Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Blogger Being Booted from SBC Mission Board

Wade Burleson, author of the Grace and Truth blog and pastor of Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma is being booted off of the Executive Board of the Southern Baptist Convention's International Mission Board.

Burleson has been blogging about maneuverings within the board to replace IMB President Jerry Rankin. Evidently his blogging upset enough board members that they want to remove him from the board.

Burleson insists that his blogs were posted as a matter of conscience and personal integrity. He distinguishes between "crusading conservatives" and "cooperating conservatives" and laments that the crusaders are now ostracizing the cooperators. He hopes his blogging will encourage other "cooperating conservatives" to stand up to the crusaders before support for the SBC is completely destroyed.

Burleson's experience is evidence that another round of purges is taking place within the SBC. From my perspective, it is hard to understand why Burleson's conscience did not start bothering him when scores of faithful missionaries were being fired for refusing to sign the 2000 BF&M.

My advice to Burleson and anyone else trying to work within the SBC is to decide that you would rather that Southern Baptists be identified as "Christian" than as "conservative." There's nothing Christ-like about the incessant purges that have taken place in the SBC over the last twenty-five years. No matter how conservative the values being defended, conscientious dissent from the policies of authoritarian leaders will never be accepted as "conservative."

The purges will continue as long as Southern Baptists keep competing with each other for the title "conservative."

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