Alethes (Truthful) Baptist

All Things Southern Baptist Considered

Answering Jeremy Roberts

Posted by Alethes (Truthful) Baptist on July 29, 2006

Ben Cole, pastor of Parkview Baptist Church in Arlington, TX, posted today a call for Tom Hatley, former Chairman of the IMB Board of Trustees, to resign in light of the comments printed in the Florida Baptist Witness. In the comments section of Cole’s post, Jeremy Roberts asked the question: “BSC – what specifically did Hatley say to cause you to want him to immediately resign?

I’m not sure if Roberts is serious or not. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I tried answer his question by posting a comment on Cole’s blog. However, Cole’s comments section is reserved for those only having Blogger accounts with Google. Since I use WordPress, I was unable to post my response. Therefore, I decided to copy and paste my response on my own blog. It is as follows:

Jeremy,

I can’t speak for Ben, but I would suspect his answer would be as follows:

Due the recently passed IMB policy forbidding trustees to speak against agreed upon policies, there was also a caveat stating that trustees could not defame the character of other trustees in public. This rule Mr. Hatley has broken. How, you might ask? With the following words:

[The first sentence belongs to the author of the article, Joni Hannigan. The words in bold belong to Mr. Hatley]

“Hatley said his primary concern about Burleson’s attendance at the trustee forums has been driven by concerns for the security of IMB workers worldwide. [Hatley said] ‘The whole purpose of the forum is so we can talk about places where we have to keep our missionary stuff secret and if you put that on blog sites, you can’t be a trustee in those meetings‘.”

There is a clear implication that Hatley is accusing Burleson of either: a) posting sensitive material that was discussed in forum which has compromised the safety of missionaries; or b) having the intention of posting sensitive content. To make such an unsubstantiated accusation is a defamation of character of another trustee in public, breaking the very rule which was passed during his time as Chairman.

I find the duplicitous nature of this act, along with Corbaley’s recent admission of ACTUALLY violating BoT confidentiality, sickening if not dealt with at the next trustee meeting (most likely in Sept.). As I said in an earlier post on my blog, the SBC is watching every step the IMB BoT makes. Their leaders are breaking the very rules they have set in place and expect bloggers, and all the SBC, to trust them. That time has passed, dear friend. I hope that answers your question of why Hatley should resign.

Charis humin,

Alethes (Truthful) Baptist

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12 Responses to “Answering Jeremy Roberts”

  1. CKS said

    Alethes–

    First, I agree that Hatley was silly to suggest that Wade Burleson has or might publish sensitive material. But I really don’t think his suggestion rises to the level of “defamation.” Objectively, I’d suggest that calling Hatley’s act “duplicitous” is far more defamatory than anything Hatley might have suggested. You’ve accused Hatley of being deliberately deceptive to such a degree that you find it actually “sickening.”

    Now, of course, if you were a board member, without any doubt you would have broken the board’s rule here. Alas, you’re not.

    Would you argue that that fact absolves you from having to refrain from defamation? Or, does the Word of God itself give us guidelines that supercede any IMB trustee rules?

    Perhaps Luke 6:37 sheds some light: “Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.”

    Or, perhaps Romans 2:1: “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.”

    At the very least, these verses should give us pause before suggesting that a fellow brother in Christ has been deliberately deceptive in order to ruin the character of another.

    Second, you suggest that Hatley must have been accusiong Burleson of either “a) posting sensitive material that was discussed in forum which has compromised the safety of missionaries” or “b) having the intention of posting sensitive content.” But, of course, your list is ungenerous and non-exhaustive, to say the least.

    It is entirely possible and plausible that Hatley was voicing concern that Burleson might unintentionally publish sensitive information via his blog. Now, I don’t think the suggestion holds much more water than your accusatory interpretation, but it seems likely to me that this was the focus of Hatley’s comments. And, by the way, I’d argue that it is much more likely that Hatley’s “that” (in the phrase “if you put that on blog sites”) refers to the forum meetings generically–not specfically to the secret missionary information as a discrete aggregate of information. Or, at any rate, I’d guess that’s what he would suggest given the chance to clarify. And I think this is, again, entirely plausible.

    CKS

  2. CKS,

    Let me address your concerns in reverse. You may be right that your interpretation of Hatley’s words is ‘entirely plausible’. I would respond that my interpretation is equally plausible. In light of the bad blood between Hatley and Burleson (mostly one-sided, as demonstrated at Hatley’s toleration of an outgoing trustee to take pot-shots at Burleson in Hatley’s last meeting as Chairman, but I digress . . .), I think the more probable interpretation would fall closer to my interpretation.

    Second, I wholeheartedly disagree with your reading that Hatley is concerned about overall content of the forum meetings (as you claim his use of the word ‘that’ would indicate). In the sentence preceding Hatley’s quote, the article’s author summarizes Hatley’s concern that the integrity of sensitive (safety) information would/could be compromised.

    Third, I never claimed my list of two choices to be exhaustive. However, I think those are two fair (and possibly the most likely) implications of his statement. You may be correct that my list is ungenerous; it was not intended to be such. If you can provide suitable alternative consequences that are more generous, I would be more than willing to entertain other interpretations.

    Fourth, your biblical admonition to be careful in making judgements is not taken lightly. I do my best to choose my words carefully. What I find sickening is (not Mr. Hatley’s words, but) if the BoT does not take action based on Mr. Hatley’s words against a fellow trustee (more on that in the next point). I apologize if my intent was not clear by the composition of my post.

    Finally, I was not intending to call Hatley’s actions duplicitous, but the BoT (as a whole) duplicitous if they choose not to act on the infractions of Hatley and Corbaley in a timely manner. I would argue that Hatley had defamed Burleson’s character by calling his trustworthiness in question, all the while never providing any corroborating evidence.

    Thank you for your thorough concern in this matter. I am not sure if you primarily play ho satan’s advocate or if you are actually defending Mr. Hatley’s words. In either case, I am grateful for your thoroughness in thought and word.

    Charis humin,
    Alethes (Truthful) Baptist

  3. Alethes –
    Yes, I was serious in my question. My entire point of asking BSC this question in the first place was because I wanted to hear exactly what Hatley said that caused him to believe Hatley should resign. The article was long, and I wasn’t sure exactly what got BSC so fired up.

  4. CKS said

    ==>Finally, I was not intending to call Hatley’s actions duplicitous, but the BoT (as a whole) duplicitous if they choose not to act on the infractions of Hatley and Corbaley in a timely manner.

    ME: But you stated that the nature of Hatley’s act was duplicitous. If the nature of his act was duplicitous, then definitionally (as acts definitionally presuppose actors) Hatley, according to your statement, is, in fact, duplicitous, i.e., intentionally deceptive. This is manifestly not the same as stating that “the BoT (as a whole) [may or may not be at some point in the future] duplicitous” depending on their future course of action regarding Corbaley and Hatley’s infractions. And do you really mean to suggest that the entire IMB BoT (as a whole) is/might be “intentionally deceptive?” I’d really like to assume that you don’t mean that.

    With regard to the BoT, the word you’re looking for, I think, is “hypocritical.” Not “duplicitous.”

    But that’s not the word you used with regard to Hatley.

    ==>If you can provide suitable alternative consequences that are more generous, I would be more than willing to entertain other interpretations.

    ME: But I already did: “It is entirely possible and plausible that Hatley was voicing concern that Burleson might unintentionally publish sensitive information via his blog.” Are you willing to entertain this one?

    ==>Second, I wholeheartedly disagree with your reading that Hatley is concerned about overall content of the forum meetings (as you claim his use of the word ‘that’ would indicate).
    ME: But why?

    ==>In the sentence preceding Hatley’s quote, the article’s author summarizes Hatley’s concern that the integrity of sensitive (safety) information would/could be compromised.

    This is not a good reason to reject my interpretation out of hand. In fact, this is rather my point. Hatley voiced concern about sensitive information that gets shared in forum meetings. Of course Hatley is voicing concern that sensitive information “could be compromised.” That’s the point of his not wishing the contents of the forum meetings to be made public via Burleson’s blog. And so I still think that my interpretation is equally plausible.

    But my interpretation has another distinct advantage over yours. It avoids placing Hatley in a negative light (and suggesting that he is intentionally deceptive), thus it places itself squarely under the biblical banner of love flown by Paul in 1 Cor 13:7: “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

    I want change in the IMB/SBC as much as you do. I just don’t want it stem in any way from accusatory/imflammatory rhetoric and actions. If this tone becomes the norm among the Younger Baptists, count me out.

    By the way, I really do wonder if you’d be so brash in your tone if there weren’t a veil of supposed anonymity between you and your readers. If you published your name here as well as your thoughts, would you post that Chairman Hatley is intentionally deceptive (despite your protest that you didn’t really mean to call him intentionally deceptive, you, in fact, did)? Or, would you be a little more charitable? Shouldn’t what one does in “private” reflect what ones does in public?

    And are you being “truthful” in all things related to this blog of yours, Alethes?

    Best to you.

    CKS

  5. Jeremy,

    Thanks for stopping by and addressing the issue. I would ask you what your thoughts on this matter might be? I noticed that Cole responded that the totality of Hatley’s behavior causes him to call for the resignation? Would you agree? Do you believe the argument I’ve laid out (Hatley crossing the acceptable boundry for trustees speaking publicly against other trustees) constitutes displinary action (not necessarily that Hatley must resign, but that the BoT not let this slide)? I look forward to your thoughts.

    Charis humin,
    Alethes (Truthful) Baptist

  6. CKS,
    After re-reading the sentence, I did accuse Hatley of being duplicitous (even when, in my response to you, I argued that “duplicitous” was reserved for the BoT). A better word, as you have suggested, would be hypocritical. Maybe I should send all posts to you for editing before I publish them 🙂

    I cannot find where I suggested that the BoT was ‘intentionally deceptive’. Could you please explain where you find me to make such a suggestion? Thanks.

    I suspect Hatley might have meant that there exists the possibility that Burleson would expose secrets, but such a concern finds no basis, in that Burleson has not yet once been proven to do so. Simply because the potential exists for something to happen does not determine its actuality. If Hatley is concerned with the potential of leaks, then why record the Executive sessions? Why keep notes on the Ex. session materials? These are certainly potential breaches of security but the likelihood is very minute. Even more, since Burleson’s blog is watched like a hawk by many, wouldn’t you expect him to be even more careful in what he posts?

    Concerning my anonymity, please read (if you have not done so already) my link entitled “Who I Am . . .” It is not my preference to be anonymous, but I feel it is the most effective way for me to express my thoughts. Your insinuation is that, if I were public, then my tone would change. I do not think that is correct. I strive (whether I succeed or not is another matter) to be as charitable as possible. If you think I have used inflamatory rhetoric, thereby negating your desire to partner with me in change, then I apologize. That was not my intent.

    Charis humin,
    Alethes (Truthful) Baptist

  7. CKS said

    ==>I cannot find where I suggested that the BoT was ‘intentionally deceptive’. Could you please explain where you find me to make such a suggestion? Thanks.

    No problem:
    ==>Finally, I was not intending to call Hatley’s actions duplicitous, but the BoT (as a whole) duplicitous

    The meaning of duplicity is, of course, “intentional deception.”

    CKS

  8. Dear A.B.,

    I enjoyed reading what you have written in these first few posts. I’m glad you moved into Blogtown. Thank you very much for linking to my humble blog in your blog role.

    I hope you will soon see your way clear to post your name. If you are posting words that you sincerely believe are based on the Bible, then God is your vindicator and defender against any criticism or persecuation.

    Love in Christ,

    Jeff

  9. Wes Kenney said

    ^^What he said…

    😉

  10. Wayne(IN HIS NAME) said

    I say AMEN AMEN AMEN

    to what Brother Jeff Richard Young said…

    A Brother in CHRIST

  11. Alethes –
    No, I don’t think the BoT should fire Tom Hatley.

  12. This seems to be, a Virginia Baptist who is not allowed an official voice in things SBC, that this is just another tit-for-tat question that continues to arise as the new SBC fights within its ranks. I support Wade in his efforts to be a difference maker, but comments like this I’m sure are made all the time. The blog is dangerous because sensitive information could be leaked, even if its unintentional.
    And this whole idea of not publicly saying anything negative about a fellow leader in any organization is such a side splitter! We can not govern what people say in this society, even if Big Brother, or in this case the SBC, doesn’t want it said. Its hard to believe that the current arguements in this organization are between men and women who have at least six years post high school education if not eight or nine years of college and graduate work. I hear arguements with more merit when I listen to my children – ages 8, 5 and 2.

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