Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Are Holy Land Tours a Shearing of the Sheep?


From the original BBC Open Forum:

Are Pastors acting as tour hosts making large amounts of money off Holy Land and other travel tour trips?

I always assumed the Pastor and his wife traveled for free on these trips and the participants paid extra to cover this. It never occured to me that Clergy (it is not just the Baptists) may be making tens of thousands of dollars per trip. Now if all of this extra markup and income for the tour host has been fully disclosed then the sheep were knowingly fleeced I suppose. But if people unknowingly lined the pockets of a tour host it stikes me as stealing. If it is disclosed that the host got a free trip, but not that he also got a fat check then that too is stealing.

It is using your position and influence to secretly line your pockets off your congregation.

Do a Google search on "Holy Land Tours Host benefits" and you can quickly see this is a common practice among Holy Land Tour companies. Some offer one free trip (or cash payout) for each three trips purchased while other tour operators ask that you call them for information.

Holy Land Tours used to mention they will issue the host an IRS form 1099, which means at least some hosts are taking money in lieu of giving tickets away to "worthy guests." Holy Land Tours offers a 1 free tour for 5, 10, 15 benefit. Apparently it is up to the Pastor to decide how badly to shear his sheep. Interestingly, the link to that information, "Host a Group & Earn Free Travel," no longer works. Perhaps the sheep were getting wise to what's happening.

Ed Hill Tours, Inc. explains the tour host benefits on their about us page.

"Ed Hill Tours offers you One Free Tour for every five full-paying passengers you enroll and up to $450 (depending on the tour cost) for each full-paying passenger not used toward a free tour. You will be paid all earned benefits prior to departure on all passengers who have paid in full for the tour including any optional programs."

Interestingly Ed Hill Tours has had people ask them about how cheap their trips are.

"We've have (sic) actually had people question how our tours could offer so much when they see many tours priced at hundreds of dollars more than ours."

Could the answer be that other hosts are even greedier than Ed Hill hosts?

IGM Tours says on their web site,

"The price of a tour is affected by departure date (winter season is the least expensive), hotel quality, meal plan, choice of airline, single or multiple destinations, group size, religious holidays, and the selected host benefits.

It appears to be standard practice.

I ask you, if you were organizing a trip for your family and friends or even for your company at work, would you gouge them? How can any minister even contemplate doing something like this even if there is full disclosure? We are talking about a potential overcharge of $37,000, which could balloon to $50,000. Remember, this is just ONE trip. The host and wife travelling for free is understandable. Beyond that why not give the participants a price break as more people sign up? What ever happened to volume discounts as more people signed up?

A quick Google shows this is a pervasive problem in the "Holy Land" tour business. What a shame for all that have secretly fleeced their flocks.

Update: I should have mentioned this post is about more than just what is going on at BBC, and that a deacon of Bellevue has informed us in a prior thread comment section (see comment posted 8:25 PM, October 19, 2006) that Dr. Gaines "assured me that he will in no way be pocketing any money from this trip." I take this to mean Dr. Gaines will not keep any cash for himself as a result of this surcharge. This much money deserves a full accounting and disclosure from the travel company that details exactly who got what. A person not pocketing any money will have no problem releasing a full accounting.

posted by BBC Open Forum at 12:53 PM on Oct 22 2006

Update 2: Dehoney Travel Letter listing host benefits

4 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

notastepfordsheep said...

Well, they say a picture's worth a thousand words...

001 2:19 PM, October 22, 2006


amateur travel agent said...

Total: $1,568.96

I recommend that you spend more than 5 minutes planning your trip. But here's what I found with 5 minutes effort.

This does not include meals or touring islands by boat (very easy to arrange when you get there. $200?) and inland places by bus ($200?)

This is not out of Memphis, though.
------------------------------

Mon May 21, 2007 - Sun June 3, 2007

Airfare plus hotel in Instanbul, Turkey.

Total: $1,568.96 (This is a three star hotel).

------------------------------

www.expedia.com

Package details

Book your trip online or call our reservation agents toll-free at 1(800) 509-1974.

Total: $1,568.96

Flight: 1 roundtrip ticket

4:20 pm Depart Chicago (ORD)
Arrive Istanbul (IST) 1:45 pm tip+1 day Mon 21-May
Duration: 13hr 25mn
KLM KLM 612 / 1613
Connect in Amsterdam (AMS)

6:05 am Depart Istanbul (IST)
Arrive Chicago (ORD) 1:45 pm Sun 3-Jun
Duration: 15hr 40mn
Alitalia Alitalia 707 / 626
Connect in Milan (MXP)

Hotel: 1 room for 12 nights

Grand Anka Hotel
3.0-star Istanbul, Istanbul
# Modern hotel with conference and banqueting facilities, located in central Istanbul, one kilometre from the sea.

# Air conditioned ...

More lodging info
Check-in: Tue 22-May-07 Check-out: Sun 3-Jun-07
Room options Price
Standard Single
Includes: Full Breakfast Included
Standard Room
Includes: Full Breakfast + $17.69 per night

Included:

* Items selected, taxes, & fees for flight.

002 3:55 PM, October 22, 2006


amateur travel agent said...

That was just for one ticket. If you booked 35 tickets I'm sure the price would go down further.

003 3:56 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

BBC Open Forum wrote: "I take this to mean Dr. Gaines will not keep any cash for himself as a result of this surcharge. This much money deserves a full accounting and disclosure from the travel company that details exactly who got what. A person not pocketing any money will have no problem releasing a full accounting."

And do we really think this is going to happen... ? Don't hold your breath.

004 7:41 PM, October 22, 2006


Just My Opinion said...

Just to be balanced on this subject. Dr. Rogers had trips and cruises of this type. I didn't see anybody complaining then. Additionally, Dr. Rogers was the CEO of Love Worth Finding (with family on the payroll). Most of the messages were taped from his sermons at Bellevue. His office at LWF was one of the nicest in Memphis. He drew a salary from LWF and Bellevue. I had no problems with any of this. But since everyone is looking at Bro. Steve's extra income then you should be aware that he's not our first pastor to have other revenue sources.

005 8:31 PM, October 22, 2006


iwasthere said...

For the record - Dr. Rogers did NOT draw a salary from Love Worth Finding and all the proceeds from his books went to LWF. He did lead trips and cruises, but through LWF. Never through Bellevue,

006 8:58 PM, October 22, 2006


Eccl.7:25 said...

He didn't have an office at LWF until he retired Bellevue.

007 4:00 AM, October 23, 2006


BBC Open Forum said...

If Dr. Rogers secretly received cash and therefore profited from trips of this type then I would be disappointed, but my view of this practice remains the same. If the excessive markup on these trips was not disclosed up front then this is gouging and stealing. Just because someone else (I hope Dr. Rodgers never did this) may have engaged in this activity does not make it okay. We cannot change activity that took place in the past. That is history. We can certainly hold people accountable for current and future activity.

It seems Dr. Gaines views the taking of cash as inappropriate also since he told one of our deacons he would not take cash but would give the tickets away. Apparently even Dr. Gaines agrees that getting a kickback is wrong. But why is it okay to get free tickets and wrong to get cash? Giving free tickets away (without full disclosure up front) is still over charging those who paid full price. When the host & spouse get their trip free that too should be disclosed.

Can you imagine the temptation to use these free tickets as a slush fund to woo support within your staff & congregation? Do you think someone that gets a free $4,000 trip is not going to feel like they owe something to the one who gave it to them? The irony is that it is the paying participants that are giving away the free trips, but they don’t get the credit for it, the trip host does.

I cannot imagine who accepts these free trips. Ask yourself, would you be guilt free accepting a trip to the Holy Land knowing full well you got it for free because another person on the trip was gouged and didn’t even know about it?

You are welcome to come up with an explanation that supports secretly ripping off members of your congregation so that you can receive tens of thousands of dollars and or dish out free trips to your friends. So and so also did it is just not good enough. That explanation is a little too close to the Genesis 3:12 explanation for sin.

What is wrong with full disclosure on the front end of these trips? You should at least be willing to tell people they are paying hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars above the market price for these trips and that you as the host will get multiple free trips and/or big cash payouts as a result of this markup.

008 5:51 AM, October 23, 2006


MOM4 said...

Regarding the sermons that are aired by LWF, I have heard that these sermons (work product if you will) were legally transferred to LWF for their use to further the gospel worldwide. This is exactly what they are doing. The sale of any products goes right back into the ministry. No one that I have talked to from LWF has ever said that Dr Rogers or any of his family took a "cut" of the "take".

His son, Steve, in Fl now runs the Pastor's Training Institute and he very well may draw a salary from that as it is a full time job I am sure. Would you not need to be compensated for working full time for a ministry if you had a family to support?

From what I have heard, Dr Rogers did not entertain others at exhorbitant expense to the church. There may have been an occasion that was a case of an extraordinary event and it would have been a very rare situation. I have also heard that there were months that there was never a charge on his church credit card.

Like I said before, under Dr Rogers' tenure, we were lax in our accountablilty rules because we did not need them. Unlike Steve Gaines, Dr Rogers was a man of ethical, moral character and impecable integrity.

009 6:26 AM, October 23, 2006


SupportsGodsMan said...

I thought this blog host stated earlier that he/she was going to make this blogsite fair and balanced, and that he wanted to choose some positive topics about the Pastor.

If you look at each topic heading.....they are all slanted to be a forum for primarily negative comments against Dr. Gaines and other Bellevue Staff.

Here is the bottom line. The AdHoc Committee has been formed and they will answer all of the "saving bellevue" crowd's questions and concerns. The answers they most likely will receive will not satisfy them, becuase they only want them answered in a way that brings negativity to the Pastor.

All of the questions about Bellevue policies were in place when Dr. Rogers was Pastor and they will not change. Steve Gaines is not going to resign.

How long are you going to keep trashing his character? Is that your ministry now?...To dig and support all of these baseless claims.

Your ranting and raving and un-Christlike and un-Biblical accusations will only heap judgement on your heads.

Again, Dr. Gaines is not going to resign and no policies will change, so its time for the nay-sayers to find another church.

You are wasting your time.

010 9:46 AM, October 23, 2006


bbcmember said...

Anyone wonder how Gaines is able to buy 4 acres of land @ $50,000 per acre and build a million dollar home?

011 10:35 AM, October 23, 2006


bbcmember said...

In all the years I never heard Dr. Rogers talk about his tours or cruises from the pulpit. and though he brought Dr. Whitmire with him, He did not force the retirement of Dr. Lane. He was not publicly "sweet" on Dr. Whitmire like Gaines is on Parker.

012 10:46 AM, October 23, 2006


Bellevue Friend said...

Friends,

In recent days I have come to realize that while many expressed concerns have merit, the overall tone of this blog has become hyper-critical! I felt that Dr. Gaines attitude Sunday exhibited a humility that was refreshing.

I have no idea if he reads these blogs, but if he does He needs to know that out of the thousands that attend Bellevue, a very small group is doing the blogging.

Sadly heartfelt concerns have now quickly evolved into a Roast Dr. Gaines venue!

Every thing he does is scrutinized. How would the rest of us hold up under the same magnafying glass, and while his position is visble and you would argue open to close examination....where is the kindness?

Where is the willingness to withold final opinions until your Ad Hoc team meets?

I have very strong feelings about Bellevue, and have personally been greatly blessed by the ministry of Dr. Rogers.

That said I regret if I added even one thought however well intentioned that would cause Dr. Gaines a modicum of pain.

I pray that everyone who blogs would adopt the following criteria.

Before you type anything is it:

1. Needed?

2. Is it true?

3. Is it kind?

013 11:10 AM, October 23, 2006


MOM4 said...

Dear Friend,
Unfortunately, as long as Dr Gaines' integrity is in question, there will be controversy. I personally have spoken out about the fact that I believe that he was most assuredly appointed to lead Bellevue; however,a lot has changed since then and I cannot see this situation being resolved until all the facts are on the table. Stonewalling is what started this and unfortunately, it will continue until there is a meeting where questions can be asked and answered and it can be done decently and in order. All the committees in the world will not resolve this - only Steve Gaines can do that..sorry.

014 11:25 AM, October 23, 2006


Praying for Bellevue said...

Hi Bellevue Friend,

When discussing this situation last week, a deacon told me the pastor won't "budge one inch."

I hear you about some being hyper-critical. That does not help. On the other hand, the pastor needs to move for reconciliation or this will not end. Even if he did nothing wrong, he is pretending none of this is going on as if it will just go away. We must have a business meeting in which everyone who needs to can speak. That is how SBC churches operate.

015 11:53 AM, October 23, 2006


straining gnats said...

Stepford, BBC Open Forum, et al,

Here's a post you need to read.

http://thebrattonreport.blogspot.com/

016 12:03 PM, October 23, 2006


BBC Open Forum said...

All of the questions about Bellevue policies were in place when Dr. Rogers was Pastor and they will not change. Steve Gaines is not going to resign.

How long are you going to keep trashing his character? Is that your ministry now?...To dig and support all of these baseless claims.

Your ranting and raving and un-Christlike and un-Biblical accusations will only heap judgement on your heads.

WOW. Do you think it is unbiblical to post links to travel agencies that state in writing that Holy Land trips are beng sold with extra markups and that hosts are lining their pockets with free tickets and cash payouts?

With all due respect, it is a fact this is being done. That is why these tour operators tout their 5:1 payout and mention they issue 1099's on their websites. It is not an allegation. The links support the practice. You are certainly entitled to be of the opinion that it is okay to gouge the congregation. I don't.

Maybe I the only one that thinks this is wrong.

Can you tell me where and how I trashed Dr. Gains character? By posting a link to an audio clip of his own words in his own voice?

017 12:11 PM, October 23, 2006


Comment Deleted

This post has been removed by the author.

018 12:16 PM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

Straining gnats (oops)(MB),
I no longer read anything pertaining to what Mike Bratton has to say as he attemts to provoke strife, is argumentative and is devisive in his posts. He has supported posts that are much, much worse than anything posted by the so called "saving bellevue crowd". Sorry, not today brother.

019 12:18 PM, October 23, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

"Straining knate (MB),"

Well, guess what? That's a lie, whoever you are, and I would appreciate your apology for it.

You post anonymously, for your own reasons; I don't, for the sake of transparency and personal responsibility. I'm not even wild about people posting anonymously, or behind pseudonyms, when they have positive things to say, much less when they do as you did and print demonstrable falsehoods.

"I no longer read anything pertaining to what Mike Bratton has to say as he attemts to provoke strife, is argumentative and is devisive in his posts."

A specific example?

"He has supported posts that are much, much worse than anything posted by the so called "saving bellevue crowd". Sorry, not today brother."

Again, even one example would be just great.

I am, however, gratified to see that you understand that the "saving Bellevue" group is, indeed, only "so called."

--Mike

020 12:28 PM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

I rest my case

021 12:31 PM, October 23, 2006


Bellevue Friend said...

Friends,

Thank you for adressing my post. I wonder in your heart of hearts do you think there will ever be a closed door (For members only) meeting to get this all on the table?

I am curious while I love Bellevue I live in another state. How is your attendance been through this? Sunday nights? Is this issue on the lips of everyone? Are the hallways filled with curious, and questioning members?

I have observed ( as I know you have) that a relativly few people are posting anything, compared to the many thousands who attend Bellevue.

What does that mean. (I truly want to hear your hearts) Is it that in reality it is a small minority that have any real concerns and they and they alone found the informatiion meeting as being one sided?

Or is it that the vast majority of Bellevue members truly do support Dr. Gaines and perceive the issues as being minor, haveing already and satisfactually been dealt with?

And honestly, thousands of your older members (I do not mean to be critical) have limited on-line awareness, and thus are not technologically able to way in one way or another?

Have any of few personally contacted the office to talk with your Pastor?

Curious and Concerned!

022 12:32 PM, October 23, 2006


MOM4 said...

A member of my family has contacted Steve Gaines directly and he responded with a "go listen to the leadership meeting online". While our entire family (inlaws, grandchildren, etc)who all attend and are active members - all 17 of us - we were in fact at the 9/24 meeting and we have read every post and researched all we could possibly find. We re-listened to the 9/24 meeing online as Steve Gaines requested and we are more certain of the need for a substantial meeting. From what members of my family could see, the attendance has been down, but they did not count heads, just noticed quite a few empty seats; however, there are those who still attend hoping for a glimmer of light in this dark situation. These will dwindle away as time goes on and the decline in attendance will be more noticable. There are also those who attend just wanting to get into the "mix" of things. Maybe the Lord will work on them and they will get saved - oops - "churched".

So in answer to your question. Just because one of my family members posts,(that would be me), there are 17 members of "voting age" who are of the same mind. I also have heard many of my co-workers "chatting" during the day and their opinion, while only a worldly one, reflects my sentiments. I have not discussed it with any of them and I do not intend to. So, if the secular world sees ethical problems, why can the children of the King not look at this thru the eyes of His Word? Blinded maybe???

023 12:53 PM, October 23, 2006


concernedsouthernbaptist said...

I have been reading these post as well as the information at savingbellevue.com and I am concerned that this type of leadership is running rampant in SBC churches. I am so apalled at the way congregations are being shut out of decision making processes. The churches do not have elder rule as their church polity, but Elder Rule is occuring by default as Pastor's get "yes" men and women in positions on the church staff and committees. I had one retired pastor friend tell me that we are starting to see Popes in the SBC and I am starting to believe it.

I am watching this situation with apprehension in my heart as I fear the same could occur for my beloved church congregation.

Praying and weeping with you...

024 12:53 PM, October 23, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

"BR said...
I rest my case

12:31 PM, October 23, 2006"

I checked back in, hoping to see an apology and a retraction. One day, I'll learn not to be surprised at certain behaviors.

--Mike

025 1:08 PM, October 23, 2006


ilovebbc said...

How many remember all the times Dr. Rogers told us the devil had rather start a church fuss than anything?

026 1:17 PM, October 23, 2006


straining gnats said...

Mike,

I've never claimed to be you; BR has made (another) false assumption. I apologize for BR being wrong (again).

Friend,

"I have observed ( as I know you have) that a relativly few people are posting anything, compared to the many thousands who attend Bellevue."

Accurate observation. That's because a few people are spinning this tale to fit their agenda, while most people have decided that their spurrious allegations aren't worth responding to.

027 1:20 PM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

Sorry straining gnats,

I must have been mistaken by the tone of the posts. I thought those to have been posts of MB. I did not mean any disrespect. I won't infer that again.

028 1:41 PM, October 23, 2006


straining gnats said...

BR,

I'm sorry, I cannot accept your apology. It's just not good enough. How can I tell whether or not you are sincere? I heard from another source that you rolled your eyes as you typed that!

No, you're going to have to work for this. I will not be satisfied until you are publically humiliated, stripped of reputation, and run you out of town with your tail between your legs. I plan on critiquing everything that you say from this point forward, and will piece together words from your own mouth to fit my plan for your destruction.

Here's an idea: rent an airplane to write your apology in the sky over Bellevue, and have all of my friends, relatives, co-workers, and associates, as well as all Bellevue church members, on hand to witness your sincerity as you write your words in the sky. At that point, I'll think about forgiving you.

Sound familiar, anyone?

Of course I forgive you, BR. That's what grace is all about.

029 2:05 PM, October 23, 2006


youthmomma said...

I know MANY people who are reading this blog and not posting for various reasons. Just because someone is not "posting" doesn't mean they aren't there. Using the computer is easy for me, but I have several friends who are as concerned as I am, that hardly ever use their computers. I wonder if there is a way to show our numbers. Maybe you could start a new post and we can begin a list of our names or "psudonames" to show that it's not just a handfull of people. I can say that I represent 2 adults (not to mention 2 teenagers who are also very concerned with what they see) I still function at church quite easily becuase I believe I should still be serving the Lord while I am waiting for transparancy from our leadership. It's not just a handfull of people.

030 2:17 PM, October 23, 2006


Comment Deleted

This post has been removed by the author.

031 2:58 PM, October 23, 2006


stillwaitingandwatching said...

I am here and represent several generations of active Bellevue members, all of whom, are heartsick over what is happening to our church. I am extremely disappointed in people whom I have known personally for many years, including Mike Bratton, that are willing to blindly follow our pastor simply because he holds the title. (And, Mike, I will not be suprised that you will probably blast me for posting under a psuedonym. My desire to protect the older generations of my family, who are waiting and watching as well, is more important to me than to fulfill your need to know who I am.) That said, apparently over 100 concerned members attending meetings is a handfull compared to 30,000 in membership. Funny how, all 30,000 people suddenly become active members, during a time like this. I would dare say that there are more people concerned over these issues than the leadership would like to believe. Anyway, I just wanted to let you know, that there are more people here reading than posting, so just don't assume this is only a "handfull" of people.

032 3:01 PM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

So sorry about the analogy, but even if I did have a plane, I have done nothing to the leadership other than ask questions and comment on the lack of transparency in the leadership. I shall continue to seek answers and I will accept any sincere and honest answer,(when there are conflicting reports, someone is not telling the truth - be it Steve Gaines or Mark Sharpe) but to stand another committee up in front of the congreagtion in an attempt to avoid personal responsibility is not an acceptable response. If I am in error when the truth is revealed, then I will personally ask forgiveness from Steve Gaines and on this blog.

033 3:04 PM, October 23, 2006


Bellevue Friend said...

Friends,

StillWaitingandwatching. I did not mean to suggest that your concerns or others are not valid.
My point is this:

If the concerned members are as many that has been intimated, then I would anticipate that bringing this to the Church in a full, official, bar the doors business meeting is the only thing that will bring about the peace your Church seeks.

Truth and transperency is crucial to putting this behind you.

What is there truly to be afraid of? I can tell you, that there is nothing for a Minister of God to fear from Holy Spirit filled believers, who desire the truth to be told.

I believe that God's Spirit will preside over that meeting, one thing the enemy truly hates is the light!

I am sure the concern from leadership, is that those spear heading these concerns have an agenda, that will not be satisfied without the removal of your Senior Pastor.

My council is a Pastor can trust God's people to do the right thing. In fact well known Houston Pastor John Bisagno in his book " Letter's to Timothy" (First Houston, now retired) once said that 90% of the people will vote with the Pastor when an issue comes to the floor of a business meeting.

I believe that overwhelming support for the Pastor would happen assuming that there is transperency, humility, brokeness, and a desire to be lead by God's Spirit, by everyone!

I personally would not want to Pastor a Church, if I was afraid of God's people. Regardless of how prestigious it is. Peace beats prestige any day of the week! Who needs the stress, the constant assesment?

I am sure some will retort....it's not God's people you have to worry about, regarding these issues! As prviously stated I am merely an observer, who has long admired Bellevue, and the ministry of Adrian Rogers. If there are truly 100's of people who only seek a format to have all their concerns met, why avoid it?

Avoidance of true Biblical concerns will provide diminishing returns and the atmosphere at Bellevue will be heavy with tension.

Certainly there is that concern....but admiring your Church (From Afar) knowing the kind of people that have set under Dr. Rogers, I am wondering why be afraid?

034 3:29 PM, October 23, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

BR, there is a third possibility with regard conflicting reports -- the transmission of mistaken or incorrectly perceived data/information.

Controversial issues are not always so black and white.

035 3:39 PM, October 23, 2006


goingelsewhere said...

i have decided to leave the church, not that i believe that all items that have been lodged is correct, the main items i disagree with are 1) telling a man not to say "amen" sorry pastor, that is the Holy Spirit talking and you are NOT over the Spirt GOD, you might think so but you are not. 2) if the church is open the pastor needs to be there, not taking the deacons out to dinner( which happens to be the same one protecting him) take those days to be with your family, not a church nigth that can be used to spread the WORD and save souls. our tithes go to you working not taking people out to dinner

faith baptist here comes a family of five

036 4:23 PM, October 23, 2006


Andrew said...

Please pass this on to Dr. Gaines.

Pastor,

Your sheep, of which I'm one, are scattering. We are confused and dismayed. Please, please, help us. We really don't know what to do. You say that you've done nothing wrong yet you won't defend yourself or call their bluff. Pastor, we had a meeting where you explained to us what happened on a few occasions and even appologized for the fence issue. But they are not listening; in fact they are pointing out more issues that only raise more questions about your integrity and character. Why not stand up and demand that it STOP. Why not require them to bring charges or proof or whatever they have and then one by one you nail them with proof and evidence that shuts them up and down for good. I don't mean that harshly but sometimes you have to stand up and fight for who you love.

Pastor, do you love us?

I believe you do.

I believe this must be more difficult and worrisome than I can possibly imagine for you - it is for us too.

I'm not sure what to do with the Ad-Hoc committe. I know you said you needed to devote yourself to prayer and preaching but the committee is just seperating us from you. They can't stand up for you. They can give out answers but they can't regain your integrity and strength and name - only you can do that. Only you.

It's been confusing and even painful to hear you and other staff members repeatedly say that those who aren't happy with the answers should leave. Even Jamie said that to the choir. I just don't understand Pastor. Why won't you take a stand. I don't understand why you won't even protect yourself or the office of the pastor. This situation is becoming known all over. You're just sitting there telling people to go away. Is it that I'm a burden to you? I'm sorry if I am - I really don't mean to be.

Please Pastor we are lost and need you to bring us home.

Andrew

037 4:23 PM, October 23, 2006


goingelsewhere said...

i would also like to add to my previous comment: i can not sit in the church and listen to a man that i have doubt in, the sermon might be the best , but when it comes from a person who set his own standard by becoming a pastor and has handled this matter just so bad. david smith was a true man of GOD, and the pastor asked him to advise the man not to say amen anymore and turn around and tell david smith "the dream never happened" wink wink. i honestly believe that if a pastor leads his flock astray and leads his staff anf deacons astray, there will be a hotter place in hell form him, if this is true. he did not honor or respect any of the traditions of this church that was here before him or our beloved former pastor rodgers

038 4:34 PM, October 23, 2006


allofgrace said...

It sounds like all this is pretty standard practice, so I'm not prepared to say Dr Gaines has done wrong in this, provided the others signing up for the trip are aware of it. That way they can make an informed decision. I still don't know that the allegations of financial impropriety are true or not yet...and that's just it...after Sept. 24th...I still know no more than I did to start with. I just wish they would present conclusive proof instead of just saying trust us...that just pits one person's word against another's..not helpful.

039 4:47 PM, October 23, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

Goingelsewhere, make sure your version of the dream story at least matches what Mark Sharpe has said. According to Sharpe, Mark Daugherty communicated the information, not the pastor.

040 4:59 PM, October 23, 2006


ScaredOfTheTruth? said...

Mike Bratton,

There are a lot of us who would like an apology from you for your little "Bears" posting last week. You know it was in poor taste, not relevant, and was not posted in a loving spirit in any sense. You have a lot of nerve demanding an apology after some of things you have written on your website.

I'll keep checking back to see if we get one--but I'm not holding my breath as I've yet to hear you ever admit you've done anything wrong either.

041 5:38 PM, October 23, 2006


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042 6:00 PM, October 23, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

straining gnats wrote:

"Stepford, BBC Open Forum, et al,

Here's a post you need to read.

http://thebrattonreport.blogspot.com/

I assume you were referring to "notastepfordsheep" when you wrote "Stepford."

Okay, I just read it. {cough cough} And I would like to correct one thing since it refers to me personally. (I would apologize for dragging something from another blog to this one, but this is the forum from which I was referred, and I refuse to respond in that forum.)

The writer wrote: "Bellevue members who do not share their view, and Bellevue's senior staff have been defamed in various media as 'cowards,' 'the Mafia,' Stepford robots (though that analogy has been apologized for, it still exists on blogs), and supposdly employing a 'Hitler style of management,' among other libelous appellations."

Just for the record, I was the one who coined the "Stepford Sheep" moniker, but I never apologized for it. I explained what I meant by it, that it could be equally applied to either "side," the "off with their heads" gang as well as the "there couldn't possibly be any wrongdoing" bunch. However, I never did nor do I now apologize for it. I said what I meant and meant what I said. Something has to be false to be libelous. Thank you, gnats, for making me aware of that so I could set the record straight.

043 6:06 PM, October 23, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

andrew,

That's a heartfelt and well composed letter. I hope Steve Gaines reads it and that it might strike a chord with him. I'm not holding my breath, but maybe, just maybe, he'll read it with an open mind and consider the things you've said.

You wrote: "It's been confusing and even painful to hear you and other staff members repeatedly say that those who aren't happy with the answers should leave."

Do you not realize that that's exactly what they want? If you don't like it here, leave. Many of the members of Bellevue were here for years before Steve Gaines came along. Some were here years before he was born. What right does he have to say such a thing to any member of Bellevue but especially to those who gave sacrificially to build this church and continue to give their tithes and their time?

To andrew and "goingelsewhere" and anyone else who's packing it in or considering it. You have to do what you think the Lord wants you to do, but let me ask you something. Do you think Bellevue is worth fighting for? Do you think the truth is worth fighting for? If so, and if you leave now, you're saying "no" to both questions, and you're doing exactly what Steve Gaines and his yes men want you to do. Pretty soon all that will be left are yes men, some too intimidated to say anything, and a bunch of people who just don't care. That will be a sad, sad day.

044 6:54 PM, October 23, 2006


Hashman said...

It is obvious that many people hate Mr. Gaines. Unfortunately, it is obvious to the lost around Memphis. They are watching and learning.

The more we hate, the larger the magnifying glass in which we inspect their lives. Every NEW charge, mp3, or link, represents the magnifying glass getting bigger and love getting smaller.

Someone once said, "If you're looking for offense, you will always find it."

I am not a Gaines fan, BTW, he has made his mistakes. But stockpiling grievances, which seems to be the strategy of saving bellevue, is not honoring to God and the gospel.

"but God demonstrates His love toward us in this, while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 8:5

Assuming that everything said about Gaines is right, there is still an obligation to love him like Christ did, to love him as an adopted child of God. Even in reporting wrongdoing, you can do so in a gracious way.

And before anyone says, "but they did this, but they said this," You will give an account for your love or lack of love, and it will not wash with God to point fingers.

The standard is the cross. God did not treat us as our sins deserved, did He?

Someday the magnifying glass may be on you. "by the same measure that you judge, you will also be judged"

045 7:07 PM, October 23, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

"There are a lot of us who would like an apology from you for your little "Bears" posting last week. You know it was in poor taste, not relevant, and was not posted in a loving spirit in any sense. You have a lot of nerve demanding an apology after some of things you have written on your website."

Let's see... never mind the "why," how does someone go about apologizing for what I wrote?

"I'm genuinely sorry that I'd like this ongoing conversation to be about ideas, and for wishing that people would stop throwing libelous rocks at anyone not sharing the so-called 'saving Bellevue' mindset. I also apologize for praying that God would refrain from punishing people for verbal attacks. Additionally, I regret upsetting any Vikings fans for noting that the Chicago Bears hold a commanding lead in their division."

Is that the sort of apology you're fishing for, scared?

And while I'm thinking about it, what sort of Jedi mind power lets you know whether or not I'm posting something "in a loving spirit in any sense"?

"I'll keep checking back to see if we get one--but I'm not holding my breath as I've yet to hear you ever admit you've done anything wrong either."

Just for the record, you don't have to scroll around too long on my site to find an actual apology for something I did wrong.

Nota, thanks for the tip--my article is edited and updated accordingly.

--Mike

046 7:08 PM, October 23, 2006


Joe Sumrow said...

I think all of you "Saving Bellevue" folks should come out of the shadows. Stand up for what your believe in. Don't hide behind anonymous post, stand up in churh and make yourself known. We stood up in support of our Pastor, while you sat on your hands. Have the courage of your convictions.

047 7:29 PM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

Josh,
"Controversial issues are not always so black and white"

I strongly do not agree. Our God is a Holy God, even the split second that a fleeting sin crosses our mind is sin in His eyes, there are no gray areas. There is someone lying here, and that is black and white. Either Mark Dougharty was or was not told about the dream and he either told or did not tell the other staff members and Mark Sharpe was or was not told by more than one of them about it. Someone is covering up a lie for someone else or they are all lying. Is this who we want as our leadership? Give that some thought - ponder it in your heart and ask God to tell you how to handle it. Cover it up, brush it aside, follow blindly and go into attack mode or lay it at the altar and confess it before the God who already knows all about it.
I encourage all of you who are considering leaving or have already left, please hang in there even if you have to attend another church in order to have your family in the Lord's house on the Lord's day. Please do not move your membership unless the Lord is leading you away because we need your vote if it comes to that - and I believe the longer this drags on, the more likely that it will. If you are withholding your tithe, remember that is the Lord's tithe and should be set aside for Him only. Dr Rogers would say that it belongs in your local new testament church. We no longer have that at Bellevue, so we need to pray about where we should send it. Love Worth Finding is getting mine until I find out that Mark Dougharty (who is on the Board) or any one else over there is spending big on dinners with their friends.
This situation is shameful. There are more supporters for saving the Lord's Bellevue Baptist Church than there are for the leadership's attempts to hide behind another committee. Come clean - all of you!

048 8:49 PM, October 23, 2006


Alvin Ellis said...

For Mike Bratton, SupportsGodsMan and the others on either side who simply use this medium to argue and practice self-aggrandizement: When I approached Steve Gaines with a morality issue in our church arising from the music in our auditorium, he told me we were “not going back” and that I “may need to find another church”, then summarily dismissed me from his presence. That’s the biggest difference I see in him and Dr. Rogers – one had a love for the sheep and sought to keep us one fold while our undershepherd, the other seems more interested in having it only his way and scattering the flock. In 1992, Dr, Rogers told me that though I had Scriptural convictions in support of my ‘no’ votes in business meetings, he felt that I should not serve as a deacon due to the likelihood of someone’s misunderstanding what was happening and why, seeing division in the body and causing a split in the Church. He then prayed for me and with me that we would be brothers in the unifying bonds of love in Christ, though differing in these positions. The difference I see is in the love for the body and the individuals who make it up – versus the lack of that love.

Please listen to that tape of what Steve Gaines said about BBC at 2nd Church, Union City on the 25th and then tell me there was any love in his voice that night. No, there was none, just like the night he told me I could leave.

It greatly concerns me that we have a man in our pulpit who sees no good in the Church Dr. Rogers led us to be, who tells us he’s here now to teach us how to pray and worship, whose response to those who do not absolutely accept his positions and changes is that they should be separated from him and BBC – “because [he’s] here and [he’s] not leaving and [he] needs a job, hmm, hmm.” It greatly concerns me that we have a man in our pulpit who goes to a sister church and mocks brothers and problems in our Church, just so he can get a laugh from that gathering. It greatly concerns me that we have a man in our pulpit who fails to practice what he preaches – he has yet to leave his gift at the altar and go be reconciled to his brother, Mark Sharpe. It greatly concerns me that we have a man in our pulpit who holds his “personal privacy” above the welfare of our Church and its members.

Paul’s six precepts of deferring to a “weaker brother” have been lost at BBC. The love of our Lord which we are to share “one for another” is not found at BBC. Any who hold hands and sing “there’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place” come Sunday night are just not telling the truth. Being held accountable is a good thing for Christians: God has done it throughout the Bible; we are instructed to be reconciled, i.e., shown accountable, to Christ; and in the end there will be two great accountings taken by God with one for crowns and the other for stripes. So why is Steve Gaines so afraid of proper by-laws and being shown accountable? Bellevue suffers from the same fault as the Corinthian Church – insufficient love for our Lord, which is reflected in no love for His Holy Things: those souls He died for and now intercedes for.

But there is time and grace sufficient for us to love Him, and for those works meet for repentance that must follow. I only fear our hearts have become too darkened and that we are too busy consuming each other like dogs. Alvin Ellis

049 9:09 PM, October 23, 2006


Andrew said...

Alvin Ellis,

Well said.

050 9:22 PM, October 23, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

Thank you, Alvin.

051 9:45 PM, October 23, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

alvin ellis wrote: "Please listen to that tape of what Steve Gaines said about BBC at 2nd Church, Union City on the 25th and then tell me there was any love in his voice that night."

What concerns me greatly is that unless someone's found a way to vote more than once, as of this time, 21% of the respondents to the poll said they saw nothing wrong with his comments! Did they listen to the same tape that I did?

052 10:01 PM, October 23, 2006


ilovebbc said...

I wish with all my heart everyone would stop and listen to Dr. Rogers message on a unified church that he preached to us on January 2, 2005 from Ephesians 4. It's available on the Bellevue sermon archive. It's only 35 minutes long.

Message

053 3:39 AM, October 24, 2006


cjesusnme said...

NASS,

Do you know how many computers are at Bellevue? I can just see them now, going from one to another, voting that they didn't see anything wrong with what Steve said to try to discourage us. Well, that's not happening here, because I see the numbers growing who want answers and won't leave Bellevue until we get them. I promise you, this will all come out, it's just a matter of time. I agree with you NASS, we need some men to step up to the plate and let us ladies know what we can do to support them. I am tired of the lies and traveling comedy show! This world is painful enough without all of the "drama" going on at Bellevue.

Alvin,

Your post was very well said and you spoke for many of us! AMEN!

054 7:52 AM, October 24, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

"For Mike Bratton, SupportsGodsMan and the others on either side who simply use this medium to argue and practice self-aggrandizement:"

Nothing like lobbing bombs to start off an oration, I suppose...

"When I approached Steve Gaines with a morality issue in our church arising from the music in our auditorium,"

Specifics would've been really nice here, Mr. Ellis. To what "morality issue" do you refer?

The naked people in the choir loft, dancing about when the AC/DC Orchestra strikes up "Highway to Hell"?

The crack pipes that folks in the front sections seem to always whip out whenever a Black Sabbath tune get played?

Maybe the wife-swappers in the balcony who tend to leave the service early when we do a Barry White song for the special music?

Let's hear about this so-called "morality issue" precipitated by music, please, sir.

And in detail.

"he told me we were “not going back” and that I “may need to find another church”, then summarily dismissed me from his presence."

How, exactly, were you "dismissed" from Pastor Gaines' "presence"? Did he clap his hand twice and summon the palace guards?

Again, specifics would be marvelous.

"In 1992, Dr, Rogers told me that though I had Scriptural convictions in support of my ‘no’ votes in business meetings, he felt that I should not serve as a deacon due to the likelihood of someone’s misunderstanding what was happening and why, seeing division in the body and causing a split in the Church. He then prayed for me and with me that we would be brothers in the unifying bonds of love in Christ, though differing in these positions. The difference I see is in the love for the body and the individuals who make it up – versus the lack of that love."

Were I a betting man, Mr. Ellis, I would wager you didn't address Pastor Rogers the same way you addressed Pastor Gaines.

I also notice, unless I missed it, that you didn't publicize your disagreement in the available media.

Until now, that is.

"It greatly concerns me that we have a man in our pulpit who fails to practice what he preaches – he has yet to leave his gift at the altar and go be reconciled to his brother, Mark Sharpe."

Seems to me that Pastor Gaines went to great lengths attempting to do just that, and has received nothing but flak for it. Your statement, consequently, is in error.

"Paul’s six precepts of deferring to a “weaker brother” have been lost at BBC."

Your opinion, to which you are entitled.

"The love of our Lord which we are to share “one for another” is not found at BBC."

Really?

Not at all?

If I didn't love you as a brother in the Lord, I wouldn't take two seconds out of my day to encourage you to re-examine what you've written, and to suggest to you that your arguments may not be as sound as you think they are.

"Any who hold hands and sing “there’s a sweet, sweet spirit in this place” come Sunday night are just not telling the truth."

Isn't that fascinating? So, let me get this straight. Thousands of people, unless they agree with you and your opinion, are lying?

"Bellevue suffers from the same fault as the Corinthian Church – insufficient love for our Lord, which is reflected in no love for His Holy Things: those souls He died for and now intercedes for."

Your opinion, but one to which--if I may be so bold--you are not entitled, since it is foundationless.

"I only fear our hearts have become too darkened and that we are too busy consuming each other like dogs."

Well, I started to respond to this, Mr. Ellis, but there's not way to properly refute your last bit of nonsense without coming far to close to labeling individuals rather than behavior.

Please reconsider what you've shared with everyone, Mr. Ellis.

--Mike

055 9:31 AM, October 24, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

cjesusnme,

Please don't engage in rampant speculation regarding the polling data. You're suggesting, without due cause and no knowledge of, that your brothers and sisters in Christ are engaging in deceitful behavior.

A generic aside to no one in particular:

I've mentioned it before; when we view individuals in an excessively negative light/manner, all of their actions are perceived through a mental filter filled with cynicism or skepticism and can lead to undue criticism (by that I mean nothing positive is able to be believed or seen).

Long term anger and frustration can often lead to bitterness if left unchecked. Nevertheless, I do observe many individuals struggling with or harboring feelings of anger and frustration with the current situation.

I, for one, do not wish to see anyone fall into this trap.

056 10:05 AM, October 24, 2006


Alvin Ellis said...

My Brother in Christ Mike, I respond to your comments on my earlier blog by the authority of Proverbs 26: 4&5. Under that same instruction, I will not enter into the prideful contention which you manifest for our brothers and sisters, lest I become like you.

Back the first of May I wrote to Steve Gaines about the immortality in the music at BBC. I handed him my letter after the evening performance and he wanted to talk about it there at the foot of the platform. I told him he had inherited a carnal Church, that 4 ministers had become disqualified from “full-time ministry” due to immorality since we’d gotten to our Canaan, that annually deacons and SS teachers were also disqualified for that reason and that surely the body was no better than its leaders. I told him my wife and I sat in the back of the Church, that the music made some of the sisters move in sensuous ways that caused my thoughts to be less than holy and I was sure single and divorced/widowed men around me had the same problem. I told him I’d talked with a staff about this and his response was for me to just move down to the front row. I told him that would not work because that would just move me closer to the stage jukers who were worse than the sisters. He asked me about the drums and David’s dancing before the Lord (and I now have found why that act was not acceptable to God). Then he said what I reported earlier, took his right hand and dismissed me by clapping me on my right shoulder while turning to talk with others to his left and saying, "but I like your spirit."

To Steve’s credit, within a few weeks the jukers became almost motionless and changed to clothing befitting the worship of God rather than going juking. So he must have agreed that that was way out of line.

It’s good you’re not a betting man because you would have lost. Over several years Dr. Rogers and I had several letter exchanges about things I, he or we both saw wrong in our Church – and not once did he ever tell me I could/should leave. In fact, he seemed to appreciate that I’d talk with/write to him about those things we disagreed on, and the last time I spoke with him in his office he said he wished he had more deacons like me.

There was no error in what I said of Steve Gaines’ not asking for forgiveness from Mark Sharpe, or me, or the untold number of others he’s brazenly offended. Steve has never claimed he’s asked for that forgiveness and Mark agrees he has not.

And your response is my best evidence that there is a gross failing in the brotherly love that should be at BBC. Your "two seconds of love" is not what I or the problem at BBC needs, in fact that is the problem – there is no love, one for another. To see this, just re-examine your own responses to me and so many others. The venom and bitterness that ooze from them testifies against your claim of love for me and any other brother, weaker or stronger, who disagrees with you. If it's any comfort, that problem oozes from the top down so you're in prestigious company, according to man's standards.

Only by pride cometh contention, and I care not to contend with you, only to mourn and sorrow for you. So I will not be addressing any other responses you may have. But thanks anyway for making my point, though I'd rather have been wrong and had love win out. Ephesians 5: 14-16. Alvin Ellis

057 9:11 PM, October 24, 2006


Bin Wonderin said...

Dear Alvin Ellis,

You are so right about the female singers swaying. It is a huge temptation / distraction. I don't like the new songs much but I understand to need to appeal to different tastes. There are certain hymns I don't much care for either. I can live with music I don't care for as long as the words don't spew bad theology or a watered down gospel.

Please do not let Mike Bratton run you off with his mean and sarcastic comments. I want to hear more from folks like you that will speak the truth in love.

Thank you.

058 5:57 AM, October 25, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

cjesusnme said...

Alvin,

Well said Brother and once again, you speak for many of us, some of whom are of a young generation. And while I agree to disagree with some folks on this blog site and others, it's the tone in which many things are said and I agree that there seems to be no love behind Mike's messages. I don't dislike Mike as a person, but I do dislike how he treats others through dialogue. I think just as we pray for this situation and all involved, we must remember the ALL includes Mike.

059 8:43 AM, October 25, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

"My Brother in Christ Mike, I respond to your comments on my earlier blog by the authority of Proverbs 26: 4&5."

Honestly, Mr. Ellis, if it hasn't dawned on you how cognitively dissonant, not to mention Scripturally disobedient, your statement is, read it for yourself.

Proverbs 26

4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.

(The word "fool" used there, by the way, is the Hebrew kesil, a word used for someone who is beyond hope. In one sentence, you refer to me as a "brother in Christ," then as someone who is irredeemable. Which is it? Are you saying I'm a Christian, or are you saying I am not?)

The point is, presuming to use Scripture to call someone a "fool" is a violation of Scripture.

The same admonition Jesus spoke which was heeded by Pastor Gaines and others is preceded by this warning:

Matthew 5

21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.

Proverbs 26 outlines responsibilities and behavior; it does not provide ammunition.

"Under that same instruction, I will not enter into the prideful contention which you manifest for our brothers and sisters, lest I become like you."

More personal disparagements. Your tactics and point of view are dovetailing well with the rest of the anti-Bellevue cadre, Mr. Ellis.

"Back the first of May I wrote to Steve Gaines about the immortality in the music at BBC."

So far, not a thimbleful's worth of specifics.

"I handed him my letter after the evening performance and he wanted to talk about it there at the foot of the platform. I told him he had inherited a carnal Church, that 4 ministers had become disqualified from “full-time ministry” due to immorality since we’d gotten to our Canaan, that annually deacons and SS teachers were also disqualified for that reason and that surely the body was no better than its leaders."

If Bellevue is a "carnal Church," sir, why are you here?

"I told him my wife and I sat in the back of the Church, that the music made some of the sisters move in sensuous ways that caused my thoughts to be less than holy"

Now that is interesting. You sin, and blame others for it. Temptation, Mr. Ellis, is not a sin. Giving in to a temptation, however, is. Yet, instead of taking responsibility for your own sin, you seek to place blame on others for it.

Why?

"and I was sure single and divorced/widowed men around me had the same problem."

Did you ask them? "Hey, single/divorced/widowed guy--that sister's movement is causing me to sin. Is it causing you to sin, too?"

"I told him I’d talked with a staff about this and his response was for me to just move down to the front row. I told him that would not work because that would just move me closer to the stage jukers"

Which would cause you, against your will, to sin, right? And which would mean you'd have to blame others for yet more sin, right?

"who were worse than the sisters. He asked me about the drums and David’s dancing before the Lord (and I now have found why that act was not acceptable to God). Then he said what I reported earlier, took his right hand and dismissed me by clapping me on my right shoulder while turning to talk with others to his left and saying, “but I like your spirit.”"

Interesting. Because you didn't get to monopolize Pastor Gaines' time by continuing to blame others for your personal sin when others were wanting to speak with him, Pastor Gaines is a bad guy.

"To Steve’s credit, within a few weeks the jukers became almost motionless and changed to clothing befitting the worship of God rather than going juking. So he must have agreed that that was way out of line."

Again, you don't give a whit of specifics, Mr. Ellis, but you do use pejorative labels. Are the "jukers" members of the Praise Team? Soloists? Choir members? I know for a flat fact that we've never had go-go dancers at Bellevue Baptist Church, so you're just going to have to help me out here. A little.

"It’s good you’re not a betting man because you would have lost. Over several years Dr. Rogers and I had several letter exchanges about things I, he or we both saw wrong in our Church – and not once did he ever tell me I could/should leave. In fact, he seemed to appreciate that I’d talk with/write to him about those things we disagreed on, and the last time I spoke with him in his office he said he wished he had more deacons like me."

I doubt very seriously that Adrian Rogers would've desired anyone to be a part of the deacon body when that person wants to palm off his sin as someone else's fault.

"There was no error in what I said of Steve Gaines’ not asking for forgiveness from Mark Sharpe, or me, or the untold number of others he’s brazenly offended. Steve has never claimed he’s asked for that forgiveness and Mark agrees he has not."

Pastor Gaines went to Mr. Sharpe's home, seeking reconciliation. For his efforts, he's received several weeks' worth of bile from people who share a disappointing mindset--including you.

"And your response is my best evidence that there is a gross failing in the brotherly love that should be at BBC. Your “two seconds of love” is not what I or the problem at BBC needs,"

Now you're just playing with words, rather than addressing things in context. I've spent much more than "two seconds" over the past few weeks addressing the nonsense that passes for the "saving Bellevue" fad, in prayerful hope that at least some of the people involved would come to understand the inappropriate nature of their behavior, and that those on the outside of the ruckus would understand that some of us--the vast majority of us, actually--at Bellevue don't have a hostile mindset with regard to our pastor.

"in fact that is the problem – there is no love, one for another."

On this, I will agree with you. "Saving Bellevue" is built on a mindset of hostility, not of love. It uses Scripture as a club to bash those who dare disagree; it exposes the deacon body to harassment by posting their e-mail addresses, home addresses, and telephone numbers; it plans to disrupt worship services with protests.

There's nothing loving about it, and it has been my fervent prayer that somehow, some way, at least some of the people associated with it will see how they've been suckered into following their most base emotions to do things they will, no doubt, regret later.

"To see this, just re-examine your own responses to me and so many others. The venom and bitterness that ooze from them testifies against your claim of love for me and any other brother, weaker or stronger, who disagrees with you."

Name one, Mr. Ellis.

Just one.

I asked for specifics from you, and you just don't provide them.

"If it’s any comfort, that problem oozes from the top down so you’re in prestigious company, according to man’s standards"

More personal disparagements.

Again, would you talk that way to Pastor Gaines face-to-face? You say you were able to disagree with Pastor Rogers without being disagreeable--why do you refuse to grant Pastor Gaines the same courtesy?

"Only by pride cometh contention, and I care not to contend with you, only to mourn and sorrow for you. So I will not be addressing any other responses you may have. But thanks anyway for making my point, though I’d rather have been wrong and had love win out."

No, you don't care to "contend with me." That would require giving specific answers to specific questions.

"Ephesians 5: 14-16. Alvin Ellis "

For those following along, Mr. Ellis violated Jesus' command one more time by using a Scripture verse to call me a "fool." Sir, you attack people instead of addressing positions; because of that choice of tactic, I would agree that you should not interact any more with anyone who even slightly disagrees with you.

On anything.

Someone else might be keeping score of the number of personal slurs the so-called "saving Bellevue" group has been slinging, but personally, I've lost track.

And I can count pretty high...

--Mike

060 8:52 AM, October 25, 2006

Memphismom02 said...

From the website: mikebratton.voice123.com

"As a Christian, I have a guiding principle for any type of performance I do. It's found in Ephesians 4:29, and it reads like this: "Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

"In a nutshell, I make it a point not to do anything on the air that doesn't, in some way, lift up the person watching or listening. If that sounds odd to you, we probably won't work well together; however, if that's the way you work, we should talk."

Is this the same Mike Bratton doing postings here??? Surely not. Oh, but he is talking about what he does "on air" and other "performances".

Anonymous said...

Is this the same Mike Bratton doing postings here??? Surely not. Oh, but he is talking about what he does "on air" and other "performances".

Sometimes people really, really don't want to be lifted up from the muck and the mire of their worldview du jour.

That can precipitate responses that stray from the issues--unfortunate responses that have even begun to involve my family or my profession. Responses that only reinforce the muck and the mire some people enjoy.

--Mike