Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Thoughts

This was sent to me by a poster with the screen name "22 years at BBC" (not to be confused with "25+yrs@bbc"). I think it deserves highlighting on the front page rather than being buried in the comments.

This blogger,
Lindon, has posted an excellent piece on Bellevue. This was posted in a comment in the last thread with no reference to its source.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hmmm... Could It Really Be?

The Commercial Appeal's December 30th letters to the editor are here. You may recognize the writer of the letter entitled "The case calls for a dismissal."

Read the latest (December 27th) from the former "formerly brainwashed Bellevuer" aka "never put your faith in men!" and just think about it. A link to his blog, "Bellevue Baptist Church - My True Story" is in the sidebar on this page.

As he states, he is only expressing his own thoughts and observations which aren't necessarily the thoughts of those on this forum. This was merely a topic meant to generate discussion.

WCRV Radio (AM 640) interviewed Dr. Michael Spradlin, President of MABTS, on Thursday. The show is scheduled to be rebroadcast Saturday at 7:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The 30-minute interview can also be accessed

Bellevue's website now has the 12-17 and 12-19 statements by Steve Gaines and the video from the 12-20 Wednesday night service here and a description of the Christmas Eve morning and evening services

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 28, 2006

WCRV Radio (AM 640) is scheduled to interview Dr. Michael Spradlin, President of MABTS, at 3:00 p.m. today. We've been informed the interview will not be streamed live over the internet, so you must listen to it on the radio. The show is scheduled to be rebroadcast Saturday at 7:00 a.m., 6:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

The latest from Christian Worldview Network is here.

This blogger, wbishop1213, has a couple of interesting entries here. See December 23rd and 26th. has articles here and here.

This is a recap of this past week's coverage:

The last three Commercial Appeal articles are here. Letters to the editor appeared on the 21st, 22nd, and 23rd and are available through links on this page.

Channel 3's coverage is here and here.

Channel 5's coverage is here, here, here, here, and here.

FOX Channel 13's coverage is here and has links to other stories and the Wednesday night statement in the sidebar.

Channel 24 made this brief mention of the story.

The Baptist Blogger wrote a nice article about Mrs. Joyce Rogers here. has articles here, here, and here.

Several Bellevue threads are going in the "SBC News and Trends" section.

The December 19th Associated Baptist Press article is here.

The Baptist Press article from December 20th is here.

The December 20th Agape Press article is here.

Blogger Wade Burleson has also written about Bellevue.

Another article is here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Bellevue Grandma Weighs In

The latest: On 12-27 we received this.

You know, sometimes you receive an e-mail that is so incredible and so unbelievable, that it deserves its own 15 minutes of fame. I've received a series of e-mails from a woman who identified herself as "SendTheLight50," aka Billie, that is unlike anything I've ever read. (I won't publish her last name here in the interest of privacy.) I've been accused by some of suppressing the ideas of those whose ideas aren't in line with those of the "anti-Bellevue" crowd, so in the interest of openness and fairness, I hereby give "SendTheLight50" the stage.

She first wrote me on 11-25-06, apparently in response to the Purpose Driven thread, but didn't sign her name. Here are those exchanges.

I thought that would be the end of it, but on 12-19-06 I received these letters which had also been cc'd to a long list of people along with the request they be forwarded to as many people as possible.

This was Karen's response to "SendTheLight50" the next day. (Reprinted with Karen's permission.)

That same day I (and a lot of other people) received this.

On 12-22 even more people received this.

On 12-23 we all received this.

On Christmas Day, we received this.

On 12-26 we received this.

As I stated last week I have no intention of responding to any more of these letters.

Note: I would like to ask that any comments be directed at this person's comments and not at her personally. Try to keep the discussion focused on ideas, not personalities.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Please post your Christmas wishes to each other and your thoughts regarding the holiday here instead of in the "regular" threads.

I offer you
this and my apologies to Clement Moore.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 23, 2006

Here's the latest from the Commercial Appeal.

Today's Commercial Appeal letters to the editor are

Friday, December 22, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 22, 2006

Channel 5 will have a new story at 10:00 p.m. Online article and video are here.

WREC Radio (AM 600) - The Mike Fleming Show from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. today will likely have continued discussion. Live internet streaming can be accessed here.

Today's Commercial Appeal letters to the editor are

The Commercial Appeal's coverage is
here, here, and here.

The latest from FOX13 is
here with links to all previous articles and videos in the "SideBar" section.

Channel 3's latest coverage is
here and here.

Channel 5's previous coverage is
here, here, and here.

TV stations are rebroadcasting some of their stories during the day today.

The Michael Reagan Show can be streamed from here.

Michael Reagan's commentary is here.

Several Bellevue threads are going in the "SBC News and Trends" section.

The Baptist Press article from 12/20/06 is here.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dr. Spradlin Faces the Music and Responds

David Perdue, a member of the Board of Trustees for Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, reportedly called a meeting of the board this afternoon for the express purpose of calling for Dr. Michael Spradlin's resignation. The good news is no vote was taken, but it is strongly believed that David Perdue may have been the lone vote, or one of only 2 or 3 votes, against Dr. Spradlin.

Dr. Spradlin has issued this statement.

In it he states...

"On Wednesday, the Commercial Appeal published the story on the front page and the seminary began to receive calls. The number of calls and emails were overwhelmingly positive but some negative responses were received. Three responses of note were James Dobson, who I spoke with at length, a vice president with the international mission board, and a Baptist college president. All expressed support and appreciation for someone taking a stand on ministry ethics and the wrong of child molestation. Dr. Dobson emphasized to me that 'When prominent leaders have no accountability and make these kinds of decisions, other prominent leaders must stand up and hold them accountable.'

"My friend from the IMB said, 'Mike, thank you for your stand in this matter of child sexual abuse. I deal with this matter far too often, and feel that we must take very strong stands against such abuse, and the coverups that far too often accompany it.' These men reflect the teaching of our school. We must follow Scripture and obey God no matter what the cost."

Thank you again, Dr. Spradlin, for your stand for Truth!

This is the Commercial Appeal's latest article.

This is a duplicate of the Commercial Appeal poll which accompanies the article.

Do you think Bellevue Baptist Church senior pastor Dr. Steve Gaines should resign?
Give him one more chance.
Free polls from

Anyone With Information...

A woman named "Valerie," in a phone call to WREC Radio, stated that PW, in interviews, asked her questions of a sexual nature that were so explicit she couldn't repeat them on the radio. I've heard several women who tell similar stories. She said she confronted him later and said, "I know who you are and what you are," and that he just stared coldly at her and didn't say anything.

This statement appears on

Anyone with any information that could possibly be related to this case, please contact the proper authorities. The "proper authorities" are not David Coombs or anyone on staff at Bellevue! And lest anyone thinks otherwise, it's not Jim Haywood,, or this forum either. (I never dreamed of anyone thinking that had been suggested, but at least one person did, so I just wanted to make that clear.)

And for anyone who thinks David Coombs is the person to be "investigating" anything of this nature, you might want to read this statement by the ex-sister-in-law of Mr. Coombs.

She quotes Mr. Coombs thusly...

"As Christians, we are all slaves of Christ without rights. A Christian wife cannot demand the right to not be hurt physically by her husband."

Then she states, "It will be interesting to see what conclusions the Bellevue committee reaches concerning Christian children under this man's leadership."

Indeed it will.

Today's Media Coverage - December 21, 2006

Channel 5 had more coverage at 10:00 p.m. and a new story here.

WREC Radio (AM 600) devoted the whole Mike Fleming show to this issue today (December 21st) and will likely do so again tomorrow (Friday).

FOX13 will likely cover the story again at 9:00 p.m. They have a new story here.

Today's Commercial Appeal letters to the editor are here.

WREC Radio's website coverage is here and here.

The Michael Reagan Show can be streamed from here.

Michael Reagan's commentary is here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 20, 2006

Extended prayer meeting tonight at 6:30 at church. Streaming video should be available here. Audio is available here and here.

FOX Channel 13 is supposed to broadcast interviews with David Matlock and Josh Manning at 5:00 p.m. today. They said to stay tuned for more coverage at 5:30, and they may rerun the story at 9:00 p.m. More information is available here.

Channel 5 is scheduled to broadcast interviews with Mrs. Rogers and David Brown at 6:00 p.m. They may rerun the story at 10:00 p.m. More information is available here.

Be sure to tune in!

Channel 3's coverage is here.

The Commercial Appeal's coverage is here, here, and here.

Seminary President Calls for Steve Gaines to Resign!

In a front page article in the December 20th Memphis Commercial Appeal, Dr. Michael Spradlin, president of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary and interim pastor of Germantown Baptist Church, has asked for the resignation of Dr. Steve Gaines, pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. That article, in its entirety, is here.

Quotes by Dr. Spradlin include:

"If Steve Gaines found out that a child had been sexually molested by one of his ministers and if he did nothing to address it, then he needs to step down immediately," Spradlin said. "We cannot take chances with other people's children. If he knew about this and kept quiet, then he's put Bellevue in a very dangerous position and possibly put children and the emotionally vulnerable at risk."

"There's a sense of Steve Gaines being the measure of what's right and what's wrong. If you agree with him, you're right and if you disagree, you're wrong," Spradlin said. "But I think he's spent all his credibility and people are losing trust in him."

Steve Gaines issued this statement.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Other Truths

Please use this thread to discuss anything relating to Bellevue except the Paul Williams issue.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 19, 2006

National radio talk show host, Michael Reagan, had a segment about Bellevue about 11 or 12 minutes into the third hour of his broadcast on December 18th. The relevant excerpt from that show can also be heard here in the December 18th entry.

Thanks to westtnbarrister for capturing this audio.

The Commercial Appeal ran this article on December 19th. (Scroll down on that page.)

Channel 5 News in Memphis ran this story on the 5:00 p.m. newscast on December 18th. A comments section is included.

Channel 3 News in Memphis ran a similar story at 6:00 p.m. on December 18th.

Both Channel 5's and Channel 3's stories featured interviews with Bellevue member Tim Coggins.

FOX Channel 13 in Memphis ran an interview with Jim Haywood regarding this same story December 18th at 9:00 p.m. and December 19th at 8:00 a.m.

Let's clear up something right now! A few people have implied that Dr. Rogers and/or Bob Sorrell may have known about this situation. This is a quote from FOX13's story:

"The wife of former Head Pastor Adrian Rogers called FOX13 about the situation.

"She wanted to make it clear that her husband had not been aware of these allegations. She said Williams himself told her that Pastor Rogers didn't know.

"Retired Associate Pastor Bob Sorrell also called FOX13 to say he wasn't aware either."

Some of these stations may rerun their segments during the day today (December 19th), and the story has been streaming in the news ticker along the bottom of the screen on FOX13.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Time for More Truth!

Here's some interesting information straight from Bellevue's website. I wonder if they know this is still there or if Steve Gaines has ever read it. As the person who brought this to my attention asked, "Will Bellevue follow her own advice?"

Following the invitation in both Sunday morning services on December 17th, Steve Gaines announced that Bryan Miller was going to read a prepared statement. This is that statement and a transcript of Steve Gaines' comments afterwards.

I would like to ask again that even though the minister's name has been revealed by Steve Gaines himself, no mention of the other Williams family's names be made in this forum.

1. How could Steve Gaines possibly think it's okay to cover this up for six months?

2. Whether anyone else knew about the situation at the time, why would Paul Williams "counsel" potential nursery workers who answered affirmatively to abuse in their own backgrounds? I've received correspondence from people in these situations who said he asked a lot of explicit and personal questions about the details of their abuse. He's asked other people in counseling for unrelated issues for details about their sex lives. For lack of a better word, that's just creepy!

3. What about the philandering board of directors member? Has he really been asked to step down? Has he been disciplined in any way? Will there be any mention of this situation in a worship service, too?

4. What about the "forcible rape" which occurred at the church that was reported to the Memphis police on 12/12/06? What really happened? Have extra security measures been implemented to protect everyone?

5. Why have members of a family, one of whom was reportedly caught stalking a young woman in the church while carrying a bag containing weapons, including a gun, and another "sneaking a peek" near the women's dressing rooms during a SCT performance, still allowed on church property? Were the authorities notified when these events occurred?

6. Why has the media been so quiet?

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.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apologies and Forgiveness

We've heard a lot about forgiveness recently, and we've heard apologies from several people. I'd like to discuss just a couple of these here. A topic was started a few weeks ago regarding a conversation between staff minister Doyal Long and Pam Gremillion. Mrs. Gremillion gave a detailed description of that conversation which is available from a link in that topic heading. (Check the November archives for "Conduct Becoming a Minister?")

A few days after that topic was started, we received the wonderful news that Minister Long paid an unexpected visit to the Gremillions for the purpose of apologizing to them for things he said to Mrs. Gremillion during a phone call she made to the church two days earlier. The Gremillions explain in their own words what happened during this visit.

Praise the Lord! This is most assuredly conduct becoming a minister! I am heartened by Mr. Long's ability to recognize that his words were hurtful to the Gremillions and his willingness to ask their forgiveness quickly and face to face and that he and the Gremillions are now fully reconciled in Christ.

It was my hope that this is a sign that some of those in leadership positions at Bellevue are beginning to realize that many of the sheep they're supposed to be shepherding are hurting and scattered. Could this represent just a glimmer of hope that they are finally hearing the sheep?

In the morning service on December 3rd, Brother Steve apologized to the congregation for the way he'd handled three things -- the "retirement" of Brother Jim Whitmire, the Gardendale remarks on July 10, 2006, and the Union City remarks on September 25, 2006.

I accept his apology for the last two things, but I and many others still have doubts about the first. Dr. Gaines' version of what happened and accounts from the Whitmire family about what happened at that meeting in November 2005 still differ greatly.

Read his apology here.

The Whitmire family has requested that their account of the apology not be published here, so in deference to their wishes I am honoring their request. Suffice it to say their account differed significantly from Steve Gaines' description. I will reveal this: After everyone had spoken, Steve Gaines reportedly angrily slammed his palms down on his desk, then raised both hands in an "I surrender" gesture and yelled, "Okay! I'm sorry!" So, technically, I guess he "apologized."

Please try to keep this thread "on topic" and use the General Discussion threads for other topics of discussion.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Latest on Deacons' Show of Loyalty

This week Chuck Taylor, current Chairman of Deacons, sent this letter to the deacon body. This Sunday's planned "show of support" for the pastor by having the deacons stand on the platform with him during the morning worship services has been cancelled.

Your thoughts?

Deacon Brothers,

In the December Deacons meeting, we discussed coming forward in the Sunday morning services on December 10 to express our love and support for our Pastor. Since it was uncertain if our Pastor was in favor of this or not, we voted to ask him to decide if we should. I talked with Brother Steve on Tuesday and he said he didn’t want to make that decision or even express an opinion. He asked me to make the decision. Since then, I’ve been praying for God’s direction and talking with several Deacons who are very close to the Pastor and this situation. I know it is our Pastor’s desire to move on and focus all our attention and energies on Jesus and in servicing Him. Last Sunday morning, we heard our Pastor humbly ask the Church to forgive him and the Church responded with a standing ovation in acceptance of his apology. Sunday night Harry Smith and Phil Weatherwax expressed their love and support for our Pastor and once again the Church responded with a standing ovation expressing love and support for him. God blessed in a wonderful way as our Pastor and Congregation reached out to one another. As I prayed about what the Deacons should do, I sense in my spirit that it is time to move on. Deacons coming to the platform to express love and support of our Pastor would be appropriate but I believe it should have been done before now. It’s time to move on. This Sunday begins a new chapter and Deacons should show their love for our Pastor by faithfully serving the Lord Jesus Christ and refusing to have anything to do with people, websites, meetings or conversations that rehash those things that have been proven false or the Pastor has asked forgiveness for. [emphasis mine] Brothers, it is time to think like and act like Jesus to reach a lost and dying world. Right or wrong, I hope you understand my decision to not go to the platform this Sunday.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

It's now after the meeting. As usual, we got little in the way of answers from the committee. Most questions were met with, "I don't know," or "None of us are on that committee. You need to ask them," or a new and novel approach, a blank stare accompanied by, "Thank you for the question. Next question?" I went in hoping for at least some answers, but the fact that we didn't get answers doesn't mean the meeting was a waste of time.

Indeed, this was a very important meeting. There were well over 200 people in attendance, and Mark Sharpe had the opportunity to ask questions and to speak. For many, this was the first time they'd had an opportunity to see Mark and hear from him. Leaving the room and walking down the hallway afterwards, I heard snippets of conversations along the way, and people were saying things like, "I'm glad we got to hear Mark Sharpe. I think he's telling the truth." Or "I didn't know who Mark Sharpe was, but after hearing what he said, I really do think we've got problems." Or "I really do think God sent Mark Sharpe to Bellevue at this time."

This is what was accomplished this morning! People are one by one pulling their heads out of the sand and considering that this may be a lot more than just a small group of disgruntled members who don't like the music or who are just upset because Steve Gaines isn't Adrian Rogers.

Sister Pam Gremillion is writing a transcript of the meeting which she is publishing in the comments of this thread.

1. Did you attend the December 3rd meeting?

2. What were your impressions?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

The Communications Committee is meeting again this Sunday, December 3rd, at 8:00 a.m. in the first room on the right down the hallway next to the ERC. Last week there were over 100 people in attendance. We can do much better than that! If you have questions or just want to gain information, please be there! If each person who was there last week would invite just 5 people, we could have over 500 in attendance. Please make plans now to be there. If a teaching position or other obligation keeps you from being there at 8:00, please drop in whenever you can any time between 8:00 and 9:30.