of God’s Spirit must be motivated towards doctrine and reproof and correction and training in righteousness. A potential conflict of interest is unappealing to the IMBoT.

David Rogers: I hope I am not interpreting you correctly on this, but in your comment…you seem to indicate that there is an expectation on the part of IMB trustees that missionaries publicly oppose and confront “neo-pentecostal” practices on the mission field.

Perhaps, in your use of the term “neo-pentecostal” practices, you are referring to blatant heresy. It would be helpful for me to know just what you mean by this.

If not, you, as I understand it, are asking for IMB missionaries to be agents of division and strife around the world. It is not enough to believe what cessationist Southern Baptists believe, and quietly go on with our business of making disciples. We must also be ready and willing to publicly oppose and confront those who believe and practice differently on third-tier doctrinal issues.

Please tell me I am not understanding you correctly on this.

Jerry Corbaley: It is the expectation of the IMBoT that IMB missionaries attempt to make disciples of the nations who represent the clear Baptist identity of the SBC. You will find that it is the expectation of the SBC that their missionaries make disciples who represent the clear Baptist identity of the SBC. The IMB and SBC are not embarrassed with who they are…

The IMBoT and the SBC want to send the best personnel possible. The IMB and the SBC believe that missionaries with a commitment to a clear Baptist identity should be sent and that candidates with an unclear Baptist identity should seek to serve Christ in an organization that more closely represents their own faith.”

Anonymous said...

This is undoubtedly one of the best blog posts you have written to date. Shining the light of truth on what has been happening in the IMB BoT for the past 2+ years is an invaluable service to the SBC, its churches and national leadership, as well as the IMB, itself. When extra-biblical or second tier doctrines are forced upon our SBC brethren, we should not only be offended, but act to expose the unChrist-like tactics of those who would lead us back down the Landmark trail. Shame on them. However, there must be a redoubled effort to bring these issues to receive a full airing before the Messenger assembly of the next SBC meeting in 2008, or SHAME ON US.

In His Grace and Peace,
T. D. Webb

Unknown said...

The poem is all too real; my heart grieves, people are dying without Christ, SWBTS spends 67k for a painting of PP, God can't use women, my brother is told he can't exercise his Christian liberty, but there is good news: our wives will be able to keep a clean house and cook!

Being a Naval Officer, I do know something of hull integrity being the key to staying afloat. The USS SBC is sinking and everyone needs to get to their GQ stations if the ship is to stay afloat.

BTW where can I verify 600,000 baptisms by the 5,300 missionaries? That's about 90 per missionary each year. That is a very suspect number when i consider the same source states 15,000 SBC churches in the U.S. had 0, i.e zero baptisms.


Batchap67 said...

I remembered my account info and password!


Anonymous said...


Believe me, I REALLY appreciate your shedding light on things and bringing issues to our attention that others seem to be paranoid about telling us.

But it seems possible to me that things are out of control and that this has become a controversy more identified as being personal between "Wade" and others. Constant reference in the blogs to "I did this and that" affirm. Too bad there could not be more references to "we".

Being identified as "the" person associated with these issues reduces the strength of your propositions. Issues of policy/guidelines have been buried within the more personal controversy. People are now inclined to be more identified as "Wade" supporters or "The Institution" supporters.

Too bad that you could not have enlisted two or three other Trustees in the beginning with the same mindset so as to diffuse things and de-personalize discussion. Then it would not have been seen as "Wade" in opposition to others. It would have also increased the credibility of your position and heightened the integrity of the subsequent debate.

Perhaps it's not too late to creatively adjust tactics so as to lessen your personally being the one that continually confronts those of the opposing position? It would be difficult, but refreshing.

I don't know if anyone else has learned anything from this about the art and tact of pursuing remedy to conflicting views or not, but I have. Painful lessons.

Jeff said...

Please quit distorting the truth, no one believes God can't use women. I don't believe in women pastors, that is far different than saying God can't use them.

The BWA was a waste of money and time, and accomplishes very little in the world anyway.

Bob Cleveland said...


I understand what you're saying, but we don't apply that in other areas, do we?

I mean, I'm a Calvinist, not a SixteenthCenturyPriestian (as opposed to, say, a SeventeenthCenturyDutchTheologianist).

Anonymous said...

Belief Matters said "Please quit distorting the truth, no one believes God can't use women. I don't believe in women pastors, that is far different than saying God can't use them."

-Do you believe that God can't use women to teach Hebrew?

Anonymous said...

Belief Matters; 'The BWA was a waste of money and time, and accomplishes very little in the world anyway.'

It is a strangely Southern Baptist trait to imagine that 40 million believers from those other countries, whatever they are called, are useless in the work of God.

I guess it all dates back to the mistake of starting off as slave owners.

Anonymous said...

Wade you are being less than honest when you speak of freedom of speech... I have left comments for you that were in disagreement, and you did not allow in your blog. That is fine it is yours to do with as you will, but you have pulled the censor game too. By the way I previously left my name, but not this tme.

greg.w.h said...

Some scattershot thoughts as I read through the past 30 posts or so...

Rex Ray wrote:

"We reached an agreement that if a deacon did not speak his disagreement at the deacon’s meeting, he should not speak negative at the business meeting."

This is the GOLD standard for unity while permitting dissent. If you're not willing to disagree in the private setting where the leadership sets direction, blindsiding in public is sinful. Or as we tend to say on my projects: "silence is assent, speak up if you disagree."

I think the problem with the Board of Trustees issue with Wade is that they really do not want any public display of disagreement even if the issue is important. That isn't about unity, it's about control.

By the way, we need to look at Corbaley's statement as saying EXACTLY what the Conservative Resurgence now is all about. They are branding the SBC to this very narrow view of what is Baptist identity. Jerry's opposition to neo-Pentacostalism isn't about what the Bible says. It's about what he and other CR lights personally FEEL should be excluded practice.

Branding is a marketing term. It is only biblical in a Louis L'amour sense: Jesus's brand is the one to be ridden with. All other variants are suspect and should be suspected.

Specifically with respect to "neo-Pentacostalism", someone should dig out Like a Mighty Wind and remind themselves what God chooses to do when he brings real, Holy Spirit-blazing revival. Also note that Paul directly and specifically disallowed the forbidding of speaking in tongues. He set in place the parameters for an orderly practice instead.

Finally note that Jerry Corbaley said exactly what I've noted before: it isn't that the doctrine is WRONG, it is that it needs to be surrounded by a hedge of thorns so it won't become mainstream practice.

The continuing problem with cessationism is that in the condition that the Holy Spirit chooses to work in a visible way through unusual giftedness, the cessationist would prefer the believer quench the Spirit than to display the gift. That's why cessationism can never be more than an observation of the fact that in certain regions the gifts of the Holy Spirit seem to be more limited.

It probably does not deserve to rise to the level of "doctrine" and even a SINGLE counter-example of an effective spiritual leader who has any special spiritual gift (think Jerry Rankin) defeats the doctrinal aspect of the observation in its entirety.

Still, while the average pastor or average Baptist might allow that speaking in tongues is possible today, most would be uncomfortable with it being expressed in their ekklesia and most would be uncomfortable with it becoming anything more than a minority occurrence among their missionaries. (I think, Wade, that you have acknowledged this concept of discomfort as part of your discussion of the narrowing of parameters, but perhaps it deserves more attention?)

But we all know that rulemaking is not the same as being led by the Spirit. That's why even as a guideline continually questioning the legitimacy of all individuals uses of private prayer language is a poor proxy for actually interviewing the candidate, discussing doctrine in detail, checking references, etc. Necessarily, a guideline that is so narrow will narrow cooperation because it offers so little guidance on how to determine when a PPL is appropriate and acceptable and when it isn't.

So a closing thought is this: can we write guidelines that deal with the issue and can be administered less rigidly? Doing that might be tougher than we think it is...which might have led to the too specific, too restrictive "policies" that were put in place.

Greg Harvey

OC Hands said...

I have had another thought after a good night's sleep. (I usually only have one a day.) Someone has already mentioned that what seems to be the goal now in the convention, including all the agencies, is not unity, but conformity. And this conformity must meet the standards of those who are in position to set those standards.
The problem is that these standards keep changing as we go along, so it is hard to keep up with them. It is very similar to someone beginning work in an environment where there are some rules that are agreed upon to facilitate the work. Then, as you begin work you learn that there are other rules that are being made and you aren't aware of them until you break one. The parameters of the work environment become narrower and narrower, until it is difficult to get the work done.
My question is this: do "Mom and Pop Baptis" have any input now into what goes on at the top level? It seems that those who try to interpret the actions of our leaders are really criticized and maligned because of their desire for honesty and openness. Even some on this blog criticize us for desiring an accounting of what goes on at the top level. I believe we have a right to know what is going on, and I believe we have a right to express our opinion and vote on these matters. Isn't this the Baptist way?

Lin said...

"Or, are you, as you think might have been the case with some of the trustees, allowing a bruised ego and a longing to vindicate yourself to keep the limelight on you and off of the mission of the IMB? "


Before you wrote this, did you read the 153 page letter from Mr. Corbelay?

Did you read in Wade's last post that his proposal was NOT shared with all the Trustees BEFORE the vote in the closed session?

Do you equate transparency and openess by our BoT as going in the direction of Spong and Borg?

Lin said...

What constitutes a clear 'Baptist Identity'?

Jeff said...

BWA might be good for fellowship, but it has done little to help us fulfill the GC. We ought to put that money into mission work.

I didn't say that women can't teach. People like to read into things that aren't there.

I said I don't believe in women pastors. I don't have a problem with women teachers.

I don't have to agree with everything people write to fellowship with them and to enjoy their company.

It is frustrating that I have to keep saying. I like Wade. I enjoy his preaching. I affirm him as a godly man, but I don't have to agree with him.

Please don't read in to what I am writing. I wrote that I don't believe in women pastors.

Jeff said...

I didn't say that individual believers were useless. People read way to much into statements.

I simply believe our union with the BWA as it exists is useless. Put the money in missions.

We don't need to spend millions of dollars to promote fellowship.

Rex Ray said...

Belief matters,
Yesterday in your last comment, you were getting on the right track when you said, “James, you might be on to something…I want you know that you have made a good point, and it is something to chew on…thanks”, but today you said, “The BWA was a waste of money and time, and accomplishes very little in the world anyway.”

Your “chewing” didn’t last long, did it? I believe this is the worse you’ve ever said.

The SBC started the BWA 100 years ago, and it has grown to 40 plus million. Glory to God!

When Castro cut off money reaching our missionaries, a pastor that died last week in Iowa went to London and through the BWA was able to get our money to the missionaries. The BWA can reach places that we can’t.

Do we praise God, or are we jealous? The ‘powers that be’ were so jealous of the CBF (they felt the CBF was getting money that should be coming to them), they told the BWA they would cut 50% of our money we gave them if the BWA even considered letting the CBF join…the SBC cut 50%.

The next year, our leaders were upset on hearing ‘whispers’ from the BWA about us firing our own missionaries.

Our leaders told the BWA if they let the CBF join, they were leaving. Our leaders made a big show of turning in their badges and walking out.

Through Wade, some are seeing the ‘hand writing on the wall’ to the SBC.

Jeff said...

Rex, The two points are different. I still hold to the conviction that the BWA as a body is a waste of time and money.

I am still chewing on the other thing. :)

Jeff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
david b mclaughlin said...

Reading thru this at lunch I am reminded of the old Imperials song "Oh Buddha." Let's kick it old school for the yongsters:

Well old buddha was a man,
And I'm sure that he ment well.
But I pray for his disciples, lest they wind up in hell.

And I'm sure that old muhammed, thought he knew the way,
But it won't be hare' christna we stand before on the
judgement day.

No it won't be old buddha, whose sitting on the thrown
And it won't be old muhammed, whose callin' us home
And it won't be hare' christna, who plays that trumpet tune
And we're goin' to see the Son not reverend moon. (refrain)

Now I don't hate anybody, so please don't take me wrong,
But there really is a message, in this simple song.
You see there's only One Way-Jesus, if Eternal Life is your goal.
And meditation of the mind, it won't save your soul.

Because it won't... (refrain)

Now you can call yourself a baptist, and not be born again,
A presbyterian or a methodist, and still die in your sin.
You can even be charismatic, shout and dance, and jump a pew.
But if you hate your brother, you won't be one of the chosen few.

Cause it won't be a baptist, that's sittin' on the thrown,
A presbyterian or a methodist, that's callin' us home.
It won't even be charismatic, that plays that trumpet tune
So let's all just live for Jesus, because he's comin' back real soooooon.

Cause it won't be old buddha...(Refrain)

Yes were goin' to see the Son, and not reverend moon...not reverend moooon.


PS-Everytime I do the word verification I cant help but think, "Mephibosheth" or however you say it.

child of grace said...

Belief Matters wrote "I don't have to agree with everything people write to fellowship with them and to enjoy their company."

-Wonderful attitude!

...Now if we can only get the IMB BOT, our Pope and the SBC College of Cardinals to share that spirit.

Jeff said...

Jack, Sadly, if you would share it to it would be helpful. Name calling is so unbaptist.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think it is a Baptist Distinctive :)

greg.w.h said...


Greg Harvey

Bob Cleveland said...

Off-the-wall thought.

Jesus sat in the temple. He went one-on-one with the scribes and Pharisees. He kind of owned the place, but what did He do? Forbid dissent?

Or did He reason with them?

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. To be a true SBC type Baptist you have to be converted in a SBC church, be baptized in a SBC church, be a member of a SBC church, graduate from a SBC college or U., graduate from a SBC Seminary, (pastor, staff, missionary, etc) a SBC Church or one of its cousins to serve in the SBC.

Among some it seems I have to make another choice. Am I Cal or am I non-Cal,is that my choice? I guess it is not enough to be Pro Jesus.

Did I leave anything out? It seems to me that we have returned to the closed communion days! Only SBC folks can sit at the Lords table.

Golly gee, I have done most of this stuff, but I am not sure I understand what SBC stands for anymore.

I have read that IMB desires to send 8,000 to the foreign lands. Have we solved the problem of first term folks who do not return for a second tour?

Thanks Wade for your willingness to take the hits and stand tall. My wife and I are praying for you, your family, and your ministry.


Jeff said...

Bob, he did both or neither or possibly "C."

Viva Landmarkism.... :O)

That's a bad joke! For those who can't see the smile on my face as I write it.

Batchap67 said...

Belief Matters

Did you realize that NAMB/SBC no longer endorses women to the military chaplaincy...?


Joseph Botwinick said...


Before you wrote this, did you read the 153 page letter from Mr. Corbelay?

Did you read in Wade's last post that his proposal was NOT shared with all the Trustees BEFORE the vote in the closed session?

Do you equate transparency and openess by our BoT as going in the direction of Spong and Borg?"


Did you read my entire post, or just the bits and pieces you quoted? Let me help you out here:

"Regardless of what the trustees have done, might it not be the best thing for you to simply resign and work for change as a voting member of the convention instead of inflaming this situation even more than it already is?"

IOW, this is not about what the trustees have done, this is now about how Wade is reacting to it and how that reaction corresponds to his claim that he is still a supporter of the IMB and one who doesn't want to detract attention away from its mission by making himself the focus. If that is true, then regardless of what the other trustees have said and done, he should resign and drop it on the blog. The "We Didn't Start the Fire" plea doesn't hold much weight if you are then standing around fanning the flames after it has begun, but at the same time still claim to care for the house that is burning to the gorund because of the flames. It seems to me that if Wade truly wants to get the attention back on missions and off of him, he should turn on the fire hose, and douse the flames by resigning and stopping the blog posts that seek to vindicate himself. Let's seek to glorify God through this instead of seeking to fan the flames of controversy.

And no, I don't equate the two and neither did I in my post. I did say that if something bothered me as much as it aparently bother Wade and many others right now, and I couldn't change it, I would not spend another day being associated with it. Sometimes, it is best to shake the dust off one's feet and move on.

Jeff said...

Yes, but what does that have to do with anything.

Jeff said...

Belief Matters,

Allow me to encourage you to start your own blog. You have some good things to say, but when you comment well over a dozen times on another's post it is a sign you might need to have your own blog.



Batchap67 said...

Belief Matters

Your initial reaction to my statement about God not using women was, "I don't believe in women pastors, that is far different than saying God can't use them."

Well, apparently the SBC mafia decided that chaplaincy was for men only... Considering that the Navy is short about 50-75 chaplains and the Army is currently 500 chaplains short, yes, 500! I would rather have a godly woman to provide some type of ministry to servicemen and their families than have them do without. If there are 575 SBC men who are willing to stand up and serve as chaplains then the problem would be solved. But, as a chaplain you are required to work alongside and for paedobaptists, women clergy, glossalalia/spirit filled brothers, etc. And that is the point here, the SBC deciding who is worthy to minister alongside SBC missionaries and those who are somehow not worthy of our cooperation.



Dave Miller said...

I want to comment on the repeated assertions of many (not Wade - the comment sections) who are saying that this is just an extension of the conservative resurgence of the 80's.

That is not true. We were trying to keep the SBC faithful on fundamental issues, not fundamentalist issues. It was about the absolute truth of the Bible and the things that were being taught in Baptist schools. I heard those things myself. Denial of the blood atonement, the existence of Satan as a real being, the truth of the Bible, the idea that Jesus was the only way. These things were being taught in Baptist schools - I HEARD THEM. These were fundamental issues to the faith, and I am glad we took a stand.

I am thrilled to say I voted for Adrian Rogers in 79 and others along the way.

John Floyd, Jerry Corbaley, Tom Hatley and their ilk are not the extension of the conservative resurgence, they (or at least what they stand for now) are the perversion of it.

I am so thrilled to be able to recommend Southern Baptist seminaries to kids in my church now. But I resent that a few power brokers are now hijacking our convention and making it their personal fiefdom.

Sorry, Wade, I know you try to keep things positive here, but I am ticked.

I feel like the movement I stood for, am proud of, and rejoice in is being polluted by this new nonsense.

I feel betrayed.

Jeff said...

Russ, that is exactly what the IMB should do as an agency. We don't throw open the doors and say whosoever.

While, there is not a biblical mandate as I understand it against women chaplains. I sure would be cautious in placing them over men, and yes I apply that also to male chaplains in relation to women.

Jeff said...

Wade, I am not a great writer. It is difficult for me to put it all down on paper. I admit I have commented way too much, and will probably need to curtail my posts to your blog.

I am not sure what poor old Bob is going to do now, since he awaits anxiously for my responses.....

Batchap67 said...

No one is saying "whoever"; we're talking about folks like D.James Kennedy, R.C. Sproul, John Maxwell, John Stott, etc. They do not & would not qualify to be cooperated with on the mission field by SBC M's.

I'm not sure of the context about women over men in the military but the reality of today's military is that there are no "front lines" and women serve in harms way every-single day; they are just as capable providing ministry as men to men or women.


david b mclaughlin said...

uh...i meant shibboleth. but nobody was listening anyway.


Batchap67 said...

Shibboleth, Ubar Tutu, Miphibosheth? Are those names in the "begats" ?


Anonymous said...

"I am struck by the absence of resistance, dissent, and critical judgment in the moral repertoire of contemporary evangelicals. These disciplines - and let us call them disciplines - are rarely intoned in our sermons, publications, and seminaries, and when they are, they are most commonly regarded as manifestations of pride. Evangelicals are quick to admonish unity when there is a whiff of disagreement in the air. Dissent must be quashed for the sake of harmonious ideals, which we consider spiritual virtues. But perhaps the situation only masks our swift retreat from the costs of discipleship, fueled by an inferiority complex, which plagues us ... We are failing to raise up a generation of Christian critics at a time when dissent should be a vital part of confessing Jesus Christ as Lord."

Charles Marsh, Wayward Christian Soldiers, Oxford: Oxford UP, 2007, 191-92. said...


Kudos for giving to us one of the best quotes ever on Grace and Truth to You.


Jeff said...

I hate to post again. But Russ has addressed me. Your point is well taken about women in harm's way.

Anonymous said...

Keep your dissenters close, very close. For there, you can keep an eye on them...

Wonder what is coming up in the next 4 meetings that the BoT wants to make into policies or 'guidelines'???? What do they not want revealed until it actually hits the fan.

All the issues on Keith Eitel's (who never served with the IMB) white paper sent to Trustee members by Page Patterson has yet to be addressed...

I wait ...

M with YOUR organization

Anonymous said...

The fundamentalist mind set could not be more clealy illustrated than by equating current Southern Baptist dissenters with Spong and Borg (the former of whom is not even a Christian, as I understand it). What they really mean is, if you disagree with my interpretation of the Bible on certain selected issues, you may very well be lost and we are certain we don't want you in the SBC.

What is genuinely sad about this is that these folks cannot prevail in serious exegetical arguments on most of their favorite issues (some of the discussions have occurred on this blog and cessationism particularly was not defended very effectively). In addition, their opinion is not the majority opinion of Baptist pastors (and probably not the laiety either), as indicated by the survey on PPL. Therefore, they have elected to use the power consolidated by the political machine that powered the conservative resurgence to enforce their views.

A previous commenter may be right that the current leaders are not representative of the CR, but I think one change caused by the CR was that power politics was made permissible and even valued in the SBC. We are now paying the price for not opposing the methodology of the CR even while supporting most of its goals. It should have been clear when the next President was selected before the annual meeting by a small group and when people were not just fired, but locked out of their offices that the methodology was not biblical even if the goals were.

Thus, it was a natural progression that only recently caused any objections when missionaries were fired for not totally affirming the B F & M 2000 after they had been told they would not have to sign it, when a woman was forced from her dream job teaching Hebrew to which every indication is that she was called by God on the basis of an incorrect interpretation of scripture (IMHO), when missionary candidates were rejected because the acceptance of their SBC church of the validity of their baptism is rejected by the IMB, and when the IMB forces its way into private devotional practices (again which cannot be proved to be unbiblical, as indicated by discussions here and on SBC outpost) it is time for a change in leadership and a return to a Spirit led congregational model of polity in the SBC.

An eloquent quote from American history comes to mind, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."

Not to be too melodramatic, but I think this applies to current events in the SBC, except that we are not attemtping to gaurd our future security but our future effectiveness as a great commission organization.