Monday, June 02, 2008

Statement Issued by Former IMB Trustees

I just added my name to the list of signatories to the statement issued today by a number of former IMB trustees expressing their opposition to the recent guideline changes related to baptism and private prayer language for potential appointees.

You can read the statement for yourself here.

I wish to make it clear, as the statement itself explains, that I "desire to express (my) unwavering support for the work of the IMB, its staff, and administration." I would also like to make clear that I consider myself to be under the authority of the Southern Baptist Convention as a whole, by way of the trustee system that has been set up to represent the will of the majority. As such, I recognize that I have a responsibility to abide by the guidelines and policies that have been established by the Board of Trustees.

I am also thankful for the opportunity to voice my loyal opposition to policies like this. I am not calling on anyone to rebel, in any way, against the lines of authority that have been set up, or to lessen, in any way, their support for the IMB.

I realize that, as an employee of the IMB, this is a bit awkward. Others who may feel the same way I do may not feel the same liberty to add their name to the statement as I have. That is completely understandable. I should make clear as well that I was not asked to add my name. I have done so on my own initiative. Also, I have already, close to the time I began this blog more than two years ago, been open about my personal opinions related to the new guidelines (see here).

I also want to add that I think it is signficant that this amount of former IMB trustees have come forward with this statement, among them two (this is a correction, as someone informed me it is not just one) former chairmen of the board. No doubt, there are others who are sympathetic with it, but who, for one reason or another, have not felt the liberty to add their names. I am confident there are also current trustees who are sympathetic with the statement. However, I understand that it would most likely be a conflict of interest for them to sign.

Of all the things that could help bring reconciliation and increased unity among the various factions of conservative Southern Baptists that have arisen in the past couple of years, I believe that a reversal of the IMB guidelines on baptism and private prayer language ranks right near the top. I am hopeful Southern Baptists "of all stripes and colors" will read this statement, and prayerfully consider the earnest plea that those who signed it are making.


Dave Miller said...

I saw your name on this (when I was signing it). I wondered if signing this was going to get you in trouble.

You are pretty vocal, and yet others say they are afraid to talk out for fear of repurcussions.

How do you get away with it?

David Rogers said...


If I ever became convinced my personal views were incompatible with those of the majority of Southern Baptists, in good conscience, I would need to look for another channel through which to serve the Lord. Thus, it is not helpful for me to believe one thing privately, and give the appearance of believing something else publicly. At the same time, as I say in the post, I am trying to do my best to do this in a way that is respectful and appropriately submissive to the authorities God has placed over me.

I have been open about these beliefs for more than 2 years now. So far, despite a few scattered remarks here and there, I have not felt my job threatened as a result of voicing my views. And, for that I am thankful. At the bottom line, though, my "job" is not just a job, but a calling. And, I trust the same God who called me to continue to provide the means for me to be able to fulfill my calling.

Wayne Smith said...


AMEN, to your answer to Dave.

Lam 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;
Lam 3:23 they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
Lam 3:24 "The LORD is my portion," says my soul, "therefore I will hope in him."
Lam 3:25 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

Wayne Smith

Camel Rider said...

Thanks for signing. I don't feel the same this point. Do you think this play out all next week in the convention or is it too quick. Where do you think it will go from here?

David Rogers said...

Camel Rider,

I don't have any inside information. I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

I know there are a lot of people like you (both m's and non-m's) who sympathize with the statement, but don't feel comfortable signing.

Anonymous said...


Just an aside - I'll bet you never again respond to a hyothetical question no matter how ridiculous.

I for one cannot believe that some are trying to totally misrepresent what you have been trying to communicate.

I have been praying for you.

Jim Champion

David Rogers said...


Thanks for your prayers. I don't want to rush to judgments regarding who may have legitimately misunderstood, and who may be intentionally misrepresenting. I do agree that what I said had the potential for being both misunderstood and misrepresented, so I probably should have been more careful with my words. In any case, what's done is done.