Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Time for Truth!

There is currently a serious situation at Bellevue that is just now coming to light. References have been made to this issue in the past few days, but the story is getting out now, and I think it's time to address it openly. A discussion was started in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread on December 14th after a list of needed changes for "Pastoral Accountability to the Congregation" was posted by "25+yrs@bbc" which included this:

"Timely removal from office of ministers guilty of sexual immorality with immediate and timely coordination with the appropriate authorities if any laws have been broken by a minister (no matter how long ago), including thorough investigation of the matter when the minister's conduct may have affected other church members or their children."

A poster with the screen name "sackcloth&ashes" wrote:

"Bellevue has a minister who has been on staff for many years who, while serving on staff at Bellevue, sexually molested and sodomized his own pre-teen son and continued for some time thereafter.

"The son is now of age and he confronted his minister father and the minister confessed in front of witnesses at the church.

"Gaines has known about this for well over a month and little to nothing has been done. Gaines said that it was "under the blood."

"While that may be true, it still does not relieve the minister of consequences in this life. If he would do such a thing with his own son, then perhaps it would be easier with someone else's. Usually this kind of thing can involve many other children.

"To make matters worse, this minister has been over the record keeping for children's workers for quite some time.

"This is far bigger than some private, family sin. Gaines should have removed the minister from Bellevue the MOMENT he found out about it.

"Ministers of Bellevue have been removed in the past for adultery... how could Gaines have thought that incest and sodomy were not as serious?

"God is cleaning house at Bellevue... The membership needs to wake up! It is time to stop all the standing ovations and get down on our faces and seek God.

"Mothers of Bellevue find your voices and fathers of Bellevue find your courage! Your leaders have been quiet and spineless.

"It is way past time for light and truth."


And that pretty much sums up all most of us know about it other than the names of the minister and his son. The discussion continued from there with a couple of people strongly urging the name of the minister involved be revealed in this forum. While many are aware of the man's name, including the proper authorities now, he does have a family and we need to respect their feelings, especially those of this man's son who is the real victim in all this. Therefore, in the discussions which will inevitably follow, at least until this story becomes officially public, I would request that no mention of this man's or any of his family's names be made in this forum. This news unfortunately is likely to break in the media very soon, but we do not have to broadcast the details of the story here, especially since we really don't know all the details. This is not the place for speculation about what did or didn't happen in this family. It's also not right to say that Dr. Rogers may have known about it. There's no evidence whatsoever than anyone outside the immediate family knew anything about this until the past few months when the son came forward with it and the minister confessed before Steve Gaines and other witnesses.

The discussion here now needs to focus on how the cover up of this issue by the administration has affected Bellevue and how we should go forward from here. The proper authorities must be entrusted to handle the specifics of the situation with the perpetrator and victim.

Some questions to consider include:

1. When did Steve Gaines learn about this situation?

2. What other staff members were aware of it and when?

3. What did Steve Gaines and the administration do about the situation? Did anyone call the authorities?

4. Why wasn't this staff minister immediately fired? Why is he still serving on the staff at all?

5. Since he was allowed to remain on staff, were any measures put into place to ensure this man never came into contact with children while at church?

Maybe this comment by "westtnbarrister" sums it up best:

"I first heard this molestation story roughly two weeks ago. I found the tale so stunning I couldn’t believe it was true. Not at Bellevue! Gradually, as more and more details have come out, my disbelief and shock were transformed into belief and anger. How could our pastor know this and do nothing? How about those other ministers on staff? Was there not even one man willing to risk his job for the truth? For children?"

There are many comments on this topic in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread which is the thread just prior to this one beginning around 10:50 a.m. on December 14th. Please continue that discussion in this thread.

There is also the allegation that a Bellevue Board of Directors member has been involved in an ongoing extramarital relationship, and he has reportedly been asked to resign. Whether or not he has complied, no one seems to be certain, but again, I would ask that any discussion of this matter also be conducted without mentioning names -- again for the sake of the families involved.

I cannot begin to fathom how painful this has been and will be for these families in the days and weeks to come. I fear there are going to be some dark days for our church in the weeks to come as well. Please, let's pray for the families that the Lord will comfort and strengthen them in this stressful time. And let's pray that Bellevue will be cleansed from the inside out and returned to the shining beacon on a hill it once was. There's much housecleaning to be done before that can ever happen.

The first 9 comments are reposts of some of the more relevant comments from the previous thread.

559 comments:

1 – 200 of 559   Newer›   Newest»
New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

Custos said...

Noname,

Given that you're not at Bellevue, I'm not sure you're qualified to comment to the church's past. Certainly I believe that the current situation grew from seeds sewn before Dr Gaines came to Bellevue. Mark Sharpe and Richard Emerson both noted that Dr Gaines had been set up for failure given the lack of governing oversight.

While there may have been errors at the church before Dr Gaines got here, there are two issues which were left out of your post that need to be mentioned: First, Dr Rogers' presence obviously prevented the current circumstances from arising earlier--it's no coincidence that these things have happened along this timeline. Those who would take over the church knew they couldn't overcome him when he was pastor. Second, Dr Gaines has had manifold opportunities to deal with the fruits of those seeds and to deal with the men at the root of the problem—the power players; and he has refused. He was also approached with concerns about the lack of oversight and he choose to plug his ears.

Given what we know of Dr Rogers, it is obvious that these men were only allowed to continue at the church because they concealed their ambitions from him, knowing that he would immediately stop them and likely eject them from leadership were he to discover their motives. It is clear that Dr Rogers incredible integrity intimidated them and protected us.

Contrast that picture against what we've seen in one year under Dr Gaines: Deceit, obfuscation, intimidation, law-breaking, lack of transparency, and defiant willfulness regarding all of the above. If Dr Rogers' integrity protected us before, and now we're open to all manner of evil, what has changed? It can't be simply the lack of a great man, it must be the replacement of that man by one who apparently is 1) a puppet of these men, 2) a willing accomplice, or 3) one who doesn't see the above list as a list of wrongs. None of those possibilities are palatable to me or acceptable for a pastor.

I say all of this to say that while things may not have been perfect under Dr Rogers, he acted as a bulwark to keep this mess from crashing down on us. While the situation leading to this failure can't be completely laid at Dr Gaines' feet, it can be laid at both his feet and, further back, at the feet of these men who apparently long thought Dr Rogers to be "the spinmeister." We were rooked by these fellows too, and even now, many of the flock still are.

Suffice it all to say that though these men shouldn't have gotten into the positions they have, they never would have been able to act had Dr Gaines dealt with them once he saw them for what they are. After all, they’ve shown their true colors to him; and unlike Dr Rogers would have, Dr Gaines, having seen their true colors, refuses to deal with them. In fact, he seems to be either cooperating or colluding. For now, my money says colluding (and probably leading) given his words, deeds, and deceptions.


Best,
Josh

2:02 PM, December 14, 2006


Custos said...

Thanks Karen. And I realized I needed to add one thing:

We can't hold responsibile leaders accountable for knowledge that was concealed from them. However, we can, and should, hold any leader accountably who sees wrong doing and turns a blind eye to it.

2:36 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

woundedandbleeding said...

Dear Ones,

I greet you in Jesus` powerful name!

This is the letter we sent to Pastor Steve moments ago. We also sent it to other Bellevue mininsters in hopes of hearing from at least one of them.

Should any of you have concrete evidence that the things herein mentioned are true, please write to us with that evidence so that we can move forward to protect the children of our church.

We would also like to encourage all of you to write directly to our pastor with your concerns.

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,

Sister Pam
gremillionp@bellsouth.net

12-14-2006

Greetings to you in the most holy name of Jesus!

Pastor Steve, Brother Charles read me some very disturbing mail today that has been posted in a public forum for the whole world to see.

I want to share the exact words that were written with you and so I will include them at my letter`s end for your reading.

Pastor Steve, if these people are telling the truth, then surely you must see the downhill journey that our church is on and there is no way that Brother Charles and I could live with ourselves if we stayed silent on this.

We don`t want to believe that there is a minister currently on staff who is a child molester or adulterer and we certainly don`t want to believe that you would have knowledge that this is true and not have moved quickly to remove them as ministers. so I beg you dear brother to tell us if any of this is true so that we can know the truth.

Pastor Steve. we hope that you will enlighten us but should there be any concrete evidence brought forward to prove these writings to be true, Brother Charles and I will move hastily to do whatever we must do to protect the children of Bellevue if our church leadership will not and we will give this issue our full time attention until the church is safe for all of Bellevue`s children.

Please be sure and read the messages that follow and contact us as soon as possible.

Remember we love you and care for your soul.

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,

Sister Pam Gremillion

Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all--he is the greatest. (Luke 9:48)

7:35 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

Rod Almondmartanti said...

Wow! I'm overwhelmed with all this revelation. Something seems rotten to the core. Is it any wonder why the "leadership" doesn't keep the ceo accountable? I cannot believe that someone who has committed the crimes mentioned here, (child molester and his own son) would ever be in a position of leadership. You'd have to throw out the Bible to do that! And to have him in connection with the Sunday School in some way? This simply cannot be true. If it is Bellevue has gone to the dogs.

rod almond

9:39 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

David Brown said...

To Ace and other defenders:

Let me make this point first. I do not have a dog in the fight with Dr. Gaines. But I do have concern when children may be in danger.

I do have the phone numbers and I have made the attempts to get to the bottom of this. I left a message for Dr. Gaines yesterday. Ask Linda if you do not believe me.

Please read my previous post of last Friday afternoon. I do not hide behind anonymous names. I am an advocate for victims of sexual abuse by clergy. I am the area rep for SNAP. Survivors Network of Those Abuse by Priests. I too am a victim. If you spend the time to read my previous post, you will find the link to my story and the abuse I sustained.

I am very concerned for this family, the abuser and the victim. I deal with this everyday. I am a long time member of Bellevue since 1985. I moved our membership to a sister church recently for personal reasons. So I do identify with Southern Baptists and Bellevue.

You challenged some others to make the phone calls personally. If you have any influence with Dr. Gaines would you have him return my phone call? Would you help me?

I am intent at getting to the bottom of this. My sole purpose is to see that no other child is harmed.

One more suggestion, if looking up my old post is too hard try this. Go to this link. I know there have been so many posts it may be hard to locate it. Hope this will help. It even has my photos, one when I was pure at the age of 15 before my abuse and a more recent one.

Let me warn you about my story that was printed last year. It is very explicit. I was silent for over 35 years about my abuse and then another 9 before I was actually able to tell what really happened.

I pray that there are no other victims. But we will never know unless Bellevue is transparent and truthful. I will have much more to say about this later.

I am used to the Catholic Church stonewalling me, but I still speak and continue to seek the truth when I hear of things that I have heard of this situation. Oh for the record not all my information came from this blog.

Like I said earlier I am not afraid to use my identity. If you check my profile you will find my email addy. If anyone wants to contact me, please do it. NASS can vouch for me. I am real.

I would urge all to be in prayer over this. Please pray for all and our beloved Bellevue. God is at work.

In HIS hands
David Brown

10:27 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

CH said...

25, you nailed it.

If the above accusations are true, and if many of the other allegations are true, we've moved far beyond the "mistake" category and on into outright lawlessness and gross moral corruption. This is to be excused because we've all made mistakes? Tell that to the minister's son, and remind yourself of that next time you drop your children or grandchildren off to be cared for by a stranger who just might have been "approved" as a worker by this very man.

10:29 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

BlessMeWithTheTruth said...

Ace

I don`t think the Tennessee State Attorney thinks we need to have an open mind anout this!

Child Molestation And Abuse

Let's face it. Almost all the rules and tips about increasing children's personal safety have to do with your two big fears for children: sexual molestation and physical harm.

Each year an estimated 100,000 U.S. children suffer some form of sexual abuse. The average age of the child victim is 10 years old.

Teaching stranger rules is smart, but not enough. In the majority of cases, the child sexual molester is known to the child and the child's family. That's why only a minority of abuse cases is reported to the police. The abuser is often a parent, relative, baby-sitter or close family friend. Children may give in to adult's sexual advances because they fear losing their love, or fear their punishment. Therefore, they are especially vulnerable to sexual abuse by someone they know, like people who care for them regularly. Children are trusting and defenseless. Make sure you check carefully the references of baby-sitters, day-care centers, and recreation leaders.

A child may not recognize sexual abuse when it happens, or even know it's wrong, especially if the abuser is someone the child knows. Children must learn what appropriate touching is. Discuss it with your child. Many children instinctively know what proper distance should be kept between them and other persons. Sometimes a child may be uncertain about the intentions of another person. In this situation, children should know it's O.K. to respond in a way that makes them feel safe and more comfortable. Children usually know that genuine and gentle affection is different from someone who tries to touch their genitals or fondle them in any way that makes them feel unsafe. They should pull away immediately if someone suggests such actions, even if they're offered a present as a bribe.

HOW TO RESPOND

Children often make up stories, but they rarely lie about being victims of sexual assault. If a child tells you about being touched or assaulted, take it seriously. Your response is very important and will influence how the child will react and recover from the abuse.

Stay calm. In a reassuring tone, find out as much as you can about the incident. Explain to your child that you are concerned about what happened. Don't be angry. Many children feel guilty, as if they had provoked the assault. Children need to be reassured that they are not to blame, and that they are right to tell you what happened.

A child may need to be taken immediately to a doctor or an emergency room. Sometimes the child may need to be treated for V.D. and checked for pregnancy.

Law enforcement, special hot-lines or a child welfare agency should be contacted right away.

Sometimes, a child may be too frightened or confused to talk directly about the abuse. Be alert for an change in behavior that might hint that the child has suffered a disturbing experience.

Is the child suddenly more withdrawn than usual, refusing to go to school or afraid to be alone?
Is the child having trouble sleeping, waking up with nightmares, or wetting the bed?
Is the child complaining of irritation of the genital areas?
Are there signs of increased anxiety or immature behavior?
Does the child show a marked change in behavior toward a relative, neighbor or baby-sitter?
Other Child Abuse
Including sexual abuse, an estimated one million child abuse incidents are reported every year. Other forms of child abuse include physical violence, emotional cruelty and deprivation and physical neglect.

Child abusers are persons usually known to the child. This means most cases are not reported to authorities and children continue to suffer because abusers are repeat offenders.

Child abuse is dangerous and against the law. Many abused children will grow up and victimize their families, and others, later in life. It is your duty as a citizen to report suspected cases of child abuse by contacting a special hot-line, the police, or child welfare agency immediately. The children need help and treatment as soon as possible.



Child Abuse - A Public Health Epidemic

Is This Really An Epidemic?

Yes! One in five girls and one in ten boys have been sexually abused before the age of eighteen.

Who Are These Abusers?

90% of the victims of child sexual abuse know their abusers--they are the fathers, mothers, siblings, close relatives, friends, or other caretakers of children. They are rarely the monsters we imagine lurking in the corners of our playgrounds and parks.

Can Abusers Change?

Experts say YES! But sending abusers to prison without treatment does not stop further abuse. Those prosecuted for their crimes and assigned to specialized treatment have learned to control their behavior. A recent study in Vermont showed that without treatment, 38% of abusers returning to the streets abused again. With treatment, this incidence of re-offending dropped to 6%.


Tennessee Sexual Assault Crisis Centers

10:51 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

David Brown said...

Please folks:

Let stop picking on ACE. Fellow saints lets focus on getting to the bottom of this and the truth.

Let all agree to be in prayer tonight and tomorrow and that the truth comes out, good or bad. We MUST protect our children. As I have said so often "I DO NOT WANT TO SEE ONE MORE CHILD HURT AS I WAS."

We must take steps to protect our children and being truthful about this is the first step.

So please quit nick picking each other and let's join our Spirit as one over this situtation.

It is late and I am going to bed. NASS does have my phone number if ANYONE feels they need to talk to me.

I love all of you.

11:01 PM, December 14, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

OldTimer said...

Should this minister be removed from the staff at Bellevue?

If it was my decision as to whether he would stay or not, I would have to talk with this minister about the whole issue first. However if I couldn't talk with him, then he would be gone.


I'm sorry, I try to make it a point not to assail people in regards to their statements, but that has to be the most asinine statement I have ever read on this blog. Having researched pedophile behavior, these people rarely, if ever prey on only one victim. If he had one victim, I, for one, would automatically assume he has had more victims. While I can love the sinner, I am by no means going to provide him with the opportunity to continue the sinful behavior. And, if the senior pastor ar any other staff member of any church allows such an individual access to more victims they are accomplices in his crime.

This man has no business on staff or even serving in a volunteer position at any church. The only place this man should attend worship services is in a prison chapel for the next 20+ years.

1:04 AM, December 15, 2006

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reposted from previous thread:

i-flyaway said...

I am the youngest of 3 girls. Our father did some things that should not have been done to me when I was six years old. I told - no one believed it! So for the next 10+ years he routinely sexually abused my two older sisters!! Our dad was a choir director!!! in southern Baptist churches!!! Unless you've been there, you have no idea what scars are left on a child in every way (emotionally, physically, mentally).

This can't be allowed to not be taken seriously. If true, this person needs to be removed from staff immediately! Our leadership must deal with it head on. Yes, it is under the blood of Jesus, and I pray the person has confessed and repented, but sin does have its consequences.

Fortunately for me, my dad never touched me again after I told, but great damage was done. Only after I started coming to Bellevue, as a 32 year old single Mom, sitting under Dr. Rogers' teaching and immersed in the Scriptures did any kind of healing start to take place. That was over 20 years ago. I just realized this past week one more gift I had been given during this time was trust. I realized it because I feel it slipping away again.

I hope I'm not rambling. I am so grieved in my heart over this. I love you all with the love of Christ.

1:28 AM, December 15, 2006

Anonymous said...

The Lord can and does forgive homosexual incestuous sodomy, adultery and all deviant behavior if a person is truly repentent, but let's not confuse forgiveness from sin with the consequences of sin. Spiritual leaders are held to a higher standard (1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9), and homosexual incestuous sodomy and adultery should be cause for immediate dismissal for pastors and deacons in Bible believing congregations, whatever the denomination. Churches have a responsibility to protect their children.

New BBC Open Forum said...

psalm 43:3 wrote:

"Spiritual leaders are held to a higher standard (1 Tim. 3:1-13, Titus 1:5-9), and homosexual incestuous sodomy and adultery should be cause for immediate dismissal for pastors and deacons in Bible believing congregations, whatever the denomination. Churches have a responsibility to protect their children."

Your last sentence is of first and foremost importance, and of course these people need to be immediately dismissed from their leadership roles. However, just to clarify, do you think they should be "excommunicated" from the local church completely? As long as they repent, ask forgiveness, pay any consequences for their actions, get the help they need, and in a case like this, are never allowed to have contact with children, are we not to love and forgive them and give them the opportunity to remain in the local church if they wish to do so? (Not saying this would be easy for anyone -- the people involved or the church members who are aware of the situation -- just asking if the attempt shouldn't be made.)

Also, we had a discussion 2-3 days ago about a family at Bellevue in which at least one family member had been caught on the church campus stalking a young woman and at the time was found to be in possession of a bag of weapons, including knives and a loaded gun, and another was caught "sneaking a peek" outside the girls' dressing room during a SCT performance. The whole family has been said to have disrupted church activities before. Why then are any of them allowed to ever set foot on church property? Why weren't the authorities called when the former incident occurred? Personally, I fear someone like this more than a pedophile. This bunch endangers everyone, not just children. (And I'm not trying to minimize child molestation. Just stating the obvious.)

NASS

Tim said...

I for one am absolutely sick about this situation. This type of activity is completely disgusting for anyone to be involved in, let alone a minister.

The apparent indifference evidenced by Steve Gaines failure to act swiftly is perhaps more appalling. We should expect that our Senior Pastor would have more spiritual integrity on an issue as blatant as this to be able to act immediately. If an issue of this nature requires a congregational out cry in order to be dealt with, then isn’t it obvious that our leaders primary influence has been church politics and not spiritual discernment based upon the Word of God.

Is it any wonder that we embrace FUMC? This seems less and less like a mistake than a purposeful act as more comes to light. It is easily seen what our leaders stand for by looking at that which they stand against. It is also easily seen that they are out of step with the Word of God.

westtnbarrister said...

Questions for Brother Steve and the other senior leaders...

Since the church leadership became aware of this information:

Has the minister in question counseled any child molestation victims?

Has the minister in question counseled any admitted child molesters?

Has the minister in question counseled any adult rape or sexual assault victims?

Has the minister in question been in counseling himself?

Has anyone reached out to help this minister's victim?

Has anyone dicussed this with the minister's spouse to try to determine if other children may be involved?

Has anyone counseled the minister's spouse?

Has anyone reported this to law enforcement?

Has anyone sought legal advice in order to protect themselves or the church?

Has the church notified its liability insurance carrier of potential liability?

How many staff members, whether ordained or not, were made aware of this information?

How many deacons were made aware of this information?

How many members of the Board of Directors were made aware of this information?

Anonymous said...

As I understand Scripture, God's forgiveness is complete (As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us Ps. 103:12). He doesn't wad people up and throw them away, and neither should His churches. If a person is truly repentant there is a path to restoration, but not back into ministerial leadership.

ezekiel said...

Brother Steve, there is not enough whitewash in the bucket to cover the sin among us. Yet you preach grace,mercy, tell us "it is under the blood". The God of the OT is the God of the NT. He has not changed. EZ 14 applies to those that support your whitewash efforts as well. Just because all sin is under the blood does not mean it does not result in consequenses. Purge the sin, turn from your unrighteousness before the church is crushed as He did when He judged Israel.

EZ 13:1Then the word of the LORD came to me saying,
2"Son of man, prophesy against the (A)prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, '(B)Listen to the word of the LORD!

3'Thus says the Lord GOD, "Woe to the (C)foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have (D)seen nothing.

4"O Israel, your prophets have been like foxes among ruins.

5"You have not (E)gone up into the (F)breaches, nor did you build the wall around the house of Israel to stand in the battle on the (G)day of the LORD.

6"They see (H)falsehood and lying divination who are saying, 'The LORD declares,' when the LORD has not sent them; (I)yet they hope for the fulfillment of their word.

7"(J)Did you not see a false vision and speak a lying divination when you said, 'The LORD declares,' but it is not I who have spoken?"'"

8Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "Because you have spoken falsehood and seen a lie, therefore behold, (K)I am against you," declares the Lord GOD.

9"So My hand will be against the (L)prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations They will have no place in the council of My people, (M)nor will they be written down in the register of the house of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel, that you may know that I am the Lord GOD.

10"It is definitely because they have (N)misled My people by saying, '(O)Peace!' when there is (P)no peace. And when anyone builds a wall, behold, they plaster it over with whitewash;

11so tell those who plaster it over with whitewash, that it will fall. A (Q)flooding rain will come, and you, O hailstones, will fall; and a violent wind will break out.

12"Behold, when the wall has fallen, will you not be asked, 'Where is the plaster with which you plastered it?'"

13Therefore, thus says the Lord GOD, "I will make a violent wind break out in My wrath. There will also be in My anger a flooding rain and (R)hailstones to consume it in wrath.

14"So I will tear down the wall which you plastered over with whitewash and bring it down to the ground, so that its (S)foundation is laid bare; and when it falls, you will be (T)consumed in its midst And you will (U)know that I am the LORD.

15"Thus I will spend My wrath on the wall and on those who have plastered it over with whitewash; and I will say to you, 'The wall is gone and its plasterers are gone,

16along with the prophets of Israel who prophesy to Jerusalem, and who (V)see visions of peace for her when there is (W)no peace,' declares the Lord GOD.

17"Now you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people who are (X)prophesying (Y)from their own inspiration. Prophesy against them

Finance Guy said...

If this minister is allowed to remain on staff, with no public discipline, we owe Jim Gillintine a HUGE apology, and he should be restored immediately to a ministerial staff position.

New BBC Open Forum said...

psalm 43:3,

Thanks for clarifying that.

NASS

Bellevue Friend said...

What Dr. Rogers would do?

Any notion or assumption that Dr. Rogers was aware of this immoral conduct and did nothing is blatantly absurd!

Dr. Rogers was and is a man (He is more alive now than ever before in the presence of our Lord) of utmost integrity.

I saw with my own eyes his deep love for children in Las Vegas after he had preached at the convention in 1989 several children waited to greet him after the message, his tenderness and love for them is etched in my mind to this very day.

I attended the Pastors training Institute in April of 2005, the subject of immorality came up in reference to ministers….and the question was asked could they be restored.

In no uncertain terms he spoke of the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus Christ, but also the ramifications that immoral actions would bring to said minister…mainly not being able to return to a position of leadership!

While I believe he was primarily referencing returning to the pulpit ministry, I hasten to add, that he also stated:

When a person’s repentance is as widely known as their sin, restoration is possible i.e. to the church body.

Again restoration to a position of ministry is very difficult and rightly so, since a ministers life …must indeed be a life of utmost fidelity and integrity!

He also said that often at various meetings he would be met in hallways by young ministers…who would ask if He had a word for their ministry…he said whenever asked, he would reply with the word Integrity!

Dr. Rogers modeled intimacy with God and integrity his entire life, added to his love for people and children to even think he knew something and did nothing is wrong, and all such posts should be stricken from this blog immediately!

Churchmouse said...

NBBCOF,
I support your posting a thread for discussion of this topic without names.
Under Dr. Rogers’s leadership, staff people would come and go. We had ministers that were fired and we learned about it months later. We had ministers that came before the church, confessed their sin, were removed from their position, and continued to attend Bellevue. Our family had discussions on how well the church staff handled scandal. In those days, the Commercial Appeal was always ready for a front page, above the fold story about our church. Dr. Rogers used to joke that they would always find the most unflattering photos of him to print – and they did. Now, the Commercial Appeal remains eerily silent.
The deacons have been silenced. The Communication Committee is now silent. Bible Study teachers are silent. The congregation is warned not to go to the savingbellevue website or the blog, or ‘gossip’ about church issues. They are silent. Silence is the weapon of choice for our leadership.
You, NBBCOF, and the savingbellevue website are the ‘press’. Thank you for stepping up and for your sensitivity in this delicate situation. JMHO

Finance Guy said...

bellevue friend,
I appreciate your coming to our dear former pastor's defense, but there's no need to get all wound up. We at Bellevue know exactly what Dr. Rogers would have done in this instance, because we had occasion to watch him do it. All the facts you mention line up with Bellevues' observation and relationship with Adrian Rogers.

There has been no serious accusation that Dr. Rogers knew about this before he died, and I don't think anyone would believe that was the case, and he did nothing. But you are right. This should be the last time anyone suggests any complicity on the part of the former pastor. That would be a slanderous comment.

Finance Guy said...

churchmouse,
I've also noticed the "bellevue blogger" people love to hate has gone radio silent over the last two weeks. I guess Chuck Taylor silenced him as well. I would have, he was doing the "pro-bellevue" crowd more harm than good.

Bereans said...

Let's see...what do we have so far?

-one minister lied to all the deacons and when confronted he admitted it and excused it as "being the politically correct thing to do".

-a member of the pastor search committee admitted to lying to the church and excused it by saying, "That's the story the committee agreed to tell."

-another minister when confronted with telling a lie excused it by saying, "We have to present a united front."

-the chairman of the deacons saw that only 86 deacons would sign the pledge of support for Steve that he wanted them to sign so the chairman sent an email stating that since the response had been so "POSITIVE" there was no longer a need for a show of support at this time.

-now, another minister has admitted to adultry, incest, pedofilia, and homosexuality yet he refuses to step down as a minister. Our pastor has allowed this refusal to stand for quite some time. Other staff members have known of this situation for almost a year and have kept quite.

Belleve has a full- blown integrity melt down among the leadership. These staff and lay leaders have lost all awareness of honesty, integrity and honor. They are so engrossed in the culture of protecting Steve Gaines at any cost that they will do or say anything to stay in his good graces. Would you want your family members to be counseled by these leaders?

Our worship services have become more about worshipping a man...Steve Gaines than in worshipping Jesus. There are repeated standing ovations elicited by Steve himself or various staff or lay leaders to show our support for Steve. Often there are multiple standing ovations in a single service.

I totally agree with nbbcof when he/she said that we need to stop the prideful standing ovations and fall on our faces in humility and repentance.

God judges sin in His own time. I don't know what He will ultimately do with this culture of sin within the leadership of Bellevue but I do know that He WILL NOT bless a church with corrupt leaders.

MOM4 said...

What does the SBC say about this? Should they not intervene to force the leadership to handle this decently and in order before it gets uglier than it already is?
Steve Gaines needs to be reprimanded publicly by the SBC!

Bellevue Friend said...

Finance guy

Even though I am not a member of Bellevue, I have had my life impacted by Bellevue and Dr. Rogers more than any other earthly influence in my ministry!

Since 1903 Bellevue, has been a bright light in the diadem of our Lord....reflecting His light and His truth....and I am absolutely heart broken to observe ongoing issues that our shaking the church to it's foundation!

That said I know Bellevue is built on the foundation of Christ and is in fact secure in him.....but the arrogance of leadership, the disdain for longtime members who have invested the resources of their lives into Bellevue only to be told...

" If you don't like it leave" to see a gifted Minster like Dr. Jim Whitmire disrespected, pushed away as if 30 years of service is inconsequential, to even perceive anyone disrespect of ( In my humble but accurate opinion) the most gifted Pastor (Dr. Rogers) in the history of the Southern Baptist Convention...gets me wound up....and fed up!

Anonymous said...

westtnbarrister,

You had some great questions. My question, "is $30,000,000 in the bank going to be enough?"

Anonymous said...

sscghwPerhaps the Lord has been using all of this as a purging and cleansing of HIS church.
Judgement begins in the House of the Lord. It always gets the darkest before dawn.

This helps explain why there has been such a "different" spirit at Bellevue for the past year. Where there is pride and lies and all else that IS going on, it reveals an attitude of rebellion against God.

Leaders have been forced out of our church over the past year for simply no good reason and asked to resign. Sunday school teachers, some of the very best Bible teachers, have been asked to stop teaching, because they have disagreed with sg. Yet here we have someone who has been accused of a horrific sin stay on because its all "under the blood"? What sort of reasoning could be responsible for all this unreasonable behavior from the "leaders"? Jumping over fences, intimidation, name calling, all accepted. Seeking for truth and holding leadership accountable not acceptable but from "the enemy"!

Those who demand truth are treated like the enemies of God! They get smacked from the pulpit! And those caught in grevious sin and lies and acting like bullies are all doing God's work or "under the Blood"?

Woe! It is just so hard to grasp this is not in Washington D.C. but at Bellevue.

I guess it depends on the definition of is!

O Father, our beautiful garments of holiness are like filthy rags! Cleanse us and make us whole again. Cause us to be greived to the core of our being for what we've become.

Finance Guy said...

Thank you Bellevue Friend,
I appreciate your comments. However, ranting from non-church members isn't going to be listened to. (The administration won't even listen to church member rantings!)

You can pray for us, because those few of us left at Bellevue (The refugees at GBC should come home) need your prayers for the dark days ahead.

It's clear to me that Bellevue is suffering the consequenses of some corporate sin. I'm not sure what it is, perhaps we stopped worshiping Jesus at some point, and engaged in idol (Adrian) worship. Perhaps we developed to much of a "Belleuve Pride", that we turned away from our first love. Perhaps we got too comfortable with our our large buildings, big bank account, and our "Programs", that we lost the ability to trust in Jesus.

Bellevue has the manpower and resources to do whatever it wants. We need to remember that apart from God, we can do nothing.


Bellevue Friend,
You should enlist your like minded friends to pray for us. I don't know how you should pray. Ask God to show you how to pray for us.
-FG

Finance Guy said...

rod,
You aren't the first person to have that thought. Why on earth is someone who commits serious, criminal immorality, allowed to remain on staff as a minister, while others are removed as deacons and Sunday School teachers simply for having honest, Scripturally based differences with the pastor!!!

The message the church is being sent is, it's okay to sin against God, but don't you DARE speak against the Pastor, even if HE HIMSELF is violating scripture!!!

Where are the men in this church!!!???

(-FG, who apparently isn't one either)

Anonymous said...

Reading over the many messages from the time this started is like putting a giant puzzle together! This is what happens when church integrity dissolves.

There was some earlier information posted that said the child molestor had admitted what he had done but refused to step down and at the same time one piece of the puzzle says that the church leaders have know this and continue to have this person on as a minister.

All of this has left me wondering what the child molestor might know about the interworkings of Bellevue, our pastor, or leadership, or otherwise?????

Is the child molestor hanging something over our pastor or others that keeps them at bay?

Do these church leaders know that they are destroying their own reputations as they harbor this person?

I don`t mean to be meanspirited in my post but I think it is time for the child molestor, Steve Gaines, and few others to resign and they all need to seek professional help.

I am thankful for those of you who have been at the frontline on this!

Finance Guy said...

stillwaters,
My personal opinion is that SG does things like this to engender loyalty with people, and they "owe" him later. I don't know this. Just my opinion from talking to people who've known him over the years. Very telling about his character IMHO.
-FG

ezekiel said...

Anybody got a shovel?

EZ 8:7 And he brought me to the door of the court; and when I looked, behold a hole in the wall.

8:8 Then said he unto me, Son of man, dig now in the wall: and when I had digged in the wall, behold a door.

8:9 And he said unto me, Go in, and behold the wicked abominations that they do here.

Bellevue Friend said...

Finance Guy

Be assured, I have been and will contine to pray for you and Bellevue....and long for the day when you and your loved ones and fellow members can bask in the Heaven Sent deliverence that most assuridly will come!

Anonymous said...

Here are a few important changes that would help during these days of crisis in leadership:

I. Pastoral Accountability to the Congregation:
1. A business meeting in accord with Matthew 18 to deal with the issues that remain related to Mark Sharpe and "the Dream"... and any other loose ends that should have been dealt with months ago!!
2. The giving records of the membership and the ministers on staff at Bellevue should never be for pastoral review in any shape, form, or fashion.
3. No church credit cards.
4. An admission Dr. Gaines should have never given $25k to FUMC and an explanation of policy changes to prevent a repeat.
5. A policy for open books on Holy land trips and no overcharging of members. Free tickets for the host and wife are fine but not for anybody else.
6. Full disclosure of ministerial compensation: salary + benefit breakdown, etc.
7. Timely removal from office of ministers guilty of sexual immorality with immediate and timely coordination with the appropriate authorities if any laws have been broken by a minister (no matter how long ago), including thorough investigation of the matter when the minister’s conduct may have affected other church members or their children.

II. Congregational Church governance:
Some of the congregation has awakened to the reality that our church has a set of "lay-elders," a close knit group of men who manage to be appointed to key positions year after year. The rest of the congregation needs to be awakened.

1. Those who are part of this lay-elder "power block" need to step down from positions of influence for a long time. Bellevue needs “new blood” in these key positions.
2. There needs to be the signing of a public conflict of interest form for any member that has any business contract to provide services for the church. These people should not be allowed to serve on committees that review bids for their services.
3. Congregational nomination of and election of all of the Board of Directors as called for in the 1929 bylaws.
4. A quarterly business meeting with open mike Q&A with each committee chairman. **The current bylaws mention "monthly" business meetings! When were they changed??
5. A good updated set of bylaws similar to GBC.
6. A transparent committee selection process.
7. Much greater congregational oversight of the current budget with a transparent policy for consideration of non-budgeted expenditures exceeding a reasonable amount.
8. Thorough communication with the Congregation for ANY capital project well in advance of any vote. Building prayer buildings or any other type of building should be brought through proper channels to the congregation for prayerful consideration--not coerced "rubber stamping." [By the way, Dr. Rogers taught us quite a bit about prayer. As a matter of fact, I believe all of the current buildings ARE prayer buildings already. He and Dr. Whitmire also taught us quite a bit about worship also... but that's another topic].
9. Bellevue needs to reject Warrenism fully and finally.
10. Higher standards should be put in place for the hiring of "ministers." Seminary training should be considered a normal prerequisite.

III. Treatment of ministers on staff at BBC and members:
1. A whistle blower policy for ministers, staff, and members.
2. The end of heavy handed dealing with ministers, staff, and members; and the end of signing non-disclosure statements. All ministers who have been pressured or asked to sign such non-disclosure statements should be released from them in writing by BBC! Former staff should be allowed to address the congregation and/or the deacon body either in writing or in person without any fear of reprisal regarding their exit from BBC. Gaines has confessed to mishandling Dr. Whimire's exit... The congregation now needs to hear from Dr. Whimire--and several others--by letter or in person IN THEIR OWN WORDS. The congregation needs to know how their leadership has treated and is treating ministers who leave the service of our Lord through BBC.
3. Forgiveness for those in leadership who have allowed this to deteriorate to this point--AND consequences for their actions.

All in my opinion as usual.

We are to be “providing things honestly in the sight of all men” (Rom. 12:17). Revival, reform, congregational oversight... for there is level ground at Calvary and "he who would be great among you shall be the servant of all."

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who wanted to be a volunteer worker or teacher in the children`s department.

Before she could be accepted as a volunteer at Bellevue she had to be interviewed.

My friend found out in advance of the interview that they would be asking about any past sexual abuse.

I remember how upsetting this was to my friend because my friend had been a victim of child abuse.

My friend wanted to know ahead of time if this would disqualify a person from volunteering in the children`s department.

I don`t remember the answer that was given.

Does anyone have a copy of the volunteer questionaire for the children`s department?

Does anyone know if a person is disqualified to teach children at Bellevue if they have been a victim of child abuse?

Does anyone know if a person is disqualified to teach children at Bellevue if they have committed child abuse in their past but repented?

Does anyone know if a person is disqualified to teach children at Bellevue if they have been involved in ponography in their past but repented?

David Brown said...

My dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ: I come to this mornging with a very heavy heart. First thing I ask all to take a deep breath and then do it again. Next I ask you to pray and ask that the Lord lead you before you read any further.

I have just gotten confirmation that the abuse did happen. This confirmation came from a representative of Bellevue a few minutes ago.

I was told this happened 17 years ago and it was reported it at that time. Which begs the question, why was this man allowed to stay in the Minstry? I have to question that it was reported 17 years ago, sorry.

At this time, the minster has been relieved of his duties and an investigation is underway. I asked if it had been reported to the authorties and he said he did not know and did not know if there was anything to report. I beg to differ with him on that one.

I also asked him if this minster was still allowed on campus. He told me he did not know that but he was relieved of his duties. I asked him again if he could verify if this man was on campus as recently as yesterday. He did not know the answer to that.

I got the impression they feel this was dealt with 17 years ago. I strongly disagree. What I can say is that until recently Bellevue has had a pedophole on campus for a long time. I don't suggest that he has abused again. I pray it was just this one time but even that is too much. I asked this representative if they knew of someone that had stolen money would they allow him to continue working with money? We all know the answer to that one. My next response was "what steps are you taking to be sure this pedophile is not around our chilren?" Aren't our children more important than money?

Please before you try to hang someone, spend time in prayer. Lots of it in fact. Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you. I am saddend and sick over this but I will not stand for my own church and denomination doing the same thing that the Catholic Church is so guilty of. It simply is not right.

I love you and please do not hate me but I will not stand back and see our children in harm's way. Won't you join me in protest of the way this has been poorly handled?

In HIS hands, HIS severely hurting servant.

David

Finance Guy said...

david brown said...
I also asked him if this minster was still allowed on campus. He told me he did not know that but he was relieved of his duties. I asked him again if he could verify if this man was on campus as recently as yesterday. He did not know the answer to that.

You must have been talking to Harry Smith. That man doesn't know anything that goes on up there!

Anonymous said...

financeguy wrote:

It's clear to me that Bellevue is suffering the consequenses of some corporate sin. I'm not sure what it is, perhaps we stopped worshiping Jesus at some point, and engaged in idol (Adrian) worship. Perhaps we developed to much of a "Belleuve Pride", that we turned away from our first love. Perhaps we got too comfortable with our our large buildings, big bank account, and our "Programs", that we lost the ability to trust in Jesus.

fg,

I think you're onto something. I believe that for many members, Dr. Rogers was our relationship with God. I wouldn't call it idol worship, but we depended on his relationship with God and wisdom instead of developing our own.

Similarly, we depended on Dr. Whitmire to worship for us, or at least motivate us to worship.

I think a good word might be 'laziness'.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

david brown,

Thank you for reporting to us your findings.

We CANNOT let the church administration get by with spin on this. It's been the practice of Steve Gaines and his inner cirlce of men thus far to fabricate to protect themselves.

We need direct answers to hard questions immediately. "I don't know" is not acceptable. If someone is the spokesperson for the church, they need to have the answers before speaking. Why will Steve Gaines not address this situation? With the story being out there for the past month, the church has had to have known for at least that long.

I hope this doesn't call for another standing ovation.

Karen said...

financeguy,

I totally agree with what you've said about us becoming complacent in the fact that we go to Bellevue. I'm guilty of it - when I lived in California, I was just amazed that people had no idea who Adrian Rogers was - my thinking was "how could they not know?" That had nothing to do with Dr. Rogers - it had to do with my pride in my church rather than my love of Jesus. This whole BBC situation has really opened my eyes and I really feel like God is using refiner's fire on us and it really hurts, doesn't it? Woe be to BBC to let everything go on as before. Read Josh's (custos) post from yesterday - it really laid out how "the posse" at BBC has come into their own now that they have a willing participant - Steve Gaines. All the stuff - fences, dreams, etc. - is all just window dressing. The meat of the issue is that men in our church have elevated themselves to a point that only God can knock them off. Well, guys, here comes God's holy wrecking ball!

karen

Karen said...

David Brown,

Thank you for your leadership in this situation. I feel that your courage will bring other men and women in our church to confront what they've been trying to cover up for so long.

Email me if I can help with your organization. I have a real heart for those who have been abused - I have been abused (not by family for those who know mine!!) and really have an understanding of "not wanting anyone to know". Please allow me to assist in any way.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Dave,

My understanding is that it when it came up years ago the knowledge of it was confined to a member of the senior ministry staff who did not report it to the pastor.

Others have worked to confirm this. I believe that this report is accurate.

David Brown said...

Karen: If you go the link that NASS put in you will find my story. Just back up from it and you will be at: www.rememberthesurvivors.com

Love you all. I am so broken to find this true. I wish it were a "dream."

Anonymous said...

David,

Can you tell us who the spokesperson for Bellevue Baptist Church is? Is it Mark Dougharty or Harry Smith?

Karen said...

sackcloth,

I agree with you - I know of 2 ministers on staff under Dr. Rogers that were summarily fired when he found out about incidents of stealing, affairs and homosexual activity. So there's not way I believe Dr. Rogers had any idea this was going on back then. NO WAY!

Karen

David Brown said...

Neither one. I prefer to not mention his name at this point for reason to be revealed later. Please understand and be patient with me.

Anonymous said...

David,

Can you give us any details of what this spokesperson was inferring when speaking about what happened 17 years ago?

These men better not try and put this off on Dr. Rogers. This is a tactic they have used over and over this past year to hide behind. Dr. Rogers is not here to speak of these things so they can say anything they want.

Finance Guy said...

Karen,
True story, I don't know if you remember Ken Varner or not, but he was a respected church organist who played in many SBC churchs before he came to Bellevue. He actually had never heard of BBC or Adrian Rogers before he came here.

I told a friend that, and her response was "I wonder if he's even a Christian if he's never heard of Adrian Rogers". She was serious, and I was seriously taken aback and didn't know respond.

We certainly have thought highly of ourselves over the years.

ezekiel said...

faithnhope,

No, it was idol worship. When you have a personal relationship with anyone or anything that is closer than the personal relationship you have with God then it is idol worship.

The power of the pulpit just naturally seems to be easy to use to create a following of people that show more loyalty to the man in the pulpit than the sovereign God they represent. Pride and ego do that.

Dr. Roger was better at resisting that than most. We apparently now have one that embraces it.

That is how you get Deacon loyalty pledges.....It looks as if some are determined to practice it.

Finance Guy said...

faith/ez,
I stand by my statement. We were certainly lazy, but we were most certainly engaged in some form of idol worship.

Dr. Roger often preached on the law of the harvest. To paraphrase one of his quotes, "We have sown the wind, now it is time to reap the whirlwind".

Anonymous said...

Jim Barnwell is the offical communication person for Bellevue but he usually doesn`t have the facts right either.

Anonymous said...

Are Standing ovations are forms of worship?

ezekiel said...

Israel just had to have a king. Saul did not work out to well for most of the same reasons we face today. The loyalty/worship of his subjects swelled his head so that he turned from God. Started thinking he did it on his own. Got proud.........Sound familiar?

Anonymous said...

Hosea 8

1 "Set the trumpet to your mouth! He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord, Because they have transgressed My covenant And rebelled against My law.
2 Israel will cry to Me, 'My God, we know You!'
3 Israel has rejected the good; The enemy will pursue him.
4 "They set up kings, but not by Me; They made princes, but I did not acknowledge them. From their silver and gold They made idols for themselves-- That they might be cut off.
5 Your calf is rejected, O Samaria! My anger is aroused against them-- How long until they attain to innocence?
6 For from Israel is even this: A workman made it, and it is not God; But the calf of Samaria shall be broken to pieces.
7 "They sow the wind, And reap the whirlwind. The stalk has no bud; It shall never produce meal. If it should produce, Aliens would swallow it up.

Anonymous said...

What is being done about the Bellevue staffer who has been involved in sexual immorality (adultry) ?????

Karen said...

blessme,

David Brown has his facts correct. Please pray for him today and pray for Bellevue.

financeguy,

Welcome to the whirlwind. You have email.

Karen

Anonymous said...

Is Steve Gaines or anyone in leadership investigating the racism allegations that have been made about ministers at Bellevue?

Does anyone have an update on this?

ezekiel said...

Sadly, good kings and bad kings followed Saul. Solomon got proud too. Good kings would come along and try to turn back, then a bad one would return to sin and go even further than the one before him. God sent Jeremiah, Isaiah, Ezekiel to warn the people to turn from their unrighteousness.

Then they had a lot of false prophets telling them that everything would be ok. God is a compassionate God, peace and love, mercy and grace. That did not work out for Israel too well, they got crushed, smote witht he sword. Banned into captivaty.

Do we just have to repeat history????? Do we just have to have a king??? I thought Jesus came as the King of all Kings, High priest, Good Shepherd. Yet we still turn to our earthly kings. Happy with Gaines yet?

ezekiel said...

bwmtt, standing ovations, worship?

Yea, I think so. Been looking like it anyway.

Karen said...

ezekiel,

"We're human" is such pat answer, but I have no other. No I'm not happy with Steve Gaines - never have been. I think this is refiner's fire - that's all I can say.

karen

Karen said...

blessme,

Keep the faith - I really think God is dealing with BBC today, right now, this minute. All that is wrong will be made right - one way or another.

karen

ezekiel said...

Karen,

You are right, we are all human. You may be right about the refiners fire. That may be the same as the fiery serpents God sends to us to bite us. Num 21:6.

Only by turning to the cross will we be delivered from death.

I might be using the wrong words but we have been taught grace and mercy so much and so long that we started to belive that that is what covers our sins, we can live as we want to and His grace and mercy will cover us.

I like to look at it as but if it were not for his grace and mercy he would kill us on the spot rather than give us 7X700 chances to turn to Him. He keeps begging, sends us the Bible so we would have a lot better chance than Israel and we won't even read it, run around looking to kings.

I gotta get of this thing...I will check in later.....

Anonymous said...

ezekiel,

I don't share your definition of idolatry. I believe that an idol is anything we count on for salvation other than God. I'd call loving worldly things more than the Lord adultery.

ezekiel said...

Faithnhope,

I look at adultery as the sin you commit against Jesus (we are his bride) when we commit the act of idolatry (placing our relationship with anything or anyone above our relationship with Jesus. I can idolize my money, my wife or my pastor among other things.

You may be right, but personally< I like mine better. But I think we can agree that both definitions are bad for us...

Anonymous said...

We most definitely agree on that!!!

Karen said...

ez & faith,

AWWW, y'all made up! :)

I agree with both of ya!

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

Greetings to you, my dear brothers and sisters in Christ!

It is with a broken heart that I write this note to you this morning.

We learned the identity of the man who sexually abused his son and sent him a copy of our letter to Pastor Steve in hopes that he would see the light.

Moments ago I received official confirmation that the sexual abuse is factual and Pastor Steve and other ministers at our church knew about it, so there is no further reason for us to hope it is not true.

We are devastated.

This all comes down to one thing in Brother Charles and my opinion and that is this:

There is an acute lack of love within the leadership
of Bellevue.

Love would have moved hurridly to walk out the scriptures by removing the minister for several reasons.

Let me share some of those reasons with you.

Love would move quickly to protect and help and
support the abuser`s victim.

Love would move quickly to
correct, help, and support the abuser.

Love would move quickly to protect the world community from the abuser.

Love would move quickly to protect the Bride of Christ.

Love would move quickly to protect the work of Christ at Bellevue.

The lack of love is a grievous sin to have among the brethren but I am afraid it is all too true.

Weep for our dear church brethren who are linked to this sin and let us pray fervently for them and each other.

Love never fails, but the lack of Love within us will always bring us to failure.

Let`s us be committed to Love each other as Christ loves us.

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,

Sister Pam

Anonymous said...

Hello Bellevue,

I have been in the stands watching this conflict for months. I can remain silent no longer.

More than twenty-five years ago I was repeatedly victimized by a family member. I vividly remember his warm breath on my neck, the odor of beer stinging my nostrils. I remember the scratch of his whiskers on my innocent face. Members of my family knew about this and did nothing. They remained silent and to this day refuse to openly discuss it. I was often left in this man’s care so my mother could go on dates and spend weekend with friends. My own mother enabled my abuse! This same man victimized others in my family as well. The Lord has strengthened me and has helped me lead a normal life in spite of what happened to me. His other victims have not been so lucky. I know first hand the heartache of incest. God can heal you, but you never forget. It is with me every day of my life. Incest ruins lives. It ruins families, usually for generations.

A few years ago I volunteered to serve in Bellevue’s nursery. As part of the screening process I admitted I was the victim of child sexual abuse, so I was asked to counsel with a Bellevue minister. I willingly submitted to the requested counseling. I told this man what happened to me in detail. He prayed for me and he described the tremendous efforts of Bellevue to prevent child molesters from accessing our children. I felt good knowing what our church was doing and it reassured me my own children were safe.

I have learned the identity of the child molester at Bellevue. I have learned the very man I counseled with is himself a pedophile. I cannot describe the anger I feel right now. I am grief stricken when I remember my counseling session with this “man of God.” He asked for intimate details. I thought it was strange at the time, but I answered him fully. What was he thinking about while I described my childhood terror? I was forced to relive my experience in front of a man who probably enjoyed what I told him. I call that spiritual rape! Am I the only one this happened to?

Bellevue, regardless of how you feel about any other issue in this conflict, please unite to condemn our church’s actions. This accused pedophile still works for Bellevue today! I have lost all respect for our pastor and anyone else who helped hide this man’s sin. I know the pain that I experienced when my family ‘looked the other way’ and kept silent. My heart breaks for the victims of this minister. I grieve for the additional pain heaped on them by those who knew and did nothing. The pastor and all of this man’s protectors must leave our church NOW!

Some of you have screamed “touch not mine anointed.” What are we to do when “mine anointed” have touched us?

Karen said...

kicked,

God bless you! I feel so bad for you regarding your past experiences. It happened to me too, but not by a family member. I am well familiar with the shame you must have felt.

God is in control of Bellevue, things are moving and coming out in His time. Trust me - keep praying for Bellevue today.

God Bless!

Karen

I love my church said...

Kickedinthegut,

I wish I knew you so I could wrap my arms around and tell you God loves you, Bellevue loves you, and I love you. When I read your statement the full impact of this struck me for the first time. I am sorry my church put you through this unnecessary pain. I am ashamed of many men I once thought so highly of.

I will pray for you.

choice_is_yours said...

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for the testimony of the brothers and sisters who **You** have walked with as they have carried the heaviest imaginable cross of wounds inflicted by others.

Father,
Help us to love the sinners while we purge the sin.

Father,
This prayer is so unworthy. Please give others better words to pray than these that are so below the mark.

In Jesus's name,
AMEN.


Sin is ***all around us.***

We have only Jesus to turn to.

And he is sufficient. He is GLORIOUSLY sufficeint. And he reigns alone in his sufficiency.

-----------------------


click to listen


1. O holy night, the stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth;
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn;


Chorus
Fall on your knees, Oh hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night, when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine.



2. Led by the light of Faith serenely beaming
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand
So led by light of a star sweetly gleaming
Here come the wise men from Orient land
The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger
In all our trials born to be our friend.


Chorus
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger;
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!
Behold your King! Before Him lowly bend!


3. Truly He taught us to love one another
His law is love and His gospel is peace
Chains shall He break, for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.
Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.

Chorus
Christ is the Lord, O praise His name forever!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!
His pow'r and glory evermore proclaim!



******
Franco-Prussian War

There is an unsubstantiated (but frequently repeated) story that this carol figured prominently on Christmas Eve, 1870, during the Franco-Prussian War. The story goes that, unexpectedly, a French soldier jumped out of his trench and sang Cantique de Noël. Moved by the song, the Germans did not fire upon the French soldier, and inspired by the sentiment, a German soldier emerged from his trench and sang Luther's Vom Himmel hoch da komm ich her, a popular Christmas hymn from his country ("From Heaven Above To Earth I Come"). The beautiful Austrian carol, Stille Nacht! Heilige Nacht!, was also reportedly sung by soldiers in trenches on both sides.

A similar exchange would occur during World War I on Christmas Eve, 1914. See: A Carol from Flanders.

Anonymous said...

Karen and I Love My Church,

Thank you for your concern and your kindness. I am doing fine and I don't want any sympathy for myself. I want our church to wake up from their slumber, their apathy, and demand ACTION! I want them to understand the consequences of covering sin. They must understand inaction exacts a price. That price is the innocence of a child or someone like me forced to relive my experiences to titilate his sick imagination.

As a child I took great comfort in the church. This minister's victims did not even get that. Instead Bellevue has enabled and shielded this man. It makes me ANGRY!

Anonymous said...

When you turn 65 at BBC, the rule is you must retire from the church except for the Pastor.

Why did we hire David Coombs to start in Jan, 2007 when he is almost 62 years old?

Will the rule be changed for him?

Is this another mistake of the mind?

2006Huldah said...

To Westtnbarrister:

Regarding your questions in your 8:14 AM post today, I just wanted to say "thank you" for listing these very basic items on this particular sexual abuse issue. All of these should have already been asked or done by those who are supposedly handling the crime and have access to the offender and his family. Your list sets in down in a plain and simple way that addresses ALL the main points.

Memphismom02 said...

I know who this staff member is, and I cannot BELIEVE that he has been allowed (encouraged???) to remain on staff at BBC. On Wednesday nights I sat in s series on (of all things!) PARENTING !!! How wrong was that!!!

We have all greeted this man in the hallways and even paid his salary! Wrong!

On Sunday morning the violinists are supposed to look all pretty and play Christmas carols while members enter to worship. The children's Bible Fellowship classes are supposed to have a "Happy Birthday Jesus" party in their classes. Here we are trying to celebrate the birth of our Lord, and this nonsense is going on in our church.

What's gonna happen? Will SG get up in front of the church and make another lame apology (in case this sin "has offended anyone...")? Whatever he says, he can't be counted on to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

Bellevue definitely needs some human intervention. You think Dr. Phil is available? What about someone from Focus on the Family? They thought so highly of Dr. Rogers and his ministry.

ezekiel said...

The intervention needed is for the deacons to find some guts and put a stop to this stuff. Clean house and start over. Start with the Deacon leadership and move up. Purge the sin, grind up the calf and spend the next 40 days and night fasting and asking God to spare Bellevue.

ezekiel said...

Oh yea, and the rest of us have work to do as well. We need to put enough pressure on the Deacons to get it done.

Anonymous said...

Some of us are well... less informed. While I am a member of Bellevue, and have been for well over 20 years... I have no clue as to the staff member involved. I think that it is important for us to know, at a minimum, the position that the person holds... otherwise, I feel it only necessary to pull my children from Sunday school and the nursery until such time as the person is publically identified.

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

To kicked

Loving greetings to you dear one.

I am weeping over your physical abuse and the fact that you and the rest of us who love the truth and want the church to be the spotless Bride that GOD has intended her to be, are being spiritually abused even as I write.

When I read that you were counseled by the man who molested his son, I just could not hold my tears back.

What a lack of integrity our ministers had in placing this person in that position.

Not only was it wrong for you to have to share you abuse with him but he was placed in a postion that could easily cause him to stumble right back into a child abusing situation again.

I have to say it again:

There is a lack of love at the bottom of all of these things.

When we first contacted the church with our concerns about many things, we wanted to talk to Pastor Steve and I was put on hold forever it seemed.

Then a man came on the phone whom I thought was Pastor Steve but as we talked I thought to ask him who he was and he told me his name.

When I learned the name of the man who abused his son, I realized he was the same man that my call was handed off to that day.

He was the man I first shared our heart concerns with and he told me that nothing we were concerned about was true and that we had nothing to worry about, then he offered to pray with me.

Something just did not set well with us and so we continue in our pursuit for truth and we found it.

I feel extremely betrayed by our church and I feel there will be many who will feel the same once they find out the truth.

A strong mountain is slowly melting before us but the LORD will not forsake his remnant children.

I wish I could give you a hug.

Here is my phone number if you need to talk to someone.

383-7969

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,

Sister Pam

choice_is_yours said...

Just a rhetorical queston. Please don't direct any responses to me. I'm just "wondering out loud."

Is it possible to love and be angry at the same time?

I know God has shown his anger. I know God loves us. Does he do it at the same time?

How are we supposed to love sinners while being angry at sin?

Why does that **seem** "impossible?" Why does God say that this is what he wants us to do?

WOUNDEDANDBLEEDING said...

This is the letter we sent to Pator Steve, Brother Chuck Taylot and Brother Mark Spiller concerning the racism allegations made by a former Bellevue staff person.

We have received no reply from any of out brothers.

We called Brother Phil Weatherwax and asked him if he had ever used racial slurs as described and he said he had not and did not even have an idea as to who the former staff person could be.

We feel that this issue is worthy of investigation.

November 07, 2006

Greetings to you in the most holy name of Jesus!

Dear Brothers, please read this and let me know if you have any knowledge of this.

Is there a mission minister at Bellevue who would dare call someone a Jiggaboo Boy?

Is there anyone who would counsel anyone against marrying outside of their race?

I pray not!

If it is proven to be true can you just imagine what 20/20 would do with information like this? I don`t think we are far from seeing a full fledge scandal at our church, if the following words are true and verifiable and so I beg you, with all my heart, please find our if this is true.

Would you happen to know the brother who wrote this? If so, please let me know who it si and send me his contact information.

Would you happen to know the minister of missions that he speaks of? If so, please let me know who he is and his contact information.

As I was writing this note to you, my little 4 year old daughter came to me and said "Mommy, why are you crying?".

Then her two little sisters came running to me and they all wrapped their little arms around me and started crying with me. One of them pushed a little stuffed leopard into my arms and said "Here, Mommy, this will help you". So, here we are all crying, so I had to grab hold of myself and stop the tears. All of the recent issues at Bellevue have taken quite a toll on me personally and I so long for a peaceful end to all of this.

I don`t know if you would even consider a suggestion from me, but in love, I want to suggest that you, Brother Steve, call for a day of Repentance for our entire church. A service where we might all come together and each person could stand as they felt led to, and then confess our sins openly, one to another, ask for forgiveness, and start the path to healing and true repentance. I promise to go first if you will do this. What a revival this could be for our church!

If you find this man`s letter to be valid, I beg you to bring those involved to the light of Love and help them to see how unloving their actions are.

Please remember that I am writing to you with love in my heart for all of you and a sincere desire to see reconciliation amoung our brethren.

Under HIS wings and in HIS love,
Sister Pam
Bellevue Baptist Church - My True Story
In lieu of the recent events happenening with my former church, I wanted to share my story, my concerns, and my hopes for the future as well as why I believe this has happened.

Thursday, October 26, 2006
FORMER STAFF MEMBER BREAKING RANKS
I recently saw this post at www.thecronline.com/news.php and wanted to post it here in response to Jim Barnwell's statement about staff members:

"The church’s director of communications, however, described the level of discontent with Gaines’ leadership as overestimated because of the use of the Internet sites and other non-traditional forums. Jim Barnwell told Baptist Press that this was evidenced by the fact “not one” former or current staff member, past deacon chairman or member of what Bellevue calls its board of directors had “broken ranks and joined the opposition because the allegations are simply not true.” "

Well, I am a former staff member (which can be verified) who has joined the opposition, or opposition as Mr. Barnwell sees it.

It is not so much opposition as it is people who seek the truth and see what Bellevue can be when it is truly in the will of God. Want to know also? Look at the entire ministry of Dr. Adrian Rogers.

Clean as a whistle, and he didn't need people like Barnwell out in the public talking for him. Adrian took it all upon himself. These questions should be answered by those of whom they are asked, not a low-level PR firm.

How ridiculous. I encourage y'all to read the Church Report online site - interesting view on the whole situation.

More on my life at Bellevue soon, and God bless you for your time!

<><
posted by Never put your faith in men! at 2:55 AM 0 comments

Monday, October 16, 2006
Phil Weatherwax is full of hot air and always has been
I was going to get on here and finish up talking about my story at Bellevue, and I will get to that at some point. But in lieu of the things that have transpired with Phil "I used to be a hitman for the mob" Weatherwax attacking Josh Manning, I am jumping straight ahead to why I quit.

I have a special reason for starting this blog, one which I started long before the emails between Josh Manning and Phil Weatherwax began. Now, seeing what has transpired and seeing how similar it is to what happened to me when I quit Bellevue (quit working, teaching, and coaching) I feel led to respond and respond with stuff that happened while I was on staff and right after I left.

My goal is not to smear anyone or attack or belittle anyone, please know my heart; I believe the truth should be told about these Gestapo-like tactics (which that is exactly what they are - look at the story of Mark Sharpe to understand even more) which do nothing but hinder and tear down.

The purpose of church, much to the business-minded staff at Bellevue, is to EDIFY THE BODY OF CHRIST. This is why Adrian Rogers was ALWAYS OPEN about what he made each year, he turned down umpteen raises for his own reasons, and he was transparent with all of us who were blessed enough to serve under him. Asking this new pastor to do the same is not only necessary, it is the GODLY thing to do.

I was of basically impeccable status as far as my involvement at Bellevue. When I started there, I was fed the whole line of "to really get the small church feel of Bellevue, you have to get involved". I attended College Sunday School for 3 years every week, went to College Bible Study on Monday nights every time the doors were opened, met my fiance (who went as much as I did then died when we were in our second year of dating) and I worked on staff in the Activities Ministry.

While I was working there (which was a dream come true for me, for I felt like God was leading me into full-time minsitry) I left the College Ministry after the 3 years to pursue a 3 year Sunday School teaching stint in the children's ministry. It was very blessed and a blessing to me, and I just want to fill in the gaps before someone tries shooting holes in them :P

I did it all, coaching sports, teaching sunday school, working summer camps, you name it I did it, and I did every bit of it for Jesus. The more I did, though, the more I was trading my personal relationship with Jesus for acts of service - something that is WRONG.

I bought everything that the church was selling, and looking at Mr. Weatherwax initial letter to Josh Manning, sadly the Nazi-style brainwashing has not stopped even after Adrian went home. And, I can say this because I dealt with Mr. Weatherwax (and all the ministers on staff) on a daily basis most of the time. Let me mention Adrian though, since Phil wants to throw his name around and use it like a sword which he has no business even picking up.

Dr. Rogers was like a spiritual dad to me, and it crushed me when he went home. I cannot imagine the celebration he received, and I know exactly what he did - he ran to Jesus and held on to His feet, just like he said he always would. For Mr. Weatherwax to defer to Dr. Rogers in the way he did in his responses and then to have the gall to place the church above Jesus (which anyone who reads what Weatherwax writes to Manning with an open mind CANNOT DENY) - proves nothing has changed behind the scenes at Bellevue. I will explain more shortly.

I left my staff position at Bellevue in 2001 shortly after starting a new job working nights at a local railroad. The reason I had to leave my staff position was the money, let's be honest: I was being paid less than someone who works at a fast food restaurant for what I did, working part time for the Activities ministry while going to school. My hours were cut significantly when they started hiring other staffers who needed more money (which was fine with me because I was a single student and these people were HEADS OF FAMILIES who were going to seminary and making the CRAP I was making... which was ridiculous) , but the thing that crushed me about working on staff was realizing that Bellevue is, at it's core, a business. Period.

Let me say that there is nothing singlehandedly wrong with that, nor do I fault the church for my own misgivings. But I saw things and heard things there that crushed me. Like when the minister of missions called me his "jiggaboo boy" in front of two other witnesses. This statement was made when I was doing mulitple jobs in one day.

And this brings me to Mr. Weatherwax, the long time minister of inner-city missions. This, the same man who went to the fiance (at the time) of my best friend - my best friend is a Mexican - and chastised her for dating outside of her race. Subsequently, she broke up with him WHILE IN SPAIN on the advice of both Mr. Weatherwax and her dad, a former missionary to South America. As the song says, "We are one in the bond of love".

This, the same minister of inner-city missions who brings up dirt on other people that is not true (refer to the Josh Manning emails here ->www.bellevuetruth.blogspot.com) - it is time that someone who has seen behind the scenes tell the truth.

Someone who was ostracized when he left - I was demonized and called every name under the sun when I left Bellevue. The kids that I taught and coached and watched grow up were told I left my faith, they were told I was having raucous sex and partying, one family was even told I was a pagan. Why? Because I couldn't take what I was seeing anymore. Not because I abandoned my life to a sinful life of debauchery!

I knew Dr. Rogers had no idea what was going on behind the scenes, at least not totally. There was no possible way for him to know with a ministry that large. But the people who he left in place to run the church, the people who were SALIVATING for his retirement (I remember instances in staff meetings where people were guessing who was going to be his replacement - 5 years prior to his stepping down!!!) they either became sick with power or straight up sinful with worldly desires.

Please let me state that not everyone at Bellevue was that way, and many of the ministers and deacons were and are great men of God, men whom helped mold many ways I think and study to this day.

There are the true stories I heard up until the time that I quit that Steve Gaines was approached on several occasions about stepping in for Adrian when he retired and Steve said no repeatedly.

I used to love Steve Gaines, and I remember every instance of his coming to Bellevue the whole 6-7 years I served there. Everytime there would be a powerful moving of the Spirit (or so I used to believe) and God would do amazing things through the revivals (though they weren't categorized that way) that occurred when Steve would come preach.

I also remember a little over a year ago when I heard that Steve was the new pastor. My jaw hit the floor and I called other people who used to work with me on staff at Bellevue - most of whom work at other Baptist churches around the metro area. No one could believe it, because we had all heard how Steve had turned it down so many times.

I even used to tell people that, if God called Steve to pastor Bellevue, I would surely go back. Thankfully God has my family serving at a great church where He is present and at work, and with all of these truths coming to light I am glad I am not there.

Again, there are great people at Bellevue - literally thousands of them. But even great people are misled many times, mainly because the people they trust and look to lie to them, or distort the truth - even blame SATAN for things that are just flat out sins.

I will be called the devil, things will be said about me again, but people who know me know my heart and cannot argue how God worked in me and on me while I was at Bellevue.

To staffers and ministers at Bellevue - you want to attack people with slander and make things up, I am one whom you did it to for a while after I left. You did everything you could to tarnish my name and try to bring to nothing the ministry that Jesus blessed me with and through. Thankfully, the kids and people I worked with whom I see out know the truth. They saw through the lies about me, they will see through the lies about Josh Manning and Mark Sharpe and everyone else you come out against, and they will see the truth about you. You can't fool all of the people all of the time. Jesus said "Unto whom much is given, much shall be required".

Time you start telling the truth.
posted by Never put your faith in men! at 7:41 PM 0 comments

Thursday, September 28, 2006
What I am all about ...
I am a former member of Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tennessee. I worked on staff there for a little over 4 years. I coached all manner of sporting teams, I worked as a volunteer on numerous occasions, and I taught Sunday school for a little over 5 years. I was heavily involved in Bible Fellowship classes, evangelism workshops, and gave my all to Jesus through the church body.

I have been a Christian since Jesus saved me in 1994 at the age of 19. I was an active member of Bellevue from 1996 until 2003, when God called me to another city to live and work for a time. It is this time in my life (while at Bellevue) that I will delve into while writing these posts.

I was so excited when I started going to Bellevue. I was not raised in church; I was saved in my apartment on the floor of my room after a long and dark period in my life. God saved me and delivered me of His own accord and grace and literally changed every single thing about me.

For about a year after my salvation, I prayed and searched for a church home. I always said I would never go to Bellevue, because it was just too big and even if God said so, I was not going. As God would have it, I joined the church in January of 1996.

Immediatley I felt like I was home, every Sunday was a treat and I was happy as a lark. God was growing me during the week and on the weekends, sitting under the tutilige of Adrian Rogers while worshipping the Lord Jesus was the best thing ever to me.

I wanted to be involved, I wanted to be engaged, and it was the perfect place for a shy, coy college guy like myself: large enough to get lost in but also large enough to be involved and not get submerged in the politics ... so I thought.

Before you knew it, I was a volunteer in the gym one night a week. The Lord was blessing me with a heart for ministry like I never imagined. I got to know some of the people on staff and was given the opportunity to coach soccer and basketball. I became more and more involved as the year went on.

About a year later, in 1997, I was working in corporate sales and going to school at night. I had been driving through the church parking lot the day prior and telling my mom "Boy, it would be great to work at church"; as the saying goes, "From your lips to God's ears".

The next day, in September of 1997, I received a call from the then-director of Activities to come in and meet with him. He told me that he and the other staffers had been talking and they thought I would make a great addition to the team as a part-time staffer. I was more than elated and I began the interview process the next week.

Thinking back, I was a relatively young Christian and was not ready to believe what i now KNOW to be a FACT, one that I had heard over and over from my non-believer friends: CHURCH IS A BUSINESS. I was such a Bellevue-ite that I never thought about it being that way. For anyone who is offended by my statement, look at any of the past 10 years' love offering amounts, or maybe the yearly operating budget - and then let's talk.

I am not hating on the church for being a business, please do NOT let me be mistaken. I wish I would have had the mind then that I have now in order to see more clearly. But I did learn so very much I am sure this is how God wanted it.

After an arduous interview process, and after the higher-ups in the church admin had determined that I was truly "saved" enough (Phil Weatherwax makes me sick) I was hired on as a part-time staffer while in college.

In order to keep some order, I will end here and start the next chapter on a different post. Thanks for listening!



posted by Never put your faith in men! at 1:01 AM 0 comments

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Location:Memphis, Tennessee, United States
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Anonymous said...

Kicked,

I am physically ill after reading about your experience. I was nearly in the same situation except that I lied on the forms required to volunteer. I most likely would have been sent to this same person for ‘counseling’ were it not for my dishonesty. Or maybe I was just protecting myself. It seems unfair that a victim must relive past abuse over and over. I refused to have a hard copy of my abuse, with my name attached to it, filed away somewhere in the church. I’m so sorry for what has happened to you. We can look forward to heaven when all this pain will be no more.

It grieves me to know that this man was placed in this position with his history. He should have been in prison - not in the church counseling victims.

Anonymous said...

When I came to Bellevue I had never heard of Adrain Rodgers. I surely never idolized him but I did love him. The reason why? Because when Adrian preached the Word of God, I saw the Lord, not Adrian, High and lifted up. Now I see a man.

I never hear of Mr. Whitmier, but I loved him. Why? Because when I walked into the sanctuary I heard music and songs and hymns that transported me into the presence of Jesus and I got lost thinking about Him. I never thought of Mr. Whitmeir. Now? LOUD noise and clashing cymbols and drumbs that hurt my ears and words far too often than tell me what a wonderful person and worshiper I AM and sing away about ME and how much I LOVE and how well I WORSHIP.

I know for myself, I loved these men because they dissapeared and I saw the Lord and learned of HIM.

I even loved Bellevue and was able to worship when we had no pastor for that year.

choice_is_yours said...

Perhaps.... (and only perhaps)... we should be cautious about being angry AT sinners...?

Because, the Bible is clear:

In your anger do *not* sin.

What examples does Jesus give of rebuking people by name?

How exactly did Jesus rebuke Judas? What was the punishmnet?

How exactly did Jesus rebuke Peter? What was the punishmnet?

How else did Jesus punish anyone in his brief time with us? He never removed anyone from office. He never sought to have anyone put in jail or sued. He never tried to influence elections. He never called down fire like two of his disciples requested. He never brought tidal waves to crush unrepentant towns on the Galilea.

He never played games with sin. He hated sin and cast out demons and rebuked Satan. He always called sin, "SIN."

He chiefly sought to see people's hearts changed. To seek and to save that which was lost.

What can we do in this situation to inspire people to change their own hearts????


I really feel that it is time to put all of this on hold until after the holidays.

Anonymous said...

Put it on hold for the holidays? Are you kidding? These are OUR children we are talking about. Does anyone know if the minister involved is working with children or how long he has?

choice_is_yours said...

Our greatest command is to love God.

If we do not feel that we are worshipping God in a way that pleases God, then we need to put all of this situation to the side and focus on God.

Do not let other people's problems interfere with your God's receipt of worship from you. It is the primary duty of each of us as Christians.

Christmas is one of the primary seasons of worship that God receives. Let not any this interfere. After Christmas, the situation and the blog will still exist and God will still be in Heaven.

choice_is_yours said...

Their will be no conclusive end to this particular story before Christmas is over. Just accept that.

If you are concerned about your children, then make alternate arrangements for their care. There are multiple safe options available.

That's any parent's responsibility.

Don't let this situation come between you and God getting worship from you that satisfies him.

imho

CH said...

Once more, to be clear:

This minister does not directly work with children in any way that I am aware of. His responsibilities are in an entirely different area of the church, both geographically and ministerially.

moosergs said...

Rod, what you wrote is the same way I used to feel at Bellevue. I miss both of those gentlemen.

Anonymous said...

Choice Is Yours-
So, does God say we are to worship him primarily at Christmas? I don't think so. We are to worship him all year, every day. If my child comes to me hurt or in need, I would not respond "Well, let's address this after Christmas and not ruin our holiday". This issue could involve any of our children and must be addressed. It should not be "put on a shelf" to deal with later. I do agree that this should not interfere with your worship. Amazingly, all of this has drawn me in closer to God.

I love my church said...

CH said...
Once more, to be clear:

"This minister does not directly work with children in any way that I am aware of. His responsibilities are in an entirely different area of the church, both geographically and ministerially."


As far as I know that statement is correct. However, refer to kickedinthegut's statement. His victims are not just children!

We cannot take time off for Christmas. This must be dealt with now. We owe it to everyone ever victimized by this man.

I am an old tough guy. Today I have tears in my eyes over Bellevue.

moosergs said...

Why on earth should someone have to make alternate plans to make sure their children are safe at Bellevue. I have an option, send the mininster home pending further investigation. I believe that should have been done the first time anyone at Bellevue heard of this situation. I think some of you people have lost your minds.

I love my church said...

mooseregs,

The church has admitted the truth of the story. What is there to investigate? I am not picking at you. I think we are in agreement. I just do not know what leeway anyone has here. What are they thinking?

choice_is_yours said...

God expects us to care for our children.

If your child is hurt, attend to your child.

Please try to get my main point.

Yes "this" (the **entire** debate about BBC's place and function in the universe) needs to go on hold until after Christmas, ten days from now.

I will be **very** surprised if the minister in question is fired. Apparently this is an old story that is new only to this blog.

Yes it is outrageous. But now what?

I'm going to worship God. I am not ashamed.

Anonymous said...

I could be wrong here, but couldn't any minister or leader who knows about this minister's vile acts and fails to notify the authorities be breaking a law as well. Essentially, the leadership is harboring a criminal here.

The guy needs to be outed and sent to jail for his abuses.

moosergs said...

Your right, I don't know when and how this information came out. I feel that whenever it was the man should have been escorted to the door and the police should have been contacted. I know one thing, he should not be at Bellevue and people should have no concerns about the safety of their children. It's even hard for me to believe that this situation is happening. Does anyone know if the police were contacted?

Anonymous said...

A little over a year ago, a group of Bellevue members were assembled (without the input of the congregation) to search for a new pastor that would become our shephard. From the beginning of this process, something didn't seem right. Whether it was the way the committee was selected or the way in which the committee operated in secrecy, something just didn't seem right. Then, after the selection process we saw this group give themselves credit for doing a wonderful job over and over in a nausiating way.

Up until the morning of Steve Gaines coming, the church was not allowed to hear anything about this man. Immediately upon his arrival, Steve Gaines began to show arrogance and a lack of love for his sheep. Staff members were appaled as well as members. Fences were being jumped in the name of love when the real reason was intimidation.

When questions were asked, members were told to go elswhere if they didn't like the way things were being run. Godly men and women were asking legitimate questions and for some reason, the men closest to Steve Gaines began to protect him.

We are beginning to see the consequences of turning our backs on God. God is exposing our church for who we are. Are we going to wake up and run to Jesus or are we going to continue to make excuses and play dumb to questions? Today's the day. Not tomorrow, that we as a church demand from our leaders to do the right thing.

What is the right thing? I believe our deacons need to call an emergency meeting and call for someone respected in the Southern Baptist Convention to step in while we clean house. Steve Gaines and Mark Dougharty need to resign immediately. Chuck Taylor, Harry Smith, Steve Tucker, Jeff Arnold, John Caldwell, Bryan Miller, John Crockett, along with Phil Weatherwax need to resign as well from their positions of leadership. These men have been part of the coverup and part of the problem before Steve Gaines arrived.

Deacons, we the membership of Bellevue are crying out for leaders to rise up and do the right thing.

How much judgement do we have to indure before we wake up? What else is next?

allofgrace said...

I think finance guy makes some very valid points..whether it's "Adrian" worship or some other idol...or just plain spiritual laziness..or spiritual adultery...there's obviously some house cleaning about to take place. I think it's time to rend our hearts and cry out to God. This is not just a Bellevue problem either...I've been following the folks who keep a finger on the pulse of the SBC...I agree with their assessments...we've strayed from God and become proud...we've lost the Biblical gospel, and gone the way of Balaam...and now is our comeupance. We honor men more than God..we take pride in our numbers, but forget the God who adds to His church..we think God is somehow impressed with us, and yet we can't see how poor, blind and naked we are. We think we have His preferred favor, but I believe He's given us enough rope to hang ourselves with. God have mercy on us, and grant us repentance.

moosergs said...

AMEN, swtt I hope I didn't say it to loud.

choice_is_yours said...

allofgrace

AMEN!


Additional note: more than just baptists have fallen in the way you have eloquently described. Let's get the ball rolling here. Let's get our Memphis leaders to help us "push" this ball.

choice_is_yours said...

Does anyone really think BBC is the only church in America with problems?

BBC may have the best chance for leading many churches back from luke warm "end justifies the means" corruption.

Look at how nice BBC looks from the outside.

Now think of how nice so many other churches look from the outside.

This is not just about baptists.

I highly suggest we spend the majority of the next ten days with Christmas as our focus.

Take time and think on all that we have learned in the past three months and consider how to apply the lessons learned across many churches that are playing "cover up" games 100 times as bad as what we have seen here at BBC.

Stop focusing on removing people and start thinking upon how to inspire them to change their hearts. How can we set examples?

choice_is_yours said...

Are you worried about children being safe at BBC?


(Sit down before you read this next part).

Sex abuse scandals are occuring in churches all across denominations and the country.

Adultery is epidemic. Racism, too.

Don't focus so much on BBC.

BBC can be used by God in a huge way, if we get our hearts right, leaders and non-leaders.

We need all of our existing leaders and all of our existing members for this purpose. This is not the right time to purge people. We need to purge sin.

Karen said...

choice,

We can inspire people by removing pastors that participate in immoral and illegal activities. By taking whatever action is necessary, to me, is very inspiring.

And, you're right, this may not be "all over" by Christmas, but it was going on last Christmas - I think the time has come to clean house.

As I said earlier today, it was going to take alot to knock these men in leadership at BBC off their pedistals and look out! Here comes God's holy wrecking ball!

Karen

Anonymous said...

Choice, I would have probably agreed with you if the pedophile issue had not come to light. Since there is a pedophile in an minister role, action has to be taken now, not later.

Karen said...

Choice,

While I respect and understand your position, I think it best that we focus on Bellevue Baptist Church - when we get more healthy, we can then help others around the state, country and world. It's like world hunger-feed your family before you take on the world.

Karen

choice_is_yours said...

Koragg and Karen,

God bless you for reading my comments, considering whether to agree with me, coming to your own conclusion, and taking time to reply to me with your very gently presented decision to disagree.

I truly appreciate everyone here and the continuing efforts ever to increase the Christ-likeness in the way of speaking with each other.

God bless you both.
Choice

choice_is_yours said...

(offline)

StumblingServant said...

What do you mean wait until after Christmas? What for? They've already waited 17 years. Isn't that long enough. I cannot believe that our "leaders" have "rolled the dice" with this guy for 17 years. Just how many victims like the ones above have yet to come forward.

Outrageous, unexcusable. Bellevue's biggest disgrace.

New BBC Open Forum said...

swtt,

Re your 4:37 p.m. comments...

Amen!

New BBC Open Forum said...

stumblingservant wrote:

"They've already waited 17 years. Isn't that long enough. I cannot believe that our "leaders" have "rolled the dice" with this guy for 17 years. Just how many victims like the ones above have yet to come forward."

I don't for one second think this was known for 17 years, and it certainly wasn't known by Dr. Rogers or he would have taken care of the problem swiftly and decisively. But it has been known by Steve Gaines and at least one other staff minister for at least a few weeks if not longer.

Your last question concerns me, too.

NASS

allofgrace said...

The scuttlebutt says that the staff "protected" Dr. Rogers from any knowledge of the offense. If that's true, and the staff member or members are still in place..they need to go too. If it's not true..they need to retract that statement..and quick.

StumblingServant said...

Bellevue leadership should not have waited 17 minutes to act on this after it was confirmed that it was true. The risk is just not justified. These are our children and we must protect them at all cost and err on the side of caution.

Karen said...

aog,

I agree - I really feel in my heart that Dr. Rogers couldn't have known about it. He has dealt with sin (whatever it was) among his staff swiftly and I really don't think he would have overlooked this one.

We probably will never know for sure since it would be too easy for those "in the know" to blame it on Dr. Rogers (I'd like to see them try!) who can't defend himself or answer.

Karen

allofgrace said...

I find it hard to believe this was "dealt with" 17 yrs ago.

Karen said...

aog,

Yeah, it depends on when the adult child came forward - If he went to Dr. Rogers, we wouldn't be talking about it now, except in the past tense.

Karen

StumblingServant said...

Choice

I cannot be as liberal as others on this forum in "respecting or understanding" your position on this issue.

Usually I see your name and just scroll-on-by, but this time it caught my eye.

For weeks, your attempts at changing the topic and dissuading the conversations when things get "uncomfortable" are obvious and laughable.

But in the current circumstance, to try to divert this string by suggesting that other churches have the same problem is rediculous and irrelevant.

We are indeed responsible for doing all that we can to help others with these type conflicts, but first we need to get our own house in order. Else, who would accept our help with this stain on our garments?

Healer, heal thyself.

Custos said...

This 17 years garbage is just that-- trash, refuse, dung.

Dr Rogers had no idea that this had happened. The blatant obviousness of that statement may need support for a few doubters:

1) Dr Rogers above all else was a man in love with Jesus, and he would never compromise his integrity for fear of shaming his Savior.

2) He has dealt with immoral ministers in the past, swiftly and effectively. There would be no reason for this situation to be different, especially given the added moral and legal weight of child molestation.

3) The above points aside, had he known (and I can only say that while suppressing a shudder of disgust at my own utterance), there's no way in the world he'd have left the man in the position he held. It would have made infinitely more sense to move the man, especially given a cover-up.


The above said, I find the 17 years claim to be repugnant.

BBC Administration, next time you want to pin your sins on someone else, why don't you come after me instead of a dead man. I'd rather take that hit than let my beloved pastor, his family, and his memory take it. Send Chuck Taylor and Steve Tucker to talk to me; and in the Apostle Paul's words, "Then we'll see who has the mastery." You know where to find me.

Disgustedly,
Josh Manning

Tim said...

The question that has been asked concerning Dr. Rogers knowledge of this event is extremely troubling to me. I would dearly love to be able to have the final word on this and put it to rest forever. However, I am sure that won't be the case.

The question was posed earlier to the effect, "How do you know that we was not aware of this issue? Did he tell you that he didn't know?" or words to that effect.

Well, as a matter of fact, he did.

He told all of us that knew him.
He told us with his life.
His life was not compromised with willful known sin.
He did not harbor sin in his heart or participate in hiding sin from us that impacted our church.
He also did not burden us with sins that did not impact our church.

I am not naive to the fact that Dr. Rogers sinned, just as the rest of us. However, I am beyond certainty that he was not a sinful man. Let me clarify that as to avoid arguments over that statement. A sinful man would be one that knowingly, willingly and frequently indulges in repeated sin. That my dear friends was not our pastor, Dr. Adrian Rogers. I can tell you for a fact that it was not.

Let me close with a direct quote from Dr. Adrian Rogers himself as he spoke in sincerity and humility.

"I sin all I want to, I sin more than I want to, I don't want to."

allofgrace said...

Tim,
Well put.

StumblingServant said...

custos

I sincerely hope that the 17 year knowledge claim is false. And I don't want to believe that AR had any knowledge of this incident.

As was stated earlier, it supposedly was not AR but another senior minister that was aware of the abuse.

The knowledge might have been by another minister that is no longer at Bellevue.

Regardless, it was wrong if anyone covered up for this 17 years ago or 17 minutes ago.

For anyone in Bellevue leadership to know about this problem and not address it with the utmost of concern for the safety of our children is the equivalent of them "holding the coats."

Anonymous said...

I was a Lifechoices counselor for about six years. We were told, in our initial training, that if we became aware of ANY child sexual abuse, we were REQUIRED to report it to the authorities BY LAW.

If this was revealed in counseling 17 years ago and the authorities were not contacted, the counselor broke the law - and left this poor son in a position to be abused again - and left the minister in a postion to victimize others.

If it recently came to light, the minister should have been fired IMMEDIATELY AND THE AUTHORITIES CONTACTED. This is not a matter of opinion - it is law.

I do not know who the minister is yet - but I'm sure I know him and have probably received his counsel or sat under his teaching in a Wed. night class. This should never have happened.

Whether or not this was revealed in a private counseling session 17 years ago is beside the point at this time - except, of course the Biblical counseling staff needs a refresher course on laws that apply to them. Concerning this minister - why was he not fired immediately and, instead, left on staff by Dr. Gaines after being confronted by the man's son? Others have been dismissed or forced to "resign" after godly service to Bellevue for years. What offenses does Gaines believe make someone unworthy of a leadership role, anyway?!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know for sure the minister has resigned or been fired? Have they removed this man from the Bellevue website? Has the church made an official statement? If so, where can I find it?

allofgrace said...

I agree that it doesn't matter how long ago or how short time ago this came to knowledge...the question remains, what's going to be done about it? Personally I find it impossible to believe that AR could have known about this...it's ludicrous. But it's absolutely certain that it's known now. Simply saying "it's under the blood" is the cowardly way out. That dog just won't hunt.

westtnbarrister said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
westtnbarrister said...

I echo the sentiments expressed in SWTT's 4:37 post.

I was particularly fond of the following:

I believe our deacons need to call an emergency meeting and call for someone respected in the Southern Baptist Convention to step in while we clean house. Steve Gaines and Mark Dougharty need to resign immediately. Chuck Taylor, Harry Smith, Steve Tucker, Jeff Arnold, John Caldwell, Bryan Miller, John Crockett, along with Phil Weatherwax need to resign as well from their positions of leadership. These men have been part of the cover-up and part of the problem before Steve Gaines arrived.

A few sections from my own letter to the deacons sent more than two months ago:

I don’t know everyone involved, but Mark Sharpe, Riad Saba, and Jesse McClerkin are known to be godly men. They are Christian brothers concerned about their church who should be treated with respect by our pastor and his defenders. They are neither villains nor church jesters to be treated as fools. Whether they are correct in their assertions or not, I admire them for having the courage of their convictions. Do you men have equal courage?

I believe unless decisive and public action is taken, this will fester and eventually rip Bellevue apart at her seams. The church deserves answers and we deserve them soon so we can go on about the Lord’s work. We should not proceed with even one more service with these issues boiling under the surface. There is a palpable tension that is disturbing our worship. That tension will never go away until all grievances have been aired and all issues discussed…I call on you to be courageous. Tough decisions must be made in order to reconcile the body.


Deacons, tonight, more than two months later, I once again call on you to be courageous and make tough decisions. Your inaction has caused this crisis to fester. You have waited too long to prevent Bellevue from being ripped apart at her seams. However, you have the opportunity to begin to restore our church immediately by taking the steps recommended by SWTT above.

In his book Standing for Light and Truth, Dr. Rogers recommended these principles:

• It is better to be divided by truth than united in error.
• It is better to speak the truth that hurts and then heals than to tell a lie that comforts and then kills.
• It is better to be hated for telling the truth than to be loved for telling a lie.
• It is better to stand alone with the truth than to be wrong with a multitude.
• It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.


Mark Sharpe, Riad Saba, Jim Haywood, Jesse McClerkin, Josh Manning, Richard Emerson, David Bishop, Joe Benson, Carol Pemberton, Charles and Pam Gremillion, and a host of others have taken those principles to heart.

Will you?

allofgrace said...

WTB,
You've got mail at kudzu.

Anonymous said...

There have been a lot of assurances that the minister didn't work directly with children anymore. Was that deliberate? If so, why? It sounds like someone might have been aware of his sinful past.

Dr. Rogers wouldn't have allowed the minister to remain for a day, but (based on what I'm reading here) it sounds like the offender was kept around but isolated for a known sin.

Who could/would have kept it hidden from our former pastor?

Custos said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Custos said...

Faithnhope,

I see your point but disagree, but that's only because I know what office the man held. It makes no sense that he'd have been left there were the sin known, because while the office did not have him interacting with children, some of the specifics of his job would have been very compromised from his sin (and I mean compromised past the normal way in which such sin would compromise any of us for any job). Were this being covered up, he would have been moved from his current position long, long ago.

Churchmouse said...

SpringerSpaniel said...
"I feel it only necessary to pull my children from Sunday school and the nursery until such time as the person is publically identified."
2:52 PM, December 15, 2006

Springer,
I fear for the physical and spiritual safety of my children, grandchildren and fellow sheep. A pedophile minister and an adultrous board member protected by an administration that only acts when caught is scary. How many wolves are hidden within the fold? How much more real harm to the lives of real people is going to come from our pastor's failures and the leadership vaccuum?
* * *
...and Choice-is-Yours said some choice things also. For choice:

"One man esteemeth one day above another; another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be persuaded in his own mind." Rom. 14:5

Anonymous said...

Title 37 Juveniles
Chapter 1 Juvenile Courts and Proceedings
Part 4 -Mandatory Child Abuse Reports
37-1-403. Reporting of brutality, abuse, neglect or child sexual abuse. -
(a) (1) Any person who has knowledge of or is called upon to render aid to any child who is suffering from or has sustained any wound, injury, disability, or physical or mental condition shall report such harm immediately if the harm is of such a nature as to reasonably indicate that it has been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect or that, on the basis of available information, reasonably appears to have been caused by brutality, abuse or neglect.
(2) Any such person with knowledge of the type of harm described in this subsection (a) shall report it, by telephone or otherwise, to the:
(A) Judge having juvenile jurisdiction over the child;
(B) Department, in a manner specified by the department, either by contacting a local representative of the department or by utilizing the department's centralized intake procedure, where applicable;
(C) Sheriff of the county where the child resides; or
(D) Chief law enforcement official of the municipality where the child resides.
(3) If any such person knows or has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been sexually abused, the person shall report such information in accordance with § 37-1-605, relative to the sexual abuse of children, regardless of whether such person knows or believes that the child has sustained any apparent injury as a result of such abuse.
(b) The report shall include, to the extent known by the reporter, the name, address, and age of the child, the name and address of the person responsible for the care of the child, and the facts requiring the report. The report may include any other pertinent information.
(c) (1) If a law enforcement official or judge becomes aware of known or suspected child abuse, through personal knowledge, receipt of a report, or otherwise, such information shall be reported to the department immediately and, where appropriate, the child protective team shall be notified to investigate the report for the protection of the child in accordance with the provisions of this part. Further criminal investigation by such official shall be appropriately conducted in coordination with the team or department to the maximum extent possible.
(2) A law enforcement official or judge who knows or becomes aware of a person who is convicted of a violation of § 55-10-401 and sentenced under the provisions of § 55-10-403(a)(1)(B), because such person was at the time of the offense accompanied by a child under eighteen (18) years of age, shall report such information, as provided in subdivision (c)(1), and the department shall consider such information to be appropriate for investigation in the same manner as other reports of suspected child abuse or neglect.
(d) Any person required to report or investigate cases of suspected child abuse who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child died as a result of child abuse shall report such suspicion to the appropriate medical examiner. The medical examiner shall accept the report for investigation and shall report the medical examiner's findings, in writing, to the local law enforcement agency, the appropriate district attorney general, and the department. Autopsy reports maintained by the medical examiner shall not be subject to the confidentiality requirements provided for in § 37-1-409.
(e) Reports involving known or suspected institutional child sexual abuse shall be made and received in the same manner as all other reports made pursuant to Acts 1985, ch. 478, relative to the sexual abuse of children. Investigations of institutional child sexual abuse shall be conducted in accordance with the provisions of § 37-1-606.
(f) Every physician or other person who makes a diagnosis of, or treats, or prescribes for any sexually transmitted disease set out in § 68-10-112, or venereal herpes and chlamydia, in children thirteen (13) years of age or younger, and every superintendent or manager of a clinic, dispensary or charitable or penal institution, in which there is a case of any of the diseases, as set out in this subsection (f), in children thirteen (13) years of age or younger shall report the case immediately, in writing on a form supplied by the department of health to that department. If the reported cases are confirmed and if sexual abuse is suspected, the department of health will report the case to the department of children's services. The department of children's services will be responsible for any necessary follow-up.
(g) Every physician or other person who makes an initial diagnosis of pregnancy to an unemancipated minor, and every superintendent or manager of a clinic, dispensary or charitable or penal institution in which there is a case of an unemancipated minor who is determined to be pregnant, shall provide to the minor's parent, if the parent is present, and the minor consents, any readily available written information on how to report to the department of children's services an occurrence of sex abuse that may have resulted in the minor's pregnancy, unless disclosure to the parent would violate the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA), 42 U.S.C. § 1320d et seq., or the regulations promulgated pursuant to the act.
(1) Failure to provide the written information shall not subject a person to the penalty provided by § 37-1-412.
(2) The department of children's services shall provide to the department of health the relevant written information. The department of health shall distribute copies of the written information to all licensees of the appropriate health-related boards through the boards' routinely issued newsletters. At the time of initial licensure, these boards shall also provide new licensees a copy of the relevant written information for distribution pursuant to this subsection (g).
(h) Nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any hospital, clinic, school, or other organization responsible for the care of children from developing a specific procedure for internally tracking, investigating, reporting, or otherwise monitoring a report made by a member of its staff pursuant to this section, including requiring a member of the organization's staff who makes such a report to provide a copy of or notice concerning the report to the organization, so long as the procedure does not inhibit, interfere with, or otherwise affect the duty of a person to make a report as required by subsection (a).

Anonymous said...

I have read the law and we have lawbreakers strung out like so many Christmas lights from the pulpit to the board of directors.

Steve Gaines and his humpty dumpty men would rather break the law than to follow it.

Well, I think the rhyme will soon fit their crime.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a BIG FALL

Anonymous said...

The problem with letting a little sin go unchecked leads to a little bigger sin the next time. As time goes on you become accustomed to things that you would have never allowed years before.

This past year has seen an incredible amount of things seen by many to be wrong swept under the rug. The danger of allowing this to happen will naturally lead to wrong of a much great magnitude.

I've seen whole neighborhoods go from a nice peaceful wonderful safe place to live to a rundown dangerous area that nobody with any decency wants to live for obvious reasons of safety. How does this happen? It happens when good people choose to be quiet and do nothing. It's not easy to take a stand but it's a necessary act of a Christian to always stand for truth and righteousness.

This past summer, our top two staff members and our two most recent deacon chairmen were caught trespassing. The reason was to intimidate a deacon. What was the churches response? A standing ovation. As recently as several years ago, this act would have been unimaginable. How far we have fallen in two years.

How can this happen? It happens first of all leaders surrounding themselves with men who will protect them at any cost. I'm reminded of corrupt government with a leader in power surrounded by men who do what is necessary to keep him in power. This is always at the expense of the people.

The Lord sets tremendously high standards for the office of the pastor as well as a deacon.

Anyone desiring to be a pastor or deacon in the church is to be commended but he must meet rigid spiritual qualificaions. He must be considered above reproach by his family and even by nonbelievers, as well as by the church. Such high standards are necessary, considering the crucial responsibilities of church leaders.

I personally want to hear from Steve Gaines himself on these most recent issues this week. We as a church family do not want to hear from a hired gun, or a public relations person, or Harry Smith, the chairman of the Communications Committee with his favorite answer, "I don't know".

A true leader will take responsibility to answer for himself and stop hiding behind others.

Anonymous said...

custos,

I'll have to wait until I know more.

Thanks

New BBC Open Forum said...

blessme,

If, as some have said, anyone covered this up when the victim was underage, then that law would apply. However, since the victim came of age long before Steve Gaines could have known about it, then I don't think this law would apply to him. It doesn't for one second excuse him letting a confessed child molester remain on staff, but he may not have done anything illegal. (I'm not a lawyer, but this is how I interpret the law you quoted. I could also be wrong.)

NASS

allofgrace said...

Ps 12
1.Help LORD, for the godly are no more; the faithful have vanished from among men.
2.Everyone lies to his neighbor; their flattering lips speak with deception.
3.May the LORD cut off all flattering lips and every boastful tongue
4.that says, "We will triumph with our tongues; we own our lips--who is our master?"
5."Because of the oppression of the weak and the groaning of the needy, I will now arise," says the LORD. "I will protect them from those who malign them."
6.And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.
7.O LORD, you will keep us safe and protect us from such people forever.
8.The wicked freely strut about when what is vile is honored among men.

cjesusnme said...

swtt,

I agree and I want to hear the TRUTH, not a sugar coated message of "I didn't know", or perhaps, "I'm sorry if I let you down". I think it is finally time for them (SG and other leadership who have let us down) to forget their pride and come clean before this goes any further. They know what they have done is wrong in the eyes of the church, but most importantly, the eyes of God. Let us all be in prayer for God to intervene and expose the truth from the pulpit on down to each member of BBC.

allofgrace said...

God's version of Humpty Dumpty:

Isaiah 30:12-14
12.Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: "Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit,
13.this sin will be become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
14.It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among it's pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water from a cistern."

Anonymous said...

I agree with westtnbarrister,

Steve Gaines should not rely on his position as pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church for his influence on his sheep. His leadership is ultimately going to depend on the work of the Holy Spirit and spiritual character.

Is it idolatry for the men who surround Steve Gaines to continue to protect him if there is something that needs to be confronted? I've heard Chuck Taylor say if you don't follow and swallow the pastor, you are committing a sin against God.

I say that God will not tolerate any substitute for a personal relationship with Him. To follow Steve Gaines or any of the leaders of Bellevue without question is idolatry.

I call on the deacons of Bellevue to leapfrog any deacon officers standing in the way of truth. Are there any deacons that even care? The silence of most deacons I know has been deafening. If you are too busy to fight for Bellevue Baptist Church, you should resign.

As Dr. Rogers has said and repeated in the earlier wtb post:
• It is better to ultimately succeed with the truth than to temporarily succeed with a lie.

allofgrace said...

BBC is in the refiner's fire...the dross is floating to the top...time to scrape it off.

Karen said...

hi y'all,

How is everyone's blood pressure, nerves and stomachs?

I'm pretty sick all the way around myself.

karen

allofgrace said...

karen,
My sentiments exactly.

Anonymous said...

It looks like Steve Gaines has known of this latest problem that David Combs addressed today for the past 2 months without taking any action. Inaction for 2 months has to cause great concern among the sheep. A shephard is there to lead and protect his sheep.

Once again, had it not been for the rumbling of the common folks at Bellevue, the administration would have swept it under the rug like the rest of the problems.

allofgrace said...

swtt,
Amen.

Karen said...

aog,

you have email.

Karen

Karen said...

swtt,

I totally agree - I shudder when I think how long that could have gone on if not for the courageous ones who spoke up.

I also wonder if the CC will reconvene? <--sarcasm and a slight attempt at humor.

Where's ace tonight?

karen

allofgrace said...

Karen,
email on the way.

Anonymous said...

Where's ace tonight?

Hopefully reading and digesting the information.

It is not that difficult to defend arrogance and power hungry behavior.

I bet it's not quite as easy to defend the harboring of a child rapist.

Karen said...

astounded,

I agree - there is no wiggle room on this one.

karen

Anonymous said...

Karen,

Ace is probably huddled in a special midnight strategy meeting with Steve Gaines and the bunch. You would think they would be getting tired of having to meet at all hours of the night and day every time another crisis they've created pops up.

I think the lid they've had on things has popped off and gotten lost. Nothing stays in the jar any more.

allofgrace said...

karen, astounded,
No doubt, this is a major test for BBC.

allofgrace said...

swtt,
I don't think this is one they're going to be able to escape from....no rope a dope on this one.

Anonymous said...

To answer an earlier question...

The rapist's picture is still on the BBC website.

If my picture was on the same website as a rapist, I would be demanding that my picture be removed. That demand would be in the body of my immediate resignation letter.

Karen said...

swtt,

I read a book when I was a liitle kid and this one phrase from the Bible has always stuck with me - be sure your sin will find you out.

I'd hate to be a fly on the wall of leadeship's homes tonight.

karen

Anonymous said...

allofgrace,

I agree. "this is the way we've done it for the past 30 years" isn't going to work this time. I'm sick of they way they have hidden behind the past. No excuses this time. 2 months ago is 1 month 31 days too late.

allofgrace said...

I can see it now...."If I offended anybody by sitting on my hands instead of doing the right thing, I'm sorry..It was a mistake of the mind, not the heart."

Anonymous said...

Karen,

What would be wrong with this Sunday the leadership all standing up on the platform behind Steve Gaines in a show of support for doing the right thing and resigning, confessing, and crying out to God for help?

This is one show of support I'd support.

westtnbarrister said...

SWTT,

Please email me at westtnbarrister@yahoo.com.

Anonymous said...

Been reading this awhile, and I want to put in a comment.

Yes it should have been reported by the minister. Yes it should have been reported by the family that knew also. No I do not believe Gaines broke any laws by not reporting it to LE due to the timeframe of the crime and the age of the victim now. and YES, the guilty party should be punished.

Anonymous said...

I can not believe this is happening! Why is this coming out now? Has this minister done something else - to bring this out now? Where is this minister's child now? Has the child come forward? When will know any details? I am afraid that I do not want to REALLY know who this minister is!!!

allofgrace said...

Memphis,
To my knowledge if the victim is under age 35 the statute of limitations does not apply.

Anonymous said...

Karen,

Where's ace tonight?

I'm here. I'm just refraining from posting at the moment because I don't want to be attacked like I was last night with people putting words in my mouth and twisting everything I say. I was being quoted as saying things I never said and that was really ridiculous.

Anonymous said...

So the victim can prosecute? Will this minister go to jail? What do I tell my teenage children? I have so many questions? Does this victim have any tpye of relationship with the father? Was the mother aware? I am so heart broken!

Karen said...

aog,

Even though the child is now an adult, remember the priests that are being convicted for molesting altar boys - I believe that precedent would apply here.

swtt,

I have no idea what's going to happen, but if this is another cover up I'm gonna spew in the pew!

Anonymous said...

Ace - you tell it like you think it is? Please tell me WHAT is going on?

Anonymous said...

Financeguy said:
It's clear to me that Bellevue is suffering the consequenses of some corporate sin. I'm not sure what it is, perhaps we stopped worshiping Jesus at some point, and engaged in idol (Adrian) worship. Perhaps we developed to much of a "Belleuve Pride", that we turned away from our first love. Perhaps we got too comfortable with our our large buildings, big bank account, and our "Programs", that we lost the ability to trust in Jesus.

Clearify this for me: Could this be what Gaines meant when he said he wanted to tech us to worship again?

choice_is_yours said...

Please forgive me.

I have not clearly communicated my disgust at these sins.

If anyone wants me to, I would be happy to delete my posts from today.

I hope that I will wake up tomorrow and find out this whole past year was just a bad dream.

Thank you for the rebuke.

bowing low,
Choice

Karen said...

ace,

I read what was posted and I think it got out of hand - on all sides.

Diplomatic enough?

Please don't call me precious!

Seriously, do you know anything that you can share here to calm people about their children's safety. I know who the accused is and I just can't say for sure that he won't have access to children because I don't know the full scope of his duties. Have you spoken to BBC leadership today and is there a plan of action from the pastor?

Karen

Anonymous said...

How can this be covered up? I don't understand. It seems like everyone knows who the minister is - so how can it be covered up? If I knew him -I would go up and confront him on the spot. Isn't that we should do - hold Christians accountable???

westtnbarrister said...

Whether or not Steve Gaines broke any laws is irrelavant to me. Authorities will sort that out.

The minimum standard of conduct for the BBC pastor is not the Tennessee Code Annotated. The standard of conduct is that which is set out in Scripture. When our pastor's best defense is "it wasn't illegal" I must wonder how far we are from becoming an apostate church. A church where moral relativism reigns. Where good is called evil and evil is called good.

Wake up Deacons! Wake up Pastor! Wake up Staff! Wake up Bellevue!

Karen said...

choice,

no rebuke from me - we just happened to disagree. That's allowed! :)

Anonymous said...

HeavyHeart,

Ace - you tell it like you think it is? Please tell me WHAT is going on?

Believe me, I am just as concerned as you are on this issue. But I do not have all the facts and therefore I cannot comment intelligently on their subject at the current time so I will refrain from doing that at the current time....if the accusations are 100 percent true then I do believe that some actions need to be taken, as I previously mentioned.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone have any knowledge of this police report?

CASE NO OFFENSE DATE REPORTED 100 BLOCK ADDRESS
0612005668ME Forcible Rape 12/12/2006 2000 APPLING

This is as serious as it gets folks. What are we dealing with if this happened on Tuesday and the church has not spoken. What is the leadership doing? Wouldn't it be better to be the first to tell the congregation instead of the congregation learning about it on the news. Where is Steve Gaines in all of this? Who is calling the shots?

choice_is_yours said...

Brother Ace,

This is your last and only chance.


Just start talking and tell us what is going on. Turn the "spin mode" to OFF.


Know by now that we can tell when we are in "the spin cycle."

Anything from you that has any rotation whatsoever will be immediately detected.

Abide by this gentle advice or take my other advice and just go away.

Karen said...

WTB,

Good point - I think Steve Gaines should be reprimanded by the SBC - even if it means stripping him of his title as Reverend. Is there a name for that? But the accused should be prosecuted and if found guilty, he should serve time. I also think he should step down as a minister while the legal process takes place.

Anonymous said...

swtt, where did you get that police report number?

Anonymous said...

Karen,

I read what was posted and I think it got out of hand - on all sides.

Thank you for recognizing that.

Diplomatic enough?

Yes.

Please don't call me precious!

I only call people nicknames such as 'precious' when they are attacking me. You have been nice to me always so I won't call you precious or something else. :-)

Have you spoken to BBC leadership today and is there a plan of action from the pastor?

Like I posted a minute or two ago, I have no infomation regarding these accusations so I'd prefer not to post any of my thoughts and etc.

allofgrace said...

WTB,
Agreed and well put. How this has been handled is unconscionable.

Anonymous said...

I believe Sister Pam made the following post concerning her confrontation with the rapist:

Then a man came on the phone whom I thought was Pastor Steve but as we talked I thought to ask him who he was and he told me his name.

When I learned the name of the man who abused his son, I realized he was the same man that my call was handed off to that day.

He was the man I first shared our heart concerns with and he told me that nothing we were concerned about was true and that we had nothing to worry about, then he offered to pray with me.

Something just did not set well with us and so we continue in our pursuit for truth and we found it.

I feel extremely betrayed by our church and I feel there will be many who will feel the same once they find out the truth.

A strong mountain is slowly melting before us but the LORD will not forsake his remnant children.



I am one of the most forgiving people on the face of this earth. If a man repents and asks for forgiveness then I will be the first to put the past to rest. While I will forgive, that does not mean that I will forget.

But, according to Sister Pam's post this is definitely not the case in this situation. If this man denies his sin (crime!!) he has NOT repented and has brought great peril upon the church he serves.

While I hate to admit it, I have no other choice. The church that I grew up in and have been a member of for more than 30 years is currently an apostate church. I see no way that the work of Christ can be carried out in such as atmosphere where unrepentant rapists serve in the highest levels of the church's administration.

Bellevue Baptist Church is treading in very turbulent waters if the staff does not fall upon it's faces and beg God Almighty for forgiveness and guidance back to the path of Christ.

Anonymous said...

Choice,

This is your last and only chance.

Who gives you the authority to give me a 'last and only chance'? Just curious...

Just start talking and tell us what is going on. Turn the "spin mode" to OFF.

Again, I'm not going to talk about something which I have no more information on than you people at the current time. That would be called...gossip. You know, not having all the facts? I don't so I won't contribute to the rumors.

Abide by this gentle advice or take my other advice and just go away.

...again, I'm not planning on going anywhere soon.

Finance Guy said...

Memphis,
Who knows what Steve Gains means by anything he says nowadays. He's had to go back and "explain" what he really meant so many times I feel I need to listen to him with an interpreter! I think he meant that Bellevue needs to learn to be made in his (Steve Gains) image. But of course, that's just my opinion.

I can tell you this much, Bellevue did NOT need to "learn how to worship". Under Adrian Rogers and Jim Whitmire, Bellevue has set the standard for Worship to many church's, both SBC and other. What Bellevue needs to learn is how to be humble, Spirit filled and growing Believers, who understand the Bible teaches us to be separate from the World, not go chasing after it trying to reach the "unchurched"

Anonymous said...

Ok - no one has any real facts that they can share at this point. I know that God is in control of all things but I having a very difficult time with this all. I guess I will turn it all over to HIM and pray. And again tell me why we are protecting this man?

westtnbarrister said...

SWTT,

I am aware of this forcible rape story and I am just as sickened by it as I am the child molestation. Details are sketchy (allegedly sodomy), but I don't think I want to know much more than I do today.

Those new security goons the pastor hired must be to protect him and not the rest of the members.

Philandering board member -- check
Molesting minister -- check
Forcible rape -- check

What a week at Bellevue.

Anonymous said...

Ace,
You sound like Harry Smith, "I don't know".
What went on in the spin meeting tonight? I hope it was decided on to just tell the truth.

choice_is_yours said...

Brother Ace,

I think you are probably replying to me as I am typing this.

Thank you for saying:

Like I posted a minute or two ago, I have no infomation regarding these accusations so I'd prefer not to post any of my thoughts and etc.

11:28 PM, December 15, 2006


Sorry if I came across a little touchy just now.

Welcome to the club.

Choice

Karen said...

Let's not get too worked up about the police report - it's dated 12/12 - SCT was that night so it may be a random act of violence. If the victim didn't tell anyone on staff, but chose to go straight to the police, how could they know? You know how slow MPD gets around to doing anything in this town.

NOW...before anyone slays me, I have no information on this, but these are my initial thoughts and they may change as more information comes out.

I don't think this report has anything to do with the staff member accused of molestation.

westtnbarrister said...

Heavyheart,

I am not too concerned about protecting this minister (although I have prayed for him each day since I learned his name). I am, however, concerned with protecting his victim. For that reason only I don't think his name should appear on the blog. Also, it is almost inevitable the media will have the name in the next day or two.

Anonymous said...

Good point! I apologize - this poor victim. How must they be dealing with all of this . Their Father - a Bellevue minster! How confusing that must have been for a child. How can you trust again?

Finance Guy said...

ace....Like I posted a minute or two ago, I have no infomation regarding these accusations so I'd prefer not to post any of my thoughts and etc.

If you have nothing to add, then why are you even here? You know, your boss Chuck Taylor has told you to quit posting on the blogs. You better be careful, if he finds you exercising your First Amendment rights out here, he might have you removed, and you will lose your little white "badge of honor"

Anonymous said...

I think I know why they disbanded the Communications Committee now.

Anonymous said...

swtt, maybe you were emailing r posting, but how did you get the police report number?

New BBC Open Forum said...

The case number and information "swtt" posted came from the MPD CrimeMapper site. Or at least that's where I found it about half an hour ago. Put in 2000 Appling and no "Rd" or city, and choose "rape" from the drop down menu.

NASS

allofgrace said...

swtt,
The CC was just for show...a political move...they just wanted to be able to say they answered all the concerns and pat themselves on the back...some job they did. How long oh Lord?

Karen said...

Ever the diplomat, please y'all get off ace - okay, did I just say that? :)

Ace may have to deal with his own conscience or whatever, but if he doesn't want to speak out right now, don't goad him. It makes us look bad and gives more ammo to those who don't like this blog that we're just a bunch of "rabble rowzers".

I know we're dealing with some heave stuff, but this isn't the time to tear each other down for not saying what you wish to hear.

Anonymous said...

FinaceGuy,

If you have nothing to add, then why are you even here?

What is your problem with me? People ask me a question, I respond with "I don't know" and then you blast me for even posting. You are incredible...

You know, your boss Chuck Taylor has told you to quit posting on the blogs.

And you know I work for Mr. Taylor how? Oh wait...those are more rumors from yourself. Congratulations for adding more gossip to the pot.

Anonymous said...

Ace,
I'm sorry. I got a little worked up tonight.

choice_is_yours said...

WTB,

Are you and I friends? Do I owe you an apology or anything?

Choice

Anonymous said...

Why is this information not on the Saving Bellevue website? I thought they kept us up to date on the happenings!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Karen! For those attacking me, that is truly pathetic. If you actually read what I post on this board you will see that I am concerned as this issue as most of you are here.

People on this forum say I condone rape and I am appauled and offended at those posts. And believe it or not....*gasp* I already posted (multiple times, I should add) that something needs to done about this if the accusations are true...which I am not sure if they are. To me it is all gossip until I personally have some facts.

Karen said...

We're all trying to get the facts. Ace, in the position I perceive you to be in, I guess I thought you'd say what you know. I guess you did - you know about as much as the rest of us. We are looking for someone in leadership to say something before this blows up in our faces.

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