Introducing Wade Burleson

"The people of Christ are beginning to awaken to the abuses in the modern church. Whereas I thought it important in years past to challenge the legalism prevalent in the Southern Baptist Convention, I have become utterly convinced that the major problem in modern Christendom is authoritarianism, not legalism."

Wade Burleson

One of the great joys we have experienced here at TWW is the wonderful friendship we have established with Wade Burleson and his wife Rachelle.  Last December Dee and I traveled to Oklahoma and visited with the Burlesons for an entire weekend.  Words cannot adequately express how grateful we are for them and their wonderful Christ-centered church.

We're not sure how long Wade has been reading our posts here at TWW, but I remember when Dee and I first discovered Wade's blog.  It was in the fall of 2008, and we were becoming extremely concerned about trends we were noticing in conservative circles of Christendom.  Those topics have been thoroughly discussed here at TWW since the blog's inception in March 2009 — Neo-Calvinism, the Eternal Subordination of the Son (Jesus Christ) to the Father, complementarianism (which we call the gender gospel), etc.  Our categories section reveals our hot button issues.

I remember sending Dee an e-mail in late 2008 with a link to one of Wade's posts and stating: "I don't know anything about Wade Burleson, but I really like what he writes!"  We read Wade's blog religiously because he gave us hope.  Last month I took the time to go back through Wade's posts during that time and read the comments I left there.  I had never commented on a blog before, but I felt compelled to participate in the discussion taking place.  It should come as no surprise that Wade Burleson was the inspiration for The Wartburg Watch, although he had no idea of his tremendous impact on us until very recently.

We are extremely honored that Wade has graciously consented to our request to feature his sermons here at TWW for our readers' spiritual nourishment.  We have been highly impressed by his authenticity, and we are thrilled to share his messages with you on a weekly basis. 

Who is Wade Burleson? 

Perhaps a good place to begin in answering that question is the bio from his website, which states:

"Since 1992 Wade has been Senior Pastor of the Emmanuel Baptist Church in Enid, Oklahoma. He has previously served as the Senior Pastor of the Sheridan Road Baptist Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma (1987-1992) and the First Baptist Church of Holdenville, Oklahoma (1985-1987). Wade has served two terms as President of the Oklahoma Baptist General Convention (2004) and he currently serves on several non-profit community foundations and boards in the state of Oklahoma.

Wade has been awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters. He has also been honored by the United States Department of Justice in 1996 for his work with victim’s families at ground zero of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. He received the Distinguished Silver Star from the Tulsa Police Department during for his work investigating crimes that involved the occult in the late 1980's.

Wade is the author of several books and articles published in professional periodicals. Wade enjoys playing golf and traveling, but his greatest love is history. He is a member of the Surratt Society, a collection of authors, historians, and researchers who are experts in the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln."

Missing from his bio is Wade's brief stint as a trustee on the Southern Baptist Convention's International Missions Board — and understandably so.  It was a grim chapter in Wade's life, but it alerted him to serious problems within the SBC.  Here is an excerpt from a Christianity Today article, published February 1, 2008,  that summarizes what occurred:

"After a long battle over his blog, Wade Burleson resigned from the International Mission Board (IMB), the overseas mission wing of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC). The trustees had censured the Oklahoma pastor from involvement in four meetings, beginning this week in Gainesville, Florida.

Burleson has clashed with trustees since joining the board in mid-2005 because he has reported on board business on his blog. The Georgia Baptist Convention passed an anti-blogging resolution in November. Many trustees were angered by Burleson's harsh criticism of policies passed in 2005 that forbid missionary candidates from speaking in tongues and require them to be baptized in an SBC church. Burleson and IMB trustee chairman John Floyd spoke with Christianity Today about his resignation."

It was approximately seven months later that Wade Burleson first came onto our radar screen.  Clearly, he is a man of conviction, and we greatly respect his honesty and transparency.  If the SBC had listened to godly men like Wade, perhaps the denomination wouldn't be in such a downward spiral.  Wade documented his experiences in his startling book Hardball Religion

I could share so much more about Wade Burleson, but Dee and I believe one of the best ways to demonstrate his character is to highlight a post he wrote several years ago entitled: Lessons in Dealing with a Disgruntled Member

Dee used an excerpt from Wade's post to spotlight the kind of pastor who truly cares for God's flock.  She wrote:

"I am taking a chance that Wade will not mind me reprinting part of his post here. You can read the full post at the link previously provided. Once again, this post caused me to tear up in thanks that such a pastor is out there ministering, not merely preaching (which he also does extremely well)."

What follows is the excerpt from Wade's personal testimony as pastor at Emmanuel that Dee included in her blog post:

“Secret Meetings and Secret Complaints

There was man at Emmanuel who was not happy with the hiring of a particular staff member. He felt that the staff member displayed personal qualities unbecoming of a pastor (i.e. "impatience," "sarcasm," etc . . .), and the disgruntled member and his wife began to meet with three or four other families to "pray" for this staff member and our church. During the meetings which were held at the home of the dissatisfied member, other issues began to be discussed, issues involving me personally. The leader of the group felt that the hiring of this staff member reflected poorly on my pastoral leadership. Others began to question my salary and ask if the Senior Pastor was making too much money. A couple of the church members had heard that I was a member of the local Country Club and wondered if the church gave me that benefit, etc . . . They decided that they would meet on a regular basis, invite others to join them, and pray for our church.

Eventually someone told me about the meetings. Immediately, there was a mental decision that I had to make. Were these disgruntled members who were questioning my decisions, salary and benefits, and other matters as important to the Lord's kingdom as those church members who express appreciation for my pastoral leadership? I gave an immediate "yes" to that question in my mind.

As a result, I had to ask myself a second question: How can I affirm the people who were secretly meeting and how can I encourage them spiritually, while at the same time not reacting defensively to either their attitude or their questions? The person who had told me about the meetings had been invited himself to attend, and he knew that the group was going to ask others to come and be a part the following Friday. There was obviously an intentional effort to make the dissident group larger. Yet, I had to settle in my mind and heart that my goal could never be to prevent, control or dominate these people in any form or fashion. Jesus came to set people free, and that means disgruntled church members should be free to dissent and disagree with their pastor – and tell others of it! And, I should be free to accept it as from the Lord. It's a little like King David when Shemei was cursing him and Abishai, David's servant said, "Shall I go cut that dead dog's head off?" King David said, "Let him alone. God has bidden him to speak." As pastor, I see every event, even the difficult ones, as God refining my character.

Compassion, not Confrontation

I decided the best way to approach the disgruntled member was to personally contact him and let him know that I knew of the meetings, and that I affirmed all the members' rights to participate. Further, I determined that I would volunteer to meet with them, if they desired, to try to answer all questions they felt important. I also wanted to express my appreciation for their prayers for our church.

And that is what I did. Nobody else was involved. Just me. I expressed to the disgruntled member all of the above and told him I would be more than happy to attend the next meeting and answer any and all questions if he would like, believing that it is always best to communicate directly when there are differences or disagreements.

The disgruntled church member was a little taken aback. Later he told me that he was most surprised at my affirmation that he and the group had every right to meet. He also was taken aback at my expressions of love for him, especially knowing that I knew he was attempting to lead a growing group of dissidents to question my leadership. He would later tell me that this knowledge did not diminish the love and grace I displayed for him personally, and that this was what most impressed him.

Transparency, not Terseness

During our conversation I sought to answer any and all questions he had. We talked about the hiring of the staff member and I explained the process under which he was hired and assured him that any concerns he might have about a pastor at Emmanuel not relating with church members in a gracious manner was an important concern. I shared with him how that particular issue had already been addressed with the staff member in question and how it would continue to be addressed if needed. We then discussed my salary. Our church places all salaries into one lump sum when the budget is presented, and Emmanuel's Finance Committee had made this a practice long before I came as pastor. My preference would be that all salaries be broken out individually within the annual budget, but I have been overruled by the Finance Committee members. However, it is church policy, and a wise one at that, that ANY member who desires to know the salaries of staff members, including the pastor, only has to ask. He demurred and said he really didn't wish to know, but I told him my salary and benefits anyway, believing it was an important question for him to have answered and he was just too embarrassed to ask me.

Then we talked about my membership at the Country Club. I told him that the church does pay the $300 monthly dues, but I pay all my expenses, including meals and guest fees. I also explained that I knew in Enid that some might view my membership at the Country Club as exclusive, but we had a very particular reason for the membership – the people there need Christ as much as the poor. I related how I had been able to build multiple relationships through meeting peolpe at Oakwood Country Club, and had been asked by many non-churched Enidites to perform funerals for family members, had been able to lead several to faith in Christ, and through my contacts, many Christian family members had become members of Emmanuel. I also told him I loved the golf course (a Perry Maxwell course, no less!).

He laughed a little with me and we discussed a few more issues, and I spent about an hour talking with him about any and all his concerns. I ended the conversation in this manner:

"I may have not been able to answer your questions completely, and even if I have, you still may not agree with my decision making. Please know that your disagreement with the pastor of Emmanuel is not only all right, it is healthy. The main thing you should know is that you have every right to question me, and even if you think I make too much money, shouldn't be a member of the Country Club, or shouldn't have led the Personnel Committee to hire a particular staff member, our disagreement will never be, in any form or fashion, an impediment to me loving you and being a pastor to you. Feel free to relay what we have discussed to those you are meeting with, and know that you have my complete support in continuing to meet. You can invite anyone and everyone you desire to join you, and if you have more questions, I will be happy to come meet with you. If, after evaluation, you feel you can't worship with us because of a disagreement, please know that you have our blessing and full support to join another sister church and we will recommend you with Christian love and grace. Bottom line, I'm never above questioning, nor are you are ever beyond my desire to see our mutual walk with Christ strengthened."

The man teared up a bit. Thanked me for visiting with him, and we parted.

When Leadership Cares About People

Two weeks later, in church, he stopped me. He thanked me for taking the time to contact him, expressing his sorrow he had not contacted me before he had talked with others. He thanked me for answering his questions and addressing his concerns and said that after listening to me preach for 15 years he should have known that I would have responded with grace and transparency to any questions he had. He then expressed his love for me and mentioned how much he respected me. He said the group was no longer meeting, and all of them voiced at their last meeting that they wanted their families to be a part of a church where leaders affirmed them, even when they disagreed.

To this day, this man and the three or four families that met with him those few times remain faithful members of Emmanuel.”

Pastors like Wade Burleson are rare, and we are so honored to be featuring his messages at our EChurch@Wartburg beginning this weekend.  We conclude with a shout out to all of you from Wade.  We pray he will touch you wherever you are in your walk with Christ.

"My name is Wade Burleson. Rachelle, my wife of thirty years, and I are friends of Dee and Wanda (aka Deb) at The Wartburg Watch. We are participating in the formation of EChurch@Wartburg because we have a heart for people who love Christ but have been hurt by the church. Before you decide whether to watch my weekly messages, it is only fair that I tell you a few things about myself.

First, each week you will be joining the fourth Sunday morning worship service of the church I serve in Enid, Oklahoma. I realize that the visual of me wearing a suit and standing on a platform may trigger some bad memories. If I could, I'd be casual and relaxed sitting across a coffee table from you and we'd simply talk about Jesus, life, and the Scriptures. Try to ignore the venue. If it helps, grab a cup of coffee or a glass of tea and relax as you listen. I will personally welcome you and all the EChurch viewers at the beginning of this video because you are important to us. Our church believes that people who have been burned by organized religion and have either opted out of going to church or are in transition are as important to Christ as faithful, dedicated members of any organized church. We would like to play just a small role in your healing process as you reorient to what is really important in your walk of faith.

Second, I am not a professional entertainer. I won't use props or gimmicks to get you to like either the message or myself. May we find our source of life in Jesus Christ. I will go verse by verse through the Scriptures and talk of Him. Feel free to disagree with me! Yell and scream at what I'm saying if you feel like it! I am nobody's spiritual authority, nor do I have some special insight into spiritual things. I am just an ordinary Jesus-lover who believes the Truth will set you free. If you make it through the 30 minute message and come away knowing a little more about Christ and find Him a tad more satisfying, then I will have succeeded.

Third, we at EChurch@Wartburg are NOT trying to control you, fix you, change you, or get something from you. We just want you to know that somebody really does care for you. We are like you — we love Christ and His Word, but we believe the church and organized religion have a tendency to screw things up! If at some point you can enter into personal relationships with people in your area who share a love for Christ, we want to encourage you to develop those relationships! Until then, we welcome you to EChurch@Wartburg for some spiritual refreshment and encouragement."

Lydia's Corner:  Isaiah 60:1-62:5    Philippians 1:27-2:18    Psalm 72:1-20    Proverbs 24:11-12


Introducing Wade Burleson — 56 Comments

  1. Dee,

    I have successfully re-embedded Wade’s sermon. ๐Ÿ™‚ Looking forward to posting it tomorrow afternoon.

  2. E church or not, he is still a part of the Southern Baptist Convention and that is NOT good!

    I will NOT be listening or watching. If Wade really wants to make a statement, take his church and get away from the Baptist denomination. It will only be then that I and many many thousands of others take him serious about rebuking what is know know to many millions as a failing and dying group of men followers.

    The reason many ministers, including your man WADE, stay within this evil denomination nowadays is for the great “packages and benefits” setup for themselves and their families as a member of X Y Z Baptist church.

    So Wade, if your serious about Christ, have faith and trust in the GOD you preach to all us “stinkin sinners” and move away from the SBC!

    Revoke your ties to the S B C and the we will entertain your mission.

  3. X Baptist,

    I can totally understand your sentiments. Please don’t miss the motivation for our EChurch. We are primarily trying to reach the disenfranchised who are too afraid to darken the door of the organized church. Barna’s stats reveal this number is on the rise.

  4. Eagle,

    You and Wade could probably spend hours engaged in a conversation about history. He has written a number of posts that deal with various topics related to history. You should check them out. He has also written some historically based books.


    I am still a TWW fan and supporter, but Mr. Burleson strikes me as a wannabe political commentator with Gary DeMar/Al Mohler-sized ambition.

    Burleson is an avid reader of the Puritans.

    And an avowed Fundamentalist. Read it here, in his own words.

    Burleson seemed quite content climbing the ladder of the increasingly Calvinistic SBC. I think he understands that leadership by personality cult is unsustainable outside of North Korea, and that the gray old Politburo did just fine long after Stalin was gone.

    But authoritarianism by committee is still authoritarianism. Just ask any Refugee from the PCA.

    Burleson is very serious about blogging, and I surmise is that he wants to rapidly double his numbers by going after your audience.

    Ya’ll are just too good for him.


  6. HowDee,

    “For unto us the TWW Blog was born, now unto us a pastor is given…”

    Wade, there is a grape Ne-hi with your name on it…

    Come sit a spell.

    Sopy ;~)

  7. Kent,

    One of the keys of any healthy relationship is drawing boundaries. A boundary that I draw is refusing to express the motivation of another person since I am not God and do not know his or her inner motives. Likewise, I draw a line regarding others assuming that they know my motivation, particularly if I have not revealed it, or in this case, revealed a motive different than the one you suggest. The ladies have graciously revealed my stated motivation for EChurch@Wartburg in this post. I have zero problem with you declaring you FEEL my motivation is different than the one stated. Then it becomes a matter of why you feel you cannot trust a pastor when he reveals his motivation. Most likely it is because you have lost trust in pastors. I understand. I may not be the one God uses to help restore your trust in pastors and the church, but I am going to give it a try. Thanks for commenting. I do hope you will watch this week’s message and see if your feelings linger. They might, and that is okay. At least we will be addressing the real issue.

  8. Wade,


    I wanted to thank you for directing readers to the speech by Eric Metaxas at the National Prayer Breakfast. It was riveting and very convicting. Especially the part where he encourages us to respond with the love of Jesus to those on the other side of the isle. This line really struck me, “when you begin to see Jesus in your enemy, you are looking at them through God’s eye.”

    I look forward to your contribution here and thanks again to Deb & Dee for their heart to help those hurt by the church.

  9. Kent Johnson,

    I am grateful that you support our efforts here at TWW, but I’m struggling with your comment about Wade Burleson. Even if I didn’t know Wade personally, I would have a problem with some of your claims.

    First of all, your statement: “Burleson seemed quite content climbing the ladder of the increasingly Calvinistic SBC” leads me to believe that you haven’t looked closely at what is going on in the SBC. Although Wade Burleson is Calvinistic in his soteriology, he is not aligned with Calvinists like Al Mohler. How do I know that? Because Wade openly rejects the complementarianism that Mohler & Co. embrace. There is a staggering amount of evidence in his writings that proves this – Sheri Klouda is a good starting point.

    Secondly, your characterization of Wade as “a wannabe political commentator” is unfounded. Where is the evidence of this claim?

    Thirdly, why is having an interest in the classical works of the Puritans, as Wade described on his eblogger page, so terribly offensive?

    My bottom line response to you is I hope you’ll give Wade Burleson a chance. You might be pleasantly surprised. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. X Baptist
    There are many pastors who choose to stay inside of denominations with the hope of effecting change. Billy Grahams brother in law did the same in the Presbyterian church. We all know that the SBC has done some wrong things. However, they are sinners just like the rest of us. Wade loves history and has long ties to this group.

    Perhaps think about it this way. What takes more courage? To stay with a group that has been difficult and try to change or to leave and start again. i think their are people on both sides of the debate. Remember, you are on this blog and you are criticizing a pastor and are still allowed to comment. How many pastors are man enough to stand up to that?

  11. Kent

    You will find yourself proved wrong about Wade as time goes on. He is making stands that are not popular with either the Reformed Baptists or the non-Reformed crowds.

    Wade Burleson is his own man and perhaps you will grow to understand why we respect him. As I said to another commenter, try posting your comment on Reformed or SBC blogs and see how far you get. He is a good man and has an open heart.

    Also, in some respects, going with the original definition of the word, I am a fundamentalist in that I ascribe to the fundamentals of the faith.

  12. Deb,

    That is my very favorite part of Emmanuel’s Pageant. I want to post that around Easter. I had never heard it before.

  13. I will NOT be listening or watching. If Wade really wants to make a statement, take his church and get away from the Baptist denomination. It will only be then that I and many many thousands of others take him serious about rebuking what is know know to many millions as a failing and dying group of men followers. — X Baptist

    Substitute “Catholic” for “Baptist” and you can hear almost these exact words (with a lot more vitriol) from a lot of Baptist or Calvary Chapel pulpits.

  14. Thanks for introducing Wade to TWW. I’ve been a fan of both blogs for several years. I can say with complete certainty that if I would have had a pastoral mentor like Wade Burleson, I would probably still be a pastor today. My failure to handle the inner turmoil that happened as a result of criticism and conflict in the church I pastored was one of the issues that has driven me away from the ministry and the organized church.

    Wade’s wisdom and his humility are the characteristics that are vital for Christ-centered leadership and is exactly what the church needs today.

  15. HUG,

    I’m also in trouble with X Baptist because my husband and I have decided not to abandon the SBC, even though we strongly disagree with their “misogynistic trajectory”.

  16. Brian,

    I know Wade will be greatly encouraged by your comment. Thanks so much for your honesty and transparency. It’s men like you whom we need to pastor our churches — those who can recognize their weaknesses and take steps to address them.

  17. xbaptist: I don’t know if my comment will help or hinder, but I’m going to get more personal with you than I ever have with anyone except certain ones at church which would include Wade Burleson who is my minister and has been since he came to Emmanuel shortly after my family did.

    I wasn’t just hurt by church, I was hammered, ate up, spit out and hammered again. I am from an Independent Baptist church background complete with Bob Jones University, Lester Roloff(who was a guest in our home a few times when I was a teen) and Calvary Baptist College, church. I loved God, Christ, with all my heart but I disagreed with so much I was being taught and that included on women. I was pretty hammered for that and for being engaged to a divorced man who was Mennonite. I had all the strikes against me. I was pretty beat up by the time I came to Emmanuel. It showed too. I was a mess.

    I saw people who showed love to me, even during my times of attempting to articulate my hurt which came across as anger, frustration, intolerance. It was just plain deep hurt manifesting as all those things. I had people who listened to me, including Wade Burleson, his wife Rachelle and another special, special minister at Emmanuel by the name of Ted Kuschel. I was given a book by Wade on spiritual abuse written by his friend Jeff VanVonduren and David Johnson entitled “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse”. It was the first time I had ever read something that described so much of what I had been through. That was the beginning of my healing and my trust of the church and the pastors at Emmanuel. I have not looked back.

    Please, give this a chance although I understand your hesitance. I was hesitant too, but my husband was so sure this was the right church to go to, I listened. I heard sermons that pointed me to studying the Bible and wanting to know more about Christ, God. I saw passages I had never saw or heard in the many years of my going to church. I received more love and still do than I have even been given by anyone besides my husband, kids, and a few close friends. It wasn’t over night but I did heal completely. No more pain, no more anxiety attacks, and my outbursts of pain are practically gone. I am becoming a strong, healthy, Christian woman who is not afraid to follow where I believe God leads me either to do something impossible or not do something. I am able to use my gifts in ways I had no idea I could do. I had no idea my gifts until Emmanuel and the people, ministers, including Wade, guiding me to find my gifts. I am soaring as a Christian and as a woman. I breathe deeper than I ever have before.

    Sorry for the length, but I so want this for those who have been hurt. I do pray for all of you. Our church is full of people who have also been where you are now. I would say 80% or more are just like you xbaptist and just like me. They would tell you the same thing I am telling you, I can say this having known many of them for twenty years. Trust is not something I am asking from you or anyone,I know that is an impossibility right now. But try this remedy, if it doesn’t work, say it doesn’t work and it’s OK. Say you hate it and it’s OK. Be and feel where you are now and it’s OK. Freedom is the name of the game here. You and others are free to be but I would ask you to get your Bibles out and just see if what you are hearing is true.

    Please give us, give Wade a chance to love you and give you water if you so choose.

  18. “I had never saw” Haha Oh wow. That should be I had never seen. And no I am not the Deb who made the comments on Danny Aiken’s post either. I am so laughing, something I loved to do before the hammering, and yet something I rarely did before attending Emmanuel. Now I laugh a lot.

  19. Debbie,

    Great to hear from you! Dee and I have put the EChurch in God’s hands. We are merely His servants.

    Thanks for sharing your powerful testimony.

  20. Quick question: as I mentioned on another thread, my wife and I are also part of the “walking wounded”, but we aren’t Baptists.

    We were both saved during the height of the Jesus Movement in the early seventies, and over the years have attended, and been part of, full-gospel churches, which means we’ve sat under–and been blessed by–many Godly women teachers and pastors.

    Would we be welcomed? Thanks.

  21. John
    Welcomed many times!!! This is blog written by women. Neither of us toes the complementarian line although those that do are welcome as well. Wade holds to a different view on women as well which does not endear him to certain theologians. This EChurch will major on the majors and minor on the minors. It should be a place that those of us who differ on secondary issues can show the world that unity is still possible. We’ll see- from what I can tell this exact sort of thing has not been done before.

  22. Just the story of Wade THINKING THROUGH his reaction and how to love this person who was disgruntled and being there for his questions…made me tear up. I fight to do this for my children (not be reactive), and I wonder if we’re setting them up for failure in this impatient culture that I see…

    Is there a line though? When is it too much questions? Too many have their own “just get over it already” line and call it biblical.

    I am tentative, but look forward to seeing what comes of this…

  23. Brian

    If more people had been in such a grace filled atmosphere, I think the church universal would have benefitted. Instead, we are often stuck with hyper-authoritarian pastors who use the ministry to shore up insecure and fragile egos.

  24. John Robinson,

    Welcome to TWW! We are so glad you have joined us, and I think you will feel very comfortable here. I enjoyed reading your bio. Perhaps you could give us a few pointers on our writing. ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Debbie
    Are you trying to make my cry? Thank you for being so vulnerable and transparent. I know it will help others.

  26. X Baptist,

    If you were reading the post closely, the quote you cited was taken straight out of the Christianity Today article. Your beef should be with the reporter.

    Dee and I had lunch with one of the individuals whom the GBC tried to silence, so we know the inside scoop.

    Could you please elaborate on ‘man followers’ and “do not get off track please”?

  27. X Baptist,

    Let me be crystal clear – we approached Wade about this new ministry. It was solely our idea to post his sermons.

    I don’t understand why you have such a problem with him. I have been listening to Wade for quite a while, and Dee and I believe his messages will be an encouragement to those who have been disenfranchised by the church. I am sorry that you don’t approve, but if you read through the comments under EChurch@Wartburg, you will see that Wade has been warmly received by those who listened to his message.

  28. HowDee YaAll,ย 

    X Baptist,ย 

    You said: “Wade being allowed to post โ€ church โ€ on here is seen to many as only more of โ€œWade Burleson Marketingโ€ and uplifting of individuality vs Christ.”

    Excuse me?ย 

    You are asking about Wade’s motivation?

    What aboutz yourz fella?


    Wade’s message today encouraged the disenfranchised.

    X Baptist, has your ‘comments’ disenfranchised the encouragement?


    You forgot to ‘pull’ the pin…

    ย ย  ย โ€œToo bad you can’t buy a voodoo globe so that you could make the earth spin real fast and freak everybody out.โ€
    ย -Jack Handy

    Sopy ;~)
    Barbra Streisand – “Don’t Rain On My Parade”

  29. X Baptist –

    As I was reading your comments I couldn’t help noticing that you seem to know Wade’s intentions or motivations for posting his sermons here. Are you proposing to be the Holy Spirit? Most people who post here are past pastor worship and, if anything, are going to be speak freely about what Wade shares. For that matter, Wade may be surprised at what some share, but I believe God will use it all for good.

    Why are you so worried about what “might” happen here? Can you not trust God with the outcome? You are clearly concerned ๐Ÿ™‚

  30. Wanda,

    X-Baptist says, “You should NOT promote one man when there are others who are qualified within and outside the Baptist denomination.”

    To whatever extent the EChurch@Wartburg is a promotion of me, I would wholeheartedly agree with X-Baptist’s sentiments. However, there is a balance between wanting to introduce me to listeners and ‘promoting’ me. I know your desire is simply to introduce. Since we all have agreed that there is no expectation on EChurch@Wartburg, and that even after one week, if we feel the Spirit should lead us to stop it, we will have done precisely what we felt led by Him to do.

    I LOVE the Internet! It gives people like X-Baptist room to express his opinions and critical assessments about Christian ministry!! We should listen and be convinced within ourselves that what we are doing is of the Lord. I certainly feel in my heart my desire is to help others, not promote myself, but I can sure understand X-Baptist’s sentiments.

    The only way to prove we really desire to help people is to say very little about me in the future and just keep on keeping on promoting Christ. That will thrill me to no end!!


  31. Wade,

    Perhaps it bothers X Baptist that I did an entire post introducing you. I felt such an introduction was both necessary and appropriate since we were planning to offer your messages to anyone who cares to listen to them. It’s strictly a voluntary activity. No one is forced to do anything here!

  32. Deb,

    “It’s strictly a voluntary activity. No one is forced to do anything here.”


    X-Baptists posts don’t bother me. I credit the nearly six years of experience on the Internet listening to critics. I am always reminded of the response David gave to Abishai about the curses thrown down by Shemei. “Leave him alone. God hath bidden him to speak.”


  33. Wade,
    Thanks for responding.
    I apologize for my hostile introductory tone. Unlike the real Gary DeMar, you do seem interested in what I have to say, so I’ll be glad to share with you my motivation.
    It is not the “lost trust in pastors” that you presume.
    I came to TWW not as a victim, but as a fighter against neo-Calvinist extremism that has taken the minds of some of my best friends and that is aggressively recruiting in my neighborhood right now.
    My characterization of you as a “wannabe political commentator” was a first impression based largely on your blog, which that day had The National Prayer Breakfast, Woodrow Wilson, and Fob James on the front page.
    You heaped praise for the unprecedented political dirty trick that Eric Metaxas pulled at the National Prayer Breakfast.
    Also on your front page was the piece about Woodrow Wilson’s supposed distribution of Bibles to World War I troops,a semi-accurate telling of U.S history worthy of David Barton or RJ Rushdoony:

    1)The books weren’t Bibles, but New Testaments.
    2)The Bible printing and distribution effort had been initiated by state Bible Societies and was continued by other Christian charities like YMCA.
    3)To say “President Wilson instructed that Bibles be given to every American soldier” implies that this might have been an Executive Order funded by taxpayer dollars. That does not appear to be the case.
    4)The President “instructed” the doughboys to read the Testament with the words “I beg that you will read it.” He signed his message simply, “Woodrow Wilson.” This was presented an order from the Commander in Chief.

    >>In December 1917, the popular magazine Ladies Home Journal published a full-page article about The Pocket Testament League. This article included a request to support the League’s efforts to supply New Testaments to the troops overseas.<<

    Finally, on the same page, a mention of an article by my "new friend, semi-retired lawyer Fob James," without mention that Mr James is a former Governor of Alabama whose support for Judge Roy Moore, opposition to established science, and support for teacher-led school prayer have made him the darling of that benighted state's Religious Right.

    I'll take it from Deb and Dee that there's more to you than meets the eye, Wade. I'm glad you make them happy. Call me jealous, but I don't want you to distract them from a blog that has played a vital role in slowing down a very toxic movement.

    Those friends I lost to Calvinist extremism were taken by Don Hoke, a major player in the founding of the New Religious Right, who pastored a church a stone's throw from my high school in Knoxville. It was Hoke who steered Cedar Springs Presbyterian Church into the reactionary PCA of Gary North, Gary DeMar, and D James Kennedy.

    Twenty years after Don Hoke stepped down from the pulpit, alumni of his Sunday School are well-represented at franchises of McCalvin sects like Acts 29 Network, Sovereign Grace Ministries, and The Gospel Coalition.

    Wade, I leave you in peace.
    I really have no interest in an internet church, nor in tearing down what you are trying to do here.
    I hope your motives are good. I'm sure you foresee the same pitfalls I do, and I hope you avoid them. Computers are force multipliers for both Good and Evil.

    Its way too early in the game to identify you as one of "the bad guys". I would prefer to use my time using what I learn on TWW to save a few precious young minds here in East Tennessee from the Calvinistas.

    Once again, I mainly want to see the focus and integrity of Deb and Dee's work continue.

    I didn't plan to write that much, but thank you for stimulating my thoughts. If Ben Franklin and George Whitefield could be friends, maybe there's hope for us.


  34. Kent Johnson,

    I appreciate your concerns about Wade Burleson, but he is definitely our ally. I am not going to defend him in this forum because I’d prefer for our readers to come to that conclusion on their own. All I ask is that you give him a chance.

    Let me assure you that Dee and I are becoming even more focused on the toxic faith that is so prevalent in 21st century Christendom. We promise that our focus will NOT change.

  35. Kent Johnson,

    Good, beneficial words to me. I receive them in the same spirit in which they are given.

    Thanks for being concerned for the kingdom in general and me in specific. The Lord’s continued richest blessings to you and your family.


  36. Interesting posts, here. I have no opinion on Pastor Wade. But I feel led to say the following:

    I am not a part of any church, organization or denomination, anymore, and I don’t find anyone who represents one to be much of a credible source for “releasing the KINGDOM ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN.” How can one serve God AND the traditions of man? I do, however, remain teachable. Yes I am suspicious, and with good reason. I live on the OTHER COAST (West) and the stench of what “passes” for “Christ’s church” is in need of a proper decontamination, and a sweet fragrant breeze of Holy Spirit fire. Hallelujah. Many HAVE awakened from their religious comas. As usual, the enemy overplays his hand. Eventually, he uses God’s people to offend and abuse one time too many. The Pastor goes down in flames, the church splits, and the devil chalks up another one.

    There is a mass exodus happening in what we “know to be” The Christian Church. WHY? The religious spirit keeps re-marketing and re-manifesting itself as something “new and improved.” But it’s still the same legalism, oppression, control and deceit. And people are figuring it out – It’s ISN’T OF GOD. It IS FROM THE PIT OF HELL.

    Perhaps I am “chasing windmills” here, but it has become a spiritual QUEST of mine to take BACK MY LORD AND SAVIOR who’s NAME has been hijacked for mass marketing “Xtian” media and political agendas, and cultivate an authentic JESUS CULTURE. The test of it is simple, “WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS…THERE IS LIBERTY.”

    The fact is, all too often, the “disgruntled member,” as you put it, HAS, in fact, been spiritually abused under the guise of church discipline, or been called “disgruntled” and in need of healing from “roots of bitterness.” Arrogantly, and all too often, leadership never thinks THEY are the problem. I see spiritual abuse happen all the time when “I’ll PRAY FOR YOU!” spoken in anger is merely a CURSE in disguise. Secret prayer meetings, whether by the elders and pastors, or a small group praying out of “concern” in their home, which contain anything but BLESSING and BENEVOLENCE are invalid, rebellious, and have served to reduce The Christian Church to a den of cannibals, operating in nothing more than WITCHCRAFT. It needs to stop. NO ONE has it ALL right and God is not in anyone’s back pocket. I am thankful the LORD can and obviously DOES “VETO” stupid prayers.

    I believe the Lord is “on this.” Proof of that is the stirring hearts of his “disgruntled masses” crying out “ABBA, FATHER…GIVE US THE AUTHENTIC YOU!” He’s watching. What ever is done for selfish ambition and greed, bows to the god called mammon. I am not the Holy Spirit. I am not interested in inspecting your fruit. But I AM given discernment to know what is FALSE and TRUE – what is GOOD AND EVIL. That’s the privilege and, dare I say it, DUTY of every spirit filled believer.

    The watchmen are on the wall, and there is going to be an even greater awakening. We aren’t falling asleep on our watch. No longer are we zombies doing things out of “religious routine, shame or guilt.” I hold up Pastors in prayer. They NEED our help. God is exposing the abusers. We don’t have to fret about it. He’s not wringing his hands “hoping we get it all right.” Those who claim to be shepherds better take notice that the Lord is holding them to a higher standard. I realize this “Pastor business” is lucrative, now, with mega-churches and multimedia opportunities, but more shepherding needs to be done. Teaching is important, but it isn’t the same as shepherding. Shepherds look out for the flock…they don’t throw them to the wolves.

    I don’t know if there is a “bad report” to be given here. But if there is, I won’t let people and the LORD hear it from ME. This battle isn’t won by gossip, accusations and back biting. It’s won on our knees, friends. We can corporately REPENT for how we have reduced the GOSPEL OF POWER to a Gospel of “feel good about you” words,followed by some groovy music and a “nice ladies tea.” I can hold “church” in a laundromat, but if JESUS isn’t represented, or present, then who cares? I can put my boots in the over too, but that doesn’t make them biscuits. It’s become a NUMBERS GAME. We SHOULD be able to smell the rotting flesh and leave it alone. We don’t have to BEAT the enemy. We only have to RESIST him, and HE WILL FLEE.

    There IS a remnant of intercessors, not praying AGAINST anyone, but rather, praying FOR a Spirit of Revelation and Wisdom to fall on God’s people, and break off the religious DEMONIC PRINCIPALITY called “RELIGION.” I hope you “watchmen” will continue to agree, in prayer, for THAT. Do I think there is a demon around avery corner? No. Butif there is, it won’t be difficult to discern, if we’re following close to our Lord and Rabbi. We can actually ENJOY the ABUNDANT LIFE as BIG BROTHER JESUS kicks that which is not of Him to the curb.

    Thanks for hearing me out.


    Rainbo – Warrior Princess of the MOST HIGH KING

  37. Just observing a bit the various reactions to Wade remaining in the SBC, or the reactions to ‘organized church’ in general. It reminds me a great deal of the kind of talk that seemed to permeate discussion a a few house churches I attended in my late teens and early 20’s. I eventually concluded that such lines of thought, while they might sound reasonable to a certain extent, are dead ends themseleves. Indeed, I never experienced more turmoil, more rancor, nor more splits and factions that what I observed in the house churches I managed to cross paths with.

    In the end it seems to me that it really does no matter how you set up a church, you will have de facto leaders, de facto followers. And the de facto leaders will be human and make mistakes or be unyielding or abusive with their authority. This is, in fact, simply sin in action. It will, as Paul aptly notes in Romans, take that which is good and make it become evil (Paul references the Law).

    Also observing the history of the Reformation, we have some who rise up and directly challenge church authority and split off from it (like Luther), and others who try to work for change from within (Erasmus or the (very) early Luther). Both men were in fact Godly men, both in fact had their flaws. Both suffered greatly for the Lord and for their Stance against what were at the time the massive flaws manifesting in the institutional church of the day.

    So I would not say that just because Wade stays within the SBC and works for real change that this means he is of the same cloth as others in the SBC that abuse power or promote extreme forms of calvinism and other doctrines. Indeed, if we look at history, Erasmus suffered the worse fate of the two, banished from the RCC, but estranged from Luther and the then new Reformation. Wade will and has suffered for his stance for the Cross of Christ within the SBC. That should earn our praise and compassion.

    At least, that is how I see it.

    Keep the faith Wade, fight the good fight, use your position to influence as many and as much as possible in the SBC and beyond, stay humble, and never lose sight of the Cross through it all.


  38. Pingback: et cetera 18 |

  39. Wade,

    Zeta and Dee are very good friends. He is a brilliant man who can run circles around both Dee and me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  40. Dear Friends and Fellow Lovers of the Gospel

    Please permit a brief word of tribute to Wade Burleson from a most devoted member of his flock.

    I cannot remember a single sermon Wade has preached or a single conversation held with him or a single letter received from him which has not uplifted my heart and enlarged my soul in praise of my Saviour. I now know and love Christ far more deeply through Pastor Wade`s God-honouring ministry. I am a living testimony to the fact that all the worldly ulterior motives attributed to him by some of your contributors merely highlight their absolute unloving ignorance of who Wade is. I suppose in their little faith, they cannot believe that God has such a servant at work on the earth today. I assure you, He has.

    I am not an uneducated, young, new convert who does not understand heavenly truths or cannot discern between hirelings and shepherds. I have been in the Lord for fifty-five years and have over ten academic titles, five at post-graduate level in theology, literature, linguistics, library science and classical and modern languages. However, when I sit at Wade`s feet, I realize that my knowledge and learning is dwarfed by his. Why? I have the encyclopedia in my head but Wade uses his astonishing bread and depth of knowledge synergized and applied to both sinners and saints in fostering their spiritual welfare and their public good. He puts me to shame! It does not matter if he is witnessing to a grumpy miser, a loose woman, a corrupt cop or a Congressman, he understands their hearts and situation and is able to deal with them like Christ did with the wayward woman of Samaria and not only change their hearts but fit them out to tell others that they, too, can be changed. I once sat for days in an office prepared for me, interviewing Emmanuelites. I took everything down on tape, and when I feel that the going is hard, I listen to these bright and uplifting testimonies of God’s grace at Emmanuel.

    Though an old man of 75 who has been separated for some time from Emmanuel because of ten operations and severe illnesses here in Germany, my prayers are with Wade and Emmanuel every day as they have been since 1995 when Wade nicknamed me ‘Our man in Germany’. When I listen to Wade’s sermons over the web, I am once again a small child, eager to feast at the vast table of good things the Lord has enabled Wade to prepare. Throughout fifteen years of poor health, the gospel that Wade so freely shares has been my best medicine. Though I am older than Wade’s father, whom I have met several times and honour, I look upon Wade as my a true Father in the faith Christ has freely given us.

    The words of X-Baptist show sheer personal bitterness at what he believes he has suffered under Baptist Denominationalists. Why castigate Wade for that? He certainly has not caused Brother X-Baptist pain apart from rightly troubling his conscience. Emanuel accepted me fully into their fellowship knowing full well that I see baptism as pointing to what Christ promises to and does for all sinners and not to my personal post-faith law-bound obedience which would thus mean that I have misunderstood and misused Christ`s faith replacing it with mine. When I wrote my book ‘The Covenant of Grace and Christian Baptism’, because I honour Wade’s advice more than that of any other brother, I told him that I would not publish the book if Emmanuel thought it would spoil their testimony. After all six pastors had studied the work, I received the go-ahead. Emmanuel is a Church, not a tradition-bound worldly institution. But X-Baptist, if he is wise, will accept that, though he believes that this is not the case with the SB. Is our X-Baptist’s new retreat any purer? If so, it must have only recently been invented and I have still to hear of it. I have researched the history of the SBs carefully and am convinced that its major history was one of Orthodoxy. That there are elements that grow and shrink in it throughout the years striving to return to Egypt, is clear, but they are no less amongst Anglicans, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Plymouth Brethren, and the New Covenant Theology churches. All these are micro-worlds which still need evangelizing but Wade Burleson is called to the Macro-world in which we find all these micro-worlds, and synthesizes all as one mission field where the harvest is ripe and ready. Wade and Emmanuel are put by God into the Baptist mission field. If Brother X-Baptist tries to stop their work, he is anti-missionary and needs to be first missioned himself and afterwards commissioned to do, by God`s grace, what Wade and Emmanuel are doing. Furthermore, I would advise him to learn to clean out his own stable before attempting to tell other well-trained stablemen what to do. It is, however, no surprise that in not minding his own business, X-Baptist professes to be a member of a disorganized church. I once witnessed to a so-called Jehovah`s Witness who told me that the JWs had turned their backs on ‘organized religion’. What a joke. They are the most well-organized movement on the market!

    Concerning Wade’s alleged ambitions of greatness and political fame. Yes, he could make a good bishop, business magnate, senator, governor and certainly President. And, yes, as he is human, the devil has already told him so. The devil also told Christ to do mad things like jumping off a cliff edge but all-wise and all-knowing Christ had more serious business to do. Wade, I know, has had some very tempting invitations to leave his flock, far more tempting than our X-Baptist offers. However, Wade knows by whom he is called and for and to whom he is called and is thus doing a far better job than perhaps most bishops, businessmen, senators, governors and presidents.

    I could tell you much more, but if you are ever in Enid, rightly called the Beautiful City, do not forget to call in at Emmanuel and sample one of the sixty or so different things that are happening there throughout the week. Then please contribute an article to this website and spread the good news. If brother X-Baptist wishes to know more about that Heaven on Earth, he is most welcome to get in touch with me.

    Yours sincerely in Grace,

    George M. Ella

  41. George Ella,

    I have been very touched by your tribute to Wade. Dee (my co-blogger) and I traveled to the “Beautiful City” (Enid) back in December and met Wade and his lovely wife Rachelle for the first time. They treated us to lunch after church, and their sons Bo and Logan joined us. The Burlesons are a very special family, and we are overjoyed to call them close friends in the faith.

    I hope you are able to participate in our EChurch@Wartburg worship experience from your home in Germany. Please keep in touch!

    Blessings to you and your loved ones.

  42. George

    Deb and I visited your beautiful church, saw your Christmas pageant, and spoke with so many of your members. What an awesome experience. As you can tell, we love the Burlesons. In fact, it is the grace of which you speak that caused us to want Wade to do the sermons for E Church. So many people have been deeply hurt by the church and the love and grace he speaks of is a hallmark of his preaching.

    I know X Baptist. He was profoundly wounded by a church and an entire Baptist convention. He is so hurt that it will take a long, long time for him to come back from his experience. Sometimes, when people are hurt, they strike out at anything that reminds them of their pain. I have spent some time conversing with him in the aftermath of his comments. He heard me, especially when I urged him to try to understand who his real friends are.

    He is the reason I become so angry when churches like Mars Hill treat their people with such disdain. They are playing with men’s souls, and there are consequences for doing so. I became incensed with one writer who claimed that it is the person’s own fault if they get hurt and walk away from the faith. I told him he was living a lie. It is his contention that you can beat a person into the ground and if he gives up, it’s his fault, not the abuser’s fault. So, his hero pastors get a pass. Someday these men will stand before a living God and justify why they could treat God’s people like roadkill and get a pass when that person walks away.

    George, you and I have been blessed in our lives. We know Wade. I have known a few others like him who helped me in my time of trial. I was able to realize that there are rogues in the pulpit. That is why Wade’s writings and sermons are so important. They give hope to those who have never experienced such fellowship.

    So, join with me in praying for the healing of X Baptist’s pain. We need to stand by him even when it is uncomfortable. We are amongst the few who get it. Already I see some softening, but it will take time.

    Also, George, you are one heckuva writer. If you would ever like to write a post for us, let us know. You moved me by your comment. Thank you so much.

  43. Dear D and D,

    Thank you for allowing me to share my thoughts. I see that great and blessed ties bind us. I tuned in to Emmanuel at 18:00 our time, 11:00 your time this evening and was so very much blessed again. We only have morning services here in our village church, so it is good to share fellowship with Emmanuel on an evening. Our gracious Saviour thus gives us the best of the Old World and the New.

    I am just beginning to understand the relationship between Wartburg Watch and Emmanuel. May you enjoy continued sweet blessings together.

    I do not know your ‘house rules’ yet. What postings are you looking for? I will oblige where I can but I am no preacher nor the son of a preacher. I know, however, where I feel at home.

    God bless,


  44. George,

    I am so grateful that you are enjoying our virtual worship experience. Wade Burleson and Emmanuel are a blessing to the Wartburg community. It is a privilege to share his messages here.

    Blessings to you!

  45. Ladies,

    Truth be known, Dr. George Ella, is MY spiritual mentor. ๐Ÿ™‚

    His words have humbled me, but his life continues to encourage me!

    George, glad you were able to join us this morning (March 25, 2012). Say hello to Erika for me! You two continue to be in our prayers!


  46. George

    Well, that makes three of us! We are not preachers or the sons of preachers, yet here we are! Also, we have precious few rules. WE just like it when people tell us their stories. True stories encourage others. I loved how you responded to X Baptist. Maybe you can think along those lines?

    Wade considers you a spiritual mentor so that’s good enough for us. Thank you for coming here!