Sunday, December 16, 2007

While Southern Baptists Separate Over Trivial Matters, Christians In Other Places of the World Are Being Tortured and Killed

Every now and then I am reminded of the foolishness of Southern Baptists dividing and separating over trival issues while other Christians around the world are in fear of their very lives. Missionaries overseas have recently made me aware of the story Hazem Hanna, a Christian man in danger of imprisonment, torture or even worse if deported to his birth country of Egypt. Hazem himself has requested that I print his story - with an accompanying photograph - so that more people in the west are aware of his situation, knowing his only hope is that Christians in America will speak out before he disappears for good.

Hazem Boutros Hanna lives his life looking over his shoulder and sees a life as broken as his right hand; gaining on Hazem is the threat of deportation back to Egypt. Deportation carries the probability of more imprisonment and torture and the possibility of death. His story, and the haunting image of his broken fingers, should give every Southern Baptist pause before anyone looks at a fellow Southern Baptist as an enemy. We are brothers, and we best get focused on helping our evangelical brethren in the battle they face for their very lives.

Trouble has been with Hazem since he was eight years old when his father, Makram, a cultural Coptic Christian, began searching for meaning in life and found it in the Protestant church. His religious awakening coupled with an insatiable thirst to learn the Bible led him to share the message of Christ with anyone who would listen. In 1974, when Hazem was 12, his father was murdered for baptizing a former Muslim. One evening the Cairo police brought Makram’s body to his shocked wife and three sons. He had been savagely beaten and his all of his teeth had been removed (a torture practice favored by state authorities). To make matters worse the police refused to investigate Makram’s murder and the family was treated as pariahs by their neighbors.

At 15, Hazem began working in the one goldsmith shop that would employ him. It quickly became apparent that he had a gift and when he graduated high school he opened a little shop of his own. That success would last only three years until a Muslim family whose daughter had been baptized by Makram would beat Hazem and destroy his shop. All of this happened while the police looked on doing nothing to stop the family.

Hazem’s mother terrified for her son, said to him, “I see you will end up like your father—they will kill you.” Soon afterwards she scraped together enough money to send her middle son to Italy to study art.

While studying in Italy, Hazem worked in a vineyard to feed himself. One day in the blistering sun he thought to himself, “Why don’t I find a job as a goldsmith?” Hazem went from one shop to another trying to find work until an old man amused by the brash 20 year old, asked him, “What do you know about goldsmithing?”

Hazem replied, “I know everything.”

The old man laughed at him and told him he was crazy, but still gave Hazem an opportunity. Hazem impressed the old man enough to be hired and eventually given more responsibility around the shop.

Finally the old man asked Hazem, “Where do you live?” Sheepishly, Hazem answered, “I live at the train station.” The old man found Hazem a place to live and took him on as an apprentice. Hazem, to his mother’s dismay dropped out of school and worked full time at the goldsmith shop.

A couple of years later, Hazem returned to Egypt to be with his mother and brothers. Work was difficult to find and a return to Italy was impossible to find since Hazem had violated his student visa rules by dropping out of school and working full time. Over the next few years, Hazem worked illegally with goldsmiths and jewelers in France, Greece, Cyprus and South Africa.

He arrived in Morocco with a wealth and variety of experience. Morocco is well known for its gold and diamond markets and he quickly caught on with a man named Reva Jakob, a respected Jewish jeweler in Casablanca. Jakob took Hazem under his wing and taught him the business side of jewelry and gold. Thanks to Jakob’s connections and reputation Hazem’s work became noticed by many influential people including the security detail of Moroccan king, Hassan II.

After years of working secretively and hiding in the shadows, Hazem had seemingly found the good life in Casablanca. His craft had earned the respect and patronage of customers all over Morocco. Things were going so well for Hazem that he had opened a shop of his own and had built a house. His success was noticed by the Egyptian embassy and the consular told Hazem, “We are happy to see Egyptians doing so well.” Hazem’s good life would end soon when he received a phone call from a childhood friend.

The words, “I want to meet you,” would push Hazem from a life of luxury and respect into a life of pain and suffering. The caller was Hasem Farid, the son of a Coptic Christian priest who had grown up with Hazem in Cairo. Quickly into the meeting, Hazem realized that Farid wanted more than to catch up. Farid explained that he was part of the Egyptian secret police and pleaded with Hazem to work with the government, “Your country needs your help… we know everything—what happened to your father; we can make it right.” Farid eventually explained that he wanted Hazem to spy on the Jewish community. Farid asked Hazem to plant listening devices in the homes of the Jewish families and Egyptian expatriates. “We can use this information to kill troublemakers to Egypt.”

Appalled by the proposal, Hazem told Farid, “You’re a Christian! Jesus was Jewish and half your Bible is Jewish!” Hazem also couldn’t stomach the idea of betraying the man who had given him so much “I would rather steal from my friend Reva Jakob than do what you’ve asked me to do.”

In spite of the pressure put on him, Hazem refused to spy on Jakob and for two months things were quietly stressful. Farid returned to bring Hazem the news that his mother was gravely ill. With the news he also brought a list of Egyptians living in Morocco and a thinly veiled threat, “We’ll do what we can to make sure no one harms your mother in the hospital.”

Hazem’s life eroded even more as he was taken to the police. There he was presented a report in which a former co-worker accused Hazem of swindling a shop owner out of his building. Despite the fact that there were no witnesses or formal charges the case went to court. The Egyptian embassy which had lauded Hazem in the past had turned a deaf ear to Hazem’s pleas for help. In desperation, Hazem went on a hunger strike. Word of Hazem’s plight reached his friend, Jakob who provided a lawyer. The case was thrown out and Jakob offered more help, “Leave Morocco because more trouble will come.” Jakob gave Hazem a visa for Israel and assurance that Israel would get his mother out of Egypt. That would never happen as Hazem’s mother would soon die of ovarian cancer.

Greif stricken and guilt ridden for not having seen his mother for seven years, Hazem returned to Egypt. In the Cairo airport Hazem was pulled aside by the Egyptian secret police. They knew about Hazem’s plan to flee to Israel and encouraged him to go in their service, “We’ll teach you Hebrew so you can infiltrate the Jewish community.” Hazem agreed to think about it and is released to bury his mother. In between grieving and consoling his brothers Hazem worried about his life. Fifteen days later he was summoned by the secret police and questioned again. Soon after, Hazem bought a ticket to Malta with the intent of never returning to Egypt.

While at the airport Hazem is pulled out of line and taken to the police where he was asked, “Will you return to Egypt?”

“No, I will stay away.”

“You will not be going to Malta and you will not be going home either.”

Hazem was bound and blindfolded and put into a holding cell where he was not allowed to speak a single word. Hazem was accused of being a traitor because he had supported Jews in Casablanca. After one day in the holding cell Hazem was taken to an unknown prison where he was repeatedly interrogated and tortured. His cell was cold, flooded with water and harshly lit, making it nearly impossible to sleep.
His interrogators removed four perfectly good teeth, set attack dogs on him and electrocuted him through wires attached to his ears and genitals. “I wanted to die during that time.” Almost as excruciating as the torture was the endless repeating of the question, “How do you make your money?”

“I told them, ‘I am a goldsmith.’ But they kept asking the same question, so one day I finally said, ‘I make my money by my hand.’ And they said, ‘Okay, we’ll break your hand.’ So they took my right hand and broke every finger on it.”

In 1997, a bombing in Aswan caused a political shakeup in the Egyptian intelligence office. In the confusion, Hazem was sent to a political prison from which he was released. Hazem’s mangled right hand and his reputation as a sympathizer to Jews made it impossible to find work. Hazem quickly realized that he could not face the future if he was constantly looking over his shoulder so he bribed an airport official and left for Turkey. Two months later he went to Amman, Jordan to plead his case with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR). With only one working hand and the stigma of being a refugee Hazem felt fortunate to find menial work in a restaurant.

Unable to get asylum from the UNHCR, Hazem fled to Turkey and found the same result as the UNHCR office in Ankara lost his files and documentation of his torture. Over the next couple of years a minor miracle occurred when Hazem gained use of his wrecked right hand. While his hand was still twisted and grotesque, he was able to work again as a goldsmith.

The physical scars on Hazem were obvious, but he was also wounded spiritually. Angered and disappointed by God whom his father, Makram, loved enough to lay down his life Hazem distrusted and actively ignored God. “I didn’t believe in what I learned about God from my father. I didn’t believe in God.”

All alone in Istanbul, a city of 15 million people, Hazem found a desolate Moroccan youth wandering the streets. Hazem took the young Muslim man into his shabby room and took care of him. The young man, so moved by Hazem’s concern asked him, “Are all Christians like you?” Hazem replied, “I’m not a good Christian.”

Over time the young Moroccan decided he wanted to go to a church, “Take me to church with you, it would be too shameful for me as a Muslim to go alone.” Hazem resisted at first but eventually agreed to take him to a Protestant church. Hazem went expecting nothing and found love and acceptance, both of which were at a premium in his life. The young man moved from Istanbul and Hazem found himself alone again. On an especially lonely Sunday morning he decided to go back to the church by himself. The sermon that day was about the prodigal son and Hazem realized that he was the prodigal and a tearful God was waiting for him to come to faith.

Today Hazem, sees how God has kept him through his trial and laughs at the irony of his finding his faith in Christ, “God sent a Muslim man to me so I could become a real Christian.” Besides faith, Hazem also found the power of forgiveness, “I forgive them all who tortured me because I am a Christian.” The prodigal son has returned to God the Father, but he cannot return to his home in Egypt. The prodigal finds himself in the last chapter of what seems like a spy novel stuck in limbo with an expired passport and a desperate hope in God. What can Southern Baptists do for Hazem?

(1). Pray for Hazem.

(2). Allow God to use Hazem's story in your life to help keep your perspective. May his story give you pause before you think about separating from any fellow Southern Baptist over matters non-essential to the gospel. Realize that while you argue over who is - and who is not - qualified to baptize, some Christians who simply obey Christ and baptize new believers are being killed for doing so. I wonder how many Southern Baptists in a country where you die if you baptize somebody would all of the sudden loosen their qualifications for the baptizer - and might even think themselves unqualified?

(3). Take a day and refuse to complain about your circumstances and simply do something to help somebody worse off than you. The world will be better because of it.

In His Grace,



Bill Scott said...

A story such as this is exactly the illustration needed to shed light on the petty wranglings and infighting that is taking place in our convention.

It really does bring right perspective and clarity about the things that really matter.

How would our convention stand up under such persecution? How would our churches stand up? How would the believers discipled by our convention stand up under these circumstances?

Thank you for the reality check.

Bill Scott

jasonk said...

Perspective stinks,doesn't it?

While we argue over the actions of missionaries, or the Baptist Faith and Message, or any of the billions of other pointless things we argue about, our brothers are being tortured and killed for their faith.

A few years ago I heard Leith Anderson speak at Glorieta. He talked about how many thousands of people are being saved around the world--ten thousand people a day in China, a thousand new churches a week in South America. All while we close churches every day in the US. I'll never forget his closing remarks--he said that we live in a world where we see the equivalent of a Pentecost every hour, and in heaven someday, someone may come up to you and me and say, "didn't you live in that time period? Weren't you alive in the middle of that massive outpouring, where thousands of people were coming to Christ every day? What was it like? What did you do?" For many of us, the answer would sound something like, "uh..."

Rex Ray said...

Now you really went and done it…destroyed our playhouse. How can I fuss anymore about those who are leading us the wrong way in my opinion?

How can I rebel against those who call me a moderate, a liberal, or worse a barnacle and a snake…that won’t let me and my kind hold a position in the SBC or even answer God’s call to be a missionary?

Yes, if we were taking turns on being tortured, we’d really pray for each other. We’d probably hold hands while facing a firing squad.

I talked with a Moslem in Japan who was facing deportation and a firing squad.

After being a Christian two weeks, he was asked what would be his greatest regret if he was killed.

He replied, “In having to tell Jesus I’m sorry for knowing him such a short time.”

Anonymous said...


Your greatest detractors will not show up to comment on this thread, IMO.

They will not show up to comment because the issue you raise is A)beyond the control of their heroes in the SBC and B)because the issue simply doesn't register as real to them.

It is far easier to debate the number angels able to stand (because they surely wouldn't be dancing) on the head of a pin.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Wade for the perspective. I subscribe to "Voice of the Martyrs" where you will find many more reasons to pray for people just like the story you cite. Grace and peace, Stan

pastorleap said...

Wade, I give a hearty "AMEN" to this story and the point that you make here. Personally, I am a long-time supporter of VOM as well as Open-Door and other groups. I have helped organize International Day of Prayer Events for the last 5 years and I always stress this very same point. Perhaps this is why so many Christians in closed countries (where persecution is ordinary) constantly question the wisdom of the prayer "for all persecution to end." I have read the testimonies of far too many church leaders in closed countries who say that an end to persecution would lead to the church in their country becoming fat, lazy and satisfied..."Like churches in the West!" I have heard such comments many times.

This helps bring perspective to our disputes over carpet-color, length of sermons, whether or not we're the right kind of baptism, or how many "points" we believe.

May God bless this man, and may his story bring conviction to many in our ranks.


pastorleap said...


That should've said "right kind of Baptist" not "baptism"...although that is another interesting issue.

Rex Ray said...

Too bad the SBC distanced itself from these persecuted Christians when the SBC withdrew from the Baptist World Alliance that was started by us over 100 years ago.

Our leaders knew they’d lost control of the BWA when the BWA accepted the CBF as members.

Was it jealously or what that caused our leaders to judge the BWA to be liberal? Maybe our leaders didn’t like what was being said about ‘our rules’ that removed many of our missionaries?

The old convention of Texas (BGCT) joined the BWA and gave more funding than the SBC had ever given. (Correct me if I’m wrong about that amount.)

God’s work will go on regardless of the ever tightening circle of Southern Baptist rules of Judaisers.

Batchap67 said...

You just don't understand...(or maybe you do :)

If Hazem is a member of the Coptic Church then he certainly cannot be Christian as they don't ascribe to the BFM but the historic creeds, thus he isn't really a Christian. His baptism would be an alien immersion and the torture he endured merely alien persecution, not Christian martyrdom.

Seriously, why do evangelicals want to claim some of the martyrdom/persecution of paedobaptist, or those who use icons in worship, or those who are creedal (the list of distinctives is ad infinitum) yet refuse to sit at the table of communion with these spiritual "step-children"? (obviously a paedobaptist cannot be a "full-brother").


Rev. said...


Thanks for taking the time to blog about a truly important matter.

Rev. said...



Scotte Hodel said...

I do not wish to minimize the relevance of prayer. However, is there anywhere for us to write/contact on behalf of this man?

I heard on NPR this morning that the king of Saudi Arabia pardonned a young woman sentenced to 200 lashes and 6 mo in prison for being with an unrelated man, which ultimately led to a gang-rape. This pardon was certainly to save their government embarassment.

It is important that we serve their causes as best we can.

davidinflorida said...


This story about Hazem, is only the small tip of a big iceberg. Many of our Christian brothers and sisters share in this type of persecution around the world.

Most Christians in the USA are not even aware of it.

One thing that most of these people have in common, is the desire to serve Jesus Christ, and to share His Gospel at any cost, even death. Most don`t debate theology.

Here is another example

Anonymous said...

While Wade's "detractors won't show up to comment on this thread," his legion of followers will certainly not pass up an opportunity to sling stones at those with whom they disagree.

Rex Ray, no one is PREVENTING you from answering God's call to be a missionary. We have just decided not to support liberals and moderates who cannot affirm the inerrancy of Scripture or fundamentals of the faith. If you are called to be a missionary, then follow that call. Certainly you believe that God will make provision for you even if the big, bad SBC won't.

Batchaps, no one ever said that you had to hold to the BF&M 2000 to be a Christian. I believe there are many coptic believers. I will pray with them and for them to stand in the face of persecution. I will not, however, support missionaries who would plant coptic churches (or presbyterian churches, or Methodist churches). The reason for that is simple - I actually think the Bible teaches that local churches are autonomous. As a result, I will not help plant churches that advocate extra biblical ecclesial patterns. I believe that are Roman Catholic Christians as well - but I won't be helping them plant any Roman Catholic churches.

You guys continue to miss the point. I can partner with other Great Commission Christians to advance the gospel via the "Jesus film," etc. I can participate in co-belligerance on moral issues. I cannot, however, fund a Church Planting Movement that plants churches with radically different understandings of what constitutes a church.

Before you dismiss the "close minded, fundies" that are part of the "establishment," as failing to appreciate the struggle of men like the one chronicled in this blog article, I suggest you sit down and have a cup of coffee with men like John Moldovan (Professor of Evangelism at Southwestern) who have experienced persecution at a much closer level than many commenters on this blog can fathom.

A simple student at SBTS.

Batchap67 said...

Simple Student at SBTS,
Nice attempt at a dodge, however, I, being a product of a Div. I A seminary (SWBTS) can see through your misdirection :)
I did not address funding anyone.

I did ask about evangelicals using the martyrdom stories of non-evangelical believers (sometimes for sordid gain!) and then refusing the partaking of communion with these other believers.

Q. Since the members of the Coptic Church are, according to you, "believers" would they be allowed to share at the Lord's Table at SBTS?


Anonymous said...


Nice post.

Anonymous said...

Interesting article coming from the guy who has single handedly caused the most infighting and bickering in the convention the past couple of years.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Simple student and the last anonymous commenter: It is absolutely utterly incredible to me that you can read this article, see the pictures and write what you have. I am the one who is going to be praying for you.

Bob Cleveland said...


"Interesting article coming from the guy who has single handedly caused the most infighting and bickering in the convention the past couple of years."

I find it interesting that you attribute the bickering and infighting to the one who revealed the things that oughtn't to have been done, rather than to the people who unilaterally changed the rules, displayed the sort of behavior they shouldn't have, and support such things as deceit and misrepresentation.

Not to mention political maneuvering that would astound republican and democrat strategists.

If you haven't been face-to-face with what Wade's been dealing with .. and I have .. then you likely don't know what you're talking about.

Batchap67 said...

I don't see Wade as the cause of infighting, rather, he's shined a light into the dark and the roaches are running to keep from being singled out.


Anonymous said...

LOL... you guys are funny. Yep, wade is just a calming, quieting, peaceful voice of conciliation in the SBC. Absolutely.

Rex Ray said...

Simple student,
“All truth passes through three stages: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” Arthur Schopenhauer

Since you did not ridicule or opposed what I said, you must have accepted it as self-evident.

So, I’ll ask a question Jesus asked, ‘Why strike a person for telling the truth?’

BTW, since your group decided not to support moderates, why do you accept our money?

What we call errors or untruth in the Bible, your inerrancy definition calls them “illusions.”

Do you think that’s important enough to keep us off the mission field? I think the devil is laughing.

Anonymous said...

Rex, for you it's pretty much all about where the imb spends the money. Isn't that right? The fact that the IMB takes in money from people who by-and-large want their funds to support southern baptists who believe like they do doesn't really matter to you. Isn't that the case?

If the IMB decides that denomination matters not, then people giving money to the imb may decide the same thing and give their money somewhere else. There are literally thousands of very good places for people to give money. Places that honor God. I don't think you're going to get money from us fundies, regardless of how much pressure you put on the IMB.

Anonymous said...

Rex, let me put it this way. I think the bible teaches that I'm suppose to invest what God has given me wisely. To multiple what he has given me. I think it's my obligation.

If the IMB or my church decides to support missionaries who don't believe the bible is inerrant, I'd probably feel led to just give my money somewhere else. The Baptist Messenger says Anthony Jordon is trying to raise 5 million dollars to pay for the renovations at Falls Creek. I think God would honor a tithe to that organization.

Bill Scott said...

Hitch your britches up son and put a name with your words. Are you skeered to sign your name underneath your judgments?
Bill Scott

Dave Miller said...

On this comment stream, we have two anonymous commenters practicing dissent from the prevailing viewpoint.

One, who calls himself a "Simple Student" presents some reasoned points in a respectful manner (after the opening paragraph, at least).

The other, just used sarcasm and attack.

But we must distinguish between the two. The anonymous attacker should be ignored. He is a coward who dishonors Christ with his words and actions.

But "Simple Student" came on this blog and stated an opinion that dissented. He needs to be engaged reasonably. If we are defending the right of dissent, we must permit people to dissent from our predominant viewpoint.

Debbie, it is not an act of blasphemy to disagree with Wade. You fail to make that distinction as you attack both of these men.

Debbie Kaufman said...

Dave Miller: I think you are boggling my mind also. How can one read this, which is about Hazem and turn it into a discussion concerning who is and is not qualified to recieve Baptist dollars? How can you read this post, which is about Hazem, and then read my comment, thinking I was referring to anything other than this story of a man who is suffering for Christ being side stepped? It seems the main thing keeps not being the main thing.

Anonymous said...

I don't see how any of us can pray for, be angry with, be in agreement with, or attempt to dialogue reasonably with cowards that don't sign their names.

I like dissenting views as well. It makes me think. But I don't like them from cowards, and I don't like them from the dark. If someone is curled up in a corner spewing words of dissent every few moments and then curls back up again, I don't think the coward is worthy to be engaged. Even if he makes brilliant points to be measured.

Even a "simple" student at a seminary should know this.


Anonymous ( only to make my point - :) )

Anonymous said...

I have to question where the truth begins and ends in this story.

I wouldn't doubt that it contains some.

However, part of it is obvious anti-Egyptian propaganda, undoubtedly coming from the never ending stream of that of political left Democrats, including the ACLU, opposed to our fight against terror. We have repeatedly heard stories from anti-Bush elements around the world with claims of torture in Egypt from alleged extraordinary renditions around the world.

Let's get straight about the alleged torture. Egypt does not practice torture, as the story describes. The Age in Australia interviewed Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif in "We did not torture terror suspects: Egypt"

The article states:

Torture was also among human rights abuses cited by a US State Department report on Egypt for 2004.

But Mr Nazif denied the allegations. "To say that we're bringing them back to torture them is not a very accurate statement. We shouldn't be doing that. We're not doing that," the Prime Minister said.

Asked to confirm that there are no torture tactics being used in interrogating suspected terrorists, Mr Nazif responded: "No, sir." Period? "Yes, period," he replied.

How much more clear could he be?

Nazif is a long and dear friend of the United States. shows his welcome by President Bush at the White House in 2005.

Claims of torture in Egypt are urban legends. We should not repeat them, although as a liberal I understand why, Wade, you have these inclinations.

The responsible Convervative position here is to support President Bush and the war on terror against Western civilization and not repeat baseless charges against our friends in Egypt fighting with us.

Anonymous said...

Nice post anonymous. This article was used (accurate or not) to make the IMB leadership look bad. To draw a parallel and smear the IMB for not spending money they way Wade and his buddies here think they should. That's all they do here.... is complain about how the IMB spends it's money.

That's the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

"But we must distinguish between the two. The anonymous attacker should be ignored. He is a coward who dishonors Christ with his words and actions."

LOL... It's okay to attack the IMB if you're here. It's okay to attack Fundies at the SBC if you're here. And all of these honor Christ. Yeah right. YTalk about judgemental.

Rex Ray said...

Thanks for reminding me about the main thing. I’m guilty of leading us off track with truth of us turning out backs on these martyrs for Christ. (There I go again.)

I wonder how many have read David in Florida (17 Dec 18:33) reference to the death of “Pencil”.

How many have read Fox’s Book of Martyrs new version where 3 are to be shot, but the guards tell the preacher if he shoots the two young girls, his life will be spared. Before the deed is done, the girls thank their pastor for leading them to Christ, and advise when he repents to be like Peter and not like Judas. The guards laugh at fooling the preacher, and before he is shot, all that is heard is cursing.

If we were to be shot, would we cry moderate/conservative, inerrant/infallible, or would we cry Jesus?

Laura said...

Rex, your last sentence cut my heart. May God find me worthy to cry Jesus with my final breath!

Dave Miller said...


I did not write in response to Wade's moving article. Frankly, I thought the politically-oriented discussion was a little grotesque in light of what he wrote.

I wrote in response to your condemnation of the two anonymous writers. You seem to write on a regular basis to condemn the Christian commitment or integrity of people who disagree with Wade.

I wrote to call to attention that the two anonymous writers wrote very different comments which deserved very different responses.

One was just being a jerk. "Simple Student" was
My point is that if we are going to promote the concept of dissent, we have to permit it.

I might also point out that while I agree with the point of Wade's post, he was the one who used the story to make a point. It is one I agree with, but he made an SBC controversy-related point from the story. Even though many of the responses were in bad taste, they could claim that they were only responding to the point Wade made by telling the story.

I will repeat my point and then get on with my day. I support the right of principled dissent. I thought that "Simple Student" brought a principled dissent to this blog.

His points should be answered, not attacked.

Dave Miller said...

EDIT to previous
One was just being a jerk. "Simple Student" was (making valid, reasoned points, even if they do not express my views.)

My point is that if we are going to promote the concept of dissent, we have to permit it.

Dave Miller said...


1) You are anonymous - that is the definition of cowardice.

2) You engage in frivolous attack and not principled dissent.

Wade has dissented from the IMB, but he has not used the kind of ridicule and derogation you did.

You might have a valid point. So make it without hiding behind anonymity or stooping to ungodly methods of attack.

WTJeff said...

The theme of this particular post is that God is active outside of our bickering and we should start paying attention to what He is doing. Ed Stetzer just completed participating in an AoG church planting conference and Guy Muse is in the process of training AoG believers to plant churches. Neither are participating in the church plants, but since fellow believers have come to them and in essence, have said, teach us what you know, they have done so willingly. Check it out at and

What Wade is advocating here is a kingdom perspective. I can't say it any better than Guy Muse did in a comment, "It took such a long time to see, God's Kingdom revolves around Him, not me."

Only By His Grace said...


Before "everyone" ignores you, I started to ask a question, did you graduate from Hyles Anderson University, Bob Jones University, Tennessee Temple or maybe Liberty University? Are you part of the old Lester Roloff organization or maybe the editor of The Sword of the Lord since you call yourself a fundamentalist? Fundamentalist are not called "Fightin' Fundies" and "fundamentalist" for nothing. Their whole history has been to oppose everything Southern Baptist. I worked as a chaplain with an organization that had workers from all five of these great "learning" centers. I experience them close hand for five years.

I decided not to ask you that question, but because of your ridiculous comment about Egypt not torturing, I am not going to ask that question. The Egyptians are about as innocent as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Syria and few other countries we use to torture prisoners in our extreme renditions. I guess you think "water-boarding" is not torture either. I would suggest you do a little reading about the Great Inquisition to learn how the same "water-boarding" that was used on the rack.

Wow! Such contradictions: a Christian defending torture, calling other Christian people names and refusing to sign his "John Henry" so he will not be associated with his own words. Now ladies and gentlemen, that is really "fighting the good fight" of "?". I think these inerrant Scriptures say something such as, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong." Notice I used the King James, Authorized Version because only the Liberty graduates will accept any other translation than a KJAV. I even know a twenty-four hour radio station called KJAV, maybe you work for them??

By the way I believe in the inerrant, plenary perfect inspiration of the original manuscripts, and I believe that we have close to what they were originally in our hands, now. I am a pre-Mil, dispensationalist to the right of C.I. Schofield, D.G. Barnhouse and Sir Robert Anderson, E.W. Bullinger, C.H. Welch, Will Penny, and so the "theological liberal" tag doesn't stick since we are into cubby holing people with tags.

Since you mentioned the overused hackneyed word "liberal" with all of its connotations, would you write a paragraph telling us what is a "liberal" in your way of thinking? I may be one of those, too. If I am with my approach to the Gospel, Scriptures and Evangelism (my church is certified Evangelism Explosion Church) maybe I am a liberal, too, according to your definition of liberalism. Would you then call me a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal? I need the name tag so I can be cubby holed, too.

Phil Ratliff, pastor, Norman, OK.

Unknown said...

it is interesting though that one anonymous will most definitely say that a politician's word should be taken seriously even if he's a "friend" of the united states (I don't really see how that's a good endorsement anyway). I'm more inclined to believe that he doesn't officially "know" that torture is going on. there is a lot going on in this world that is not officially recognized.

on a completely different note, it is interesting to imagine what would happen if it became a bad thing to go to church as viewed by society, I wonder how many attendees there would be at church then. (not members because they're not taken off the records unless requested)
some thoughts

PS I take offense(not officially) that you think everyone going to Liberty university is a fundie. I graduated from there and can tell you that most students who didn't go to seminary are not fundies and some of those seminary students are not fundies too. (ie students don't take everything your prof says as God's truth, at least without so corroborating evidence)

Anonymous said...

All right, I don't want to derail this. But all this talk about people being cowards if they don't sign their names. I sign mine Karen in OK. I was saved in VBS and baptized in an SBC church at the age of 11. I am in my 50's and an active member of an SBC church.

I have read many things about internet safety and have cautioned and monitor my children on not giving away too much information online. One child moderates a specialized forum in which he has never identified his name and location. Nor do I want him to.

So am I not welcome here and a coward because I do not want to identify myself in every detail?

Do people here wish your other family members to identify themselves online as clearly as you do here?

I have seen this kind of comment over and over here. So I thought I would ask.

Ray said...

I find it funny that in a post about trying to remember other Christians are united around the world under persecution, that the fundy vs. "moderate/liberal" competition still takes up the majority of the comments. I think RexRay said it best, if we were to be shot, would we cry out "conservative," "moderate," inerrancy, or would we cry out "Jesus is Lord?"

Batchap67 said...

You are spot-on. I still am trying to figure out how this post became an issue of funding/$$? (SBTS boy needs to roger-up on that issue).

And the whole political & war-on-terror commentary is soooo far out in left field that I really can't respond without coming across as condescending.

And to Anonymous who wrote: "We have just decided not to support liberals and moderates who cannot affirm the inerrancy of Scripture or fundamentals of the faith."

Thank you for supporting me and my family even though I would be considered a moderate who believes such diabolical doctrine like(Gasp!) women can serve in pastoral & diaconate roles! Here's a challenge: If you really are as staunch a biblical innerantist as you claim and cannot support liberals and moderates, then quit paying your taxes as they do support men and women like me who believe that grace is something that is truly amazing and not just the waitress at the Waffle House.

Pray for men like Hazem who truly know about persecution.


Steve said...

By no human means will believers ever find real peace in the “Peaceful” world of Islam. Only with the help of Jesus will peace-lovers ever be safe there. It is good to hear that Saudi leaders respond to light being shed on their world of darkened faith, but millions are waiting for truth - while some Christians fight over whose name is on the door.

OC Hands said...

Perhaps I am a bit naive, but I am constantly amazed at the cold-heartedness and unconcern of some who comment on this blog. How can a person not be touched and moved by the story of this man?
Our government has some strange alliances with foreign governments, some who regularly torture and abuse Christians. Yet our leaders do nothing, because I suppose we need their oil or exports.
We are not trusting in God anymore but in our alliances with unbelieving governments who are committed to the suppression and ultimate destruction of Christianity, democracy, and all we stand for.
Am I the only one who feels this way, and am I totally in left field?

Anonymous said...

Brother & Sister Hands,

I haven't commented so far in this thread, but you are not alone. I fear too few of us in today's SBC though realize that we are citizens first of the Kingdom of God, and strangers and pilgrims in this land we call our own. (The Two Cities by St. Augustine should be required reading before anycome comments on the US or political support, but that's just my opinion.) But, yes, we are often accused of being out in left field for that. I relish and appreciate your comments.

John Fariss

Anonymous said...

The comment section of Wade's blog today is like a car wreck. I wish I could turn away. But I feel confident this is all irrelevant to lost people. Thank the good Lord for that.

Charles Stearns

Dave Miller said...


Since I am the one who labeled the anonymous poster a coward, I will answer your question. I have observed this blog, so I think I know how Wade reacts, though I do not speak for him on this matter.

there are times when people post anonymously for good reason - to protect identity of missionaries, etc. If someone is concerned about internet security, that is reasonable, though I don't know how someone can hurt me by knowing my name is Dave Miller.

I have posted some things on here that have made people upset before. By posting them under my name, I take responsibility for them. someone can respond to me.

It is cowardice to come on a blog like this with a verbal flamethrower, make personal attacks and use ridicule, but not put your name on them.

If I think you are ungodly, and I come and tell it to you to your face, that would be one thing. If I sneak onto your property and write it anonymously on your car window, that would be cowardice.

The anonymous poster here is a coward. He has no reason to keep identity a secret other than a desire to be ungodly in his words and not have to take responsibility for them.

That is what I was talking about.

LivingDust said...

Dave Miller,

I read your comment "though I don't know how someone can hurt me by knowing my name is Dave Miller." and want to address it.

It only took me 60 seconds for me to find an online service that will provide plenty of information about the three Dave Miller's that live in the Sioux City, Iowa area. They will, for a small fee, provide your current home phone number, home address, previous addresses, wife and childrens names, neighbor's names, income information, taxes paid and owed, value of your home, brand of credit cards you possess, etc., etc.

If I was the local, Sioux City anti-Christian nutcase who stumbled across Grace and Truth to You and didn't like what you posted at Mr. Burleson's website or some other site (while using your real name), I could very easily show up on your front door step.

Please consider using an alias while online. It can protect you and your family.

Jon L. Estes said...


You are correct. I frequent a few blogs and there are to many which are moderated by and frequented by anonymous vile spewers (of course all in the name of Jesus). I use my name and my words are mine. I did have one of those anonymous men from Memphis call my church to complain about me. Caller ID is great...

It is a sad world when the church does not need to let there yes be yes and their no be no.

Only By His Grace said...


I did not say "every one at Liberty" is a "fundie." I am sorry to be too inclusive about the Liberty University comment. I know a little of the history of Jerry Falwell, and I allowed that to make me more harsh than I intended.

Jerry Falwell was a Fundamentalist long years before he was a Southern Baptist. The University may have changed in the past few years, but it changed despite Jerry Falwell and not because of him.

Of the five groups I mentioned, I will admit those from Liberty were the less "fundie" of the five and were called "liberals" by the other four. The Children's Home was founded and directed by a Southern Baptist minister with Southern Baptist in the key positions, but the "fundies" could make life miserable for eighty children with their legalism and harsh discipline.

Again, I am sorry for painting with too broad a brush in my previous comment, and I am sorry for offending you. My bad. I ask your forgiveness.

Phil in Norman. said...

The only thing that makes me sadder than Hazem's story are some of the comments, unsigned, that follow it.

How bizarre.

Dave Miller said...


I understand your concerns. One of my close friends is highly placed in the DEA, and he was horrified at my unconcern about internet security.

I think, for me, if I have to blog under an alias, I would probably stop doing it. I find that if I don't have the accountability of being responsible for my words, I would tend to write a little less lovingly and more stridently.

On the other hand, I am guessing I am the only person in Sioux City who even knows who Wade Burleson is, much less reads this blog.

I know I need to find out about and figure out the whole online security thing. I probably will procrastinate until I get hurt.

Interesting comments. Thanks

Debbie Kaufman said...

And while we are at it, let's go tell Al Mohler, John Piper, Chuck Swindoll and a host of other men who have blogs, websites and sign their full name that they are compromising internet security.

Anonymous said...

Of course that is their decision. And they, because of their high profiles anyway, have good reasons to be very upfront.
And I understand a string of completely anonymous comments is hard to follow.

However, if I choose not to automatically sign my full name nor identify everything about me, I also think that is a reasonable thing to do.
Do you recommend no concern about internet security for the members of your family?

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the double post.
Things were acting up.

Anonymous said...

Phil Ratliff, pastor, Norman, OK wrote:

> Before "everyone" ignores you, I started to ask a question, did you graduate from Hyles Anderson University, Bob Jones University, Tennessee Temple or maybe Liberty University?

None of the above. Regent.

> Are you part of the old Lester Roloff organization

No. But I had a cousin who was.

> or maybe the editor of The Sword of the Lord since you call yourself a fundamentalist?

Not me.

If it will make you feel better, I do admit that I once was a member of the John Birch Society, but I let my subscription lapse.

> . . . your ridiculous comment about Egypt not torturing, I am not going to ask that question. The Egyptians are about as innocent as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Romania, Syria and few other countries we use to torture prisoners in our extreme renditions.

I quote President Bush:

However, I can tell you two things: one, that we abide by the law of the United States; we do not torture. And two, we will try to do everything we can to protect us within the law. We're facing an enemy that would like to hit America again, and the American people expect us to, within our laws, do everything we can to protect them. And that's exactly what the United States is doing. We do not render to countries that torture. That has been our policy, and that policy will remain the same.

According to the polls, grass roots Southern Baptists continue to support President Bush.

Your disputing our President, perhaps our greatest ever, comes not from credible evidence but from repeating propaganda from liberals allied with the Islmofascists who seek to clash with and destroy our civilization.

>By the way I believe in the inerrant, plenary perfect inspiration of the original manuscripts, and I believe that we have close to what they were originally in our hands, now. I am a pre-Mil, dispensationalist to the right of C.I. Schofield, D.G. Barnhouse and Sir Robert Anderson, E.W. Bullinger, C.H. Welch, Will Penny, and so the "theological liberal" tag doesn't stick since we are into cubby holing people with tags.

I quote the scriptures:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Romans 13:1.

The "powers that be" include President Bush.


Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Phil, you have a problem here.

But don't worry. When you fall off the wagon, you simply get up and get back on. We all have to do that every now and them, so don't feel bad.

>Since you mentioned the overused hackneyed word "liberal" with all of its connotations, would you write a paragraph telling us what is a "liberal" in your way of thinking? I may be one of those, too.

Certainly I will write such a paragraph.

> If I am with my approach to the Gospel, Scriptures and Evangelism (my church is certified Evangelism Explosion Church) maybe I am a liberal, too, according to your definition of liberalism. Would you then call me a liberal conservative or a conservative liberal? I need the name tag so I can be cubby holed, too.

You can judge positions by the company they keep. Note I say positions, not persons.

Here, Phil, I look for people who agree with you.

Paige Patterson doesn't accuse Bush of torture. Neither does Richard Land, Al Mohler (I don't think), Mike Huckabee, Matt Romney, Tom Tancredo, Duncan Hunter, Fred Thompson, Rudy Giuliani, or John McCain. I am not sure about Ron Paul.

Hilliary would agree with you. So would Barney Frank. Let's don't leave out Larry Flynt. The ACLU, war protesters, union bosses, pornographers, environmentalists, homosexuals, all of them would join any charge you made against President Bush.

Yew, I would classify your position as liberal.

Name withheld for security reasons.

Anonymous said...

Hilliary would agree with you. So would Barney Frank. Let's don't leave out Larry Flynt. The ACLU, war protesters, union bosses, pornographers, environmentalists, homosexuals, all of them would join any charge you made against President Bush.

Yew, I would classify your position as liberal.

LOL.... game, set, match.

Anonymous said...


1) You are anonymous - that is the definition of cowardice.

2) You engage in frivolous attack and not principled dissent.

Wade has dissented from the IMB, but he has not used the kind of ridicule and derogation you did.

You might have a valid point. So make it without hiding behind anonymity or stooping to ungodly methods of attack.

Hey Dave Miller... you pick the name. I'll be whoever you want me to be.

Talk about shooting the messenger... LOL. Your real issue is that you have no argument. Many of you guys have spent the last couple years of your live on this website griping because the IMB won't give money to missionaries you think they should support. It's all about the money to you. That's all this blog has been about for the past couple of years. A person can check in here every 6 months and NOTHING has changed. Just the same ole group slinging mud at the imb or the SBC or whoever won't send cash to them or their buds.

That's the bottom line. said...


I'm glad to realize that you understand the issue has not changed.

Southern Baptists must not exclude from missionary or ministry service for tertiary doctrinal interpretations that exceed the agreed upon 2000 Baptist Faith and Message.

Wishing you the best on your trip to Ninevah.

In His Grace,


Anonymous said...

Oh... I thought this was Ninevah?

Anonymous said...


Considering all of the time and energy that people have put in this particular blog over the years, aren't there are much larger issues here than your statement of "Southern Baptists must not exclude from missionary or ministry service for tertiary doctrinal interpretations that exceed the agreed upon 2000 Baptist Faith and Message?"

Only By His Grace said...


Sorry to get back so late, but the electricity keeps going on and off at our house due the ice storm and a street they working on just outside our housing addition.

To your argument:
I will risk making about ninety-nine percent of the bloggers here angry, but your answer on Egypt disagrees with just about every world organization and numerous people who have come out of the Egyptian prisons. I am sorrier that you are accusing the victim in this article of lying. He is either telling the truth or he is not. As far as believing President Bush's word on anything, I quit that about a year after the invasion of Iraq and began to listen to some other news releases besides Faux News. I would suggest you read just a little bit of the NY Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Rueters and a couple of English written European papers. It is a amazing what a little knowledge can do for your prejudice.

Problem with President Bush: no WMDs, no Nuclear program, no connection of Al Qaida to Sadaam Hussein whatsoever and this his own people tell us, resulting in about a million Iraqi deaths and over two million refugees; the Valerie Plame affair and pardoning the man who lied to Grand Jury to obscure the investigation and the Swift Boating of John Kerry. Give President Clinton credit, he never accused President George H. Bush or Senator Bob Doyle of lying about their records. I could almost believe what the Bush Swift Boaters said about Bush, but I remembered what they did to Senator Max Cleland in Georgia with two missing legs and a missing arm. How low do we sink before we say enough is enough. I majored in history and worked on my Masters at North Texas State, left to go to SWBT, and moved from Denton before I finished it. I believe with everything I know that President Bush will go down as the worst President in history, even below Richard Nixon, if he survives a growing impeachment movement against him and VP Dick Cheney. Words will not tell, time will tell.

We have admitted Waterboarding prisoners in our custody. Waterboarding is torture, no matter how you cut it. It was used as a primary torture in the Spanish Inquisition against Muslims, Jews and Christians by the Roman Catholic Church. We sent Japanese Officers to prison for Waterboarding after WW II. You need to read a good book I have in my Church Office, "The Second Nuremberg." It deals with the war crimes of the Japanese after WW II. Waterboarding was listed as a war crime during WW II, we have signed international documents listing Waterboarding as torture and we admit we have Waterboarded prisoners in our custody. If you watched the Republican Presidential debates, you heard what Senator John McCain said to Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney.

As far as polls showing SBC grass roots supporting President Bush, I can tell you that most of the people in my church just want him to go away, and will probably not vote, vote Democrat or vote for Mike Huckabee in 2008. Most will not vote for a Mormon or for another one who makes Clinton look like Mother Teresa.

I notice you really like to throw tags around. I have found that tags are used by people who think they win an argument by throwing a tag on someone, attempting to put them in cubby hole so they will not have to deal with the argument. To your understanding, what is a "LIBERAL" (not shouting, just want to make sure you see the word to define it. Is there a difference between a political liberal and a religious (Christian) liberal? Do you think most people are conservative in some things and liberal in others?

Are saying that Christians are to be subject to governmental powers always? I think you have the problem in Romans 12:1-15:7, not me. The role of the Christian is to love their enemies, take no vengeance, leave it to God and do no violence in this passage. The role of the State (the magistrate) is to bear the sword so that law breakers have fear. It is a problem. The role of the Church and the role of the State always is a problem. At least the Roman Catholics were consistent in their interpretation in the Inquisition. The Church questioned, the State Waterboarded, and the State burned the confessed heretic at the stake. Now that is separation of church and state in the New SBC style.

I would ask you, did you give to President Clinton the same respect and obedience that you demand that I give President Bush and you are demanding that Wade Burleson give an out of control Board of Trustees? Remember? William Jefferson Clinton was President for eight years. Did you criticize him and talk bad about him? I must ask you to be really honest about this. Do you think Southern Baptist churches and ministers between 1845 and 1865 should have criticized the then Presidents and President Jefferson Davis or should they have just supported slavery and the holocaust of ten million black men, women and children. Do you think Martin Luther King was a disobedient Christian when he "resisted the powers" that enslaved black people in this country with apartheid from 1865 to 1965. What about Christian in Nazi Germany who resisted "the powers that be" from 1932 to 1945. How about the underground church in Muslim lands and in the Republic of China, today? I think you are mixing up the Constitution of the United States with President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.

I don't know what game you are playing, but what ever it is it isn't "love." I play golf, myself to about a four handicap.

I am an alcoholic by the way. How did you know? I am still in recovery. I have made it forty-seven years, five months and five days at eight thirty tonight. I do not anticipate falling off the wagon soon, but who knows, it is Christmas.

I do listen to Faux News and CNN who are both owned by Rupert Murdock, but I, also listen to C-Span 1 and 2, Sixty Minutes, Hardball, Tucker, Countdown, Joe Scarborough, read the Daily Oklahoman (holding my nose), NY Times, LA Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun and a few others. I praise the Lord for the internet.

By the way, what is your gripe of Senator Hillary Clinton? Are you mad because she did not divorce President Clinton for adultery? I bet you would just love that. I can just hear you and that immaculate Christian Rush Limbaugh, "Here is a divorced liberal who hates family values." Do you hate her because she still loves her husband and puts her money where her mouth is by "standing by her man and her man" until death do us part and thus keeping a home from breaking a part for her daughter? Oh, I forgot, you have to be a Republican to be Christian.

Anonymous said...

If you think that Hilary stayed will Bill out of loyalty, I have some ocean-front property in Oklahoma I would like to sell you.