Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Communications Committee or Whatever...

Please continue here. You know what to do! (And you know what not to do. So don't do it!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How Old Are You?

We'd love to hear from some of you 80-plus-year-old bloggers. And some of you lurkers, too!

In an effort to see if there's a particular age group of Bellevue members who are the most concerned about the current issues facing Bellevue, I'd like to ask you to record your age group in the poll below. Since the forum is open to everyone, I'd like to ask that only those who are Bellevue members with real concerns about these issues answer. If you're not a Bellevue member or are just here to defend the status quo or think there are no problems, please don't participate in this poll. Since two or more family members may be using the same computer and may also be in the same age group, one answer per computer per day is allowed, so if for example, you and your spouse use the same computer, one of you may answer one day and the other the next.

Please help keep this poll accurate by following the rules!

What age group are you in?
Under 20
90 or older
Free polls from

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

It's now after the meeting. If you were there, please give your impressions.

The Communications Committee said they'd begin at 8:00 tomorrow morning (November 26th) instead of the usual 8:30. They meet in the first room on the right down the hallway to the left of the ERC and Fellowship Hall. There were at least 75 people there last week. We need to be there this week -- in great numbers! Go with an open mind and a pen and notepad to take notes and remember to be respectful if you're going to ask a question.

Friday, November 24, 2006

We Are Not Alone!

There's a lot of material here, and you can't possibly expect to read it in one hour or even one night and be up to speed. It takes time to study and let this sink in, but it's well worth your time! This may be at the crux of the issues we're facing at Bellevue today, and we need to be wise, informed sheep.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Words of advice from a Germantown Baptist member who's been there:

"As a member of SaveGBC, I can tell you that we were totally clueless as to what was going on, until we started doing research, after the Constitution & Bylaws revision was thrown at us for the second time. My advice to y'all is RESEARCH, RESEARCH and MORE RESEARCH. It will scare you to death.

"All of us at GBC are praying for our Brothers and Sisters at BBC. GOD WILL protect his children. We are proof of that."

A "purpose driven" thread was started a few weeks ago, but there wasn't much input then as other topics arose which took precedence. Since we seem to have acquired a lot of new readers since then, I want to reintroduce this topic for discussion.

This seems to be a recurring theme in the comments, albeit one that hasn't gotten much traction, that Bellevue may be moving toward a Purpose Driven model. Please comment on anything you perceive being related to the PDC movement in this thread, particularly as it relates to the issues facing Bellevue today.

1. Do you think Bellevue is moving in this direction? Why or why not? If so, does this concern you?

2. Have you read The Purpose Driven Life? If so, what did you think about it?

3. Has your Bible Fellowship Class or other group done a study of the PDL? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

4. Do you see this movement and its wide appeal across denominational lines as evidence of the "one world church" the Bible tells us will emerge in the latter days?

It seems the Church of Christ denomination is just as under attack by the Purpose Driven Rick Warrenites as the Baptists are! is a website devoted to exposing this movement in our churches today. They maintain a forum for members of individual churches of all denominations to discuss, much as we do in this forum, the problems facing their churches. A list of these churches with links to their forums is available here.

Note: A majority of the churches listed are Church of Christ congregations, and a big issue with them that doesn't apply to us is the introduction of musical instruments into their churches. However, they have many other issues with which we may share their concerns.

Gardendale Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, TX went through a well-publicized split in 2004 over the same issue -- a pastor saying "my way or the highway." (Am I the only one who sees the irony in the name of that church?)

We have been told that Bellevue isn't part of the "Purpose Driven" movement, yet when you read some of the firsthand descriptions from members of churches which are being or already have been "transitioned," they sound eerily similar to what we're experiencing at Bellevue today.

Signs of the church growth movement.

And a new one someone sent me designed to train pastors in transitioning their own churches. This one is scary reading!

These are some links from my personal list, but there are many other sources for information on this topic.

Letter to editor of the Americus Times-Recorder (two pages long).

Reply to above.

Are Rick Warren's Teachings at Bellevue Baptist?

Berean's PDL Discernment Tool

Book review -- Transitioning

Church Growth Movement (multiple articles).

Change Dividing Southern Baptist Mega-Church thread pertaining to Bellevue.

Herescope blog.

Lighthouse Trails Research Project

One Man's Purpose-Driven Journal

Spirit-Led or Purpose Driven?

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The Purpose-Driven Pastor discussion.

The Adulation of Man in The Purpose Driven Life article.

Transitioning an established church.

Multiple Links about the seeker sensitive and purpose driven church philosophies.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let's Give Thanks

Since this is Thanksgiving Day, if you're just dropping in between all the family, food, football, and fun, please, instead of commenting on the issues facing Bellevue, use this thread to tell how God has blessed you and what you're thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. Psalm 79:13

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The $25,000 Question -- Life Choices Answers

Life Choices
Mission Statement

Life Choices of Memphis exists to provide a non-judgemental and Christ-like environment to educate and empower women to make life-affirming decisions.

In response to the recent donation of $25,000 to the First United Methodist Church of Memphis, Life Choices issued this statement.

Bellevue Baptist Church, at the suggestion of pastor Steve Gaines, recently made a donation of $25,000 to the First United Methodist Church of Memphis following a devastating and highly publicized fire in October which destroyed most of the fully insured, historic, 113-year-old church building in downtown Memphis. The donation was approved by the finance committee but never brought to the congregation for approval. The gift was not earmarked for any of the mission projects the church operates but was presented to the pastor of the church, Rev. Martha Wagley, to be used as she and her congregation see fit.

Certainly not all Methodists or Methodist churches share her views, but Rev. Wagley is a known supporter of pro-choice (i.e. abortion on demand) and pro-homosexual (i.e. ordained clergy, gay marriage, etc.) causes. Should Bellevue Baptist Church be contributing to an organization whose leader holds these views and actively promotes these causes?

When asked about the donation, the Communications Committee's response was, "We didn't realize they had a female pastor." Rev. Wagley was featured on news broadcasts and in the newspaper for several days in the aftermath of the fire. Is it possible that neither our pastor nor anyone on the finance committee could have not known this?

Would that have been the deciding issue? What about Rev. Wagley's stances on abortion and homosexual rights? Were those things not issues? What if she were staunchly pro-life and anti-gay-rights? Would this have made a difference?


I'm about to introduce a new "rule" for posting comments. From now on, everyone must make his or her profile viewable by others. Before you panic at the thought of revealing your personal information, if you'll look at most profiles, all you'll see is the number of profile views. There is no need to reveal any personal information. All that will show is your username and the number of times your profile has been viewed. No e-mail address or other information will show (unless you choose to do so). This is an attempt to keep up with the "imposter" problem we've had the last couple of days. Your cooperation will be appreciated. Comments by posters who continue to hide their profiles will be deleted.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Financial Issues or Whatever...

The last thread is approaching 500 comments and needs to be cut. Please continue here.

Please try to maintain some semblance of civility, and please don't feed the bears or the trolls!

Conduct Becoming a Minister?

This topic isn't about Steve Gaines. It's about a dear Sister and an event that, if you've been reading the last couple of threads, you already know about. Charles and Pam Gremillion wrote a letter to all the deacons on October 9th which you can read here.

Eight of the responses they received are here.

Needless to say, the Gremillions were troubled by some of the responses they received.

On November 18th Mrs. Gremillion phoned the church office to speak with a minister about some of the concerns she still had. Doyal Long, Minister of Biblical Guidance/Pastoral Care, was the minister who took her call. This is Mrs. Gremillion's account of their conversation.

Is this really conduct becoming a minister?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"A Message to the Congregation"

In the front of the Communications Committee booklet sent out by the church this week is an open letter entitled "A Message to the Congregation" which is signed by Harry Smith, Chairman, and committee members, Jim Angel, Jeff Arnold, Jim Barnwell, Al Childress, David Coombs, John Crockett, Derek Duncan, Scott Foster, Bryan Miller, David Perdue, Mark Spiller, Steve Tucker, Wayne Vander Steeg, and Chuck Taylor, ex-officio. If you have not received a copy or are not a Bellevue member and would like to view the booklet (mostly) in its entirety, you may do so here. See the "Introduction" section to view the letter.

In the letter is this request from the committee:

"We would also kindly ask our membership to refrain from writing e-mails and responses on websites or blogs. This only serves to spread misinformation."

Your thoughts about this, please.

And if you happen to know someone whom you think might benefit from reading some of the "misinformation" to which Mr. Smith and the committee members referred, please refer them to this website, the URL for which is:

It seems only fair that people be given the opportunity to hear all "sides" of the issues so they can then have a truly informed opinion.

Yet Another New Financial Thread

Congratulations, you posted over 360 comments in the "Another New Financial Thread" in under 15 hours -- a new record. So here's the latest "new" financial thread.

Just a note: Some of us blew off some steam last night which is bound to happen in a venue such as this sometimes. But today's a new day, so let's pledge to stop feeding the bears and trolls and return to some semblance of serious, civil discussion. Your cooperation is much appreciated!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another New Financial Thread

The last financial thread has almost dropped off the main page and has seen no activity for three days. So here's a new one. You know how to use it!

Ask the Communications Committee -- Now Available Online!

The Communications Committee has now set up a separate website (now defunct) with a list of FAQs and a form for submitting your questions online. That's one less excuse for not submitting questions. You don't even have to leave home now. So submit those questions! Flood them with questions -- legitimate questions. Be respectful and non-confrontational in your remarks, but let them know if you still have unresolved questions! It's the process we've been given, and if we don't follow the process they're just going to say it's a handful of disgruntled members who have questions. This is your opportunity to prove them wrong!

Thanks to googleguy for bringing this to our attention.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yet Another New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

With 400 comments in a little over 48 hours, the last deacon loyalty pledge thread was getting too long and needed to be begun anew. So here's the latest thread.

Remember there are other threads with topics more appropriate for some of the comments that were left in the previous thread.

And please, while it shouldn't be necessary to repeat this, try to be civil and respectful in your comments.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dr. Adrian Rogers -- Your Memories

Anything not strictly "on topic" and of a positive nature in this thread will be deleted. "Bellevue friend" suggested this topic as a tribute to Dr. Rogers, and that's all it's for. Think about the online guestbook for Dr. Rogers' family which has grown to over 140 pages, and don't write anything here you wouldn't write there!


Since today is the one year anniversary of Dr. Rogers' homegoing I am wondering what is your most treasured memory of him?

For me, it was meeting him on four different occasions. He was the kindest of men! He always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world!

My most vivid memory was hearing him preach at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City when they were installing their new president and had set up an outdoor tent that must have seated 1000 people or better.

At the beginning of his sermon, a terrble thunderstorm hit... they lost most of the power including his microphone. Undaunted, he left the platform and began walking back and forth down the aisle preaching like a modern day Billy Sunday!

I am so glad I had my whole family there... my wife and our three sons heard the "Greatest Preacher" of his generation... stand and deliver!

Write your most vivid memory in his honor!

bellevue friend

Thank you for the idea for this thread, "bellevue friend"!

Need I say that anything not strictly "on topic" and of a positive nature in this thread will be deleted?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

Congratulations. You've left over 300 comments in the "New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread" in less than 48 hours. So for the sake of our dial-up friends, please continue your discussions here.

Please keep it civil, respectful, and stop and think before hitting "Send"!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

The old "Deacon Loyalty Pledge" thread has gotten too long and drifted off topic, so please continue that discussion here. And please remember to be civil and respectful in your comments.

History of Bellevue Baptist Church

This is an interesting article about the rich history of Bellevue by James R. Pirtle. Enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Love Offering 2006

This Sunday, November 12th, is Love Offering Sunday at Bellevue Baptist Church.

After all the information about the improvements and future expansions of the physical plant of Bellevue, there is a reference to funding for the Impact Ministry Center in Frayser, the only mention of any of the 2006 Love Offering going towards missions.

Now, let's look at giving by various churches across the SBC to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. In 2005 Bellevue Baptist Church was 41st in amount given at $201,725.00. The list of the top 100 churches in total giving is here.

To put that into perspective, however, we need to look at the per capita amount given. For a church like Bellevue, reported to have 29,700 members, that's a paltry $6.79 per member! Even if just 10,000 members contributed, that's still only $20.17 per person. The list of the top 100 churches in per capita giving is here. Note that BBC comes nowhere close to making the cut.

Here are last year's designations for the Love Offering, and there's no mention of missions.

A search of Bellevue's website results in 0 (zero) records containing "Lottie Moon" or the terms "giving" and "missions" in the same article.

Considering the issues facing our church now and the information presented above:

1. Do you plan to contribute to the 2006 Love Offering?

2. Do you believe that recent Love Offerings have been wisely invested in Bellevue and in the ways they were promised?

3. What is your opinion of the amount given to missions? How does it reflect on our vision to "Send out Thy light and Thy truth"?

4. Estimates of the cash reserves of BBC range from $25-30 million, and this year's general budget receipts are estimated to exceed $30,000,000. How does this influence your opinion?

Please remember to keep your comments respectful of others regardless of whether you agree with someone's position or not. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Thanks to "memphismom02" for the idea for this topic.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deacons to Pledge Loyalty to Pastor Steve Gaines

The following letter was written by deacon chairman Chuck Taylor to the deacons:


At the conclusion of our Deacons meeting that followed the evening service, all who were present unanimously approved the following motion:

"The 2006 active Deacon Body of Bellevue Baptist Church met November 5th after the evening service and unanimously approved the following motion. We the active Deacon Body of Bellevue Baptist Church wish to convey to our Church family our affirmation of Dr. Steve Gaines as God’s appointed and God’s anointed Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. We commit ourselves before God and our Church family to serve with loyalty under his leadership and to free him up to do the work to which God has called him to do. We publicly demonstrate our loyalty to Pastor Gaines by signing our name to this motion and standing before the Church congregation in each of the morning worship services on November 19, 2006."

Over the next few days, each Vice Chairman will be calling the men in their group to go over the motion and answer any questions. The motion requires each Deacon to sign his name to the motion indicating his public approval of the motion, so please go to the Events Registration Center to sign it. If you have any reservations in signing this motion, please discuss it with your Vice Chairman. I want to reiterate that every Deacon that was present in the Deacons meeting following the service unanimously approved this motion, with the understanding they were to sign it and to stand before the congregation on November 19th. Our congregation needs to know where the Deacons stand during these challenging days.


Interesting article: Preacher Rule According to the Scriptures

What do you think of this?

One answer per person, please.

Do you think it's Biblically sound for the deacons to sign a pledge of loyalty to the pastor?
Certainly. He's the spiritual authority of the church.
I don't know, but I see nothing wrong with it.
I don't know, but it bothers me.
No. We are to pledge allegiance to no man, only to God.
Free polls from

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ask the Communications Committee!

On Sunday night, November 5th, we were told by Harry Smith, chairman of the Communications Committee that they had received only about 15 questionnaires from members. The forms are available at the ERC in the west lobby, but perhaps some have forgotten to pick them up. Therefore, a downloadable copy is being made available here.

There is room for one question on this form, and I'm sure there are many with more than one question. Whether or not submitting these forms will result in any questions being answered, no one yet knows. However, if they receive only 15 forms they're going to think everyone is satisfied with the kinds of answers that were given in the information meetings on 9/24 and 11/5, and who would blame them? If you were not satisfied with the answers you received in those meetings, I would encourage you to download and fill out a copy of this form for every question you have. Do it this week! If it takes 10 copies, then by all means fill out and submit 10 copies! There is a special box in the west lobby where you can drop them off.

Also, we were told on Sunday that members of the committee will make themselves available beginning November 12th in a room near the fellowship hall between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30 on Sunday mornings. We were invited to drop by and meet the committee members and ask any questions we may have for them. So again, I would encourage everyone who still has questions to drop by and visit with the committee.

Go with an open mind, and please don't be confrontational! Remain calm and respectful, ask any legitimate questions you might have, and give them the opportunity to respond. You may think this is a waste of time. Maybe it is. I hope not, but it is the procedure that we've been given to try to resolve these issues. Right now we need to work within the system.

Please don't give them the satisfaction of saying, "Only 15 people had questions, so that means the other 29,985 are satisfied."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Carol Pemberton Letter #2

On November 4th Carol Pemberton wrote a follow-up letter to her October 12th letter to the deacons.

What do you think about this one?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

E-mail Exchange Between Deacons on Biblical Authority

The following is a series of letters, the first two from deacon Robert Teutsch to some unidentified but concerned Bellevue members.

Letter #1 and Letter #2 are here.

Letter #3 which is here was written by Mr. Alvin Ellis, longtime Bellevue member and now inactive deacon to Robert Teutsch after Mr. Ellis received copies of Mr. Teutsch's two letters.

Letter #4 (immediately below) was Mr. Teutsch's reply, in its entirety, to Mr. Ellis.

From: Robert Teutsch
To: Alvin Ellis
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 8:01 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Letter: Bellevue Stuff

This is where you and I disagree.

Letter #5 which is here is the letter Mr. Ellis sent to each member of the deacon body.

Mr. Ellis has given his express permission to publish his letters here, and Mr. Teutsch gave his permission to the unidentified recipients to "pass [them] on to anyone else who may be seeking truth in this situation."

Mr. Ellis has shared with me some statistics regarding the replies he's received from deacons to his letter. So far he's received 11 e-mail responses. Two disagreed with Mr. Teutsch. The rest didn't say they disagreed, so he says he assumed (based upon the instructions in his letter) that they agreed with Mr. Teutsch. He characterized them as ranging from "harsh" to "can't-we-just-all-get-along." He says he's received several positive verbal responses and one "rather harsh" verbal response. Some of the specific responses (sans names) will be posted later.

New Financial Thread

Since everyone used the "Announcements" thread for discussion anyway, and since that thread has now grown to over 200 comments, we need to tie a knot in that one and start anew.

So please continue the current discussion in here.



Friday, November 03, 2006

Words to Consider

This was shared with me by a brother who requested I post it. These are wise words that we all should consider.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Proverbs 24:3-6

3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.

4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

5 A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man.

6 So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many counselors.

Each of us have our own stories of how we came to Christ. It was at this point we examined Christ's love for us. It was at this point the humility of His Love and Mercy struck us, wooed us, cared for us, and granted us a hope for our future. We were introduced to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

These are serious times that require serious discourse. Cavalier statements that disregard others feelings or lose track of Whose blessed name we profess is totally uncalled for. Dr. Rogers said something along these lines. Truth without love is butchery. Love without truth is hypocrisy. If I got this wrong - please, someone correct me - Proverbs 9:8-9.

The other morning I listened to another pastor speak of how Jesus spoke in parable. This pastor suggested that Jesus did this so that the listener could think about the whole story without getting into a defensive posture. He referred to this defensive posture as "judicial hardening." Judicial hardening occurs through the process of debate when your faith is challenged and results in the hardening of the heart. Some may not be challenging others' faith but some are questioning others' integrity. I guess I can see the hardening of the hearts.

I ask all those in concern to pray for humility. Please have a conviction for your point of view but balance it with a humility for another's point of view. God is omnipotent. God is sovereign. We are the recipients of life because a Man's love was so great that he had His flesh thrashed, nailed to some wood and hung for many to mock. I am compelled to remind you of His Church in this forum, His Life, His sacrifice, His grace and Mercy for our lives. His church is a vessel for our redemption. His church is a vessel for relationship. We are mutilating our own body.

So please reflect before you react. Please pray before you respond. And provide for others an edifying atmosphere to speak their hearts.

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.

New Poll

Christians grow, or not, depending on a variety of influences. The current situation at Bellevue has affected many people in many different ways. This poll is intended to measure just how these issues have affected your walk.

Please read before answering:

When answering, please consider only the influence the Bellevue situation has had on your Christian walk, not whether you've become disillusioned with the church or any person. This is about the effect on your daily walk with and faith in the Lord only.

One answer per person, please.

Thanks to "mkw" for this poll suggestion.

Considering for a moment ONLY the issues facing Bellevue right now, how have these issues affected your Christian walk?
They've had a positive impact and strengthened my walk a lot.
They've had a positive impact and perhaps strengthened my walk a little.
They've had a negative impact but have weakened my walk only a little.
They've had a negative impact, and greatly weakened my walk.
They've made no difference.
Free polls from