Friday, April 16, 2010

AN OPEN LETTER TO E.C.

I'm writing this to you as a final word on the controversy that has arisen over your actions as a Christian leader unless something Providential transpires. I am writing in a fashion that will not involve unnecessarily any readers of my blog who do not know you or even know about you. I'm writing it knowing you may neither care that I've written it nor read what I've written. But I do write it out of a sense of obedience to my Lord and His Word.

I'm brokenhearted over what appears to be an unwillingness on your part to heed the call of many who profess to be your brothers and sisters in Christ, myself included, who have sought your admission and repentance over behavior that is unbecoming a Christian leader/minister. Whether I and others have done it right or whether we even have a right to do it are questions over which people may differ. But I believe I heard from the Lord on it after reading a friend's appeal to you.

The motives and integrity of those Christians who've questioned you on your behavior have been challenged, even condemned. It has been a price they [we] have been willing to pay. Because we believe too many of the leaders of the SBC have gone a direction that is harmful to the gospel. One day we will all know the right or the wrong of it all.

But my part, what little I've had, will end with this open letter as I said, unless something Providential happens. I have no desire to cause hurt to you or anyone else. I don't even want to see you hurt because of your own actions. But I know that consequences of one's actions do come. How and when are not mine to say, but I take no joy in hurtful consequences in any one's life.

I will not at this time reiterate the false events or false statements with which you've been charged as they have been clearly stated numerous times by numerous people. I will only say that I wish/pray for the opening of the eyes of your spirit that you may see the damage that has been done in more ways than you can possibly know. I believe only eternity can fully reveal the magnitude of that damage.

It may be, as you've stated in a public letter to your constituency, that all those who have spoken about your actions are truly "alleged Christians" only, as opposed to real I suppose, and are Kingdom destroyers. But, then, it could be they are all real Christians and have been used of God to destroy a kingdom far different than the one you've imagined. I will say again, it may take eternity to reveal which is true.

I close by simply saying that you've heard the last from me. I realize that perhaps means little to you but, for me, that is a very sad thing as I believe the treasure of heaven is, in fact, the relationships we build here. This is why it's so important for brokenness to bring recovery of relationships. [As scriptures say it.."gained a brother."] You may think, perhaps, "what relationship?" You and I have never had one. We've not met nor spoken, except for our phone conversation when all of this first came to my attention, so what consequence is there?

None perhaps, if one views relationships with this earth's perspective only. But I believe relationships are, as I said, the treasure of heaven and a lost opportunity for having one is, therefore, of eternal consequences. Together in heaven? Yes. If both are, in truth, believers. But no treasure being laid up in this potential relationship is something invaluable that is lost. As a believer I do not take that lightly.

In 1 Samuel 24:12 David chose not to harm Saul because of a heart that refrained from taking the life of a King. [Anointed one] But he did confront Saul and asked him about his sin. [Trying to kill David.] Saul was left to the Lord wisely as David closed that encounter with these words..."May the Lord judge between you and me..."

Different times. Different people. Different context. Different sins. Different stakes. But wise words with which to leave a situation. One day we will ask the One who knows the heart to reveal His judgment in this matter and we will all know reality.

For that day I am now content to wait.

In His Bonds,

Paul Burleson

12 comments:

Bob Cleveland said...

I wonder... might 1 Corinthians 11:18-19 apply to the divisions his actions/statements have brought about?

Bob Cleveland said...

It just occurred to me that this blind hog might have found a turnip.

Paul said that divisions might be needful, to show who (or which side, if you will) has God's approval. That seems to mandate that folks speak out when they see something of a serious nature which should form a point of division. That folks speak of things which the Lord might not approve.

Hmmm..... seems a lot of folks ARE "choosing up sides". Those not involved in the actual speaking out.

Perhaps the old secular adage does have a spiritual basis; "All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for enough good men to do nothing."

Paul Burleson said...

Bob,

That blind hog finds a turnip any time he speaks.

Both comments on target IMHO.

Byron said...

This is a wonderfully Christian letter, and does something I find very hard to do: give a rebuke both gentle in its tone and serious in its intent, with love for an erring brother throughout.

Christiane said...

Some thoughts on Bob's quote: ""All that is necessary for evil to triumph, is for enough good men to do nothing."

Who is affected the most when something like this happens?
The young, I think, is the answer.
So we will look to see the effects of Caner's actions, and now Liberty's cover-up on the students at Liberty.

But, you know something. There are times when the roles reverse, when the students become the leaders and stand up against what they know to be deeply wrong. And when that happens, they are admired, even by their professors who would not dare to do so, for fear . . . for fear..

Example: from BaptistLife.com in February, came an article about the exposure of Caner as a fraud. And in it, a comment was made by Tim Bonney about an incident that had occurred at MBTS.
I think is a classic example for all young people who are able to recognize what is right and take a stand for it, without fear . . . without fear . . .

Here is the quote from Tim:
" The one encounter I ever had with Patterson was at MBTS. He had come to speak in chapel and it was during the time when he and others were encouraging students to tape record professors to try to find something to get them in trouble with. So a group of us students showed up with tape recorders to tape his sermon. I remember him chastising us from the pulpit."

The courage of our young in expressing their ethical integrity always gives us hope for the future survival of Christian ethics and morality.

Paul Burleson said...

Byron,

Thank you. You have stated what was my desire for it from the moment I started typing it. That you say my desire was accomplished is satisfying to say the least.


Christine,

I remember reading that statement by Tim Bonney some time ago and was as impressed then as I am now with reading it again. Good comment all the way around. Thanks.

Aussie John said...

Paul,

What a great and gentle rebuke! "A gentle answer turns away wrath, But a harsh word stirs up anger."

It would be an extremely proud person who could miss the humbly given,truth of your words, and reply in anger, or, simply ignore. "The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly"

The contrasts in these introductory words from Proverbs 15 are so apt, "The eyes of the LORD are in every place, Watching the evil and the good.A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. A fool rejects his father's discipline(through a caring brother), But he who regards reproof is sensible"

I trust the hog in question will find the turnip so graciously offered.

Bob! Creaky joints stop us from being face to face now, but, I'm looking forward to seeing you and hearing your wise words in eternity!

Slow to speak said...

Very Well Written! Unlike much of the harsh, mean, critical, and ungodly critics of Ergun...you spoke with Grace and Compassion. There are some Blogs (they go unnamed) that will simply hear second hand news about a Christian leader and automatically call for them to be fired and forgotten. Did Galatians not say..."Gently restore them"...not Gently Beat them! You my Friend have the heart of God...how about sharing some of that with some of these other Blogs that seem to have forgotten that at the end of the day...we are all sinners saved by Grace!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I have to admit that after the e-mail sent to Wade I had to work through some very strong, negative feelings.

I have also been able to communicate by e-mail over the past few weeks with Wade and Debbie and a couple of others who have helped me with my working through my own responsibility in this whole thing. [Unbeknownst to them as we were all just being open and honest with each other.]

So I do know, without putting my words in their mouths, that this totally expresses their hearts about the whole thing as well.

[I can't say they do, will, or should say NOTHING else. That's mine alone and not the course they necessarily should/will take.]

I DO know, by the way, of some of those other sites of which you speak. I've read one or two of them.


Slow to speak,

Thanks for stopping by and for the kind words. Be sure and read my response to Aussie J because I would say the same thing in response to your good comment had I not just said it to him

Chris Ryan said...

I have to admit, I've been watching this whole thing with an amused dismay. And I think this is one of the most sane commentaries on the whole debacle.

I've admired Debbie for being unwilling to stop searching for answers. I've admired Wade for reminding us that bigger issues are in need of addressing of which this is only a symptom. I've even admired a few of the Caner supporters - the few that never said, "What's a few lies if it means the Kingdom is advanced." I think we see how not advanced the Kingdom is just as soom as those lies are revealed. But I really admire you for saying that you will leave this between him and God but hope that he will listen to God and repent. That is sage advice, probably for all of us. And the graciousness of it is second to none in this whole escapade. Kudos and thanks.

Paul Burleson said...

Chris,

You've spoken kind words for which I'm appreciative. You always give some good insight for us all when you write anything.

I do think each person's purpose, in any given situation, is unique and I'm willing to see the wisdom of others going a different direction than have I in this.

I'm reminded what Ron Dunn used to say about King David. He was a battler for Israel and not the builder of the Temple. [Though it WAS in his heart to be the builder.] Solomon became that. Ron would say that often the battler isn't the builder but both were necessary for the other to be successful.

I think some bloggers [Not being too dramatic here I hope.] are meant to be battlers for the Convention and others builders. I know which some of my family and friends are. Their purpose may clear the way for some Solomons to step onto the scene. Who knows.

I admit I'm more a builder at heart. But I am grateful to God for the Davids [men AND women] I see around me. I'll rest it there.

[Sometimes, I'll admit, I wind up a bit of a split personality in the whole thing.] ;)

Bennett Willis said...

Hello Paul, I met you in Lake Jackson, Texas, at Willow Drive Baptist Church, several years ago. I enjoyed your talking.

Here it is over four years after you wrote this posting and nothing has changed. The same people are saying the same things. Some have dropped out (for a variety of reasons) and some continue. For me it has become mostly a curiosity to see if anyone will ever change their mind. I have not observed any who have--and I hardly see how those who think that EC's behavior is inappropriate can.

It may be that the supporters of EC are in a worse shape. Perhaps they know they are wrong but they are unwilling to abandon their core group. If so, this has to be something that haunts them in silent times.

Anyhow, I think of you from time to time and wish you well in your activities.

Bennett Willis