March 22, 2006

I Wish

I wish I had never heard about the new policies at the IMB, which effectively closed the door on many missionary candidates for non-essential differences.

I wish I had never heard about the IMB trustees' efforts to silence Wade Burleson, to the point of actually seeking his removal from the board of trustees.

I wish .... but I did hear. And what I found out today grieves me even more.

A proposed new conduct guide for IMB trustees. A proposed manual that would state " ... 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."

In other words, the average Southern Baptist shouldn't know that there are people who disagree with "established policy." And the rest of the world shouldn't think that there are Southern Baptists who would actually disagree with said established policy.

Well, guess what? The rest of the world holds a pretty low opinion of Southern Baptists already -- something about us being a bunch of Jesus freaks or something. And the average Southern Baptist needs to know what is going on where their money is being spent. Without Bro. Burleson's dissent, nobody would have known what was going on -- maybe that's the intention. Keep the proles in the dark.

This is a gag order. It's no secret who this is designed to silence, and Wade Burleson is a man of enough integrity that he will abide by the board's decision, to the extent that he won't air his disagreements if the new manual is adopted.

I've seen groups run by 'yes men' before. Growing up in IFB land, I saw men of integrity, but I also saw men who were afraid to condemn the actions of certain "Men of God" when they were wrong. They didn't want to be kicked out of the camp -- one thing you'll find out quickly is that the I in IFB may stand for Independent, but it doesn't always mean independent. There are camps and cliques, and you don't want to be in the wrong one. So you put up a front, and deny that there are any problems -- at least in public.

We need principled dissent. Baptists have historically been the voices of principled dissent. And now we are going to lose that. We are going to stifle that voice so we can shore up a facade of unity that everybody knows isn't there to begin with.

Who are we trying to kid? We are not fooling anybody, not even ourselves. Vacating the Board of Trustees of the IMB now seems like a reasonable solution.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 05:23 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 Gag orders destroy one's credibility. They make you look like you have something to hide. There are things that need to be kept secret, but if there is a universal gag order most of the time it means there is a skeleton or three in the closet. Not good.

Posted by: Ryan Debarr at March 23, 2006 06:30 PM (iWgKW)

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