Tuesday, October 10, 2006

First Blush Reactions to Trulson Mostly Positive by Evangelical Leaders

What do we know about Dr. Trulson, newly named candidate to become Executive Director of the Board of International Ministries? Beyond what has already been blogged by Baptist Like Me (baptistlikeme.blogspot.com) and a few others, not much more is known that was not already disclosed in the ABNS press release.

We know that Dr. Trulson pastored the Underwood Memorial Baptist Church in Wisconsin during the 90s. We also know that Dr. Alan Newton was pastor of the congregation prior to becoming Executive Minister of Rochester. The church web page identifies it as affiliated with the Association of Welcoming and Affirming Churches in the ABC and having a cutting edge justice emphasis. Multiple sources have suggested that the congregation has had more of a progressive (rather than evangelical flavor) for many years. Some have suggested that the AWAB association came after Truslson left the congregation. To this point, I have been unable to verify what Dr. Truslson's theological position is vis a vis AWAB. He did receive his final two theological degrees from Fuller Seminary in the 1970s.

The closest we can come at this point to an endorsement of his theological position by evangelicals can be found in some e-mail chatter between conservative leaders in the ABC.

Here are two representative pieces with the names of the senders and addressees removed:

Hi everyone,
I wanted to make sure you got this asap. Reid is a good friend and was the Director over Europe and middle east. He was also the #2 man in IM. I believe we will be able to work with him to the betterment of The Kingdom.
Blessings to you all

And, one more . . .

I am sure that you have already heard the news, but did not want to risk your not being in the loop and not hearing that the search committee has selected Reid Trulson as ExDirector of IM. I met with staff yesterday morning and released the news.

I will attach the new release to the IM board members. We feel confident that Reid has the steady hand that God will use to lead IM during this time of restructuring of ABC, etc.

The only responses of a negative sort that I have received are included as follows:

I left WI in 1992 but worked with Reid in the 80's when he was president of the Region. He was not the most wild-eyed liberal in the state but he was far enough left to make me look like a John Bircher/Bob Jones slave. In the W***** controversy he was fully supportive of W*****, even after it was revealed that W***** had decieved the Convention and was part of the group that attempted to keep W***** in his position in spite of what most of us saw as clearly homosexual behavior as well as deception

I asked open ended questions about Reid's theology in another Baptist forum: What was the position of Underwood on the progressive - traditional scale during Trulson's tenure? Friends have told me that Reid stands with evangelicals. Yet, he pastored a church that is now AWAB. Where does he fit? The answer came back: I can't say for sure - its always been a "progressive" place.

I have been unable to confirm how Reid related to the now AWAB congregation he once pastored. However, the words of evangelical leaders I trust are pretty encouraging while some of the people with experience in his region report some concerns.

[His Barking Dog has no opinion on the topic of the day since the paucity of data inclines me withhold judgment until more can be known. So, please don't read between the lines of my barking or attribute my views to the nice people in the southwest who are my masters. Already some of the neighbors have complained to them about my barking and it really isn't their fault. Barking dogs do that, don't you know?]

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