Sunday, October 07, 2007

Anonymous Letter #2

Many of the same people who received the first anonymous letter a few weeks ago received another one this week. (See "An Anonymous Letter" two topics down.)

This was taken from a scan that contained several different font styles and sizes, and some of it wasn't completely clear due to the poor quality of the scan, but I believe I have now corrected all the errors in the original scan.

629 comments:

1 – 200 of 629   Newer›   Newest»
maybejustmaybe said...

Any suggestions regarding how to get my name OFF the recipients' list for letters like this? I'm registered with the Federal DO NOT CALL list for unwanted telephone solicitations. Email SPAM usually has an unsubscribe or "opt out" button. There is no way to know what these letters are until I have read at least part of their content, and I would prefer not to receive anymore of them.

Thank you,
Miriam Wilmoth

New BBC Open Forum said...

Might I suggest you read the whole thing before discarding it?

I have no idea what to tell you about how to get off this person's (or persons') list since I have no idea who's sending these letters. I doubt your mailbox is exactly being clogged with letters though.

I suppose one could deal with it the same way I deal with the offering envelopes (sometimes multiple sets in a single month) and glossy full-color magazines and flyers I receive from Bellevue, namely shred it or file it in the circular file and forget it.

I'm not on this particular mailing list, so if anyone receives any more of these letters, I'd appreciate it if one of you nice sheeps would scan it and shoot me a copy. :-)

amazed said...

I said it before and I will say it again, the person that writes these letters does a wonderful job of bible research and the analysis of a sermon is outstanding. Just goes to show you that a sermon can have more than one purpose.

sickofthelies said...

We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable. ~Alexander Solzhenitsyn

concernedSBCer said...

This part is especially logical:

Before Dr. Gaines arrived at Bellevue two years ago, Bellevue was at peace. We were in agreement. We got along. We were everything Dr. Gaines wants. We were Spirit-filled. We were saved. We were not cowards. We signed our names to everything. We did not use pseudonyms. We did not hold clandestine meetings. Then, Dr. Gaines arrived. We have been divided ever since. We have become everything Dr. Gaines preaches against. Who caused the trouble in Bellevue? Who removed the peace? Who brought the conflict? Who created the situation in which truthtellers are afraid to sign their names? Not you. Not me. That leaves only one person - Dr. Gaines.

I love logic. It's so much better than relying on emotions. Take a look in the morror, Dr. Gaines. There's your answer.

New BBC Open Forum said...

From today's BellevueToday:

Business Meeting

A Business Meeting will be held Sunday, October 14, following the evening Worship Service to elect deacons and messengers to the yearly meetings of the Mid-South Baptist Association and the Tennessee Baptist Convention.

This will likely be a very quick, tightly controlled meeting from beginning to end, and it's unlikely the opportunity to bring up any business other than exactly as stated will be possible. But my hat's off to anyone who'd like to give it a try.

sickofthelies said...

NBBOF said:

This will likely be a very quick, tightly controlled meeting from beginning to end, and it's unlikely the opportunity to bring up any business other than exactly as stated will be possible. But my hat's off to anyone who'd like to give it a try.

6:53 PM, October 07, 2007

SOTL responds:

There's no one left who gives a flyin fig one way or the other. All of SG's enemies are imaginary and they are sitting in imaginary chairs inside the "worship" center.

gmommy said...

No SOTL...
His imaginary enemies are little creatures on the evil blogs with screen names (oh my!) ....and special watches to plan those clandestine meetings!!!! :)

Piglet said...

Lynn

On the previous thread, you mentioned that you love Halo.

For those who are reading the linked article, it may help you out to know that all the violence is against alien beings - and I believe that is actually an improvement over T-rated Star Wars games where humans end up in the crosshairs. I'm not promoting the game to anyone, but I think it was a little dramatic to campare it to porn. And this game is a cakewalk compared to other previous best sellers like Doom and Resident Evil where you have demons and zombies oozing bodily fluids. There may be some language to be concerned about. As a mom of boys it has been my job to study up on this.

Technology has brought us here from cowboys and indians and kids playing "war" and cops and robbers. There are a lot of REALLY bad games out there - and then there's the amount of time you allow your kids to play, etc.

This is much like trying to help your kids navigate the internet safely - mine have to use my laptop with me sitting next to them.

That being said, I'm not sure I would approve of a Halo party just because of the controversy. We always had skating parties, hay rides, bowling, putt-putt, but there's no controversy attached to those activities.

sickofthelies said...

He devotes an ENTIRE sermon to "US"

I"m so flattered!!!

concernedSBCer said...

Piglet: Good points. You know, leadership might be amazed at the amount of good, clean fun can be found in those board game favorites like Monopoly, Scrabble, Clue, etc. Several years ago we hosted a "game night" party for teens and brought out all the favorites, as well as some like Guesstures and Rummicube. The kids had an absolute blast playing games set up at tables all over the house. A chess tournament went on all evening and not one "person" or "alien" died!

Kids can enjoy clean alternatives, just like you said.

Lin said...

From the letter:

... "If it's too low, too short, or too tight you will be sent home to change, and if again, on another occasion your clothing is determined to be either too low, or too short, or too tight, you will be fired?" Is this not close to fact? Readers, can you see where some of us are having a very difficult time with Dr. Gaines' judgment? Fired for improper dress and suspended for child molestation?...

This is very strange and hypocritical from even another standpoint. It seems these rules do not apply with his own children. I saw a picture of his daughter with a very low cut, tight and strapless top on.

Lynn said...

I agree Piglet.

Video games have changed alot since when I was a kid. I remember when Mortal Kombat first came out and there was a major stink raised over that games violence. Now that looks like a small slap in the face compared to some of the games these days. Especially games like Grand Theft Auto where the goal is to commit criminal acts.

I don't play as many video games now as I did 10-15 years ago. If I play a video game these days, its usually a game like Madden 08 or other sports game. If not that, something simple like Luxor or Monopoly.

Lin said...

Mary, About the stress pig:

I clicked on picture just as my dog was standing right next to me and was ...I promise this is true...looking at the picture. I clicked on the pig nose and now I am scraping my fluffy Bichon Frise off the ceiling.

Scared the socks off him! :o)

sickofthelies said...

Whatever happened to " kick the can' or " blind man's bluff"?

Or heck,who, besides me, used to look forward to the mosquito truck to come along so we could run thru the fog?

WE found ways to entertain ourselves that didn't cost one dime!

gopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sickofthelies said...

gopher,

Are you telling us that a staff member has reported to you that someone in the east wing has a filthy mouth?

New BBC Open Forum said...

SOTL,

Behave!

gopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
New BBC Open Forum said...

THE UPDATED VERSION OF THE ANONYMOUS LETTER HAS BEEN POSTED.

New BBC Open Forum said...

gopher,

What happened in the preschool department last Sunday?

Why'd you delete your comment?

SOTL was just being silly.

gopher said...

maybejustmaybe said...

Any suggestions regarding how to get my name OFF the recipients' list for letters like this?


Yes, remove your name from the Bellevue Baptist roll.

As the judge in the Two Rivers Baptist Lawsuit states:

... members were entitled to get the list of names and address of congregants because Two Rivers is a nonprofit corporation.

here

Piglet said...

This is for those of you Bellevue refugees that are still "church-hopping" and haven't found a home:

Germantown Baptist is announcing the candidate for pastor this Sunday, October 14th. Be sure and drop in.

To all of our friends that we haven't seen in a while - WE MISS YOU! Please come visit us if you haven't "tied the knot" elsewhere!!

You know who you are!! :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Looks like Jerry Sutton survived the vote. Is anyone surprised?

bee said...

Hate to interrupt the topic flow but am longtime lurker. Please pray for my sister who is tonight suffering greatly from a moving kidney stone. She's a former member of Bellevue now living outside Nashville. May seem like a little thing but is very big when you're having one. God cares and I know you do. Thanks and God bless all.

johnthebaptist said...

Bee,

I will pray for your sister.

JTB

New BBC Open Forum said...

gopher wrote:

"Yes, remove your name from the Bellevue Baptist roll."

From what I've heard, that wouldn't matter. Apparently they're using an old list, and I doubt if they know who's still a BBC member and who's not.

Piglet said...

I would like to thank whoever wrote the letter on this thread!

I SO hope that people will read it before tossing it. It is so well written and not mean spirited at all.

You are doing your part to sound the warning and shine the light in the darkness. May God richly bless your efforts. :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Praying for your sister, bee. I hope she gets relief quickly.

New BBC Open Forum said...

THERE'S A REFORMATTED VERSION OF THE FIRST ANONYMOUS LETTER HERE.

Piglet said...

bee

I prayed for your sister.

concernedSBCer said...

There is a fabulous column written today by Dinesh D'Souza (our dear Nass will post a link for it, I think!) but here are a few of the great comments in it:

"Christians are called upon to be “contenders” for their faith. This term suggests that they should be ready to stand up for their beliefs, and that they will face opposition. But in order to give reasons, you must first know what you believe. You must also know why you believe it. And you must be able to communicate these reasons to those who don’t share your beliefs. In short, you must know what’s so great about Christianity."

"This is not a time for Christians to turn the other cheek. Rather, it is a time to drive the money-changers out of the temple. The atheists no longer want to be tolerated. They want to monopolize the public square and to expel Christians from it."

Excellent column and I look forward to buying the book.

This battle we are engaged in is bigger than BBC......

IMHO

amazed said...

It appears that a lot of people, at Two Rivers, decided to stay home yesterday rather than go and get involved. A vote count of 1,387 is rather small for a so called mega church. What gives?

sickofthelies said...

nbbof said:

gopher,

What happened in the preschool department last Sunday?

Why'd you delete your comment?

SOTL was just being silly.

10:15 PM, October 07, 2007

SOTL says:

Yeah, it was that mosquito truck smoke....has long lasting effects ya know :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Link for "concernedsbcer's" article.

Billie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Billie said...

Billie said...
I have not come here today for the purpose of confrontation regarding the gossip or the rights or wrongs involved in any particuliar issue. I have come in peace to talk about the Prince of Peace and I pray that each reader will read with care.

Luke 5: 22-speaks of miracles and we all agree that Bellevue needs a miracle between two groups of people who have completely different views of the current administration.
So many people are praying for a miracle to come and satisfy "our desires" thinking that we cannot worship under the same roof until the miracle happens. The miracle hasn't happened and it will not happen because miracles only occur when God desires to show off the power of His annointed Son.

Many words have been spoken by me and by most of you which have greately offended. This can not be denied!
Someone made this statement that describes the meaning of having an unforgiving spirit, "Unforgiveness is like a person drinking poison hoping that it will kill the other person" The antidote: forgiveness is like a person filling a cup full of poison thinking of drinking it but deciding to pour it down the sink. Forgiveness is a choice and it does NOT require restitution.

I have said all of this to state that I have chosen forgiveness.

I am only responsible for my choice and forgiveness is my choice. I am responsible for sharing the choice I made, in public, because the division has been placed in the public.

The best thing that each of us can do is to allow God to demonstrate the power of His Son to perform a miracle among us (BBC) He is desiring to show off His Son to a world caught up in conflicts. We can be a perfect example! BBC can be what God desires for us to be, The Big Church who came through the storm of Satan, those who testify that God's way to healing is the only way.

We will never be a part of God's plan unless WE CHOOSE FORGIVENESS!

HOPE TO TALK TO YOU AGAIN, IN THE FUTURE!

Billie Tapp
Carrythelight56@aol.com

10:45 AM,

New BBC Open Forum said...

So, Billie, are you saying you forgive us for what you perceive as an offense? You say that you've spoken words which have "greatly offended" (I agree with your assessment there), but I notice you offered no apology.

sickofthelies said...

Billie said:

So many people are praying for a miracle to come and satisfy "our desires" thinking that we cannot worship under the same roof until the miracle happens.

SOTL responds:

Billie, you just don't get it do you?

Most of us have found other churches. I could never and will never worship with people who do not have a problem with a pedophile being kept on staff. I cannot worship with people who feel that " he ONLY did it one time" is acceptable behavior for a father. I could not and will not worship under a pastor that laughs at breaking the law. I have a son to raise. I do not want this man as a role model for my child. I would forgive him IF he ever asked for forgiveness, but the fact remains that he LAUGHED at breaking the law.

I have no interest in EVER returning to BBC. It's not JUST SG..it's the BBC millionaires club and, frankly, people like you who have been willing to give him a pass on every single sin he has committed.

You are responsible for your own actions.. I no longer care if you attend church at BBC. I am sorry that you are blind, but nothing I can say to you will change that.

The miracle would be that YOU and people like you would realize that you are being led by a man who is a wolf in sheep's clothing.

BBC 11yrs said...

Billie,

You need to open your eyes and recognize that all who remain supportive of Steve Gaines are ignorant of scripture and pedophile supporters, habitual sinners, no good scoundrels. Those who have moved on are saints who do no wrong and recognize the wrong in everyone else.

If you could only see the truth Billie. If only...

johnthebaptist said...

billie said...

Forgiveness is a choice and it does NOT require restitution.

I have said all of this to state that I have chosen forgiveness.


JTB:
I guess you are saying that you are choosing to forgive us.

Choosing forgiveness and asking for forgiveness is two different things. So far, you haven't asked to be forgiven. That makes your choice half-hearted & incomplete. Forgiveness usually starts with the words "I'm sorry. The two words that are not heard very often at BBC.

MOM4 said...

SOTL,
We should dress up as angels of mercy and show up at her door on Halloween....or better still the angels that are on the movie The Christmas Carol with Scrooge (past, present and future at BBC)
But then again,I wonder if she would even listen to a real angel if it did appear to her. It seems as if she has been sucked into a black hole of apostasy. Scary!

PS. Billie, trust us, NOONE here is planning on showing up at your door on Halloween or any other time. We have better things to do than to try to convince you of anything. Your closed mind is made up (just like others who even refused to read the most recent letters)

Sad

New BBC Open Forum said...

11yrs,

That was about the stupidest thing I've seen you write. We're all habitual sinners. I don't know of anyone who has claimed otherwise (except you). And people who still support SG are ignorant of a lot of things -- most of them by choice.

Memphis said...

BBC 11yrs said...

"You need to open your eyes and recognize that all who remain supportive of Steve Gaines are ignorant of scripture and pedophile supporters, habitual sinners, no good scoundrels. Those who have moved on are saints who do no wrong and recognize the wrong in everyone else."



Reply: Had to read that a few times to make sure I was reading it right!

gmommy said...

I can't take anymore twisting of scripture and lack of logic even from a person being manipulated by experts.

To say that we will never be a part of God's plan until we choose forgiveness is such stupidity...sorry, can't find the Biblical word for that.

God has a plan for each one of His children and it does not have to involve Steve Gaines,BBC, or Billie Tapp.
You are trying to see Steve as a phophet or king again and lady.....it's never going to be a reality.

I can't wait until Steve manipulates something that looks like he has done a miracle.....that is exactly where he is leading you blind people so desperate for a leader and savior that you aren't looking at the only ONE there is.

SINCE WHEN does GOD ALMIGHTY NEED to "show off" His Son?????
You are so in the twilight zone the music has driven you nuts!!!

God does not need SG or you to be God and especially any of us to blow off reality and accept worldly man made visions of power and authority.

Miracles ?????

And as for forgiveness ....this has NOTHING to do with forgiveness ...PARTICULARLY on our part .

There needs to be truth and repentance from your camp lady.

We are just fine without any of your mumbo jumbo twisted worldly, Steve, mystic,non thinking,non scriptural centered trash.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"Had to read that a few times to make sure I was reading it right!"

Really? I got it the first time.

STOPTHEMADNESS said...

I watched the memorial service for Doctor Rogers again; I wanted to compare him to preachers in this area. NOT JUST to SG, but, well, I am STRICKEN by Brother Adrians Glow, his conviction, his steadfast spreading of GOD's WORD. The world has become a darker and more sinister place without his direction. It was, of course, HARD to watch...but, it WILL OPEN ANYONES eyes as to WHY we expected, at MINIMUM, a "sweet"man to lead us. THE ONLY time he talked about himself was when making SURE he never elevated himself in ANYONES EYES. PLEASE anybody who has a few moments, google ADRIAN ROGERS and watch it for yourself, get on the website and stream in the video. Look at the swollen faces of grief. Hear the pleading in his voice on behalf of his savior, in the footage of him they used. Oh, and while I am here, By the way, I neither got the poison analogy or fell for using that email address. I still see NO APOLOGY for what someone said about Dr. Rogers, but you know what, GOD tells me he has this all under control. I am starting to feel better about what was said on here last week. Because I was so homesick for BBC before that, now I know the door has been closed. By heartless, cruel words from someone quoting the Bible that we used to hold up in the air each week. Thank you to those who have forgiven my weaknesses, and my fears. Bellevue is in my past, and in a few more weeks or days, I will be ready to listen to God as to where to go next. Brother Adrian said a LOT about forgiveness, so, rather than some jumbled poison analogy (!?) I respectfully suggest that LWF tapes of his about forgiveness might be better.
NOBODY wanted Sg to make it more than Brother Adrian. HOW DO I KNOW? Because Precious Adrian was willing to wash sg's FEET to smoothen the transition and to respect his new pastor. IF ONLY SG had been willing to give just a tiny bit, just a LITTLE,...Anyone who thinks NOBODY had SG figured out is wrong. DEAD WRONG. There was just nothing anyone could do. So, peace be with you. We will all meet in heaven, and find out that it never really mattered where we worshipped. but how and whom... remember: WE DON'T HAVE TO COME TOGETHER,WE DON'T HAVE TO BE AT BELLEVUE...WE DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LIVE...

Junkster said...

Lin said...
From the letter:

... "If it's too low, too short, or too tight you will be sent home to change, and if again, on another occasion your clothing is determined to be either too low, or too short, or too tight, you will be fired?" Is this not close to fact? Readers, can you see where some of us are having a very difficult time with Dr. Gaines' judgment? Fired for improper dress and suspended for child molestation?...

This is very strange and hypocritical from even another standpoint. It seems these rules do not apply with his own children. I saw a picture of his daughter with a very low cut, tight and strapless top on.


Hi, Lin,
I haven't seen the picture to which you refer. But I suggest you go back and read the 11:07 AM, October 01, 2007 words of another poster (who shall remain nameless), explaining how the choices of the child don't reflect on the parent. Yep, go read that, but don't read 1 Tim 3:4-5 or Titus 1:6.

Housewife said...

Halo party??? I have an even crazier idea. Now, this is pretty extreme. Shocking. Some of you may not make it, so please make sure to sit down...

How about Bible reading? Do they even do that anymore? How about Bible trivia?

Never mind. That's too Christian and boring. You can't fill the seats speaking like that. Oh well.

Housewife said...

maybejustmaybe said...

Any suggestions regarding how to get my name OFF the recipients' list for letters like this?

5:02 PM, October 07, 2007


Any suggestions regarding how to get my name ON the recipients' list for letters like this?

I, for one, would be grateful for the truth!!!

Housewife said...

NASS said...

I suppose one could deal with it the same way I deal with the offering envelopes (sometimes multiple sets in a single month) and glossy full-color magazines and flyers I receive from Bellevue, namely shred it or file it in the circular file and forget it.


I was thinking toilet paper, but OK. =)

About the business meeting... I still have voting rights. Anyone up to conspire to vote against whoever they put up there? After all, Steve's approval of the men up for a vote says more against them than for them.

OK, I'm kidding about the conspiring part but that won't stop them from asserting it as fact anyway.

Lin said...

Hi, Lin,
I haven't seen the picture to which you refer. But I suggest you go back and read the 11:07 AM, October 01, 2007 words of another poster (who shall remain nameless), explaining how the choices of the child don't reflect on the parent. Yep, go read that, but don't read 1 Tim 3:4-5 or Titus 1:6.

5:52 PM, October 08, 2007

Well, their choices SHOULD reflect on the parent if said kid is living under the parents roof. this kid could use a talking to on modesty.

I know, scripture sure puts a damper on things. Best to proof text so you can get around it. Or, just call it 'guidelines'. Not something to take seriously. (Sheesh)

MOM4 said...

Does anyone have information about WHO they have selected for us to vote on? Or is it going to be like the vote for Steve Gaines, the only one on the ballot?
One would think King Herenton and the Ford family were running things at BBC! They are anointed and ordained by God, or so they claim.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Well, I have to hand it to him. Ted Haggard's sure got a lot of gall.

concernedSBCer said...

Okay, aside from him asking people to pay him to go to school, my concern is that they will be counseling others! I've got to wonder if he's got things fixed within himself to be able to counsel others. I think it's somewhat scary, personally.

sickofthelies said...

Bee,

Can we have an update on your sister? How's she doing? I'm sure that many are praying for her.

Housewife said...

Most honest and decent people know that if you can't support your family and go to school at the same time, you give up the school, not supporting your family. It's called being a MAN! And you certainly don't ask others to take care of your financial responsibilities so you can do something as secondary as going to school.

Even worse than his shamelessness is that there will always be people who are more than willing to give him that money.

Mary said...

I’m glad y’all liked The Stress Pig! For those who haven’t seen it, you must CLICK on the PIG’S NOSE and it will shake off the stress!

Lin, I’m sorry about your puppy. As a dog lover who always has German Shepherds around, I admit to laughing at the thought of a Bichon Frise on the ceiling. Actually, a Bichon Frise on the ceiling is an adequate description of how I feel when certain people show up here only to bait our better judgment. ‘Nuff said.

I hope he’s all better now and no worse for wear. ;-)

Mary

bee said...

SOTL:

Thanks to you and all others who've remembered my sister in prayer. As far as we know right now, the rolling of the stone(s) has ceased and the pain has lessened enough for her to be able to function. She'll be getting an x-ray tomorrow to find out what's really going on.

Meanwhile, we've been suggesting that she jump rope furiously whenever she feels up to it. :)

But please continue to pray. It's great to rest in the fact that, in reality, the people of Bellevue's golden days are still out there gathered as a family around the internet, holding one another up in God's hope. I couldn't ask for a better group of intercessors.

gmommy said...

Your cracking me up Mary!

gmommy said...

Bee...there is support even outside this blog....you are welcome at one of our get togethers!!!

concernedSBCer said...

From LWF today.....

“O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!” Romans 11:33

We must guard ourselves against lowering the standard of God’s Word to our level of understanding or political correctness. And we must guard ourselves against raising our standard of tradition above the standard of His Word. The Bible is not meant to be paraded past the judgment bar of your mind. You can argue with it, but why? You can pick up and read any other book, but this is the book that reads you. It pulsates with life and power. It cuts, burns, crushes, and wields mountain-moving power. His Word has a life of its own. It is the voice of God to you. You cannot refuse it, deny it, distort it, or dilute it. You can only bow before it.

This is the line I especially loved: "We must guard ourselves against lowering the standard of God’s Word to our level of understanding or political correctness." In today's time of using Halo, and prizes, and advertising to get people into churches, this line especially applies.

concernedSBCer said...

Bee: Glad to hear about your sister; will continue praying.

Lin: I too got a hilarious image of your puppy on the ceiling! (And as I have a Bishon too, I could imagine it all the more clearly!)

Lin said...

Nass, The story on Haggard gets even more bizarre. The people in Phoenix say they have never promised Haggard a counseling position. His former church gave a statement that they do not agree with him asking for money.

Check out these stories:

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,294538,00.html

http://www.cbn.com/blogs/vonbuseck/070829_New_Life_Ted_Haggard.aspx

After years of living high on the hog off tithes and donations, it is hard for these people to get a clue. They come to expect a certain lifestyle.

Check out his salary and bonus right before the scandal hit. Most Americans live on less than a 1/4 of that per year. Also check out the market value of his home. I think old Ted can make it for 2 years if he tightens up his belt and sells off some stuff.

But guess what? People WILL send him money!

amazed said...

Hey folks..Morris and Mary Mills are long time members of BBC and through the years have been involved in all aspects of church life.

Mary passed away yesterday about 1:00 PM and I'm sure the family would appreciate any and all prayers.

sickofthelies said...

Lin,

It is amazing that people will send him money..Makes me wonder if I stood on the street corner with a sign that says:

" Need donations for a luxury cruise" if anyone would throw money in my bucket.

bromichael said...

"Before Dr. Gaines arrived at Bellevue two years ago, Bellevue was at peace. We were in agreement. We got along. We were everything Dr. Gaines wants. We were Spirit-filled. We were saved. We were not cowards. We signed our names to everything. We did not use pseudonyms. We did not hold clandestine meetings. Then, Dr. Gaines arrived. We have been divided ever since. We have become everything Dr. Gaines preaches against. Who caused the trouble in Bellevue? Who removed the peace? Who brought the conflict? Who created the situation in which truthtellers are afraid to sign their names? Not you. Not me. That leaves only one person - Dr. Gaines."

Friends, I really don't like the term "lurker," but I guess that's what I am. I've left comments several times and even once received an anonymous email rebuke. As an aside, THAT I can tell you was cowardly. More to the point, though, when I've visited recently I've longed to see reports on how repentance and restoration of unity has taken place. It breaks my heart to read this new letter and these comments. Repentance and restoration of unity has obviously not yet taken place, but it needs to soon.

If what was expressed in this second letter and what I copied above is true, then repentance on the part of your pastor is needed. As a fellow pastor I know what it is to battle the temptation to include ulterior motives in sermon points. At times I have genuinely felt persecuted, like some in church life were truly positioning themselves to be enemies. The temptation was great to attempt a swift stroke within the confines of a message, but to do so is always to wrestle one's surrender out from under the Spirit, submitting if only for a paragraph to the flesh. Such tactics can feel so right to the preacher, but in reality employing them indicates that something spiritual is dreadfully wrong. I wish I could say I've always found God's way of escape in that temptation, but to say that would be a lie.

The root problem here is not what was or wasn't preached. The root problem here is the desperate need for Bellevue to experience repentance and reawakening from her pastor throughout her membership. Until that happens and all pride is vanquished the lingering antagonism within messages, the strife permeating relationships, the staleness of worship, the exodus of worshippers, and the writing of blogs will continue. And each day it continues the Kingdom cause of Christ will suffer.

Friends, I have no right and am in no position to offer counsel, but something needs to happen soon. Be repentant of your own sin, pursue personal holiness, and ask God to open the door for this repentance and reawakening, organize to lovingly yet decisively approach your pastor, resolve to impact your church family, then as sure as you're praying for it move and seek to physically join God in it. From an admitted distance I'm not convinced you understand that you're speeding toward a point of no return, when Bellevue's ministry will become so compromised that it might never recover in your time. Will you start working from the foreground for the spiritual change you long to see? Are you willing to start working toward the day when this blog won't be necessary? The glory of God in your midst is at stake, and though this blog has proven to be excellent means for dissemination, it is quickly becoming the means for saying something but doing nothing. And nothing changes when you do nothing.

Don't think me harsh, beloved, but the urgency I wish to convey I'm convinced needs to be heard in your hour.

New BBC Open Forum said...

SOTL,

Or just do like the bum with the sign that said, "Why lie? I need beer!"

But you've already been on a luxury cruise -- unlike one person we know.

kelly53s said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sickofthelies said...

bromichael,

Thank you for your post, which surely reflects your sweet, genuine spirit.

The BBC pastor was approached time and time again, but to no avail. This pastor does not believe that Matthew 18 applies to him. He has an arrogant and haughty spirit.

Many of us have found other churches in which to worship. We had to walk away because we were starving spiritually. It is our belief that SG WANTED us to leave, from the very beginning. He has an idea who he wants in his " audience" and it's not discerning people.

Are you aware that Mrs. Rogers, herself, has left the church, and has joined a different church?

Again, thank you for your sincere post. All we can do at this point is to pray for those who have chosen to stay.

Been Redeemed said...

bromichael,
I can speak for many of my family and friends including many on this blog (if they bear witness with my opinions). For many months these issues have been brought to the leadership only to be rebuffed. After repeated attempts to meet with the pastor, a meeting of 10 Godly men was scheduled. The only problem was that Steve Gaines was no where to be found, but rather sent David Coombs and others to meet with these men. During this meeting these issues were laid on the table, only to be brushed off as superfluous complaints that were
insignificant in the grand scheme of the church brought to the table by men who just did not like the changes that were occurring within the church.
Rumors of evil dissenters have been propagated, forcible firing of volunteer workers who have been faithful soldiers for the army of God have been ongoing for months, Bible fellowship teachers and staff loyal to Steve Gaines have brought accusations from their bully pulpits all the while seeking to remove any teacher and/or staff member who would dare to refuse to sign an oath of allegiance to a man without question regarding his actions, no matter how unscriptural they may be.
When Godly men cannot speak to their pastor about his unscriptural activity, there is no alternative but to leave the fellowship, all the while dusting the dirt of his sin off their feet.
This situation with Steve Gaines has been laid at the feet of our Lord, and we have walked away with heavy hearts. What else would you suggest we do when the man is unreachable and unrepentant?

New BBC Open Forum said...

been redeemed,

Thank you for that summary. You just saved me the trouble!

Others have tried to meet with SG as well. David Coombs told one of them that her mind was already made up so he didn't see any need for her to meet with the pastor as she had respectfully requested.

Steve Gaines has built a wall of "protection" around himself, the head bodyguard being David Coombs, and he refuses to meet with anyone who might not be in lockstep with him. Or should I say David Coombs won't let anyone like that meet with him? Apparently SG has a way of intimidating people because of the handful I know of who have gained meetings with him, most have either "wimped out" when they got there or else came out with a whole new attitude. Some have traded principle for (perceived) power and new positions. I have no proof that money has passed under the table, but nothing would surprise me at this point. It's my opinion that there is much corruption in Bellevue, the depths of which will likely never be fully known this side of eternity. There needs to be a thorough housecleaning, beginning at the top.

I don't know of anyone who wanted to be SG's enemy. A few people knew things about his history and tried to warn the search committee, but they didn't want to hear it. Their minds were made up. Most of us knew nothing of his past. We were pleased when he came to BBC and were eagerly looking forward to a bright future there. Unfortunately, the "plucking up and tearing down" had started before most of us had a clue. And it's continued for over two years. He and his band of rich, powerful supporters have only become more emboldened as people with discernment have left.

The purpose of this blog has evolved from trying to effect changes in our church to simply disseminating information. People can choose do with that information whatever they want. Also, we've become a rather tight-knit group who have bonded and care for each other. I know I've gotten deeper into the Word as a result of much of what I've read here and the relationships I've developed with the people here. I've become more discerning. The past 14 months have been stressful in many ways, but I wouldn't trade the experience for anything. All things really do work together for good....

Bromichael, I appreciate your loving, servant's attitude, and you have a fortunate congregation. You are welcome to weigh in here any time! Other than to continue to pray, what else would you suggest we do?

Anyone can listen to the sermons reviewed in the two anonymous letters (as well as most of SG's other sermons) on Bellevue's website. The writer's analysis in all cases has been on the money.

bromichael said...

Believe me, redeemed, I sympathize with your position and thank you for stating it in that way. The simplest response to my post would be, "That's easy for you to say," and I'll understand if that response comes in the near future. But, not to repeat myself, what I really want to convey is the sense of spiritual urgency about which I spoke.

I suppose even in my distance from your situation I'd long for people to see the spiritual ramifications involved. This is more than a group having called their pastor out and now despising him, with some leaving and others blogging. This is the exact kind of church-life situation that eventually grieves the Holy Spirit to the point of departure unless repentance and reawakening comes within the body.

In these last days all across the landscape of church life we're seeing more conflict, more hopping from church to church, and now more blogging. The feelings are often legitimate, the blogging is often not malicious, but in the exodus of members and in the swapping of comments nothing changes. And nothing will change until repentance happens. Knowing you cannot control how others respond, you surrender fully to Christ, examine your own hearts first, and let Him lead you on your own walk of repentance. Then with discernment your able to push for similar repentance within your church family. There will be obstacles to this kind of real awakening, of course. Why do you think Bellevue life has become what you might call a minefield of pride and frustration? Where Satan has footholds there will be difficulty. But your task if your church family is to be revived from the pastorate through the pews is to press on, and to press on with urgency. Every day the conflict continues, whether on the surface or just below, is a day God cannot shower His awesome blessings on the work. There may be good things seen, there may be new members welcomed, and there may even be folks saved along the way, but imagine all that is lost when the fullness of God's blessing is compromised. How much longer do any of you think the Lord is just going to allow this to continue? How much longer do you think He'll just let what may be a rogue pastor or well-meaning, blogging saints be wrapped up in a conflict that distracts the community from Christ? I honestly believe God's clock is ticking in your midst, so be urgent about your spirituality in these days despite how poorly your previous attempts at repentance and restoration have been received.

You know, if I were there at your side I, too, may have found a new church by now. But as a pastor in an age where the easiest thing to do is give up and go elsewhere, I'm wondering who among our generation of believers will stand even when opposed. If I might be so bold, that's exactly what Stephen did.

bromichael said...

nbbcof,

I thank you for welcoming me and hope my perspective is not so objective that it loses its value. It's just that across that same landscape of Christianity about which I spoke it seems that God is being deprived of so much glory. He's doing wonderful things here and abroad, methodically drawing the lost to Christ and guiding the world to His appointed ends. Yet church after church and Christian after Christian is becoming caught in a web of conflict. It just breaks my heart.

In no way would I attack the legitimacy of what has been shared through this blog, and I admit that what I've seen and heard--not just here--concerns me for Dr. Gaines. But I'm looking at what events in Bellevue Life will bring God the most glory. The continued exodus of members won't do it, and neither will idly blogging away the months that lie ahead. I guess what I should convey more than anything else is my prayer for a new unified pursuit of repentance and holiness within Bellevue. Here is where God will get the most glory and no more distraction from Christ will be experienced.

Friends, I want all of you to be able to blog not about what's going wrong but about what God is doing so very right, and I suppose I just thought my words could refocus anyone who might have lost sight of the true objective. The objective is not registering an opinion, nor is it being on the winning side. The objective is holiness, pure and simple. So how does that happen if the path to promoting repentance is blocked?

Are there not deacons who can be approached, one at a time if need be, with this heart cry?

aslansown said...

Bromichael:
Since you see and understand our need for reconciliation and appear to discern the underlying cause, why not excercise your responsibilty as a brother and equal and go to Dr. Gaines and express these thoughts dirsctly to him. Offer yourself as a peacemaker or as Paul did in Galations 2, ocnfront this man directly, pastor to pastor, regarding his failure to protect and nurture the sheep of Bellevue.
You may want to ask him why he doesn't see the division that he has at the very least allowed to foment?
Why he is not shamed and broken to see the name of Christ and His bride dirtied and cheapened by his own pride?
Why he is willing to blame others and not offer himself to bear the shame of Bellevue.
Why has he not asked the church to change out all of its rented billboards to simply say "Memphis we're sorry"?
Maybe he will respond to someome that he views as an equal, like yourself, but as the scripture says, "To him that knows to do right and soes it not; to him it is sin".
Bromichael, be the peacemaker that you ask others to be and with whom Dr. Gaines will have nothing to do.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wow, aslan. Talk about feeding the Christians to the lions! I fear "bromichael" would be chewed up and spit out -- that is if he could ever obtain an audience with SG in the first place, which is extremely doubtful. (I believe you know something about that.)

sickofthelies said...

Bro Michael,

SG REFUSES to meet with anyone.

David Combs isn't interested in resotoration.

The deacons just smile and say,
" everything's fine". Oh, and for a long while, they were not ALLOWED to even talk in the deacons's " meetings". I don't know if SG has allowed them to speak yet or not.

SG isn't interested in restoration or repentance. He sees no one. He has done nothing wrong. Furthermore, he is in the religion busines to make money. Period.

So, other than praying, how do you go about changing hearts that are made of stone?

So other than praying, how do you change hearts that are made of stone?

aslansown said...

Now NASS, what's with all the negative vibes?
Yes, I know how difficult it is to speak with someone who will not be spoken to but think of the testimony Bromichael will have toward his own sheep if he lives out the words he has written.
Whether he realizes it or not, Bromichael is as close to this problem as we are. He, too, is a member of the body of Christ and has the same obligation we have to stand up for what is right and what pleases Christ. He may even be obligated to plainly address this from his own pulpit for the benefit of his portion of the body of Christ.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Wasn't trying to be negative, aslan. Just realistic. If SG refuses to meet with longtime church members, I can't envision him being willing to meet with Michael who isn't a "big fish" (by SG's standards, not mine). I would certainly applaud any efforts anyone might make in that direction though. :-)

concernedSBCer said...

Bro Michael,
I read your posts with great interest. I, too, am not a current member of BBC but have been in the past and feel a kinship with her through many wonderful friends. My concern lies first with what has happened within BBC, and then what is happening within the SBC. We are hearing first hand reports from all over of pastors changing the cultures of churches, of "shooting the wolves," of being authoritarian and dictatorial instead of being true Godly leaders with Jesus as the head of the church. The written material and attitude coming out of the SBC is surface at best and false teaching at the worst. It seems as if many of our pastors no longer have a servants heart and a call to answer, but a corporation to run and career to build. It is a serious problem, one that is hindering the growth of the Kingdom.
With regard to this blog, there have actually been many Stephen's. While I am not aware of some actually being physically stoned, the persecutions have been noteworthy. For two years, people have tried every possible way to affect change. Many have lost friends of many years, families have been strained or broken, jobs have been lost, and sheep have been hurt so deeply that some may never return. At some point, when you have prayed and tried all you know to do, you have to make the decision to save yourself. How long can families place their children under a man so totally self-serving as Dr. Gaines? Or expose their family to dangers, like a pedophile on staff for 6 months, from Dr. Gaines' lack of good judgment? At some point, unfortunately, life has to move in a different direction. BBC is now having to advertise for members, when just several years ago their own members advertised for them, just by their walk.
Please take our plea and our experience to your circles of pastors. Help lead a movement to return to the roots of our Church Fathers, to study the Bible in depth, to expect our children to learn and not just play, to sing music worthy of our Awesome Creator, to return to the "Fear of the Lord." We will be praying for you as well.

aslansown said...

NASS:
What I envision is Bromichael and other committed Pastors to stand humbly in thier pulpits, point to Bellevue and say to the sheep "I love you too much to follow that example. I commit to feeding and loving the flock. Here, take my heart."

New BBC Open Forum said...

Okay, aslan. That's realistic. I'm afraid if one offered one's heart to SG he'd stomp on it as he has so many others.

amazed said...

There are ways to get the attention of those that will not meet with church members to discuss concerns. Its called a civil lawsuit to pry open the records for a full outside audit.

It only takes two things. Money and a group of church members that are willing to take a stand and be counted instead of departing.

There are precedents all over the country for this type of proceeding.

concernedSBCer said...

AslansOwn said: "What I envision is Bromichael and other committed Pastors to stand humbly in their pulpits, point to Bellevue and say to the sheep "I love you too much to follow that example. I commit to feeding and loving the flock. Here, take my heart."

AMEN.

Lynn said...

I just saw the new tv spot for Gaines. Obviously they're false advertising in this one. Bellevue obviously doesn't accept people for who they are.

Here is the requirements to be a Bellevue member...or at least in my age group:

1. Have a high paying job (Doctor, Lawyer etc...)

2. Look like a GQ or some other fashion magazine model

3. Willing to join the Steve Gaines "Kiss My Ring" club.

Obviously, people who are not the best looking and don't have much money aren't looked upon kindly.


Just my opinion and I'm sticking to it.

bromichael said...

Hmmm... well, I was expecting, "That's easy for you to say," and not necessarily, "Put your money where your mouth is." It's no problem, though. I rather liked that call to action. If I felt like such a move would be of God and would bear fruit I would do exactly that.

Honestly, I believe the call to humble leadership in my own context is my calling of the Lord. Perhaps that means I should keep myself more out of your business. Either way, I'm convinced there are humble, Christ-centered ways to lead churches in the kind of transition that doesn't produce an utter sense of culture shock. I realize that SBC Life is devolving into a community with pockets of churches here and there under the thumbs of pastors who view themselves more as CEOs or even celebrities than servants. And to tell you the truth that's as much a problem with Christians as it is pastors. I remember watching at this year's convention in San Antonio the long lines of believers waiting at LifeWay signing tables to have the books they'd purchased autographed. Also I watched as pastors, presidents, and chairmen of their boards strode through the waves of messengers with entourages in tow, as if they were Hollywood stars navigating the red carpet. Is that where denominational life has sunk, to the level of gross idolatry, of fumbling over ourselves to elevate those who are supposed to be servants to high pedestals instead of humble pulpits?

I suppose that's why my clarion call in these days is for genuine repentance and the pursuit of holiness. If the body of Christ finally has only Christ on her pedestal, there wouldn't be room for rogue pastors, there wouldn't be time for idol worship, there wouldn't be tolerance for intimidation, and there wouldn't be distraction to the gospel. Do what you feel the Lord grants you peace over, Bellevue believers. Place yourself in new church homes or blog or reissue this call of repentance throughout the halls and highways of church life. But by all means be holy and seek Him first. We all might be surprised how quickly God would act in our churches and denomination if what He suddenly found in our hearts was unconditional surrender.

Truett said...

Friend’s,
I have read this blog from its beginning with sadness, and optimism, and multiple other emotions.

I loved your Pastor (Dr. Rogers) as much as anyone can; from a distance…though I did meet him on several occasions…each time was an immeasurable blessing!

I watched as other Pastors did when He retired, (by the way how you honored Him!) from all over the convention… wondering just who, would stand behind that “sacred desk”.

I had hoped it would be Ken Whitten, his ardent love for Dr. Rogers was so eloquently expressed at Dr. Rogers memorial service…he said what I would have wanted to say given the opportunity.

I have been deeply burdened for the Bellevue that has…in two short years passed into time….a Church that for decades….lived out the theme song so often sung by the wonderful voices from your once overfilled choir loft……”Send out thy Love, Send out thy truth”.

Now because of unprecedented arrogance at the helm…….the leadership has sent you out…..because of rank disobedience, and a refusal to hold the Pastor accountable.

I watch your telecasts now (Via the internet) and am saddened by the tight camera angles….and creative lighting, (futile attempts) to somehow mask an auditorium that is half filled.

I suppose what has surprised me most is the hundreds of men who sat and heard Dr. Rogers for years….and have refused to hold your current Pastor to the standards of God’s word….a refusal that is baffling, and I believe will ultimately drive the Church into the ground.

I continue to pray for Bellevue……and want you to know that for the rest of my ministry I will seek to learn and apply the truth learned at your agonizing expense…..that Servant leadership…loving, tender, compassionate, and kind….is the only Leadership that really counts.

Bellevue, ironically has perhaps given to teachable Pastors her greatest lesson, and I as a Pastor will never forget the tuition your Church has paid!

searchingfortruthatbbc said...

Dear Bromichael,
Thank you so much for just caring about what is happening to us. The deacon in our family did everything he could, but came up against a brick wall at every turn. When we both resigned our Bible Fellowship teaching positions, no one tried to stop us or tried to show us where we were mistaken and restore us to fellowship. It was good by and good ridance. No one even called us when we left - not even our 13 year old's teacher - that hurt! If you had kids, it was just not worth continuing to fight, especially when THEY would come home from worship pointing out the errors in the sermon. For the most part (there are exceptions), the ones who remain at BBC do not WANT to know the truth, because it is crystal clear. The pastor at BBC does not care about the flock - he protects himself from them.

Junkster said...

Hi, all,
Concernedsbcer shared a very good article with me, so I thought I'd pass it along.

Who Makes Christians? by Paul Edwards.

Lily said...

Amazed said:
There are ways to get the attention of those that will not meet with church members to discuss concerns. Its called a civil lawsuit to pry open the records for a full outside audit.

It only takes two things. Money and a group of church members that are willing to take a stand and be counted instead of departing.

There are precedents all over the country for this type of proceeding.

Lily's reply:
Yes, money being the major obstacle. Lots and lots of money. In the end you will win, but what have you really gained that matters? It will change nothing.

P.S. to SOTL: I refuse to donate to anyone standing at an intersection with a bucket, but I so much want to stand there with my bucket that says "Beautify Memphis" donations. The donations would then be applied to some look younger plastic surgery. Haha.

Lily Pad

Been Redeemed said...

Bromichael,
A fellow I work with is carnal by nature, but knows I am a Christian. He always makes it a point to chide me whenever he can. He also made it a point to tell me in front of co-workers that he saw our pastor and his "cheezy" commercials during Saturday Night Live last week.

What kind of testimony is that to someone I have been witnessing to for over a year? I responded by saying that Steve Gaines is not now, nor has he ever been my "pastor", real pastors care for the people God has placed under them, like Adrian Rogers did. He had nothing else to say at that moment, but my prayer is that he will see the difference in true Christian leadership and a hireling.

32yrs@bbc said...

Concernedsbcer,

Regarding your 4:54 p.m. Oct. 9 reply to bromichael - all I can say is Amen and Amen!! Thank you.

sickofthelies said...

Bro. Michael and Truett,

You have no idea how your kind words have touched my heart.

Thank you for caring about us.

I have found a new church home where healing can began. I have grown as a Christian in this last year.

Please continue to pray for not only those of us who have left, but especially for those who have chosen to stay.

bromichael said...

SOTL, prayer will be my commitment. And I know God is raising up voices to mobilize for a new charge in holiness. Maybe that charge can include current leadership, maybe it won't... whatever brings glory to God and furthers the cause of Christ.

And redeemed, I'm truly sorry for how much more difficult your lifestyle of witnessing has become. It would probably grieve us more to hear the countless others around the country facing the same obstacles. Thanks for sharing your perspective. Part of me wishes I could lock arms with you and press forward together. I suppose in prayer we can do precisely that.

Lin said...

Bromichael,

You are a blessing. I am praying for you and your flock.

I believe the true Body of Christ is alive and well. It just does not resemble what we have been taught to think it looks like. I also believe we are seeing a 'wake up call'...a calling out from apostate and dead churches that look more like marketing organizations with CEO's than the Bride of Christ made up of the Priesthood of believers.

Ironically, these scandals (which are happening all over with money, perversion, etc) within the church could very well be a blessing. I have met so many people who are running to Christ because of what they are seeing happening in their church. They are digging deep into scripture, repenting and growing in holiness.

I have met some great teachers of the Word on this blog: Ezekial, Amos, Junk, AOG and even Jake before he died. And many others! These are people who love our Lord and have a passion for His Word...in context! (Yippee!!) And now you!

YOu are so right about the SBC and what you observed in SA. We are starting to resemble the Vatican with our powerful Bishops and little popes. But Praise His HOLY NAME that HE calls us to be a HOLY PRIESTHOOD. He calls our elders to be servants who are concerned for our eternal lives and are mature in the faith. Servants do not need entourages. :o)

What we are witnessing are hirelings who are on a career path. Think about it: Even Hollywood knows we are a great market. Ask a 'publisher' about the Christian market.

I know very few agree with me but I predict that BBC will grow very large. They will do some surveys...find out some felt needs..target the market and fill those felt needs. It works. I know...I used to be a part of that marketing effort for a mega until I got saved. I praise HIM for opening my eyes.

Thank you for your faithfulness and your encouragement. I pray that God will be Glorified in our weakness and faithfulness.

FYI: I pray that everyone here will watch this sermon. It is on Rev 20. Ima sent it to me:

http://fbcms.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=154&Itemid=108


Sorry about the link...as you all know the html will NOT work for me. Just copy the url into your browswer.

aslansown said...

Bromichael:
I appreciate your viewpoint and the message you have shared with us today. But tell me, what do you do when you have poured your heart out to the leaders of the church and at the end of the meeting they look at you and say "Well, I feel that this has been a waste of time?"
Repeatedly, this has been the response and that is why I asked for intervention from outside. As long as the leadership of Bellevue believes that the outside world either does not care or has no idea that there is a great wrong being committed against God's own sheep they will have no shame as to the lengths they will go to root out opposition.

They will never believe that what they have done is wrong unless thier peers come to them in humility and love and beg them to be restored to the people.
You ask us to be revived and broken, and this is right, yet have you extended the same courtesy to Bellevu's leadership?

Some here do not believe that they will respond to outside pressure but this is the only thing, to my knowledge, that has yet to be tried.

As David told king Saul when he refused to go up against Goliath, "Is there not a cause?" Is the need for a pure church not cause enough? You other pastors that read this blog and have discussed Bellevue's plight at the convention. Are you not called to hold one another to integrity? Will you stand by and watch as The Church falls in love with The World? Hold one another accountable and fulfill the love of Christ!

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

ConcernedSBCer,

Thank you for your beautifully expressive reply to bromichael at 4:54 PM today.

I join with 32yrs in adding my Amen and Amen!

Mary

bromichael said...

Well, aslan, maybe that's exactly what we on the outside should do. And who's to say God wouldn't use such a move. Let me pray over this a couple of days and see what God says?

socwork said...

Just a few thoughts this evening to throw into the fray...

First of all, let's remember that Bellevue does not belong to Steve Gaines. Bellevue (the believers) is Jesus' church. As the under-shepherd of Jesus' church, Steve Gaines will have to give an account to God Himself for what has happened and continues to happen at Bellevue (Hebrews 13:17).

Second, bromichael reminded me of something this evening. Although I have frequently mentioned the necessity of repentance on the part of SG (and others in leadership and in the body), I haven't prayed much lately towards that end. We need to pray that God would grant repentance. (2 Tim 2:25)

Third, it is so easy to grow bitter when focusing on the things that have happened at Bellevue at the hand of the leadership (and some membership, for that matter). Guard against it. (Hebrews 12:15) Try not to focus on the characters - rather, let's fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus.

Remember, this is His church we are talking about. He cares far more than we do about all that has happened.

gmommy said...

Truett and BroMichael,
So much wisdom and love has been spoken from your hearts today ...thank you so much.

BroM...you have courage that is rare...I pray God will protect you from those who are members of the SBC comfortable club.

How much it ministers to us to hear your compassion, your humility and love.
Truett, I so appreciate and respect your teachable and humble spirit!! These FRUITS you bear are a blessing to so many!
Even those who have found churches are still so dazed and wounded.

For me...I can't go back to an SBC church at all right now....I have researched too much, seen too much, been hurt too badly to feel safe again.
So I am starting all over from ground zero in many ways. Having no family or husband...I saw it as a comfort
(that ConcernedSBCer understood :)
to be with people that knew my children when they were babies or teens.
But now I attend a completely "vanilla" church...no bells and whistles, the pastor still blushes because he still has dignity and humility. I don't know all the songs but they ALL glorify the Savior and tell the gospel.
Nothing is loud, there are no standing ovations, or big screens...
and especially not twisting of scripture for the weak or innocent people that need a human to make himself a Paul or the king.

BUT the ministers ARE held to the scriptural qualifications.
Shoot...they are even nice to unmarried Christian women!!

I love my blog friends and am so grateful that we are bonded and a group of us have fellowship together....even if Steve Gaines tells the congregation they are "clandestine meetings".

That's about as silly as the Bblog accusing me of making death threats (thank you DR Looney:)
or B himself claiming to have insight into my true identity and some less than stellar character on my part (thanks again Mary....and Paddie)

I am chasing those rabbitts again...so sorry....

Thank you pastor Truett and BroMichael for your blessing to us and the message you send to others.

concernedSBCer said...

Truett: You sound like a wonderful pastor. Thank you for not letting these truthseeker's struggle go unnoticed. God Bless You in your ministry for Him.

concernedSBCer said...

BroMichael,
Please let us know what God says.
:-)

gmommy said...

PS..
I totally agree with Lin. I believe that the seats of BBC WILL fill again AND it will have NOTHING to do with God's Word being taught there.

It is my opinion that we Baptists have bought into (Lifeway must have been selling it) the SBC spin that it's all about numbers. A man I once saw as very wise spiriturally threw that at me about the small church I am attending.
That's not Biblical in my understanding. Yes,I know the verses used to back that up but MOSTLY it's what we have been fed and swallowed for too long.

More than ever...we need to get over the social club thing and (as EZ says,I think)
EAT God's Word and minister and encourage each other...and hold each other accountable.....not to be on a committe or look like this or that but out of pure love for each other and reverance for God and His Word.
Then the world will know us...not by our "stars" and mision trips and performances...
but by our love.

Even after being put to sleep today...I am still long winded!!!:) :)

32yrs@bbc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ezekiel said...

Interesting thread at Team Pyro today. Centurion thinks we ought to just stay....Tells us how to aproach the pastor...

You guys might have some questions he could help you with...

New BBC Open Forum said...

PyroManiacs

imaresistor said...

Lin...

Your post of 8:30 pm, Oct. 9-last evening is right on! I CERTAINLY agree with you on the growth issue! These churches are going to appeal to the masses, and they are going to grow like nothing we have ever seen before. And for anyone who doesn't understand this...it is because the churches are becoming like the world. We are in the end of the church age. We will see the day when the church will be no different from those worldly institutions which flank it...the movie theatre, the bars, the concert halls, the convention centers, the circus, the dance halls, anything that has entertainment and/or sin as it's focus. Anything that appeals to the sinful nature of man. We are already seeing this and have been for some time...heavier in some areas than in others, but soon it will envelope all areas. People are worshipping man, not God. It is the 'slow boil'...people can't feel the heat about them because those at the helms of these movements are going about it so well. They are calm and patient...and they keep turning up the heat a little at a time!

The Holy Spirit has been chased out of so many of the churches. People should fall on their faces and beg forgiveness for allowing themselves for being 'caught up' in this nonsense!

I appreciate the terminology that Paul Washer uses for these churches, the ones that have already bit the dust. He says they are 'attics for bats'. Bellevue is one of them. There are more out there now than are not.

And thanks Lin for posting this link to listen to Paul Washer's sermon last Sunday morning at Muscle Shoals. Allow me to link to it here:

The Judgement of God by Paul Washer-Revelation 20

People...we must pray like we never have before.

imaresistor said...

Hello Been Redeemed,

With great sorrow I read your post. I haven't seen the commercial of Gaines...I don't live in your area. However, I can see it in my mind's eye...for I understood all too well what he is doing. The whole point of this entire escapade is to appeal to people exactly like the man you work with...those who are lost. These church growth gurus think that if they can become LIKE them, they can bring these lost people into these churches they have transformed to be like the world...worldly churches if you will. Carnal churches. Then, they believe they can win them to Christ. So, we are seeing watered down gospel with watered down converts. Non-christian converts I like to refer to them as. Is this what the scriptures teach? Hardly! People are to see Christ in us. That is our witness. And there is no way around that.

Is it not that even the leaders have lost sight of truth.

Just keep letting this co-worker see Christ in you.

New BBC Open Forum said...

ima,

You can watch all four of them here.

Karen said...

aslansown,

I know for a fact that a pastor in this town called Steve Gaines to let Steve know that there was no "prothletizing" going on with the influx of BBC members at this church. So this pastor called Steve and all Steve said was "you're getting good people". That to me indicates Steve has no intenion EVER of talking to anyone about the problems at BBC.

Bro Michael, I feel you speaking to Steve would be like teaching a pig to sing - it's a waste of time and it annoys the pig - so don't waste your time with Steve Gaines. He's not worth it - and it won't do any good. But I do understand Aslan's heart on his request - others have tried and failed and you couldn't hurt anything by trying. Just know it's been done already.

karen

amazed said...

Folks: I hope no one is holding their breath waiting for God to remove SG from his throne at BBC. God is not in that business and history is proof.

Man put him there and if man doesn't get rid of him, he will grow old and rich at BBC. After all, a $450,000 yearly income and no one to answer to is close to a perfect setup.

imaresistor said...

NBBCOF and Others...

Thanks nbbcof for the link to the advertisements for BBC. Just more of the same...church growth marketing. I am posting below a link that I want you to listen to. It is from today's radio broadcast at Anchored in Truth. It is relavent to what we are discussing. Am not sure how far into the sermon it is...but just listen. It won't take much of you time.

Anchored in Truth-Oct.10, 07





http://anchoredintruth.org/Loudblog_0_5_1/index.php?id=201

Lindon said...

The TV ad spots:

These are focused on what all good GCM marketing is focused on: Horizontal relationships. It is so subtle we hardly see it anymore. Everything in the ads point to this focus on 'human relationships' including the slogan: A family of friends.

I know companies that use this slogan or some variation of it. It is that generic. Companies do this for a very good reason: Control. You don't want to cause trouble in the 'family'. A great book about this is called, Corporate Cults. I was astonished when I read it how close it was to what I witnessed in hundreds of companies and churches.

This whole 'relationship' focus is part of the relating to the 'felt needs' of people today. It is all about creating communities and 'belonging' to something. People buy into it in droves.

Is there anything wrong with focusing on human relationships? It sounds so nice, sweet and caring. But lets face facts: If we have an intimate relationship with our Savior, the other things such as human relationships change. Some grow stonger, some don't. But the bottom line is love for one another. And even in that love is disagreement done in love and caring.

GCM churches put the cart before the horse. They focus on faux unity in human relationships and that becomes the standard. It is dangerous because you can never disagree without harming a 'human relationship' and then becoming divisive and a troublemaker.

It is a great way to control people with their own felt needs. It is the Hegalian Dialetic in practice. It works in any organization.

If our focus is on Christ and His Word, only then can we have real unity and real deep relationships with other believers.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
fogmachine said...

Don't forget, these commercials are being done by a professional outside marketing firm at a huge cost.

Advertising budget raised to $850,000 annually to start with.

There are SOME bodies being used that are not members of Bellevue. I'd call this deception since it's made to look like they are.

These commercials remind me of Hollywood, full of half truths and deception to market the Gospel.

I heard Steve Gaines say from the pulpit last Sunday in his call for candy donations that last year's Halloween Festival at Bellevue had over 4,000 children. This is one of the biggest tales told so far. Maybe there was 1,000 children with a couple of thousand parents and volunteers for a total of 3,000 at the most. If 4,000 children were there, the total would have been over 10,000.

If you can't measure success in Bellevue by numbers this past year, why are they cooking the numbers by lowering 2006 numbers and padding the 2007 numbers?

PRIDE!

concernedSBCer said...

Mary and Lin: You two have succinctly stated something I've tried to say numerous times: this is bigger than BBC. What is happening at BBC is a microcosm of what is happening in churches all over. The world is here, and it's in charge. Pride, greed, apathy and laziness have taken the place of service, study, worship, and call. (Disclaimer: Not with all, as evidenced by BroMichael and Truett yesterday) However, in trying to "reach" all, compromises have become commonplace. Mary made an excellent point when she said they will come just as they are, and unfortunately, many will leave the same way they came. Jesus is about repentance and changing men's hearts. A true meeting with Jesus means you are never the same. If we are introducing people to half the character of God, or part of the life of the Savior, have we really led them to a meeting with the true Savior? I know it is the Holy Spirit's job to work within hearts, but we as Christians also have a job to do. We plant seeds. Are those seeds mildewed?

WishIhadknown said...

There is so much to the coranation of Gaines I do not understand. The man apparently was painfully honest with the Pastor Search Committee making it clear he "would destroy the church." Instead of being repulsed, the committee gave him a standing ovation. As a part of the congregation, I was never informed of his intentions. I was only aware of his preaching. I did not know he would pursue a heartless, mean-spirited and self-serving agenda and trash the institutions I had been a part of for 30 years. I did not know there was a war against me within my church until it was too late. The deacons are lock step with Gaines. No one voices dissent or is willing to engage in any meaningful discussion or offer an appropriate explanation of why they are ardent supporters regardless of the pain inflicted on the church.
The Communications Committee was a sham. There was never any intent of considering the issues expressed.
Ministers I have known for years who have ridiculed the very changes Gaines has brought to Bellevue, now fully embrace his agenda. These same ministers who used to be my brothers now will not talk to me since I left.
A year ago, I knew nothing of this church growth movement heresy that has spread through our denomination.
Thankfully, this blog exists to serve as a warning and inform congregations of the dangers churches now face.
We need to pray to be spirtfilled and not purpose driven. We need to worship in spirit and in truth not with our faces contorted into painfull expressions like pagans.
Yes, God is in control but not in a fatalistic since of whatever will be will be. We must now become informed and make a stand for truth, God's truth, not the "truth" that is being sold by some rock star minister from California.
These 3rd wave theologians have years of marketing studies to deceive church members. They are heartless, mean-spirited, unloving and evil people who let nothing and no one prevent them from acheiving their own self goals.
Thank you for having this blog. At least we can warn others of the mistakes we have made and pursue the truth.

searchingfortruthatbbc said...

Paul Washer is one of our absolute favorites. He preaches the Word with power and cuts no slack! He really calls us to take our faith in Christ seriously.

Mary said...

IMA,

Thank you for the link to Paul Washer’s sermon on Rev. 20. I try to listen to this young man as often as I can.

What a blessing to hear God’s Truth on such an important subject delivered with an open honesty that stands squarely in the face of those who seek to dumb down the difficult passages of Scripture so as not to offend today’s culture; and to hear it delivered with such compassion that it reaches to the depths of the listener’s soul and leaves us all without excuse.

I remember a time when Paul Washer could have been invited to preach this sermon at Bellevue; however, that time has long past.

Along with you, Lin and Gmommy, I believe Bellevue’s new “come as you are” mantra will bring the masses in – indeed, pack them in even to the point of swelling its ranks beyond anything we’ve seen before. But sadly, if they come as they are and hear a twenty minute sermonette where Scripture is twisted to suit the pastor’s ego, they will leave as they came – lost and facing eternity without Jesus. Oh, but the numbers will be grand! May God have mercy!

I, too, believe we are witnessing the end of the church age; and soon, the end of the age as we know it. The signs of the times are everywhere.

America, the land of the free – free to choose to murder our unborn, free to engage in homosexuality, adultery, pornography and whatever perversion we wish. Free to shake our fist in God’s face and stand in the auditoriums of academia and teach impressionable young minds that God does not exist. Oh America is free all right, but is our abuse of that freedom causing God to withdraw his protective hand from our country? Okay, I won’t continue down this trail or my post will become an epistle in another 60 seconds of keyboard time and NASS will have to shoot me. ;-)

But what believer isn’t watching Israel very closely these days? Surely I’m not the only one who wants to grab George Bush by the neck and shake him like a rubber chicken until he understands that coercing Israel to give up her land is in direct contradiction to God’s Word.

As Dr. Rogers used to say, “It’s getting dark, gloriously dark.” We don’t have much time left, brothers and sisters in Christ. Are all the children in?

Blessings,
Mary

Emma said...

Re: lindon's post at 3:17 PM, October 10 about the TV ad spots:

Lindon, as I was reading your post just now, I also had the local news playing on the TV in my office. The latest of the Bellevue ads (one filmed in the Grand Lobby about "relationships" and touting the "Family of Friends") was shown. (Isn't that David Coombs walking through smoozing and shaking hands??)

Immediately afterward, one for Harrah's Casino and one for Haley Barbour's re-election campaign aired.

My heart ached. There isn't two cents worth of difference in the production, appearance or impact of the three. All three seemed equally staged and equally disingenuous. In fact, the Harrah's ad actually represented their real purpose!

Since when are slick ads like this needed to attract people to Bellevue?

One observation: I know things must change...that is the nature of our world. BUT...in the days of the Bellevue ads showing the front facade of Bellevue with either it's lovely stained glass gable topped by the beautiful cross, or ones with the three magnificent crosses and Dr. Rogers with his Bible lifted high, preaching "come to Jesus" seemed more like church ads to me. Also, like you said, the Family of Friends works until you disagree with anything. "Friends" get really cool quickly!

Looks like The Gaines Gang won't be content until they "dumb down" every aspect of Bellevue! That church is there to lead people to Jesus, not to be the local Religious Country Club.

As OC says, "just sayin'"

larry said...

As OC says, "just sayin'"

Speaking of which, where has OC been?

oc said...

I'm here with ya'll, and I'm fine. Just watching some great discussion and some very thoughtful posts. Ya'll are great.

Just sayin'.

oc.

Junkster said...

larry said...
As OC says, "just sayin'"

Speaking of which, where has OC been?


Perhaps Socwork finally came through on that care and he's been out driving around looking for Dr. Bill Loney.

Mary said...

ConcernedSBCer said: ” If we are introducing people to half the character of God, or part of the life of the Savior, have we really led them to a meeting with the true Savior? I know it is the Holy Spirit's job to work within hearts, but we as Christians also have a job to do. We plant seeds. Are those seeds mildewed?”

You pose some hard questions. Those who are truly witnessing for Jesus will not present only half the character of God or half of the Gospel. I don’t believe it would be possible for us to do that; and besides, we all know that it is the Holy Spirit that brings the person under conviction and God who gives the increase. The important point to remember is that God promises to honor His Word – not necessarily the man who presents it. The issue of spiritual growth in the Word brings up a whole slew of questions that I hope someone else can help with.

Concerned, your questions reminded me of when Billy Graham began training his workers to deal with those who came forward in his crusades to receive Jesus, all the while claiming to be Roman Catholic. In what to my knowledge was Graham’s first venture in ecumenism, he instructed his counselors to send them to Roman Catholic Churches for follow-up. You don’t want me to get started on this one or our Dear NASS would have to leave the comfort of the cold Minnesota basement and move in permanently with The Stress Pig! (Click on the pig’s nose and keep your puppy away from the monitor ;-)

Mary

concernedSBCer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lin said...

I need some help here. I can only find ONE reference (so far) in the NT where unbelievers came into the Body while they were meeting.

Am I the only one that thinks churches now have it backwards?

The NT models that we are to GO OUT and witness and bring a new believer into the Body...now we invite unbelievers to church hoping that someday they may get saved. The goal seems to be to get 'bodies' into the building by whatever means works.

concernedSBCer said...

Mary said: "Concerned, your questions reminded me of when Billy Graham began training his workers to deal with those who came forward in his crusades to receive Jesus, all the while claiming to be Roman Catholic."

What do you mean?

concernedSBCer said...

Lin: YES, WE ARE DOING IT WRONG.

Sorry, wasn't meaning to yell....just feel strongly about this point.

IMHO (and in my understanding of scripture), Church is for believers. Then we GO to the world.

Mary said...

Lin,

I agree with you. We are the ‘sent’ ones who are to go out into the highways and hedgerows and be witnesses; to our own Jerusalem first, and then to our Judea and our Samaria, and then to the uttermost parts of the earth.

But now, the question of why an invitation at the end of each church service? I don’t have an answer from Scripture but I hope someone here does. Help us out, somebody...

Mary

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mary said: "Concerned, your questions reminded me of when Billy Graham began training his workers to deal with those who came forward in his crusades to receive Jesus, all the while claiming to be Roman Catholic."

I'd be interested in hearing about that, too.

Lin said...

Mary, Have you ever read Evangelicalism Divided by Ian Murray?

He chronicles some very distressing decisions made by the BGEA back in the 50's. You hit on ONE of them.

Mary said...

ConcernedSBCer,

It’s certainly not my intention to offend anyone, but it is my firm belief as a former Roman Catholic that anyone who is a strict adherent to the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church is not born again.

The RCC does not teach salvation in Jesus alone; but salvation through the RCChurch, its Catechism, its sacraments, its priests, etc. And their final authority is not the Holy Bible, but the Pope and the magisterium of the mother church. IMO, the RCC is a cult and it teaches ‘another Jesus” and “another Gospel,’ about which Paul gave us strong warning.

I do believe that Roman Catholics can be saved, and once saved they will discover the errors of the RCC and they will leave it in search of a true church where Jesus Christ is the Head.

In my opinion, it was a horrible thing for Billy Graham to do in sending Catholics back to the RCC after they received the salvation of Jesus.

Mary

Mary said...

Lin,

No, I haven't read it. I don't even know what BEGA is. And what did I hit on?

M~

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mary wrote:

"In my opinion, it was a horrible thing for Billy Graham to do in sending Catholics back to the RCC after they received the salvation of Jesus."

Okay, that was clear.

"Concerned, your questions reminded me of when Billy Graham began training his workers to deal with those who came forward in his crusades to receive Jesus, all the while claiming to be Roman Catholic."

That wasn't. I thought you were saying Billy Graham was claiming to be RC.

Mary said...

"That wasn't. I thought you were saying Billy Graham was claiming to be RC."

No, sorry. I didn't mean to imply that Graham was RC -- only those who came forward to receive Jesus and said they were RC.

Sorry, I was in a hurry and didn't fully engage brain. Happens more frequently these days.

M~

concernedSBCer said...

LOL....I thought Mary was comparing what I said to what Billy Graham did.

Mary: I certainly understand your concern and am in agreement. I do know some RCC members who I know without a doubt are Christians but your term "strict adherence" kinda ruled them out of your point. It seems as if they stay due to tradition as much as anything.

Anyway, I think I understand. I just thought you were saying my theology was off and I needed to know why you thought that.
:-)

Junkster said...

Mary said...
But now, the question of why an invitation at the end of each church service? I don’t have an answer from Scripture but I hope someone here does. Help us out, somebody...

The gospel always carries with it an invitation to flee from the wrath of God and receive Christ as Lord and Savior by faith and repentance. Biblical examples of proclamation of the gospel, such as Peter's sermon in Acts 2, show that people are called to turn from sin and trust Christ for salvation.

But the concept of an "altar call" (the "invitation" at the end of a church service to come forward and pray to receive Christ and/or make a public profession of faith in Him) as practiced in today's churches, has its origins in the revivalism practices (the "New Measures") of Charles Finney in the early 1800s. Google "Charles Finney" for more info.

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CH said...

Speaking of Paul Washer, the following is a link to one of his messages which cuts right to the very core of this and other issues within the mainstream American church:

Paul Washer Video

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ezekiel said...

Lin,

IF church was just for believers, how do we tell who is a believer? Would not this require judging a person and his/her actions?

AOG has posted before that the invitation is relatively new as far as history of the church goes. And apparently, the test...(judgement) of the person requesting membership used to be a lot more intense than a few questions after the service... it lasted more than a year with the church members examining the fruits of the person requesting membership....prior to a vote....

To put all this in current context, how fast do you thing BBC would be able to repace all the members they have run off if there was a test of 1 year where everyone in the congregation had to examine the fruits of this person and then vote on them to become a member?

So when growth of membership became the basis for determining the compensation of the pastor...the sled was effectively pointed at the abyss....all it needed was a little push...then we wound up with the "come on down" membership deals..."get your blessing now" and the abandonment of the complete gospel. We now teach only one aspect of the nature of God. And that aspect has to be love...that is what builds all those country club realtionships.....

We are taught today that we are not to judge other Christians, and that we don't need to fear God.....both about as wrong as it can get....

concernedSBCer said...

Ez said: "We are taught today that we are not to judge other Christians, and that we don't need to fear God.....both about as wrong as it can get...."

I agree, Ez. When we began to judge churches by numbers instead of the harder, more time-consuming ways, the fast slide down was begun.

searchingfortruthatbbc said...

If you look in the Book of Acts, unbelievers were terrified to join themselves to the body of believers - why? Because the believers were righteous and the church was as pure as it could be. Sin was taken care of quickly, sometimes by the Holy Spirit Himself, yet the number of true believers grew and grew -
BECAUSE, Jesus builds the church, not us!

New BBC Open Forum said...

This is a church, right? I suppose those are money trees growing on all that land.

FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL

A Night of Family Fun

Come to a night of family fun at Bellevue on Wednesday, October 31, from 5:00-8:30 p.m. This year’s event will be bigger than ever and it’s a great “Bellevue Loves Memphis” opportunity to invite your friends and neighbors.

Children in preschool-5th grade will enjoy games, puppets, hayrides, prizes, clowns, trains, inflatables, and much more! This year, there will also be big carnival rides such as a giant slide, bumper cars, Tilt-A-Whirl, and more.

Dress up is encouraged! Children can come as their favorite Bible character, animal, or in play clothes (no scary costumes, please).

Lin said...

My Step father is 87 and he grew up in a country SBC church. He told me that they NEVER had invitations/altar calls. they had what they called a "mourning bench".

At the end of the service if you had been convicted of sin and knew the need for a Savior, you went to the mourning bench and after the service men would come and pray with you and talk with you. This began a process where you would be discipled into baptism and then membership in the Body. It was NOT an automatic thing.

No wonder churches were so much smaller back then! ;o)

concernedSBCer said...

Lin, Also there were community churches where you worked, shopped, and knew everyone. Your walk was known. I imagine it was really hard to pull the wool over someone's eyes for long.

Of course, that was then and we live in urban areas where that just isn't possible anymore.

Lin said...

Mary, BGEA is Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The book I referenced chronicles the decisions that the BGEA made during the early 50's. One of those decisions was ecumenicism where they made a pointed decision to go outside evangelistic churches to promote the crusades. This led to embracing the RCC.

There were some other decisions made about the altar call that I won't go into here.

But what is worse and most grievious is Graham's interview with Robert Schuller on May 31, 1997:

Graham said:"...He is calling people out of the world for his name, whether they come from the Muslim world, or the Buddhist world or the non-believing world, they are members of the Body of Christ because they have been called by God. They MAY NOT KNOW THE NAME OF JESUS but they know in their hearts that they need something they do not have, and they turn to the only light they have, and I think that they are saved and they are going to be with us in heaven."

Of course, Schuller was stunned and delighted and followed up with this to make sure he heard him right.

Based on what Graham said above, I have to ask..what was the point of the Cross if we do not have to know Jesus to be saved?

Even more ironic, is that many people in Christendom do not believe he really said this in an interview. However, just a few years ago, he said the EXACT same thing in a Newsweek interview.

Mary said...

ConcernedSBCer,

No Ma’am, from everything I’ve read of yours, your theology is right on! I’m so sorry to have caused any confusion.

Your question asking if the seeds are mildewed is what prompted my thought about what Billy Graham did. I meant no challenge to your theology. I think it was the word association with ‘mildew’ that crossed my mind.

I agree with you about some RCC members. And you’re right about strict adherence to the teachings of the Roman Church being the measure that makes the difference; thus, I try to always include that as a qualifier anytime I make such a statement. Personally, I doubt that the majority of Catholics, especially those in the North American continent, know or understand exactly what Rome believes and teaches; and I further think that many would be horrified if they knew.

I have an elderly relative who is a monsignor in another city and he is born again. By his personal testimony, he was born again at age 70, solely by placing his faith in the atoning death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

From that day forward he has renounced the teachings of the RCC, who quickly put him out to pasture and labeled him an embarrassment. Rome has him trapped as he is too old to begin anew and he has no means with which to support himself apart from the RCC, which will more than adequately provide for him for the rest of his earthly life. So, he stays and devotes himself to a small children’s ministry, and when he talks with the children in his parish, he tells them to believe only what they read in their Bibles and that their only hope is in Jesus Christ alone. I’ve heard him do this and I smiled while holding back tears.

Mary

bromichael said...

All this talk about welcoming new members brings to mind some great developments these days. The news here is not all bad, friends, though I willingly lament the fact that over the last 30 years the easiest thing to join in any town became a local Baptist church.

Many churches--small and large--have adopted extremely biblical and responsible new member processes, whether through classes or courses or one-on-one discipleship. Here in our context, for example, as pastor I'm still able to engage in one-on-one discipleship with each individual, couple, or family that seeks membership. No longer do we welcome new members on the Sunday they decide they're interested in joining (except in the case of some conversion experiences). In fact, I no longer make a membership plea part of our invitation time. The idea of welcoming a wounded or disgruntled sheep who may be swapping churches more out of feelings than out of pursuing the will of God scares me. Instead, a note in our bulletin explains that any visiting Christian who may be interested in membership can meet me at a certain location after any service to begin the discussion about what membership means and how they might go about joining.

I agree that membership in the local body of believers must be held in high esteem. What are we saying about our faith and mission when we become cavalier here?

Mary said...

Lin said: ” Based on what Graham said above, I have to ask..what was the point of the Cross if we do not have to know Jesus to be saved?”

Thanks, Lin. That explains a lot. Though I’m not familiar with Murray’s book, I was aware of Graham’s interview with Schuller. Graham’s theology came off sounding like a combination of John Paul II and Mother Teresa.

And to your question above, I would ask what Graham would have these poor lost people to do with Acts 4:12: “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”

Mary

Mary said...

Thanks, Junkster.

Personally, I love the alter call. It’s usually a time when I think back to my own salvation experience – the guilt, the pain and anguish that weighed so heavily on my heart and in my mind, and then finally, with a sincere heart cry to Jesus in prayer and He took it all away, once and for all, and replaced it with His peace and joy unspeakable – and I was clean. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

It may sound as though my salvation happened in an instant, but it took over two years of agonizing prayer and diligently searching the Scriptures before I knew enough and understood enough of what the Bible teaches in order to be able to ask for, and to receive His wonderful gift for myself. I had no one to disciple me – all my friends were Catholic, and by that time, most of them had rejected me because they knew I questioned Rome – a major no-no in a devout RC community.

Mary

New BBC Open Forum said...

bromichael wrote:

"Many churches--small and large--have adopted extremely biblical and responsible new member processes, whether through classes or courses or one-on-one discipleship."

Bellevue has had a "new member" aka "Discovery" class for several years. (I believe this was based on Rick Warren's Discovery 301 classes.) It primarily has involved the discussion of Spiritual Gifts and Temperament Surveys. They have changed it to a 4-part class in the last few months, and they may have added to it things like what it means to be a Christian, etc., but before it would have been a waste of time for anyone required to attend. Frankly, whether I'm melancholy, choleric, phlegmatic, or sanguine is of little concern to me (NASS had to consult a dictionary on a couple of those) nor do I think these sorts of tests have any place in the church.

From the Requirements for Membership...

Now I see they call the first class (required for membership) the Step 1 class. It's described as follows:

Attend the New Member Step 1 class for new members.

This special orientation class for all new members will give you essential information to help you become a fulfilled, functioning member of our church. Charting out a plan for your first year at Bellevue, this class will show you how to begin building relationships in our church and will help you understand all the benefits and responsibilities of membership.

bromichael said...

In all honesty, though it increases the demand on me, I very much prefer the one-on-one aspect of preparing people for membership. This preparation often takes place in their own homes and features very conversational gatherings. When I think of all that God accomplishes in these times, I consider the following...

...I would rank as most important--though others might disagree--the fact that a level of intimacy is established between them and me as their pastor. Members need to personally know their pastor. During our sessions I'll listen to and get to know them, and they'll listen to and get to know me. I realize, of course, that in more sizable church settings this might be more difficult, but this does seem to be a path God loves to bless. Knowing who I am and what I'm about seems to put new members in the best possible position to really connect with our church's life and direction.

...Related to the above, assimilating new members into ministry is so easy in this format. They'll get to personally hear and interact with the vision God has placed on my heart. They'll also get to discover where the church currently is in relation to that vision. And part of all conversation is considering their giftedness, passions, interests, and experiences, probing for ways God may intend to use them in ministry. If you can imagine, this is dialogue, not the impersonal completing of a gifts assessment. With this interaction under my belt I'll be able to pray and discern far more effectively how God is calling certain members to join Him in certain ways.

...The final benefit I see in one-on-one preparation for membership is one I alluded to earlier. Like it or not, this is the age of "church hopping." Nearly every Sunday every church has visitors attending worship services because something has happened in their current church home that has them considering a move elsewhere. Some visitors are motivated by impure, selfish reasons, while others are motivated by pure, legitimate reasons. The truth be told--relevant to either context--there are some who would visit our churches and be interested in membership in spite of the fact that God simply is not ordaining a move by His will. These preparation conversations can be a great tool for discerning when that might be the case. From my admittedly limited experience, I've been able to counsel folks out of difficult situations into our fellowship, while in other instances God has moved me to counsel folks back into their current church homes. In this instance it's a matter of preserving God's glory and will, but also protecting our own fellowship from problems that can arise when believers live outside of God's plan for them.

amazed said...

I sure wish Bro. Michael was a Shelby County Tennessee Pastor.

STOPTHEMADNESS said...

S.O.T.L. I was just wondering if you could move your last post from the pulpit committee forum, I would love for Brother Michael to give his veiws on Mrs. Billie Tapps analogy––about GOD "removing" Brother Adrian for Steves Gaines.
Seeing what she said on behalf of HER people, may give him EVEN greater insight, as to what FOOLERY has broken the spirits of so many.
I know it is not on topic, but, um, there are a few things on this one that are not,so would you mind? THANKS!

Lynn said...

Maybe I'm mis-interpreting today's discussion on church membership, but reading the discussion today made me think that you are saying that new christians should not become members of a church. Instead, churches should only accept "mature" christians. Doesn't that sound more like a Country club mentality than that of a Christian mentality?

sickofthelies said...

Stop the madness, here it is, from Billie Tapp, October 2, 12:30 pm..

Bro. Michael, at issue here is where she says:

"God's will was for BBC to change or otherwise Dr. Rogers would have remained alive and in control. God removed Him!"

Even though we have copied and pasted it, she continues to deny that she ever said this..yet, here it is.

Here is the entire post, in context:

Billie said...
STOPTHEMADNESS said...
AWWWWWWWWWWWWW, it is SO CUTE how Mrs. Bille has a CRUSH on Dr. Gaines, it is precious. She is simply running to defend him. Please go easy on her. Love can be a funny thing. It does make me wonder who she means when she says,"OUR HEARTS ARE SADDENED..." is she speaking (wink wink) for Dr. Gaines perhaps?

6:04 PM, October 01,

Love does make people do funny things!!
I love Donna Gaines and Brother Steve Gaines with the love of Christ and I am not ashamed.

The more I get to know them and their love for Christ the greater my love increases. If you knew them you would love them also and I will also say this: "If you really loved Christ you would also love them"
I am telling you the truth because I love you: Your problem is not Brother Steve your problem is rebellion, refusing to love your brothers and sisters.

Your choice has been to rebel and you are angry because we did not rebel with you. Your defense mechanism is to work and convince the people that you are innocent of rebellion against God by constantly pointing out any and everything negative about the leadership of BBC. Some of you had rather die than admit you are wrong.

How many of you stopped, before you rebeled, long enough to ask God if the changes in Bellevue was His Will for Bellevue? Personally, I do not see evidence that any of you, who are posting against our Pastor, have even considered what the will of God might be. God's will was for BBC to change or otherwise Dr. Rogers would have remained alive and in control. God removed Him!

Running away from Bellevue (or problems) was the easy way out and a test of faith for all of us.
In truth and love I am telling you that weakness in faith does not have to mean failure. We all fail in our faith from time to time and we need to encourage one another to get back on the pathway and walk on in our faith. I have failed in the past and I may fall again but I have learned the importance of getting up, even though it is difficult to swallow the pride.
So many people, weak in faith, say not to bother with trying to reach out to you because you will only attack me and make me look bad. I am not concerned with myself; I am deeply concerned for your spiritual health.
Love causes us to do strange things and so does pain. I cannot forget you and as long as you continue to blog against BBC I know that you are hurting in your spirit. You can mask things and convince some that you are ok but some of us you can not fool and we will continue to pray for you and show you our love and concern.
Billie

12:30 PM, October 02, 2007

sickofthelies said...

Stopthemadness,

Did you want me to sing another round of "Roll out the Barrell" also?

:)

bromichael said...

Wow... that is pretty tough to read, especially the exclamation point, "God removed him!" It's no wonder that post ruffled some feathers.

Before I offer what word I believe is biblical and relevant on that, let me briefly address change in churches. I'm a young pastor. Admittedly I have so much to learn as I follow Christ. But this much I have learned, that God's people, for the most part, have grown to despise change. And I wouldn't criticize that since there are so many variables at work as things change. But change is a constant for anything that lives. This is especially the case for the church. It's when we refuse to adjust that our worship grows lifeless, our ministries become outdated, and our stances fail to be relevant. Worse, it's when we refuse to embrace change that we can find ourselves so comfortable where we are that we're no longer walking in step with God. Henry Blackaby said it this way: "You cannot stay where you are and go with God." And God said to His captive people in Isaiah, "Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
rivers in the desert" (43:18-19 NASB). God often introduces the kind of newness by His will that requires us to embrace change. That's even the case in fulfilling the Great Commission: we've been blessed with the gospel that does not change, but it must be taken to a culture that seemingly always changes. So changing and, dare I say, evolving as a church is necessary. Not one of us would debate that point. Can change be difficult? It sure can, so as leaders we must be as prayerful and deliberate as possible in helping our churches transition smoothly in unity through the adjustments God demands along the way.

WHEW... let me take a breath...

Now, is it possible that God "removed" Dr. Rogers to clear the path of change to be led by Bellevue's next pastor? Let me be clear that I do not personally know Dr. Gaines or Mrs. Tapps. Neither did I know Dr. Rogers. But just from a superficial look at these remarks I would urge tremendous caution to her, and here's the reason why. The only New Testament instance of which I'm aware in which God clearly "removed" believers who were obstructions to the advancement of the church were instances in which God was dealing with their obvious sin. The instance about which I speak comes in Acts 5:1-10 with the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. It would seem that their lie about their giving could've been the kind of foothold for Satan that God would not allow. No one could debate the fact that they were "removed," and reading through verses 11 through 16 shows that the fruitfulness of the growing early church by the Holy Spirit was further unleashed as a result.

All of that having been said, is Mrs. Tapps suggesting that Dr. Rogers, because of some sin unknown to any of you, had become such an obstacle to the ongoing advancement of Bellevue in the Kingdom that God had to "remove" him? Some may contend that I make an oversensationalized point here, but it seems to me that the real oversensationalism comes in her statement. God can and will open doors and clear pathways of obstacles, even making new ways for what He intends to do, and I love Him for that. But hers seems to be a point that cannot be rationally defended, at least in light of the way Dr. Rogers' faith was evidenced by works. I'm sure Dr. Rogers, like any pastor, made mistakes in leadership. He is no idol deserving of worship, but neither did he seek to be one. God "removing" him as a hindrance to the church? I can't swallow that.

Lin said...

"...made me think that you are saying that new christians should not become members of a church. Instead, churches should only accept "mature" christians."

Not at all. I am sorry you thought that. Read the NT model starting with Acts and the Epistles. What I meant was that you do not see them going out and purposely inviting unbelievers into the meetings with the Body. Even though there are many instances we see of false teachers or wolves coming into the Body.


It is hard to explain because we have 2000 years of traditions that do not match what went on in the early ecclesia. They did not even have their own buildings until Constantine merged state and church in about 300 AD. They met in homes, by the river, etc. Most of our current traditions come from that state/church merger. Some of our traditions even come from the Jewish temple system that are not in the NT.

STOPTHEMADNESS said...

SICKIE: Well you can just hum it this time, we may need a complete chorus later. ;-o

concernedSBCer said...

Lynn: I know what I meant with my comments yesterday is that a decision to join a church should not be made lightly. Churches are where we worship and study and fellowship with other believers. If you alter a church to appeal to a nonbeliever you then make it less than what believers need. I believe scripture tells us we, as Christians, should be OUT witnessing and leading others to Christ, then bringing them to church where they can worship and grow. To make church and church activities the way to draw them in cheapens the church for the believers, IMHO.

Tim Greer said...

Funny thing, but IIRC, Dr. Rogers did not fall over dead while preaching. He retired, and after a long pastor search period, eventually passed away of cancer, which happens to a great many people in their seventies.

Maybe it's unwise to read too much into events of the past by saying things like "God removed him." God removes us all in His own way and in His own time, according to His perfect will.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Sorry, deleted the wrong comment. Reposting...

solomon said...

stopthemadness said...
WE DON'T HAVE TO COME TOGETHER,WE DON'T HAVE TO BE AT BELLEVUE...WE DON'T EVEN HAVE TO LIVE...


This is an incredibly disturbing post. Togetherness is irrelevant? Living is not important?

Have you considered counseling?

7:35 PM, October 11, 2007

sickofthelies said...

Solomon, dear....

Stopthemadness was merely quoting the famous words of Dr. Adrian Rogers word for word, at the SBC when the liberals were trying to make him lower the bar...and this is what he said.

Actually, he went on to say more, but those were his most famous words.

If you go back and reveiw the Memorial, you will see that he said those words, and they played them back. He talked about it all the time, I'm surprised that you don't know this.

" Have you considered counseling" were words that were uncalledfor to Stop the Madness, since they were based on your own ignorance. I'm sure she'll forgive you if you ask nicely.

Carol T. said...

Bro Michael,
You are right. The church does need to change. The change needs to be getting back to the Bible and away from all the hoopla being brought in to the churches to be "relevant" and "appealing" to the non-believer. We seem to be totally unconcerned for the unbeliever's soul and that includes those in the church as well as outside the church.

The church includes only true believers - not everyone that shows up within the walls of a building. And I truly believe we have a lot of people standing in the pulpits who are NOT true believers.

God have mercy on our souls if we don't wake up and see and understand what we have allowed to happen because we are so Bibically ignorant.

sickofthelies said...

Page 31, " Adrianisms" " The wit and wisdom and Dr. Adrian Rogers"

And I quote:

"When asked to compromise in order to bring peace to the Southern Baptist Convention:

" We dont' have to get together. The Southern Baptist Convention doesn't have to survive. I don't have to be the pastor of Bellevue.
I don't have to live! But I'M NOT going to compromise the word of God."

Umm, Solomon, we await your apology.

STOPTHEMADNESS said...

Oh My Goodness! SOLOMON SAID:This is an incredibly disturbing post. Togetherness is irrelevant? Living is not important?

Have you considered counseling?

7:35 PM, October 11, 2007

I am so sorry, I guess I was so emotional, I didn't realize for a second how clear we sometimes need to be, as in, speak to the audience you have. At the beginning of the post SOLOMON answered: I said I had experienced Dr. Adrian's memorial service again.(online) When I used that closing, it was referencing a quote from our deceased (from this life) Pastor Emeritus, from back when he was being persecuted--for standing on his FIRM beliefs, as opposed to those of this modern, "compromise" oriented world. In other words, I had just seen it again. It was painfully fresh on my heart. NO PART OF THIS POST, AT THIS TIME, HAS DIRECT WORD-FOR-WORD QUOTES. And, the other one didn't either, being as I said "WE" and Dr. Adrian was referring to himself; in regards his brothers who told him, if he didn't compromise, the SBC might "never come together." If Solomon, or anyone else is unfamiliar with this flim clip of Dr. Adrian, or needs clarification, please go to BELLEVUE.ORG, click on ADRIAN ROGERS; and see the memorial, for yourself. It is quite e trip down memory road, at least. You raised a very deep issue as to wanting to live, well, many people actually have felt that the coming of Jesus will be a relief and nothing to fear., I haven't felt that way, so much lately. BUT there actually are a handful of people/issues I would give my life for. Truly. In response to your take that I feel "togetherness is irrelevant" I tried not to let that hurt my feelings,I know you were trying to help. Like well, take for example the LEADERSHIP CONVENANTS-- one can wonder, if they, in any way, began as a simple desire to put everyone on the same page, or have them "come together..." but as you can see, Dr. Adrian was RIGHT, in that, it isn't something that be contrived or forced, togetherness is from the heart, not the mind.
And usually not on paper, with something being held over one's head. Finally, Thank you so much for your concern for my need for counseling, that may be the thing that puts me on that side of the fence. I have been praying about that issue. Assuming you are a counselor and can make that assessment, I appreciate the advice. I am a little weary of going to our church counselors, for this particular emotional upheaval, just not sure if it is appropriate. I am just grieving the losses of friendships and opportunities, reliving memories, and pondering where to go from here. MANY of my sweet friends suffered greater losses through all of this than did I. You may be very well correct, if indeed that type of thinking is abnormal. Well, I hope you can stop worrying about me ,and that you continue to reach out in love.
AT SOME RISK, I will close this way: "Just because something does not make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn't make sense."
thanks again.

STOPTHEMADNESS said...

SICKIE, do I hear the band cranking up?

Housewife said...

bromichael said...

It's when we refuse to adjust that our worship grows lifeless, our ministries become outdated, and our stances fail to be relevant.

...we've been blessed with the gospel that does not change, but it must be taken to a culture that seemingly always changes. So changing and, dare I say, evolving as a church is necessary. Not one of us would debate that point.


I can, and I am debating that point. Evolving as a church and change is NOT necessary. At least not what is being done today. Change to what? A watered-down version of the Gospel? An entertainment mentality to fill the seats? A church that resembles the world rather than a church that clearly belongs to God, apart from the world? In but not of!

That is what is going on today. That is the change that pastors like Gaines want to make. All of his "wonderous" changes have NOT filled the seats. If anything, membership has declined. They can try to hide it with tight angles, but we're not blind! How has BBC grown?

And since when is growing supposed to be the main focus? I thought presenting the Gospel was supposed to be our focus. I thought our worship of our Lord was supposed to be our focus. We don't need all that fluff to present the Gospel nor to worship Him.

Worship lifeless, ministries outdated and irrelevant?

If it's outdated, than so be it! To the world, Jesus Christ Himself is outdated. We should NOT change our churches to make them more like the world so that people will be interested! The Holy Spirit will be the one to bring them in! I've seen churches that have made the "change" to better attract the world and they bring people in - for a time. But the fire soon fizzles out and the people move on to the next exciting thing. The only way to fill the seats and keep them filled is if the Holy Spirit is the One doing the filling! And HE never changes. That is where REAL salvation comes from! The entertainment factor brings a lot of immediate emotion but very little actual conviction.

Where does conviction come from? The Jaime Parker Hour? The fancy equipment? The twisted, unbiblical sermon from Steve? Nope. Conviction comes from the Spirit. Without the pomp.

And lifeless worship? I don't think so. My worship is not lifeless! I may not be bouncing off the walls but my worship is not lifeless. BTW, I'm not there to entertain others with my worship. I'm there to WORSHIP GOD with my worship.

And irrelevant? Yeah, to the world, Jesus will always be irrelevant. Are we there to please the world or are we there to please Christ? Should we build a church to please the world's dumb fads or are we there to please our Lord who is never changing?

See, here's a little secret. It's not the change we oppose, in and of itself. It's the type of change that's wrong. It's the change that would make the church like the world. It's the type of change that pleases the world rather than pleases God.

Housewife said...

I remember at the funeral when that clip was playing (AR's response to being asked to compromise) and we all clapped and AMENED in agreement as if it was the first time we had all heard it! It was a resounding response! I know I had certainly heard him saying that before. But those words were so true and necessary both when he originally said them and when they played them again at the funeral, that I couldn't help but to almost cheer!

I thank God for that wonderful discernment that He granted to Pastor Rogers! And I'm glad that we can still use those words!

sickofthelies said...

housewife wrote:

"I thank God for that wonderful discernment that He granted to Pastor Rogers! And I'm glad that we can still use those words!"


Housewife and StoptheMadness:

Isn't it a sad state of affairs that NOW when we quote Dr. Rogers, it is so politically INcorrect that we are told we need counseling?

Sad, indeed.

Housewife said...

BTW, let's not overlook the fact that under Steve's worldly changes, the church is not only NOT growing, but it's declining.

And let's not forget that under Pastor Roger's leadership and pastorship, there may have been some changes instituted but NONE of them involved watering down the Gospel nor compromising our principles and convictions in order act like and please the world! And guess what! The church grew! Go figure.

It's not change itself. It's the type of change.

Housewife said...

sickofthelies said...

Isn't it a sad state of affairs that NOW when we quote Dr. Rogers, it is so politically INcorrect that we are told we need counseling?

Sad, indeed.

12:21 PM, October 12, 2007


So be it.

Although, sometimes I wonder if we do need counseling when we keep banging our heads against a brick wall... such is conversing with billie and the like.

But then I remember that we must continue lest we allow their lies to prevail.

sickofthelies said...

P.S.

Stopthemadness:

If you are considering taking Solomon's advice for counseling for repeating something that Dr. Rogers said, may I suggest that you NOT use the BBC counseling office?

There is no such thing as confidentiality...they do not know the meaning of the word.

When forced to go to counseling so that I could VOLUNTEER at VBS, 15 years later, my file was in David Coombs hands. He is not a counselor. He had no business with my file. How long did it sit on his desk so that anyone could come along and read the personal details of my life? I"m sure they would say that no one else read it...yeah, well, the very fact that he had it made them lose all credibility. " Well, yeah, I stole your file, but no one read it but me"...isn't that sorta like, " Do you stil beat your wife"

Go to counseling at BBC ONLY if you don't care if it is confidential.

bromichael said...

Actually, housewife, your response perfectly illsutrates the problem the church now regularly has with change. When I addressed the necessity of change in the ongoing life of a church, you evidently heard me referring to some radical shift into that which compromises the glory of God and the truth of Scripture. I wasn't referring to some radical shift in faith and practice. I wasn't referring to abandoning Sunday School in favor of cell groups, or making over worship services into concerts, or choosing the emerging church over sound doctrine, or calling Joel Osteen as your pastor instead of who you currently have. I was referring to the gradual adjustments God orchestrates over time that keep His people connected not only to Himself but to those we're called to reach. That's the kind of change leaders must responsibly facilitate and churches must embrace. In reality, that's the nature of vision itself. God reveals Himself and what we're called to do, and we adjust our lives to join Him in that. Do you see what I mean?

But so many automatically assume the topic of change means a departure from what we've been doing at the cost of compromise. As I've heard it said before, "Not all change is good change." Well' not all change is heretical compromise. Yet well-meaning Christians balk and churches miss what God was planning to do had they only been willing to adjust.

Think for a moment about all the established churches across the landscape of Christianity that still operate as if the year is 1977 instead of 2007. The overwhelming majority of those are plateaued at best and dying at worst. They're not reaching souls for Christ because they've not moved with Him into their changing communities. They're disconnected, and most continually baptize no one each year. To further illustrate this with urgency, visit your state Baptist convention's web site or call and ask for the number of churches that baptized no one in 2006. One of the reasons the number will be so high is that over time those churches simply haven't changed, when God along the way was opening new doors for them for impact.

And about change in worship, let me pose this question. Let's pretend that you come to Sunday morning worship this weekend and you sing four songs to the Lord before the message. As it turns out these are your favorite four songs in the world. You are moved as you sing, and it's as if the words are used of God to usher you more deeply into His presence. Now let's pretend that you come back next Sunday and you sing those same four songs. Being your favorites you're able to sing to the Lord again, not even needing a hymnal or the screen.

Let's further pretend that Sunday after Sunday for six months you come and your church sings only those same four songs. How long will it take for you to still be singing but no longer be using those songs for real worship? How long will it take until even those favorites become stale to you, simply because you've sung them so often? I honestly believe this is why at least six times--depending on your translation--the Psalms speak of singing God a "new song" (33:3, 40:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, 149:1). New songs introduce freshness, and to offer new songs you must embrace change or else risk staleness in what we offer God.

All of this having been said, understand that not even the necessity of change is license for leaders to recklessly pursue change according to a carnal agenda. Here is where it sounds like your passion has been evoked. Even the most God-ordained change in church life must be facilitated by leaders in unified, responsible ways. That's where too many young pastors like myself tend to fail. I've always believed that if God is truly orchestrating a change in perspective or practice that He's also orchestrating a way for those that are His to embrace it TOGETHER. If the leader's heart is to be so surrendered to Christ as to help his church family find that way, then change just won't have to be traumatic.

Junkster said...

STOPTHEMADNESS said...
SICKIE: Well you can just hum it this time, we may need a complete chorus later. ;-o

Ahem! The proper nickname for our beloved sickofthelies is NOT "sickie" -- it is sicko!

32yrs@bbc said...

bromichael:
In reference to your 8:41 p.m. Oct. 11th post quoting Henry Blackaby, I am posting this from an interview Dr. Blackaby had with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Dr. Blackaby, we hear a lot about worship these days, worship styles, worship music, worship services. You mentioned yesterday that if we’re not careful we’ll find that we aren’t worshiping the God of the Bible.

Talk some about that especially in the context of revival.

Dr. Blackaby: A lost person cannot worship. Worship is the exclusive prerogative of God’s people.

Nancy: But we’re trying to make our worship services palatable to lost people.

Dr. Blackaby: We’re trying to make them evangelistic, and if you make all the worship service evangelistic, then God’s people don’t worship. When God’s people don’t worship, they die spiritually.

We assume because we’re preaching the gospel, at least someone is being saved, and I’d say that’s not the key.

The last part of the Great Commission is teach them to practice everything that I have commanded (see Matthew 28:18-20). I believe that was the heart of God’s plan to redeem a world.

When you entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ, you entered a covenant where He is Lord, and you’re not. You make a covenant that everything that He commands, you’re going to do. We enter into a covenant before a holy God. But we don’t want to make any demands of people.

Nancy: We don’t want the word obligations.

Dr. Blackaby: No surrender. We don’t talk about surrender to the Lordship of Christ at all. It’s not friendly. So what we’re doing is we’re far most interested in how people respond to what we’re doing than how God responds to what we’re doing.

We’re so focused on evangelism that the people of God are dying spiritually. Worship is designed for God’s people to have an encounter with the holiness of God to get their lives adjusted.

But many, many, many churches are turning their worship services into evangelistic services. When you turn the service into an evangelistic service, God’s people don’t worship. And when God’s people don’t worship, they die spiritually.

Worship for God’s people is their lifeline because their relationship to God is absolutely vital. Worship is an encounter with God where God has an opportunity to adjust us back to Him.

We’ve been out there all week long and the world has affected us. Now we come to worship and the songs, for instance, that I hear people sing, they’re not theologically correct.

For instance, they love to sing Come Just As You Are.

Nancy: That sounds good enough.

Dr. Blackaby: It sounds good, and it makes people feel I can come before God just the way I am and He will accept me with all of my sin. I don’t have to repent; I can just come as I am. A lost person has to come just the way they are, but God has never permitted His people to come that way.

He said, “Who can ascend the hill of the Lord and who can stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart and who has not lifted up his soul to vanity or sworn deceitfully. He shall receive the blessing of the Lord” (Psalm 24:4-5, KJV).

When they came to Mt. Sinai, God required three full days of cleansing. They could not come just as they are. As you look all the way through the Scripture, God is very conscious that when God’s people did come just the way they are, the worship was totally unacceptable to God.

We have a song that makes people feel good, That On the Cross, Jesus Has You In His Mind. That’s not true. He came to do the will of the Father and was so immersed in doing the Father’s will, I believe the solitary concern on the heart of Jesus was the Father.

I’ve listened to a lot of songs being created by young adults who can play a guitar and write some music, but they have theology about a quarter of an inch deep.

Therefore, they’re giving pop psychology to make God’s people feel good, to have a good time and to have fun in worship. God’s people were not designed to have fun in worship. It was a time of brokenness before the Lord.

He dwells in the high and holy place and with him who is broken and contrite and humble in spirit. So what’s happening is God’s people have a huge sense of emptiness in their heart. They know that they know about God, but they just don’t know how to experience Him.

Of all the places where they ought to come face to face with the holy God is in worship.

If someone were to ask me, “Henry, after 30 years of pastoring, what would you sense would be the most significant part of your ministry?” I wouldn’t hesitate to answer—worship.

I took exceeding care that God’s people entered into the presence of God, heard from Him, made adjustments to God in repentance and brokenness, were helped by the body to incorporate that into a new lifestyle in their life.

Nancy: So you’re defining worship not just as the music part of the service.

Dr. Blackaby: Often the music is the minor part of the worship service. When you change the words to become self-centered, then you have removed any sense that the songs can lead you to God.

But I watch many of the songs, the new songs, and they have I and me and mine all they way through.

Nancy: Rather than being God-centered.

Dr. Blackaby: Without being God-centered. Worship is exclusively a God-centered experience. I would keep saying to people, “If you can come and truly worship and go out the same way you came in, you’ve haven’t worshiped no matter what you’ve said, or what you’ve felt.”

Worship is not how you feel. It’s whether you met God and He transformed your life. He exposed sin so that you don’t live in that any longer and be denied what could be.

He wants you. It’s like Him. Jesus announced, “Repent for the kingdom of heaven is right next to you” (Matthew 3:2, paraphrased).

Every time I worship I say, “Oh God, is there anything that I need to repent of?” Because to the degree which I keep sin in my life, to that degree, the kingdom of God is out. There’s a direct correlation to the fullness in my life. He cannot fill my life where I’ve kept part of my life in sin. I just can’t do that.

imaresistor said...

I have been eavesdropping.

Change? I agree that change need be done. People need to change, repent, and obey His Word. What was good enough for the culture 2000 years ago when Jesus lay dying on the cross...it is still good enough today. The culture is what needs to change, Bro Michael...not the church.

Ima

New BBC Open Forum said...

Steven Haney, former pastor of Walnut Grove Baptist Church, was indicted on one count of rape and two counts of sexual battery by an authority figure this morning. He faces up to 24 years in prison.

Story.

David Brown is scheduled to be interviewed by Channel 3's Amy Speropoulos this afternoon with the interview to be aired at 5:00 and/or 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m. today. Tune in.

bromichael said...

Let me come at this more simply. What really burdens me is that so many Christians treat change as the ememy. Housewife, that might not be where you are, and if I read incorrectly I sincerely apologize. But in my limited experience there's been so much I've seen missed of the Lord because His people were either too afraid of or too comfortable to allow change.

Friends, change isn't the enemy to the 21st Century church. Carnality is. The changes that have so many of you stoked are changes in which you sense carnality, resulting in all too real and graphic compromise, and I agree that there's no room in allegiance to Christ for that. Just be wary about intertwining the two in your thinking. Doing so could make you miss something new that God was ordaining, all for the purpose for connecting you in fresh ways to either Himself or our field.

Junkster said...

bromichael,
re: your post at 12:52 PM, October 12, 2007 ...

Very well said.

Housewife said...

When you're having this discussion, it is necessary to be specific as to what change you're talking about. It's necessary because of the epidemic going on today. You didn't specify what kind of changes you were talking about so I spoke of those relevant to this time, the ones that stand out the most.

As far as a stale song, that's up to the person singing to God. That person may need to reevaluate to Whom he's singing. To himself for his own amusement, or to the Lord? A new song won't necessarily fix his potential problem.

We present the same Gospel week after week too. Are we also to change it so it won't get stale as well?

BTW, I'm not opposed to new songs. I know God blesses many song writers. But I also don't think we should have the Jaime Parker Show either.

Let's also be careful not to put too much emphasis on how many baptisms we have each year since that doesn't always equal the number of people saved. But I'm not dismissing that altogether either. I understand that it's a telling factor, to some extent.

Again, you must be specific as to the examples of change to which you refer. I cannot blanketly say that change is necessary unless you give me specific, non-generalized examples because of the devastating epidemic we have of church-destroying change. Unfortunately, the change that is thought to be necessary can be subjective to someone's whim or opinion. That's why we've come to the need for specific examples.

And maybe change is supposed to be traumatic; it is so for a reason. It shouldn't be cavalier.

bromichael said...

That is a great interview. Henry Blackaby has always come across as an amazingly grounded believer. His perspective on worship is right on target. It would seem that some of today's worship music has been diluted a tad. As a matter of fact, on a televised service the other night I listened to some. It was repulsive to see how "watered down" it was. I felt like I was listening to Amy Grant sing, "Baby, Baby."

And worship, though it can be evangelistic, is not by nature evangelistic, so the idea of making services more palatable for unbelievers is not legitimate according to Scripture. My own conviction about allowing new songs, as an example, to be engrafted into worship settings comes purely from the perspective of believers benefiting from freshness. Any song or worship element must pass the litmus text of biblical and theological faithfulness, of course, which makes Dr. Blackaby's commentary all the more relevant. Thank you for posting it.

Housewife said...

32 years - excellent post at
1:09 PM, October 12, 2007.

And to think, I was about to give credit to NASS until I scrolled back up. ;P

Housewife said...

You too Ima @

1:11 PM, October 12, 2007.

Amen.

Housewife said...

bromic said...

But in my limited experience there's been so much I've seen missed of the Lord because His people were either too afraid of or too comfortable to allow change.


What do you mean? Please be specific. A lot of people would also say this to cover for the fact that they refused to concede to the Holy Spirit for so long. I'm NOT saying this is what happened in your case. But we need specific examples before we can take it as a valid point for change.

Housewife said...

bro mic said...

Any song or worship element must pass the litmus text of biblical and theological faithfulness


We are in agreement. Again, the problem isn't change, it's the type of change. And because MOST change does NOT pass the biblical litmus test, that's why many of us would rather see NO change or very little change. If it was good enough for the 1st century Christians, why not us? If the worship service is for believers, why can't we have an old-style of worship? Why do we need to behave like ADD unbelievers? If we have the Spirit, why do we need to entertain ourselves with change?

Again, ad nauseum, we're not opposed to change but unfortunately, this has become an epidemic. And we're better off worshiping like the 1st than the 21st century!

amazed said...

Bro. Michael..You speak about how difficult it is to get church members to accept change in the church.

The business world fights this battle every day. It almost takes an act of congress to get employees to accept changes in their jobs and duties. After all, we have been doing it this way for fifty years.

Housewife said...

amazed said...

The business world fights this battle every day.


The church isn't a business. But don't tell that to Steve.

Junkster said...

A friend in Texas just told me that the Baptist church across the street from her currently has this on their sign:

I Y Q Y Q R



Ok, everybody, try not to throw up on your computer screens.

bromichael said...

Housewife, it sounds like we're basically in agreement, just coming at considering change in our churches from two different perspectives. You're coming from the perspective of having seen sudden change in virtually every area of church life. Most of those changes strike you as having been unnecessary for the Kingdom's sake, and a few even strike you as conformity to a worldly pattern meant to somehow make the church more attractive to the world, rather than making the church more pleasing to Christ. At the least they have produced culture shock, and at worst they have represented compromise. Have I summarized your perspective pretty well?

I'm coming at this discussion as a leader who's never attempted sudden change and who has no desire to facilitate changes of conformity. I have attempted to organize for and promote change as God was calling us to adjust for the sake of more effectively connecting with Him and joining Him in ministry. These adjustments have involved elements included in worship, orders of worship, programming or scheduling changes, even structural changes, but I can honestly assert that these have been approached deliberately, prayerfully, patiently, and with the focus set on going with God together.

What has always surprised and even jaded me to an extent is how vehemently even Christ-centered, sensible adjustments can be opposed, simply because they represent changes. This is what spurred my point above. I can be more specific about my experiences if need be, but for this post it seemed logical to finally clarify that we seem to be landing at the same destination but started from different places.

oc said...

Junkster said:
"A friend in Texas just told me that the Baptist church across the street from her currently has this on their sign:

I Y Q Y Q R



Ok, everybody, try not to throw up on your computer screens."


Brother, you owe me a laptop.

Just sayin'.
oc.
Just

sickofthelies said...

I Y Q Y Q R

HUH?

imaresistor said...

Here we have a name appearing on this blog that sent red flags up for me the first time I ever ‘saw’ it. I entered the sanctuary of my former church and there on the screen were the words, “Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby”. I sat down in the pew and just looked at it. It truly did not set well with me. I didn’t even like the name of this man’s book. Somehow I sensed a lack of reverence, as I often do in the things of the church growth movements, although at the time these movements were not even in my vocabulary. I can handle some change…always have…but not when it comes to a blazing disrespect to my Lord, Jesus Christ. The tone was not right…this definitely had the wrong sound to it. Anyway, I did not take the class…the man who had come into our church, a supposed pastor, was teaching it and he had already started doing ‘strange things’. I did get a copy of the book, however, and knew immediately there within lay a problem. Later, as I continued studying these things, I saw a great similarity in this man’s writings to those of Madame Guyon, Brother Lawrence, etc. Mysticism is the name of this game.

Gary Gilley, a very outspoken opponent of the likes of Rick Warren, Bill Hybel, Joel Osteen, Brian McLauren, Dan Kimbell, Rob Bell…all the church growth, mystical fellows sums Henry Blackaby up very well. I am providing a link to what he has to say and I hope you all will read it. There are three parts. When you finish part number one, just look at the bottom of the page and you will see part two, etc. Gary Gilley says, “Blackaby’s book and seminars are representative of much that I detest in so-called evangelicalism today. They take a purely mystical approach to Christian living and by necessity undermine and distort the precious Word of God. I write about Blackaby’s work, not only to expose it, but also because it is a clear representation of the state of evangelicalism in America.

Henry Blackaby

Ima

Junkster said...

oc said...
Brother, you owe me a laptop.

Eye doughnut mind oh wing ewe!

oc said...

Junkster said:
oc said...
Brother, you owe me a laptop.

Eye doughnut mind oh wing ewe!


oc says:

Man! I wish I could come up with a reply!

MOM4 said...

sotl,
Check out:
http://www.biasawareness.org/iyqyqr.htm

Sorry, I don't do links:(

oc said...

Junkster,
Eye Fill Knot Tech a Czech.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 629   Newer› Newest»