Tuesday, June 23, 2009

God Intended It For Good

Today I sat humbled and impressed with the solemn responsibility and honor entrusted to me as a trustee of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Since I drove up to Fort Worth from Baylor University in 1989, I have loved SWBTS for its love for the Lord and obedience to Him. Most trustees only have the honor of being approved as one among a large slate of nominations. I give thanks to the Lord, who by His unmerited grace has given me the relatively rare honor of having been individually affirmed by name by the messengers of the SBC for this position of service. May I in no way disappoint Him in this sacred charge.


Ron Phillips, Sr. said...


SWBTS is blessed to have you as a Trustee! From what I read, I am glad people saw this for what it was.

I wish I could say I was shocked by the motion. But with some of the innuendo and questions being asked of you about your nomination as the SBC got closer, I thought there might be some sort of chicanery afoot. But I must admit I was expecting something a little bit different than this. I figured it would just be the usual blog bloviation and not embarrassing oneself in front of the whole convention with a personal vendetta.

Hope you have a great time the rest of the week.


Ron P.

Baptist Theology said...

Thank you for your willingness to serve Southern Baptists in this manner. We are honored by your trusteeship.

Anonymous said...


It sounds like this must be your first such election.

I'm glad you're happy about being elected as a trustee. It's a great time, I suppose, to sit on the SWBTS board--at least in terms of most of the seminary's internal politics: little in-fighting, I imagine, now.

Maybe you can help the seminary become again the great institution it was when I graduated from it in 1993. Do your best; be courageous, think for yourself, don't just go with the crowd, ask the questions you should, read each report, make people be honest--emphasize the law, not grace, as was done to SWBTS students during our orientation upon enrolling.

You aren't going to represent the administration sitting on that board; you're going to be representing me (typical SBCer--though unable to attend the annual meeting; my CP dollars and those of all my family and friends, though, are in Nashville and Ft. Worth). Don't let us down, brother.

David Troublefield

Wade Burleson said...


Congratulations on your election as a trustee of SWBTS. I know you will be conscientious in your duties.

Also, please know that the substitute motion, as stated at the time, was not personal. I consider you a man of integrity and honor.

The issue is one of principle. No individual, in my understanding of corporate conflict of interest regulations from GAAP and FASB, should serve on a board of an agency from which he draws, or expects to draw, a paycheck.

The Convention voted to sustain the Nominating Report and their collective wish stands.

Blessings in your new ministry.

In His Grace,


P.S. Ron, contrary to your assertions, there was neither personal vendetta nor embarrassment involved. In fact, a substitute motion will be made each and every time a trustee nominee is presented who draws a paycheck from an SBC agency - on the basis of the same principle.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Wade, and wish more (vocal) Christians and (voting) Baptists understood better about simple organizational administration. How much better might we be if they/we did . . . ? We're a sentimental people, us Baptists; gets us in trouble sometimes.


selahV said...

Congratulations, Bart. May God bless you with wisdom and discernment as you serve us. selahV

Ben Macklin said...

So Bart -

Congratulations Bart. You'll be good addition to the trustees.

Ben Macklin

Ben Macklin said...

Bart -

P.S. Could you clean up the mess at Broadway? I hear they've been looking for a pastor. ;)

In all seriousness. Do you think it would have been profitable to extend an invitation to Broadway to incorporate an Exodus ministry in their church before we dismissed them from the convention? I think an action like that would have settled any doubt in their own mind whether or not they were guilty of "affirming homosexuality." I know your thoughts on their position, but do you think we should have offered them the opportunity to remedy their position?


David Samples said...

Congratulations, Bart! I love Southwestern and I am pleased to know one of the Trustees. One of the young men in our church is a student in the College at Southwestern and so I am personally vested in the future of this great institution of which I am an alumni. Will you be at the luncheon tomorrow?

Les Puryear said...


As a SWBTS alum, I just want to say I know you will serve my alma mater well.


Joe Blackmon said...

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principals) has to do with financial presentation and disclosure. GAAP would not and does not cover conflict of interest.

I can think of no specific FASB pronouncement that says what Wade says that it says.

Someone might be of the opinion that this appointment creates the appearance of a conflict of interest and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. However, any such conflict in appearance or fact has nothing to do with GAAP or FASB pronouncements. However, saying GAAP or FASB makes people sound impressive. Go ahead. Try it for yourself. And then throw in "sufficient competent evidential matter" and you'll really be a hit at parties.

Wade Burleson said...

Joe Blackmon,

Black's Law Dictionary (Bryan A. Garner, Second Pocket Edition, The West Group, 2001) provides two definitions of conflict of interest –

•A real or seeming incompatibility between one's private interests and one's public or fiduciary duties; and

•A real or seeming incompatibility between the interests of two of a lawyer's clients, such that the lawyer is disqualified from representing both clients if the dual representation adversely affects either client or if the clients do not consent.

Both GAAP and FASB require written and signed documents on file that disclose any conflicts of interest. To not acknowledge the conflict of interest between one's private interests (salary) and one's public fidicuary duty (trusteeship) is a violation of both GAAP and FASB.

GAAP and FASB don't define conflicts of interest (the law does), they only declare how conflicts should be both declared and documented.



Baptist Theologue said...

"The members of the board are elected by all shareholders at the company's annual meeting. . . . If the elections are staggered, only a portion of directors (usually one-third) comes up for election at the annual meeting. . . . The board members are often selected because they have some core competency that the corporation needs or because they are amongst the largest shareholders of the entity. Also, frequently, directors are 'insiders' or executives of the firm. These individuals, like the company's president or CEO, have the most intimate and up-to-date knowledge about the on-going firm activities. At the same time, larger firms also usually retain several 'outside' directors. Outside directors are individuals who do not work full-time at the corporate entity. These individuals are usually drawn from the ranks of chief executives and other high-level officers at other companies."

Lee Harris, Mastering Corporations and Other Business Entities (Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2009), 127-128.

Wade Burleson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Scott Maze said...

Congratulations to you, Bart! I hope your time on the trustee board is a blessing both to you and Southwestern.

Wade Burleson said...

Baptist Theologue,

Rules regarding "for profit" and "not for profit" organizations are both changing - mandated by the government. Primarily, in a "for profit" corporation board members have been PAID for their services - quite handsomely. This is why companies like ENRON, Bernie Madoff's investment company, WORLDCOM, and a host of other companies went bankrupt. Board members turned a blind eye to the actions of the company's executives. Why ask questions when you are treated so favorably by the insiders? This is why FASB and GAAP regulations are going through government mandated changes regarding insider board activiy.

You will find that restrictions are tightening even faster among non-profits.

Baptist Theologue said...

From Dan Kramer's "electronic newsletter of nonprofit law you need to know":

"Can an employee serve on a private nonprofit corporation board of directors?

Yes. This is an issue of state law, but I am not aware of any state nonprofit corporation law that prohibits employees of nonprofit corporations from serving on the Board of their employer. There may be limits on the percentage of the Board that can be employees in a few states, but that is not an outright prohibition.

Unlike business corporations, where Congress and the SEC have been concerned about having more non-employee 'independent' directors, nonprofits generally do not have staff on the Board. The full-time CEO may serve in larger organizations or the founder executive director may serve in smaller organizations, but subordinate staff very seldom serve. It can create significant problems in administration if subordinate staff serve on the Board, especially if the CEO is not a member."


Baptist Theologue said...

Another try on the web address:


Chris Johnson said...

Brother Bart,

May God richly bless your serving in this capacity!

Alan Cross said...

Congratulations, Bart. May God richly bless you and guide you as you follow His wisdom and obey His commands. You carry a unique responsibility - I will pray that you carry it well.

Anonymous said...


Congrats! Remember, I voted for you. So, I expect some real perks when I visit SWBTS. I'll call you in advance to let you know that I am coming.

I have a few thoughts about the concerns that Wade has.

1. We should all do as Wade asks us to do - take him at his word as to the motivation for his objection.

2. This is not meant to demean in any way (because anyone in the SBC has a right to go to the mic and make their arguments) - but, I consider pastors to be experts on ... pastoral matters. Not accounting and accounting standards. I will assume that SWBTS has access to the necessary legal and accounting expertise to guide them. The SBC does, too, for that matter.

That is the reason why the substitute motion had no sway with me.

If Wiley Drake, for example, said the convention shouldn't take action because of some law or legal principle, I think that I would want to wait and hear from a lawyer before I based a decision on what Wiley said.

3. Let me add, however, that I was not impressed with the defense of your nomination anymore than I was by the objection to it. Just because someone prayed about it doesn't make it right.

But, let me add in closing that all of this is behind us.

I wish you well in your trusteeship at SWBTS. I have confidence that you will be conscientious and true to the word.


Wally said...

Dr bart barber said
today I sat humbled, if that was the case then why are you letting your ego show by this post. we all know how prideful you are and how humble you are by not showing true repentance for your post that was not of the truth,thanks to your good friend Jerry Corbaley The Evaluation of Glossolalia by Southern Baptists .

Jeff said...

Louis, Good point---What if Wade had said he prayed about the praying and was convinced their prayers were wrong.

Nevertheless, Bart---I'm praying for you.

Now can you teach Lumpkins how to be gracious like you. :) O that's right you are not God. ;)

You ever done any fishing on Big Lake or Mallard...

Jeff said...

Wally, Are you from Arkansas?

RKSOKC66 said...

Dr Barber:

Congratulation on being elected to the BoT of SWBTS.

I always like going down to Ft. Worth to the SWBTS campus because:

(a) The Lifeway store next to the campus seems to have a much better stock than any other Lifeway store,

(b) The hydrangea bushes along the front of the main building really make the facade of the building quite beautiful when they all the bushes are in bloom.

I'm not a lawyer. However, I've taken a few business ethics classes while working on my MBA. I don't know of any case law that supports the assertion that if a "former employee" of a non-profit institution becomes a member of the Board of Trustees of that same institution that this is a "conflict of interest".

Conflicts happen when a person's own interest is opposite to that of the institution he is serving on. I believe that if Dr. Barber was on the paid faculty of the school while serving on the BoT then that is clearly a conflict. If he is no longer an employee then that removes any potential conflict.

It is OK if a board member had some potentially conflicting interest if that interest has now been terminated or "quiesced". That's why, for example, directors of companies have to put their ownership stake in the company on whose board they serve in a "blind trust". It greatly reduces the incentive for board members doing things to manipulate the stock price of the company for their own gain rather than the company's gain.

Roger Simpson

Anonymous said...


I am not sure.

I'll have to pray about it.


Anonymous said...

At the least, there potentially is a conflict of interest in the convention's messengers electing Bart to a position on the SWBTS trustee board--and, further, a conflict of interest probably is created by his (and other former seminary employees') election.

The trick isn't necessarily to avoid every single possible conflict of interest (read the literature) but, instead, to manage the potential for it ethically (again, read the literature). Nonprofits' required annual Form 990's, for example, are designed to help catch self-dealing actions which can result from poorly managed conflicts of interest on trustee boards (wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of the IRS on this).

If SWBTS maintains a code of ethics document, it can include conflict of interest provisions; if it doesn't maintain a formal organizational code of ethics document, it probably can be considered behind the times in regard to nonprofit management/leadership (big surprise?--who on the seminary's board or staff holds any degree in nonprofit management?)

For me: the "conflict of interest" is that the SBC's nominating committee possibly did not at all consider nominating one of the other, what, 2 million qualified but relatively-unknown SBC-affiliated adults who can serve as well/better than Bart (it would appear that his very employment by SWBTS in the past was motivation for his nomination; again, technically permitted--but still conflictive; cf. the GCR task force appointed--does Dr. Hunt not know anyone else in the entire SBC, and the folks appointed finally without anything else to do?).


Bob Cleveland said...


Just now got home. Add my congrats to all the others. I'm sure you'll do an admirable job.

It was good to see you again.

volfan007 said...


SWBTS is truly blessed to have you on their board. May the Lord raise up more men like you to serve on our boards and committees.


PS. I believe the SBC showed what they thought of the motion to not put you on the board. It was defeated by a 4 or 5 to 1 margin.

Quinn Hooks said...

Congrats on your elevation to this great position of responsibility. May God bless you in your work.

Anonymous said...

Bob Cleveland:

Sorry I missed you. I looked for you, but we never ran into each other. Will try again next year.


Anonymous said...


You are way off.

In my opinion, Bart was approved by more like a 10 to 1 margin.

The substitute motion, however sincerely made, did not draw the concern or attention of many messengers at all.


Jeff said...

Bart, If I might you lunch could you get a Dmin from SWBTS. :)

Anonymous said...

Get real, people.

Being a trustee is a huge, boring (unless you love organizational administration), voluntary assignment requiring great listening/reasoning skills--and usually even more guts--that a guy will barely have time for if he does it right, especially if that guy really is doing his senior pastor job right in his own hometown. It's not some kind of "elevation," for Pete's sake--if it is, then what happens to Bart when his term expires?? He's "de-elevated," along with everybody else elected to serve temporarily on the SWBTS board?
Were all the folks elected this week told to prepare to be de-elevated three years from now?!

Jeff said...

Anoy, what is with the attitude?

Anonymous said...


I think Anon is the guy that was attempted to be substituted for Bart.


Anonymous said...

Louis and Jeff,

At the risk of seeming actually to have an attitude, it looks like you're both about as bright as a pair of kids' glow sticks.

I'm OK with with Bart's election this week, just not with the misinformation/mistaken info posted here now about what it means to serve as a trustee on the board of an SBC agency or anywhere else--or with "elevating" someone to a "privileged" position among us as SBC members (ask anybody who knows: to be a responsible trustee is to work your tail off volunteering to attend meetings you don't have much time for, sorting through stacks of printed info that doesn't make much sense, holding people responsible for stuff you have little clue about, not even thinking of the right questions to ask, etc.).

Obviously, Bart'll do a good job, as long as he keeps his head on straight about what he's been asked to do (real gratitude for the messengers' consideration is OK; otherwise, his posted response sounds like that of someone who's never done what he's about to get to do--but maybe has misperceptions about what it is).

With love, guys,



Bart Barber said...


Serving as a trustee is what you make of it.

I have served on various boards. I was on the board of our local chapter of the American Red Cross here in the Dallas area. That experience was, for me, everything that you have described. I served on the board of the Baylor Alumni Association several years ago. That was better than the ARC experience, but also much as you have conveyed.

At present, I am on the Executive Board of the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention, and (now) on the board of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. These are two institutions for which I am enthusiastic about their missions, knowledgeable about their tasks, familiar with their histories, in agreement with their predominant ideological viewpoints, and zealous for their success. At least one of these components was missing from the earlier two instances that I mentioned above.

So, I think that the attitude that I bring into trustee service will be an influential factor in how I perceive the experience.

You are correct in reminding everyone involved that service as a trustee does not represent any sort of an "elevation." We must all guard against such wrongful perspectives, and I thank you for stirring us up by way of reminder. Yet, although it is not an elevation to any station of privilege, it is indeed an honor to have earned the confidence of the messengers—especially when that honor has come upon one being considered individually as I was. One would be ungrateful not to acknowledge that.

Bart Barber said...

...and then there is the experience of serving on the family business's board of directors, meeting last year and this at Walt Disney World! ;-)

Anonymous said...

Ark of the Covenant thing (Wade Burleson mentions it today at his blogsite), the latest I can find: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/index.php?fa=PAGE.view&pageId=102274

David Troublefield

Anonymous said...

When I was elected to serve on the MBC board of trustees, I think it was confidence in the members of the nominating committee that the messengers present had; no one knew me from Adam--including the nominating committee. I think it is much the same among messengers of the SBC's annual meetings; relatively few people present know many other people present--but, for whatever the reason, they are willing to trust those presented to them for election to various things/posts. Sometimes for good, at times for bad.

I am with Anon in that: everyone maintain a clear head about things--and a cool one, brothers.

I am glad to know you will bring some experience to the position, Bart. That surely will help.


Anonymous said...

Most recent Ark of Covenant clarification today, here?


Grosey's Messages said...

Congratulations Bart, and praise the Lord for the affirmative vote that silenced the opponents. It is so good to see that the SBC, like you, has a heart for the Lord, a heart for the things that are on His heart, winning the lost, and a heart for the things that truly matter in eternity and now, Thank you for your fellowship in the gospel!

Jeff said...

You got to be kidding. Show me where I think that Bart is going to change the world by being a trustee.

Just one line....

Nate said...

Congratulations Bart! I for one as a new SWBTS student am glad that you received this great responsibility!