Wednesday, October 25, 2006

The End of a Brief Era -- Original BBC Open Forum Says Goodbye

From the original BBC Open Forum:

I have been invited to move along and am accepting the invitation to do so.

I plan to delete this site at some point soon in the future. If you want to copy & paste all this stuff to a new site you have my permission (not that you need it). Should anyone wish to begin a new blog to continue the conversation that is easily done through the blogger site and it is free. If you wish you may set up your site and post a link in the comment section of this thread pointing people there.

Not that it matters but I don’t much care about credit cards or the fence. It is listening to the words on tape and the Holy Land trip business that bother me. Those are not allegations, they are just the way it is. The words from the heart and the set up of the trip are well documented. Decide for yourself and stay or leave as you see fit. I already have. Some may cheer and some may be disappointed by this. Perhaps no one will give a hoot.

I don’t feel very good about much of what has happened and I don’t see a “winner” coming out of this. Well, God always wins in the end but you know what I mean. Anyway, I just can’t hang around here or any other BBC site because it is starting to impact my personal walk a little too much. Maybe that is selfish, I don't know. Moving on may not be the right thing to do, but it seems right to me.

Please don't respond to me in the comments. I won't be reading them.

I don’t know what else to say. I’ll let my last words to you be my personal favorite Bible verse which is John 16:33.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

posted by BBC Open Forum at 11:10 AM on Oct 24 2006


New BBC Open Forum said...

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001 11:39 AM, October 24, 2006

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002 11:52 AM, October 24, 2006

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003 12:04 PM, October 24, 2006

straining gnats said...

"Perhaps it is time that we met at the 9:30 worship service this Sunday, October 29th and when the pastor gets up to preach, we all who do not agree with the leadership's handling of this situation just stand up and walk out of the service."

In all sincerity, what do you wish to accomplish by doing that? Do you really believe that that is the Biblical thing to do? Would a protest please Jesus?

004 12:08 PM, October 24, 2006

Josh Tucker said...

I agree wholeheartedly with gnats. I ask that none of you engage in this method of showing your dissent. This is far more likely to damage any cause you may have than to help.

I have a political science background and the number one problem with protest movements is that they do not communicate ideas very effectively. All you would demonstrate in this situation is general dissent.

Moreover, how does this show respect for the office of the pastor, the pulpit, or the worship service going on around you? What you would be engaging in is very divisive and is neither the time nor place for such contemptuous behavior.

005 12:25 PM, October 24, 2006

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006 12:30 PM, October 24, 2006

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007 12:41 PM, October 24, 2006

notastepfordsheep said...

Wonder who "invited" him to "move along." Sounds kind of ominous. Maybe it was just Mrs. BBC Open Forum.

008 1:15 PM, October 24, 2006

westtnbarrister said...

On Truth...

Regardless of where you stand, you should agree we have problems at Bellevue. Our church is a divided church. The problems spilled into the public domain in late August, but that was only when the water boiled over. This began to percolate long before that.

Why has no leader come forward as a peacemaker? Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He hates discord in our church and in no way does it honor Him.

Some believe the way to peace is for those asking questions to be quiet or leave. But that is permanent division, not peace. Those with that attitude should be cautious, next time it could be you asked to leave. I’m unaware of the biblical mandate for that position.

As some have reminded us, the Bible does speak to pastoral authority. We have differing interpretations of the extent of that authority and how that authority may be wielded, but the idea is biblical. The New Testament presents a picture of one with authority earned through respect of his people. A pastor is a shepherd. He has a servant’s heart.

Allegations have been made and subsequently denied. People are upset on all sides and matters have turned ugly. Neither side wins a gold star for conduct. Folks have passed along gossip as fact. Folks have resorted to ad hominems and vituperative accusations. Some leaders elevated this crisis through their apparent apathy and/or harsh words. Some deacons actually threatened legal action against church members. A minister embarrassed himself in an email exchange with a young church member. To be sure, some of our deacons are scared for our church and are trying to speak with reason, but as a body, they have been feckless throughout this crisis. NASS is correct. God could allow Bellevue to sink. If we continue this way he may drop the iceberg in our path Himself. He does not need our church to accomplish His purposes.

Consider these principles from Dr. Rogers’ book Standing for Light and Truth:

• It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.

• It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals than to tell a lie that comforts and then kills.

• It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie.

• It is better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude.

• It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.

The only way to reconcile our fellowship is by seeking truth. We need the truth about what has really happened in our church. We also need the truth about where we are headed as a church.

If Dr. Gaines has done nothing wrong, the truth will set him free to be the leader he was called to be. He may find the process demeaning and worrisome, but in the end the truth will serve to strengthen him. The same goes for other key leaders. If they have done nothing wrong, the truth strengthens them.

In contrast, if Dr. Gaines has done nothing wrong, the truth will announce to the world that Mr. Sharpe and others were wrong. That won’t make them bad men. It will just mean they were wrong. Either way, the truth will set us free and allow us to move on.

Because of their nature, we need to address Mark Sharpe’s allegations first. Once that is done, we cannot stop. Through this crisis, many other concerns have bubbled to the surface. We must try to deal with them and put them behind us. We need a safe and civil forum for questions to be asked and discussed. If someone disagrees it is unacceptable to question their salvation. It is also unacceptable to ask members to leave if they don’t like it. Baptists have historically been about freedom. We should be free to civilly disagree with one another.

We will never have unanimity on all of these matters. But is it too much to ask for a civil discussion? Is it too much to love each other as brothers and sisters in Christ? Is it too much to ask for truth?

Allegations, rumors, and endless debate will not save Bellevue. Only the truth can Save Bellevue.

009 1:52 PM, October 24, 2006

Mike Bratton said...

"Perhaps it is time that we met at the 9:30 worship service this Sunday, October 29th and when the pastor gets up to preach, we all who do not agree with the leadership's handling of this situation just stand up and walk out of the service."

Please tell us, whoever you are, how disrupting a worship service by turning it into a politial statement glorifies God, blesses the body, or encourages those in need to come to a saving knowledge of Christ.

Your notion is another prime example of emotionalism being substituted for a discussion of facts. "Ooh, let's walk out! That'll show him!" That isn't "walking the talk," it's "throwing the tantrum."


010 2:12 PM, October 24, 2006

notastepfordsheep said...

In my opinion walking out of a worship service would do nothing but make us look petty and childish. While I agree we need to take a stand, a worship service isn't the time or place for such a show of solidarity... in my humble opinion.

Likewise, I don't think the "information meeting" following the 9/24 evening service, which was really an extension of the worship service, or the 9/25 Union City service was the time or place for such a "show" either. A worship service is for one purpose -- worship.

Ecclesiastes 3:1

011 2:36 PM, October 24, 2006

Hebrews was Anonymous and Inspired said...

Your open forum will always be at the foot of Jesus.

Any time you hear an invitation to come to the altar, that is the place to go with all your burdens.

There are people there, many of them deacons, who want to hear from you and pray with you and answer all of your questions.

If you are uncomfortable going alone, take friends and family with you.

Go forward prayerful expecting a meeting with the God who loves you and who will be with you and the servant who recieves you at the altar.

You may see many people go forward if you will be the first.

This is called an outporing of the Holy Spirit.

This is how revival starts.

This not about the people involved. All of us have failed Jesus in this situation.

The only way for Jesus to get the victory at this point (and to stop Satan from trying to have his way in the life of the Bride of Christ) is for every one of us to meet at the altar broken hearted and ready for the the Healer to put us back together the way he always has been pleading with us.

No less than the Spirit of Peace is at work here. Do not grieve Him, he will not let you forget.

This is what the world will see and remember about all of this.

Do not let a false motivation stir your heart. Pray and fast between now and Sunday.

Do not go forward in animosity. The deacons will receive you with love.

Confess to them your sins.

Confess to them your forgiveness for anything that you perceive to be a sin in them.

And the deacons need to be prepared to go to the pastor when they hear the alar call if they have concerns that they have for him.

Remember: get the beam out of your own eye before you complain about the spec in you brother's eye.

Let this be the beginning....

NOT "The End."

Pastor Gaines is a GODLY pastor. And the members of BBC are GODLY members.

The only thing that is in the way is Satan's lies. We all have fallen into this snare.

Let this outpouring be seen and heard of by multitudes. Let Bellevue be the place where the next great revival broke out.

Let it be Now.

Call your friends in TN and in other states. Ask them to call their friends.

Let everyone be praying together for the same outcome: That God will be glorified by unworthy creatures redeemed by the blood of Christ.

Let there be Light.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

012 2:46 PM, October 24, 2006

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013 2:55 PM, October 24, 2006

David said...

Please do not distrup the worshp service! I do disagree with Josh Turner, the political science major. I am a product of the 60's and I saw first hand what protests can accomplish. I marched with Dr. King and I was certainly around enough for the protests over the Viet Nam War. Protests can work but they have NO place in a worship service. Rather I STRONGLY suggest the most powerful weapon you have and one most of us have forgotten: PRAYER. I stand amazed at how shallow our faith becomes when faced with what we are at Bellevue. I have close friends on both sides of this. I shared with Mike yesterday and the savingbellevue site today that we all have taken our eyes off HIM. We are all acting like spoiled children. Before everyone jumps on me, I do not agree with the way Dr. Gaines has handled some of these matters. But I do believe he is the man for Bellevue. Some people have tried to drag up the way he was many years ago in Jackson. I would dare say not one of us would like our past drug from over 20 years ago, in my case 40 years ago. It ain't a pretty picture. Please be silent and let the Holy Spirit do its work in each one of us. We are ALL children of God, it is time we got on our knees and allow the one we call Lord take control. Please do not disrupt the worhsip service!

014 2:57 PM, October 24, 2006

MOM4 said...

Many of us have already talked to deacons. They are not receptive. The pastor is not receptive. I have poured out my heart to the Lord for my family and the tears are hot on my face. We ladies and mothers have been relying on the men of the church who are our leaders and are supposed to be taking this situation before the Lord on our behalf. They are silent while we and our children and grandchildren suffer. We are loosing members and the leadership is glad. We are seeking answers and are told to leave. We express our hearts and we are called "emotional". I would rather be emotionial in my plea than cold and dead in my heart. Jesus wept and so do I. Are you doing something to resolve this situation?

015 3:08 PM, October 24, 2006

notastepfordsheep said...


That was just my own opinion. You have to do what you feel is right for you. If such a "walk out" did occur, and I saw those left stand and "applaud like trained seals" as someone once put it, I would then either walk along with the others or remain seated, but I would hate to see a worship service disrupted. On the other hand, I wouldn't be nearly as bothered if a large group walked out of a different type of meeting, say a business meeting. Not that it appears there's going to ever be another business meeting...

On another note, I would like to continue this "blog" as a forum for those who wish to continue to discuss these issues. With the blessing of BBC Open Forum I have saved all the previous threads and comments, and if I can figure out how to do this blogging stuff, I'll post those and announce the new forum address. I think it's worked well so far, and BBCOF's rules will remain in place.

Thank you again, BBCOF, for making this forum available and for keeping it a place where those who are concerned have been able to express their views and exchange ideas in a respectful, Christian spirit (well, most of the time at least).

Stay tuned...

016 3:14 PM, October 24, 2006

scmom said...

westtnbarrister- Amen! Your post is right on the money.

Mike- Although I disagree with the way you have addressed people on this forum, I agree with some of your post- I do not believe that staging a walk-out in the middle of a church service is an appropriate answer- (kind of like I don't think staging a standing ovation by the choir is appropriate) No matter which side of the issues you support, we all need to remember that Bellevue (the building) is God's house and the Sunday service is a time to worship God. If you can not go to Bellevue and worship God through music and hearing of His Word, then I definitely would go elsewhere. Don't get me wrong- I think that it is horrible that anyone would have to leave a church that they love- but if I were in your shoes, I'd be out of there in a heartbeat. (Bellevue is my home church- I moved away several years ago but my family is still there) Like someone said earlier, don't yank your membership right away, but get your family somewhere that you can worship and grow. You might be surprised at who you run in to! --I want you all to know how heartbroken I am over all of the things I have read and heard...

017 3:15 PM, October 24, 2006

Jonathan said...

A protest is not the way to go - a walkout will prove nothing.

Forgive the Pastor for his wrongs (real or imagined) and pray that the Holy Spirit will do His work.

No amount of being right will change either side (whichever side is right). Please set aside the attacks on the Pastor. Not because he is right or because he is good; but because God's only begotten died an excruciating death on a cross while we were still sinners so that we may be forgiven. God loved us before we repented as I know many of you love the church and the pastor.

As such, do not protest, but pray. Pray that the Lord would reveal our shortcomings and our wrongs to us that we may strive to be more like Him. Pray that He alone would work on the hearts of everyone at Bellevue. Pray alone and pray in groups, but seek only God. If there have been wrongs, then the Lord will see to correction in His time.

All we can do is earnestly seek after Him. Pointing out the wrongs in others is not always bad, but when they have been made notice, continuing in this path will only serve to harden hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can work on hearts and soften them.

So pray for your pastor, pray for yourselves and pray for the church.

018 3:20 PM, October 24, 2006

ilovebbc said...

Jr. Hill is preaching this coming Sunday. Of course, any kind of demonstration during a worship service, regardless if Brother Steve is preaching or we have a guest is a bad witness to the lost but I just thought I'd remind you that this Sunday we have a guest.

019 3:40 PM, October 24, 2006

I love my church said...

Westtnbarrister – Amen, brother! Amen Amen! Amen!

You said what I am thinking. It’s all about the truth. I read your post on pragmatism. You seem to keep your head whilst all around are losing theirs. I lost my head over this weeks ago.

We need you to keep at it. Why don't you start a site?

020 3:48 PM, October 24, 2006

MOM4 said...

I did not know that Jr Hill was preaching this Sunday and I agree that under those circumstances, it would not be appropriate to stage any kind of protest during his presence. Jr Hill is one of the most annointed preachers of our time and there are more people saved under his sermons than any other time at BBC. All of those who have emailed me (the nice ones anyway), I will repond to you individually so we can make other arrangements, but as for now, I am removing the earlier posts.

021 4:24 PM, October 24, 2006

allofgrace said...

brother whether this blog stays or goes..i would like very much to converse with you...i think we have much common ground in how we see things. I have been blessed by your posts. Also...though a lot of bad things have happened in all good thing has taken place...we're all talking...discussing..Bellevue is a big's difficult to know many people let alone get to talk to's a good thing for God's people to be in conversation over important issues...good or bad...I'm thankful for that. Let's all pray that in His mercy, God will bring all this to a conclusion that will glorify His email is free to contact me...I'd love the exchange. Blessings to all.

022 4:49 PM, October 24, 2006

allofgrace said...

If anyone is interested, I've started a new blog... this is not a forum particular to the issues at Bellevue though you are welcome to discuss them's focus is issues which face our individual churches, the SBC, and the larger evangelical world. Hope to see you there.

023 5:48 PM, October 24, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...


As I stated earlier, I've already started one to continue this forum. I'll post the address as soon as I finish setting it up which should be a little later tonight.

Hey, it's a big tent. WTB, et al. can continue leading those deep theological discussions about Calvinism, etc. over there! :-)

024 6:18 PM, October 24, 2006

allofgrace said...

new bbcopenforum,
hey sorry...didn't see your comments about continuing the blog.

025 6:49 PM, October 24, 2006

westtnbarrister said...

To scmom...Thank you. I call it like I see it.

To I love my church...I have a blog in abeyance. It dealt with matters pertaining to the church, literature, and our culture. I'm considering bringing it back online. If I do I will somehow let people know. Thanks for your kind comments.

To new bbc openforum...I'm not qualified to lead "deep theological discussions." Thanks for thinking I could. I'll be reading your new forum.

To All For Grace...I'll check out your blog and be in touch. Right now I have a World Series to watch. Go Cards!

To everyone...the last few days I have received a lot of email from readers and posters on this forum. We can all take heart in the knowledge there are many fine people in our midst. I have heard some great stories about our church and have enjoyed some interesting dialog. Thank you all. Please keep me up to date.

Let's continue to pray for our church.

026 7:08 PM, October 24, 2006

one member said...

I have been watching and reading all of these posts from the beginning. I will have to say that I will miss the thoughtful and sincere posts by most of you, especially WTNB, Mom4, NASS, Mr Ellis and others. The one thing that I found most interesting is the tone of the saving bellevue posts compared to the pro-gaines posts. While the saving bellevue folks are obviously looking for answers, the pro-gaines crowd is obviously looking to the Clintons for their manner of communication. I have never seen such arrogance and hateful, spiteful and rude comments coming from so-called Christians in my life. Most of them are argumentative put downs, slanderous and frankly quite cruel. I believe if I ever meet Mike Bratton, I shall shudder in his presence for he appears to have no grace or compassion in his heart. He must truly be an angry man. I guess it is a good thing that this blog is shutting down. I would become bitter at the pro-gaines folks if I continued to read their posts. They are indeed blinded to the truth. There needs to be a meeting - now.

027 7:20 PM, October 24, 2006

I love my church said...

I encourage BBC Open Forum to leave the forum up for a couple of days. Others need to use this forum to communicate where the new forums will be.

I'm anxious to see the discussion continue. Some of it has been embarrassing coming from church members. Some of it has been fantastic.

Without the internet we would have no way to communicate and discuss these matters. I don't think the powers at Bellevue want discussion of any kind. I love the Martin Luther 95 Theses analogy. You people make me think.

WTB, I have to look up some of your words. Excuse me, vituperative??? Just kidding, I love what you say. Tell me when you have you have you blog.

For those that don't know, you can use google blog search to find blogs discussing Bellevue. Go to this site to do those searches.

028 7:54 PM, October 24, 2006

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029 8:00 PM, October 24, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Okay, folks. YOUR ATTENTION, PLEASE! It's up. Don't know about running, but at least it's up.

Go to New BBC Open Forum and blog on.

I will transfer all the comments from the threads on this forum to the new one in the form of the first comment in each thread's comment section. If you'd please give me another day to finish posting those before commenting in those "pre-existing" threads, I'd appreciate it. Comments in the "welcome" thread can commence immediately.

030 9:20 PM, October 24, 2006

Mike Bratton said...

"one member said..."

Pseudonym from which anything can be written without having to take responsibility for it? Check.

"I have never seen such arrogance and hateful, spiteful and rude comments coming from so-called Christians in my life."

Questioning the salvation of those with whom you disagree? Check.

"Most of them are argumentative put downs, slanderous and frankly quite cruel."

Accusations without support? Check.

"I believe if I ever meet Mike Bratton, I shall shudder in his presence for he appears to have no grace or compassion in his heart."

Personal disparagements? Check, and double check.

"He must truly be an angry man."

Attempted character assassination of someone whom you've never met? Check.

"I guess it is a good thing that this blog is shutting down. I would become bitter at the pro-gaines folks if I continued to read their posts."

"Would become bitter"?

Hey, all right.

"They are indeed blinded to the truth."

With one more insult on top for decoration? Check.

"There needs to be a meeting - now."

And from what you've shared, whoever you are, your worldview makes you eminently qualified to participate in it.



031 7:15 AM, October 25, 2006

Lwood said...

Need Info......
A couple of days ago there was a blog about the process in which the search committee went about the hiring of Dr. Gaines. I have tried to find it but don't know if it was deleted or I am just missing it somewhere. I wanted to revisit it for a couple of reasons.One was that it said he was in San Diego and several ministers thought he should take the job at Bellevue. Well my thought is that SaddleBack Church is there and it is Rick Warren and PDL. Is there a connection that he has there..Does anyone know where this post was on the blog????

032 8:13 AM, October 25, 2006

David said...

Mom4 and others: I read your response to my post and I am still stunned. I asked that we turn it over to HIM and in PRAYER. But you chose to reject that and go on and tell me all you have tried to do YOURSELF. Where in what you told is the LORD? Look I am not in Steve Gaines' camp by a long shot. I do NOT like is attitude, his laugh and his stiff neck when it comes to his flock but he is our PASTOR until the LORD removes. Not a single one us can do that.

Scripture is more abundant on the issue of prayer. We all are guilty of being carnal minded, we cannot serve self and HIM. Goodness, Dr. Rogers taught that to us so many times. I do feel that Steve needs some humility. For the record I was in favor of my friend, Ken Whitten but it was not the Lord's choice. I am troubled when you explain all you have tried and with no luck. Why do you think that is so? Could it possibly be that the Lord wants Steve Gaines there? I feel for each one of you as well as Steve Gaines.

We must learn to give it all to HIM. Right now no one is willing to surrender to HIS will. We all want our will be done. I for one have been in real season of prayer over this and I urge others too because if we don't what we profess and claim is all lies. And that HE is our Saviour and Lord. Please let the real FATHER, PASTOR and COMFORTER take control and HE is faithful and just.

How about gathering those that are concerned to meet in the parking lot this weekend and we all get on our knees and unite as one in the bond of love and pray for our church, pastor and our selves?

033 8:30 AM, October 25, 2006

MOM4 said...

I agree with what you have said. If you will notice that in my post, I stated that I have been taking it to the Lord in prayer as many others are doing.

We have met at the altar on Sunday mornings at 8:00 am and only a handful showed up - at that time. Maybe it is time for it to happen again. I agree that the Lord will either remove Steve Gaines or humble him. His ways are not the Lord's ways and that is a scary place to be. If you will go back on my posts and read them all, you will see that we are on the same page for all intents and purposes. I too liked Mr. Whitten and there are 168 others that should have been considered. We are not a small group of people. The email count I have received is 342. Of those, 28 have been offensive toward me, some vulgar and irreverend in their language.

The rest have been supportive and have included entire families in their count. This is not a minority by any means. I am attaching the email response that I sent each of them.

"Thank you so very much for your kind email. I appreciate all you said and from my email responses, I can tell you that we are many.
I have learned that Jr Hill will be preaching this Sunday morning. Under those circumstances, I have pulled my posts from the blog and I am contacting those who emailed me to advise them to hold off until a later date.

More people have been saved under Jr Hill's sermons than any other time at BBC. I cannot justify disrupting his sermon.

I have been on staff at Bellevue in the past (pre-gaines era) and I know all of the men and women that are supporting the pastor. I can tell you that some of them are showing support out of fear for their jobs. I also know the men who left and their dismissals were handled poorly, they need to address the membership. We will not understand everything until they do.

I honestly believe that we should complete the questionaire for the AD HOC committee. I believe if those of us who are unsettled in our hearts submit questions in a decent and orderly manner, then maybe they will listen. I am thinking that we need to keep a copy of what we submit and have someone other than the committee keep up with them to make sure that they are answered properly.
I believe that this situation will not be resolved without a large showing from the membership. If you have any ideas, please feel free to email me any time.
Thannk you so much for your support.

In Christ Alone,

034 8:45 AM, October 25, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Continuation of comments from original BBC Open Forum.

New BBC Open Forum said...

(Not yelling at you. Just want to get your attention.)



Topic suggestions in the "Suggestion Box" thread are welcome.


035 9:24 AM, October 25, 2006

David said...

Mom4 I agree with you that is not small number of people. And that number is growing. That is what I was referring to in my first post about protests in the 60's. One thing we all learned from those marches and gatherings, there is strength in numbers. That way Dr. Gaines can't keep saying this is the work of a FEW people.

Let me ask this, instead of meeting at 8:00, what about gathering after the 11:00 service. And ask anyone that is concerned over what is happening to our church to join regardless of what side they are on. I feel you might have a much larger number. I for one am not an early riser. Maybe if Steve saw a group of people, gathering in prayer and each week and that group getting larger and larger, maybe the Holy Spirit would move him to reconsider his position. It would be certainly more than the 4 or 5 he keeps referring to. Surely he would not object a group gathering to pray about this.

Look at our President did this week with regards to his position in Iraq. Some times a leader has to reconsider his position, and that is a sign of a true leader. One that shows compassion.

Like I said earlier this tearing all of us up. You all are in my prayers.

036 9:27 AM, October 25, 2006

Bell22 said...

Good post David, Prayer that is the ticket

037 10:02 AM, October 25, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...


038 11:48 AM, October 25, 2006