Monday, May 12, 2008

Never Take for Granted the Freedom to Dissent

I have had a very cordial phone conversation with Dr. Hershael York, and I wish to sincerely apologize to him for unintentionally misrepresenting Hershael on two fronts.

First, my original post about Hershael was written from the perspective that he was involved with Dr. John Floyd, Jerry Corbaley, and other IMB trustees to bully and threaten me - once again. Though Hershael is new to the board, I assumed he had becoming involved with men who have made it a pattern to counteract dissent by attacking the dissenter. From over-the-top recommendations for my removal, and motions to censure, etc . . . the pattern of behavior of a handful of trustee leaders is to intimidate into silence those who dare speak against their policies or decisions. When Hershael York asked me "When are you going to publish Dr. Rankin's letter?" in the comment section of my blog, I had not yet received the letter. The next day, I did receive Rankin's letter, and then the following day a threatening letter from Dr. Floyd's attorney. Of course, Dr. Rankin wrote his letter because he was asked to by Dr. Floyd. The day after I received the attorney's letter, the attorney called and apologized for sending it, admitting that he did what he did based on the information he had been told; information that was false. I was not responsible for the comments regarding Dr. Floyd, and I immediately removed them when they were brought to my attention weeks earlier.

I apologized over the phone to Dr. York for assuming that he was a part of the group who initiated involvement of an attorney, and even worse, being part of the group of trustees who have continually attributed to me things that I have not done. He assured me he had nothing to do with the attorney, had no previous knowledge of Dr. Rankin's letter, and only knew about it because Dr. Floyd emailed him a copy. He did not know how many other trustees received a copy, and he expressed to me he thought Dr. Floyd was wrong in requesting that a letter from his attorney be sent to me. I accept Dr. York's explanation.

Second, Dr. York feels that my post misrepresents his love for Southern Baptist missions and IMB missionaries. I'm not sure how my original post creates that perception, but I sincerely apologize for anything I wrote that might have caused someone to doubt Dr. York's love for Southerrn Baptist missions. His love for missions and IMB missionaries has never been, nor ever will be questioned by me.

Finally, the reason I have chosen to take down the original post and all comments is because of the following statement Dr. York made to me on his blog:

I hope you can see that even while I have felt so very wronged I have tried to be Christlike. I value you as a brother and I do not want to have any personal animus between us. We certainly disagree on ecclesiology, but I would point out to you that one of my dearest friends is a Free Will Baptist pastor and neither of my two closest pastor friends calls himself a Calvinist nor has my ecclesiology. I can easily get along with and work with those who disagree theologically. I have pledged that to you before and I do so again now.

With an attitude like that, I have absolutely, positively no issue with Dr. York. Again, I do apologize for misunderstanding his intentions. In regards to the other trustees involved in this little matter, I will continue to expose their tactics. My desire is to always deal with the issues, but I will resist tooth and toenail the bullying and intimidation tactics of Southern Baptists who wish to silence dissenter - not only when it involves silencing me, but particularly when other Southern Baptists happen to be the recepients of such intimidation.

In His Grace,