Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wayne Allen stood tall

I read this morning that Dr. Wayne Allen, retired senior pastor of First Baptist Church, Carrollton, had passed away at the age of 82. I never had the privilege of meeting Dr. Allen, but his passing nevertheless moved me.

His obituary gives a broader picture of his life, but the opening passage of an article in the Texas Baptists Committed Newsletter of March 1994 brings into focus the courage and integrity of this man. The article is titled simply, "Wayne Allen Stands Tall," and the passage reads,
Wayne Allen, pastor of First Baptist Church, Carrollton, stood alone as the only Texas trustee on the Southwestern Board to support Dr. Dilday. He deserves our appreciation and respect for his integrity. All of the other Texas trustees voted to fire Dr. Dilday, according to news reports.
As president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Russell Dilday, another man of rare courage and integrity, had refused to stay quiet about his concerns over the insistence of Fundamentalist SBC leaders and Southwestern trustees on carrying out an agenda of power and control at the seminary. So the trustees accelerated that agenda by firing him. When asked the reason for their decision, their chair said that they didn't need a reason, because "We have the votes."

A person's convictions are proven by testing. One of the greatest tests is the pressure to "go along" with the actions of friends and colleagues. Standing against that kind of pressure out of conviction is lonely . . . all eyes are on you, you are isolated, and some who have been your friends may want nothing more to do with you. The TBC article said it well - Wayne Allen stood tall for Christ that day and proved the strength of his convictions. Today he rests in Jesus.

That brings to mind another passage, this one from scripture: "Well done, good and faithful servant. . . . Come and share your master's happiness." (Matthew 25:23, NIV)

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