Burleson was invited to a meeting with Carter along with other Southern Baptist pastors – Marty Duren of New Bethany Baptist Church in Buford, Ga., Benjamin Cole of Parkview Baptist Church of Arlington, Texas, and C.B. Scott of Westmont Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. The meeting was an attempt to involve as many Southern Baptists in the 2008 gathering as possible, according to Dan Malone, an attorney from El Paso, Texas, who helped facilitate the meeting.
No sooner than the news about Burleson's participation in this meeting with Carter became known, a nasty virus began to spread among the bloggers responding to one of his blog messages. The nasty virus, one which was first spotted in Missouri, is known as RM-GBAS (Roger Moran's Guilt By Association Syndrome). The RM-GBAS virus has been spreading through the Southern Baptist Convention for nigh unto 20 years. It affects Southern Baptist fundamentalists by causing them them to viciously attack all moderate Baptists as well as many fellow Southern Baptists who do not agree with their narrow theological views. Those affected by this virus assume a holier than thou attitude toward any Baptist who associates with Baptists who hold views that differ from their own.
Since Friday (May 25) those infected with RM-BGAS have been harshly attacking Wade for the message he wrote in this blog. In just two short days (Sunday evening, May 27, 10:00 p.m.) Wade's blog message has received no less than 172 responses, amounting to something close to 23,000 words, which would fill 83 pages on a standard word processor.
Wade's RM-BGAS virus-infected detractors have written a plethora of vicious comments. Here is a selection:
Josh wrote: "Whether you like it or not, the reality is that meeting with Carter, Clinton, Gore, etc. DOES give the appearance that you are sympathetic to their theological and political beliefs. ... Do we honestly think that all of a sudden this group wants our input? I have a feeling that trying to influence them is going to be akin to casting pearls before swine. Wade, I think you are being used. You are a token Southern Baptist being used to give this group credibility. In the process, you're going to LOSE credibility with your fellow Southern Baptists, and not just the Fundamentalists, as you may believe."
Jack Wrote: "However, I will say that it is wrong to be a part of this conference...not just wrong for me, but wrong. I will never join hands in the sense of Baptist Identity with Baptists that I do not and will not identify with. Now if wade and Ben Identify with them, feel that they are representative of where we as Baptists should be and are a picture of their ideal of a SBC that is balanced both theologically and ideologically…well boys...HAVE AT IT! Go ahead and hitch yourself to that wagon! But for Wade and Ben to attempt to superimpose this kind of ecumenical and inclusive spirit at any cost on the SBC may be their right...but they will be defeated. There is no doubt in my mind that this kind of 'unity at any cost' mindset will never see the light of day in the SBC."
Brad wrote: "How can we unite with Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton on issues of Social Justice, when both are supporters of abortion, which is probably the greatest injustice of our time? Remember, Bill Clinton twice vetoed a ban on partial-birth abortion, a barbaric and unjustifiable procedure. Also, why if Jimmy Carter is really trying to unite Baptists, would he bring in two people (you and Ben) that have been some of the most outspoken internal critics of the SBC. It would seem to me that he would have looked for people who are uniting voices."
Davidvf wrote: "why dont all those other baptist groups just join up with the sbc if they really want unity around these issues. i mean, sb's are already doing these things by feeding the hungry, disaster relief, digging wells for water for those who dont have any, petitioning washington concerning moral issues, starting churches, etc. so, if they want to do these things, let them join us. we're baptist. they're baptist. so, why wont they join with us to do what we're already doing?"
Randy wrote: "Has anyone learned the lessons of the Episcopal Church USA when they allowed universalists such as John Shelby Spong to be a leader of Anglicans? Are we not falling in the same trap that lead that great denomination to the graveyard?"
K. Michael wrote: "Where does the shock value end? To slap SBC messengers in the face by going to Disney the day after the vote---I am Wade, I support corporations who go out of their way to promote homosexuality. To slap the SWBTS trustees in the face by openly supporting and making a big to-do of the firing of a professor---I am Wade, I do not support the right of Seminary Presidents and trustees to run their institutions. To come to Missouri and slap us all in the face by visiting with a former MBC church removed for allignment with an ultra-liberal Baptist Followship. I am Wade, I take back my copycat Luther thesis and support the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. And finally, shame on anyone who would cozy up to these 2 democrat presidents tring to make the dem party seem more Godly. Shame on these 2 men, and all of their supporters for not preaching the truth of God's Word. Shame on them for supporting histories largest holocaust--the murder of millions of unborn babies. I am Wade, I am pro-?"
Jack wrote: "Your dillusional [sic] when it comes to this issue and I say this with as much kindness as I can muster. Wade...you say that is what he said to you (His exclusvie [sic] stance)... forgive us Wade but so what? Many have pointed to quote after quote and reference after reference...yet you will not even comment on those as if you are sticking your head in the sand and saying "I am not listening, I am not listening!" and then you claim that the opposition to this whole venture is political...you Wade insult our inteligence [sic] and in some ways cause us to question yours!"
Truth seeker wrote: "Appearances are not important but be prepared. These guys are politicos and know how to use a friendly media to send a totally false message. Can't you just see the news stories..."right wing Baptist preachers join hands and hearts with Carter and Gore ...proving that the issues of abortion, homosexuality and Arafat should not separate us". So truth takes a back seat to all the all important 'unity'. You cannot control the message this will send. You actually become part of the false message. And those who are not biblically literate have found another loophole. We are better off staying away and begging people to get into scripture for the full Counsel of God."
Anonymous wrote: "NAIVE SOUTHERN BAPTIST PASTOR OF THE YEAR" [in a land slide vote], --WADE BURLESON...."
Brian R. wrote: "Ecumenicalism usually leads to liberalism, the blurring of the essential tenants of the faith, or "going home" to Rome. Any talk about unity MUST be defined with Biblical truth being paramount. Lots of people believe in Jesus, but not everyone believes in the "true" Jesus and Jesus' message as defined by Scripture."
Anonymous wrote: "HEADLINE, the day after the 'New Baptist Covenant Meeting' in the ATLANTA CONSTIPATION and the DAILY OKLAHOMAN,:
"BURLESON meets with CARTER group: Group affirms broad belief system to not critic others' sins."
Wade will 'counter' in the media for weeks to come...but the damage has already been done.
The first headline is on A-1. The response is on B-15: A man bent to 'hob-knob' won't be dissuaded by the truth of his friends.
Greg P. wrote: "And lest we forget, liberalism is virtually never won over by conservativism. The liberals simply suck in the conservatives. Iain Murray's wonderful and tragic book "Evangelicalism Divided" demonstrates this plainly enough.My suggestion is for anyone who cherishes the word of God to stay away. May God protect through faith those who do not."
Jim P. wrote: "Let's see now the New Baptist Covenant is going to unite as us as Baptists right? We will be emphasizing the the words of Jesus when he spoke to his home town of Nazareth. "Feed the hungry" - will that involve another government program? "Care for the sick" - maybe universial health care; "welcome the stranger" - a new immigration policy; "Religious liberty, separation of church and state" - would that be the ACLU's definition or the Founding Father's definition?
I have a solution to all of this, Jimmy Carter and all the other CBFers cease their belly-aching and come back into the SBC and agree to an inerrant and infallible Word of God and then we can have some old fashion Baptist unity! Otherwise this is smoke and mirrors!I don't need a "New Baptist Covenant" to know what I am responsible for as a Christian.
And I don't need a bunch of disgruntled CBFers talking about Baptist unity. Actions speak louder than words! "
Chuck wrote: "To hear Carter tell it, though, the NewBapCov "prophetic Baptist voice" could just as well be Islamic, if not Jewish or Mormon.P.S. From your last statement, you seem to recognize that "he who is in the world" may be in Atlanta rubbing elbows with you, attempting to turn you to the left? I think you may be right."
Bart wrote: "What would I do if invited to attend or speak? I guess I have been invited to attend (indirectly through the press), but do not plan to do so, not because conscience would prevent me from doing so, but because there is only so much time, money, and energy for such things, and I plan to spend mine elsewhere."
Anonymous wrote: DINNER at the BRICKYARD says you'll be used (abused) by CARTER and the MEDIA in the closing statement (agreement) and in the papers the next day. Extricate yourself now...while you can. --PROVERBS 18:17"
Roger S. wrote: Isn't it fair to expect that a guy has to have some level of "success" before you engage him. We are going to have a new pastor at First Southern Del City, OK. He starts next week. I'll tell you for a fact: the pulpet comittee didn't just go out and find a "nice guy". They didn't find some iconic public figure who might attract attention. They chose someone WITH A TRACK RECORD OF DOING JUST THE TYPE OF TASK THAT NEEDS TO BE DONE.
Each of us needs to walk by faith -- trusting in the Lord. We need to follow leaders who are really "leaders". The role of "personalities" needs to be subordinated. "
According to one anonymous blogger, Wade might as well fold up his tent and head for the hot place. He wrote: "I don't know if you should thank God or the devil for Wade Burleson."
Strange. Strange indeed...