Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prayer is the Key

This was placed in the Suggestion Box by "prayerwarrior." I think it deserves top billing.

"I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men;" I Timothy 2:1


The following prayer guide would be wonderful to use at such a time as this as we pray for Bellevue:


PRAYER FOR DIFFICULT SITUATIONS

Acknowledge God's sovereignty and praise Him.

Thank Him for guidance and the opportunity to promote healing.

What is God wanting to teach through the situation?

Ask God:

1) For the Holy Spirit to convict those who have done wrong.
2) To have the right words and attitude when talking with those involved.
3) To give you His love for the person(s) involved.
4) For humility in dealing with the problem.
5) For all involved to know the truth.
6) How to handle the situation His way and the courage to do it.

Pray against:

Blindness to sin
Denial
Defensiveness
Divisiveness
Distortion of the truth
Disunity among believers
Unwillingness to hear truth or inaccurate hearing
Cold/closed/hard hearts
Fear
Lying
Destructive protectiveness
Stubborness
Rationalization


May we all remember that prayer is the key to everything in life. Pray that God grant us strength and wisdom in this and every situation.

Another prayer to consider, this one from "1cor13"...

Dear God help us to be kind, tenderhearted, and loving with those whom we disagree with (Ephesians 4:32). Help us to be merciful with those who have wronged us (Matthew 5:7), for we know that we all deserve hell, but thankfully you don't give us what we deserve in Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:23) Help us to see clearly our own sin in a disagreement (Matthew 7:1-2), especially when passions stir our flesh. Guard our conversation that it be filled with grace and edifying to the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:29) Keep us from demanding justice when we ourselves need new mercies each day. (Matthew 18:30) Help us to be patient with each other as you have been infinitely patient with us. Help us to not keep a record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13), as a gracious expression of love. Dear Lord, keep our disagreements with people from turning to hatred of them. (I John 3:14) For we know that Christ loves sinners so much that he shed his blood for them.

39 comments:

Anonymous said...

Amen.

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Here is my prayer:

That the people of this forum would see the error of their ways and get back into right fellowship with God and His church.

Now you are advocating "withholding tithes" and also denying the very scriptural principles that God used to make Bellevue what it once was! Dr G may have made some mistakes but you guys are beyond the mistakes - this is evil!

allofgrace said...

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Here is my prayer:

That the people of this forum would see the error of their ways and get back into right fellowship with God and His church.

Now you are advocating "withholding tithes" and also denying the very scriptural principles that God used to make Bellevue what it once was! Dr G may have made some mistakes but you guys are beyond the mistakes - this is evil!

Sir, I don't know you..and I don't mean this personally...but if you think this is evil...then stop coming on here and adding fuel to the fire. Unless I'm mistaken...don't you already have a flock to tend to?

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

I do! I was emailed by one of your members and was simply stating that many are trying to understand why this has gone public and since it has, is it not open to comment. I plead again, this is really over the line.

I love my church said...

Brother Guthrie,

I would appreciate it if you could explain the difference between the debates we are having here and the many blogs of pastors, seminary professors, and other denominational leaders? We are debating problems within our congregation. Many of the other blogs debate problems within the SBC and within evangelicalism. What is the real difference? We are one universal church. They both "air dirty laundry" for the world to see. I have followed some nasty debates among SBC leaders. I've seen them get very personal. Are the elites the only ones entitled to debate? Is the distinction that since we are debating congregational issues we are evil and since they are professionals debating broader points they are right?

What Scriptural principle are we denying?

Do you think it is Scriptural for the pastor to force all leaders to sign a Covenant? Do you think it is Scriptural for the pastor to have the tithing records verified for all church leaders, including soloists?

I would never say everything that has been said here was right. I belive unfounded attacks on our pastor are wrong, but that is not all that is happening on this site. We have debated legitimate doctrinal issues, as do the pastors on their blogs. What is interesting is the angriest and most divisive posts come from the pastor's defenders. I'm not anti-Dr. Gaines nor am I anti-Bellevue. I just want the real truth about what has happened and where Dr. Gaines plans on taking us. If we are moving toward the Willow Creek or Saddleback model, then I need to find a a new church.

One problem with the Conservative Resurgence is that those of us left in the Convention take the Bible seriously. If we believe our church is not in accordance with the Scripture we want to know it and we want it corrected immediately.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mr. Guthrie,

I don't know who you are. I take it you're a pastor or have a ministry of some kind. The reason this has "gone public" is that Dr. Gaines refused to handle a situation privately according to Matthew 18 with the individuals involved. That was the beginning. Since then we've seen nothing but a pattern of stonewalling and half-truths from him and the staff. I don't agree with every single thing the savingbellevue site has published, but neither I nor this site is affiliated with that site other than through mutual links on our pages. If church members want to come here to discuss these topics in a civil manner, that is their privilege. Calling your fellow Christians "evil" or "Hezbollah" isn't exactly Christ-like. Or are those just "mistakes"?

I pray (you have no idea how much) that the truth will come out and that we can have reconciliation at Bellevue, but until Dr. Gaines is willing to be open and accountable, I don't see that happening. This never should have gotten this far, but we are not "evil" for asking questions that our leadership should be willing to answer truthfully. The methods that worked when Dr. Rogers was here are not working now.

Your comments are welcome here if you'll refrain from name-calling and false accusations. No one I've heard has advocated withholding tithes. Some of us have chosen to temporarily send our tithes to other churches or ministries. Of course, we now know that Dr. Gaines has in the past, and may still be, directing his staff to "check" on the tithing habits of all those in leadership positions, from deacons to Sunday School teachers to soloists to ushers, so I don't suppose some of us will be considered for leadership roles in the near future, but if my ability to hold a position at Bellevue is dependent upon the thickness of my wallet, then maybe I am in the wrong church. I seriously doubt Dr. Rogers used this same standard, but frankly, I don't know what to believe any more. I think a lot of the problems we're seeing come to light today had their origins with some of the senior staff before Steve Gaines ever came here. Dr. Rogers delegated a lot of authority the last few years he was here, perhaps too much authority, to a group of men who have been accused, along with Dr. Gaines, of taking advantage of their newly-found authority. Whether any wrongdoing actually took place is what the people who claim to have proof have been trying to get to the truth of for months now.

I don't think there's anything Dr. Gaines might have done that if he asked forgiveness and truly repented, then implemented the changes necessary for future transparency and accountability, that we wouldn't forgive him and eagerly move on. I think a lot of the problem now is that a lot of us don't feel the love that a pastor should have for his flock. What are we to think when he mocks us and demeans us in front of a sister congregation? What about when he uses the pulpit to bully those who have simply asked legitimate questions? I urge you to go to www.bellevue.org and listen to Dr. Gaines' sermons from the evenings of 9/24 and 10/8. On the evening of 10/22 he said those who question his authority might as well go home, draw a pentagram on the floor, and burn candles. In other words, he compared those who dare disagree with him or question him with Satan worshippers! And in his 10/8 morning sermon he compared those who question "Biblical authority" to those who practice witchcraft. On 9/24 he compared himself to Paul and the "rebellious ones" as "the adversaries."

And what makes you think "the people of this forum," who if you've read very many of the thread comments you would have seen are of a range of different opinions, are erring in their ways? After all, by commenting here, you're one of the "people of this forum," too! Neither I nor anyone else is running this forum or "owns" it. It is here for the members of Bellevue and other concerned people to share their ideas and concerns.

I see that "i love my church" has also responded to you, and s/he has some valid questions for you.

"Allofgrace" made a good point, too. Please don't add fuel to the fire.

NASS

allofgrace said...

ilmc,
You took the words right out of my mouth. Good points.

Will McKay said...

forum and all,

"The reason this has "gone public" is that Dr. Gaines refused to handle a situation privately according to Matthew 18 with the individuals involved."

How did Mark Sharpe handle this Biblically (according to Matthew 18)? By taking 3 other people with him to question the pastor on issues of PREFERENCE? When Mark Sharpe first confronted the pastor, it was over matters of PREFERENCE, NOT SIN.

Remember, the passage begins with, "If a brother sins," not, "If you disagree about methodology."

Basically, you're saying "we have sinned because we were forced to?" That's almost as good as "the leadership of Bellevue Baptist Church has caused the dispute to be addressed in a broader public domain. We regret the consequences of their actions."

New BBC Open Forum said...

straining gnats wrote: "How did Mark Sharpe handle this Biblically (according to Matthew 18)? By taking 3 other people with him to question the pastor on issues of PREFERENCE? When Mark Sharpe first confronted the pastor, it was over matters of PREFERENCE, NOT SIN."

Well, I think he tried to handle it according to Matthew 18.

How do you presume to know that it was "preference" over "sin"? As I heard Mark Sharpe explain, he asked for a meeting with Dr. Gaines along with certain protections in place for all involved to confront him over alleged financial improprieties that some staff members (some current, some former) had confided in him. There have been more things come to light since, but the financial improprieties were the original (at least as I understood him to say). Is that the definition of "preference" as opposed to "sin"? I would think of "preference" as something more like not liking the music or the color of the carpet in the sanctuary.

You're saying "we've" sinned. I think we've ALL sinned, sir/madam. I know of no one who hasn't except the One who came to save us.

After an individual has gone to another individual, then taken 2 or 3 witnesses with him, if the offender refuses to meet with him, Matthew 18 then says to take the matter before the church. In this day and age, and in a congregation the size of Bellevue, the internet was the most readily available way to do that. I'm not saying it was the only way, or the best way, but it's worked pretty well, I think. I would like to see it closed by password protection to members of the congregation, but I don't know how to do that.

Alvin Ellis said...

NBBCOF, First, thank you for providing a venue for those concerned about BBC to express their concerns and hurts, especially since such a forum is not available at BBC.
Second, it is my understanding that the website was fairly private until some unknown one called Channel 5 News and The Commercial Appeal, and then it became publicized. I and another brother talked with the photographer from Channel 5 at the Friday night Bartlett meeting and with a female reporter (sorry I don’t remember their names). They were courteous but would tell us only that one had heard a “rumor” of the meeting and the other gave no response. I also understand that whoever that mystery caller(s) was is unknown to the original players among that group called “adversaries”. But whoever it is, what’s the difference in using that public forum of the blog and inviting the world to an information meeting to give your side of the “story”? or of taking your side to a sister Church?
Third, there is a “personal honor” way to control access to this blog. I have spoken with some IM people who say an “anchor link” would require an agreement with certain limitations, such as having a sincere interest in the spiritual welfare of BBC, being a member of BBC, etc. After listing the limitations/qualifications for access, the user must click on “I agree” before allowed to proceed into the blog. Many businesses use it, most secure systems have it and probably a password. It will not keep out those with a proper concern or those who lie, but it should be more protective of our private interest than going into an information meeting immediately after the closing invitation. Those same IM people said that thing is easy to do and does not interfere with access except for those who honestly admit they should not be there anyway. Please consider using such a thing for this blog. Alvin Ellis

Josh Tucker said...

NBBCOF,

Andrew's question from the other thread needs repeating -- "Has Mark Sharpe seen with his own eyes the evidence that backs up his concern?"

This had a direct bearing on whether or not Matthew 18 has been followed. Moreover, how are those who are now entertaining, contemplating, or listening to accusations against the church leadership following the instruction set forth by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:19?

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

or

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

Where are the multiple witnesses and where is the evidence?

Are not individuals blatently disregarding 1 Timothy 5:19 in this matter?

New BBC Open Forum said...

josh tucker,

I just answered this in the "Financial" thread, but I'll repeat it here.

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

What possible reason could he or the others have for making these claims if there isn't some truth to them?

NASS

New BBC Open Forum said...

Alvin,

Well, I've been trying! I'm not computer illiterate, but I think I was born about 15 years too soon for all this stuff. I've looked up the "anchor link" thing, and while I sort of understand what it is, I don't understand how to apply it here. There are plug-ins available for blogging software, but the free blogging sites like Blogger.com and WordPress.com don't allow the use of plug-ins. The only thing I can do with Blogger.com is make a list of e-mail addresses of people who can have access to the site. This presents two problems. Not that I care who's who, but this removes the relative anonymity of those who wish to remain anonymous (unless they want to use an alternate e-mail address to log in), and it prevents new readers from ever seeing the site. What I have done is turn off adding the blog to the Blogger.com listings which may help cut down on the "external" traffic some, but otherwise, I've run out of ideas. However, if anyone has any ideas, I'm all ears, uh... eyes.

Josh Tucker said...

Perhaps I should put my response on here as well. I would like individuals to respond to this. I do not believe Matthew 18 nor 1 Timothy 5:19 are being correctly interpreted or followed.
____________________________________

NBBCOF (or anyone for that matter),

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

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

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

MOM4 said...

Josh,
I posted on the other thread as well.
This is way beyond Mark Sharpe at this point. Here is my post:

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

New BBC Open Forum said...

josh tucker wrote: "Is this not a correct interpretation of this verse with regard to our situation at Bellevue?"

I don't think it is, but honestly I'm too tired tonight to compose a well thought out response. For now, I'll leave that up to someone else, perhaps one of our resident "amateur theologians," and get back to you later. Have a restful evening.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Josh,

I can still pull it together enough tonight to say that mom4 is right. This has mushroomed into something a lot bigger because of all the stonewalling on the part of Dr. Gaines and his actions since. I realize that based upon your interpretation of I Timothy that you don't think anyone should ever question a pastor (at least I think that's what you're saying), but I don't interpret it that way. I've asked before and will ask it again... just how much wrongdoing by a pastor (and I'm referring to any pastor) is a congregation expected to overlook? Where's the proverbial "line in the sand"?

Will McKay said...

NBBCOF,

Let's make this real simple

"And if a brother sins, go and reprove him in private..."

Mark Sharpe NEVER DID that... he chose rather to overshoot that by taking three other people with him.

So are you holding him responsible for violating this Scripture, or only the Pastor?

And please spare us the "Yeah, but" answers and redirection of blame. Did Mark Sharpe obey Matthew 18's guidelines for conflict resolution?

Plain and simple, Mark Sharpe DID NOT start this off biblically.

Josh Tucker said...

mom4,

Respectfully, I am not debating the fence issue. What I am discussing in particular are Mark Sharpe's allegations and our church members' response to them.

Josh Tucker said...

NBBCOF,

"I realize that based upon your interpretation of I Timothy that you don't think anyone should ever question a pastor (at least I think that's what you're saying), but I don't interpret it that way."

Neither do, plain and simple. I believe that you are missing my point. I am not saying that a pastor should never be held accountable, now would I ever suggest that, but what I am apparently having difficulty communicating to individuals on this forum is that they are disregarding the need for themselves to listen to multiple firsthand witnesses before entertaning/listening to/contemplating accusation against church leaders.

How have any of us heard from multiple firsthand witnesses as instructed by Paul in 1 Timothy 5:19?

New BBC Open Forum said...

straining gnats wrote: "Mark Sharpe NEVER DID that... he chose rather to overshoot that by taking three other people with him."

To the contrary, I have heard Mark Sharpe say that he did indeed first meet with Dr. Gaines alone only to be quickly dismissed.

Josh Tucker said...

gnats,

Yeah, I think there was an individual meeting first. Nevertheless, Matthew 18 discusses a brother sinning (meaning it actually happened), and if Mark Sharpe has not seen any evidence for himself, he does not know if indeed Pastor Gaines sinned. Consequently, how is Mark Sharpe following Matthew 18?

A_Peasant_in_the_Pew said...

NBBCOF...quit worrying about limiting how people access this blog. It would be virtually impossible to keep out anyone who really wanted in....so don't worry about it. After all, "Informational Meetings" i.e., meetings where the peasants are not allowed to speak, are open to whoever comes to Bellevue on a given night! Yes, I agree that it is shameful that such a blog as this is necessary. But given the circumstances, I hardly see an alternative. Furthermore, I believe this blog and others like it would soon shut down if we could just have that "meeting" that everyone keeps talking about. Isn't it interesting what happens when the powerful are challenged?

Truth Hunter said...

Hey Josh,

I appreciate your desire to see Matthew 18 followed. Thank you for that. I appreciate your thoughtfulness throughout this ordeal.

I have been led to believe those with direct knowledge of improprieties took them to Mark Sharpe because he is a deacon.
Perhaps they should have confronted Dr. Gaines directly, but they likely feared for their jobs. We can debate what they should have done under Matthew 18, but what they did was reasonable.

Once that happened, Mark Sharpe attempted a private meeting with the pastor according to Matthew 18. If these facts are correct, isn't your gripe with the staff members and not Mark Sharpe?

How do we handle Matthew 18 within the context of the employer-employee relationship? Does that change the dynamic? This is a sincere question for you. I have no answer to that.

We are asked to show the pastor grace and accept his explanation about the head mistake of climbing the fence. Shouldn't we show Mark Sharpe and the staff members some grace? Perhaps they did not follow Matthew 18 perfectly. Perhaps this whole thing started off all wrong.

Regardless of how it started, what do we do now? Do we forget the allegations because Matthew 18 was not followed? Or do we ask them to start all over with Matthew 18 and confront the pastor directly? I doubt few would agree with either of those options.

Now that serious allegations have been made, the only way this will be resolved is to get to the bottom of the allegations. If the pastor did no wrong it should be easily proven and we can all forget about these initial allegations. That would do a lot to heal our church.

As it stands we will never heal if the pastor stands on Matthew 18 and says it was not followed therefore I don't have to answer the allegations. Likewise we will never heal if he claims he does not have to answer to the congregation on grounds of pastoral authority. Providing answers to a few men like Churck Taylor and Harry Miller, men who chose him and help insulate him, won't do it either. Perhaps the congregation would accept it if the entire deacon body were given all the answers to all the questions. Four or five men won't cut it.

Christ hung naked on the cross for the Church. Why can't Dr. Gaines give a little and answer the allegations? That may not be fair and just. Yet I see no other way to begin healing our church. What we are doing now isn't working. Turning a few questions over to a committe no one trusts will not work either.

In that sermon preached at Union in 2003, Dr. Gaines said he does not like committes. We agree on that.

I admire your spirit and appreciate what you are trying to do for our church. If we don't get answers, how is this ever going to end?

Josh Tucker said...

Truthhunter,

In a way, my gripe does lie with the unknown staff members, for I do not believe, nor has anyone stated, they furnished any evidence to Mark Sharpe of the oft mentioned improprieties. Such allegations of impropriety carry grave weight, and prudence and wisdom would suggest that one should wait for any evidence to come forward before either making accusations or confronting somone over something they only have heard from others.

The allegations have been answered by the administration, but no facts such as financials have been presented to the congregation. However, individuals are expecting the accused to clear the air by providing proof of their innocence in the matter in spite of the fact that no evidence of wrongdoing has been presented by the accuser. The burden of proof should always lay with the accuser, otherwise, anyone would have to respond to any allegation made against them no matter how serious or trivial.

You asked how do we handle Matthew 18 in light of an employer-employee relationship. If the indviduals involved are Christians, Matthew 18 should still used for guidance even though the potential consequences might be severe for the employee. As Christians, we are instructed to follow God's Word and to trust Him to take care of the rest. Granted, in matters such as this, it would be prudent to gather your evidence first, but following God's Word should not be mitigated by the employer-employee relationship.

You also suggest that we should show Marke Sharpe and the staff members some grace and take their word on faith. Unfortunately, we only have Mark Sharpe's word because the staff members stay hidden and silent, and for anyone to listen to or entertain the allegations against the church leadership without these other men stepping forward as witnesses violates 1 Timothy 5:19, which we all have a responsibility to follow. Moreover, Mark Sharpe cannot even present himself as a witness if he has not directly observed any evidence demonstrating financial impropriety at our church.

I disagree that our church leadership can easily and openly refute the charges laid against it due to the confidential and sensitive nature of Bellevue's financial data, which should not be made public.

What I find troubling is that no one trusts the members of the committees involved in the current controversy (deacon financial committee, budget & planning committee, communications committee, etc). Is it being suggested that these men are truly ignorant of the facts behind the matter at hand or is it being suggested that these men have serious character flaws and should not be trusted?

allofgrace said...

truthhunter makes a good point,
Perhaps Matt.18 was followed correctly...perhaps not..point is..these things are now out there..and the elephant is now in the living room with us..something has to be done to put this to rest. I don't think ignoring it or sweeping it under the rug will make it go away..it may for a while...but rest assured it will come back again..sooner or later. The longer this goes on..the more it will fester.

Churchmouse said...

It is understandable to not want the world to see the dirty laundry of our church family. However, I believe it might benefit others to read what is posted here. It is unlikely that a person would spend time wading through these issues if he/she were not interested in matters of the heart. It is important to show Memphis, the Southern Baptist Convention, and the world that Bellevue Baptist Church will still take a stand for truth. She may be soiled, tattered, discouraged, and very weary, but she is still sending out the 'light and truth.'

2 Corinthians 13:5-8
"Examine yourselves, whether you are in the faith; prove yourselves. Know ye not yourselves how Jesus Christ is in you, unless you are discredited? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not discredited. Now I pray to God that ye do no evil; not that we appear approved, but that ye should do that which is honest, though we appear as discredited. For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth."

Josh Tucker said...

Allofgrace,

Since the elephant in the living room is still only unproven and unverified allegations, the biblical model is to ignore them as per 1 Tim. 5:19.

The situation is festering because many individuals have become unsettled over the allegations and are not willing to give things over to God in the meantime until any evidence or witnesses of the alleged improprieties come forward.

hashbrown said...

A Sour Note in the Choir

Just in looking at the list of things to pray about, confirms that there is little to no love, or grace, or maturity in this forum.

In this prayer list, what I'm seeing is, "WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THOSE SINNERS AND HERE IS THE LIST OF THE SINS THAT THEY ARE DOING. DEAR GOD SAVE US FROM THOSE SINNERS, SO THAT WE CAN WIN."

Perhaps I should be more generous, but when I see a web site designed for the purpose preaching to the choir, and the choir preaching to each other, I think balance is called for.

If I'm wrong abount my interpretation, I apologize. But can I then assume that in this prayer list you are asking, that God would keep YOU from those things?

If not, this list really is simply a catelogue of what you think the sins of those whom you disagree with are? There's nothing like using a prayer list to call out other people's sins and get one more dig in.

How about this for a prayer?
Dear God help us to be kind, tenderhearted, and loving with those whom we disagree with (Eph. 4:32). Help us to be merciful with those who have wronged us(Matth. 5:7), for we know that we all deserve hell, but thankfully you don't give us what we deserve in Jesus Christ. (romans 6:23) Help us to see clearly our own sin in a disagreement (Matth. 7:1-2), especially when passions stir our flesh. Guard our conversation that it be filled with grace and edifying to the body of Christ. (Eph. 4:29) Keep us from demanding justice when we ourselves need new mercies each day. (Matt. 18:30) Help us to be patient with each other as you have been infinitely patient with us. Help us to not keep a record of wrongs (1 Cor. 13), as a gracious expression of love. Dear Lord, keep our disagreements with people from turning to hatred of them.(1John 3:14) For we know that Christ loves sinners so much that he shed his blood for them.

For the best resouces on conflict. www.peacemaker.net

If you're response to this is, "Why don't they be more loving?" You've missed the point. Pray for God to change you first, before praying for God to change others.

Blessings!

allofgrace said...

Josh,
As far as the allegations you're referring to..I and I'm sure many others have not made any judgements about those things...seeing that...as you pointed out...no evidence has been presented as yet. For me personally, those are on the back burner, since I wasn't present or made privy to any pertinent facts. In a little over a half century of living now, I've learned that there are always 2 sides to every story..and somewhere in the middle lies the truth. My hope is that this all turns out to be a matter of these things being misunderstood or misconstrued. My "elephant in the living room" analogy is stating the obvious...it's a little difficult to ignore something that big in your living room. Honestly I don't quite understand why the facts can't just be laid out on the table so this can be cleared up..perhaps in time I will. I can only speak for myself on this..but here's the position I feel I'm in...I don't know anyone in leadership personally..pastor, deacons, committee members etc...neither do I know Mr. Sharpe personally...I'm going on the assumption that all parties are of unimpeachable character. I can only go on what IS observable...one of those things is that I feel parties on both sides of the issue are asking me to just take their word for it without any conclusive proof one way or the other..it's an unenviable and unpleasant position to be in. The major concern I have at the moment...since as I said..it's what IS observable...is the seeming change in direction of the church. We were told at the beginning that "we don't need any church growth gurus"..good enough..but now are in place the very elements of the philosophies of those gurus. Right in line with the Warren tool box...now I don't know about you..but that raises a question for me...if we don't need the gurus...why do we need their "tools". I've watched over the last several years how churches have jumped on the bandwagon of about every "next big thing". First it was John Maxwell, and his philosophy of doing church...then George Barna who told us we better start marketing the church like corporate America...now it's Hybels/Warren--Willow Creek/Saddleback..and throw in a little Prayer of Jabez and the "worship wars" for good measure..good grief...do we really need all these fads? Before the first faddish program or book gets worked through the next grand idea is already coming down the pike. Call me crazy if you want, but it ain't passin the smell test for me. I still say it's a slippery slope that no church needs to get on..you can say it's not PDC..but a rose by any other name is still a rose.

Thanks for your thoughts and concerns Josh.

searching for truth said...

Joining Bellevue was a changing event to my family. We have been blest during the short time of our attendance and support. However, a "Friend of the Family and a Family of Friends" has become a disappointing message "that if you do not like it you can leave". The spiritual leader of the church is the Pastor, however, it is the responsibility of the deacon body to advise and assist the Pastor with their responsibilities. Today, the message being sent out by church leadership is not consistent with any new testament model for the local church. The only sole authority is Jesus, to whom we will all give an accounting of our actions and comments. Southern Baptist churches go down a dangerous path of confrontation when a Pastor or deacon body contend they are the ultimate authority without the clear support of scripture.

I do not know Mr. Sharp or others who have raised concerns asking that they be answered by methods outlined in scripture. I was in attendance on 9/24 and those concerns were not addressed in entirety nor managed by a scripturally defined process.

Did the deacon board dismiss Mr. Sharp as a deacon or was it the action of the pastor? Why are all these matters being allowed to continue without the full deacon body taking control?

Time is running out and the opportunity for resolution and healing is quickly passing. Comments from the pulpit continue to suggest those presenting allegations are "in rebellion and the same as practicing witchcraft". The Pastor should be the first person wanting all of these matters presented and resolved. My prayer is that the deacon body will do what is right for the body of Christ and our Pastor. Hear these matters and bring them to closure. Both sides of this matter should desire this as soon as possible. The witness of the church for Christ calls for immediate Biblical resolution.

Josh Tucker said...

allofgrace,

The comment about not personally knowing people in leadership reminded me of something some of my relatives mentioned. I suppose, to a certain degree, I have a greater amount of trust in the church leadership because I do personally know men who are deacons and also a few on the committees involved as well as some staff members and I can vouch for both their character and their competancy. I do believe that our deacon body is more than capable of dealing with the situation at hand. It may not be in the manner everyone wishes or on their timetable either, but I've seen how God has put his hands on these men's lives and the fruit of their personal relationship with Him, so I am trusting that God will act on the hearts of all involved and this matter will be addressed in His timing.

New BBC Open Forum said...

1cor13 wrote:

"Just in looking at the list of things to pray about, confirms that there is little to no love, or grace, or maturity in this forum.

"In this prayer list, what I'm seeing is, 'WE NEED TO PRAY FOR THOSE SINNERS AND HERE IS THE LIST OF THE SINS THAT THEY ARE DOING. DEAR GOD SAVE US FROM THOSE SINNERS, SO THAT WE CAN WIN.'"


This prayer was left in the suggestion box by someone with the screen name "prayerwarrior," and I thought it would be good if everyone could see it. I don't know who "prayerwarrior" is, nor do I know what his (or her) opinion of any of this is, as to my knowledge, s/he hasn't left any other comments. I don't know PW's heart, nor do you, but I took those words to my heart alone. They were a blessing to me, and I thought someone else might appreciate them as well. I think you're reading something into them that just isn't there.

"Perhaps I should be more generous, but when I see a web site designed for the purpose preaching to the choir, and the choir preaching to each other, I think balance is called for."

This is an open forum for people of all opinions to discuss in a civil manner the issues facing BBC at this time. I do have opinions about a lot of these issues, and frankly I'm just as entitled to my opinions as you are to yours, but in choosing topics I've always tried to pose general questions for people to use in framing their discussions. When I've left comments reflecting my personal opinion, I've always tried to sign those with my original screen name, "NASS." (I may have forgotten to add that a time or so, but I have tried.) Occasionally I have posted comments as the moderator relating to the forum itself, but I try to not interject my personal opinions about BBC issues into those posts. Sometimes the line between the two becomes muddled, but I'm doing the best I can. This forum was not, as you claimed, designed to "preach to the choir." It's for everyone. If you don't think it's "fair and balanced" enough, perhaps you'd like to consider starting a forum of your own. Regardless, you're still welcome here.

"If I'm wrong abount my interpretation, I apologize."

You are, and thank you. Apology graciously accepted.

"But can I then assume that in this prayer list you are asking, that God would keep YOU from those things?"

Absolutely. That is a correct assumption. I pray daily that God would keep ME from those things. What anyone else prays for is his business alone.

"There's nothing like using a prayer list to call out other people's sins and get one more dig in."

As we're reminded in Luke 18:10-14.

"How about this for a prayer?"

It's worthy of consideration, and I've added it to the original topic. Thank you.

allofgrace said...

Josh,
I hope you understood my point about not knowing any of the parties personally to mean that I'm operating under the assumption that they're all of unimpeachable character..therein lies my difficulty in this. No doubt I've been disappointed by a few things...I don't hide that fact..but I'm not a hateful person...nor do I desire to be..in fact I know from experience God just won't allow that in his children..he'll either soften your heart or tan your hide..but he won't allow it. At this point my main concern is still the direction of the church..I've taken a "wait and see" position on that. I appreciate your concern and the loving manner in which you express it.

SC said...

From,NBBCOF:
Let's make this real simple

"And if a brother sins, go and reprove him in private..."

Mark Sharpe NEVER DID that... he chose rather to overshoot that by taking three other people with him.

So are you holding him responsible for violating this Scripture, or only the Pastor?

And please spare us the "Yeah, but" answers and redirection of blame. Did Mark Sharpe obey Matthew 18's guidelines for conflict resolution?

Plain and simple, Mark Sharpe DID NOT start this off biblically
------------------------------
I couldn't help but respond to above statement in an effort to make sure that statements we are reading are based in honesty and truth rather than based on personal insistence on proving one's particular stance or allegiance in this matter. In saying that, I have tried to keep an open mind on views, opinions, statements & beliefs from all sides of this discussion. But to the heart of comments from NBBCOF on 10/29 (10:46pm): In Mr. Sharpe's documented interviews he states that he talked to Dr. G personally several times including over lunch & on the phone before he went to Dr. G w/ others (although the timeline is not necessarily clear through these statements). Now, if you just choose simply to believe that Mr. Sharpe was being dishonest or that the documented interview does not embody his statements, then you "may" be able to reach the determination that he may not have met biblical standards for resolution of conflict. But on the other hand, if you take his statements made in interview as "possibly" being correct, then it is very difficult to acheive the opinion/analysis that NBBCOF has made that Mr. S did not start off biblically or meet standards from Matt. 18. I don't think it is quite as simple as NBBCOF proports it to be. I do believe, however, it may "seem" to be "real simple" if you do not
examine the information available objectively or have all of the facts needed to make such a statement...

New BBC Open Forum said...

sc,

Whoa there, big fella (or non-fella)! You're confusing me, NBBCOF (aka NASS), with "straining gnats" who has made the claim that Mark Sharpe never went to Steve Gaines privately. I never said any such thing. I pointed out to "straining gnats" (whom, it just occurred to me, has the initials "S.G.") that Mark Sharpe did indeed meet privately with Dr. Gaines first. And as you pointed out, on more than one occasion.

The comments you addressed from 10/29 at 10:46 p.m. were left by "straining gnats." They were simply addressed to me.

So please give credit where credit is due and admonish "gnats" if you want, but as I said, I'm in 100% agreement with you!

Thanks,

NBBCOF

SC said...

NBBCOF, I am indeed sorry for addressing you as author of comments I addressed. I do not intend to be personal or admonish anyone, but simply to address idea/opinion that was stated. Again, I apolgize to you for not being more observant,not recognizing the original author and wrongly addressing you as such.

New BBC Open Forum said...

No problem, sc. With all the comments here it's an understandable mistake. I just wanted you to give credit where credit's due and didn't want someone to think I'd made that statement. Thanks. Apology accepted!

New BBC Open Forum said...

junior 5432,

Your last comment, in its entirety, has been moved to the "New Financial Thread." Please check there if you wish to continue that discussion.

NBBCOF