Sunday, January 27, 2008

Words Cannot Describe This!

"Gopher" posted a comment to the previous thread that was too important to bury in the comment section. This should stand alone -- and plainly illustrates just how far Bellevue Baptist Church has fallen. I watched these videos with a mixture of disbelief and sadness. Some questions that come to mind include:

1. Are Bellevue interns paid? If so, for what?

2. Am I the only one who is very uncomfortable with the sanctuary and our Lord being disrespected in the manner depicted in the first "kidnapping" video?

3. Were these videos produced while the interns and staff members were supposed to be working?

4. Can you imagine Dr. Rogers and Jim Whitmire participating in something like this?

5. Was this supposed to be funny?

Regarding the sign on Steve Gaines' desk... a picture's worth a thousand words.

And here are the videos...

Kidnapped Part 1

Kidnapped Part 2

There was a 2006 version, too. Kidnapping, this time at gunpoint, seems to be a theme of sorts.

Thanks to "gopher" for this topic idea.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Church Business Meetings Are Not Biblical!

Who knew? On Sunday night, January 20th, Steve Gaines, spending most of the time sitting in a chair, delivered a sermon that lasted over 51 (count 'em -- fifty-one) minutes. You may listen to the entire sermon by going to Bellevue's website and clicking on the "Bellevue Media -- Live On Demand On the Go" box. On the next page click on "Launch On Demand Player" and scroll about 1/3 of the way down the page to where it says "Audio on Demand." The title of the sermon is "The Curse of Legalism" with the January 20th date.

Several things struck me about it. For one thing, he stumbled over his words and lost his train of thought several times. I've noticed this the past few weeks. His sermons seem to ramble and deviate from his topic even more than usual lately. What's going on with that? His knees seem to be hurting him so badly he's barely been able to walk at times. (Hint: I wouldn't be bragging about always ordering the "sampler plate" of desserts whenever I dine out if my knees were collapsing under my own weight.)

But on to the sermon. The sermon notes are on the bottom half of
this page.

This is a clip from the opening of the sermon. (Audio clips are large files and may not load for those with slower internet connections.)

The transcript:

I want to continue in Acts 15, and we'll look at the first 31 verses in Acts 15, and the title of the message is "The Curse of Liberalism." I... kind of played off of a message that I heard W.A. Criswell preach one time on the curse of... of uhhh... liberalism... this is the curse of legalism... excuse me. The curse of legalism. Now what is the difference between legalism and liberalism? And I hope to share that with you tonight, and Jamie... I appreciate so much you... picking out songs tonight about grace because that is exactly what I'll be talking about tonight. The answer for legalism is the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. The legalist doesn't like that. He wants to be saved by works. He wants to s... be saved by Jesus plus something else. Well, I have news for you. All you need to be saved is the Lord Jesus Christ. Heh heh heh. Somebody has said, "Jesus is all you get when you get saved, then Jesus is all you need." And uhhh... I don't think we understand fully, perhaps... I'm sure we don't, none of us do, exactly how much we received when we received the Lord Jesus.

At 25 minutes in we hear

Follow along with me:

Well, let's look now at the discussion of legalism. They discussed it. Look at verse 4 and following... "When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church," the ecclesia, the called-out ones, "and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sec... the Pharisees who had believed stood up and said, 'It's necessary to circumcise them and to bring... to direct them to observe the Law of Moses." (Acts 15:4-5 NASB) The leaven of the Pharisees. Notice they were Pharisees that had been saved. Did you catch that? Pharisees.

"The apostles and elders came together to look into this matter." (Acts 15:6 NASB) Now, you know, for some reason verse 6 is not in some people's Bibles. I've heard many times throughout my life... my Christian life... that this was a church business meeting. This was not a church business meeting. This was not a church business meeting! The whole church didn't come to this meeting. You say, "Yes it is. Look back up there. It says, 'They were received by the church and the apostles and the elders.'" They were received that... but when they started dealing with the problems, they called together church leadership... and they dealt with things behind closed doors, not to keep the people uninformed.

But these people that think you're supposed to vote on everything... I've been in some churches, they... they want to vote on the color of the carpet. They want to vote on any little thing in the world, and they say, "Oh, we're Baptists or whatever... and... and... we need to have these business meetings where people come together and they duke it out. That's the Baaaaaap... tist way! Well, it's not the Bible way! It's not God's way.

Why would you have a business meeting, and... and... bring out dirty laundry in front of young people and ruin their hearts and... and... and... and... and... hurt... damage their hearts, and they say, "If this is what Christianity is about, I don't want anything to do with it." Why would you have that kind of meeting... in front of new converts? And they're saying, "Is this the church?" Why would you have that around lost people? And they say, "I'll never darken the door of a church again." I know people that won't even go to church because they've been to a church that is a fighting church. Under God, let's don't have any of that! {applause} Just a thought.

That's why God gives leaders! Now, let me read verse 6 again. "The apostles and the elders... came together to look into this matter." The only ones dealing with the problem are the leaders... the shepherds. "And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to the brethren, 'Know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe it." (Acts 15:7 NASB) Now, what experiences... who had Peter gone to see? I'll give you a hint. It's back in Chapter 10. Whose house did he go to to share the gospel with the Gentiles? Who was it? Cornelius. That's what he's talking about. Look at verse 8....

There's just so much wrong with this! But I'll let the discussion begin before putting in my two cents worth.

Finally (but with another 17 minutes to go), at 34 minutes and 40 seconds in we hear

Read it for yourself:

Now let's look at the decision against legalism. Praise the Lord for the outcome. "After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, 'Brethren, listen to me.'" (Acts 15:13 NASB)

Now, I want you to see what happens. Now, I'm not saying this is... I'm... I'm doing this right out of the text. Not trying to say some self-serving thing. James is the senior pastor. Did they have plurality of elders? What is an elder? It's a pastor. It's not some "super deacon." It's not some elevated lay person. An elder is a pastor is a bishop is a pastor is an elder is a bishop -- all the same stuff. There's only two offices in the New Testament -- pastor, which is also an elder and a bishop and deacons.

That's it. I... I got all night. I really have nothing to do. {laughter} I've already preached three times. I'm on a roll. {laughter} By the grace of God, Donna will stay until midnight. Amen! I mean... I'll have one person to preach to if y'all leave. But if you... we'll get through a little quicker if you'll join in a little bit, all right? It's just us. I'm down on the floor with you. All right?

I forgot what I was even talking about. Amen? {long silence}

James.... I know what I was talking about. He's the senior pastor. They had plurality of deac... of uhhh... of elders. Plurality of pastors.... They had a staff! That's what they had. Do you hear what I say every Sunday? Our pastors will come. And our deacons. Why? Because you're one of the two... if you're ordained. These men are pastors. And then... the men are deacons. I'm the senior pastor. But now James has heard everybody speak. He's heard the missionaries. He's heard the apostles. But he is... the senior pastor. And notice what he says... "Brethren, listen to me!" He is a wise senior pastor. He has sat around. He has listened to everybody give their input. And now he is going to give his input, and they're all... in the leadership group... going to vote on it, if you will... agree or not... but he has waited, he has listened, he's wise, he's trying to give godly counsel, he's listened to Peter, he's listened to Paul, he's listened to Barnabas, he's listened to all the elders and all the apostles speak, and now... he's ready to throw out what he thinks needs to happen.

"Listen to me, brethren," verse 14, "Simeon," there's another word for Peter, "has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name." (Acts 15:14 NASB) Now this James, by the way, is the half brother of the Lord Jesus. You say, "What do you mean 'half brother'"? Had the same mother; not the same father. "With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, after these things I will return, (and) I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, (and) I will rebuild its ruins, (and) I will restore it, so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,' says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. Therefore," verse 19, "it is my judgment.... " Here's the senior pastor saying, "Guys, I've heard... I've heard all of you. Here's what the Word says, and here's what I think we ought to do." That's exactly what you have going on here.

Again, this is not a church-wide business meeting. This is leadership behind closed doors. I'm not saying there's never room for a church-wide business meeting. But I'm telling you this! You don't deal in front of the whole group... with difficult issues... for anybody... that... in anybody that wants to walk up to the microphone and say something. That is not in the Bible. I said, "It's not in the Bible!" Amen. You can say whatever you want to. Say, "Well, I like to fight." Well, go someplace else because we don't want fighters. Amen? You say, "Did he just say that?" I just said that. We don't want troublemakers. We want peacemakers. The Bible doesn't say, "Blessed are the troublemakers." The Bible says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." And we want people who will preserve the unity and the bond of peace. And let me tell you something. As a shepherd, sometimes you have to protect the sheep from the wolves! That's our job.

Now, who do you think he was referring to when he talked about "anybody that wants" walking up to the microphone and speaking at a church-wide business meeting? Hmmm... any guesses? He's talking about PW's son! That young man was approaching the microphone to speak in the March 25th "monkey business" meeting when Steve (or someone) gave the signal to "shut 'er down," and shut it down they did, leaving this young man standing there. Steve Gaines has been heard bragging publicly about "shutting down that meeting," so I don't know why this sermon comes as any surprise. I guess I thought that even Steve couldn't be this openly insensitive and yes, dare I say, cruel. I guess "protecting the sheep from the wolves" doesn't include protecting the lambs from a confessed pedophile and documented sexual predator for six months. Wonder what he did mean....

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.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Darrell Gilyard Arrested While Patterson Attempts Damage Control

There's already been some discussion here about Darrell Gilyard, the pastor who recently resigned from his position as senior pastor of Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida over allegations of sending sexually explicit text messages to the teenage daughter of a member of his congregation.

Jacksonville Sheriff's Office Booking Photo

One of Gilyard's victims has started a blog...

Let's Stop Pastor Darrell Gilyard Together

The Jacksonville media is covering the story:

Channel 4

Channel 12/25 (NBC/ABC)

Channel 30/47 (FOX/CBS)

Florida Times-Union (newspaper)

FBC Jax Watchdog

Stop Baptist Predators

Fred Franklin, an attorney for Shiloh, issued this statement:

"The leaders of Shiloh Baptist Church take these matters seriously and are committed to a full and through review of all pertinent facts. Pastor Gilyard has decided and proposed that he voluntarily take an indefinite, paid, administration leave of absence pending such review. The church has agreed to his proposal. Once a review of all the facts is completed, the church will proceed accordingly."

Paige Patterson is now rushing to do damage control. In his own words...

(Observe his body language.)

PP now: "I never asked anybody... to... remain quiet about anything."

Really??? <---------- Click here.

Quote in the same 1991 article from The Dallas Morning News from one of Gilyard's victims regarding her meeting with PP:

"In 1989, she says she made an appointment with Paige Patterson, one of the most prominent figures in the Southern Baptist Convention. 'Darrell was there with his wife and an attorney,' the woman said. 'He confronted me and said I wore suggestive clothing. I don't even own suggestive clothing.'

"'Paige Patterson asked me to refrain from speaking to anybody about this. He said unless I came back with two witnesses or proof that something had happened, not to come back.'"

PP now: "Uhhh... Mr. Gilyard is... is... ahhh... is uhhh... uhhh... very convincing... , and uhhhhhh... he always denied them."

From the 1991 article:

"Mr. Gilyard admitted, Dr. Patterson said, to several sexual relationships with women."

PP now: "I told uhhh... uhhhhhh... Darrell... at the time, when it happened... that he was... now disqualified for the pastorate and should never go into the pastorate again."

From the same article:

"Dr. Patterson said he has withdrawn all support from Mr. Gilyard - and has asked that the pastor and his wife attend a two-week rehabilitation session. 'Mr. Gilyard is no longer qualified to pastor a church,' said Dr. Patterson. He also asked Mr. Gilyard not preach or pastor a church for two years -- and then only if he can prove he has been rehabilitated. 'In retrospect, Darrell should have been in counseling all along,' Dr. Patterson said."

It's been my observation when someone, especially an accomplished speaker like PP, "uhhhs and ahhhs" and stumbles on his words like this, he's dancing around the truth if not outright lying. Remember this and this?

Reporter now: "He [PP] said he warned Southern Baptists about Gilyard, but Shiloh is not Southern Baptist. Dr. Patterson says that didn't matter."

PP now (emphatically nodding head affirmatively): "The leadership of the church [Shiloh] was fully aware of the fact that all of this had gone down."

Question for Dr. Patterson: Did you personally make them aware that "all of this had gone down"?

Other memorable quotes from the article:

"First Baptist [Dallas] officials said they knew of the allegations of sexual misconduct, which began as long as four years ago [c. 1987] when Mr. Gilyard was removed as assistant pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church in Oak Cliff. But they said they did not believe those allegations, and continued to recommend him. 'We were dealing with a man of special gifts and talents,' Dr. Patterson said. 'I was unwilling to call anyone guilty until I had demonstratable evidence that these allegations were true.' Dr. Patterson said that according to Scriptures, action cannot be taken against a minister accused of adultery unless there are two or more witnesses. He also asked for any other proof, such as photographs, videotapes or laboratory tests."

Would someone please show me that Scripture?

"In the interim, the dynamic preacher became even more visible.

"In addition to frequent appearances on Old Time Gospel Hour, he maintained a heavy speaking schedule across the country, drawing huge crowds wherever he spoke. Most recently, he shared a platform with Iran-contra figure Oliver North at the Southern Baptist Convention in Atlanta. 'Their greed eclipsed their vision of reality,' said the Rev. E.K. Bailey, pastor of Concord Missionary Baptist Church, where Mr. Gilyard had been removed in 1987 amid allegations of sexual improprieties. Others, such as Dr. Patterson, paint Mr. Gilyard as a victim. 'It's amazing,' Dr. Patterson said, 'how jealousy, frustration and racism can be motives for making accusations.'"

Jealousy? Frustration? Racism? Oh, why am I not surprised! Darrell Gilyard is the "victim." PW is the "victim." Tommy Gilmore was the "victim." Poor things! Those women and children forced themselves on these men!

"The Rev. Darrell Gilyard built Victory on conservative values, particularly when it came to women. He would not allow them to usher, serve on the finance committee, teach men or take classes with them.

"But outside the church, according to the women who claim to have been victimized by him, Mr. Gilyard spent most of his time with women."

Well, of course he would teach this twisted extra-Scriptural "theology." So do Paige Patterson and Steve Gaines. No surprise there.

Stay tuned.