It would seem to me if one were to agree to abide by the first part of the rule but later come to realize that to do so violates a higher principle of one's life namely, that it makes one hypocritical, or worse a liar, [not every trustee would share this personal conviction obviously] such an one would then have two choices. First, to resign and effectively lose any ability to change a bad policy or, second, to graciously accept the censure which is in fact, in keeping with the policy after all. [Just the last part instead of the first part. No trustee could keep both parts unless they are voting on a censure.]
It would certainly not be the way those who passed it expected anyone to be willing to keep it. But were one to choose to violate the first part out of a desire for keeping that greater principle they would be choosing to keep the second part. [Or resign, as I said.]
Let me pause here... and offer a scenario. Suppose an embattled trustee [from here on known as ET] is
told to write out a
proposal which he has suggested to end the conflict.
It would include, among other things, a
statement of a potential of
resigning by the end of the year. Then, suppose that that
ET were asked
to meet with a small group to discuss it. So the small
group interupts him
in the writing of it but he tells them what is in the
proposal and they write it down for themselves. [Remember, this group is
supposed to report their findings.] Then suppose that small group
leader is asked by the ET if
a censure is forthcoming and he says, while he can't
predict the future, he
didn't think so, which means the ET enters a meeting thinking he will do as he has proposed but has
no need to finish writing the
proposal that day because One..they wrote it down..Two..they will present it as
stated to them. But, suppose it is in THAT meeting that the censure is
presented and voted on. Then that ET later discovers
that the censure had
been drafted the night before in the presence
of the one who said "I don't
think so" when asked if a censure was coming.
Who would you say withdrew the
proposal that included the resignation? The three man group? The Executive group? [IF the Executive group was, in fact, reported to.] Or, the ET?Finally, what if there were circumstances that had been
revealed to both the
Executive committee AND the small three-man group that
would cause any
person to know the proposal would be fulfilled
by the ET. Say an
Church sincerely wanting the ET to be
their Pastor was a looming possibility. [From
another State no less,
requiring the ET to resign
from the board.] But ,
because of the censure surprisingly
being voted on, the ET, having no desire to spread the pain, chooses to
refuse to consider
any thing but to be
faithful to his being an elected
Trustee of the IMB
and Pastor of the great
Church who stands with him and has for many years. In this scenario--I again ask--who
failed to present the proposal?What you would have is a trustee who decided too much attention is being focused on him instead of the mission field, particularly at the Christmas Lottie Moon offering time, hence the offer to resign. This, instead of the censure that would create turmoil even further for all. But it doesn't play out that way. What a scenario that would be. Take it to the bank.
But, the real problem we have is A BAD POLICY. This has been true from it's inception as are the policies of private prayer language and baptism wrongly defined by the IMB/BOT which are also CENSURING prospective missionaries.
No matter one's personal view of Wade as an individual or the IMB, would you not agree that he has chosen within the frame-work of the adopted policy and is only illustrating the terrible nature of such a bad policy? Far from not abiding by the policy...he has been faithful to the policy, albeit, the concluding aspect instead of the prohibition in it which would be a violation of his conscience. By the way, we might be wise to not focus on the BOT for the censure. They were only following policy. So was Wade. Let's focus on the wrongness of the establishment of such a policy in the first place.
So the point we must ponder is the policy itself. What it boils down to is that we have a policy adopted by one of our entities that is bad and has been from it's birth. Why? because it violates a Baptist principle that MUST NEVER BE LOST, namely, the right to dissent in Baptist life whether it be the people on boards, agencies, or even missionaries on the field.
There must be freedom to register a disagreement over policies and even share differing views of lesser doctrines without fear of loss of job, reputation or assignment. It must also be the job of those in charge to show the biblical basis or at least the wisdom involved in decisions being made by the directing body. Any wise Pastor would. I think any wise CEO of a company would. Even a husband/father giving leadership to a family had better be this wise.
When true Christian character is displayed unity will not be lost just because of differences. Someone says "you know human nature..it will never work." I know we possess a Divine nature and the power of the Holy Spirit and..yes..it will take a miracle for it to happen. But that is what HE'S ABOUT after all. We are not pragmatists. We are to be principled people.
The only other way to function is BEHIND CLOSED DOORS in an attempt to control things...but in our day those doors don't remain closed and I, for one, don't believe as Christians or Baptists they ought to ever be. Let's open our doors to the LIGHT and let's speak the truth IN LOVE over every issue and every disagreement.
Let's be Christian.... Let's be what Baptists have been historically.
As I stated at the beginning of my last post, I'm a member of both families in the dispute. That post spoke of my thoughts about the Burleson family..this one speaks of my Southern Baptist family.