Thursday, May 29, 2008

THE COURAGE OF CONVICTIONS

I'm posting this for two reasons. One is the Southern Baptist Convention is coming up in a week or so and is, in my opinion, in dire need of messengers who must have the "courage of convictions" if things are ever to change in Southern Baptist life. This IS my prayer for the gathered messengers in Indianapolis.

A second reason for posting it now is because, having written this the day of Wade's resignation from the IMB and, for whatever reason, not publishing it then, and having come across it today, I believe it is a picture of living by principles or convictions that is needed by all of us, and I choose to publish it today to say "thanks" to Wade and to illustrate the title of this post.

I'm fully aware that some may question my objectivity in what I write. [Some (one) will be embarassed by it.] So be it. I will rest in the fact that in THAT day ALL true motives and purposes, yours AND mine, will be brought to light by the ONE who knows every person's heart. Until then I will continue to say what I believe to be true and pray for what I think is needed in baptist life. Having been duly warned, read now that forgotten post.


Wade,

I thought of writing this to you privately as I normally do, but decided to do it publically after reading some of the comments on the post about your resignation from the BOT of the IMB..

Courage of convictions is so lacking among leaders in our nation [including religious leaders] that many will never understand the decisions you've made now or in the past. Detractors will see this-- [resignation from the IMB]-- as a victory for their side or a lack of character on your part. To me, this simply shows they neither understand character nor the issues adequately. [But that is another issue in itself.]

Friends will perhaps see this with some relief that you won't have to continue to face the pressure that has been on your person, family, or church any longer and rejoice over that fact. Or some of those friends may see it as a setback for what is right and needed and may, feeling anger, even wonder if you have capitulated to pressure.

But people who REALLY know you, and know you well, realize that it is the same guiding principle of conscience and openness to counsel that you've excercised from the outset in dealing with the attempt to use an SBC organization to hamstring, if not remove, a duly elected leader in Southern Baptist life, that you discovered when you were first elected to the IMB/BOT.

You have faced honestly, fought for personally, and explained carefully what the issues really are. That has been a troublesome and costly journey for you at a price you've been willing to pay.

Now you face the cost of another decision based on principle. The greater problem of BECOMING the issue has awakened you to the need for this action of resigning. You have chosen this course of action carefully and prayerfully. I know this to be true.

Some will not understand. But you have NEVER wanted to become the issue. You've never allowed anyone else to become the issue and when you did feel that slipping you quickly corrected it. You're now being consistent.

Someone has said "to stop short of a calling...because of fear or because of pain... is a lack of character." You've never stopped short of your calling. Someone else has said "to go beyond a calling...because of an agenda or because of a cause...is pride." You've chosen to not go beyond your calling.

For you it is, again, based on principle and is for the good of people, and will not be understood or accepted by all as the right thing to do. But, praise God, you have been and are still being true to your calling.

You said..."I deem it better to be censured by men than to be condemned by conscience." That says it all no matter the subject being addressed.

DAD


May God grant to us all a baptism of the courage of our convictions.

Paul B.

14 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

One very COMMON thing: people who say that, if we please God, we won't have to try to please man.

One very UNCOMMON thing: people who really act like they believe it.

You know which side of the fence I'm on.

Good letter.

Paul Burleson said...

Bob,

My real regret in not being able to attend the Convention this year is not getting to see you and indulge in a good meal. Maybe in September at the Antioch Network conference.

Alyce Faulkner said...

Paul, I agree with your assessment completely.
In fact, I believe the letter of Mr Hammers resignation proves many, if not all of Wades thoughts of 'narrowing the parameters.'

You're point about Wades calling is indeed interesting, especially in light of the fact that Mackey and I have been privileged to observe him moving in that calling.
In that observation, I believe I know this one thing-
He may have resigned from the IMB, His calling is ongoing.
I look forward to what God has in store next.

P.S. Can't wait for you to come to Friendship again.

Anonymous said...

Paul,
Thanks for your comments. You have rights to be proud of your son. He has done a good work and continues to do so. He has great parents who Rhonda and I love and respect greatly. I have followed His blog as well as your blog and always come away with much to think about. Keep up the blogging and don't forget to visit Montana sometime in the future.
Ken Colson
State Music, Montana

bryan riley said...

And may our convictions come from the Holy Spirit alone.

Paul, I'm glad you wrote that publicly. To see a father lavish praise on a son is exactly the kind of thing we all need to see more. Our Heavenly Father did that - This is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased - and we lack those kinds of examples all too often.

Paul Burleson said...

Alyce, Ken and Bryan,

Thanks to all of you for the comments.

Alyce, I'll be returning in August of 08 and excited to do so.

Ken, one of these days I'll be in Montana on my MOTORCYCLE. That is one of the better states to ride in. When I get there I'll be sure and call. Supper's on me.

Bryan,
As usual good thoughts and certainly much appreciated.

Elora Danan said...

I am new to commenting on blogs and I just posted one on your wifes about her homosexual sin blog. (very well written by the way) I love your family dynamics. You come across as people who generally care about each other. I love that! I personally dont think Wade should give up on his blogs. If he enjoys doing them he should do it. However, if they are tedious or inconvenient for him then he should stop writing. What it sounds like to me is that he wants to direct his time to more eventful things...well anyhow his words and opinions will be missed.
ED

Paul Burleson said...

E D,

Thanks for stopping by.

I really think Wade tired to some degree with the need to post regularly on a blog but he would have to confirm that for it to be a fact.

I know he loves writing and is fulfilling that love at the present time. I'm giving him the next four Sundays [preaching in his place all the Sunday services] in June for him to be free to do some of that writing.

I'm thinking that at a later date he will start a blog again with perhaps a new direction and even a new format. At least I personally hope so.

Again, thanks for commenting.

Anonymous said...

Paul,
A comment to you that has nothing to do with this.
At Southcliff during a sermon on God providing for NEEDS, you made the statement, "I don't care if gas goes to $50.00 a tablespoon, God will take care of the needs of His own." Rhonda and I thought that was pretty far out at the time...sure does mean a lot more now. Thanks for the reminder that God, Indeed does meet NEEDS of His children. Your words still ring out...and thanks.
Ken Colson
Montana

Paul Burleson said...

Ken,

It's obvious that my absurd illustration used to make a point is not longer any more absurd than the point I was making. Who would have thunk it?

Paul Burleson said...

Ken,

Make that "no longer" ;)

Mark Burleson said...

Just ran across your blog via Wade Burleson, which I saw the name by someone on www.twitter.com who is at the SBC convention.

So just wanted to stop in and leave a comment! Maybe if in your area, we can meet up for a chat.

Mark Burleson
BA, OK

Lee said...

When Wade resigned from the IMB trustee board, I was disappointed. I thought that we were probably losing the only trustee we have on that board who was willing to stand with integrity on the courage of his own convictions instead of accepting the lock-step conformity that seems to be the modus operandi of virtually all of our boards. There were lots of accusations of "ego," and of a personal agenda to advance his own cause but I didn't see that. Wade probably could have been a "rising star" in the SBC had he kept silent. Stepping up on behalf of missionaries in the field and dissenting from the status quo, which brought to light some other grievances and difficulties is not the ticket to personal popularity in the SBC. What he demonstrated was a genuine love for people who are willing to sacrifice the life they could have here to serve in the field. The missionaries have certainly responded to that. And while Wade is no longer on the board, his having made Southern Baptists aware of what was going on has had an impact. There has been a response, much more in actual practice than can be admitted in public. His defense of Sheri Klouda had the same effect of making Southern Baptists aware of what had happened. She's not going to recover her position at Southwestern, but there are people who are now aware of her situation, and the generosity of people who saw the injustice is probably more practical than any settlement from Southwestern Seminary would be.

He's been a personal inspiration as well. I've been to two SBC meetings in a row now, got brave enough to make a motion last year (which resulted in the executive board's declaration at this year's convention that last year's Garner motion was correct in that the BFM 2000 is a sufficient guide for trustees in making policy) and allowed my name to be entered in nomination for First Vice President of the BGCT last October, out of the conviction that there needed to be opposition to the "establishment" candidate, knowing full well that I would most likely lose. I'm not going to sit passively anymore if I hold a conviction that the status quo is wrong.

Paul Burleson said...

Lee,

Your words are a great gift on a father's day. I believe as you do. Thanks.