Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Joking Matter?

From the original BBC Open Forum:

Dr. Gaines 9-25-06 in Union city - one day after the information meeting. Listen.

We sat everybody down, said 'This is not a business meeting. It's an information meeting.' What that meant is we're gonna talk. Heh heh. But you're not. Heh heh heh heh. {audience laughs} Amen, huh? Ha ha. I didn't just fall off the cabbage truck. Amen. I'm not... ha ha. I've been around this for a long time. Amen." {audience laughs}

Did the Pastor belittle members of his congregation?

Is it acceptable to joke like this?

Are concerns which have been expressed to the staff being taken seriously?

Is this no big deal?

If you wish to offer an opinion on this thread please remember that regardless of your point of view, you can be polite and respectful towards others.

posted by BBC Open Forum at 1:51 PM on Oct 20 2006

3 comments:

Dot said...

I find this extremely offensive. He may have had the excuse that he was "in Alabama" when he made the remarks to Gardendale but he's not there any longer. He is suppose to be our pastor, not someone who mocks us. What will be his excuse be this time?
Also, why is it not a problem for him to be gone away from home on Wednesday nights when it comes to speaking events? Could it be the money? Or are we just here to be mocked? Maybe he's still trying to "tick us off".

New BBC Open Forum said...

Comments from original BBC Open Forum.

bkjrm said...

I'm heartsick. Any "benefit of a doubt" I wanted to give our new Pastor is gone. I'm very sad...he doesn't love us.

001 2:37 PM, October 20, 2006


cjesusnme said...

I think this is the straw that broke the camel's back. After many have tried to give him chance after chance, he has run out of excuses about a "lapse in judgement". I think it's time for the AdHoc committee to find where their backbones are and get to the bottom of this. If I was a betting person, I can assure you that I would bet that numbers will be down this Sunday. Or maybe these side shows are his way of drawing a bigger audience. Well, as for me and my family, we will attend Bible fellowship, and go home and listen to old sermons of Dr. Rogers! Continue to pray!

002 2:52 PM, October 20, 2006


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003 2:59 PM, October 20, 2006


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004 3:49 PM, October 20, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

There are multiple issues at play, and I think there are differing levels of support or approval, if you will, depending on the issue.

005 4:04 PM, October 20, 2006


straining gnats said...

Friend,

"How long will you endure this? How long does the memory of Adrian Rogers continue to be tarnished?"

Sir/ma'am, we're not here to embellish or tarnish the memory of Dr. Rogers or any other man. Bellevue was either founded upon Christ or has the wrong foundation.

"Your 103 year tradition, the voices of yester year the voices of Lee, Pollard, Rogers...must be echoing as they look down from heaven's Grandstand's I can hear them.....saying...How much more?"

You are adding words to muted lips. Let's not speak for men no longer with us.

006 4:18 PM, October 20, 2006


straining gnats said...

Is there any truth to there being another Bartlett Baptist meeting tonight?

Were any members of the Ad Hoc Committee invited?

Is SavingBellevue about "Doing Right" or "Being Right?"

007 4:23 PM, October 20, 2006


BR said...

straining gnats sounds like MB has a new user name - be nice

008 4:29 PM, October 20, 2006


ScaredOfTheTruth? said...

Apologies to those who have ready this post on another thread. It is more pertinent to this topic, so I am re-posting.

You can tell a lot about a person who consistently uses superlatives in their speech--one characteristics is they are often prone to exaggeration. At some point, I'll go back and count the number of times Gaines said the word "all" in relation to the deacons, choir, congregation, etc., but how incredible that he would stand there and claim that "all" of any group was for or against him. How could he possibly know?

It was also interesting to note his comment (which drew the laughter I'm sure he was looking for) about how "we did all the talking" in the informational meeting. Wow! How brave to stand up and parade a group of people in front the church that all echo the same story and then brag about how you never let anyone outside that group speak.

To me this all points to an even bigger underlying issue--one of conformity to the majority and the tendency to crush dissension. For those of you who remember your college psychology courses, Dr. Solomon Asch did a study where a control group of students gave intentionally incorrect answers to a very simple question that was asked of them--one any person would know the answer to. Meanwhile, the one student who did not know what was happening was asked the same question all the control students were asked. Not wanting to appear stupid to the others, the subject answered the same as the group in the vast, vast majority of experiments. Now, compare that to the current situation. Chairman of Deacons gets up on stage and says nothing wrong happened. Chief finance officer gets up on stage and says nothing wrong happened. Church administrator gets up on stage and says nothing wrong happened. Then--surprise--pastor gets up on stage and not only says nothing happens, but also laces his informational message with sarcasm, makes light of illegal acts (trespassing) and generally invites everyone to believe that out of thousands of Bellevue members and an entire body of deacons, that only 3 or 4 dissenters have any issues with anything that has happened. Oh, and by the way, he doesn't give anyone a chance for anyone to give a different answer, anyway. It would take a very strong individual or group of individuals to stand up to that kind of pressure.

Now, through this forum, we see with absolute certainty that there is not 100% backing of the deacon body, in spite of Gaines comments to the contrary. Does anyone else see a problem with this?

009 5:49 PM, October 20, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

FWIW, when pastor Gaines made that statement he not far removed from a deacons' meeting where we were able to ask questions him and others. There was only one person in the host of deacons there who was obviously in opposition to Pastor Gaines. That person was/is an inactive deacon. There was ZERO show of support for this man's very belligerent question from any member of the active deacon body. (And yes his question was answered... three times by my recollection since he kept asking.)

Right after this an active deacon spoke words of support for the pastor, and rejected the very negative tone of the previous speaker. He was met with much applause and support.

The only question from an active deacon that showed any agreement with any major point of the opposition was if we thought we should bring Mr. Sharpe before the deacon body. By the question itself and by the way it was asked I did not think he was being unsupportive of the Pastor at all. Just asking a question.

So to sum it up when the pastor said, "all active deacons" he had reason to say it in good faith.

Understand that we all know that no man is perfect. Obviously we don't all agree with each and every thing that has been said or done since Pastor Gaines accepted his call. That being said the vast majority appear to stand with Pastor Gaines, as do I.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

010 7:14 PM, October 20, 2006


cjesusnme said...

Derrick,

Once again, I appreciate your willingness to give us a view that very few of your fellow Deacons are willing to do. When Steve Gaines used the word "all", I would dare say "all" of the Deacons could agree on the color tie he had on. I know of several active Deacons that were not aware of the issues before that meeting. There was no possible way for them to have a true opinion solely based on the Pastor's account of events. If you and others have any objectivity at all, I think you would have to admit much new derogitory information has surfaced since your initial Deacon's meeting with the Pastor. Dishonesty continues to be an issue our Pastor struggles with; i.e. we were led to believe Rob & Vicki Mullins were presented with a nice (going away) check from the Pastor. Are you aware of those circumstances? If not, as one of our Deacons, I urge you to check into it.

011 7:45 PM, October 20, 2006


cjesusnme said...

Derrick,

One thing I wanted to add to my post, I don't feel the comments from Steve Gaines were appropriate to be addressed to Second Baptist Church in Union City. In my opinion, this is a grave and serious matter, which Steve Gaines continues to make light of.

012 7:48 PM, October 20, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

I'm friends with Rob. He married my wife and me 14 years ago. My wife teaches in the college department.

Rob assured me that he was treated fairly. He asked me not to let anyone try and convince me there was anything about his departure that would reflect badly on the Pastor or his staff, because it would not be true.

I take Rob at his word. He is an honest man and I trust him.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

013 9:41 PM, October 20, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

cJesusnme said: I don't feel the comments from Steve Gaines were appropriate to be addressed to Second Baptist Church in Union City.

This sentiment is the very reason many of us have a major problem with how the folks at "savingbellevue" operate.

If you don't think our Pastor should be stating his point of view on those that oppose him at another church, why are you not condemning those who publish misleading things on a website for the entire world to see?

And make no mistake about it, a great deal of what is done on that site under the banner of "Truth" is merely rumor, slander, and outright untruth.

I was personally the victim of very dirty tactics and slander by the "SavingBellevue" crowd.

What was done to me in an attempt to damage my reputation was simply unbelievable.

014 9:59 PM, October 20, 2006


cjesusnme said...

Derrick,

I agree with you that Rob Mullins is a fine and honest man. Our oldest daughter had a check in her spirit almost immediately after Steve Gaines became the Pastor. It was Rob Mullins who ministered to her and kept her love for Bellevue going, as he did with many in the college ministry, and he even encouraged her involvement in the I2Memphis ministry. Well, she saw right through that, and shortly thereafter, guess what? Rob announces he is leaving. And without a job? Once again, I appreciate your availability to those of us without a real voice other than on here, but I feel that Steve has broken the trust with a larger portion of the congregation than many of the Deacons want to believe. I pray that this can somehow miraculously be restored, but I can't help but feel that there is too much water under the bridge and the reputation of Bellevue is being stained and it is speaking volumes to non-bellevue members and the longer it drags out and Steve remains in power (sorry, but that's how I feel right now--being led in a dictatorship style authority--iron fisted), the more difficult it is going to be to heal our beloved Bellevue. I am not trying to cause strife here, I am merely pouring my heart out to a Deacon as instructed by Brother Chuck.

Were you not bothered at all by Steve's comments at Second Baptist in Union City, about the congregation and don't you feel that it was inappropriate to air our dirty laundry there?

015 10:07 PM, October 20, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

First off I didn't think it was "airing our dirty laundry" and no, the audio clip did not bother me.

With the amount of slander that is thrown at him on a daily basis I feel he is showing remarkable self control.

As I stated earlier, what I'm concerned about are the half truths, whole lies, slander, and willful deception that are passed off daily as "Truth" by those who seek to tear down our Pastor.

016 10:21 PM, October 20, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

Another point I wish to make, I find it odd that people seem so willing to adopt a "check in my spirit" or a "check in the spirit of someone I know" as legitimate grounds for criticism of our pastor.

Especially when you consider that he is under attack because somebody said that somebody said that he said he had a dream.

It also pains me that some of the most Godly men I know (and some of them I know very well) are under attack simply for standing for the truth.

I pray daily for Chuck Taylor, Harry Smith, Johnny Caldwell, Steve Tucker, Gene Howard, Mark McDaniel, Mark Daugherty, and others.

You'll have to excuse me. It is nearly 12:30 and I need to get to sleep. I'm posting here much more than I intended to, and probably much more than is profitable for His kingdom.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote

017 10:31 PM, October 20, 2006


cjesusnme said...

Derrick,

I guess this is where we have to agree to disagree because I don't see it as people trying to tear down the Pastor. I think Steve has done a fine job of that himself. I know Mark Sharpe and have for years. My family and his have been very close and we have talked with him at length about all of this and I have to say that he allowed me to ask questions and has been very transparent, which is more than I can say for Steve. I see nothing for Mark to gain out of this. I will continue to pray for all parties involved.

018 10:35 PM, October 20, 2006


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019 10:44 PM, October 20, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

derrick calcote wrote:

"I was personally the victim of very dirty tactics and slander by the 'SavingBellevue' crowd.

"What was done to me in an attempt to damage my reputation was simply unbelievable."

Could you enlighten us a little, please? The only place I've ever seen your name mentioned on the sb.com site was your response to the Gremillions which was cast in a positive light. Why would they want to damage your reputation?

I'm not asking you to mention names unless you want to, just to clarify what it is you're talking about rather than just throw out blanket statements like that.

020 10:45 PM, October 20, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

derrick calcote wrote:

"Another point I wish to make, I find it odd that people seem so willing to adopt a "check in my spirit" or a "check in the spirit of someone I know" as legitimate grounds for criticism of our pastor."

Well, isn't that one way the Holy Spirit speaks to us? I mean, it's not like He plasters little Sticky Notes on our foreheads or something. I'm not saying every feeling that crosses our minds is the urging of the Holy Spirit, but hopefully as we mature as Christians we gain the ability to better discern when it is.

I hope this doesn't offend anyone because that is not my intent in relating the following. In fact, I've held off writing this for several days. Someone said that references to movies and the like went right over his head because he hadn't seen the movie, and as one who doesn't watch a lot of movies, I can certainly relate. But I just want to share one thing that keeps playing in my mind, and unfortunately, it's going to include a reference to a TV show. (So stop reading now if that's a problem.)

There's no question the TV show, The X-Files, dealt with some rather "dark" subject matter, and I don't care to get into a discussion of that aspect of it, but remember it was entirely fiction and meant only to entertain.

Let me preface this by saying that in NO WAY am I implying that Dr. Gaines is some kind of monster or that he's evil or anything of the sort. Quite the contrary. As much as I dislike some of what I've heard him say and some of the things he's done, I still love him in Christ. I pray for him every day and am still hopeful for reconciliation.

Now, the Bible tells us that as Christians we have all been given different spiritual gifts, and I believe one of my spiritual gifts is discernment. And maybe it's partly that "women's sixth sense" thing, too, but I sometimes, to borrow a phrase I keep hearing repeated a lot lately, "get a check in my spirit" about people, sometimes from the first time I meet them, sometimes later. Seldom have I gotten such a strong "check" about someone as I have about Dr. Gaines. For months I've tried to dismiss it. I've felt a sense of shame for thinking such a thing. He's a good preacher, and I haven't wanted to believe there could be any kind of problem. In fact, I got this same "check" about Bellevue in general several months ago -- that things weren't as harmonious as they appeared. Still, I tried to shake it off and told myself I was just imagining things. Then I began to hear and read things and realized it wasn't "just me." Others say they've experienced this same "check" or "feeling" (a word I really don't like as it implies a belief based strictly on emotions).

Which brings me back to an episode of The X-Files entitled "Folie a Deux." You can Google that if you're interested, some of you may have seen it, but the story was about a man who could look at his boss, an ordinary looking man to everyone else, and literally see an insect-like monster who transformed people into zombies. (I can't believe I just wrote that.) For some reason though, this stupid show keeps running through my mind.

I can't help but think of the people who've said they have "checks" in their spirits and contrast them with the people who see nothing wrong. Are the people who see a problem just nitpicking or seeing things that aren't there, or is everyone else just blind? Are there those of us who've been given this gift of discernment just for the purpose of revealing the truth of this situation -- whatever the truth is? I don't have the answers. But I do know that I still feel torn between wanting to believe Bro. Steve when he says everything is okay and that increasing gnawing feeling which I believe is that "spirit of discernment," dare I say the Holy Spirit, showing me that something is not right. I cannot dismiss it as mere emotion. Too many other people are saying the same thing now for me to believe that many people can be wrong.

Here are some excellent scripture references pertaining to discernment.

021 12:20 AM, October 21, 2006


Bell22 said...

Derrick: What about the comments you made below the Gardendale clip on You Tube ,you seem a little out of control to.

022 6:52 AM, October 21, 2006


cjesusnme said...

"What I've been trying to say in other posts is that instead of getting on these forums and asking our questions since none of us have the answers, why don't we submit our questions to the Deacon Committee on the forms provided at the ERC instead of posting them on these forums?"

Derrick, with regard to the above quoted portion of your post, I can't speak for anyone other than myself, but I feel my concerns have been dismissed. I feel this is very one sided from the Gaines camp. My family, we have addressed our concerns with many Deacons we know and get the same "programmed" style answer....."It's all untrue". Well, I happen to know it's not all untrue, because I've seen and heard things with my own ears to qualify some of these "checks".

That brings me to my next question....While I am also praying for Gaines, Taylor, Tucker, Smith, etc., are you too praying for Mark Sharpe and others from SB.com? While we may not all agree, we are all still brothers and sisters in Christ!

And lastly, as you referenced to the "check in my spirit", I agree with NASS, perhaps I shouldn't use that recently popular phrase, but I too felt it immediately after Steve's arrival. I have never felt such a feeling about someone before, but it has been eating away at me for a long time now. It took me a while to even mention it to my family. I would find myself dreading going to worship service because of the feeling I came away from it with. My husband and I didn't share the same feelings for a while, but now he too feels that way. Maybe I should have called it as NASS did, my discernment kicking in, but I do believe that God gives us the ability through spiritual gifts those things which bring us closer to him. Nevertheless, it's there, has been for a while, and with recent developments, it only grows larger. We don't have to have these blog sites or even web sites to talk about what's going on. We're there and see it for our own eyes, and as far as what Steve did at Second Baptist, it was wrong and I am disappointed that you don't see it that way. It's not necessarily that he talked about it I guess after reading others post that perhaps he didn't have a choice, but that he continues to tell half-truths in saying that he has 100% backing from the church. That is simply not true! Not even close! I guess if you felt like we (those of us who feel hurt by his actions)did, perhaps you would have felt like he was making fun of you too.

Once again, I do appreciate your involvment and willingness to calm our uneasiness as Bellevue members.

Because HE lives!

023 8:12 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

JMO said: "How so? I have followed the SavingBellevue.com site for weeks and saw no dirty tactics or slander directed at you."

NSS said: "Could you enlighten us a little, please? The only place I've ever seen your name mentioned on the sb.com site was your response to the Gremillions which was cast in a positive light."


Bell22 said "Derrick: What about the comments you made below the Gardendale clip on You Tube ,you seem a little out of control to."

I am very glad that Bell22 chimed in with that. It clearly demonstrates what I am talking about.

The Gardendale clip was posted by "saveingbellevue" and linked on the "savingbellevue" site. It allowed comments.

Since I knew of no other public venue to post any thoughts that might be supportive of the pastor, I posted my thoughts there.

In all cases I tried to be very respectful and answer all questions with love and patience. Also I signed all posts with my real name as I do now. (And as I think everyone should do, but that is another topic for another day.)

At first I was just being treated unfairly. My helpful comments were deleted, and comments that were in opposition to the pastor stood.

Sure that was unfair, but it paled in comparison to what happened next.

Another user logged in with a similar looking user name and started signing all his posts with my name, Derrick Calcote.

This other poster in my opinion was in opposition to the pastor, but chose to make his point by making ham-handed ridiculous attacks on Marke Sharpe and Joshua Manning. (Thus making those who support the pastor look bad.)

Things like "Marke Sharpe and Joshua Manning torture kittens!" Were posted there and attributed to me.

I would then have to post again to reassure people, "That person making those crazy statements is not me." Many many times I requested that the administrator delete those crazy posts, but what did he do instead?

He deleted MY posts and left the crazy posts (attributed to me) up there.

Because of that my reputation was greatly harmed with many people (like Bell22) who saw those comments that were attributed to me.

I lost track of the number of time I asked to have those removed, but my requests fell on deaf ears for nearly three whole weeks.

Not only that, but any attempt I made to either lovingly help someone, or to clear my name was promptly deleted.

It was not until the night of October 7th that Mr. Haywood finally deleted all comments from that clip, thus removing the slander.

No explanation, no apology. Just a note "UTUBE i took care of that...."

Honestly I'm not so much concerned for my own reputation for my own sake. I'm nobody special. But it really bothers me that it did immeasurable damage to the ministry of reconciliation that I feel called to.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

024 8:44 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

CJNM,

"with regard to the above quoted portion of your post"

I don't know who you were quoting there, but it wasn't me. :-)

But I do understand you don't feel you are getting good answers. PLEASE DROP ME AN E.MAIL! As your servant I'll be happy to meet with you any time to discuss things at length.

"That brings me to my next question....are you too praying for Mark Sharpe and others from SB.com?"

Absolutely! I am praying that our Lord will bless them and their families in a mighty way. I pray that they would have the mind of Christ.

Not only that but I've prayed WITH some of them. Not long ago I spent nearly three hours in the home of one of the very visible people in opposition. We discussed all sorts of things and had a great prayer time where we both wept before the Lord.

"but that he continues to tell half-truths in saying that he has 100% backing from the church."

I want to be very cautious in how I say this. If this comes out any way but in love please forgive me for being clumsy.

But with all due respect, you are the one who is telling the "half-truth" in this case.

He did not say "he has 100% backing from the church." He said "the vast majority of our church is united."

Based on the many outpourings of love and support shown to our Pastor, I would say that is a very accurate statement.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

(And I am being very sincere, please contact me and we can sit down and disucss things.)

025 9:06 AM, October 21, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

Derrick,

Okay, I sort of remember those exchanges now. That was early in the process, and I wasn't familiar with your name or many of the others who were involved, and even now I don't remember that being you, but I do remember some "troll" posing as someone else, or at least trying to give the impression s/he was the same person. I'm really sorry one misguided fool tried to make you look bad. As I recall you seemed to have defended yourself adequately at the time, and I hope you have seen that no one here has been anything but respectful of you. We may not agree with your opinions, but I hope no one will show disrespect towards you.

For the record, Mr. Haywood is not the person responsible for or able to delete comments from the blog you referred to. That was/is Josh Manning's blog where those comments appeared, and I have no knowledge of how he moderated the comments.

Mr. Haywood's site is savingbellevue.com, it's not a blog or a forum, and that site has never allowed comments. Mr. Haywood is ultimately responsible for what appears there, but he isn't in any way responsible for the content of Mr. Manning's blog, nor does Mr. Haywood owe you an apology for the handling of the comments on Mr. Manning's blog. The only connection between the two that I'm aware of is that there's a link for JM's blog on sb.com.

026 9:26 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

NASS,

The comments I was referring to were not on Mr. Manning's blog. They were on the "YouTube" Gardendale video that was posted by "savingbellevue."

And Mr. Haywood does indeed appear to have some control over those comments as he is the one who either finally deleted them or had them deleted. (After I had asked for nearly three weeks.)

Joshua and I have a good relationship and have exchanged quite a few e-mails. He and I are planning to meet when he gets back in town for Christmas break.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote

027 9:35 AM, October 21, 2006


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028 10:06 AM, October 21, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

I wasn't aware that Mr. Haywood posted the YouTube clip. Do you know that he did? I don't remember looking at that site but one time, but I guess that's where I must have seen those comments. My apologies to you and to Mr. Manning for thinking those were on his blog. There is still no provision for comments on the sb.com site.

029 10:10 AM, October 21, 2006


jesusistheanswer said...

Derrick:

I have seen no "dirty tactics" used toward you. I deeply respect your response posted on savingbellevue.com. That was Christ-like and refreshingly humble. I think it showed openness to truth and finding a solution.

Jesus is truly the only answer for our current situation. He alone can calm storms and still mighty waves. My heart cries out to Him to do so.

Why is this happening at a spiritually mature church like Bellevue? There are very godly, Jesus loving people with diverse stands. Some diversity stems from our sin nature and walking in the strength of the flesh. The diversity that demands examination comes from the difference in the spiritual gifts God has given to each believer.

Ephesians says God gave the to the church: apostles, evangelists, prophets, and pastors and teachers. The pastors on our staff are God's gifts to Bellevue. Are the irrevocable gifts? No. Samuel anointed Saul as King over Israel. Yet later, because of Saul�s sin, God sent His prophet, Samuel, to Saul with a message confronting sin and announcing the Lord had rejected him as king over Israel (1 Samuel 15).

Has God sent a prophet(s) to Bellevue to address sin? I believe that He has.

Historically, prophets have been individuals of God's choosing and anointing. Many were reluctant to accept God's call. Yet in obedience, they proclaimed what God told them. Often, the message was neither popular nor welcomed by the majority or those in leadership. It usually involved much sacrifice on the part of the prophet. (Consider Jeremiah.)

After hearing Mark Sharpe speak at the Bartlett meeting, sensing the humbleness and contriteness of his spirit, his desire for reconciliation, his effort to clarify truth from rumor, I for one believe he is a prophet from God to our congregation. At the meeting I felt the anointing and presence of God in an unusually powerful way. Are we to give less heed to a prophet than to a pastor called to our church by man?

Also, since there is a "diversity of gifts", we will perceive things from different perspectives. This is God�s design so that we will need each other and be able to function together as His body on earth.

The gift of discernment allows those so gifted by the Lord insight that others may not have. That is a gift that God gave me at salvation. It is not always a comfortable gift. I began feeling something was wrong about a year ago during worship services. I felt guilty feeling that way. This impression from the Lord has intensified. Something is not right. I know that as well as I know that Jesus saved me.

Can it be fixed? God is a God of the impossible. He can do what man cannot do. He closes doors that no man can open. He opens doors that no man can close. He lifts up the lowly and "He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail. The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces; out of heaven shall He thunder upon them. The LORD shall judge the ends of the earth; He will give strength to His king (could this be His messenger), and exalt the horn of His anointed." (1 Sam. 2:9-10)

The heart desire of most is for unity and healing. Yet can there be unity and healing until the issues are addressed and accurately and thoroughly answered?
Is unity and image control more important than truth and seeking God's way in everything?

At this point there are allegations - serious allegations made at an extreme cost to individuals and to our church. May God anoint the eyes, ears, and minds of the leadership to discern the facts.

Derrick, thank you for even being open to search out truth - whatever it is. Please research the Purpose Driven Church, Church Growth Movement, and New Age Agenda before you come to any conclusion.

May Jesus Christ be honored and magnified above all else.

030 10:40 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

NASS,

If Mr. Haywood did not post the video himself, it was a very close cohort of his.

You be the judge.

When Mr. Haywood posted all the deacons' home addresses and phone numbers I thought that was wrong and told him so.

Here is my letter to him: (edited for privacy and brevity)

Mr. Haywood,

Three issues:

1) Presumably you either have posted the video of Pastor Gaines at YouTube.com or know who has. There are false things being said in the comments section by a user who is pretending to me and thus slandering my name.... I sign my posts with my real name "Derrick Calcote."

The person who is slandering me... also signs my name.

You are hereby respectfully asked to remove (the slanderous) posts... so this will not persist.

2) The posting of all the deacon's e.mail addresses, home addresses, and phone numbers is an invasion of privacy and offensive. But since I do not wish for my deacon brothers to be without my company should you continue in this wrong, I respectfully ask that you wrong me to the same degree. If you leave the list up, please correct my home address to (redacted), and my home number to (redacted). My address and phone number are incorrect on your website.

3) (redacted)

The courtesy of a response would be greatly appreciated as it relates to items 1 and 2.

Item 3 is between our Lord and you.

Thank you,

Derrick Calcote


Within an hour my correct address and phone number were on the site and ALL comments were gone from YouTube and I got the following message.

refresh the deacon list on your computer. let me know if this is correct.
UTUBE i took care of that too..
Jim


FWIW, a little while later the home addresses and phone numbers were removed from the site, which I felt was appropriate.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

031 11:01 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

JITA,

Please see my post of marked 8:44 this morning for details of how I was slandered.

My only concern with "the church growth movement" is if growth is sought at the expense of biblical preaching.

From where I sit, the the gospel is not being watered down one iota. Sin is called sin. We preach Christ and Him crucified.

And as a deacon, let me tell you what the view is from the counseling room. God is doing a mighty work. People are being brought to repentance and being saved in great numbers. To God be the Glory!

Let me know if you like to meet and discuss your concerns.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

032 11:10 AM, October 21, 2006


MOM4 said...

"I was personally the victim of very dirty tactics and slander by the "SavingBellevue" crowd. – posted by Derrick"

In his defense, I did read posts on the YouTube website that were aimed at Mr. Calcote. They read as if they were posted by a teenager attempting to annoy Derrick, rather than attack him. They were immature and rambling and I immediately noted that it HAD to be a kid joking around with him which he deemed as "dirty tactics and slander".
In the "Saving Bellevue" defense, other than those few postings, there have been no other derogatory remarks made that I saw and I have kept up with all of this on a daily basis.
Just wanted to put that out there...

033 11:12 AM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

"In his defense, I did read posts on the YouTube website that were aimed at Mr. Calcote. They read as if they were posted by a teenager attempting to annoy Derrick, rather than attack him. They were immature and rambling and I immediately noted that it HAD to be a kid joking around with him which he deemed as "dirty tactics and slander".
In the "Saving Bellevue" defense, other than those few postings, there have been no other derogatory remarks made that I saw and I have kept up with all of this on a daily basis."


Here is my point: What was dirty and slanderous was the FACT that my posts clarifying that this person was not me, and my posts that tried to answer questions were DELETED but the derogatory remarks posted under my name were allowed to stand.

That was unacceptable by any standard, and certainly unworthy of our Lord.

034 11:22 AM, October 21, 2006


MOM4 said...

I appologize if I offended you with my post, what I said was what I saw. There have been attacks made by many, just in case you haven't checked out Mike Bratton & Co. comments and those that were on his website, especially early on. This has been going on for some time now and indeed there were comments about Mr. Sharpe and Mr. Manning that went way way beyond what you have described happened to you. I understand that you were offended by the YouTube incident and I can understand why, but you are not the first and probably won't be the last, which is a shameful situation. Please let this go with the same attitude that you have been espousing, forgiveness and reconciliation. Matt 25:40

035 11:41 AM, October 21, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

derrick calcote wrote: "My only concern with 'the church growth movement' is if growth is sought at the expense of biblical preaching."

I beg to differ. Are we to overlook, say, a preacher who is having an adulterous affair or involved in some sort of illegal activity (not saying that's the case here at all, just citing an example) even though he's preaching the Word from the pulpit and people are being saved? Sorry, but I just don't believe we are. Our leaders are supposed to be as accountable, no... even more accountable than the members their flocks.

"Here is my point: What was dirty and slanderous was the FACT that my posts clarifying that this person was not me, and my posts that tried to answer questions were DELETED but the derogatory remarks posted under my name were allowed to stand."

I see your point. I think ALL the comments from that time should have been removed promptly, but they weren't. I do know at least some of your posts in which you explained that other person wasn't you were posted because I read them. Now the derogatory comments have been removed. Whoever didn't remove them in a timely manner was remiss, but in the words of Dr. Gaines, "Let's just move on."

036 12:49 PM, October 21, 2006


westtnbarrister said...

I apologize for the length of this response. I hope it ads positively to our discussion. I will be happy to delete it if it is deemed too lengthy.

Someone said, “My only concern with 'the church growth movement' is if growth is sought at the expense of biblical preaching.” Others have discussed our billboards. We’ve also had a lot of discussion of Rick Warren and his “purpose drive church” model.

Many don’t like Dr. Gaines appearing on the billboards while others have no problem that. Forgetting the issue of billboard content, I see this as a much larger question about marketing the church. We are using billboards, radio ads on rock radio, and ads in a free tabloid paper. Is there anything wrong with any of that that?

Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I am not attacking anyone who defends the billboards. I simply have a view that I pray will challenge everyone who reads this. I do not believe this issue has anything to do with the crisis we are experiencing at Bellevue. I believe we should prayerfully consider it in light of Scripture, but it is not something we should fight over or blame our pastor for.

Whether a method is biblical or not scarcely matters to many people today. Does it work? That is the new test of legitimacy. And so raw pragmatism is now the driving philosophy in much of the professing church.

Pragmatism is the notion that ideas may be judged by their practical consequences. A pragmatist concludes that a course of action or concept is right if it brings good results, wrong if it doesn't seem to work.

What's wrong with pragmatism? After all, common sense involves a measure of legitimate pragmatism, doesn't it? If a dripping faucet works fine after you replace the washers, for example, it is reasonable to assume that bad washers were the problem. If the medicine your doctor prescribes produces harmful side effects or has no effect at all, you need to ask if there's a remedy that works. Such simple pragmatic realities are generally self-evident.

But when pragmatism becomes a guiding philosophy of life or ministry, it inevitably clashes with Scripture. Spiritual and biblical truth cannot be determined by what works and what doesn't. We know from Scripture, for example, that the gospel does not usually produce a positive response (1 Cor. 1:22-23; 2:14). On the other hand, Satanic lies and deception often are quite effective (Matt. 24:23-24; 2 Cor. 4:3-4). Majority reaction is no test of validity (cf. Matt. 7:13-14), and prosperity is no measure of truthfulness (cf. Job 12:6). Pragmatism as a guiding philosophy of ministry is inherently flawed.

Most of the new pragmatists believe the four priorities of the early church—the apostles' teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread, and prayer (Acts 2:42)—make a lame agenda for the church in this day and age. They view our Lord's Great Commission as a marketing manifesto. They believe the church is in business to promote a product, and church leaders, they say, had better pay attention to the methods of Madison Avenue. The church, after all, competes with secular amusements and a host of worldly goods and services. We'll never win people, the pragmatists believe, until we develop effective marketing campaigns to capture their attention and loyalty away from the world's offerings.

George Barna has written, "I believe that developing a marketing orientation is precisely what the Church needs to do if we are to make a difference in the spiritual health of this nation for the remainder of this century." He adds, "My contention, based on careful study of data and the activities of American churches, is that the major problem plaguing the Church is its failure to embrace a marketing orientation in what has become a marketing-driven environment."

What's wrong with that? For one thing, the church has no business marketing its ministry as an alternative to secular amusements (2 Thess. 3:3-4). That corrupts and cheapens the church's real mission. We are not carnival barkers, used car salesmen, or K-Tel pitchmen. We are Christ's ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20). Knowing the terror of the Lord (v. 11), motivated by the love of Christ (v. 14), utterly made new by Him (v. 17), we implore sinners to be reconciled to God (v. 20).

Moreover, instead of confronting the world with the truth of Christ, the market-driven churches are enthusiastically promoting the worst trends of secular culture. Feeding people's appetite for entertainment only exacerbates the problems of mindless emotion, apathy, and materialism.

Proclaiming the gospel message of redemption for sinners, and expositing the Word for saints should be the heart of every church's ministry. If the world looks at the church and sees an entertainment center, we're sending the wrong message. Let me be crystal clear—I am not saying our pastor does not exposit the Word. I am making a broader point.

Nothing in Scripture indicates the church should lure people to Christ by presenting Christianity as an attractive option. Nothing about the gospel is optional: "There is salvation in no one else. . . there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved" (Acts 4:12). Nor is the gospel meant to be attractive in the sense of modern marketing. To most, the message of the gospel is "a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense" (Rom. 9:33; 1 Pet. 2:8). There's no way to "market" that. The church must realize that its mission has never been public relations or sales; we are called to live holy lives and declare God's truth—lovingly but uncompromisingly—to an unbelieving world.

Some have defended our pastor by saying that since we are growing and our giving is up. They believe those things are a sign of God’s blessing us. At first blush that answer sounds good, but I believe it is an answer rooted in pragmatism. Joel Osteen can take an offering and he draws tremendous crowds. What about Benny Hinn? Creflo Dollar? They have huge congregations. But so do the Mormons. I read they are growing too. We are also told over one billion people are now Muslims.

Are we to believe that growth in non-Christian congregations is proof that God is at work? Why would we want to duplicate the methodology of religious groups that deny the gospel? Isn't it fair to question whether any growth resulting from such methods is illegitimate, engineered by fleshly means? After all, if a method works as well for a cult as it does for the people of God, there's no reason to assume positive results signify God's blessing.

We shouldn’t use our weak and flawed reasoning to defend the pastor. We must be discerning and weigh each and every action of our church against Scripture. Biblical truth is the only framework by which we can evaluate the rightness or wrongness of ministry methods.

Any end-justifies-the-means philosophy of ministry inevitably will compromise doctrine, despite any proviso to the contrary. If we make effectiveness the gauge of right and wrong, how can that fail to color our doctrine? Ultimately the pragmatist's notion of truth is shaped by what seems effective, not by the objective revelation of Scripture. This may not have happened to Bellevue, yet, but I contend it is a slippery slope. Many apostate churches began as Bible believing churches. One compromise leads to another and on and on it goes.

It is folly to think one can be both pragmatic and biblical. The pragmatist wants to know what works now. The biblical thinker cares only about what the Bible says. The two philosophies inevitably oppose each other at the most basic level.

Experts are touting the concept of the "user-friendly church." Borrowing a term from the high-tech industries, church growth specialists are advocating a new approach to church ministry. Church growth can be accelerated, they say, if pastors and church leaders will concentrate their energies on making the church as non-threatening as possible for the unchurched. Provide non-Christians with an agreeable, inoffensive environment. I can’t help but think terms like “Bible Fellowship” and “Church Campus” have arisen from this philosophy. What was wrong with “Sunday School?” Gift bags would seem to arise out of this too. It’s all neat, nice and welcoming.

The radical pragmatism of the "user-friendly" school of thought robs the church of its prophetic role. It makes the church a populist organization, recruiting members by providing them a warm and friendly atmosphere in which they receive a gift bag and sing a few songs.

The church is the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27), and church meetings are for corporate worship and instruction. The church's only legitimate goal is "the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (Eph. 4:12)—not mere numerical expansion. The notion that church meetings should be used to tantalize or convert non-Christians is a relatively recent development. Nothing like it is found in Scripture; in fact, the apostle Paul spoke of unbelievers' entering the assembly as an exceptional event (1 Cor. 14:23). Hebrews 10:24-25 indicates that church services are for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers: "Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together."

Acts 2:42 shows us the pattern the early church followed when they met: "They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer." Note that the early church's priorities clearly were to worship God and uplift the brethren. The church came together for worship and edification; it scattered to evangelize the world.

Our Lord commissioned His disciples for evangelism in this way: "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations" (Matt. 28:19). Christ makes it clear that the church is not to wait for or invite the world to come to its meetings, but to go to the world. That is every believer's responsibility. I fear that an approach emphasizing a palatable gospel presentation within the walls of the church absolves the individual believer from his personal obligation to be a light in the world (Matt. 5:16).

The church's strategy has never been to appeal to the world on the world's terms. Churches aren't supposed to compete for the consumer on the same level as Miller Lite or MTV. We can't stimulate genuine growth by clever persuasion or inventive techniques. It is the Lord who adds to the church (Acts 2:47). Human methodologies cannot accelerate or supersede the divine process.

The challenge for Christ's church is this: "Let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God" (2 Cor. 7:1). It isn't the cleverness of our methods, the techniques of our ministry, or the wit of our sermons that puts power in our testimony. It is obedience to a holy God and faithfulness to His holiness in our daily lives.

I would be interested in your thoughts.

037 2:04 PM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

Mom4,

You did not offend me in the least. Please don't worry about that.

And while I have forgiving those who slandered me, I felt it was important to point out the truth of what happened for two reasons:

1) So people (like Bell22) who only saw the bad comments that were attributed to me could know that I would not say something like that. Again, this is not for my benefit, but so my witness can be restored with those people as I continue to work in this ministry of reconciliation.

2) To demonstrate why in my opinion the people who run "SavingBellevue" are not advocates for the "Truth" as they would lead you to believe. Instead they seem more interested in making points for their argument, even if they need to distort the truth to do it.

038 2:09 PM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

NSS,

How in the world did you get from my post that I would overlook a pastor living in adultery?

I was discussing the church growth movement. As I understand it, some feel that this movement waters down the gospel. My point was, if you are listening to the same sermons I'm listening to, you'll know that is not happening.

As to the other issue. Thank you for your support.

I will point out that the person who didn't remove the other comments was not "remiss" in the least. They knowingly left them up, and deleted my comments that 1) asked the bad comments to be removed 2) explained the situation and 3) tried to be supportive of the pastor.

This is not "remiss." And while they have not sought forgiveness, I have indeed forgiven them.

Still I would be "remiss" if I did not warn my brothers and sisters in Christ about the tactics that being used to dishonor our church, our pastor, our staff, our leaders, and anyone who stands in support of them.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

039 2:24 PM, October 21, 2006


ScaredOfTheTruth? said...

Derrick,

Let me first say that I appreciate the comments you have made in this post and the spirit in which you have made them. It is refreshing to see a supporter who can conduct a dialogue in a respectful way. I hope I do the same.

You stated that when Pastor Gaines made his comments about "all active deacons" being in support, he was "not far removed" from a meeting with the deacons where they were allowed to ask questions and thus did so "in good faith". Considering that he was preaching in Union City on Monday, I presume it had to have happened no earlier than the previous day, Sunday? I am trying to understand the time frame your are talking about. However, had he, in my opinion, had that meeting an hour before he made his Union City appearance, it still troubles me that he would make the following series of statements:

"Our whole deacon body is together--180 active in the deacon fellowship--altogether."

"Staff, 50 pastors--all of us together..."

"Our staff is united, all of our committees are united."


I am sure you see where I am going with this. It is simply not possible--and not responsible--in my mind for Steve Gaines to make these claims. He certainly did not speak to every deacon, pastor and staff member personally to ask them if they had any issues before he spoke at Union City.

Even, for argument's sake, had he had this entire group (deacons, staff and pastors) in a room and allowed them to speak up if they had concerns and no one did, I still think he has no place making these statements that imply 100% unity. Who is going to have the guts to stand up in front of the deacon or staff or pastoral body and make any negative comments in a setting like that? My only issue with the few posters that seem to be in the "Steve has done no wrong" camp is that you don't even allow the possibility that anything improper has happened and there does not seem to be any urgency from the leadership to put this whole thing to rest by meeting with Mark Sharpe and others who have questions.

040 2:30 PM, October 21, 2006


Derrick Calcote said...

It was not just the absence of questions, but the overwhelming (and what seemed to me to be 100%) support shown the pastor and those who spoke at the deacons meeting that would lead you to think that all the active deacons were behind the pastor.

My father told me before that meeting that I was in for a disappointment. He had heard that "about 100 deacons" were upset with the pastor and would let it be known at that meeting. He asked me to let him know how it went.

My report back to him was "as far as I could see, all the active deacons were behind the pastor. Only one guy said anything negative, and he is inactive."

FWIW as far as "the Steve has done no wrong camp" you refer to. I am not aware there are any members in that camp. Including pastor Gaines himself.

And Mr. Sharpe and any others who have questions have ample opportunities to meet with staff members, deacons, and committee chairmen.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote
dcalcote@msn.com

041 2:56 PM, October 21, 2006


allofgrace said...

WTB,
Amen and amen brother. You have well articulated what has been my main concern all along. As for having "checks in our spirts"..I've used that same term to describe the feeling of concern I've had since shortly after Dr Gaines came to Bellevue...that's not a personal attack on him...just the truth about what I've sensed. Pragmatism is the enemy of the Biblical gospel. The billboards, imho, tend to speak to peoples felt needs...a dangerous way to present Christ to the lost...Christ did not come to be our therapist or our self help guru...or simply to tell us how to be more successful. Our problem is not a lack of fulfillment..or that we've tried religion and it failed...or that we're tired of trying...it's sin...that's what Christ came to deal with...to present Christ as the answer to those things on a billboard or in any other way is to cheapen what He accomplished on the cross..and to diminish the necessity of His propitiation of God's wrath against sin. Pragmatism is the kissing cousin of easy beleiveism. The gospel is not a product to be slickly marketed, but a truth to be believed.It is the rock upon which any who have truly been converted was broken. It's offensive to the carnal mind. But it's God's gospel, not ours to do with as we wish. Ours is to proclaim it, it is God's to bring the increase. That might not give us huge numbers every week to boast in...but I believe it will produce solid conversions..and a regenerate church membership...which is, after all, what we as Baptists are supposed to believe in. I have no problem with Dr Gaines' preaching per se, but my main concern all along...before I even knew about savingbellvue.com..was that it seemed to me that we were heading down the road to the PD model of church. Where in scripture does it speak of dividing the worship of the church into young and old...contemporary and "traditional"? Is it really ok to bring whatever elements into worship that scripture does not directly forbid? Where scripture is silent...I feel we should be too. But God has not been silent on how He IS to be worshipped. I for one have not felt comfortable with the I2 Memphis idea. In catering to the fleshly desire for a different style, I fear we are falling into the trap of the world's current philosophy of separating the young from the old...the body is to be one...in all things...worship included. I have not encouraged my daughter to attend..and I won't. This culture values youth above all things...are we now joining them? This whole pragmatic agenda has been steadily creeping into evangelicalism for several years...subtly, but surely. I pray we wake up and regain the will to discern before it's too late.

042 3:44 PM, October 21, 2006


cjesusnme said...

All of Grace,

I'm with you. I think that is what many of us have been feeling for months now and it seems to be a generational thing, however my 22 year old doesn't like it either. I think it is a disgrace and a dishonor to the older members of Bellevue who have sacrificed automobiles, wedding rings, etc. to bring Bellevue to where it was a year ago, and in such a short time, to hear people talking about our church and what is going on is just heart breaking to me. Well, I've been there for 18 years now and I don't plan on leaving, but I will not play a part in this new style of worship either. I will attend my Bible Fellowship, but will tithe elsewhere, like Love Worth Finding. Since everybody seems to be so concerned about giving and numbers, I think this is the best way I can get my voice heard that I don't like the direction Bellevue has taken and I am standing my ground. I have prayed long and hard over this and God gave me such a peace about this decision last week. I will continue to pray for all involved, but most importantly that Christ is honored through this season of suffering somehow.

043 8:26 PM, October 21, 2006


Comment Deleted

This post has been removed by the author.

044 9:16 PM, October 21, 2006


Truth Hunter said...

WOW WTB, you said a whole lot. Thank you for taking the time to clearly present your view. That was something I needed to read. I hope certain others read it too.

So it's true we have radio ads on rock stations and in the Memphis Flyer? As much as the readers of the Flyer hate Bellevue I can't believe they would take our money. When did we start that kind of advertising?

045 9:40 PM, October 21, 2006


MOM4 said...

I am astonished at how almost every one I talk to about this situation are of a similar mindset. The only ones who are "in my face" about it, are the ones who haven't read anything and don't want to know anything, they don't want to rock the boat or ask questions. I am amazed that people don't want to be bothered or don't want to take the time and effort to find out what has turned BBC upside down. However, I am so encouraged with the wisdom and earnestness of the posts today. All of you have taken the words from my heart and put them in black and white much better than I ever could and I thank you so very much. I have been continually in prayer over our situation at BBC and some things that have troubled me in the last year are on my mind tonight. I have said repeatedly that I think Steve Gaines is a very good preacher, then someone said, because someone is a good speaker, does not mean they are in God's will. I know that the Lord gives the increase and I have voiced my objections previously about giving credit to Steve Gaines for the Lord's work. But, I have often wondered why Dr Rogers' would have put his stamp of approval on this man if he was not divinely appointed to the call. I have never felt in my heart that Steve Gaines was the man for BBC and I could not figure out why I felt that way, especially since Dr Rogers so readily approved of him. I have come to the possible conclusion that perhaps the Lord sent Steve Gaines to BBC to work on Steve Gaines. Dr Rogers set the example for him in the passing of the mantle and footwashing, an example of his responsibility and the need for humility. I would think that Dr Rogers would not have gone to such an extent without praying about it and knowing the personality of Steve Gaines, he most likely would have been concerned about his arrogance and pride, especially since he has demonstrated it in his previous churches. So if the Lord is setting the stage for Steve Gaines to learn humility and he continues to harden his heart and stiffen his neck, what do you think will happen? He has already been taken flat on his back and while I do not know why the Lord allowed that illness, if it was because of his lack of humility, he apparently did not get it. I am actually concerned for the man if that is the case, what will be next? Look at Saul! The Lord allowed him to be the king - and read what he did - and the consequences of his actions. This may sound outlandish to some and I would not be surprised based on what I have seen and heard.
During my prayer and devotion time today, I have poured out my heart in grief over this situation at BBC - Proverbs 28:13 is a verse that I have taught my children. It has been on my heart all day.
On another note, my 22 yr old was home from college a few months ago. She attends a secular college out of town. She was in youth choir and grew up at Bellevue. She attended a service with us and said that the music was like what they did in high school and she hated it. She went one time to the i2 and came home early. I asked her about it and she rolled her eyes - she asked for me not to ask her to go back because she could stay at college and see the same stuff. It reminded me of the story of the frog in the pot of cold water that will boil to death rather than jump out because it becomes accustomed to the heat as it rises gradually, but if you try to put a frog into hot water, it will jump right out. Sin is so deceptive!

046 9:46 PM, October 21, 2006


Truth Hunter said...

Allofgrace, like WTB, you said a lot. Great points. Guys(or is it gals?) like you two give me hope for our church.

It is sad when the church echoes the values of the world. The world worships youth and now the church is beginning to as well. Why doesn't Mr. Shipley sing anymore during our services? Why not have him in the music team on stage? Is he too old and his hair too white for TV? I don't want to nitpick (or strain gnats!). I just love to hear that man sing. Maybe he can't handle the new jazzy rock tunes we've been singing. He may not know when to lift his arms and clap his hands. I'm guilty of that too.

What percentage of the church has serious concerns with what has been happening? Does anyone have a feeling one way or another on the overall temperature of the congregation? I'm convinced our deacons are fractured. Are there enough to fight for truth and what is right? I'm afraid most will blindly follow.

047 10:04 PM, October 21, 2006


Eccl.7:25 said...

http://www.apprising.org/archives/2006/10/mankinds_basic.html

This is Tozer speaking directly to the need WE have to "modernize" the Gospel of Christ.

For Mom4: Dr. Rogers was the most optimistic man. I think he took Dr. Gaines at the face value he was shown. Dr. Roger's has choosen ministers in the past that have fallen. Think through all the ministers that he stood beside,
until it was very apparent they were in sin and were forced out of the ministry.I'm with you,I don't think he saw the arrogance, until we all did. I'm glad he's not having to suffer through this.

048 10:28 PM, October 21, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

eccl.7:25,

Part of that link was cut off. This is the correct link for the article you cited:

Mankind's Basic Need

You wrote: "Dr. Rogers was the most optimistic man. I think he took Dr. Gaines at the face value he was shown. Dr. Roger's has choosen ministers in the past that have fallen."

I agree. And this is part of the problem. Dr. Rogers should never have "chosen ministers." It seems from all indications it was Dr. Rogers who handpicked Steve Gaines. I'm not saying it wasn't God's will for Steve Gaines to be called to Bellevue. To the contrary, I think Dr. Gaines was sent here for a reason. Maybe not the reason everyone first thought, but a reason nevertheless. After all, he's here, but... and I mean absolutely no disrespect to Dr. Rogers, in my opinion, he should not have been so involved in the pastor search process. It's been apparent to me all along that the search committee was a formality -- an exercise, if you will, to give the appearance of a search when, as Dr. Rogers said, "'I knew before the committee ever went to work who the right man was,' Rogers jokingly told the congregation, according to the Commercial Appeal. 'I don't know what took them so long.'" Only I don't think he was joking, and I'm afraid he didn't keep that "knowledge" a secret from the search committee.

To my knowledge, not one other candidate was brought in to preach for consideration of a potential call. I cannot believe that out of 170 resumes, not one other person was worthy of at least being brought before the congregation for consideration.

I've now watched the entire Gardendale resignation video, and there were several things I found very interesting about it, much more telling than the 3-minute "Did I tick you guys off?" clip. I'll elaborate on that later -- in the appropriate thread.

049 11:11 PM, October 21, 2006


Truth Hunter said...

Mom4,

Do you think Dr. Gaines was the same man we see when he was alone with Dr. Rogers? I'm sure he was properly deferential and respectful, careful to check his pride and arrogance at the door. I have known plenty of men who turn on their humility when it suits their purposes.

I hate that I have grown so cynical about my own pastor.

050 11:20 PM, October 21, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

cjesusnme wrote: "I think it's time for the AdHoc committee to find where their backbones are and get to the bottom of this."

This committee was picked by the pastor and/or the deacons and rubber-stamped by the deacons. Most of them are just as in the dark as the rest of us about many of the things people are asking about such as the credit card receipts. Chuck Taylor seems to be one of the insiders, but like Duke, the "baked bean" dog, he's not talking. Oh, wait... Duke's talking. Mr. Taylor... isn't.

Seriously, the point is, other than pestering them and hopefully pressuring them (politely, of course) to the point where at least some of them will sprout backbones, the "ad hoc" committee is nothing more than the fox guarding the hen house. That's just another "layer of protection" set up to keep the sheep away from the shepherd.

I suppose we should inundate them with legitimate questions though. The more mail they get, the more they'll have to realize that this isn't just a group of "3 or 4" disgruntled members. So have you written your ad hoc committee yet?

051 11:27 PM, October 21, 2006


allofgrace said...

WTB,
One other point that you made, which I heartily agree with, is the main thrust of the church in it's worship. Nowhere in scripture does it say that the main function of the worship service is to reach the lost. Reaching the lost is the individual responsibility of the members of the church. No doubt lost people come into worship services each week...and God's word is powerful...souls will be converted..but that is not the main mission when we gather..it's for the feeding of the sheep (those who belong to Christ), so that they are equipped for living out the Christian life and reaching the lost in their everyday activities. When a simplistic...and sadly sometimes misleading gospel is preached week after week, the sheep go hungry. Sound doctrinal teaching, and Biblical exegesis is what the saints of God need.

As part of the singles department at Bellevue, I sat and listened some months back, in the morning SS assembly, to a young pastor of a church plant in Florida(supported by Bellevue). As he told us about his church and the "target" group they were trying to reach, he said that they avoid using words like "repentance", or simply try to converse about "God", rather than Christ, in order to "not be so intimidating". As I heard these words, I looked around to see if anyone else was as appalled as I was at such a notion....only a few. To me this was frightening. When we remove words like repentance, and remove the only name under heaven whereby men can be saved, we've cut the heart out of the gospel...it's not even the gospel of the Bible..all for the sake of making sinners comfortable. This is all the philosophy of the PD movement...and it is upon us folks...in our midst. It's been said, there are no new heresies...only the same old ones repackaged..I have to believe that is true. Much of this PD movement can be traced back to Charles Finney..if you take a close look at Finney's methods and theology, you'll quickly see that if it's not outright heresy, it's right on the border. Charles Spurgeon had to confront many of these same issues in his day...check out his article, Feeding Sheep or Amusing Goats?

WTB....I appreciate the effort you have evidently put forth to be well-informed and discerning..may your tribe increase brother. These types of errors (PD, Emergent Church, et al), inevitably lead to other errors and heresies, ie: Open Theism, New Age philosophy, and on and on, ad nauseum. Be informed saints, be discerning.

052 6:44 AM, October 22, 2006


Churchmouse said...

It is an encouragement to read this thread. (1 Th 5:11) Thank all of you for your comments. Thanks especially to WTB. I believe pragmatist and the PDC Movement are the vehicle that brought this problem into our church. This movement trains pastors to do just what Steve Gaines is doing: go into an established church and take total control. The problem is bigger than Bellevue and bigger than the SBC. I thank God for the gift he has given some of us - to see the truth. However; to whom much is given, much is required. (Luke 12:48b) Dear Lord, please show us the way.

053 7:14 AM, October 22, 2006


byhisgrace4hisglory said...

All of Grace,

You are very discering in your comments. You are not alone. Finneyism is alive and well and not just at BBC.
"There is nothing new under the sun"

054 9:10 AM, October 22, 2006


Eccl.7:25 said...

NASS... thanks for repairing my blunder.

I just wanted to point out that the whole Steve Gaines push was much more orchestrated than we saw.
After he preached, I was told "the switchboards lit up." They even started keeping count. That information was passed through the filter of other men and "their"
desire before it reached Dr. Rogers.

Everytime I ask about a different minister "maybe being our new pastor" I was told this same information(all the calls). It was truly like a political campaign with one canidate that really didn't want the job.

After the fact, things seem more clear.

055 9:27 AM, October 22, 2006


BR said...

Check out this article on "modernism" in the church!

056 10:02 AM, October 22, 2006


MOM4 said...

Truth Hunter,
I have no doubt that Steve Gaines can turn it on and off at will or he would not have those poor blind people following his lead. I also feel that probably Dr Rogers knew, even saw thru Gaines facade and that is why he was so careful to make such an event of the footwashing/mantle service. I honestly believe that Dr Rogers was aware of how he was, but knew that the Lord had a divine work to do on Steve Gaines and that is why the Lord placed him in the midst of so many Godly men. I cannot get past this and I may be proven wrong, and I will stand corrected at that time. I know in my heart that if Steve Gaines stood up in front of the congregation and told the truth (in repentance,without antagonism) and asked forgiveness (eye to eye) from Mark Sharpe, Josh Manning and the congregation, this would end - one way or the other.

I also received some insight into the music situation, so on another note (heehee) I wondered why the hymns that are being cast by the wayside in favor of the new contemporary chants and rock music are not seen for what they are. If you look at the basis for the old (and some new) hyms and songs, they were based on scripture and were written by theologians and devout Christians. They have survived the test of centuries, while the new ones come and go in a year or even less. Could it be that it is because the new is based on "feel good" theology instead of the Word?

057 1:49 PM, October 22, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

Bellevue has not ended the practice of singing hymns. The worship service is (musically) a blended service with a combination of praise & worship choruses and hymns. It's neither one nor the other.

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest fan of a lot of the current praise & worship songs making the rounds on the Christian musical circuit. However, not all are bad or subpar from a musical or even a lyrical/theological standpoint. Moreover, although there have been songs to come and go, there are also praise and worship songs that have been around for the past ten to fifteen years.

The quality of a song should be debated on a case by case basis. The liking or disliking of an entire musical genre is a stylistic preference, not a spiritual preference.

058 4:55 PM, October 22, 2006


MOM4 said...

Josh,
I understand what you are saying, but you need to understand where I am coming from as well. To change the tempo or beat and some words in order to modernize the hymn is taking away from the original composer's arrangement. As I said earlier, the composer's of these old hymns that have been around for generations were written by Godly men and women who were inspired in their talents to pen the music that would give honor, praise and worship to the Lord. Just because we have a "blended" service, does not mean that these updated versions of the original hymns are inspiring. It is evident in our services that the original composer's works are being "reworked" to accomodate the contemporary slant the leadership is promoting. Please listen closely and you will see and hopfully understand where I am coming from on this.
I do want to make something very clear, while I abhorr what has happened in the attempts to transform the services to a more secular style, the issue with Steve Gaines' has nothing to do with the changes in style. The issue at hand is all about the accountability and behavior of the pastor.

059 6:31 PM, October 22, 2006


MOM4 said...

Josh,
Just wanted to tell you that I listen to KLOVE quite a bit, and I like some of the songs that are out there, so my stylistic preference actually does not have anything to do with it.
Some music that I like still has no place in the house of God.

060 6:35 PM, October 22, 2006


allofgrace said...

mom4,
I agree with you about the worship music. This is a trend that's troubled me since before I came to Bellevue. And it's not all about style, though I agree, I don't like the old hymns being arranged in a way that makes them almost unrecognizable. It's content that concerns me most. So many of the praise choruses ARE just feel good tunes designed to make the one singing them feel good...mostly about themselves. That's not just feel good theology....it's MEology. All good theology begins and ends with God....not I, me, my. When all these changes in the worship music first began, I could not help but comment to the person next to me, that I felt more like I was watching an episode of American Idol, instead of participating in genuine worship. The repetitive chords and lyrics are like a mantra. Maybe I'm just old fashioned and just don't "get it"...but if that's what passes as worship...then I'll just stay old fashioned and not get it. I find it more of a distraction than something that draws me into worship. Why have we bought into the idea that in order to attract and keep the young folks in church, we have to entertain them?..or for that matter...the lost...is the faithful preaching and teaching of the word not enough anymore? The preaching of the word should be central to worship..not the music...though it is important. That's what's wrong with so many of our kids now...they've grown up to feel they have a "right" to be entertained...even in church. They get enough of entertainment and other junk outside the church. What they, and all of us need...is a word from the Lord. Just my 2 cents worth.

061 7:57 PM, October 22, 2006


MOM4 said...

All of grace,

I am so glad that someone understands where I am coming from on this. The world needs to be wiped off our feet at the door to our church, not paraded in front of our youth in an attempt to draw the "unchurched" who used to be known in the Bible as "lost" people into a service!
It is very difficult to get my teenage boys to focus on worship after they have watched the young girl in front of them swaying to the beat. - Just my thoughts.

062 8:10 PM, October 22, 2006


Lwood said...

Amen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

063 8:18 PM, October 22, 2006


Truth Hunter said...

Does anyone else cringe when Dr. Gaines tells visitors how to get their gift bag? He actually refers to the contents as "prizes."

Since we are talking about the music, what about Dr. Gaines singing? I don't want to be too critical of him, but I get the sense he has an overwhelming need to be the center of attention. We could have saved a ton of money by naming him pastor and music leader.

This morning I was surprised he read "Cats in the Cradle" instead of singing it.

064 8:27 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

truth hunter wrote: "Does anyone else cringe when Dr. Gaines tells visitors how to get their gift bag? He actually refers to the contents as 'prizes.'"

Oh, yes. There is some cool stuff in those bags, but it all seems so commercial.

"Since we are talking about the music, what about Dr. Gaines singing? I don't want to be too critical of him, but I get the sense he has an overwhelming need to be the center of attention."

You noticed that too, huh? Tonight was a bit much.

"We could have saved a ton of money by naming him pastor and music leader."

Stop that! That's the second time in three days one of you has made me spit water on my screen. Good point though. I hadn't thought of that, but he and Jamie were a package deal.

065 8:57 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

mom4 wrote: "It is very difficult to get my teenage boys to focus on worship after they have watched the young girl in front of them swaying to the beat."

They say the men in the choir are rather enjoying their view of some of the ladies on the Praise Team, too.

066 9:01 PM, October 22, 2006


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067 9:13 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

allofgrace,

I second what lwood said!

Tonight they sang "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever." I couldn't help but notice it consisted of 7 words sung 11+ times.

mom4 wrote: "That's what's wrong with so many of our kids now...they've grown up to feel they have a 'right' to be entertained...even in church."

Funny, you sound just like my mom. And you're right. And... yikes! I've turned into my mother!

068 9:16 PM, October 22, 2006


westtnbarrister said...

About the modern music in worship...someone actually commented (and this is a paraphrase) that Bellevue must modernize the worship services to attract young people. They went on to say we shouldn't worry about what the older members think because they will be dead in a few years anyway.

What a scary sentiment!

Which reminds me, did anyone else have the pleasure of reading the "Saving Saving Bellevue" blog before it was removed? It contained posts lampooning the crisis in our church. The comments made by some defending our pastor were abhorrent. The level of vitriol against Mark Sharpe was particularly sad. Among other things, he and his defenders were called "hemorrhoids."

As has been said before, most of that kind of rhetoric has come from the pastor's defenders. Thankfully, I have seen a much higher level of discourse here.

069 9:29 PM, October 22, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

How are these posts central to the issues facing Bellevue?

The Hebrews worshipped with song, dance, and rhythmic instruments, and this would necessarily involve women "swaying to the beat", if you will (Psalm 149 & 150 for example). God's concept of worship or what is pleasing to Him hasn't changed over the millennia.

Also, many pastors do enjoy being more musically involved during a worship service, especially if they have strong musical inclinations or gifts. Ken Whitten down at Idlewild has been singing from the pulpit for years and has done so at Bellevue as well. No one should be trying to read much into someone's heart or intent.

These types of posts are chasing rabbit trails off of the central issues.

070 9:31 PM, October 22, 2006


Truth Hunter said...

Hey Josh,

This is an Open Forum about our church. It seems people have more than the central allegations of Mark Sharpe on their minds. A lot of issues have bubbled to the surface.

I first mentioned Dr. Gaines' singing. There is nothing wrong with it per se. However, if you perceive him as arrogant, as many of us do, the singing only underscores that opinion. In addition to the sudden solos, he often sings over Jamie, our music leader.

Years ago he led a revival in Bolivar. People there still remember his "distracting singing." Their quote not mine.

071 9:41 PM, October 22, 2006


allofgrace said...

Josh Tucker said...

"How are these posts central to the issues facing Bellevue?"

These issues are bigger than Bellevue or the SBC. The general direction of the church is one part of the concerns here. In fact, for me, I was concerned about these things before I even knew about financial accusations, and fence jumping incidents. Are these other "central issues" as you term them important? To Bellevue, yes. The concerns about PD philosophy reach far beyond Bellevue.

072 9:53 PM, October 22, 2006


Josh Tucker said...

Here's the problem. I'm sure anyone and everyone (including myself) has complaints about something at Bellevue.

Do we really want to use this forum as an outlet for the airing of any and all grievances? There does need to be some modicum of structure.

Discussing Purpose Driven issues within the context of Bellevue is akin to opening a can of worms because no one will even be able to agree on what type of church behavior is PD or not. For example, if the choir stops wearing robes, is this a PD move or is it something entirely more benign? Are any evangelistic outreaches suspect? Are the Singing Christmas Tree or the Passion Play to be viewed as instruments of the PD movement since they encourage, through non-traditional and obviously "seeker" friendly means, individuals to come to come to an event where they will be exposed to the Gospel

Yes, it's the church's individual members that are primarily responsible for evangelism within the local community, but this does not necessarily mean that individuals should not be exposed to the Gospel from the pulpit/worship service or from a church related event. I fear that too many times, individuals are shooting at everything that moves within the trees, and calling anything contemporary within the church a factor of Warrenism or the PDC movement.

073 10:19 PM, October 22, 2006


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074 11:12 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

josh tucker wrote: "Yes, it's the church's individual members that are primarily responsible for evangelism within the local community, but this does not necessarily mean that individuals should not be exposed to the Gospel from the pulpit/worship service or from a church related event. I fear that too many times, individuals are shooting at everything that moves within the trees, and calling anything contemporary within the church a factor of Warrenism or the PDC movement."

I agree with this statement; however, "Warrenism" is creeping into our churches, and a lot of times it's so subtle we're not even aware of it. But to say that all change stems from the PDC movement would be painting with too broad a brush. Some change is necessary. Change just for the sake of change -- or because something is deemed "old fashioned" -- isn't.

075 11:18 PM, October 22, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

westtnbarrister wrote: "About the modern music in worship...someone actually commented (and this is a paraphrase) that Bellevue must modernize the worship services to attract young people. They went on to say we shouldn't worry about what the older members think because they will be dead in a few years anyway.

"What a scary sentiment!"

Scary, indeed! Have they stopped to think it's not the young people who are footing the bills for all this entertainment? The tithes of those "older" members are the reason the "young" people have i2 Memphis and other programs where they can come and be entertained. Did you know they've just installed a "coffee shop" (wonder what all that cost?) on the second floor behind the fellowship hall? I wasn't sure while trying to push my way through the maze of tables and chairs in the middle of the hallway this morning if I was in church or Starbucks! I realize that eating, and eating often, is a Baptist tradition, but since when can't people get through a one-hour Sunday Sch... excuse me, Bible Fellowship Class... without doughnuts, orange juice, and coffee?

I'm reminded of the kindergarten teacher who gave her class a "show and tell" assignment. Each student was instructed to bring in an object to share with the class that represented his or her religion. The first student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Benjamin and I am Jewish. This is a Star of David." The second student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Mary. I'm a Catholic and this is a rosary." The third student got up in front of the class and said, "My name is Tommy. I am a Baptist, and this is a casserole."

Get rid of the older members, and you just might have to BYOB (bring your own breakfast). I guess our money's welcome, but it sometimes seems our presence and certainly our opinions and the music that's spanned generations... aren't.

josh tucker wrote: "Do we really want to use this forum as an outlet for the airing of any and all grievances? There does need to be some modicum of structure."

Seems to be working pretty well so far, but why don't we leave that up to Mr. BBC Open Forum? If we get too far off the beaten path chasing rabbits I'm sure he'll get us back on track.

The "problem" is indeed bigger than Bellevue. Bellevue's just exhibiting some of the symptoms of that pragmatism WTB so eloquently described. I think some of us just need to vent a little.

076 11:25 PM, October 22, 2006


BBC Open Forum said...

Seems to be working pretty well so far, but why don't we leave that up to Mr. BBC Open Forum? If we get too far off the beaten path chasing rabbits I'm sure he'll get us back on track.

Thank you but I'd rather we all keep each other off the beaten path. I am just a sinner behind a keyboard. Totally unworthy to drive this bus by myself. This is our forum, I'm just the guy that spent a couple of minutes setting it up.

Great books are great because they are well written and thus lots of people enjoy reading them. No one reads bad books because they are not written very well. If this is a good forum where people are respected and we discuss and debate meaningful topics in a courteous and hate free manner then it can perhaps grow and become a useful forum. If we fail to express ourselves appropriately and we degenerate into name calling and bitterness then no one will read our comments (rightfully so) and this site will devolve into two people bitterly typing in caps and YELLING at each other. Few want to be a part of that. It really is up to all of us. I prefer not to delete any comments unless they contain profanity and thus inappropriate. I will delete those if I see them. I think it is best if we let a person’s comments reflect on them and on this forum.

josh tucker wrote: "Do we really want to use this forum as an outlet for the airing of any and all grievances? There does need to be some modicum of structure."

Josh - to answer your question. NO.

I agree there should be some structure. If you have ideas please post them. Thanks.

Even though you and I may disagree on some issues your posts that I have read have been well thought out and free of personal attacks. Thanks.

If you think this site should be shut down you can state your case on that topic also. The problem is another site can be quickly started at no cost by someone else. It is the world we no live in. I expect each church of any size will have a forum like (maybe many) in the near future. May or may not be a good thing but that is what I see happening.

077 6:21 AM, October 23, 2006


Bell22 said...

BBC Open Forum Why are your blogs on the Saving Bellvue site? I consider this the only fair website of the three,Saving Bellevue is not much better than Mike Bratton's,both of those are part of the problem our church is having now.

078 8:23 AM, October 23, 2006


BR said...

I have been looking at the WTNBC website and under the history,or anywhere else for that matter, Steve Gaines is not mentioned..does anyone know why?

079 8:37 AM, October 23, 2006


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080 11:08 AM, October 23, 2006


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081 11:10 AM, October 23, 2006


Proverbs 18:12 said...

Rest assured the Deacon body is NOT 100% behind Bro. Gaines, there are as many that are against the way he is acting as there are that are for him. The problem is that we don't know where the large majority of the deacons stand. Kinda sad that many are afraid to speak up.

082 12:50 PM, October 23, 2006


bkjrm said...

Please could you people who defend Pastor Gaines' comments at 2nd Baptist Union City, explain your position. Even if he was asked about the situation at BBC, he didn't have to say anything more than we are having problems and he needed to be at the church to address them.

I can't for the life of me think of any justification for a Pastor to make light of a serious divide in his church! I'm having a hard time getting passed it!

083 1:04 PM, October 23, 2006


stillwaitingandwatching said...

Wait a minute....Steve Gaines is mad at bloggers for airing the church's "dirty laundry" on a blog site and website, yet he travels to a sister church and badmouths his own sheep??? Hello Kettle, this is Pot...You're Black!

084 3:04 PM, October 23, 2006


Bellevue Friend said...

Friends,

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

Truth and transperency is crucial to putting this behind you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

085 3:07 PM, October 23, 2006


choice_is_yours said...

I believe it is important to note that at the bottom of the main page of this blog there is an icon called "site meter" (www.sitemeter.com).

If you click around you can....(ONLY IN A SOME VERY SPECIFIC CASES)... get some detail information that can list your employer's name, your church name, etc. I have no problem with this this as long as everyone who come here new knows about it. It may be in the terms of service for blogger.com. If you are like me you clicked "accept" without reading it, though.

In defence of BBC Open forum I will say that I doubt he knew about this detail info. I believe he simply wanted to get an easy-to-install counter to show the number of visits.

In this day and age I have encountered situations where technology changes so quickly that it is a hard to maintain perfect stewardship over the information that we are trusted with.

BBC.O.Forum, I think you are doing an excellent job and I am convinced that this was an oversite on your part. i am your brother, and I am correcting your oversite.

I would have emailed you first, but I do not have your email address.

I expect you to give a simple apology for this oversight. I can imagine some people will criticize you over this, but I would suggest that you ignore it.

Those of you who would criticize over this, that is your right. I don't believe you can add anything factual to what I have just laid out here, though.

It appears this new tool was added on Oct. 18.

The reason why I believe this was meant as only a counter is simple. If BBC.O.Forum had been knowledgeable (like Mike Bratton's), the site meter could have been installed transparently.

Example below...

(use this url to go straight to details)

1
bellsouth.net Memphis, Tennessee 5:39:09 pm 1 0:00
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
2
rr.com Memphis, Tennessee 5:38:38 pm 1 0:00
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
3
rr.com Cordova, Tennessee 5:37:59 pm 1 0:12
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
4
megapath.net Memphis, Tennessee 5:37:08 pm 3 0:18
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
5
67.72.98.# San Jose, California 5:36:22 pm 1 0:00
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
6
bellsouth.net Jackson, Mississippi 5:36:04 pm 2 1:43
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
7
bluebunny.com Merrill, Iowa 5:38:16 pm 1 4:01
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
8
206.211.100.# Richmond, Virginia 5:34:21 pm 2 2:59
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
9
swbell.net Richardson, Texas 5:30:40 pm 1 0:00
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
10
bellsouth.net Cordova, Tennessee 5:30:20 pm 1 0:00
http://bbcopenforum.blogspot.com/
[1] 2 3 4 5

086 4:03 PM, October 23, 2006


Andrew said...

Please pass this on to Dr. Gaines.

Pastor,

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

Pastor, do you love us?

I believe you do.

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

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

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

Please Pastor we are lost we need you to bring us home – and I don’t think that you can do that until you deal with what’s in front of you.

Andrew

087 4:36 PM, October 23, 2006


Eric said...

You people are unbelievable. Steve Gaines is a godly man. He has devoted his life to follow God's plan. He has raised a Godly family who support him and pray for him. It is a shame that you people have decided to continue to try and make him look as though he is not following God's will. Everyone of you should be on your knees praying for both the moderator of this public disgrace as well as Brother Gaines. He has one of the hardest jobs in being a pastor of one of the largest churches in the southeast. Not only are you dragging this man of God through the mud but you are also challenging the morals of your churches leadership specifically your deacons. I have patiently watched this blog and webpage for a month now and I have yet to read one thing that I believe to be true. I will be praying for each of you.

088 7:01 PM, October 23, 2006


searching for truth said...

Searching for wisdom.....the ministry of Jesus to his followers was reconciliation and love and not authoritative confrontation. The example left for the sheperd and leaders of today's flock was to care for the sheep, leave the ninety-nine and search for the one. They were never to contend they occupied a position above reproach but rather recognize they are to set the example for others to follow. Leadership carries enormous accountability and is not effective when demanded or mandated because of position. I am surprised that a well grounded group of deacons and church leaders have not wisely counseled our pastor him on these matters. Aggressive inexperience in effective problem resolution will not serve any pastor or church leader well and thus provide fuel for further discord. Let's pray the Lord's will and way will prevail.

089 8:06 PM, October 23, 2006


iwasthere said...

choice_is_yours: The site meter at the end of the blog page DOES NOT disclose a users company or church. The only detail captured is domain and location. All other data are summary data. The blog moderator does not owe anyone an apology. Is this an attempt to discourage people from posting?

090 8:07 PM, October 23, 2006


NHisName said...

I do not have the facts on any of the issues, but it seems to me that those of the accusers and those accused should get together and come to an amicable solution to these matters. No matter who we are, Christ is still on the Throne and He is grieved over this whole mess. We seem to have lost our focus on the main thing and that is not only winning the lost, BUT is also ministering to and reconciling with our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Unless and until we do this, the world it going to think of us as "just like" all the others who have let our petty feelings get in the way of our walk with Christ.

I can say petty because in the end the only thing that is going to stand the test of time is what we have done for Christ. Everything else will be burned up.

Do we really want to get well? If so, we can and should be honest with ourselves and each other and stop all this garbage.

I would like to think that this is a bad dream but I know it isn't. I remember Dr. Rogers saying thank God it is growing Gloriously Dark. Is this the beginning of the end of Bellevue?? Of America? of the world?

I would like each of you on either side to ask yourself some questions.

Is what I am doing glorifying Jesus and the Body of Christ?

If Jesus were standing beside you would you respond in the same manner?

Ask yourself "If I have offended a brother or sister, have I repented and asked for forgiveness?"

The answer to these questions may cause you to rethink the things you have said, done or thought.

091 8:07 PM, October 23, 2006


allofgrace said...

eric,
I appreciate your concerns. But you need to understand..that many who post on these blogs..me included..and some who don't post..but are just as concerned, desire to support the pastor...there's no joy in this. Are some of these posts vitriolic?..perhaps...there's been enough of that from both sides of the fence. But I have to be honest with you...Dr Gaines and the leadership aren't helping me in this. To me, it all boils down to the fact that it accomplishes nothing to simply say...something isn't or is true. Without conclusive evidence one way or the other, we have no choice but to continue to question..I don't know Dr Gaines personally. Other than the fence jumping incident...I honestly don't know at this point whether the other allegations are true or not..again...nothing's been proven beyond doubt one way or the other....I do know this...this should have been addressed quickly and by the Biblical pattern of church discipline and conflict resolution...it has not as far as I can see...when we fail to handle these things according to that Biblical pattern...this is the kind of thing you can expect. The pastor's own attitude hasn't helped either...the nite of the 24th...he apologized...then turned around and made a joke of it...he complains about this being plastered on the internet..which i agree...is sorrowful..but he then turns around the next nite and makes light of his own flock in a sister church...boasting of standing ovations and the fact that no one else got to speak...in other words...it wasn't handled as a church discipline matter..which in my view it was. This is not good...and it does not help. If you want to pray for me...then pray that Dr Gaines will help me help him.

092 8:49 PM, October 23, 2006


ezekiel said...

Bellevue Friend

Well said. I think that is what most of us are struggling with. What does the leadership risk or stand to loose by airing everything out and turning a light on the whole mess?

Are we saying that if there is actually misconduct in the administration that we can't as a church body love and forgive them if they repent?

Are we saying that if Mark Sharp's allegations prove incorrect that we can't love and forgive him if he repents?

What in the world do we have to risk by shining the light on all these accusations and actions if we are prepared to love and forgive as instructed in the Word? Do we have too many egos and too many people striving to be right that we are willing to sacrifice BBC to make sure our side wins?

All we have heard up to now is that if you don't like it leave. Now as I understand it, Christians are all part of the body of Christ. We are brothers and sisters. Does anyone know of any other family that would use "just go somewhere else" when a family conflict comes up? Does the real answer to all this mess have to be that somebody or a lot of bodies have to leave? Or is the real answer
Truth and Light, Love and Forgiveness?


Eric........Please don't be offended by anything I say here, I am not the best communicator but I just have to try. I want to love our Pastor like you do.

I apreciate your feelings about our Pastor and I share your frustrations. I want to follow him and support him. Do I think he is a godly man? YES Do I think he is ordained? YES Do I want to follow him? YES Do I want him driving me with a whip? NO

I am not refusing to follow the Pastor's leadership but I am asking for Truth and Light. I can't help but think that is God's will because he says it too many times in his Word. Eph 5:9-13 for example. With so many unanswered questions it appears that Truth and Light are severely lacking in intensity at BBC.

Another question I have to ask is it the will of God that anyone, much less our older generation (Moms and Dads)be told that they need to leave our family if they don't like the music? That does not sound too much like "Honor your father and Mother" does it? By the way, I am less than 50, just don't want a new shepherd showing up when I am 65 telling me to like it or leave it.

As to the Deacons, if you care to, you can read the Deacon responses on the SavingBellevue sight and just ask yourself if you think a Deacon should threaten to sue someone that reveals his email to the church membership. What does that really say about a humble servant?

We have family members everywhere hurting. If we drag it all out in the open and put some light on it we can heal.

Brother Calcote you have my respect and prayers!

093 10:30 PM, October 23, 2006


ilovebbc said...

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

094 3:37 AM, October 24, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

ezekiel wrote: "Are we saying that if there is actually misconduct in the administration that we can't as a church body love and forgive them if they repent?"

I certainly could if things change. Just to say "I'm sorry" or "we're sorry" and for business to go on behind a veil of secrecy as usual won't cut it. If there should be proof of misconduct there must be some serious housecleaning, restitution made if needed, and an atmosphere created in which there is openness and accountability. Anything less is unacceptable.

095 8:19 AM, October 24, 2006


NHisName said...

As I think of our church before Dr Rogers retired these Scriptures come to mind. Please take a couple of minutes and ponder what God might want to say to you thru them.

Galations 5:7-10 NLT You were getting along so well. Who interfered with you to hold you back from following the truth? It certainly isn’t God, for he is the one who called you to freedom. But it takes only one wrong person among you to infect all the others—a little yeast spreads quickly through the whole batch of dough! I am trusting the Lord to being you back to believing as I do about these things. God will judge that person, whoever it is, who has been troubling and confusing you.

Galations 5:13-15 NLT For you have been called to live in freedom—not freedom to
satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in one command: “Love your neighbors as yourself.” But if instead of showing love among yourselves you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.

Galations 6: 1-3 NLT Dear brothers and sisters, if another Christian is overcome by some sin, you who are godly should gently and humbly help that person back onto the right path. And be careful not to fall into the same temptation yourself. Share each other’s troubles and problems, and in this way obey the law of Christ. If you think you are too important to help someone in need, you are only fooling yourself. You are really a nobody.

I do not want anyone to think I am taking sides by posting these Scriptures and before anyone tells me that I am taking these Scriptures out of context I want to say that I know who Paul was talking to and why he said these things, but I think they can apply to our church as well.

I certainly do not know as a fact anything that has been done to hurt another Christian except some of the hurtful and angry attacks and retaliations I have read here.

All I want is that the Bellevue that I love and serve will be able to heal all these hurts and get back to the main thing of serving Jesus. I cannot believe that true Christians cannot sit down and discuss these issues and come to some resolution. I know for a fact that I would be willing to forgive anyone for anything they may have done IF there is repentance. I have most certainly been forgiven of things which I am happy that only God and myself know.

None of us can claim that we are not in need of forgiveness at some time or another.

096 8:36 AM, October 24, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

Was this the kind of love Dr. Gaines was showing for his sheep when he spoke in Union City? (Relevant paragraphs are near the end.)

097 8:58 AM, October 24, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

nhisname wrote: "I certainly do not know as a fact anything that has been done to hurt another Christian except some of the hurtful and angry attacks and retaliations I have read here."

Really? Have you read the Bratton blog or listened to the Union City tape?

"I cannot believe that true Christians cannot sit down and discuss these issues and come to some resolution."

I can't either. But both parties have to be willing. Right now, one of them isn't.

"I know for a fact that I would be willing to forgive anyone for anything they may have done IF there is repentance."

Key word = repentance

"I have most certainly been forgiven of things which I am happy that only God and myself know."

Haven't we all? Thank God!

098 9:03 AM, October 24, 2006


NHisName said...

Dear NASS,

"Really? Have you read the Bratton blog or listened to the Union City tape?"

No, I haven't. I have read a few of his posts elsewhere and I do not want to stoop to that level.

"'I cannot believe that true Christians cannot sit down and discuss these issues and come to some resolution.'"

"I can't either. But both parties have to be willing. Right now, one of them isn't."

I totally agree.

"'I know for a fact that I would be willing to forgive anyone for anything they may have done IF there is repentance.'"

"Key word = repentance"

Again, I agree.

By the way I have read many of your posts and I would like to thank you for your thoughtful messages. I would like to think I could count you as one of my friends.

099 9:36 AM, October 24, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

I've said it before, and I don't hesitate to say it again:

And one incontrovertible fact is that the conduct and content at savingbellevue.com has been divisive, personality-driven, and a vigorous violation of the Biblical template.

Way back when, there was the concept in U.S. politics of the "loyal opposition." Were you an elected federal official who disagreed with the President? By all means, disagree with him--even work to unseat him in the next election. But never, never denigrate him to the United States' enemies, or otherwise work to undermine the country's status in the eyes of the world.

Is this the first time a congregant's disagreed with a pastor? Of course not. Unfortunately, it's becoming increasingly common to run "attack ads" against one's pastor, campaigning against him publicly.

And that only serves to undermine the church's status in the eyes of the world.


--Mike

100 9:45 AM, October 24, 2006


ezekiel said...

notastepfordsheep........

I could not agree more. If you will look at Eph 5:1-16 you will see what I consider to be exactly what you say, Truth, Light, Expose, Secret.........Especially 5:12

nhisname........

I have read from Romans-Titus the last several weeks. I think it is safe to say that we are certainly not living up to Paul's model of the church. Each of these has something pertinent to the problem we face today and I don't personally see how any of them do not fit our context today.

It would be nice to have Paul around to help us in person but then again if his letters were good enough for those churches....

We have recently heard a sermon where there were comparisons to Paul thrown around and frankly, I have not read anything in any of the letters that remotely resembles some of the attitudes on display today. I am pretty sure that I did not see "if you don't like it leave" anywhere in the Word. Paul was truly a humble servant. It would be nice to find more of that spirit and attitude in our membership, Deacon body and the administration.

101 9:54 AM, October 24, 2006


notastepfordsheep said...

nhisname,

Thank you. And I you.

102 10:46 AM, October 24, 2006


Bereans said...

Mike,
I seem to remember that Martin Luther was not allowed to voice his concerns in his church and the only way to communicate them to the congregation of his day was to nail his writings to the door of the church.

Those with questions and concerns have repeatedly tried to resolve these based on Matt. 18 and have not been allowed to bring the matter to the church as the Bible requires. I guess they could go nail their writings to the church doors but I imagine the communications committee would quickly remove them as being unauthorized communication. Do you know of any other way for them to communicate their concerns to the church body other than the savingbellevue website? The members' addresses are not available nor are their phone numbers.

I just wondered, how would you suggest that they obey Matt. 18 and take their concerns to the congregation? Our church leaders have prevented them from being obedient to this scripture. What would you suggest?

103 5:55 PM, October 24, 2006


Mike Bratton said...

Mike,
I seem to remember that Martin Luther was not allowed to voice his concerns in his church and the only way to communicate them to the congregation of his day was to nail his writings to the door of the church.

Those with questions and concerns have repeatedly tried to resolve these based on Matt. 18 and have not been allowed to bring the matter to the church as the Bible requires. I guess they could go nail their writings to the church doors but I imagine the communications committee would quickly remove them as being unauthorized communication. Do you know of any other way for them to communicate their concerns to the church body other than the savingbellevue website? The members' addresses are not available nor are their phone numbers.

I just wondered, how would you suggest that they obey Matt. 18 and take their concerns to the congregation? Our church leaders have prevented them from being obedient to this scripture. What would you suggest?

First (and thank you for asking), I would suggest that comparing the so-called "saving Bellevue" group to the Protestant Reformation is not exactly accurate.

Second, and pardon me for being blunt, it isn't my place to suggest how people who want to spread lies, half-truths, rumors, and gossip could best go about doing it.

Third, the perceived inability to "take their concerns to the congregation" does not give them license to flagrantly violate the Biblical template. The ends do not justify the means.

Fourth, since you brought up Martin Luther, you correctly noted that he announced his 95 Theses by attaching them to the church door at Wittenberg, not by posting them in the town square or by broadcasting them via the town crier.

And fifth, how did Luther preface his Theses? Ah, the joys of the Internet--I don't even have to thumb through a single book! I quote Luther thusly, and like so:

"Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter."

Note that Luther invited debate and discussion; "Saving Bellevue" does not, and in fact restricts the possibility of it, with the prime movers refusing invitations to discuss matters of what should be mutual interest.

--Mike

104 9:16 AM, October 25, 2006

lightandtruth said...

I remain perplexed by what I would characterize as a lack of discretion on the part of our senior pastor. Though my commenting may be traversing ground previously covered by others, I have been thinking and praying through so much of what is being said by so many in our church.

I thought his less than complimentary comments about BBC in saying farewell to the Gardendale congregation were inappropriate. In this electronic media age, we are routinely informed of politicians and celebrities who travel to foreign lands to make strong criticisms of our country and its present administration policies. We as a congregation, a local of assembly of God's church should have received better consideration from a fellow believer, particularly one who had responded to God's call on his life to be His gift to our church.

My family and I attended the September 24, 2006 information meeting. At the time, I had just recently been informed of some of the concerns being expressed by various parties. While I did not then and do not know at present the veracity of the multiple allegations, I did recognize a one-sided series of talks that followed a compelling sermon about Paul's open door for ministry at Ephesus. I think the sermon certainly stirred many hearts including ours. Sadly though I must say I thought this heart stirring by our pastor was manipulative in light of the information meeting that was to follow. For my beloved church of five years that has chiseling above its main entrance the words of Psalm 43:3, I believe this meeting fell far short of the mark.

Two main issues stood out to me. The first was the nature of the apology to the Sharpe family and their neighbors. Making a public pronouncement before a stirred congregation does not in my mind equate to a personal apology. I think our shepherd should have humbled himself by privately apologizing whether in person, by telephone, or in writing. Such an approach could have led to a simple, honest, and short statement to the September 24 assembly that he and the others were wrong and had personally apologized. The best way to peel an onion is one layer at a time -- even if the other outstanding issues remained unresolved, we all would have been spared on this issue that unfortunately brought into public view quite a few more vexing issues.

The second issue pertained to the nature of our pastor's explanation of the fence incident which I think lacked repentance. I do not think that the height of the fence or gate at the Sharpe's neighborhood mitigates the fact of trespassing. Again, a simple and honest admission of guilty and repentance would have gone a long way to restore my confidence in his sincerity.

In following up this September 24th information with what I believe were disparaging comments about BBC, our pastor displayed what I would characterize as another lapse in discretion. Why not simply tell the Union City congregation that he was at BBC on Sunday to work through issues as the shepherd of our flock? That is where a leader needs to be in times of trouble.Details of our meeting were not necessary for the proclamation of the gospel in Union City.

Not having grown up in the country, I would respond to our pastor's statement about falling from the truck that we did not come in the last rain either.

My family and I are not going to leave BBC. We will use this distessing period as an opportunity to draw nearer to the Lord in prayer and service. We love Pastor Gaines and his family. Our sovereign LORD has brought them to us for His purposes; let us all seek these purposes with all of our hearts.

Our fervent prayer is that all of us from the various perspectives would seek God's light and God's truth in these matters. In His time and in His way, He will make clear the resolutions to our current adversities in ways that will bring Him glory. God's richest blessings to each of you.