Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network Response To ‘Open Letter Of Concern’

April 25, 2016

by SBC Today

Here is the response letter from the Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network that was penned in response to Will McRaney’s accusations that were posted on his website and also discussed HERE at SBC Today last week.  We are now posting this response letters to offer both sides of this ongoing story.

***Editor’s Note: To view the actual letter Click Here

MID-ATLANTIC BAPTIST NETWORK RESPONSE TO ‘OPEN LETTER OF CONCERN’

March 24, 2016

We are saddened and disappointed to learn of recent statements made by Dr. Will McRaney in an “Open Letter of Concern,” which has been posted on the internet. Regrettably, the Open Letter of Concern contains inaccurate information concerning the leadership of The Mid-Atlantic Baptist Network and the circumstances surrounding Dr. McRaney’s departure from the Network.

We are particularly concerned about the misleading and disparaging remarks made about our Network President, Dr. William Warren. Dr. Warren is a spiritual man of great integrity, who continues to successfully lead our Network. His leadership was re-affirmed by the Network recently at the Annual Meeting in November 2015. The Network respects the confidentiality of personnel matters. We can, however, state with confidence that President William Warren and other elected leadership acted at all times with the full support of the Network’s  governing board and that this matter was handled prayerfully and with the utmost respect for Dr. McRaney. Dr. McRaney resigned from his position as Executive Director of the Network on June 9, 2015. The terms of Dr. McRaney’s departure were mutually agreed upon by Dr. McRaney and the Network.

Finally, any suggestion that the North American Mission Board (NAMB) or any of its officers influenced the separation of Dr. McRaney’s employment from the Network is false. While the Network continues to collaboratively work with NAMB to further our joint missions, all matters pertaining to Network personnel are governed solely by the policies and procedures established by the Network.

We continue to wish only the best for Dr. McRaney and his family, and we pray for the success of all of Dr. McRaney’s future ministries. We remain excited for the future direction of our Network and are looking forward to accomplishing great things for God’s Kingdom. It is our earnest desire and prayer that we can turn our focus completely to the vital task assigned to us: the strengthening and starting of churches throughout Maryland, Delaware and beyond.

***Editor’s Note: To view the actual letter Click Here

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Scott Shaver

“We remain excited about the future”…as we continue shoveling manure without error, challenge or reprisal.

This looks and reads like a standard form letter that could have come from the office of Bernie Madoff.
The problem is believing anything they say.

Christian

As an organization the church should have nothing to hide. Why are gag orders given in the SBC? This is a slap in the face of the people who give faithfully. It is saying, “We can’t trust you with this info, yet we want you to trust us, blindly.” It seems the SBC is beginning to erode from the top down. Where is our President? Where there is smoke there is always fire. It is time for openness and truthfulness in the SBC. The “lowly pew sitters” deserve to know what we are funding, come on SBC, start being transparent. Trust me, some of us are waking up and we are not liking what we are seeing!

    Christian

    To borrow a phrase, “It’s tricky”, using gag orders in the SBC.

      Scott Shaver

      Gotta be “tricky” for half-million a year. You’re right Christian.

Scott Shaver

This blanket statement amounts to “Will McRaney is a liar but you can trust us”.

I know Will McRaney. I do not know nor trust “the network”.

Kinda like Al Mohler and Page Patterson had nothing to do with the resignations of Russell Dilday and Roy Honeycutt if you can believe that.

    Robert Vaughn

    I don’t know any of them, but “we’re praying for the success of the liar” sounds like so much of the business mumbo jumbo you hear as they smile pushing you out the door. Makes me skeptical right out the gate.

    Charlie Pharis

    I knew Will McRaney years ago at New Orleans Seminary. Admittedly, I haven’t kept close tabs on him since, but, based on that previous knowledge, I have to agree with Scott’s comments.

      Scott Shaver

      Same here Charlie, have followed Will’s progress periodically on internet from NOBTS to Maryland Director.

      My how things (SBC) have changed since our days as students in New Orleans.

      Will McRaney

      Thanks Charlie!

Tom

With friends like this who would ever want enemies? The future is bright–sure. I’m very confident that more and more Southern Baptist are leaving there churches and the decline of the SBC will continue.

Scott Shaver

More like, “with friends like this, safer to hang out with your enemies”.

Will McRaney

I have shared and do share a friendship with and respect for Shannon Baker and her husband Larry back to our days at NOBTS. I am confident these statements do not reflect her personal beliefs or her recent current understanding gained from pastors of what actually happened, but the information given to her from President Bill Warren’s account. My documents are impeachable and I have Maryland / Delaware pastors who back up my account of what took place.

Moreover, the letter issued to you under the name of the Mid-Atlantic Network is unsigned, so there is no way to know whose opinion it represents. It appears to be based on Dr. Warren’s account, who is under suspicion for his actions related to my NAMB-influenced termination. Additionally, several pastors have both individual firsthand conversations with Dr. Warren early after my termination, when he was speaking closer to the truth. In fact, pastors have confronted Dr. Warren directly on his lies and false accounts. In a meeting on Sept. 10, 2015 with Dr. Warren and 6 other pastors present, Dr. Warren finally acknowledged that the Network was under threat of Ezell withholding resources as long as I remained the Exec. Director. Dr. Warren kept these threats from me as he worked in the shadows to build a straw-man, fear-based and ungodly case for termination.

A simple “Follow the Money Trail” as noted on my website under Supporting Documents makes it very clear that Dr. Ezell misused his power, his position and the threat of withholding SBC funding entrusted to NAMB until I was terminated. Dr. Ezell set off a chain of sins from his sin on behalf of all of us as Southern Baptists. That is what happens when there is unacknowledged sin that goes through a cover-up process. James 3:16 in this case.

Dr. Warren should not have not lied and then asked an honorable person, journalist and pastor’s wife to write his lies. Dr. Ezell has violated the trust of his position and our trust and acted in ungodly fashions to get what he wanted. This is worthy of some wide investigations, accountability, and at points some righteous anger.

The NAMB trustees have an upcoming meeting in May. There are men and women among them that are open to investigating these matters. If you are concerned and the Lord so leads, you can contact them and/or your Exec. Director directly. It will take concerned Southern Baptists to keep this from being further covered up.

Lydia

I would not expect fairness from trustees. So much has taken place deceptively that the SBC is long past transparency. They should just admit they have taken on Presbyterian style polity of a top down hierarchical organizational structure with Mohler acting as Bishop.

I hope you and your family have not suffered extreme Financial ruin. I know quite a few who did not really understand what they were involved with and trusted they were dealing with Christian people. But when they would not go along or they dare disagree, they lost everything.

You really do Find Out Who Your Friends Are. And it is sad how many will turn on you to be close to the ‘inner ring’ as C.S. Lewis termed it.

    Scott Shaver

    I noticed, also, that the rebuttal letter concerning McRaney from the “Mid Atlantic Network” was posted unsigned.

    BOIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNGGG!

    imagine that

    Will McRaney

    Thank you Lydia. We have had significant loss financially, including paying for a daughter’s last two years of college (this and next) without income. But, the righteous will not go begging for bread (Ps. 37:25).

    Many believe the entire trustee system is broken. All of the trustees of all the agencies need to be reminded they serve in a position of providing accountability before our Holy God and the individual church members in our Southern Baptist churches. However, there are some good men and women serving. To call for repentance and restitution from Dr. Ezell’s actions, it will take righteous courage to confront such an affable, but leader acting so ungodly in violation of the trust of people and more importantly before a Holy God.

    Many seem to have lost a healthy fear of God. It was the reason Nehemiah selected Hanani in Neh. 7:2 to be over the city. . Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. They are not to be cheerleaders and then protectors for the sins of the leaders. All people are sinful and flawed, so we need each other to encourage each other to righteous living, especially leaders. There is a higher standard for leaders (James 3:1)

    Now, we have some leaders who want to fold in the ministries of the associations, state conventions, and even the boards under one primary leader and mostly under one organization. What a TERRIBLE idea. At least 3 levels of government (local, state, federal), and several branches of the military, 3 branches of government (Congress, Executive, Judicial). Some current leaders of our SBC may well leave a legacy, but it will not be a good one unfortunately.

Lydia

Does the Mid Atlantic Network know about the sanctified testosterone that Owen Strachen has? It might help them sign their name next time.

Ken

Just testing my ability to post on the website.

Steve Wolverton

Speaking as a pastor in the Mid Atlantic Baptist Network, I wholeheartedly support Dr. McRaney’s allegations and I totally impugn the veracity of this unsigned response to the ‘Open Letter of Concern’.

First, the “smoking gun”, signed by Dr. Ezell himself, is included in the linked documents posted. His juvenile threats to terminate funds within a year, and sooner if Dr. McRaney, or anyone else in the Network even so much as acted in any way he didn’t deem cooperative, are repugnant. This letter is an exemplar for how not to engage in Christian ministry. I found it disheartening and embarrassing and I challenge any Christ Follower to read it without feeling the same. Furthermore, the indictments levied in the letter are false.
Second, the MABN President, Dr. Bill Warren personally told me that Dr. Ezell had convinced him that as long as Dr. McRaney remained the State Executive the funding was at risk. He then told me that he did not feel he could risk losing the funding and potentially losing staff so he did what he felt he had to do. All the while he claimed to love Dr. McRaney. Dr. Warren subsequently stated effectively the same thing to others, including once in my presence to a group of seven.

I believe that good men often do bad things while meaning well. I have never met Dr. Ezell personally but his letter speaks volumes. I know what Dr. Warren told me and I know it is not commensurate with the unsigned letter. There are many other things that I have uncovered in the process of investigating this matter. Even allowing for the most gracious interpretation of events, Dr. McRaney was given an unreasonable two weeks to address a list of invalidated and uncorroborated concerns; he was then terminated in a single board meeting a few days later. There were no legal, ethical, or moral concerns involved. This took place just prior to the 2015 SBC. Hmm.

It is time for repentance, forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. When I hear of and see Dr. Ezell tweeting out Proverbs 19:9 “A false witness shall not be unpunished, and he that speaketh lies shall perish”, I could not agree more. Dr. McRaney has told the truth and I stand by him; as do many in the MABN. May God have His way with the other gentlemen; I trust He will and I pray for them daily.

    Steve Wolverton

    Correction to first sentence above: I impugn the veracity…

Dr. Clint Scott

I am a pastor in the Mid Atlantic Baptist Network, I support Dr. McRaney and believe that a great tragedy has taken place within of SBC community. Dr. McRaney had the total support of the Network and his leadership team shortly before his controversy began with Dr. Ezell. It has been stated to me personally by Dr. Bill Warren that pressure was being placed on the Network by Dr. Ezell through the withholding of financial support needed to honor budgeted items. This controversy was simply over the hiring of staff within the Network and the appointment of church planters within the Network without the consent and blessing of Dr. Ezell.

The Network’s leaders decision to dismiss their executive leader without due process and without the support of the Network as a whole is repulsive. Some of the same men that brought this forward and caused it to be a huge fight are the same ones that have applied for the executive director job. A job that was only vacated because of Dr. Ezell’s financial pressure, the lies of Network leaders, and the closed door meetings that remain under gag orders.

Dr. McRaney is a man of high moral character and sound judgment. He is a man that loves his family and seeks to do the will of the Father who sent him. I find in this man no reason for the actions of this Network or the actions of Dr. Ezell. It is my hope that we as Southern Baptist will once again support those that believe reaching the lost is more important than recognition in the eyes of men. We should spend our time making more of Jesus and less of our empire. Dr. Ezell and NAMB should be held accountable before this happens to more of our trusted brothers in the fight for the souls of men!

    Alton Vandevender

    Thanks to Pastor Steve Woverton and Dr.Clint Scott for speaking the truth about Dr. McRaney’s forced termination The truth is out there and now it is time for NAMB’s Trustees to do an investigation into these facts..They need to do.their duty and either prove facts by these Pastors and Dr. McRaney to be true or false. When proven true they need to remove Dr.Ezell. Too much in Dr. McRaney’s letters to be ignored by NAMB Trustees and the overall leadership of the SBC. One day this will be faced by Dr. Ezell, trustees and SBC leaders. Sure the Trustees for MDCN failed in their decision to force Dr. McRaney to terminate. Now they are trying to save face and NAMB. You can only sweep so much under the rug until it becomes so high you trip on it…Trustees do the right thing now that you have the facts.

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