Petition to NAMB Trustees from Southern Baptists

May 16, 2016

Dear NAMB Trustees,

As this article clearly explains, several of our state convention executives in Southern Baptist life have expressed concerns with the way that NAMB President Kevin Ezell is interacting with our state conventions. The charges explained on this website by former state convention executive Dr. Will McRaney deserve very careful and deliberate consideration.

In cases like these, when a major pattern of misconduct is alleged by more than one trustworthy leader, it is not uncommon for Trustee Boards to launch an independent investigation led by trusted, impartial individuals with absolutely no ties to the controversy. We, the undersigned Pastors and members of Southern Baptist Churches, respectfully request such an independent investigation.

We are stewards of the Cooperative Program gifts forwarded by our churches through the North American Mission Board. Our churches do not make these donations through NAMB with the intent that they be used by the NAMB President as leverage against state executives to force state conventions into compliance with revised cooperative agreement terms or to influence personnel decisions, as has been alleged.

We especially do not appreciate the use of non-disclosure agreements (that is, gag orders) that prevent our trusted and beloved state convention leaders from openly telling the truth about any and all such negotiations. As the leaders and members of local churches, we are responsible to the Lord for the faithful stewardship of our missions giving. We do not wish to fund pressure tactics, strong arming, national level interference with state level personnel decisions, or the purchase of silence.

Our understanding is that a high ranking NAMB official, in a private conversation with a NAMB staffer, described Dr. Will McRaney as a “gnat” whose concerns may simply be ignored. We, the undersigned Southern Baptists, do not consider ourselves to be gnats. Rather, we believe that faithful Southern Baptists who give sacrificially toward missions must be able to trust that those administering the Lord’s money do so as humble servants and not as authoritarian dictators.

The issues raised by Dr. McRaney are of an extremely serious nature and deserve to be thoroughly investigated. Such an investigation should not consist of a few internal memos and interviews, but rather, should involve a significant review of the facts by an outside and impartial third party.

If the allegations presented by these Southern Baptist state executives are true, then Dr. Ezell has overstepped his bounds and forfeited the trust of all Southern Baptists. Appropriate action should be taken.

To any Southern Baptist willing to add your name to this letter appealing for an independent investigation, please type your name, church and location in the comment stream and you will be added to the list.

1 Rick Patrick, First Baptist Church, Sylacauga, AL
2 Brad Jones , Looxahoma Baptist Church, Senatobia, MS
3 Lee Hickman, Black Oak Baptist Church, Clinton, TN
4 Bob Hadley, Westside Baptist Church, Daytona Beach, FL
5 Kyle B. Gulledge, Southview Baptist Church, Rosharon, TX
6 Bob Bauman, Bellevue Baptist, Memphis, TN
7 Phillip C. Senn, Fort Hudson Baptist Church, Dyersburg, TN
8 J.T. Taylor, Cadwell Baptist Church, Cadwell, GA
9 Tom DeWitt, First Baptist Church, Sesser, IL
10 Patrick Collins, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, Woodland, MS
11 Luke Kidwell, Batley Baptist Church, Clinton, TN
12 Sam Schmidt, First Baptist Church, Inez, KY
13 Ken Skelton, Ward’s Grove Baptist Church, Lexington, TN
14 Steve Brumbelow, Southview Baptist Church, Rosharon, TX
15 Jeff Phillips, Woodfield Park Baptist Church, Columbia, SC
16 J. Macon Phillips, Enterprise Baptist Church, Enterprise, MS
17 Mark Dwyer, Montrose Baptist Church, Rockville, MD
18 Lavonne Brumfield, First Baptist Church, Summit, MS
19 Kirk Vandevender, Riverside Baptist Church,Pascagoula MS
20 Bruce Vandevender, First Baptist Church, Las Cruces, NM
21 Steve Wolverton, Canton Baptist Church, Baltimore, MD
22 Chet Thomas, First Baptist Church, Flagler Beach, FL
23 Jonathan Carter, Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Monticello, KY
24 Harold S. Miller, Center Point Baptist Church, Springfield, TN
25 Chris Parkin, First Baptist Church, Auburn, GA
26 Becky Dalton, First Baptist Church, Sallisaw, OK
27 Bill Harrell, Abilene Baptist Church, Martinez, GA
28 Allen Calkins, First Baptist Church, Gray Summit, MO
29 Jason Cooper, The Church at Oak Level, Ocoee, FL
30 Marietta Martin, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula MS
31 Macy McRaney, First Bapist Church, Orlando, FL
32 Jerry Langan, Newspring Church, Greenville, SC
33 John Sanders, The Church at Clayton Crossings, Clayton, NC
34 John Galey, Poydras Baptist Church, St. Bernard, LA
35 Roark McDonald, First Baptist Church, Guntersville, AL
36 Brad Layton, Pastor, South Park Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas
37 Greg Roberts, Indian Springs Baptist Church, Tallahassee, FL
38 David Smith, McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA
39 Jamey Hunt, Riverview Baptist, Calhoun, GA
40 Kirby Winstead, First Baptist Church, Myrtle Beach, SC
41 Linda Gardner, First Baptist Church, Vidalia, LA
42 Patrick McCoy, South Berkeley Baptist Church, Inwood, WV
43 Ken Miller, North Harford Baptist Church, Jarrettsville, MD
44 Rich McLawhorn, First Baptist Church, Myrtle Beach, SC
45 Gary Mauldin, First Baptist Church, Dallas, GA
46 Johnny Nix, First Baptist Church, Wartburg, TN
47 Jeffrey Stockdale, The Point, Jacksonville, FL
48 Jack May, West Bradenton Baptist Church, Bradenton, FL
49 Paulette Hill, Oak Hill Baptist Church, Griffin, GA
50 Herb Miller, Willowbrook Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
51 Leslie Puryear, Bethany Baptist Church, Gulf , NC
52 Ronnie Mayes, First Baptist Church, Lockesburg, AR
53 Charlotte Marlow, Parkway Baptist Church, Natchez, MS
54 Gloria Raybon, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
55 Troy Mueller, East End Baptist Church, Roanoke, VA
56 Jack Maroon, First Baptist Church, Crisfield, MD
57 Steve Schenewerk, Community Baptist Church, Winston, OR
58 Jimmy Brumfield, First Baptist Church, Jackson, MS
59 Collin Brumfield, Vicksburg, First Baptist Church Vicksburg, MS
60 Bill Salters, Parkway Baptist Church, Natchez, MS
61 Martha Salters, Parkway Baptist Church, Natchez, MS
62 Harold Bullock, Hope Church, Ft. Worth, TX
63 Earline Nelson, Park Avene Baptist Church, Enterprise, AL
64 Tracy Martin, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
65 Renee Barton, First Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
66 Bevan Unrau, Seabreeze Church, Huntington Beach, CA
67 Thad King, Pierpoint Church, Huntington Beach, CA
68 Randal Lanthripe, Church in the Valley, Diamond Bar, CA
69 Alex Barrett, Church in the Valley, Alhambra, CA
70 Buddy Carrier, Arlington Heights Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
71 Teresa Carrier, Arlington Heights Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
72 Jerry Boyd, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
73 Curtis Rayborn, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
74 Michael D. Martin, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
75 Lewis Smith, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
76 Mildred Faulks, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
77 Opal Hawkins, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
78 J. H. Jones, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
79 Jimmy Willey, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
80 Jane Willey, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
81 Linda Childers, Riverside Baptist Church, Pascagoula, MS
82 Michael C. Spencer, Nanjemoy Baptist Church, Nanjemoy, MD
83 Jeff Stading, New Home Baptist Church, Perry, FL
84 Thaddaeus Lanthripe, Church in the Valley, Diamond Bar, CA
85 Katherine Racine, First Baptist Church, Covington, LA
86 Robert Beckman, Redemption Church, Lakeland, FL

 

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Harold S. Miller, Center Point Baptist Church, Springfield, TN

Please add my name to this list.

Chris Parkin

Chris Parkin, Auburn FBC, Auburn, GA

Becky Dalton, First Baptist Church, Sallisaw, OK

Add my name, please!

Jon Estes

Wish it were not so but I can hear the laughter from my house.

    norm

    The laughter you hear is from *inside* your house.

      Jon Estes

      Norm –

      I think it is a noble thing to call for an investigation when one is warrented.

      I do not think those who receive this petition will do anything but laugh and dismiss. I could be wrong.

      If the CR leaders had sent a petition to those previously in charge of things, the way they would have received it will probably be like this leadership will. This is probably why they took the road they did and the 20 years to see it accomplished.

      There is nothing in the rules, as far as I know, to cause them to have to consider a petition. Maybe except refer it to a committee.

      As noble as it may seem and make some feel I think it a moot action.

      No laughing inmy house friend.

        Lydia

        Jon, it’s about money. You can’t ignore money and to the Neo Cals money is no laughing matter. Why do you think there is a conference and book published every week from that world. Money funds the machine. And the SBC is the platform from which they launched.

        Deceivers and cheats who have used a lot of people who should never have trusted them.

        Scott Shaver

        Your problem Jon, along with some others in the SBC is that Al Mohler, Kevin Ezell, Russell Moore etc could behead infidels in the Southern Chapel and you still wouldn’t think an investigation is warranted.

        Let’s see how hard you guys are laughing when the funds start drying up, more missionaries start leaving the field and Mohler can’t make the payments on his ski boat.

          Scott Shaver

          Looks like every time Jon Estes talks about “laughing”, three more people sign the petition.

          Keep laughing it up John boy.

          Jon

          Scott,

          I am not laughing. I hear those who get the petition laughing.

          Please tell me when I said this petition wasn’t warranted.

          Your historical and hystorical opposition to me has caused you to misunderstand what I said.

          That’s fine… I can’t help you in that area.

          Lydia,

          I have no idea what you talking about in conjunction with the article or what I said.

        norm

        My apologies, Jon. “Ready, FIRE! Aim,” is the response of one who is too busy, or is inconsiderate. Sorry.

          Jon

          Norm…

          No problem. I understand because it is me too often.

Herb Miller

Please add my name.

John 3:19 New International Version (NIV)
19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

    Rick Patrick

    Glad to do so. Please provide your church, town and state.

Greg Roberts

please add my name
Greg Roberts
Indian Springs Baptist Church
Tallahassee Fla

JS Houston

J.S. Houston
Blue Ridge View Baptist Church
Pickens, SC

    JS Houston

    Rick, please remove my name from the petition list. Thank you sir.

    JS Houston
    Blue Ridge View Baptist Church
    Pickens SC

David Smith

Please add my name to the list:
David Smith
McDonough Road Baptist Church
Fayetteville, Georgia

Linda Gardner, First Baptist Church, Vidalia, LA

I fully support this petition.

Patrick McCoy

Please add my name:
Patrick McCoy, Pastor
South Berkeley Baptist Church
Inwood, WV

Ken

Please add my name.

Ken Miller
North Harford Baptist Church
Jarrettsville, MD

Gary Mauldin

Gary Mauldin
First Baptist Church, Dallas, GA

Jack May

Please add me to the list:

Jack May
West Bradenton Baptist Church
Bradenton, FL

Jeffery Stockdale

please add my name!

Paulette

Paulette Hill
Oak Hill Baptist Church
Griffin, Ga.

Please add my name. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

Charlotte C Marlow

Please add my name to this petition.

Pastor Troy Mueller -- East End Baptist Church Ronaoke VA

Please add my name to the list

Jack Maroon

First Baptist, Crisfield, MD

Steve Schenewerk

Please add my name:
Dr. Steve Schenewerk
Community Baptist Church
Winston, OR 97496

RZ

Ezell says states are free to share agreement details. He has posted Indiana’s here: http://www.namb.net/Ezellnambblog.aspx?id=12884962796&blogid=8590116761

    Rick Patrick

    Ezell claims NAMB *wants* to share details of these agreements, but will honor the desire of some state convention execs by not making these matters public. It would seem that the buck has been passed. Now, we need to ask all of these state convention execs if THEY are willing to remove the gag orders. If NAMB is willing and THEY are willing, then every Cooperation Agreement in SBC life—all 42 of them—can and should be made public. I think this would be a very good thing, contributing first to a more complete transparency, and second to a greater degree of unity. But for the time being, Ezell said he would honor the desire for secrecy expressed by some of these state execs.

    Of course, my point is that Ezell and all state executives should honor OUR desire as donors for transparency instead of secrecy.

      Scott Shaver

      Here’s how Ezell honors the desire for transparency: He tells folks in Iowa this week he’s being called a lot of names lately but “a nasty guy with no heart is not one of them”.

      It’s a joke … those asking for transparency are “Trumpkins”, not SBS.

      Alton Vandevender

      The real issue is the strong arm method he use to have Dr. McRaney terminated. Sure he did not actually terminate him but by saying he would withhold NAMB funds as long as he remained was enough for a few to choose money. They had previously told Ezell there was nothing that Dr. McRaney had done. I could add much more but the fact has been published and the trustees are in his pockets

    Will McRaney

    The latest new Cooperative Agreements will have lasting damage to the SBC and our mission effectiveness and strength. To compare and note the major changes, one can review the new Indiana agreement and compare to the 2012 standard version of the MD/DE agreement which is available on my website (willmcraney.com). Both are fairly standard and the latest one has continued the pattern of weakening and dismantling non-southern state conventions and associations.

    The least important matter in these agreement is making the agreement public. The terms are extremely dangerous and will have dramatic negative and I believe unrecoverable ramifications. As well, Dr. Ezell did not honor the last version of the agreements when it did not fit his desire. Of course, I can and have proven this with documentation on my website for all Southern Baptists and NAMB Trustees to review as they desire.

    I will further defend my claims in the coming days.

      Rick Patrick

      Will,

      I completely agree with all that you have written about exposing the strong arming tactics by NAMB.

      However, this one section confuses me profoundly: “The least important matter…is making the agreement public. The terms are extremely dangerous and will have dramatic negative and I believe unrecoverable ramifications.”

      The notion that Southern Baptist donors from our churches do not have the right to read about the terms by which their gifts are distributed for missions purposes runs counter to everything I believe in regarding the restoration of transparency in the SBC. If there are “dangerous” terms in these agreements, it makes me want to read them even more.

      I grant you that this matter is less important than the exposure of the alleged strong arming threats by Ezell. However, Ezell has opened the door for us to at least pursue this particular matter. In other words, when Ezell wrote that NAMB wanted these agreements to be public, now the onus is upon “some” of the state convention leaders to prove why these agreements should be kept secret.

      Making the Partnership Agreements transparent for all Southern Baptists to see is not at the heart of your issues with Ezell. I understand that. Still, it seems to be an important part of restoring transparency in the SBC.

        Will McRaney

        Rick, I agree with you that like the Indiana version, all the Cooperative Agreements and the Cooperative Budgets should be reviewable by those who fund them. While all the agreements are important, I do not expect to find much new information in them that was not revealed in the Indiana agreement. The remaining agreements with non-Southern states are probably identical or similar to the one already released. I also do not expect the NAMB President to behave differently than he has under more restrictive agreements.

        Terms of the Indiana Agreement reveal major changes from previous versions and I believe are damaging our SBC evangelistic effectiveness, decreasing our mission capacities, lessoning the self-determining rights of state conventions, and weakening real partnership and our cooperative spirit. (2012 version is available on my website) At this point, I see the President’s past actions and the known Agreement terms as most important. Thank you for the question.

        Additional Reflections…
        Making the Agreements available does not cancel the financially punitive threats against public criticism from state convention leaders. This decreases the possibilities for accountability. In other words, we are allowed to see the Agreements, but states still face punitive actions if Dr. Ezell deems there to be criticism toward him or NAMB by those state leaders who are closest to his actions. I know these all too well.

        Also, Dr. Ezell’s releasing the Agreements does not absolve him from his disqualifying actions as our NAMB President. He repeatedly violated more restrictive past Agreements and basic biblical commands and up to this point, without serious investigation or accountability. Biblically, repentance and restitution are in order, along with accountability to those who Southern Baptists have entrusted with oversight. Sadly, documented evidences reveals our NAMB President lied, made false accusations, violated agreements, strong-armed and damaged people and a State Convention when it fit his purposes. He did these with SBC money and the power of his entrusted position.

        {per Indiana 1(h)}. The new agreements enhance Dr. Ezell’s authority to use SBC money to threaten or reward state conventions, their leaders and their mission efforts. The new agreements enhance Dr. Ezell’s discretionary power to cancel agreements and pull funding from mission work and staff in a state conventions among other things. This means, Dr. Ezell holds the power in his office to solely deem something a criticism and pull money with less restraint.

        Dr. Ezell has a pattern of not honoring agreements and using strong-arm tactics as documented and testified by multiple leaders. I believe the new Agreements giving him more power will only further damage Southern Baptists.

          Rick Patrick

          I agree with you on the negative aspects of the new agreements. Southern Baptists need to clean this business up. While I believe it STARTS with making everything public (we have to SEE the agreements before we can address all of their flaws) it certainly does not END there.

          Yes, the clause about secrecy must be removed. Also, the clause about not criticizing aspects of the plan ought to be removed. Southern Baptists, from the state exec level to the laypersons in our smallest congregation, should be allowed openly to criticize the agreement if they have problems with it.

          Additionally, we need to address Ezell’s alleged strong arming tactics—the primary thrust of the independent investigation for which we are petitioning. By the way, Baylor University just had one of these independent investigations as well. They are helpful whenever the people who would normally do the investigating are unwilling to do the investigating!

          No one questions that this is at the heart of the controversy. Specifically, the two Christian gentlemen who heard Ezell threaten that Ezell would cut off $1M in NAMB funding if the state convention did not do what Ezell wanted need to confront him personally, then go to the board, and then, if they get no satisfaction, they should go to the microphone at the SBC Annual Meeting and ask the question of him during the NAMB Report time. (Matt. 18:15-17)

            Alton Vandevender

            I agree unless these two are willing to confront Ezell and the trustees it amount to nothing as far as the trustees are co Vern. Also confront Bill Warren at their convention.

Jimmy Brumfield

Jimmy Brumfield First Baptist Church Jackson, MS

Collin Brumfield

Collin Brumfield Vicksburg First Baptist Church Vicksburg, MS

Bill Salters

Bill & Martha Salters Parkway Baptist Church, Natchez, MS

Harold Bullock

Harold Bullock Hope Church, Ft. Worth, TX

Kirk Vandevender

Earline Nelson Park Ave Baptist Church Enterprise, AL
Tracy Martin Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula MS
Renee Barton First Baptist Church Pascagoula MS

Bevan Unrau

Bevan Unrau, Seabreeze Church, Huntington Beach, CA

Thad King, Pierpoint Church, Huntington Beach, CA

I also want my name added to this list.

Randal Lanthripe

Randal Lanthripe, Church in the Valley, Diamond Bar, CA

Please add my name to the list

Alex Barrett

Alex Barrett, Church in the Valley, Alhambra, CA

Buddy Carrier

Buddy and Teresa Carrier Arlington Heights Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS

Kirk Vandevender

per signed list, please add
Jerry Boyd Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Curtis Rayborn Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Michael D. Martin Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Lewis Smith Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Mildred Faulks Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Opal Hawkins Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
J. H. Jones Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Jimmy Willey Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Jane Willey Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS
Linda Childers Riverside Baptist Church Pascagoula, MS

Michael C. Spencer, Nanjemoy Baptist Church, Nanjemoy, MD

Please add my name to the list.

Jeffery Stading

Please add:
Jeff Stading, New Home Baptist Church, Perry, FL

Thaddaeus Lanthripe

Thaddaeus Lanthripe, Church in the Valley, Diamond Bar, California

Please add my name to the list.

Katherine Racine

Add to the list
Katherine Racine, member, First Baptist Church, Covington, LA

Robert Beckman

Robert Beckman, Redemption Church, Lakeland, FL

Jonathan Hanna; First Baptist Washington, MO

Please add me to the list: Jonathan Hanna; First Baptist Washington, MO

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