The Florida Baptist Witness has released the answers to a questionnairre sent to all candidates for elected offices in the Southern Baptist Convention. This morning, I have received a kind request to comment on a story set to release today on the Witness website.
Essentially, the FBW will reveal that the answers to the questions submitted by David Rogers had been edited by me. Apparently, David Rogers sent in the working copy that he used, and in which I tracked numerous changes and suggestions for his consideration as we discussed the matter of his responses via internet chat. Here is the full email response I supplied this morning to the Florida Baptist Witness:
“Over the past eighteen months, David Rogers and I have developed a friendship grounded in our shared commitment to the Southern Baptist Convention and foreign missions. I am enthusiastic about his nomination, and will do everything I can to help him become our next first vice president.
While you are technically correct that I assisted David Rogers in his response to the questions provided by the Florida Baptist Witness, the answers are his and his only. The document you reference does not show the extensive online discussion via internet chat and messaging technology where David crafted his responses while I cut and pasted them into the original document so that he could track numerous changes from his original draft response to those he finally submitted to the Florida Baptist Witness.
It is obvious to any that have followed David Rogers’ and my thoughts on the matters raised in the questionairre that we do not agree on every point. Our disagreement, however, does not impede my desire to see him elected. Indeed, I believe he will be elected, and I pray to that end.”
David Rogers has also released a statement in response to the Florida Baptist Witness’s article:
“The answers sent in by me to the Florida Baptist Witness represent my thought and mine alone. Upon receiving the questionnaire, I first wrote out my answers to each question. Believing that “wisdom is found in a multitude of counselors,” I then showed them to my wife and other family members who are here in Spain visiting, asking for comments and suggestions. During this time, I also responded to an internet chat message sent to me by Ben Cole. Although I have never personally met Mr. Cole, I have corresponded with him on several occasions during the past year. Knowing his talent as a wordsmith and knowledge of denominational issues, I mentioned to him the questionnaire I was working on, and asked if he had any comments or suggestions. In the midst of a chat conversation on the wording of several questions, I agreed to send him the entire text by e-mail. Mr. Cole then wrote out his suggested changes, using the edit function of the Word document. Upon receiving Ben’s comments and suggestions by way of e-mail, I carefully read through them, and thought about and considered which ones most accurately reflected my own views and which ones did not. Mr. Cole’s comments, thus, do not affect in any way the faithful representation of my own thoughts in the final document turned in.
Not having used the edit function of Microsoft Word in the past, I was unaware, when I sent in the final draft, that the history of edits and revisions would be visible to others.”
For those that wish to see some of the development of the final responses David Rogers supplied, I am posting all three versions.
First, here is David Rogers’ original draft response.
Second, here is the edited response that shows changes made while chatting with David online.
Third, here is a link to the final draft David sent to the FBW.
Finally, people should know in advance that several of us are working on ideas for the nomination speech. I promise, it will be an excellent speech that highlights the commendable ministry and leadership of David Rogers, masterfully delivered by one of Southern Baptist’s best preachers and pastors, David Dykes of Green Acres Baptist Church.
And one more thing:
I know for a fact, given the same circumstance, if I had received a questionnairre response from Jim Richards with editorial changes tracked under the name Paige Patterson, I would have made much of the “story” too. I would have used it to a political advantage to keep Jim Richards from being elected, and I would have made no apologies for doing so. In a way, I guess, Jim Smith is just another blogger with political instincts. Kudos, Jim. We’ve always known you had it in you.
By the way, Jim. Thanks for making sure that people read closely three different versions of David Rogers’ response to the questionnairre before they read casually the one version of Jim Richards. We at Baptist Blogger can’t pay for that kind of exposure for a candidate we strongly endorse and diligently work to elect.