Friday, January 18, 2008

Is This Church Discipline or Shameless Abuse of Power?


Today's Wall Street Journal features an article entitled Banned From Church which details the story of Karolyn Caskey, a 71-year-old woman who'd been a member of Allen Baptist Church in the small town of Allen, Michigan for nearly 50 years. Mrs. Caskey was escorted out of a service and arrested for "trespassing." Several months earlier Mrs. Caskey was accused by the pastor, Jason Burrick, of spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" when she questioned why the church wasn't following their bylaws which called for the election of deacons and quarterly business meetings. Burrick then expelled her from the church.

I was reminded of the many similarities to Bellevue's situation. While no one has been formally "disciplined," even though the pastor has the
means (if not the grounds or intestinal fortitude) to do so, several thousand people have left Bellevue in the past two years, and many of those would say they felt pressure to "preserve the unity" at all costs.

Should a pastor have this much power? Should a pastor be able to "excommunicate" someone from a congregation without a vote by the membership or at least the elders (if applicable) or the deacons? Should there be any controls in place for when a church administration willfully ignores or refuses to follow the church bylaws? Should there be the means for a congregation to "discipline" their leaders?


Thanks to "amazed" for this topic idea.

111 comments:

New BBC Open Forum said...

Unity? At what cost?

BkWormGirl said...

I believe that the fact that the New Testament is filled with the qualifications of a leader is an indicator of God never intended the church to be a dictatorship.

Simply looking at the life and ministry of Jesus, he routinely dealt with those who were less than desierable and with church leaders (I wasn't trying to be redundant there it just happened). He didn't throw them out (he did overthrow the tables of the money changers - but that is a different topic), banish them from His Kindgom, or have them arrested. Instead, he loved them and wept over them, attempted to draw them to the Father, and died for them.

WWJD - Such a simple slogan, that so few even begin to comprehend.

Junkster said...

There is so much that can be said about the topic of church discipline ... why it is needed, the problems we have as a result of not exercising it, how and when it should be conducted, etc., etc.

But for now my comment is simply that when excluding someone from a church fellowship is truly the necessary and right thing to, that must always be a congregtional decision, not something that can be exercised by a pastor or a group of elders.

Even when it is an act of the whole congregation there is still potential for abuse and misuse, but the potential is even greater when that sort of power is handed over to one or a few.

amazed said...

That guy,Jason Burrick, should be ashamed to call himself a pastor. Not only that, he misused the 911 system as there was no emergency. To have a long time member handcuffed and carted off to jail is beyond belief. I believe there is an old saying that goes something like this--power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Any way you cut it, a church member should always have the right to ask any question about the church operation and receive an appropriate and accurate response. Kicking people out goes against the grain of what the church is really suppose to be about.

By the way, the church in Nashville that was mentioned in the article is Two Rivers Baptist Church so I guess their dustup is still a work in progress. Seems like there have been comments on this site, in the past, about the church in Muscle Shoals.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Two Rivers Baptist Lawsuit Dismissed

So a non-profit corporation (like Two Rivers Baptist or Bellevue Baptist) doesn't have to obey the law governing non-profits? Why have laws if the courts refuse to uphold them?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Two Rivers Threatens to Oust Suers

Boy, that pesky ol' First Amendment just gets in the way, doesn't it?

From the article:

"A group of members at Two Rivers Baptist Church who sued Pastor Jerry Sutton have been told to repent of their sins, apologize in writing, drop present and future lawsuits, and stop meeting together or risk expulsion from the church."

oc said...

And in this case, the police are no better. They cuffed a 71 year old woman, as if she was a violent felon. What danger did she present to uniformed and armed officers? Why humiliate her in that way?

I think they should have instead arrested the pastor for being gutless. Listen to the audio...whiney little...oh yeah, it's not a crime to be a sissy. Should be though.

BkWormGirl said...

OC -
I understand your point (at least I think I do) but the law enforcement officers have to obey the law, and follow procedures. All persons arrested are handcuffed. And the pastor would be the legally be the lead authority of a church, and therefore if he makes the request for an arrest for tresspassing or causing a disturbance, they must make the arrest.

Just passing on info... not judgement.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The dreaded Two Rivers Letter. It's funny how they pick and choose which parts of their bylaws they're going to enforce, but they totally ignore the laws regarding non-profits. At least Bellevue is consistent. While they ignore the laws regarding non-profits as well, they also completely ignore their own bylaws -- and trespassing laws. Consistency!

oc said...

bkwormgirl said:
And the pastor would be the legally be the lead authority of a church,


oc says:
Who says this? This could be an interesting discussion topic.

oc.

oc said...

bkwormgirl said:
OC -
I understand your point (at least I think I do) but the law enforcement officers have to obey the law, and follow procedures. All persons arrested are handcuffed. And the pastor would be the legally be the lead authority of a church, and therefore if he makes the request for an arrest for tresspassing or causing a disturbance, they must make the arrest.

Just passing on info... not judgement.


oc says: Thank you very much for the info.

But my point, though I may have not made it well, is that the police should have never made the arrest at all, because every accusation does not and should not result in arrest. If I accuse you, will you be cuffed on my say so?

Further, my biggest point is this. The pastor would have been arrested himself if this was a crime:
Spinelessness. 15 to Life.

oc.

Lin said...

interesting find in old records:

http://kerussocharis.blogspot.com/

BkWormGirl said...

OC -
In most states, the legal authority of a not for profit business, is the name on the office door. In most Churches, that is the senior pastor, in larger churches, that may fall to the administrative pastor. However, a paid employee of the church has the legal authority to make decisions, a secretary left alone in a small church can call 911 and have a parishioner arrested or removed if she feels unsafe (even if it is just a payback arrest for a personal conflict).

In the state of Michigan, the law requires an arrest to be made if property owner and/or manager requests it in the matter of trespassing. (As well as several other offenses.) I didn't say it was pretty or that it was fair. This is liberalism at its best, someone decided that it is better to have someone arrested in almost all emergency calls as a form of eradicating police bias.

Unfortunately, what has happened, is first of all law enforcement is not allowed to use their minds. And second all of, a lot of people get arrested that should never be arrested. And thirdly, people no longer have to resolve minor conflicts themselves.

It has never ceased to amaze me how churches claim they do not want the government involved in their churches, until it suites them. How many times do churches not know how to call the police department to report clergical abuse, and yet, know it when they need to call to have their own way. (ERRRGGHHHH - this kind of crap (pastoral abuse of power and misuse of law enforcement) angers me, and I am on to many pain pills to be care tonight...)

Oh and OC you asked, if you accuse me would I be arrested, if I was on your property when the police arrived, yes. If I had left, then no, a report would be filed, investigation completed, and then possible charges. This preacher knew what he was doing, he wanted headlines. Big man he thinks he is for picking on little old ladies. And God has just picked out a nice big piece of Milstone for him.

BkWormGirl said...

Oh.. I meant to mention the fact that the prosecutor did throw the charges out and issued the order to not have her arrested unless she was causing a disturbance. That gave the law enforcement the right to "refuse" to arrest at the pastor's request. Also a common occurance under the mandatory arrest laws. That entire "mandatory arrest" thing is a criminal justice disaster.

I am not sure the woman would choose to persue it, but it seems to me she would have grounds for a suit of her own. Wrongful imprisonment at the hands of the Preacher?? just an idea. Some lawyer would have to say if that is possible.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Totally and completely off topic, but does anyone remember this stuff?

oc said...

Nass,
Yeah, I remember. Choo Choo Cherry. Lefty Lemon. Loud Mouth Lime. Rootin' Tootin' Raspberry.

And cheaper than Kool Aid too!
Boy, am I dating myself, or what?

So...lets talk about the original moon walk...not Michael Jackson's...

I remember when...

oc said...

bkwormgirl said:

I am not sure the woman would choose to persue it, but it seems to me she would have grounds for a suit of her own. Wrongful imprisonment at the hands of the Preacher?? just an idea. Some lawyer would have to say if that is possible.

oc says:
If it was my mother, or grandmother, or friend, or church member, whatever, there would be more than a law suit going on.
Lawyer or no.

oc.

New BBC Open Forum said...

oc,

You left out Goofy Grape, Jolly Olly Orange, and Freckle Face Strawberry. Goofy was my favorite.

oc said...

bkworm says:
It has never ceased to amaze me how churches claim they do not want the government involved in their churches, until it suites them.

oc says:
Nass. Maybe this is another thread topic to consider.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Link in Lin's 6:24 p.m. comment.

New BBC Open Forum said...

32nd Annual Walk for Life
Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
Memphis, Tennessee
1:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 20th


The 32nd Annual Walk for Life, sponsored by Tennessee Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc., will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1695 Central Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 20th. Dr. Steve Gaines, Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee, will give the keynote address. Members of H.O.P.E. (Helping Others with Post-abortion Experiences) will participate in the program.

The Walk marks the 35th anniversary of the U. S. Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision of January 22, 1973. Anti-abortion supporters will walk in commemoration of the over 48 million innocent and defenseless pre-born babies killed by abortion since the U. S. Supreme Court legalized abortion-on-demand. The Walk for Life is a lawful, peace, prayerful, and non-sectarian free event open to the public.

oc said...

From Burleson's blog:

To be dogmatic on tertiary doctrinal issues leaves a convention open for possible future embarrassment, and therefore, all Southern Baptists should embrace humility - and the possibility of being wrong - when articulating beliefs that are of a tertiary nature in regard to the gospel of Jesus Christ (eschatology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc . . .).


oc says:
Jussayin'. :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Reaching for dictionary....

oc said...

bkwormgirl said:

However, a paid employee of the church has the legal authority to make decisions, a secretary left alone in a small church can call 911 and have a parishioner arrested or removed if she feels unsafe (even if it is just a payback arrest for a personal conflict).

oc says:
Even as "payback ...for a personal conflict"? So, if I am mad at you, I get can get you stuffed and cuffed because I say so?

Barney Fifes of the world, get that bullet out of your shirt pocket, you are fixin' to be sheriff of Mayberry. Andy will be impressed. And Aunt Bea might make you a pie.
Shazzam and Gooooollly!
And where's Opie when I need him?
:)
oc.

Voice_of_Reason said...

This comment sheds light on the issue you are discussing from www.tiffanycroft.blogspot.com regarding the abuses by Darrell Gilyard and Mac Brunson, two mega-church pastors involved in scandals in downtown Jacksonville:

Tiffany - the issue is about more than sexual abuse by pastors. It is about the SBC "system" and the way it is set up that allows a few powerful pastors to surround themselves with "yes men" who will protect them and look the other way when they see the sheep/congregation being abused. For example, Mac Brunson at FBC Jax accepting a $307,000 gift from a member only two weeks after he arrived! And people say its not any of our business since it was a personal gift. How do they know that? Wouldn't common sense say no man would give another such a gift only two weeks after the pastor arrived. Perhaps it was part of the enticement for him to come? But if so, why not disclose that? Wouldn't that reflect on his motives for coming? He admitted he had told the pastor search committee "no" to their offer. Maybe this swung him, or his wife, in the prayerful desire to do God's will. Or if it is a blessing from the Lord, wouldn't he give praise and thanks to the Lord from the pulpit? He has never acknowledged such a gift! Either way, it makes many of us question his integrity and motives as a preacher. Many lost people think preachers are only in it for the money. This makes it difficult for mac to ever claim his motives are pure. And I used to think Vines or Patterson would counsel the brother to stop this greedy behaviour of nepotism and fleeceing the flock. But if they won't say anything about Gilyard, why would they dare say anything about Mac? And they call bloggers cowards?

And I wonder what Vines or Patterson think about by-law changes that are not freely distributed or discussed prior to a vote on them? What about if those changes gave the pastor more power to appoint committee members and more authority in spending matters and formed a discipline committee. Would this be a new pastor you could love, respect, and follow?

What do Vines and Patterson think about nepotism? If a pastor hires his wife and son to full time, salaried positions, shouldn't their job titles and duties at least be known, or listed on the web site like every other staff member? Or would arrogance say "I don't need to explain anything to anybody."

What about a 6 bedroom, 4.5 bath mansion on the golf course in a gated community after only one year on the job? Is that the message the baptist preacher is trying to send to the JAX community?

Why discuss this in this thread? Because mega-church pastors, including Gilyard and Brunson, are able to abuse people because no one holds them accountable. As Southern Baptists, with autonomous churches, we rely on the congregations to police the pastors, not a church heirarchy. But when they surround themselves with yes men, they are being put in a position to give in to their sinful flesh. Some abuse members to get sexual favors. Others take advantage of congregants to get money. What do the lay leaders in our churches do about it when they are informed this is going on? They seek to silence those who would bring it out in the open, ask them to leave, and form discipline committees. Does anyone really believe "having a meeting with the pastor" in either Gilyard's or Brunson's cases would have made one bit of difference? They are men without any accountability to anyone except God and their wives, and you can see how much that restrained them both. KEEP ON BLOGGING TIFFANY!
(and NASS and FBC Watchdog!)

oc said...

From Burleson's blog:

To be dogmatic on tertiary doctrinal issues leaves a convention open for possible future embarrassment, and therefore, all Southern Baptists should embrace humility - and the possibility of being wrong - when articulating beliefs that are of a tertiary nature in regard to the gospel of Jesus Christ (eschatology, ecclesiology, pneumatology, etc . . .).


oc says:
Jussayin'. :)
.........................

OK. oc's translation of the above...

This is what we know and must believe:
"For God so loved the world,
That He gave His only begotten Son.
That whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life."

That's primary. Much else is secondary or tertiary. Not that they are not important too, but not every hill is a hill worth dying on. Or killing anyone else there also.

Now away we go...

amazed said...

Hey folks---Where does the line form for those among us that have heard enough and are ready to tell all of these self serving Baptist churches to just SHOVE IT? I don't think there is any way that I would ever feel comfortable in one again. THE DAMAGE HAS BEEN DONE.

Thank God that salvation is a personal matter between me and him.

Nite.

concernedSBCer said...

Amazed: There are a few good ones still left....but I certainly see and understand your point. It is most disheartening.

I think megas have done much damage.

gmommy said...

amazed,
I've moved on from the SBC churches...and megas!

Junkster said...

BkWormGirl said...
And the pastor would be the legally be the lead authority of a church, and therefore if he makes the request for an arrest for tresspassing or causing a disturbance, they must make the arrest.


If this is indeed the law, it just shows how far current law is removed from the plain sense of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to Baptist ecclesiology the pastor is not the "lead authority" in the church. And for any law to be established that defines the pastor as such is to nullify church doctrine in favor of the laws of the state. Our Founding Fathers (and Mothers) must be twirling in their graves.

Junkster said...

New BBC Open Forum said...
The 32nd Annual Walk for Life, sponsored by Tennessee Citizens Concerned for Life, Inc., will be held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 1695 Central Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 20th. Dr. Steve Gaines, Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church, Cordova, Tennessee, will give the keynote address.


I bet the Catholics love Steve Gaines -- his handling of the PW situation was so inept as to make their response to pedophile priests almost look good by comparison.

Opie said...

I may be opening a can of worms that gets me "excommunicated" from this site but...
as a pastor in the SBC I believe that my primary purpose is to present the Gospel. Therefore, I do nothing else before I have prayerfully prepared all three messages for the week. Too many people are trusting me to present the Word of God to be worried about "running" the church. That is why there are Deacons to care for members in day to day situations and Trustees to oversee the legal and material issues of the church and a congregation to appove and hold accountable the pastor, deacons, and trustees.
The problem is in my church most people want me to try and run it until I choose a path they don't approve of then they come with both fists. Congregations can't have it both ways. You can't be a lazy church attender and expect everything to run smoothly. Everyone must take initiative and have a voice or the church is just another business.

eprov said...

opie is right on.
I have seen too many situations where there is no pro-active structure in the church to participate in the day-to-day decisions. It becomes a shouting match after persons have, hopefully, made the best decision they are capable at any moment in time.
Once done, the second guessing begins and then the grappling for power and control.
Baptists and others tend to 'let the Pastor do it.'
Personally I like the structure in the Lutheran church where there is a President of the congregation (layperson) who handles the business affairs along with a council of lay people. The reverend is also on the council.
Kinda levels the playing field.
I think Presbys are similar.
Nothing's perfect!

John Harraman said...

nyAfter following this blog since I first learned of it, it seems that you have finally completely run out of theings to complain and specualte about. Your scheme to overthrow the "EVIL" leadership of Bellevue has not worked. I will admit that there were some mistakes made in judgement but none that cannot be forgiven. The physical evidence clearly shows that things have turned a corner. Attendance numbers are steadily climbing, offerings are steadily climbing, and the services grow sweeter each week. For so long your attempts seemed to be tearing the church apart, but now it seems that the vast majority of people have writeen you off. I must say that I am one of them. You are simply spoiled misguided people, content to squirm in your disgust that things couldn't stay exactly how you wanted them to. Your attempts have failed. You have provided no convincing evidence of problems that cannot be fixed. As a matter of fact you haven't provided much of anything new in quite a while. Save yourselves some time and trouble, close down your blog. It's been over a year, move on with your lives and let it go. Go in peace! Let Bellevueerve God without this man made cloud of confusion you've created. In other words, get a life and let everyone else live theirs!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thank you for the lovely sentiments, "John Harraman." However, if that's all you've gleaned from reading this blog since its inception, you're too far gone for anything to make any difference to you now. It's not about the music. It's not about things staying the same. It's about the lack of integrity in our church leadership.

I don't know if you have children or grandchildren, but if you do, did it not bother you even a little that your pastor allowed a confessed pedophile and documented sexual predator to freely roam the halls of Bellevue Baptist Church for over six months after he knew about him? If you don't, do you not care about anyone else's children?

There are so many more things, but if that one thing doesn't matter to you, then you are just as guilty as Steve Gaines and the staff ministers who knew about PW all those months.

If this blog is stopping you or anyone else from living his life, then you're the one who needs to "get a life." I, for one, am quite content, thank you.

concernedSBCer said...

John: Bless your heart. You can't see the big picture. It's about leadership, a calling, and servant spirit. It's about integrity.

By the way, we discuss many things other than BBC here; haven't you noticed?

Lin said...

"Attendance numbers are steadily climbing, offerings are steadily climbing, and the services grow sweeter each week."

If only numbers were an indication of spirituality and the truth of the Gospel! Sadly, many of us believed the same thing for a long time.

I am sorry you think some of our theological discussions are a waste of time. But since we are not effecting Bellevue, why are so interested in this blog?

Have you asked to see the church financials lately? Or, are you one of the few allowed to do so?

eprov said...

John.....
Why would you take the time to post here? Why do you read?
'Simply misguided' and 'squirm in your disgust'.....sorry, neither fits me. I am very focused and have no disgust. You are deliberately being condescending. Not a spiritual gift that I am aware of.
If I thot on the same level as you, I would probably use the same description for you.
Mazel Tov.

oc said...

"the services grow sweeter every week."


Yeah, and it shows in your post.
Make sure you don't get any on ya.


oc.

Junkster said...

Yo peeps!
Ya know, some people just don't have (or don't use) the sense God gave them at birth.
Peace, out!

John Harraman said...

So all of us who are still at Bellevue and those that are coming in every week, we are brainwashed, ignorant people, right? I agree that Bro. Steve should have swiftly dealt with the issue of Paul Williams, that is one thing I whole-heartedly agree on, but the other things don't seem to make that big of difference. Something is obviously right because every aspect of ministry is picking back up. My point is that all of these discussions and complaints and accusations seem so very futile. What makes you all continue to keep this going? I'm not attempting to slight you guys, you obviously believe your cause is just. just really, I guess want to understand why you've kept this going for so long. What's the drive even though nothings changed in your favor?

gmommy said...

John,
We are well aware that we have been "written off" by people like you at BBC.
That is why we meet here and in person and in group emails and MINISTER to each other and teach and learn together. Sorry that is a problem for you but you aren't going to shut us down.
As you can see....we are still here and our bond is also sweeter than ever.

So sad you can't see what REALLY tore the church apart....
like the "mistakes in judgement"
made by current BBC leadership..

the real SPOILED people that wanted things to "stay the way they wanted them"
are still in control.
It's your problem if you are content with them and sad that what you call "physical evidence" that all is well at BBC is about attendance and giving.... with no care or clue about thousands that have been hurt and "written off" OR about the lies that have been second nature for your leadership at BBC.
There was a time when honesty was considered a godly trait....that's something I WOULD like to see stay the same.
If you choose to live in denial and call sin and lies mistakes....that is certainly your choice.
Not my choice.
You are pleased that the current leadership has taken so much from others....and you have made your choice of what you stand for and who you follow.

I'm sorry that what we stand for and who we follow is confusing for you.
There are so many that read this blog that never post.....we will continue to discuss scripture and warn of "snakes in the camp". There are still those searching for Truth.
I invite you to not waste anymore of your time.

Lynn said...

John Harraman said...

nyAfter following this blog since I first learned of it, it seems that you have finally completely run out of theings to complain and specualte about. Your scheme to overthrow the "EVIL" leadership of Bellevue has not worked. I will admit that there were some mistakes made in judgement but none that cannot be forgiven. The physical evidence clearly shows that things have turned a corner. Attendance numbers are steadily climbing, offerings are steadily climbing, and the services grow sweeter each week. For so long your attempts seemed to be tearing the church apart, but now it seems that the vast majority of people have writeen you off. I must say that I am one of them. You are simply spoiled misguided people, content to squirm in your disgust that things couldn't stay exactly how you wanted them to. Your attempts have failed. You have provided no convincing evidence of problems that cannot be fixed. As a matter of fact you haven't provided much of anything new in quite a while. Save yourselves some time and trouble, close down your blog. It's been over a year, move on with your lives and let it go. Go in peace! Let Bellevueerve God without this man made cloud of confusion you've created. In other words, get a life and let everyone else live theirs!

10:42 AM, January 19, 2008


Congradulations. You just convinced me that going to church is a complete waste of my time. With christians like you, I'm better off in a bowling alley on Sundays. I've grown more on this blog than ever in church. I've met some of the people on this blog and they are the sweetest people I have ever met. And wanna know something else? They're real people. They don't pretend to be something they're not. For the first time in my life, I have actually felt like I belong. And let me tell you one more thing mister. Don't hate the player...Hate the game. And if you ain't down with that....Go Away and Leave Us Alone. Now can you dig that?

gmommy said...

Lynn,
You know we won't let attitudes like John's keep us ...or you...from going to church...

Church isn't the big building on Appling...we know that.

oc said...

I am REALLY getting sick of people coming on here and trying to convince us that it is just a matter of a bunch of MISTAKES, and that these MISTAKES are not SIN.

It IS sin people. And sin requires repentence in order to reconcile to a holy God.

Haven't seen it yet. I Have seen a lot of excuses though.


oc.

Opie said...

Guys, John is just doing this to get everyone going. The simple fact of the matter is that this blog quit being about BBC a long time ago. This blog is about open Christian discussion on various topics and is utilized by people across the United States. True, it may have grown out of a situation at BBC, but to be honest, I really don't care or know of the situation there. For all I know the pastor is doing a great job now, but what I care about is the continuation of godly discussion on topics that matter to every Christian who cares to meet on this forum and discuss them.
My personal prayer is that God can work healing and blessing throughout BBC and the SBC for that matter. Let's face it...He's the only one who can.

Lin said...

just really, I guess want to understand why you've kept this going for so long. What's the drive even though nothings changed in your favor?

12:32 PM, January 19, 2008

Everyone could try but I don't think you 'could' understand based on your last two comments.

To say that nothing has changed in 'our' favor is to totally not understand the Gospel at all. You have elevated mere humans to something they aren't.

New BBC Open Forum said...

You nailed it, "opie." We don't owe anyone an explanation for why we gather here.

concernedSBCer said...

Opie,
Thanks for making my point better than I did. This blog is way past BBC. (Sorry BBC members, but the world does not begin and end with BBC) Instead this blog has evolved into deep discussion about situations that matter to all of us. Organized religion needs an overhaul...back to God and Godly principles.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'll even change the name of it if there's a general consensus. I've never liked the name anyway. The only reason I chose it was because the when the original BBCOF quit after about 10 days (I'd still love to know who he was if anyone wants to own up to me privately), and I picked up the sword, so to speak, I called it the New BBCOF strictly for continuity's sake.

Any suggestions for a new name? E-mail me with any ideas you might have.

Lin said...

"Instead this blog has evolved into deep discussion about situations that matter to all of us. Organized religion needs an overhaul...back to God and Godly principles.

3:07 PM, January 19, 2008

Well, and some joking, teasing, jesting, debating, arguing and general merriment among the brethren.

Hugh Hewitt in his book, Blog, said that blogs would be the 'communities' of the 21st Century where people would come to discuss their issues and fellowship. That is exactly what this is.

New Christian Forum?
Not a Stepford Sheep? (That fits everthing that is going on out there in Christendom)

Or just NASS?

eprov said...

new name....
NASS' nasty anti-BBC blog for disheartened sheep who are full of bitterness and envy! LOL
I would leave it be.
BBC could mean 'broken before Christ.'
Johns like him enter and leave with their pronouncements.
Seems to me if he had the love of Christ, there would be an encouraging word. Still trying to find that in his 2 posts!

Junkster said...

New BBC Open Forum said...
I'll even change the name of it if there's a general consensus. I've never liked the name anyway. The only reason I chose it was because the when the original BBCOF quit after about 10 days (I'd still love to know who he was if anyone wants to own up to me privately), and I picked up the sword, so to speak, I called it the New BBCOF strictly for continuity's sake.

Any suggestions for a new name? E-mail me with any ideas you might have.


I am SO for this idea. Not that issues at BBC aren't still worth discussing, but as you've said we've gone way past that single focus. And I'm tired of those who deride this blog just because they can't see that -- perhaps a name change would help in that regard. There will always be trolls and detractors, but that would be one less reason to be a target.

A contest for the best new name, perhaps? :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

Lin wrote:

"Not a Stepford Sheep?"

Maybe just "Not Stepford Sheep." It's not about me.

"Scattered Sheep"

"Forgotten Sheep"

Go back to the drawing board, "eprov"!

I know, "Black Sheep"!

eprov said...

from an impact standpoint I think you lose some of the legitimacy that has been built IF you change the name.
What John doesn't realize is that many who read and participate have NO interest in the polity and business integrity of BBC. Our/their concern is as part of the Body of Christ and our witness to the world, not the survival or demise of leadership at BBC.
bkwormgirl found the post I assume thru online searches. and who knows how many others.
My vote is to leave it be. Only 'insiders' would get the BBC connection.

gmommy said...

something about Truth would be appropriate....where is Cakes??? He will think of something!!

Only one Truth????
Seekers of deep truth?
aliens on planet earth?????
Radical thinkers???
or maybe just thinkers
In context?????
I stink.

gmommy said...

Junk,
Go ahead and share our top 2 of your suggestions!!!!

Junkster said...

Feel free, Gmommy -- I'm not sure which two you meant. For the sake of those reading, I sent an email earlier with some "suggestions" like:
Baptist Schmaptist!
Truthseekers Anonymous
Some Christians and a Boo-dist

But at the moment I'm actually partial to "Not A Stepford Sheep" or "Not Stepford Sheep".

Junkster said...

eprov,
The idea of a name change (in my mind) isn't about John's inane comments. That was just what brought up the topic. It's all up to NASS, of course, but if there was a name change, I wouldn't recommend getting rid of existing posts or comments. I think that should all stand for the sake of "the record" and would still come up from a search. Even of a new name requires a new URL, the old site can stand with a message and link directing folks to the new site. But I come for the discussions and the friendships built, so I'll participate either way.

New BBC Open Forum said...

junk,

You're correct that the idea for a name change had nothing to do with "john's" comments or anyone else's. It's something I've been considering for a long time, and I'm still only considering it. It's not a done deal.

Of course, I'd leave up all the old articles and comments. No URL change is necessary. I can just do a name change.

concernedSBCer said...

Hey friends....don't you feel sorry for those who are so insecure they can't see the value of a good debate? They can't imagine that friends can debate or even *horrors* disagree?

They don't get it, do they? We are striving to study and know and serve with integrity.

A name won't change that.

Junkster said...

Lin said...
Well, and some joking, teasing, jesting, debating, arguing and general merriment among the brethren.


And the sistren. We must never forget the sistren.

ezekiel said...

If things keep going the way they are, the next thing we know, somebody will stand up and want to change the music or complain about the seating....

Baptists...we just gotta love em.

gmommy said...

and the sistren...???
Junk, you crack me up!!!!!

Ez, if we change the music or seating....I want to be first!!!!

32yrs@bbc said...

Lynn, I understand your discouragement. But as a "seasoned" saint, I would tell you that discouragement comes for the Christian when we are focused more on finite man than our precious Savior. We all have feet of clay and will disappoint one another - even the best of us. That's why we need to lay our expectations at the foot of the Cross. Hebrews 12:2 exhorts us to "look unto JESUS, the Author and Finisher of our faith" and
Hebrews 10:25 warns us to "NOT forsake the asembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is, but exhort one another and so much more so as you see the day
(Christ's return) approaching."
Christ shed His blood for the church, He was always in the temple
(the church of His day) teaching on the Sabbath (He met much opposition there!), He wants His people meeting together (not just on the blog sites) to worship Him and encourage one another. God is omnipresent and so, yes, He is in the bowling alley, on the golf course, on the blog site but that is NOT the assembling of believers together to worship Him.

I hope you will reconsider and find a church where you can be blessed but,more important, that you can be a blessing. I am definitely not a Rick Warren fan but there's a quote from him that
I agree with 100%:
"It's NOT all about us. It IS all
about Him!"

32yrs@bbc said...

John Harraman,

Sadly, you, like so many, still don't get it. Integrity still counts to those of us who have chosen to leave BBC. End of story.

johnthebaptist said...

John...My question to you is this....if you know that the leadership has made mistakes, which you say that "cannot be forgiven", why do you allow yourself to follow them?

The fact that you willingly allow someone to lead you in the things of God who has proven he has no integrity, is beyond me!

What does that say about you and your judgement?

When a person's "ears are tickled" they will continue to come hear the one "who does the tickling". It isn't surprising that numbers might be going up. There are a lot of people without discernment.

A christians job (in the power of the Holy Spirit) is to discern truth from untruth. While Steve might speak some truth, his actions conflict with what scripture teaches.

Therein lies the rub.

While Steve is preaching God's word (absolute truth) is wonderful, using God's word to beat the sheep, or use it for your own purpose falls under mishandling God's word. That is sin.

We must be faithful to God in all things. That includes exposing a wolf in sheeps clothing.

That has been done over and over.

You claim nothing has been accomplished by this blog.

You are so wrong. I look at it as we have been faithful to God in exposing sin in "the leadership" who are to be held to a HIGHER STANDARD. <---it is in the Bible. Go ahead and read it.

It hasn't always been done in the correct spirit, granted. But by exposing the problems, I feel we(sorry NASS for saying "we" since I don't post much anymore) have saved thousands of unsuspecting people from being mislead by Steve.

Not only has thousands left Bellevue, Steve's speaking (money making endevors) scheduled has dried up as well, saving many, many more from his misues of scripture, his rantings, and his warped ideas on church leadership.

Yes John, much has been accomplished by this blog. Most of it good.

In the end, when we all stand before the Lord Jesus to give an account of ourselves, He alone will judge and He alone will reward.

I didn't want to stand before Him to give an account on why I did nothing when I knew something was wrong. That is why I spoke out and why I left.

What will you say to Jesus when you knew there was something wrong at Bellevue but chose to do nothing?

John, the victory belongs to Jesus and Him alone. It has always been about Him.

Not to the blog or Bellevue.

concernedSBCer said...

John the Baptist: Good to see you again. And Here, here for what you said.

To God be the Glory.

New BBC Open Forum said...

johnthebaptist,

Are you the "original" johnthebaptist? If so, your e-mail address doesn't work now. Just wondering -- since your profile is new.

gmommy said...

JTB....missed your presence here and your wisdom!!!
You said that beautifully....thanks....and please don't stay away so long next time!

johnthebaptist said...

Nass, yes it is I, the original John the baptist, well the live one, not the beheaded one. : )

I was going to get rid of my home phone & just use the cell. Then I was going to go with another internet provider but changed my mind.

I cancelled my internet service then but before I restarted my account, they got rid of my email account. I just opened an new account. Easier than dealing with some customer service folks in an other country.

I will update my profile shortly.

johnthebaptist said...

gmommy - thanks for the kind words. I was reading the blog but just didn't post. I was praying for you when you were sick. Glad you were better.

It was time to be about the Lord's work again.

I have wiped the dust off of my shoes, so to speak, from BBC. My family and I are serving in a mission church. So far since November when we joined, we have had many opportunities to serve. I have preached, lead the music, served as a usher, and I along with another man, count the offering & get it ready to be deposited to the bank every Sunday. My wife sings often.

Tomorrow night, the pastor and I are going to the associational mens meeting.

Feels good to be a part of a church start and actually having a voice in the direction the church might go.

Feels good to be appreciated and have the cell phone number of the pastor who says call him anytime.

Anyway, I still believe in SBC and SBC churchs even with all the problems.

No church is perfect but by God's grace and power, this church will stand on God's Word.

gmommy said...

JTB,
Thank you! and I am so happy you are using your gifts to serve and teach!!
I just have a little "dust" left...almost there...so glad your shoes are clean!
We'd love to come hear you preach....you could invite us!!(hint..)
Thank you for your prayers....08 has to be better than 07!

Hope you will keep us updated and share your wisdom when you can!
Will continue to pray for you and your family!!

Lindon said...

JTB, How wonderful to hear from you! Praise God that you are where you can serve. Welcome back!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Did anyone else notice the Mike Huckabee signs stuck along the esplanade down the middle of Appling Road in front of the church today? The rent-a-cops had their cones set up around them. I just wondered if someone associated with Bellevue or the seminary was responsible for them. Besides being illegal, they make it look as if the church is somehow endorsing Huckabee.

concernedSBCer said...

From today's LWF devotion:
BIBLE MEDITATION:
“For He hath made Him to be sin for us, Who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Corinthians 5:21

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
God will never overlook sin. He cannot. God is holy, and by His holiness He has sworn that sin will be punished. If God were to let one half of one sin go unpunished, God would no longer be holy. The chief attribute of God is not love — it is holiness. The cross is God’s way to punish sin and forgive the sinner at the same time. He who knew no sin, God has made to be sin for us. The price that Jesus paid only the damned in hell can begin to know, but even they’ll never know because they’re only paying their sin debt. Jesus paid for all the sin of all of the people for all time.

I found this line to be the most compelling: "The chief attribute of God is not love — it is holiness."

This flies in the face of the seeker-style church organizations we are seeing today.

Isn't it odd....we have a definite deep chasm happening...the churches like those in this thread's Original Post where "church discipline" is taken so far it becomes abuse, and the churches that don't care what you do because "God loves you just the way you are"?

It seems BOTH have forgotten God's Holiness.

Lynn said...

New BBC Open Forum said...

Did anyone else notice the Mike Huckabee signs stuck along the esplanade down the middle of Appling Road in front of the church today? The rent-a-cops had their cones set up around them. I just wondered if someone associated with Bellevue or the seminary was responsible for them. Besides being illegal, they make it look as if the church is somehow endorsing Huckabee.

10:47 PM, January 20, 2008

Since when has bellevue actually followed the laws?

ezekiel said...

Nass,

Mike is an ordained Baptist preacher. Now we have seen the lengths that some of them will go to support their brother...who else do you think they would support?

ezekiel said...

Keith Solomon reports that the brother we know as Larry had heart surgery last week. There were complications but he is doing better now.

Please remember him in your prayers.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Lynn, EZ,

I do not know if anyone associated with the church or seminary had anything to do with those signs, and I'm not accusing anyone with either group of being responsible. What puzzled me was that the rent-a-cops (which are actually Shelby County sheriff's deputies) had set their cones up around them. The SCSD is responsible for enforcing the law; therefore, they could have pulled them up. (I didn't see but 2 or 3 signs, so they wouldn't have had to go out of their way to remove them.) So I wondered if perhaps one of the officers had placed them there. Again, not accusing, just wondering. I guess we'll see if they're still out there today.

Regardless of which candidate you're supporting, it doesn't look good to have political signs practically on church property. I didn't see any further north or south on Appling, just right next to the church.

Hint: If Steve still desires to attract the "Bellevue Loves Memphis" targeted audience, ditch the Huckabee signs -- whether anyone at the church is responsible for them or not.

oc said...

"The chief attribute of God is not love — it is holiness."

Doesn't God have all his attributes in full perfection? That being so, how can one attribute be designated "chief" above all others?

Please understand that I am not downplaying His holiness by any means,nor any other of His attributes. But was it not also His "love" that put Jesus on the cross?
(John 3:16.)

oc.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Good point, "oc." I'd not thought about it that way, but something about that devotional didn't sound quite right to me either, and I think you nailed it. How can we say one of God's attributes is chief? If I had to choose though, I'd say it's perfection. All the other attributes would be equal parts of that. It's also a question I haven't really lost any sleep over!

concernedSBCer said...

OC and Nass: I agree in that ALL His atributes are equal and important. My point (that I apparently didn't make very well) is that it seems as if many have forgotten the "holiness" side of God's character, as evidenced in the two examples. My point is that we need to remember and honor ALL sides of God's character, not just the feel good ones like love.

concernedSBCer said...

Just a thought....the way I see it, if God wasn't Holy, we wouldn't need a savior because our sinful nature wouldn't matter in His presence.

He loved us enough to give us a way into Heaven because sin cannot be there in the midst of His Holiness.

concernedSBCer said...

Boy....I didn't mean to shut down conversation..............

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
concernedSBCer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
gmommy said...

Hey concernedSBCer and OC...
It's just Monday...

did anyone catch any of SG's sermon last night???? I did, and there was an interesting and off the topic "thought" he seemed very intent on including.

Hope Larry is still doing better. Thanks for letting us know, Ez.

BkWormGirl said...

Hey Everyone --
It has been a couple of days since I posted, but I have several things on my mind after reading and catching up... boy aren't you all excited... oh wait, a moment, while I wipe the sarcasm from my lip...

Okay, my vote... Lets keep the blog name BBC.... For Biblical Beliefs and Chat....

Junkster, while I appreciate your comments on first amendment and such, I think maybe I am not explaining my position clear enough. In the event of a 911 call, and police are dispatched, the police have to turn to the "apparent authority" on site. They would make the assumption that the person "in charge" would be the pastor. Officers should not be making determinations about denominational authority or belief. They have to go with who seems to be in charge. And I think most people would assume that is the pastor. When the police show up, they are not going to be asking for the bylaws, church polity, or any other such thing, they would make an assumption that if the pastor is requesting someone be removed, that the pastor has the right to request that.

And now to topic number three... I would love some thoughts... I am writing an article regarding the after affects of religiously orientated trauma. Since I think most of us here have experienced that, I am wondering if anyone would like to give me either some experiences that they have struggled with or specific things that helped them move beyond the trauma of church related trauma.

I know for me personally, every time there is a church mess such as the PW case or Gilyard or any other, I always have to take some time and really spend serious time reminding myself that these people do not represent God. (Something that is a very significant struggle for me.) I am wondering what other kind of things people struggle with. You can email me (my info is on profile) or you can post here (if that is okay Nass).

Thanks everyone... back to bed I go...

bk

BkWormGirl said...

Oooh, can I make a second post...

I meant to ask about the Two rivers thing in Nashville. If that church is successful in getting those people to apologize, how would any of those people have ANY credibility ever again. I have thought about them several times over the past few days. I would encourage all of us to pray for them, I am sure this is a horrifically difficult time. I feel they must stand and "be thrown out" for the cause of truth. But I imagine that is easier for me to say then to actually be in their shoes.

Has anyone heard an update? Did they go to church on Sunday? Were they thrown out? How sad!?!?!?! Did any of us ever imagine that this kind of junk would be common place in churches in our lifetime?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Two Rivers update.

Quote from article:

Executive pastor Scott Hutchings and Carlos Cobos, deacon board chair, met with eight plaintiffs Friday, asking them to "let bygones be bygones," said Peggy Lewis, a former Sunday school teacher and one of the plaintiffs.

"We just looked at him and said, 'You’ve got to be kidding,'" said Lewis.

BkWormGirl said...

Oh cheese whiz and pickled pigs feet!!

What is wrong with this pastor and his little yes man the deacon?? Are they serious?

If they (pastor and his henchmen) want it all behind them, why don't they just show the records? It sounds like the fact that they are even trying to just make it go away means they know if this group keep digging eventually the public will know all the dirty little secrets.

Lindon said...

"am writing an article regarding the after affects of religiously orientated trauma. "

Have you read this book:
http://www.amazon.com/Subtle-Power-Spiritual-Abuse/dp/1556611609

It is excellent. I higly recommend it.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Lin's link.

New BBC Open Forum said...

You've probably seen this on the news today, but in case you haven't... this video is one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time!

concernedSBCer said...

Nass: I saw this and cracked up after he jerked awake and then tried to act all serious and agreeing!

New BBC Open Forum said...

I've felt that way in church a few times.

32yrs@bbc said...

gmommy said...
Hey concernedSBCer and OC...
It's just Monday...

did anyone catch any of SG's sermon last night???? I did, and there was an interesting and off the topic "thought" he seemed very intent on including.
==============================
I heard the last 15 min. and wish I hadn't. Don't know what "thought" you are refering to but the thing that shocked me was the fact he is still in a combative mode regarding "church-wide" business meetings - how in his opinion they are not scriptural. Some sarcastic remarks about "Baptists"; how the elders are pastors and they are the ones plus the senior pastor (him) who makes the final decisions and all this should be behind closed doors. How those who don't agree should "just leave"and how it is his job to protect the sheep from the wolves. He rebuked his people because he wasn't hearing enough "amens" and he made his oft heard remark: "Well, I don't have anything better to do. We can just stay here all night - or you can leave and I'll just preach to Donna." My question is: Why doesn't he just preach the Word, love his people and get on with the life of the church?

GF Baker said...

John Harraman said... The physical evidence clearly shows that things have turned a corner. Attendance numbers are steadily climbing, offerings are steadily climbing, and the services grow sweeter each week. For so long your attempts seemed to be tearing the church apart, but now it seems that the vast majority of people have writeen you off. I must say that I am one of them. You are simply spoiled misguided people, content to squirm in your disgust that things couldn't stay exactly how you wanted them to. Your attempts have failed. You have provided no convincing evidence of problems that cannot be fixed. As a matter of fact you haven't provided much of anything new in quite a while. Save yourselves some time and trouble, close down your blog. It's been over a year, move on with your lives and let it go. Go in peace! Let Bellevueerve God without this man made cloud of confusion you've created. In other words, get a life and let everyone else live theirs!"


Sir, I think that you have missed the trees for the forest.

I seem to remember a passage about The Shepard leaving the 99 flock to go after the 1 sheep that was missing.

In the passage, this 1 sheep was considered the wayward sheep.

Your "Pastor" seems to have just said, "LET EM GO!"

Your statement that the "'flock' has written them off". Flies in the face of scripture.

The "SHEPARD" & 'FLOCK" should not rejoice over the loss of even 1.

This is one of the major problems in our churches in America today. We have lost the love of one another. It is a free for all of advancing the herd for a goal of numbers and offerings. Get em in.......but no discipleship for any. If they get too smart, then they ask questions.

I may offend some here, for that I am sorry, but there is a movement to dumb down the 'flock'. It started with the contemporary 'chorus' movement. Sing 5 or 6 feel good words over and over and over say a good 5-10 minutes. Everyone feels all warm and fuzzy and all is right with the world.

We do not go deep enough into the "Our God is an Awesome God' to realise that we are 'a worm' 'a sinner' in need of the 'blood to wash and make us clean'. We don't go into the parts that show the 'nasty' side of humans in need of a Saviour.

We sing about God and His love........but I seem to remember The Greatness of God and the smallness of me. (We tend to elevate ourselves of the same level) and 'all is right and what a wonderful time we had in church today'.

What has happened to hearing scripture that makes us squirm in our seats and the Holy Spirit making us so uncomfortable that we can't wait for the invitational hymn so we can go to the prayer altar to make things right in our lives. (Oh, I forgot, most of the churches have done away with the invitational hymn because it might make some feel uncomfortable.)

Sorry, about wandering off the orginal topic about the 99 and the 1.

The shepard would search and search and search until he found the 1 wandering sheep. He would pull that sheep back. He would break that sheep's leg and then gently bind the wound. He then carried that sheep around on his shoulders and spent time with that 1 24 hours a day until the healing process was over.

The main problem we have in our churches today is that the 'pastor' is not the 'shepard'. He is a business man that looks at the flock and just counts the losses as a marginal loss and moves on because in reality, he is not there to love the flock. He is there to tout his degrees, impress the community and bring in more tithe dollars so that the leaders can sit back and brag about numbers.

John Harraman said...

opie said....
Guys, John is just doing this to get everyone going. The simple fact of the matter is that this blog quit being about BBC a long time ago. This blog is about open Christian discussion on various topics and is utilized by people across the United States. True, it may have grown out of a situation at BBC, but to be honest, I really don't care or know of the situation there. For all I know the pastor is doing a great job now, but what I care about is the continuation of godly discussion on topics that matter to every Christian who cares to meet on this forum and discuss them.
My personal prayer is that God can work healing and blessing throughout BBC and the SBC for that matter. Let's face it...He's the only one who can.

opie, you hit the nail on the head. I just wanted to be sur ethat you guys still had a little fight left in you. You are so easily stirred up. Thanks so much for humoring me!! All I can say is HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! LOL

concernedSBCer said...

Okay...this is completely off the subject- and Nass if you decide not to publish I'll understand. I was on a blog this morning for a girl who got the call this am that she will be having a lung transplant today. The girl's blog is full of prayers and well-wishes. I'm scrolling down looking at the posts and someone has written a lovely note about how she will be in their prayers, etc. Then she writes "Holy F-bomb." Except she wrote it.

And I am confused. You are praying and dropping the bomb in the same post.

This REALLY bothers me.

How does this in any way honor God? How does this set "us" apart?

amazed said...

Hey folks--You just have to admire the group from Two Rivers Baptist Church. They are not backing down and they apparently have no intention of signing a stupid letter of apology.

Just stand by and you will see first hand how far a church will go to get rid of people that ask questions and expect answers.

Its hard to understand why a church would want all of the bad press they have been getting. If it is an internal church matter, then keep it in house by providing the answers to the questions.

Apparently, church leaders do not understand the need to discuss issues and search for reasonable solutions.

It is much easier to say "get lost".

New BBC Open Forum said...

So glad you enjoyed seeing the name "John Harraman" in print a few times -- even though it's not your real name. This is why the demand that people use their "real" names is ridiculous because who knows if the name you're using is your real name or not? I could call myself "Little Mary Sunshine" and insist that's my real name, but of course it's not... or is it? Hmmm....

What a fine example of a "Christian" you are, sir (or madam). Sheesh. If I thought all Christians were like you or some of the others at Bellevue who profess to be Christians... I'd convert to Boo-dism... or something, too!

Good point, "concernedsbcer." It'll be interesting to see if that blog administrator removes the offending post.

Lindon said...

I just wanted to be sur ethat you guys still had a little fight left in you. You are so easily stirred up. Thanks so much for humoring me!! All I can say is HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! LOL

10:05 AM, January 22, 2008

John, you have been drinking too much 'milk'. :o)

Lindon said...

What concerns me is that people will believe that what is going on at Two Rivers is a form of church discipline. After all, it is the form we most see.

concernedSBCer said...

Lin: I am so proud of that bunch for standing strong. I have friends attending Two Rivers and it amazes me how clueless they are.

MOM4 said...

opie said..."For all I know the pastor is doing a great job now,"

Actually, something is catching up with him quite rapidly. He is suffering physically and mentally, unable to stand to preach on Sunday nights...yelling his sermons and "chasing rabbits" quite a bit...I guess if one is content with shallow, winding and twisted scripture sermons, they wouldn't know what is going on...

New BBC Open Forum said...

THERE'S NOW A NEW THREAD FEATURING SUNDAY NIGHT'S SHEEP-BEATING SERMON.

Thank you,

NBBCOF

emptyseat said...

John Harraman said... The physical evidence clearly shows that things have turned a corner. Attendance numbers are steadily climbing, offerings are steadily climbing, and the services grow sweeter each week.

John,
You are dillusional.
Check with David Coombs. The attendance numbers are tanking, not going up. The longer you stay, the more dillusional you may become.

Being and empty seat, here are the numbers put out by the official attendance counters:

Average Total Sunday School Attendance for all three hours:

August of 2006: 7,988
August of 2007: 6,214
December of 2007: 4,811

On December 23, 2007, the total attendance was 3,786. This may be the lowest Sunday School attendance in over 20 years.

allofgrace said...

Doesn't God have all his attributes in full perfection? That being so, how can one attribute be designated "chief" above all others?

Since God is infinite, so His essence and attributes are also infinite. But His holiness is more than just an attribute...it is His very essence, and adorns all His attributes, as well as His acts. It is His holiness which demands justice and payment for sin. His holiness sent Christ to the cross, that the Father be glorified in the Son. It is God who nailed Jesus to the cross, because no other sacrifice can propitiate His wrath and He remain both just and justifier, to His own glory. So in that sense, it could be said figuratively that holiness is His chief attribute...but because holiness is His very essence, all His attributes are inextricably bound up in His holiness.