Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Welcome to the "New" BBC Open Forum

Recently a concerned, anonymous Bellevue member created a blog called BBC Open Forum to serve as a continuation of the Commercial Appeal comments section which appeared along with the two articles about the current situation at Bellevue. (See first thread in this blog for links to those articles.) It was begun as a place for people to comment on and discuss the issues addressed in the CA articles. For reasons known only to himself, this person has decided to remove his blog which also shuts down the discussion forum.

Therefore, this blog, the New BBC Open Forum, has been created to continue to serve the same purpose as the original BBC Open Forum, that is, a place where those concerned about the Bellevue situation can come to comment and exchange ideas in a respectful, Christian spirit.

The rules are as follows:

1. You can remain anonymous by using a screen name, but you must register. No "anonymous" comments allowed. It just gets too confusing otherwise.

2. Comments will not be moderated at this time, BUT if any comment contains profanity or is judged by me to cross the line (and I think most of us know where that line is), it will be deleted. Sorry if that doesn't sound "fair" to some, but I'm ultimately responsible for this little corner of the 'net now, so please don't make me have to go there. With very few exceptions, people in the BBC Open Forum have conducted themselves in an appropriate manner, and I trust everyone will continue to do so. While we haven't always agreed, most haven't been disageeable. To paraphrase something BBC Open Forum said, remember that whatever you write here will be seen by the world, so choose your words carefully and set the right tone.

3. Threads and the accompanying comments from the original BBC Open Forum have been transferred to this forum, and new threads will be added from time to time. The comments from the original BBC Open Forum threads will all be posted together in the first comment in each transferred thread. Comments can then be continued from there.

4. Anyone who wishes to begin a discussion of a new topic is invited to post a suggestion in the "Suggestion Box" thread created solely for that purpose or to PM me at the e-mail address in my profile. Please do not use this thread for any other purpose such as to tell me to "shut down this blog," etc. It is intended for new topic suggestions only.

I have posted comments in various threads on the BBC Open Forum site as "notastepfordsheep," and while like everyone else, I have my personal opinions about things, I will always endeavor to keep my personal feelings separate from my hosting of this forum. My purpose in continuing this blog is not to push my ideas to the forefront but merely to provide a place for the original BBC Open Forum to continue. I want this to be a place that can be fair and balanced to everyone. Please bear with me while I "learn the ropes," as I'm new to this blogging stuff!

57 comments:

Bin Wonderin said...

Thank you. I hope the name portends a New BBC with a new Spirit.

If we are supposed to be a congregationally approved church, does that not imply an option to disapprove?

I hope Alvin Ellis shows up. He speaks truth in love.

I love my church said...

"If we are supposed to be a congregationally approved church, does that not imply an option to disapprove?" They want rubber stamp members only. They won't hold a business meeting about this mess because they need to contain the dissent. They don't want too many people figuring out what has been going on. The pastor admitted as much in Union City and then laughed at us. Remember, he didn't just fall off the cabbage truck.

"I hope Alvin Ellis shows up. He speaks truth in love." God bless Mr. Ellis.

The post against Mr. Ellis told us all we need to know about that particular poster. You can tell alot about a man's character by how he treats his elders. That goes for churches too.

Where's barrister?

Lwood said...

Glad to see the New BBC Open Forum. I posted a comment this morning on the old forum before I knew it was not going to be there anymore. I need Info. On the old forum there was a post about How the search committee went about the hiring of Dr. Gaines. It was a comment about him being in San Deigo and a group of ministers telling him he needed to take the position as Pastor of Bellevue...Saddleback Church...Rick Warren....PDL...All in San Deigo area...Any Connections??Would like to know if anyone else read the post and where it is on the blog. I would like to revisit it.

Anonymous said...

"The post against Mr. Ellis told us all we need to know about that particular poster. You can tell alot about a man's character by how he treats his elders. That goes for churches too."

Mr. Ellis openly blames others for his sin, saying that others caused him to sin. You may read it for yourself if you choose.

I don't know Mr. Ellis personally, so I cannot attest to his age, but it is spiritual maturity that marks someone as an "elder," not just chronological age.

I have noticed over the years, too, that you can tell a lot about people by what they post when their identities are concealed.

"Saddleback Church...Rick Warren....PDL...All in San Deigo area...Any Connections??"

It is endlessly fascinating to see that there are Mormons, Jehovah's Witnessess, and Muslims in this world actively working to send people to Hell, but Rick Warren is the bad guy.

--Mike

one member said...

well, the devil has reared his ugly head, AGAIN.

Anonymous said...

"one member said...
well, the devil has reared his ugly head, AGAIN."

Cathy Bates in The Waterboy, right?

Now do your Edith Bunker impression!

Seriously, Mr./Ms. "New" BBC Open Forum, does the comment from "one member" meet your forum guidelines? Do you get to refer to people with whom you disagree "ugly," not to mention calling them "the devil"?

Your call.

--Mike

I love my church said...

Hi lwood,

Are you familiar with Willow Creek Community Church (http://willowcreek.org/) in South Barrington, Illinois, just outside of Chicago? Their pastor is Bill Hybels, who is among the leading church growth advocates. His church and Rick Warren’s have a lot in common. Author Lee Strobel was on staff at Willow Creek, now he is on staff at Saddleback. I like Lee and believe he is a sincere Christian.

Like Saddleback, Willow Creek has very contemporary services. I've attended services there several times and it feels more like a mall than a church. You walk in and find a restaurant. After eating you can walk up to the bookstore or listen to some music and enjoy the landscape and the fountains.

The services are rowdy with skits and rock music. It isn’t uncommon to see someone chatting on their cell phone during the service. In the summertime, shorts and flip flops are commonplace. The sermons are conversational and shallow. They talk about Jesus, but not much about sin and the need for redemption. Few have a Bible with them. Those that do are more likely to have The Message than the King James or the NIV.

When they baptize they erect huge tanks on either side of the stage. Tey take turns shoving people under water, alternating tanks each time. When someone comes up out of the water, the crowd erupts in vigorous applause. Wolf whistles are the norm. (I would never claim clapping is unbiblical, but I believe it cheapens a solemn holy event)

Willow Creek had a special service for twenty-something’s that was called Axis. At one time several thousand attended each week. For years it was lauded as groundbreaking and churches all over the country copied it as a way to reach that age group. After years of Axis, Willow Creek did away with it earlier this year. A Wheaton University professor has written that it "institutionalized fragmentation” in their congregation. After attending Axis for years people had a hard time assimilating into the regular flow of the church. Many drifted away. Bellevue now has I2 which is based on the Axis philosophy.

Are people being saved in those churches? I am sure some are. I believe they really want to reach people for Jesus. These Willow Creek/Saddleback-type churches are intentionally seeker-sensitive. They go after the unchurched by preaching to their "felt needs." They are contemporary because they believe the church must be relevant to our culture. In the process of becoming more relevant they have watered down and cheapened the gospel message.

Why am I bringing this up? Bellevue was a member of the Willow Creek Association, a group of like-minded churches. It is my understanding we resigned from that organization in August after this crisis began to become public. I don’t know when we joined. You will have to draw your own conclusions about why we joined and subsequently resigned.

Is this what we want for Bellevue? Shouldn’t the congregation in a “congregationally approved” church have a say in what we will become?

I love my church said...

Mike,

Regardless of his age, you treated Mr. Ellis with disrespect.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lwood,

That reference to the pastors' conference in San Diego was from Dr. Gaines' "Gardendale Resignation" video. In it he said he had attended the "Mega Metro" meeting in San Diego in late April of 2005. I Googled to find out something about that meeting when I first heard that, and I didn't find anything.

The specific post you're referring to was in the "Didn't I tick you guys off?" thread, and if you'll go to the first comment in that thread where I transferred all the comments from the original BBCOF, it's message #024 from 4:00 p.m. on October 22nd.

I numbered each message inside those big messages for easier reference. Numbers will appear next to the time stamp for each message.

I have no idea if Rick Warren was in attendance (although I admit the thought crossed my mind), but I have no reason to believe he was or that there was anything "sinister" involved in Dr. Gaines being there. It's an interesting question, but let's not "lob bombs" unless there's some evidence to the contrary... or even if there is... bomb-lobbing doesn't help make your case.

To Mike,

Seriously, Mr./Ms. "New" BBC Open Forum, does the comment from "one member" meet your forum guidelines? Do you get to refer to people with whom you disagree "ugly," not to mention calling them "the devil"?

No, Mike, it doesn't. Neither do yours, but what say we just call it a tie for now?

However, in the future, please refrain from name-calling and personal references. MB is just looking for a fight, and I do not want to provide the forum for that. He can use his own blog for that, but if he chooses to comment here, he can. The way I see it, the more he talks, the more obvious it becomes the kind of person he is. Responding to him is just what he wants, so if you can find it in you to just ignore him, please do!

Bell22 said...

I do have one question for Mike.You said on your own blog you had issures with the present staff too. What are they? We like to hear them.

ScaredOfTheTruth? said...

(kǝsīl) from the Strong concordance (H3684) defined as "fool, stupid fellow, dullard, simpleton, arrogant one".

I don't see any connotations of "beyond hope" or "irredeemable" here, though.

From Barnes commentary:

Pro 26:4-5:

Two sides of a truth. To “answer a fool according to his folly” is in Pro 26:4 to bandy words with him, to descend to his level of coarse anger and vile abuse; in Pro 26:5 it is to say the right word at the right time, to expose his unwisdom and untruth to others and to himself, not by a teaching beyond his reach, but by words that he is just able to apprehend.


I agree we need to be accurate with scripture. Maybe this will help.

westtnbarrister said...

I Love My Church,

I've attended Willow Creek a few times too. I made the same observations. If anything your description was subdued.

Finance Guy said...

Mike Bratton,
My blood ran cold (or hot) when I read your response to Mr. Alvin Ellis. It was unquestionably offensive and way out of line. If someone had said to you what you said to him, you would have accused them of throwing bombs and running. You can disagree with someone without being a sarcastic jerk. Most people are able to "disagree without being disagreeable" (or in your case, downright distasteful". Ever hear the one about catching more flies with honey than ointment?) In my opinion, you've proven his point about a lack of love. There was absolutely no Christian love in your response. None, Nein, Nada. I've watched your posts and comments become more acidic over the past couple months, and without question, you have finally crossed the line. I certainly wouldn't ask you to apologies for your opinion, you certainly owe Mr. Ellis an apology for the disrespectful and offensive tone. In fact, you should take him out to lunch one day. I'm sure he'd love to. I bet you'd never speak to his face the way you do from behind a computer screen. Mr. Ellis and I have had our differences over the years, but he has proven to be someone who is studious of scripture, honest and sincere in application. Quite frankly, there have been some occasions where I disagree with him, and to be honest, it was because I didn't want to face "the truth" for one reason or another. (I wanted to be popular with people, etc.) He's not perfect by any means, but does not deserve that sarcastic attack from you. You are quick to criticize people who hide behind "anonymous", yet he puts it all out there. If anything, he exhibits a clear conscience and a lack of fear of man. He has taken stands at Bellevue that have been very unpopular, but very difficult to criticize Biblically. And you would lose your bet. He was as willing to speak out about things he saw as wrong at Bellevue with Dr. Rogers as he is with Steve Gaines or anyone else for that matter. Whatever his personal weakness are, he is no respecter of persons. Acts 10:34
Everyone else,
Mr. Ellis has taken worse from much better people that Mike Bratton ever will be. Don't worry about him going away. He's got much thicker skin that that. I'm sure that's to his family's chagrin!
Also, Mike Bratton has a reoccurring role as the High Priest Ciaphas in the Memphis Passion Play. I don't think it's too hard for him to get into character. I always thought he was cast very well for that role, now I'm sure.

Bin Wonderin said...

I don’t know what Mike is writing to get you guys all wound up because I refuse to read his posts. I am guessing it was another piece of sarcastic drivel or mean spirited attack.

He is baiting you guys. This baiting is an old internet forum game played by people like Mike to try and elicit a response from you and get you angry. He is goading you.

Ignore it and scroll on by.

JJ said...

new bbc open forum -

You should delete the comment calling Mike the devil... that is uncalled for and across the line

regardless of what you think of Mike's comments he has not called anybody the devil or anything obscene...

Anonymous said...

A few observations:

1) Who wants to catch flies?

2) No one who's served up a vituperative response to me seems to have any objection to someone, such as Mr. Ellis, blaming his sin on others.

3) Quote me, anyone, something I've said along the lines of "the devil has reared his ugly head, AGAIN." If there's to be even a semblance of "fair and balanced" here, it starts there.

4) Trust me, the things I write are precisely the same things I'd say in person. Which is why I make it a point to discuss issues, rather than insult people. I'm fairly certain no one here would call me "the devil" to my face.

5) No one who claims the name of Christian, that is.

6) It's spelled "Caiaphas."

7) Please don't attempt to ascribe motive to me, when I've already made my motives more than plain. I love you, I don't want you to keep behaving the way you're behaving, so I tell you things you might not want to hear about your worldview and your behavior as I'm led to do so. It's all in the hope that you people will take a step back and realize that your way violates Scripture, and does not honor God, advance the Gospel of Christ, or do one blessed thing to "save" Bellevue Baptist Church.

8) The "bait" comes from savingbellevue.com and its affiliates. Were I to utilize headlines such as "Pseudonoymous Poster Shames Bellevue Again," then you might have a point. Objecting to your anti-Belleuve nonsense with facts isn't baiting, it's salt.

And salt can sting.

--Mike

allofgrace said...

Mike,
If I may call you Mike?
1)What sin did Mr Ellis blame someone else for?..i must have missed it.

2)I would never call you the devil, however I take exception to being referred to as "you people"

3)I'ts pseudononymous..and it's Bellevue.

ok the last one was just a little humor I thought you might appreciate.

allofgrace said...

Oh yea and Mike,
Salt also heals,preserves and gives flavor. And don't forget about light.
post tenebras lux!!!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Let me repeat re MB:

"Responding to him is just what he wants, so if you can find it in you to just ignore him, please do!"

This is not going to degenerate into a MB vs. anyone-who-disagrees-with-him forum. If you want to joust with him, please take it to his blog and by all means, have at it! If you could engage in a civil discussion with him, that would be fine, but he's made it clear that he neither desires nor apparently is capable of civil discourse.

And just a note... when you click on "Comments" underneath the threads in his blog, if you'll answer "No" to the "Security Information" pop-up box that asks, "Do you want to display the nonsecure items?" you won't see any photos.

allofgrace said...

new bbc open forum,
If I offended in my response..my apologies..sometimes a little humor can diffuse things a bit...the intent wasn't really to joust.

New BBC Open Forum said...

allofgrace,

Sorry, I've been trying to reply, and the site has been down again. Seems to be a chronic problem. Grrrrrr... It's not very reliable, but the price is right.

In answer to your concern, absolutely not! No, you didn't offend me at all. I thought your comments were completely appropriate given the tone and content of MB's statements. (I laughed, too.)

I just don't want to see this forum become the kind of place his blog is. He keeps telling everyone that he's speaking out of love. Sorry, but I don't see any evidence of love (except for himself) in his writings. On his personal site (linked from his blog) he says:

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

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


Notastepfordsheep nearly gagged while reading that. (I was laughing so hard I nearly choked.) It surely does sound "odd" to me. And no, I'm afraid he and I wouldn't work well together.

Every time someone replies to him (and I've seen some very good replies and even made a few myself), he's just going to counterattack, retreat to his own little world for a while, only to emerge again a few hours or a day or so later, more bitter sounding and vitriolic than ever. I just don't see it going anywhere but downhill if people continue to engage in these exchanges with him. As I said, if he could play well with others there would be no problem, but he's proven he can't (or won't). He's like the big bully that always has to get in the last word, so why not just let him?

About the only reason I've not deleted his posts is that the more he talks, the more ridiculous he looks. Give someone enough rope, as they say, and he'll hang himself.

You know, I've wasted entirely too many electrons on this topic. I'm only feeding his ego by giving him the time of day -- which really I'm not -- I'm giving you the time of day, and I'm glad to do so.

So, if folks can find it within themselves to ignore the bait, I think we'll all be better off. No use letting him drag you into the mud with him.

cjesusnme said...

Okay....so I think it should go something like this.......

Mike.....did I see you post something?????

No....I didn't think so!

Just like that an move on! Don't even read it....but cover him in prayer! I think he needs it!

New BBC Open Forum said...

cjesusnme,

That would be appropriate, I think.

Thanks.

New BBC Open Forum said...

i love my church wrote:

"Bellevue was a member of the Willow Creek Association, a group of like-minded churches. It is my understanding we resigned from that organization in August after this crisis began to become public. I don’t know when we joined. You will have to draw your own conclusions about why we joined and subsequently resigned."

Really? I seem to recall reading something about that but had forgotten. At the time I didn't know what the "Willow Creek Association" was, so it didn't mean anything. It would be very interesting to know just who decided Bellevue needed to be a part of this group, when we joined, and when we withdrew (and why). Anybody able to find that out?

Finance Guy said...

Someone told me their hairdresser's nephew told them that they heard from someone's roomate's cousin's girlfriend that "someone" in the Music office signed Bellevue up with the Willow Creek Association in order to "get a discount on music". This was done with apparently no idea of the brouhaha it would cause, and once it was brought to light, Bellevue was quickly "unjoined". Who knows what the actual truth is here. I've been told that Gardendale is a member. If that's true, it would be interesting to know when they joined.

I love my church said...

Gardendale's First Baptist Church is indeed a member. Check it out for yourself at willowcreek.com.

New BBC Open Forum said...

i love my church wrote:

"Gardendale's First Baptist Church is indeed a member."

FWIW, so are Germantown Baptist, GT Methodist, and GT Presbyterian. So are a lot of other "big name" churches. Don't know what to make of it, if anything.

I love my church said...

I moved my family to Bellevue precisely because it was NOT a seeker-sensitive congregation. After attending such a church for a short time, we were starved for spiritual meat. I wanted my children to have the Bible training I had as a child and I knew they would not get it if we stayed there. I enjoyed the cappuccino and occasional James Taylor song (hey, we got Harry Chapin last Sunday) during the worship services. When I shared my concerns with the pastor. He kindly told me I had "outgrown" his church. Just think, it only took ten months for us to exceed the spiritual depth of the congregation. If only college had been so easy.

Is this what is happening at Bellevue? If yes, why didn't we get a say in this decision. If this is the path we are on, the Bellevue we love will never be the same.

Elizabeth said...

http://www.tracygroot.com/email/2006/0526.html

I don't know Tracy Groot, but this particular piece has really made me stop and think. I think I've been focusing too much attention on the problem(s) and not enough on God Himself.

I don't know what the answer is for the problems Bellevue is having, but I strongly suspect it starts with, "If My people which are called by My name will..."

Can anyone add more?

one member said...

NBBCOF,
I apologize for the "devil" comment referring to the comments by MB. My intentions were not to call him a/the "devil", but to characterize his comments as non-christ like in their tone. I cannot believe that he is prompted by Christ to write what he posts.
I shall scroll on by his comments in the future!
Thanks to you for this new forum!

Anonymous said...

"Every time someone replies to him (and I've seen some very good replies and even made a few myself), he's just going to counterattack, retreat to his own little world for a while, only to emerge again a few hours or a day or so later, more bitter sounding and vitriolic than ever. I just don't see it going anywhere but downhill if people continue to engage in these exchanges with him. As I said, if he could play well with others there would be no problem, but he's proven he can't (or won't). He's like the big bully that always has to get in the last word, so why not just let him?"

"New" BBC "Open" Forum?

What, exactly, is "new" about it?

Evidently, just the name.

--Mike

allofgrace said...

elizabeth,
It's true that all too often, in the midst of problems and confusion, we take our eyes off our God. We can't possibly see all that God is doing in this..but perhaps we can learn something from Job..and the nation of Israel.
God never gave His reasons for what He allowed satan to do to Job. What he experienced, few, if any of us could hardly imagine. But we do know that in the end...God was glorified..and Job was purified..Job came to a deeper understanding of God than he'd known before. God proved that He is the Omnipotent One, who raises up and tears down..all for His purposes.
Before Israel entered the promised land He warned them...that when they were in the land..and their fields and vineyards were bearing fruit, and their numbers multiplying, and they prospered like sleek cows..not to forget their God...we know how that story goes...and Israel suffered as a result.
I don't pretend to know what all God is doing at Bellevue in this or why. And this should drive us all to our knees in humble self examination. This much is certain from the scriptures...God will finish what he began in us as individuals and as a corporate body..conforming us to the image of Christ..sometimes that takes fine sandpaper...sometimes a hammer and a chisel..sometimes grinding us to a fine powder...but He WILL complete it...to His honor and glory.
Kingdoms and governments will rise and fall...philosophies and philosophers will come and go..this present order of things will pass away..and Bellevue could end up just a memory...but God was, is, and will always remain on His throne.
Some food for thought.

Bell22 said...

Sorry about the question to Mike Bratton i was not trying to bait him it was a honest question , which he did not answer.This forum is doing a good job asking the right questions, keep it up.We know our church has problems, but if we get down on our knees and pray the answers will come.New BBC Open Forum your doing a good job keep it up.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thank you, bell22. You wrote: "Sorry about the question to Mike Bratton i was not trying to bait him it was a honest question , which he did not answer."

I thought it was a good question, too, but I really didn't expect to see an answer either.

Scroll on... and pray, pray, pray.

Will McKay said...

There is nothing "new" or "open" about this forum.

Sure, anyone can post, but arrogance, slander, and name-calling is permissable as long as you don't agree with Steve Gaines or Mike Bratton.

Does your call for humility extend to yourselves as well?

Come on, people, let's stop this mess.

Bin Wonderin said...

There is nothing "new" or "open" about this forum.

Sure, anyone can post, but arrogance, slander, and name-calling is permissable as long as you don't agree with Steve Gaines or Mike Bratton.

Does your call for humility extend to yourselves as well?

Come on, people, let's stop this mess.


No one is deleting posts that make a clear argument for their position - from either side. State your case effectively and persuasivly and you will win in the marketplace of ideas. That is why this place is both open and new. You are free to stay and speak or leave. Your choice.

I quit reading the bully because he spews sarcasm, bitterness and hostility. He can deny it all he wants but I can read and see it for what it is. That is my opinion of his written word. He has earned his reputation. Others can form their own opinion.

Posters like josh, allofgrace and MKW post civil and thoughtful arguments that deserve a reading. That should be the standard.

Most people know how to “disagree without being disagreeable”

gnats - it is an open forum and you are here by choice. Instead of griping and telling us to leave why not tell us why you think Dr. Gaines' comments were not arrogant and he was not making fun of the BBC congrgation in Union City.

How do you see it and why?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Let me just say that not one comment has been deleted from this forum. It is "new" in the sense that it is merely a continuation of the original Open BBC Forum. It is "open" in the sense that people with varying opinions can and do post comments and have discussions. No one is making you read it. To paraphrase something I've heard tossed around with abandon of late, "If you don't like what you read, you are welcome to leave." Thank you to the vast majority, whatever your viewpoints, for keeping the level of discourse civil and respectful.

MOM4 said...

Gardendale FBC is indeed a member of Willowcreek and so is Germantown BC and Hope Pres. There are a lot of others that I was not aware of and I question a New Testament Church church supporting their cause. If BBC joined because of the Music Department's concern over copyright infringement, why not just pay the royalties and get the music like we always did? Someone please explain why there was a need to join Willow Creek?

Anonymous said...

Thank you, bell22. You wrote: "Sorry about the question to Mike Bratton i was not trying to bait him it was a honest question , which he did not answer."

I thought it was a good question, too, but I really didn't expect to see an answer either.


If you say it wasn't "bait," fine, it wasn't bait. Nevertheless, to answer the question with specifics would be to travel down the same anti-Bellevue path a few folks feel they should traverse.

Any concerns or questions I've had over the years--and there have been more than a couple, you might be surprised to know--are ones I've taken through the appropriate channels, following the Biblical template. Sometimes, I've received an answer with which I agreed; sometimes, I received an answer that, frankly, concerned me. But I never broadcast any disagreement on any issue via whisper, letter, phone call, or website.

And neither should any of you. Not because I say so, but because it's a violation of Scripture.

--Mike

New BBC Open Forum said...

Please let me clarify something I wrote earlier. I wrote: "Let me just say that not one comment has been deleted from this forum."

What I should have said was I have not used my moderator position to delete anyone's comment. Any deleted comments have been deleted by their authors of their own free will.

Alvin Ellis said...

I see a recurring question in these blog messages: Why don’t we just have a business meeting since it would clear the air of questions about alleged conduct by members of both sides of this debate? Well, this is just my opinion, and like noses, everybody should have at least one.
Remember the instruction of Proverbs 28: 1, then turn to I Timothy 3 and begin to ponder the qualifications of the office we call ‘pastor’ in our Church (every one of the ministers), then look at the quals for the office we call ‘deacon’ (every one of them whether active or not), then look at quals for being a ‘Little Christ’ like what Paul wrote the Corinthians in his second letter, Chapter 6, verses 1 through 13, for each of us in this body called Bellevue - from top to bottom. Look one at a time at those quals and ask yourself if there is anything discussed so far in what is written above, whether form or substance, that disqualifies all of us from our positions. Isn’t this closely similar to that ‘considering your own selves’ we are to do before we go correct, and hopefully gain, a brother from that Matthew 18 passage we hear so much about? Didn’t John tell us that we would be forgiven our sins and cleansed from all our unrighteousness if we confess our sins? Is it possible that the ‘failings of our heads’ should actually be called ‘our sins’, for which we are to ask forgiveness from Him? Is that the problem: that each one of us does not want to say we have ‘sins’? and so we, from the highest position to the ‘least of these’ position, run from the only remedy for this shameful stuff that we, Bellevue Baptist Church, so desperately need? Again I ask, where’s the love in all this? The former pastor said we should be fruit inspectors since by I/our/their fruits I/we know me/us/them. Maybe we need to practice what he preached, starting with each of us until the greatest and the smallest has been inspected and properly dealt with. Don’t we all need to do business with ourselves first so we can then have that business meeting and see clearly to work on that thing in each other’s eyes?

Anonymous said...

Apologies for the late response...

"allofgrace said...
Mike,
If I may call you Mike?"

By all means. May I call you "allof"?

(Any relation to Allof Oyl, by the way?)

"1)What sin did Mr Ellis blame someone else for?..i must have missed it."

Mr. Ellis blames others for sins in his thought life. I quote him thusly, and like so (emphasis mine):

I told him my wife and I sat in the back of the Church, that the music made some of the sisters move in sensuous ways that caused my thoughts to be less than holy and I was sure single and divorced/widowed men around me had the same problem. I told him I’d talked with a staff about this and his response was for me to just move down to the front row. I told him that would not work because that would just move me closer to the stage jukers who were worse than the sisters.

If you'd like to read the rest of his comment, it's in the "Holy Land tours" section.

"2)I would never call you the devil, however I take exception to being referred to as 'you people'."

How about "you folks"? "Youse guys"? Perhaps "y'all"?

"3)I'ts pseudononymous..and it's Bellevue.

ok the last one was just a little humor I thought you might appreciate."

Absolutely! Sometimes the internal spell-check goes offline, and sometimes I just plain can't type.

--Mike

allofgrace said...

Mike,
I didn't take away from Mr Ellis' remarks that he was blaming anyone for any sinful thoughts he may have had. In fact I think he made a good point. God created men in a way that we're visually wired..and He formed women in a way that is appealing to the male eye. Unfortunately the fall has turned those facts into a struggle. If we as men weren't wired as such, the pornographers and the Madison Ave marketers wouldn't be so successful. Does the fact that our basic wiring is constantly being exploited, and we are constantly being bombarded with images that seek to appeal to the purient interest for profit excuse us if we sin in our thoughts?..absolutely not. But God will not hold the one doing the tempting guiltless either. As men we have enough to deal with concerning these issues outside the church. Some of the Godliest men I know have expressed to me how much they wished that some of the women in church would dress more modestly. I've stood in church many times with young women standing directly in front of me with tight, form-fitting clothes that leave little to the imagination...add to that swaying their hips to the rhythm of the music...well all I can say is, the only way you can avoid it is to stand with your eyes closed. And though not every man would want to admit it...I think most know what I'm talking about. I don't excuse my own sinful thoughts when they occur..but I do wish the women who dress like that would keep in mind what it's like for us as men.

Mike...no relation to allof oyle..although I've been referred to as OliveGraze a few times..you may call me that if you like...or just Jimmy..or anything actually..as long as you call me for dinner. Btw...the #2 of the comment you're referring to was actually intended as a little humor which I thought you might catch...seeing that terms like "you people" might be construed as a "hate crime" in the age of litigation. A little humor from time to time helps break the tension...certainly not trying to take away from the seriousness of all this.

Alvin Ellis said...

Allofgrace, (which is what all of us who confess that Jesus is Lord should be) I have been quoted correctly in that I said, “…the music made some of the sisters move in sensuous ways that caused my thoughts to be less than holy and I was sure single and divorced/widowed men around me had the same problem.” See, I have this problem with my eyes and thoughts, too much is inherited from the First Adam. But isn’t that why we declare our God to be so great, because He has delivered us from those afflictions so we no longer see men as trees but as those so loved of God that He would sacrifice Jesus, His only begotten Son, for us?
Our God is so concerned about the thoughts of His people that He would not allow acceptable worship of Him on an altar that had “steps”. That’s right, He directed that His chosen people were/are not to approach Him in such a fashion that would cause those around them to stumble (Exodus 20: 24-26). (“Stumble” is that euphemism I/we use when I/we don’t want to call my/our acts “sin”.) Now if He was concerned about thoughts that arise in the act of just approaching the place of worship with Him, why are we not also concerned for the same? Is it that we no longer need to bring every thought into captivity? That we are no longer our brother’s keeper? That our worship is not acceptable because it’s not the way He has set for acceptable worship?
Please forgive me if I wrote in such a fashion as to blame others for my sins. They are my sins. It is only the blood of our Jesus that can wash me of them. It is that same blood that can wash our Church of our corporate sins. Let’s pray that God dips our skirts in that Lamb’s blood soon, and very shortly. Our Church needs that act of God. Let’s cry out to God for that showing of His greatness and His might that we His elect cannot comprehend. Jeremiah 33: 3 Alvin Ellis

Anonymous said...

Mr. Ellis, thank you for your response, sir.

--Mike

P.S.: Yes, I got your initial gag, Jimmy. Nicely done.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"...the music made some of the sisters move in sensuous ways that caused my thoughts to be less than holy and I was sure single and divorced/widowed men around me had the same problem."

Wonder what the married guys think?

"...but I do wish the women who dress like that would keep in mind what it's like for us as men."

I think I'm going to start sitting on the back row and wearing a burka!

MOM4 said...

NBBCOF,
You are hilarious! Btw, where do we find burkas in Memphis? I will put them on my daughters and a few others.
When they were in high school and attending BBC, they had the same BFC teacher. One Sunday at the beginning of the year, the BFC had sort of an open house where the parents visited the class. At that time my girls were pushing shorter skirts and multiple piercings in their ears (I am thankful it was just the ears!).
When we got to the open house, lo and behold, their teacher had on a mini skirt and several piercings in her ears. She sat down right across from my husband and my CHILDREN watched his face turn red and he diverted his eyes and then got up and left. My girls dropped out of BFC and never went back, with our blessings. They are good children and have never been in trouble. They love the Lord and are dedicated to Him. They read their bibles and attend worship services with us. So I guess we did ok raising them as they are now young adults serving the Lord.
My point is this - there have been unholy distractions for quite a while now - this was several years ago. There is nothing new under the sun as far as men go, but there is definitely a new day when you cannot sit in the worship service with your sons and husbands and not be concerned about what they see. Things are sounding more like FEDEX Forum more and more each day!

New BBC Open Forum said...

LW wrote:

Why do my posts keep disappearing???

We should all visit www.joshmanning.com to see the kind of person we're dealing with.

Looks like a self-promoting, egomaniac to me.


lw,

NO ONE (and I'm the only one besides you with that power) has deleted any of your posts or anyone else's unless the authors chose to delete their own posts. HOWEVER, you have been informed by several other posters that the Josh Manning of www.joshmanning.com is NOT the Josh Manning from Bellevue.

Therefore, your last post (quoted above) has now been deleted. Please don't force me to do that again. I am leaving your previous posts since others answered and clarified the situation.

LW said...

You just told on yourself. You deleted a non-offensive post, so it's hard to accept that you wouldn't have done it before. (Yet you accuse others of being one sided.)

Besides, if you deleted everything that wasn't correct, most of your blog would be gone by now.

Why is the West Jackson quote on the site? Answer me, please. Why is Josh trying to trick people into thinking Dr. Gaines said that about Bellevue when he most certainly did not? Deliberate deception is not acceptable. Speaking of Dr. Gaines, why doesn't Josh use common courtesy and call our pastor by his title, instead of just 'Gaines'? Is that appropriate?

What does the "High-Tech Article" add to his case? All it does is promote the website. It looks to me like Josh is just drawing attention to himself.

These are serious questions, and should be answered.

If Josh really believes he has a case against our Pastor, he needs to eliminate the obvious slander and stick to the facts. Maybe then he'd be taken more seriously.

Salt and fresh water do not come from the same source, and neither do truth and lies.

Bellevue isn't perfect, and there are some things that need to change. If you really want to be part of those changes, you need to stop the tabloid hearsay strategy already.

New BBC Open Forum said...

lw wrote:

"You deleted a non-offensive post, so it's hard to accept that you wouldn't have done it before. (Yet you accuse others of being one sided.)

When exactly did I accuse anyone in particular of being one-sided? I've seen a lot of "one-sided" people -- on both "sides" of the fence, but people from both "sides" have been free to post their opinions here. That's why it was originally called the "BBC Open Forum." It's the "New BBC Open Forum" now because I thought retaining the name would provide for continuity from the old BBCOF which was "moderated" by someone else who is still anonymous to me.

As for deleted posts, believe what you want, but I haven't deleted but one post (other than a few of my own, and only then for editing purposes) except your last one. If you'll look through all the comments in all the threads, there's only one that says, "This post has been removed by the blog administrator." I didn't write that there. It's generated by the system if I delete someone else's post. All the other deleted posts say, "This post has been removed by the author." You posted comments in more than one thread. How many comments did you post? Could you be looking for them in the wrong thread?

Your last post in this thread was deemed "offensive" and removed because you had already been corrected by several people and then reposted the same false information. Note that I left in all your other posts (which were in a different thread) and quoted your last one in my response, so it's still there for the record.

Besides, if you deleted everything that wasn't correct, most of your blog would be gone by now."

Your opinion, and you're entitled to it.

Much of what is posted here is people's opinions. You may not agree with someone's opinion, but you can at least be civil in your responses.

What you stated as fact (that the owner of www.joshmanning.com is the same as the Josh Manning from Bellevue) was just plain false. Why, after several people pointed this out, would you repost the same information as fact?

"Why is the West Jackson quote on the site? Answer me, please. Why is Josh trying to trick people into thinking Dr. Gaines said that about Bellevue when he most certainly did not? Deliberate deception is not acceptable. Speaking of Dr. Gaines, why doesn't Josh use common courtesy and call our pastor by his title, instead of just 'Gaines'? Is that appropriate?"

Let me address your questions one by one.

1. Which West Jackson quote are you referring to? If it was the one by "carolyn," she removed that herself. Personally, I'm glad she did, but that was her decision.

2. What exactly is Josh Manning trying to "trick" people into thinking Dr. Gaines said? You're right that "deliberate deception isn't acceptable." I couldn't agree more. But wait. Isn't that what you were doing when you twice accused Bellevue's Josh Manning of being the "self-promoting, egomaniac" of www.joshmanning.com?

3. I think you must be referring to the use of "Gaines" on the savingbellevue.com site in referring to Dr. Steve Gaines. And you know what? That's made me uncomfortable all along, and I don't think it's appropriate. If you'll look through all the comments I left on the original BBC Open Forum site (I'm "notastepfordsheep" and "New BBC Open Forum," not "BBC Open Forum") as well as every time I've mentioned his name on this site, I've ALWAYS referred to him as either "Dr. Gaines" or "Steve Gaines," usually the former. I agree that calling him just "Gaines" seems disrespectful. Of course, you'll probably say any discussion of Dr. Gaines is disrespectful, and apparently nothing I say is going to change your mind about that, so I won't try.

And just FYI, Josh Manning has absolutely nothing to do with the savingbellevue.com site, nor do I. The link for Josh's blog, which he hasn't updated in nearly two weeks, is in the sidebar on the front page of this blog and is entitled, "Who Watches the Watchmen? - Quis Custodiet Ipsos Custodes?" I can't remember a single instance of him referring to Dr. Gaines as "Gaines" or saying any of the other things you credit him with. In fact, I always found Mr. Manning to be quite respectful of everyone he mentioned, and he even managed to remain respectful towards Mr. Weatherwax, the Bellevue minister who blasted him in two scathing letters.

"What does the "High-Tech Article" add to his case? All it does is promote the website. It looks to me like Josh is just drawing attention to himself."

Again, that article is on the savingbellevue.com site which neither Josh Manning nor I have anything whatsoever to do with. Please get your facts straight before hurling accusations.

"If you really want to be part of those changes, you need to stop the tabloid hearsay strategy already.

I certainly don't agree with all the comments people have written in this space, and I haven't cared for the tone of some of those comments, but I've tried to give people the opportunity to handle whatever differences they may have without my interference. This "blog" is not about me. I'm only providing a place for people who are interested to discuss the issues facing Bellevue now. I don't have a "strategy," tabloid, hearsay, or otherwise.

With all due respect, no one is forcing you to read anything in this forum or to participate.

Now, did I adequately address all your questions?

LW said...

"Now, did I adequately address all your questions?"

Answer this one, notastepforsheep: What do you mean by this?

"With all due respect, no one is forcing you to read anything in this forum or to participate."

New BBC Open Forum said...

Just that, implying no disrespect towards you (such as inferred when people say "if you don't like it here, you can leave"), reading the comments in this forum seemed to be causing you some distress, and that since no one was forcing you to read them, you may want to consider not reading them. I'm sorry if you misunderstood. I thought I was being clear.

Were you able to find your old messages? Last I checked they were all still there in another thread.

MOM4 said...

OK, here is another question. I am having a hard time getting answers these days.
Does anyone know if Ray Saba has been removed from his BFC class?
I have been told that he was advised that he could no longer teach his class???

New BBC Open Forum said...

mom4,

Mr. Saba was removed from his position about a month ago after two staff ministers, Mark Gates and Larry Ray, came to see him and informed him he could no longer teach his class. He said he asked them who had sent them, and they reportedly replied they had come on their own. He said that after a lengthy conversation with Harry Smith after church the next Sunday evening that a day or so later one of the above mentioned ministers called and informed him "they" said he could return to teaching his class at least until a meeting he had requested between him and Dr. Gaines could be arranged which "they" said might take a while. He said it wasn't clear to him just who "they" were, as he said he'd been told before that the two were there on their own. As far as I know he's still teaching his class and waiting on the meeting to be scheduled.

MOM4 said...

NOBBCF,
Thanks for your prompt reply (I wish we could get that all the time:))
I had just heard the info on Mr. Saba, and I wondered if it was true and apparently it is. I am wondering if he will ever get a meeting with Steve Gaines at all? Maybe the man is too busy right now?? I cannot see any other reason, but it looks like he would go ahead and schedule it, even if it is next year?

MOM4 said...

NOBBCCOF,
One more question - if you or any one else knows - How many other BFC teachers have been removed?

ezekiel said...

Truman Sandlin resigned his class about a month ago and I understand the Mcklerkins resigned theirs as well. I think we know them from their open letter to the staff.