Blogging of confidential IMB trustee forum prompts Hatley to recommend further restriction on Burleson

ALBUQUERQUE–IMB trustee Wade Burleson of Enid, Okla., will continue to be restricted from holding committee assignments in light of a May 24 report of the Board’s Executive Committee offered by trustee chairman Thomas Hatley of Rogers, Ark. Hatley recommended that newly elected chairman John Floyd of Memphis, Tenn., continue to restrict Burleson from service on any committee, encouraging the disciplined trustee “to change his position to follow a biblical model of restoration of wounded brothers and sisters in Christ.”

The restriction is to be lifted immediately once Burleson publicly acknowledges his actions during his first year of service “have seriously eroded the confidence of his fellow trustees and that he can and will work with them in a way that will instill mutual trust” and apologizes for repeatedly questioning their motivations.

Hatley said Burleson had made a good start with a statement on his web log at expressing an apology “‘that some trustees feel broad brushed with the allegation that they were a part of a group of people out to remove Dr. Rankin,'” referring to the IMB president. “That [the apology] would be really wonderful if that were expressed in the context of the statements themselves,” Hatley suggested. He further recommended Wade offer “a verbal apology before this board and not just on the blog site which many will not access, therefore they will not benefit from receiving that apology.”

In concluding, Hatley said he had initially removed from his report concerns about Burleson breaching confidentiality until informed of posts made to the web log regarding matters discussed in a private trustee forum only days earlier. Hatley said several trustees informed him of the new development and IMB counsel confirmed the posts by Burleson.

“Because of that and other breaches of confidentiality I would recommend that our new chairman also use his prerogative to bar brother Burleson from the forums and executive sessions in the coming year because of the lack of ability to restrain himself from publishing information shared in confidence,” Hatley added.

Hatley quoted statements that appear on Burleson’s web log from four dates in December and January. He cited the Oklahoma trustee’s characterization of “‘conservatives who love the battles of decades past'” who “‘have fallen victim to a crusading mentality of blood thirst'” with recent actions of the IMB board cited as evidence of Burleson’s charge. The conclusion Burleson drew was that “‘conservative crusaders have yet to learn how to sheath the sword, and rather than cooperate with fellow conservatives in reaching the world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, they have gone after the head of Dr Jerry Rankin'” A further reference was made to Burleson’s portrayal of trustees who disagree him as having “forgotten how to minister in the power of the Spirit through prayer, humility and cooperation.”

Hatley also questioned Burleson allowing posts from contributors to the web blog that characterized trustees as “‘bigoted'” and having “‘petty self conceit.'” He quoted a Jan. 12 statement in which Burleson said of some IMB trustees, “‘They might be guilty of shortsightedness, lack of wisdom, or may simply be clueless. . . ” A few days later, Hatley noted, Burleson blogged, “‘I have shown, and will continue to show, great respect for my fellow trustees.'”

The report read by Hatley recalled that Burleson “has, beginning late last year, posted and maintained on his personal blog site a running commentary on the operations of the Board that included the repeated assertion that our recently approved policy on private prayer language and guidelines on baptism were enacted not for any legitimate purpose having to do with the effectiveness of IMB global operations, but rather as a part of a concerted action on the part of un-named trustees to embarrass and undermine our president. While expressing his opinions Brother Wade was offensive and combative toward this board.”

While having “no desire to restrict his opinions” nor insisting “he agree with the majority of this board on any issue,” Hatley said “when character is impugned and motives are judged that a spirit of mistrust emerges that can damage the ability of this body to work together.” He indicated that while Burleson felt these matters stand reconciled, Hatley told the

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