Thursday, October 26, 2006

Financial Issues

Links to 3 articles on this subject can be found here.

A simplified definition would be the transferring of a Church asset to an insider for less than fair market value where "insiders" are defined as "pastors, ministers, board members, officers, and employees."

It is alleged impropriety of this nature that Mark Sharpe claims to have knowledge of. Specifically, he claims that current and former staff members with whom he had a close working relationship have claimed to have proof of such occurrences and have confided this information in him, but they will not come forward with that proof until the appropriate protections are in place. They reportedly have been willing to do so all along, but Dr. Gaines and other staff members have refused to meet with them under these conditions.

1. Should Mark Sharpe and these individuals be granted the opportunity to present any evidence they might have with the protections requested in place?

2. Should a preacher and other staff have church credit cards? Why or why not? Should there be accountability to the membership for the use of these cards? Should the receipts be available for review at any time? What if there are allegations of misuse? Who should be able to review them?

3. Use of a church credit card for personal expenditures, even when those charges are reimbursed to the church, is considered "co-mingling of funds." Aside from any legal ramifications, is this proper?

4. The more openness and transparency there is by the staff regarding the stewardship of money, the fewer questions there will be. How much transparency do you think is necessary?

Use this thread to discuss any matters related to financial concerns at Bellevue.

100 comments:

MOM4 said...

I would like to know if it is true that Steve Gaines left Gardendale with 9 million dollars in debt. If so, what was the money used for? A building project, missions or just "spending". It would dispell a lot of rumors if we knew the particulars from a reputable source.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, you said,
"This would show a track record of financial impropriety.”

Would this not depend on the overall business structure and the business' desire and approval to pay for an employee’s continuing education?

Indeed, it could point to a problem but does it necessarily do so? I don’t have a problem with looking for more witnesses on this but we must guard against finding what we are looking for.

Everyone -
Facts and Truth are not synonymous.

Facts support and verify the truth but we can also misunderstand the truth with all the facts are not present or when they are misunderstood. Thus we can find ourselves heading in the wrong direction and doing damage.

Consider the following.

Deut 19:15-21
15 "A single witness shall not rise up against a man on account of any iniquity or any sin which he has committed; on the evidence of two or three witnesses a matter shall be confirmed.
16 "If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be {in office} in those days.
18 "And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness {and} he has accused his brother falsely,
19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
20 "And the rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.
21 "Thus you shall not show pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.
(NAS)


Matt 18:12-17
12 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?
13 "And if it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray.
14 "Thus it is not {the} will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.
15 "And if your brother sins, go and reprove him in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16 "But if he does not listen {to you,} take one or two more with you, so that by the mouth of two or three witnesses every fact may be confirmed.
17 "And if he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax-gatherer.
(NAS)


1 Cor 14:26-33
26 What is {the outcome} then, brethren? When you assemble, each one has a psalm, has a teaching, has a revelation, has a tongue, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
27 If anyone speaks in a tongue, {it should be} by two or at the most three, and {each} in turn, and let one interpret;
28 but if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in the church; and let him speak to himself and to God.
29 And let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.
30 But if a revelation is made to another who is seated, let the first keep silent.
31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all may be exhorted;
32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets;
33 for God is not {a God} of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
(NAS)



2 Cor 13:1-3
1 This is the third time I am coming to you. Every fact is to be confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses.
2 I have previously said when present the second time, and though now absent I say in advance to those who have sinned in the past and to all the rest as well, that if I come again, I will not spare {anyone,}
3 since you are seeking for proof of the Christ who speaks in me, and who is not weak toward you, but mighty in you.
(NAS)


1 Tim 5:17-22
17 Let the elders who rule well be considered worthy of double honor, especially those who work hard at preaching and teaching.
18 For the Scripture says, "You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing," and "The laborer is worthy of his wages."
19 Do not receive an accusation against an elder except on the basis of two or three witnesses.
20 Those who continue in sin, rebuke in the presence of all, so that the rest also may be fearful {of sinning.}
21 I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus and of {His} chosen angels, to maintain these {principles} without bias, doing nothing in a {spirit of} partiality.
22 Do not lay hands upon anyone {too} hastily and thus share {responsibility for} the sins of others; keep yourself free from sin.
(NAS)


Heb 10:23-28
23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;
24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,
25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} and all the more, as you see the day drawing near.
26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.
28 Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on {the testimony of} two or three witnesses.
(NAS)

I love my church said...

Mom4 said, "I would like to know if it is true that Steve Gaines left Gardendale with 9 million dollars in debt....It would dispell a lot of rumors if we knew the particulars from a reputable source."

The source for that is Pastor Gaines himself. He said it in his going away talk to Gardendale. You can get the video from our library.

ilovebbc said...

Carolyn, why do you put unconfirmed accusations out here on a public forum as if it "might" be true? Investigate privately if you must or contact that church directly, then confront Brother Steve with the evidence, etc. Please go through Biblical steps for something like this. To put allegations on here and then ask someone in authority to investigate it makes this forum become no better than the National Enquirer. Why not make a phone call yourself to someone in authority to investigate it before announcing it to the world. You've just shared something with many, many people that might not be true. Things that are not absolutely known to be true should not be on here.

MOM4 said...

ILMC,
Thanks for the insight, I will try to check out the video. So, then if it came from him, I wonder what the 9 million was used for. That large amount would most likely be a building program I would think?
I would ask Steve Gaines, but I understand he does not like us to ask him questions. I will submit it to the AD HOC committee and see if they can or will even try to find out.
Likewise, Carolyn, I would suggest you do the same with your question for your own protection. You asked a legitimate question, there is no need to have to suffer because of it. I will let you know if I find out anything about my question using the survey on the blogsite or you can email me at mom38134@yahoo.com if you wish. Thanks.

MOM4 said...

Andrew,
"25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging {one another} and all the more, as you see the day drawing near."

and

12 "What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying?

Does that sound like "leave if you don't like it"?

If the Lord has placed us there and has not told us or given us permission to leave, how can you or anyone else justify casting us out?
If you have found it in scripture, please enlighten me.

And how about:
"16 "If a malicious witness rises up against a man to accuse him of wrongdoing,
17 then both the men who have the dispute shall stand before the LORD, before the priests and the judges who will be {in office} in those days.
18 "And the judges shall investigate thoroughly; and if the witness is a false witness {and} he has accused his brother falsely,
19 then you shall do to him just as he had intended to do to his brother. Thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
20 "And the rest will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such an evil thing among you.

And now I ask, where are our witnesses supposed to speak, even our judges (v17-18) who are supposed to investigate this thoroughly.
All requests have been denied to pursue this scriptural avenue..why?

I appreciate your responses and
I am not trying to be obstinate, I have a sincere desire to know the answers to the above questions.

Anonymous said...

Carolyn, you do realize that slinging out a completely unsubstantiated allegation of financial illegality is about as libelous a tactic as anyone can engage in, do you not? Perhaps you should try calling West Jackson, at (731) 660-4535.

And "mom," if you really wanted to have your question answered rather than follow along in a pattern of libel, the main telephone number of Gardendale's First Baptist Church is (205) 631-8791.

Either you two, or the forum moderator, has a responsibility to delete the posts immediately.

--Mike

i can't hear you said...

Did someone say something in the last post? NO.....I didn't think so either!

Bin Wonderin said...

I am not sure this thread is appropriate at all. At a minimum people should limit responses to the questions posed in he thread.

Unsubstantiated allegations are not going to do anyone any good.

I can listen to a tape of Dr. Gaines & have an opinion on what he said and how he said it. That is my opinion of his words in his own voice. Someone can comment and perhaps change my opinion.

Allegations like these are just not useful and are uncalled for.

A growing church can be in debt for any number of legitimate reasons such as a building campaign.

Posters - please delete that stuff.

justamember said...

I think they are legitimate questions. From the video, that I have seem in its entirety, the 9 million debt is what is left over from a 27 million dollar debt from a building project. But, it is 9 MILLION dollars - WOW!!!

MOM4 said...

bin wonderin,
In my question about the 9 million, I asked if it was a building project. That is a legitimate question, especially since the library has the dvd checked out all the time.
justamember has answered my question in one statement in only a short time - which is the way all of our questions should be answered.

"From the video, that I have seem in its entirety, the 9 million debt is what is left over from a 27 million dollar debt from a building project".

If that is the case, then it is a non-issue.
I asked a question and it was answered promptly and kindly.
Thanks for your input.

Josh Tucker said...

Two things.

First, I have a family relative that was chairman of the deacons while Steve Gaines was at West Jackson Baptist. Pastor Gaines has no record of financial misconduct at West Jackson.

Second, why is the debt issue relevent at all? I see what some are digging for though. You want to know if Gardendale has information that can be used to impune Pastor Gaines character. And before anyone goes nuts over the nine million amount, Bellevue had over one hundred million dollars of debt to deal with related to our current church campus.

MOM4 said...

Josh,
It was on an earlier post and I wanted to know where it came from, which is a legitimate question.
Based on the information received, it is not an issue and that is all I wanted. I am not trying to dig up anything and definitly not trying to make something relevant when it is not - it was already out there, and it came from Gardendale, no one here asked for it.

Josh Tucker said...

mom4,

I didn't mean to appear that I was singling you out. Sorry for that. I don't want others to run with the story. Since some conversations are carried over from other topic threads, people have picked up comments without fully checking to see if there have been responses.

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

Josh,
Bellevue has never had 100 million in debt. Why would you say that?

New BBC Open Forum said...

bin wonderin wrote:

"I am not sure this thread is appropriate at all. At a minimum people should limit responses to the questions posed in he thread.

"Unsubstantiated allegations are not going to do anyone any good."

In starting this thread it was not my intention for people to make unsubstantiated allegations. I was thinking more about the way finances are handled in churches in general and was looking for a discussion of the types of questions I proposed. It was not intended to be a "witch hunt" against Dr. Gaines.

For now, I will give Carolyn the option of deleting her own comment if she desires, but in the future, let's try to refrain from tossing out such unsubstantiated allegations. I know I've heard several that I wouldn't dream of repeating here because they are unsubstantiated.

Changing into my NASS hat now:

As for the 9-million-dollar question, I thought it was a legitimate one, and as someone said, that information came from the lips of Dr. Gaines. I think he said it was the remaining debt from Gardendale's building program, and I took him at his word about that. Really I didn't think it had any relevance to the situation at Bellevue, but it was a legitimate question.

Josh Tucker said...

biblefellowshipteacher,

You are correct, I had a brain freeze, and meant to say that we accumulated a large debt for our 100 million dollar campus. Over the years, Bellevue spent about 30 million in cash for building projects while retiring a 25 million loan.

Anonymous said...

Sirs and Ladies,

I think Ms. Carolyn understands and I'm sure she meant well. Mike there was no need to try and make the point that was already made and clear - back off and leave her alone.

To mom4 and others that may have misunderstood me:

Logic and clarity are important. We must work very hard to not let our emotions or perceptions of what MAY BE dominate our reasoning or focus all our attention. We must look at these questions from all angles and NOT just to prove something.

Guard your heart, discipline your game, keep your eyes and ears open and heart pure. Let love be our motive and method and don't stop until truth is clear.

My intention with the scripture verses were simply to share God's thoughts, unedited, in context - letting them stand and speak for themselves.

mom4 - please don't leave...I'm not going anywhere until this is sorted out.

Have you tried to connect with the new (Ad Hoc) Communications Committee? If not, maybe I'll see you there.

With love and determination,

Andrew

scmom said...

1. Should Mark Sharpe and these individuals be granted the opportunity to present any evidence they might have with the protections requested in place?

Absolutely. If all of their allegations are "lies" or "false" as has been stated, this type of meeting would prove just that.

2. Should a preacher and other staff have church credit cards? Why or why not? Should there be accountability to the membership for the use of these cards? Should the receipts be available for review at any time? What if there are allegations of misuse? Who should be able to review them?

Yes, I do think that they should have credit cards. Why? The same reason a lot of people have company credit cards. ie- work related travel expenses would be one reason. I am not on staff at my church but I have made many purchases for various church activities and had to use my personal credit card to do so. I then had to go through the process of being reimbursed by the church. I don't think staff members should have to go through this process. (just my opinion) I definitely think there should be several people that would review bills, etc. to verify the charges(including representatives from lay persons). My church does this.

3. Use of a church credit card for personal expenditures, even when those charges are reimbursed to the church, is considered "co-mingling of funds." Aside from any legal ramifications, is this proper?

Absolutely not! I don't buy that someone would be out to dinner (or wherever) and only have their church credit card with them.

4. The more openness and transparency there is by the staff regarding the stewardship of money, the fewer questions there will be. How much transparency do you think is necessary?

This one is a little touchy. Now, if you are referring to church funds, I believe in total transparency. Personal financial issues are another matter. I do think there should be some level of transparency, but I'm not sure how much. I don't think the church body necessarily needs to know about a ministers financial situation. I don't know what the salary of the senior pastor at my church is (or any of the other pastors for that matter) and I really don't think it is my business. Yes, I know, we pay their salary... I just don't need to know what it is. Of course, if I felt like they were living an extravagent lifestyle, my opinion might change.

allofgrace said...

At my former church, when a pastor was called, the finance committee came before the church in a business meeting and stated what the new pastor's compensation package entailed. Not to be voted on, since it came from committee, but as information. The congregation was allowed to ask questions, but again, not to be voted on. Which I think was reasonable. Also, at the end of every church year, a financial/budget statement of the church was given to the congregation during a business meeting, by the budget and finance committees. There was always a line by line list of expenditures, which included the salaries of all staff, ministry budgets, etc. I've heard some say recently that the church not knowing what the staff is being paid is common practice. Frankly I don't know if it is these days..I only know what was done at my former church...which is SBC also. When I was growing up..it was always said that as a rule of thumb (not in concrete mind you), the pastor was usually compensated at the level of the average income of the congregants. Some churches owned parsonages, which were thrown in for living quarters to help the pastor with his living expenses..he could choose to take advantage of it or not. It's also good to remember that a pastor's salary has to cover living expenses, health insurance..which is difficult to get through the SBC I hear, and anything else related to fulfillment of the duties of his pulpit ministry, plus retirement. If it's true that a country club membership was thrown in as a part of the package in this case..I'm not sure if that's really appropriate..I'm still mulling that one over..but as yet I still don't know if it was part of it or not. For me I guess the question comes up in my mind...how much is enough?...not just for the pastor mind you...I see many in the private sector who already have more money than they could possibly ever spend..yet continue to strive to hoard more and more. Just a random thought there.

In all these questions, I keep coming back to the same thing...this whole mess...all of it..could have been cleared up already and we could all move on as a church if only the Biblical pattern for resolving these things had been followed. I'm not laying blame on either side...I don't know who's right and who's wrong...except for those things which are documented..at this point, that's the fence jumping incident, and the audio clip. As for the rest, no conclusive evidence to prove or disprove either side's claims has been presented before the church. That's what church discipline is for. Sadly, in the majority of SBC churches, discipline is non-existent..or at least according to the scriptural pattern. I hope through this we can learn a valuable lesson about the necessity of Biblical church discipline.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Carolyn and everyone,

To delete any comment that you've left, simply click on the little trash can at the lower left corner below that comment and follow the instructions.

Randy said...

OK..Richard Emerson had the best commets that I've heard so far. Richard said, "why can't we get all the (right) people in the room to hear anyone's testimony who may help get to the truth?" This would also include current and former staff members. Also he said, "get all of the financial documents that are in question in the room and shut the door and we won't come out until we get to the truth." Now what is so hard about that I ask?

He makes another great point to the group "it's not hard to actually get to the truth this way." "The problem really is once you have this meeting and indeed get to the truth....what next??"

Richard Emerson asked us this question. What if it's all true about the credit card misuse??What next??He said that's the question we may all run from... and may be why the meeting may never happen.

Richard finished speaking to us with this great statement I never thoutht of. "For some reason, God allowed things {church policy and procedures} to work when Dr. Rogers was alive, but it's not working now."

WOW....Wisdom

ilovebbc said...

Randy, when and where did Richard Emerson make these comments? Your post assumed we all knew, I think. If there was an announcment of a meeting on this forum, I must have overlooked it.

Lwood said...

Josh Tucker said to Biblefellowshipteacher

I had a Brain Freeze...Giggle Giggle... Could that be what is happening to the TOP staff at Bellevue. Brain Freeze....
Just on a light note.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Sounds like Randy was at the same meeting I was. It was a word of mouth thing, and no public announcement was ever made that I know of. I'm not trying to be secretive. In fact, I'd love to shout from the rooftops some of the things I learned at that meeting, but I just don't think it's my place to say when and where and who or whatever about a private meeting that was organized by someone else. Again, "private" in the respect that it was by invitation only, not held in a public place, and never announced publicly. I just happened to receive an invitation through a friend who thought I'd be interested in going. Perhaps the organizer(s) will come forward with more information, but I wouldn't feel comfortable saying much more about it myself. I can confirm the statements made by Mr. Emerson since Randy has already mentioned them.

Someone referred to "another Bartlett Baptist meeting" in a comment the other day. The meeting I attended was not held in Bartlett, and I have no knowledge of the dates or locations of any other meetings although I have heard other meetings have been held.

What I will say is that Mark Sharpe and Richard Emerson and others, including some deacons, spoke at that meeting, and the deacons are not, despite claims to the contrary, 100% behind Dr. Gaines. Also, there were a whole lot more than "3 or 4" people there. What has happened since that meeting, I have no idea. I'm not "in the loop" in that respect.

NASS

Will McKay said...

Hmmm...

Having a private meeting and asking for an open one...

Doesn't seem to (1) match up, or (2) be Biblical.

Anonymous said...

You beat me to it by a matter of minutes, gnats. Send me an e-mail, would you?

Bellevue has to have the transparency of Saran Wrap, but the so-called "saving Bellevue" cadre gets to meet secretly. That matches up how, exactly?

But if I may:

1) More detail in the published budget of Bellevue Baptist Church wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. Of course, I've wanted that for over a decade, and have even requested it a time or two. No big deal.

2) In the interest of both openness and mutuality, I'd like to be invited to the next clandestine meeting. I absolutely promise I won't reveal its location or attendees. You can even frisk me for recording devices if you like--but be careful, because I'm ticklish.

--Mike

New BBC Open Forum said...

Permission to hold a meeting at the church which would have been open to anyone was requested some time ago. Permission was denied.

The meeting I attended was not "secret" any more than say, a party you held in your home would be. It was held on private property and led by people I know in name only who chose to announce it by word of mouth only, and for that reason I don't think it's my place to broadcast the details of it. I wouldn't have mentioned it at all except that Randy (whom I don't know) mentioned some things Richard Emerson said at that meeting. I was simply comfirming that what he said was true. I do not know who all was involved in organizing it other than that it wasn't Mark Sharpe.

Mike (breaking my own rule here), if I were you I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that invitation. Somehow I don't think you're on the list. Even if you were, I wouldn't want to have to frisk you! In fact, just the thought of that could give me nightmares for the next week. :-)

And since when is it a crime for private citizens to meet on private property owned by one of said private citizens as long as they're not doing anything illegal?

NASS

Anonymous said...

"Mike (breaking my own rule here), if I were you I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for that invitation."

Oh, I never hold my breath unless I'm swimming underwater.

"Somehow I don't think you're on the list."

I didn't figure I would be. It doesn't exactly seem "open," though, does it?

"Even if you were, I wouldn't want to have to frisk you! In fact, just the thought of that could give me nightmares for the next week. :-)"

I wouldn't begrudge you those nightmares, particularly since I'm that convulsive kind of ticklish. I've actually knocked folks colder than a proverbial cucumber with an accidental twitch of my arm...

"And since when is it a crime for private citizens to meet on private property owned by one of said private citizens as long as they're not doing anything illegal?"

Who said anything about "illegal"? I just like a good party, that's all...

--Mike

New BBC Open Forum said...

1. No one ever said the meeting was "open," at least not in the respect that this forum is "open" for people of all opinions (even you) to post their opinions. It was like an "information meeting" except that people were allowed to ask questions of those presenting the information. I suppose in that respect, it was open.

2. (Repeating myself... ) Permission to hold an open meeting, i.e. open to all church members, at the church was denied by the church staff.

3. "In the interest of both openness and mutuality, I'd like to be invited to the next clandestine meeting."

"Who said anything about "illegal"? I just like a good party, that's all..."

Let's see...

clan-des-tine adj.

"Kept or done in secret, often in order to conceal an illicit or improper purpose."

il-lic-it adj.

"Not sanctioned by custom or law; unlawful."

un-law-ful adj.

"Not lawful; illegal."

At least that seemed to be the implication... {shrugs}

The atmosphere at that meeting was anything but that of a party -- or a lynching, since that might be what someone might otherwise think.

Good night, Mike.

Anonymous said...

"And the statement that Mike Bratton is not "on the list" for such events (why should any church member not be?) -- although meant tongue-in-cheek, I'm sure, certainly contains a boatload of sadness in its truth, doesn't it?"

Yes, it does.

Admission's of a group's bias usually are sad to read.

But not surprising.

--Mike

Bin Wonderin said...

I see no reason why a group of members should not hold an invitation only meeting to discuss church matters. It is a free country.

If anyone got their feeling hurt by being left out they need to grow up. Talk about straining gnats.

Perhaps they want to organize and plan to try and approach leadership quietly in an effort to try to resolve the dispute in a non public way. I would think that most here would applaud that.

The same folks that gripe about public websites and public allegations and people running to the newspaper are now griping about a group that is not going public.

stillwaitingandwatching said...

Mike, I just heard the wonderful news that your prayers have been answered! I heard that your wife accepted the new job out of state. I know that was a hard decision for you two to have to come to, especially having to leave Bellevue, and all. I am sorry the job you interviewed for in Oregon didn't work out, but I am sure you will find something that suits you in Birmingham. I will certainly be praying for that for you and your family. What are we going to do without you as Caiaphas in the Passion Play??? You think we can find someone as good?? Anyway, I am putting this here because I have no way to contact you and our paths do not cross anymore at church. I know you have been praying about this for some time. Congratulations again! Blessings to your family.

allofgrace said...

"Admission's of a group's bias usually are sad to read.

But not surprising."

Mike,
Aren't we all biased? That's why we call ourselves Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc etc....we all have a bias in our views of what scripture teaches..amongst many other things. Isn't it impossible for fallen human beings to be unbiased? To think that we can be is just proof of our fallenness,imo...or bias.

Bell22 said...

Mike: when are you moving do you need to find a good church home I think Gardendale has a real good church growing and a new pastor.The phone no. is 205 631 8791 I believe they have a good music program too.

one member said...

"Admission's of a group's bias usually are sad to read"

What you are talking about is called convictions, not bias.

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

To MKW,

I hate to see any personal attacks published from anyone. I must ask if you have read Mike Bratton's entry on his blog about the "bears". HIs entry is a nasty hatefilled bunch of babble on his part. I personally wish the moderator of this would not allow any garbage to be published.

Bell22 said...

You know guys I was joking with Mike,some of you to lighten up at times we all need a good laugh.ok!

one member said...

Sorry Bell,
I am sincere that my convictions have a scriptural basis and not just a personal bias against any group or person. I did not mean to infer otherwise. I would think that most everyone who posts here would have a conviction about the requests for the truth and honesty to prevail, what ever it turns out to be. I suspect that if we ever do get to have a meeting of all sides of the issue, that Steve Gaines will remain pastor. I believe that others will leave (staff and members and deacons alike), but that needs to be of their own choosing, not because they were run off because they asked a question or did not like clapping in the choir-which is immature to me - and that is a personal bias. I am offended at the continual attempts to hurl insults every time someone posts something. My first thoughts are, "how does someone have that much time on their hands". When it was mentioned about the job, I wondered if perhaps that the reason someone has time to address any and all of these posts plus run their own blog is because they are not working. If that is the case, perhaps they need to get a job where they will only be able to "surf" on a minimal time frame. Most of us work full time and have a family and I would think that is why our posts are minimal. Just a thought.

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

MKW,
It is a very dangerous thing when folks take scripture out of context to slam one side or the other without the truth being known. Neither view can say 100% that the truth is known at this point. One thing we do know however is that one side is seeking the truth and one side appears to be covering or hiding the truth.

Outsider said...

Maybe it's best to realize that since this whole issue has been publically broadcast, discipline has been inacted, if there actually has been a problem. Dr. Gaines obviously knows he has numerous watchdogs (not necessarily guardians or watchmen), so he would know the accountability that awaits him if he were to "slip" for the first time or as many of you suggest, again. Wouldn't it be better to close the site, offer support and loyalty to BBC and Dr. Gaines, and realize that anytime an organization as large as BBC goes through a change in leadership, some changes to the organization will happen. If there have been indescretions, they will become obvious. All this website and blog is accomplishing is the demise of the church not the settlement of the issue. Dr. Rogers did not deal with the internet. Even though I wasn't a member of BBC during his tenure, I heard him multiple times in multiple venues in one year. No one faulted him for that, and you should not fault YOUR present pastor for the Kingdom work he does. Don't get to the bottom of the issue this way. Cease this communication tool and deal with it as you would have during Dr. Rogers' tenure.

outsidelookingin said...

Are you actually saying there should not be any accountablilty? I bet Ken Lay at Enron would love your solution. What about the people who know what has happened? What about integrity from the pulpit? What about the qualifications of a pastor? I guess this is what the church has become today. Where are the people who stand for righteousness? Are we putting our faith in God or man?

New BBC Open Forum said...

one member wrote: "I wondered if perhaps that the reason someone has time to address any and all of these posts plus run their own blog is because they are not working. If that is the case, perhaps they need to get a job where they will only be able to "surf" on a minimal time frame. Most of us work full time and have a family and I would think that is why our posts are minimal. Just a thought."

Thank you for thinking of the rest of us and your concern for our "surfing" habits. With all due respect, you don't know my working schedule, family situation, or anyone else's. Nor do I. Let's not assume things like you seem to be implying about your fellow posters. It really isn't relevant.

scmom said...

Ummm, I don't think One member was referring to you- as a matter of fact I am almost positive.

one member said...

NBBCF,
I appreciate everything you do here! I was most definitly NOT referring to you.
Keep up the good work!

New BBC Open Forum said...

one member,

Ohhhhh... I'm so sorry! I think I know which "blogger" you were referring to now! It just sounded like you were lumping everyone into the same uh... boat.

Scroll on by...

Scroll on by...

Scroll on by...

Thank you for your kind words.

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

MKW,

You said: "As it has become painfully obvious that this forum, like the old one, only exists to foster the side of these issues with a destructive agenda"

What you fail to see is none of this would be taking place if our pastor and the small number of men he surrounds himself with had shown some humility early on and been open about discussing the concerns of the members. Covering up and refusing to discuss openly the concerns has led to this. To say "let things work out" is how things get to where they are. God allows room for accountability within the brethren.

Bell22 said...

You might be surprise I agree with Mike on some of these issures,Mike makes some very good valid points which I will address later.If you must know both of us work on the computer quite a bit it is our living ,you are right I might just not visit here so often now ,God does give us a sense of humor at times it needs to be used. Right Mike.

Anonymous said...

"stillwaitingandwatching said...

...Anyway, I am putting this here because I have no way to contact you and our paths do not cross anymore at church. I know you have been praying about this for some time. Congratulations again! Blessings to your family."

Um... I have a blog.

And my e-mail address is attached to my profile.

So you have, actually, more than one way to contact me, if you'd really like to do so.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

Bell and MKW, thank you.

BFT, do you teach a class at Bellevue?

Allof, there's a difference between having a bias and letting that bias run wild and run free in your worldview, wouldn't you agree?

--Mike

formerbbc said...

It's been some time since I was at bbc. Would one of you please answer, if possible?
1. Can a member of bbc know what any of the staff members are paid? Any process for that?
2. Press speculates $500k for SG, BBC spokesperson says 'not close.' Does anyone know?

Josh Tucker said...

The search for the truth.

I have heard many individuals repeatedly assert that all they want the truth (in a basic sense, we all do), and this assertion has been used as a rationale for looking into Bellevue's financials in an open setting.

Because of the actions/response to the issue from some of those who hold leadership positions at Bellevue, including the pastor, many individuals have become "concerned" and want to get to the bottom of the matter. Again, by allowing access to Bellevue's financials in an open setting.

It's also been stated that while Mark Sharpe has no evidence of possible financial impropriety on his own, there staff sources who are willing to come forward if certain provisions are met.

Bellevue's finances are reviewed/overseen by an outside auditing firm, members of the deacon financial committee, the church financial officer and the staff within the finance department, as well as key figures within the pastorate/administration.

On one hand, we have allegations of possible financial impropriety coming from a deacon and other, as of yet, unnamed source(s) (although there are rumors as to identity or identities). And, on the other hand, we have deacon leaders, financial committee members, and the pastorate/administration who state that the allegations are false and have no merit.

Who do you believe?

Now, I'm not about start calling one person or the other a lier because I believe, with the current issue facing the church, there is a large amount of room for human error, misperception, unknown facts, and differences of opinion on how to handle church finances, etc.

I will say this, individuals who have been more likely to support Mark Sharpe knew him personally, were already uncomfortable with some of the things that were happening at Bellevue under Steve Gaines, or did not like Pastor Gaines himself.

Nonetheless, who do you believe or support in this matter?

For myself, I would never think of supporting Sharpe's endeavour until he came to me with something concrete or evidential. For starters, there is a Biblical mandate not to bring a charge against an elder within the church without multiple witnesses, and in this particular instance, they are still non-existent, yet the charge has been laid out for the world to see.

Also, for myself, although I do want to know the truth, as a layman within our church, I am not, nor should be, privy to all of the financial details as to how the church operates. Thus, we have a deacon financial committee who operates by proxy for the church membership and a finance department to oversee things, and therein lies the problem.

How does one get to the truth of the matter when that person shouldn't have access to the facts of the matter in the first place and when said individual does not trust the information given to him from those within the leadership.

For myself, the answer is relatively simple. I believe that we should trust our pastor and those wihin the leadership until something of a very concrete and specific nature ever comes against these men to either impune their character or demonstrate specific wrongdoing regarding the financial issue.

I realize that trust is a major factor here, but a mistake or wrong in one matter does not mean that we should assume guilt or impropriety in another matter. There are far too many allegations and rampant speculations running around without enough people saying that we should hold up and wait prayerfully and quietly for something evidentiary to develop before demanding calls for action.

If individuals do not trust the system of checks and balances in place at Bellevue now, how can the system be trusted in the future? If the allegations were ever disproven in the open manner many suggest should happen, what happens the next time unproven allegations are launched at those in leadership over Bellevue's financials?

Let's even say the allegations are proven correct in the end? Is it wise or prudent to open the books every time an allegation of impropriety without the full backing of evidence is asserted?

Nothing at all, with regard to the financial issue, has come against the men who have access to the fact everyone is craving to get their hands on, and until that time comes, I have made a decision to lovingly support our pastor, our staff, and our deacons in this matter.

In my opinion, to act without evidence is to act in haste and without wisdom in the matter, no matter how much you trust someone.

Anonymous said...

"Private Meeting"

And once again - some people continue to reveal their own bias that seems to be based on SOME knowledge and experience but not on the actual event itself. They run with an agenda like children with scissors.

- - -

Since when did private meetings mandate a subversive intent or outcome?
Disciples…upper room…anybody….?

Neither the Deacon’s meetings nor the Ad-Hoc committee meetings are open to anyone who wishes to attend. While I would very much like the opportunity to see and hear and interact with those groups, as well as others, I of course understand that some discussions are best kept private and/or closed.

May I suggest we each be on guard against making assumptions, particularly when we don’t have first person knowledge? We must not be a simpleton but we must begin with trusting one another. If someone is wrong…let them set it right and let’s move on. If someone is wrong and then denies and refuses to set it right then we must allow ourselves the responsibility to question their trustworthiness and integrity. BUT we must be perfectly accurate and correct with our judgment – and yes I mean judgment.

Don't seek to prove anything - seek truth. Let it present itself - it always will. And let's keep those “scissors” in the drawer.

With Love.

LW said...

I'm amazed at how the character of so many faithful men of our church is under attack. Do we scrutinize everyone so closely?

I just visited a website named www.joshmanning.com, and I'm wondering if this is the individual who has launched a propoganda campaign against our church.

I wonder about his statement "This website is all about Josh Manning and how awesome he is." How does this attitude align with Christ's attitude about greatness?

Or his donation page: "All proceeds will go to the very best charitable cause I can think of . . . ME!!!" Again, how does this compare with Christ's statements about charity?

Is this the man who's behind all the uproar?

What do we really know about Josh Manning? Except that he posts misleading statements in a deliberately deceitful manner, such as the statement Dr. Gaines made about West Jackson Baptist? That's irrelevant to what's happening at Bellevue.

Tell us a little more about yourself, Josh...

Finance Guy said...

That's nice lw. Go out there an find a way to attack Josh's credibility. Find another "Josh Manning" that's "a little bit crazy" and try to plant thoughts in everyone that is the one behind the website. I'm just guessing, but is it theoretically possible that there is more than one Josh Manning in the world? Whatever your real name is lw, go out there and search on that. See if there's more than one of you. I have an uncommon name, and there's at least three of us at my company, and twice or three times that in the same city. Who knows how many people with the same name as mine in the country. That can't be the "bellevue" Josh Manning. Look at the picture.
Also, it took me about 5 seconds to find out who registered that site.
Registrant:
Cajunworks.com
188 Enterprise Dr.
Houma, LA 70360
US

Registrar: DOTSTER
Domain Name: JOSHMANNING.COM
Created on: 18-JUL-03
Expires on: 18-JUL-07
Last Updated on: 26-JUN-06

Administrative, Technical Contact:
Hutchinson, Ryan info@Cajunworks.com
Cajunworks.com
188 Enterprise Dr.
Houma, LA 70360
US
985 688 4571

You delete your comment, i'll delete mine.

I love my church said...

From joshmanning.com

"Hello, my name is Joshua Manning. I recently graduated from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, with a degree in English. I'll be going to the University of Louisiana-Lafayette to intern under Eric Treuil this August."

This is not the Bellevue Josh Manning.

Anonymous said...

LW,

I am going to pretend for the moment that your posting was a tongue-in-cheek way of chastising people for making judgments without having all the facts.

Please tell me that's the case, because, if not, I would have to seriously question the intelligence of anyone who thinks that the website you noted is the same Josh Manning who has raised questions about the goings on at Bellevue.

And then if that's not enough, you make a series of statements that would be only remotely relevant if this was the same person, which it is virtually certain not to be since the joshmanning.com you noted is from Louisiana--and it took me about 5 minutes on Google to figure that out.

Seriously, where's Mike with a comment about libel now?

Mat 7:3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

I love my church said...

What happened to WTB? We haven't heard from him on this new site. I enjoyed his perspective. Anyone know his email or blog address?

Anonymous said...

Since you asked, scared, I agree that LW is out of bounds here. His erroneous "Josh Manning" information does a disservice to both Louisiana's Mr. Manning, and the Mr. Manning of "saving Bellevue."

Someone with the capability should remove it ASAP, because, indeed, such remarks are libelous.

And you know what? Even if that was the same Josh Manning, whacking him over the head for statements that were obviously intended to be humorous is poor form.

--Mike

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

As one who is on the outside and has dealt with several churche in simialr situations, I woudl appeal to you guys to trash this site and go back to the biblical way. I read of rights and free country stuff but I have yet to see the biblical understanding that rights and free country have nothing to do with bibical submission and following God's plan!!! Also please note, many of the arguments that have been raised are common today and very similair to many churches who encounter change. Where is the rejoicing over the souls that have been saved? I am not trying to super spiritualize, but you guyys could use some old fashion repentence and self examination!

iwasthere said...

Josh Tucker said "Bellevue's finances are reviewed/overseen by Bellevue's finances are reviewed/overseen by an outside auditing firm, members of the deacon financial committee, the church financial officer and the staff within the finance department, as well as key figures within the pastorate/administration."

There is no such thing as a "deacon financial committee" and I do not believe the level of review you indicate happens.

Will McKay said...

there,

yes it does.

New BBC Open Forum said...

mikebrattonisciaphas wrote: "Newbbc...
I think we do know one person's employment status who has a lot of time to spend on here and his own blog."

MBIC,

While that's interesting information, it really has no place here. This forum isn't about MB or any of the rest of us. Let's all try to keep the discussion away from individual personalities (as difficult as that can be sometimes). Thanks.

New BBC Open Forum said...

andrew wrote: "While I would very much like the opportunity to see and hear and interact with those groups, as well as others, I of course understand that some discussions are best kept private and/or closed."

Thank you, Andrew. As I've explained, I don't believe the meeting I attended was "private" in that it was by special invitation only. Rather, knowledge was spread by word of mouth only. I have no idea why the organizers chose to announce it this way. I just happened to know someone who'd been invited who in turn invited me. I was in the right place at the right time -- nothing more, nothing less.

Oh, we did all get secret decoder rings. I think they said invitations to the next one will be through a cryptic message published in the classified section of the Commercial Appeal. Been watching for it every day, but so far I haven't spotted anything.

Seriously, I wish someone would organize an open meeting in a place large enough to accommodate a lot more people. Whether anything's in the works, I have no idea. Someone passed around a list and got everyone's name, address, phone number, and e-mail address, but I've not received any correspondence from anyone.

I liked your open letter to Dr. Gaines. Did you send it?

NASS

Outsider said...

The pendelum is swinging away from the mega church and the tool of its destruction are the consumers within who demand control, power and who love to "find out", "discuss" and know everything in the process without being redemptive or restoring in the process. Out of the over 70 commenters so far on this one entry, I would be interested to know how many have attempted to talk to Dr. Gaines on their own without listening to the comments of others first.Accountability is absolutely necessary, but unfortunately, now, most want the head of the pastor, not the heart of God for the church. Public internet and blogs in this case have been used to share opinions instead of dealing with the issue. Pretend we didn't have it and deal with it the old fashoned way. PLEASE for the sake of the body of Christ, just stop and quit talking about it!

Anonymous said...

Hi NASS,

Yes the open letter was from me. As I thought of all that is going on and being said I decided to appeal to the pastor who could be. I do believe that Steve wants to share Jesus with people and that in his way he wants very much to lead us forward.

And I'm with you, I too hope for a larger meeting place and a time to lay some things out. I believe we will see some activity soon that will help move us down field.

I would like to encourage each of us to take some time in the next 72 hours to pray and fast. Don't just miss a meal and keep running - pull over, fellowship and rest in Him.

We need to remove the routine distractions of life and seek Him with our whole heart. Let's get our hearts clean before each other and the Lord - perhaps then He will do what He's promised and let us see Him. Oh what a glorious thought! (vs 8 below)

Remember to pray for Steve and all the staff. There must be many who are weary of all this strain. And let's remember the Rogers family too. No matter what your take on the specifics or possible outcome of all this – I would imagine this is difficult on Dr. Rogers' children and wife.

Rest in Him tonight.
His richest blessings to you each.

Matt 5:1-16
1 And when He saw the multitudes, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him.
2 And opening His mouth He {began} to teach them, saying,
3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 "Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 "Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 "Blessed are you when {men} cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me.
12 "Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty {again} It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
15 "Nor do {men} light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.
16 "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
(NAS)


Andrew

Anonymous said...

Has Mark Sharpe seen with his own eyes the evidence that backs up his concern?

Maybe this is old news - but it occured to me today and at the moment I only have fuzzy memories of what I think I've heard him say.

I will be reviewing my notes but wanted to hear from someone who could clarify this for me and give the basis for their knowledge.

Thanks to all.

Josh Tucker said...

1 Timothy 5:19 (concerning church leaders)

Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. (NIV)

or

Do not listen to an accusation against an elder unless it is confirmed by two or three witnesses. (NLT)

Whether or not this verse is taken literally or understood to mean at least with evidence, how is this biblical mandate being followed by individuals with regard to the allegations being brought against the church leaderhip?

Also, Andrew's question deserves a good response.

bopen4once said...

Why can't we have a committe nominated by the congeration and then voted on by the congeration in the area of compensation? This committee would have no staff members on it as well. It would set salaries and make guidelines for any increase and again no staff would be aallowed on the committee. Brother Steve Gaines should not have any issues with this.

Why is the pastor and asociate Pastor allowed to have a hand in their total comp package???This is conflict of interest.

Steve Gaines and Chuck Taylor need to trust the Church and let the Church "nominate" and vote on the nominated people. The key here is to let the "Members" nominate and then vote on. This is true congregational approved. True congregational approved is not giving us a stacked decked of people that the pastor handpicked .

Please, someone let us know when the next budget and planning committee meeting is?? Can anyone attend that meeting to observe what happens??? If not, can we get the minutes from that meeting or will the minutes be like the minutes from the Board Of Directors listed on savingbellevue.com????????

Will McKay said...

Bopen,

"Why is the pastor and asociate Pastor allowed to have a hand in their total comp package???This is conflict of interest."

If you'll do the research, you'll find that they DON'T.

bopen4once said...

To Gants:
I have first hand knowledge and yes the associate pastor and the pastor do have a hand in their compensation package.

Also, I can state that the finance committee just approves the percent of increase for the pastor and associate pastor and never is allowed to see individual salaries. If you listen to the information meeting held at the church it is ststed there as well. Better than that is my first hand knowledge. If you don't think so, just ask a member of the finance committee like I did.

The one thing I can't get anyone to tell me is when and where is the next budget and planning committee meeting??

Will McKay said...

Bopen,

Looks like we have conflicting firsthand sources.

bopen4once said...

To Gnats:

The information meeting mislead the congeration in regards to who overlooks salaries. The former process of "Admninstrative review of salaries" was dismanteled last March. The speaker stated that "in my opinion, everything is fine." So, let me ask you Gnats, how many people know the exact dollar amount that the pastor makes??

Gnats, since you are wanting to be in the know, when is the next budget and planning is??

New BBC Open Forum said...

Just curious, gnats. What was your firsthand source? Not asking for names, just if you'd share the status of your source like bopen did.

Will McKay said...

"Gnats, since you are wanting to be in the know, when is the next budget and planning is??"

Don't remember saying that I wanted to be "in the know."

I don't know when the next budget meeting is, nor do I really care. Then again, I don't have trust issues with the Finance Committee, either.

Will McKay said...

forum,

What difference does that make? Are there different levels of "firsthand?"

Just because a staff member leaves doesn't mean that a proces is dismantled.

bopen4once said...

Gants: You said:

I don't know when the next budget meeting is, nor do I really care. Then again, I don't have trust issues with the Finance Committee, either.

12:28 PM, October 28, 2006
..................................

FYI..
The budget and planing committee is not the same as the finance committee in a very big way.

It's obivious many members now have a trust issue with the budget and planning committee and that must not be ignored. With that, we must now change the way we are doing things if we are ever to have a proper level of trust again.

Please, someone let me know when the next budget and planning committee is and where and what time. I believe the few members on this committee are listed on the budget for our church sent out during the first quarter of this year. Thie committee would be a good one to request information from..

New BBC Open Forum said...

gnats wrote:

"What difference does that make? Are there different levels of "firsthand?"

You're right. It really doesn't.

"Just because a staff member leaves doesn't mean that a proces is dismantled."

Not a clue here.

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

An insider to the Administration Office at Bellevue says Bellevue last week, brought in an oversize shredder that required an electrician to install a 220 outlet. The question that now needs to be asked is this true? Are we destroying documents? If so, which ones and why. If this is not true, would someone inside the church office of administration please say so. I would be very dissapointed if we are destroying anything to hide something.

Will McKay said...

BFT,

I an a thousand others would love to tithe a, extra dollar per week so that you can be the new shredder monitor at Bellevue.

Give me a break...

trustme said...

Where is the chairman of the deacons and Mr. Smith at on Wednesday nights? I mean I never see these leaders in the Wednesday night service and I know for a fact they are not in any of the Wednesday night classes being taught.

Hum..somebody figure this out!!!!

BibleFellowshipTeacher said...

Did anyone hear any news on Cary Vaughn this morning at church? I heard Friday was his last day but it isn't going to be announced because the timing is bad.

trustme said...

Biblefellowshipteacher:

What is going on with our staff and now Carey Vaughan? You are the third person who has mentioned this to me today. We are suppose to be a family of love and where has all of the love gone? What do you see as the problem with staff leaving? Help!!

trustme said...

When our pastor preaches at another church, and that church writes him a check, who does that church write the check to? Is it Bellevue or to Steve Gaines? I understand he preaches at many churches and there is a great deal of money being passed out from these churches to someone.

I am told this is a question that needs to be asked and no I will not disclose who told me this. Just an honest question.

That would be a good question for Derick Calcote to work on. Derick, would you get the answer to this issue as you have been a great help to me,.Thanks

MOM4 said...

Cary Vaughn has resigned and I have some information on why, but I do not have permission at this time to release it. I do not want to get anyone in trouble, but if an inkling of information comes forth, I will too.
We are losing good staff right and left. I also understand that there were some staff layoffs a while ago, possibly in the children's division. We have already lost way too many teachers. I guess all these folks that are spending their time clapping and swaying will need to go to work in childcare or listen to the children in all of the worship services. I would think that those of us who spend time doing our share, giving our tithes and attending every time the doors are open would be missed, guess not.

MOM4 said...

mkw,
I do not mean to degrade anyone, if that is the way you see it, then perhaps you are looking for fault here??
Do you take your turn in childcare?
If you do, then you know what I am talking about. If not, then maybe you will need to consider signing up because like I said, we are losing workers left and right.

trustme said...

To MKW:

I did not directly ask you this previous question, but please answer. Also, Brother Derick is looking into this question for me as he has been very helpful.
--------------------------------------
trustme said...
When our pastor preaches at another church, and that church writes him a check, who does that church write the check to? Is it Bellevue or to Steve Gaines? I understand he preaches at many churches and there is a great deal of money being passed out from these churches to someone.

I am told this is a question that needs to be asked and no I will not disclose who told me this. Just an honest question.

That would be a good question for Derick Calcote to work on. Derick, would you get the answer to this issue as you have been a great help to me,.Thanks

5:31 PM, October 29, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

mkw,

Thank you for your well thought out and eloquently expressed comments. That's the kind of tone we should all endeavor to use regardless of our opinions.

I will try to address your question about the two or three witnesses. Mark Sharpe has stated that there are at least two witnesses, possibly more, who have been willing to meet with Dr. Gaines if the "proper protections" are in place. I am not privy to just what all those "protections" entail, but I understand it has to do with the witnesses requesting assurances of job protection and possibly even the presence of legal counsel and/or one or more disinterested third parties. So far their requests have been denied. Mark Sharpe has spoken of some of this in his interview with Josh Manning on Mr. Manning's blog (link in sidebar). Whether Mr. Sharpe has "seen these things with his own eyes," I don't know, but he claims to have "heard them with his own ears" from the parties who can provide the written evidence. Either way, he says he's certain there have been improprieties, and this is what needs to be addressed.

MOM4 said...

MKW,
No one has "ratted" on you, I have no idea who you are and I am sorry if I seemed in any way hostile to you. We have been "blasted" by several individuals who do not care to attempt to understand our point of view. I apologize to you for the childcare comment, whether you stay in childcare or not is actually none of my business. My point was that those who are so ready to jump on those of us that support the seeking of a resolution to this mess instead of a "leave if you don't like it" attitude are most readily the ones who are following the contemporary style of worship and the unscriptural comments that have been made about us.
I look forward to the day when this can be handled decently and in order and satisfactorily to all parties involved. We are all concerned about our church and it's members. Some of us have been shut out, some have been verbally assaulted and some of us have been asked to leave.
When this is all over, I would like to share a christian hug with all of my sisters in Christ. I would appreciate your prayers and your help in seeking a resolution to the divisions at BBC.

Josh Tucker said...

NBBCOF (or anyone for that matter),

With regard to Matthew 18, if Mark Sharpe has not seen any direct evidence of wrongdoing, how has Pastor Gaines sinned in a manner necessitating the use of Matthew 18?

Secondly, it's been stated quite frequently that Mark has witnesses. This is not the point of contention. While Mark Sharpe might have witnesses that have confided in him, the rest of the church does not because these witnesses have yet to come forward. Consequently, listening to and entertaining accusations against the church leadership is contrary to the Paul's intructions in 1 Timothy 5:19.

Is this not a correct interpretation of this verse with regard to our situation at Bellevue?

MOM4 said...

Josh,
We are witnesses to the 9/24 meeting. Most of us were open to receive the truth. But we saw with our eyes and heard with our ears. The fence was not "ity bity" and nothing about anything that has happened is the least bit funny. When Steve Gaines stood behind the pulpit and made light of breaking the law, repeatedly sends out his 'yes men' to do his dirty work, laughs in the pulpits of other churches about how he pulled the wool over our eyes (not all of us were fooled) we see and we hear. We are witnesses and we are many.

looking said...

David & Gwen Hodges also live in the fence jumping neighborhood. They have told me before that the Sharpes are wonderful people and I'm sure they support the Sharpes. There is nothing better than first hand information.

looking said...

David Hodges is a deacon at Bellevue and that makes it relevent to me and I hope to you. That also does not make it 100% of the deacons behind Brother Steve. Hope this helps as it did me and I'll be quiet now.

choice_is_yours said...

I just got through witnessing to somebody. It went well, but no decision.


Please pray for success.

Choice

MOM4 said...

Choice,
Praying.

looking said...

MKW

Shame on you as no one needs to tell anyone what to do. That is one of the problems now.

Just My Opinion said...

Mr. Wilmoth,

Firsthand knowledge would be as follows: I saw the car run into the building.

Hearsay: My wife said that she saw the car run into the building.

Gossip firsthand: I saw the car run into the building. I bet he was drunk.

Gossip hearsay: I heard that a drunkard ran into the building and almost killed everyone inside.

One thing about truth...it doesn't matter your opinion or mine. Because the truth will remain the truth.

choice_is_yours said...

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to witness? I'm not very good. I hope I didn't do something wrong when I tried today. (It did seem like it went all right, though).

Mom4 & others... Thanks for your prayers :)

Choice

P.S. I do believe that as a group of believers we need to make the Steve-Mark matter less than 50% of what we spend our time on. The sb.com site is 100% dedicated to a single issue, as stated in the "mission statement." We are meant to be open. Thank you to NASS/NBOF for all the hard work.

westtnbarrister said...

Hi Mrs. Wilmoth,

Hearsay is essentially secondhand information that a witness heard from someone else and did not see or hear himself.

Legally, hearsay is any statement made outside a hearing or trial which is presented at the hearing or trial to prove the truth of the contents of the statement.

In the federal law hearsay is a statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.

The rules of evidence begin with the premise that hearsay cannot be used in court because secondhand testimony is considered unreliable and because the person who made the original statement is often unavailable for cross-examination.

A statement introduced to prove something other than its truth is not hearsay. For example, testimony may be offered to show the speaker's state of mind.

A witness's earlier out-of-court statement may be presented at a trial or hearing if it contradicts his in-court testimony because the statement is being used to cast doubt on the witness's credibility rather than prove the statement's truth or falsity.

There are numerous exceptions to the hearsay rule, so a great deal of hearsay is actually admitted.

I'm unsure if I have answered your question, but I hope that helps. The rules of evidence are complicated, even for lawyers.

westtnbarrister said...

Hi Mrs. Wilmoth,

As an aside to this discussion I thought you might like to know about an encounter I had with Dr. Rogers years ago. I was almost through with law school and I bumped into him one day Saturday morning in the halls of the church. At the time I was dealing with the idea I was called into ministry and we talked and prayed about that. Then our conversation turned to the law. He told me if he had not been a minister he probably would have been a lawyer. He got real excited talking about law and he proceeded to preach an impromptu private sermon on our "legal salvation." We easily talked for more than an hour (I mostly listened). I have no idea what he was doing that day, but he never seemed in a hurry. He seemed to want to really get to know me.

I can't claim to have been his friend, but I had other encounters like that with him over the years.
The morning my daughter was baptized I ran into him in the courtyard. He flashed a smile and jokingly asked why I wasn't in Sunday School. I told him I was hunting for out-of-town family members When he heard that he stopped and put his arm around my shoulder. We chatted a few minutes and then he proceeded to pray the most amazing prayer for my daughter as well as my other by name.

My point, he truly cared about and liked people, especially those his congregation. He was never full of himself; he was full of the love of Christ.