Monday, May 03, 2010

Of Marathons, Imaginary Twins, Misquotes, and Embellishments

When does a mistake of the mind become a mistake of the heart?

In both morning services Sunday, May 2nd, Steve Gaines used a sermon illustration about a sensational "church fight" he claimed occurred in a Wichita, Kansas church. Here are the links to the videos of both versions. Please watch both (transcripts provided below each link) before reading further. Be sure to listen to the part following the story if you want to hear his definition of "troublemakers" and what he thinks of them ("us"?).


A couple of years ago... I read a story about a church in Wichita, Kansas. It seemed that four of the church members wanted their pastor to resign. I had a guy ask me... years ago, "How... how in the... ," he... he was of another denomination... he said, "How is it that you Baptists change pastors?" I said, "One of two ways, the movement of the Spirit or the push of the brethren. Hahaha!" {laughter}

So these four people were tired of their pastor... and they wanted him to leave, but the pastor said, "I'm not gonna do it. God called me here. I'm gonna stay here as long as God wants me to." So they decided to take matters in their own hands. And they began to literally disrupt the worship services. One Sunday they literally ran... through the sanctuary shouting... while the preacher was trying to preach his sermon. They shut the pastor's Bible while he was preaching. You know, I'd be afraid to do... I'd be... I'd be afraid that God would... blow me up. They even took the pastor's microphone away from him and banged him on the head with it. They knocked the pianist off her bench and held her to the floor. They kept doing it week after week and nobody would stop them because they said... , "God's a God of love." They went from 600 in attendance to 50. The pastor finally resigned.


Several years ago I read about a church... true story... in Wichita, Kansas. Four of the church members wanted the pastor to resign, he didn't want to resign, and the battle began. Somebody asked me, years ago... and... they were... they were of a different denomination, "How do you Baptists change pastors? I mean, what... what's the procedure there? Is it... what... what... what's the process?" I said, "Well, Baptist pastors leave a church for one of two reasons... the movement of the Holy Spirit or the push of the brethren. Hahahaha. One of the two."

Well, these people wanted him to leave. The push of the brethren was goin' on here. And he said, "I'm not gonna do it," so they began literally to disrupt the church services. Can you imagine... being..... ? Can you imagine? I don't even know what word to say! One Sunday they literally... it got so bad... ran through the sanctuary shouting while the preacher was trying to preach his sermon. They went up on the pulpit and shut the pastor's Bible. They even took his microphone and banged him in the head with it! They knocked the pianist off her bench and held her on the floor and would not let her play... any more worship songs. And they kept doing this week after week, and nobody would do anything! And they went from 600 to 50, and finally the pastor resigned.

One would think after the Nashville marathon debaucle, the Joan Rivers' "twin" story, and just three days later attributing a quote to Abraham Lincoln which is well-documented as having not come from Abraham Lincoln, that Steve Gaines would be more careful about confirming the veracity of his sermon illustrations before delivering them from the pulpit/music stand. I suppose it really is true what they say. Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

The problem is the stories in these two video clips contained only a tiny grain of truth. And I mean a very tiny grain. Namely, that the church is in Wichita, Kansas, and that "four members" were involved at one point. Beyond that, unless there is a story about a different Wichita, Kansas church with some eerily similar-sounding details, as far as I can tell this story was fabricated to illustrate a point about... taa daaaaa... "troublemakers in the church!" That's been a recurring theme in a number of SG's sermons over the past 3-4 years. Apparently the man thinks he and Bellevue Baptist Church are being persecuted and under attack. In fact, he recently wrote an article on his blog about how Christians "will be" persecuted.

Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:10-12) that we are "blessed" when people insult and persecute us. If we live Spirit-filled, separated, holy, prayerful lives, the devil will see to it that the world harasses us. If the world hated Jesus, it will hate us as well.

While not the subject of this post, I'm pretty sure neither Steve Gaines nor the vast majority of the rest of us has any idea whatsoever what "persecution" is. We sit in our air-conditioned and heated homes and offices, drive our cars and trucks on paved roads, have everything we need in the way of food, clean water, clothes, and a lot of other creature comforts. We're free to worship and demonstrate our faith openly, and few, if any of us, have ever been "persecuted," harrassed, arrested, tortured, or put in physical danger simply for being Christians in the U.S.A. So please excuse me a second while I finish playing my tiny violin.

I'm tired of hearing how we Christians in America are being "persecuted" because, in the words of the late former Texas governor, Ann Richards (fact-checked!), "that old dog won't hunt."

Gleaned from the sources I was able to find online, this seems to be the story that was the inspiration for Steve's story. The church in question is Reformation Lutheran Church. It is in Wichita, Kansas. And they've certainly had their share of problems. However, the "troublemakers" were not members of that church nor was it ever the troublemakers' goal, from any account I've read, to "get rid of the preacher."

You may recall the story of the death of Dr. George Tiller, one of the few (openly) late-term abortion doctors in the country. You can read more about Tiller here and here. Tiller was shot to death inside the church where he and his wife were members one Sunday morning in May 2009. The church was Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas. Members of Operation Rescue and others regularly protested outside RLC. Protesters entered the church on more than one occasion and tried to disrupt services. (Note: These were not necessarily members of Operation Rescue.)

Their point was that by allowing Tiller and his wife (who managed his clinic) to remain members, participate in communion, etc. without seeming to care what they were doing Monday through Friday and certainly without any public disapproval, the leadership of RLC was neglecting their duty to discipline and restore or, failing that, to "excommunicate" the Tillers. For the record, I agree, not with their means but certainly with their motives. If nothing else, the leadership was putting all the other members in physical danger by continuing to let him attend. I do not condone bombing buildings or shooting abortion doctors. It only steels the resolve of the "pro-choice" (an oxymoron if there ever was) people and makes reasonable pro-life people look like nuts. Now, is the world a better place without Tiller still doing his "work"? Absolutely! But that's not what this post is about either... although that's fodder for discussion if anyone's interested.

In spite of his clinic being bombed in 1986 and Tiller being shot in both arms in 1993, he was soon back on the job. And that is what the "troublemakers" were trying to change. They wanted Reformation Lutheran Church to practice some good old-fashioned church discipline on their member, Dr. George Tiller. If ever there was a case for church discipline, this was it, but for whatever reasons, the church chose not to "excommunicate" Tiller, and frankly, even if they did "excommunicate" him, I don't see how that would have saved the life of even one baby. After all, Tiller was not performing abortions at the church. Kicking him out of the church wouldn't have stopped him from continuing to perform abortions. Apparently he'd already been kicked out of another church (Holy Cross Lutheran). RLC continued to allow him and his wife to attend and participate. Tiller was an usher and was passing out bulletins outside the sanctuary the Sunday morning he was gunned down by Scott Roeder. His wife was in the choir.

According to trial testimony by RLC member and usher, Keith Martin, there had been several incidents of non-member, anti-abortion protesters disrupting services.

Church usher Keith Martin testified Monday that he saw Roeder at the church a half dozen times before the shooting. Unlike other churchgoers, Roeder always brought his own Bible and sat by himself, Martin said.

Martin also testified that anti-abortion protests at the church over the years made members suspicious of newcomers even before the shooting. Tiller, whose Wichita clinic closed after his death, championed abortion rights even after being shot in both arms by an activist in 1993.

At times, visitors had stood up in the congregation and started shouting, Martin said. Some even tried to take over the microphone, he said, and someone once tried to push a pianist off the stool.

Still, Martin said, he didn't closely watch Roeder the day Tiller was shot because he had seen Roeder at previous services and that he had behaved peacefully.

Kristin Neitzel, a pastor at the church, testified that Roeder briefly attended the church's special Saturday service the evening before the shooting, and that some church members had become suspicious of him because he had been asking a lot of questions.

So there's your attempt to take over the microphone (no mention of it being the preacher's mic or anyone being "banged" over the head with it) and someone attempting to push "a" pianist off a stool. Church members were not the "troublemakers." Remember, this was the report of sworn testimony in a court of law.

According to this article (and others) two men from Arizona, one an ordained minister of some stripe, Rev. Henry "Bud" Shaver, traveled to Wichita and "visited" Reformation Lutheran one Sunday morning in July 2007 (almost two years before Tiller was killed). Shaver found an open mic and disrupted the service by reading from a portion of Isaiah 1 written on a scrap of paper -- "Isaiah's warning to believers." The article didn't say if Shaver had written a personal statement on the paper from which he was reading. According to the article, several members of the church tried to shut off his mic (not the preacher's) and grab the piece of paper from his hand.

Remember, Steve said the troublemakers, whom we now know were not church members at all, grabbed the preacher's mic, "banged" him on the head with it, closed his Bible, and "knocked the pianist from her bench, held her on the floor, and wouldn't let her play any more worship songs." Whether this was the same day protesters merely "attempted" to push a pianist off the bench is unknown. It wasn't mentioned in any of the articles about this particular incident, only in Martin's testimony. Shaver apparently refused to be quiet and was then escorted from the building.

Shaver's associate, Joey Cox, when communion was given and the pastor, Thomas Hallstrom, said, "Receive the body of Christ," handed the bread back to Hallstrom saying that it did not represent the body of Christ but rather the bodies of babies killed by abortion doctor, George Tiller.

Four men (I guess that's where Steve got the number four) were said to have then escorted Cox from the building.

Hallstrom called the police (perhaps this was an overreaction unless the men were trying to reenter the building or had threatened to harm Hallstrom or someone else) and Shaver and Cox were apprehended at a nearby gas station and arrested. They were charged with "rude and indecent behavior in a place of worship" and spent 7 hours in jail. I've not found the outcome of the case.

According to Reformation's history, Hallstrom was pastor from October 2002 through October 2007. He is currently serving as interim pastor of another Lutheran church in Kansas. There's no indication I can find that the members were clamoring for him to leave. His wife is still listed as organist on Reformation's website (which could be old information). Believe it or not, preachers in all denominations do leave churches for reasons besides "the movement of the Holy Spirit or the push of the brethren."

Some retire or die, some leave churches or the ministry all together because of health or family situations, some head for greener pastures (i.e. more money and/or prestige), churches fold, churches merge, and in some denominations a governing board or other hierarchy appoints pastors/priests and moves them around frequently. Occasionally one even goes to prison. (See Darrell Gilyard and the rogues gallery here.) So let's not assume that the poor beleaguered pastor is always led by the Holy Spirit or forced out by troublemakers. That dog won't hunt either.

As for church attendance, I have no source for attendance numbers for RLC, nor at this point is it even relevant, but I can see how witnessing someone shot to death inside your church building could make some a bit squeamish about returning. So I imagine they did lose some members. Still, there's no indication, if attendance dropped, that it had anything to do with then-pastor, Thomas Hallstrom.

Look, I am as anti-abortion as they come, BUT this was neither the time nor the place for such a demonstration. That is NOT how you change people's hearts, and that's what is going to be necessary to end abortion in this country. You don't pound people and soften their hearts about spiritual matters by YELLING AT THEM AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS! (I'm looking at you, Steve.) You work to change their hearts. That doesn't mean you condone sin or indefinitely tolerate unrepentance, but what works for a drill sergeant or football coach isn't going to work on the average pew-warmer.

I've no doubt all this attention only caused the members of RLC to circle the wagons to support Tiller (much like the Baptist Identity bunch is circling the wagons to defend a certain Baptist seminary president right now). Many members of RLC may not have agreed with what Tiller was doing, but he was one of their own, and they must have thought they were under attack.

Now, I ask you, how different is that from the story Steve Gaines told? What are the chances that there just happen to be two churches, both in Wichita, Kansas, where "troublemakers" disrupted services and tried to take over the mic and knock a pianist off the bench?

Now, here is another story about a Wichita, Kansas church that made the news, this one Baptist, but I think it's obvious that Reformation Lutheran is the church around which Sunday morning's "yarns" were spun.
This from the man whose security guards will haul someone out of 2000 Appling for sneezing. (Okay, that's an exaggeration, but let us not forget the 15-year-old girl who was called out of a service at BBC, handcuffed, and cussed out by a BBC rent-a-cop who was fired from the Memphis Police Department for similar behavior.) I guarantee you if anyone, say a gay rights protester, so much as dared to interrupt a service at BBC, he'd find himself tackled, shackled, and hauled out before he knew what happened. And the cops would be called.

What if a prominent member of Bellevue was known to be engaging in blatant unChristian behavior (use your imagination) during the week, and protesters, whether they were Bellevue members or not, came into the church on a Sunday morning and interrupted the service to rebuke Steve Gaines for not disciplining or "excommunicating" this prominent member? I don't think it's a stretch to say that the protesters would be treated to the same (or worse) treatment that the anti-abortion protesters received at the hands of the members of RLC.

What is it with Baptist preachers and "embellishing" the last couple of decades? I suspect it's been going on since time began, but now we have the internet. (Praise the Lord, and thank you, Al Gore!) Dr. Ergun Caner, president of Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, is the most recent high-profile example who comes to mind. Several bloggers have done series of articles about his troubles:

Witness Unto Me > Ergun Caner's Secret Biography

FBC Jax Watchdog series

Ministry of Reconciliation series

Grace and Truth to You series

There was Darrell Gilyard and his story about living under a bridge during his youth. (Didn't happen.)

Mike Warnke (remember him?) stepped in it for years before being exposed as a fraud.

According to Ed Young (the younger) Fellowship Church doesn't "own" a private jet. They just "lease" it.

And Mac Brunson has been documented "embellishing" on more than one occasion.

Mac's Illustrations: Poor Sermon Prep or Intentional Fibs?

Mac a "historian"? More Evidence of His Difficulty Telling the Truth

There are 16 million members in the Southern Baptist Convention. We can't account for several million of them, but doggonit, that's our story and we're sticking to it.

And of course, "It was just an itty bitty fence."

It seems many preachers in the SBC are pragmatists. The ends justify the means, and if you have to "embellish" a little (or a lot) to make a story sound more interesting or cast yourself in a more favorable light, well... then so be it. Michael "Butch" Caner, the chubby kid who was raised with his two brothers by his mother in Columbus, Ohio apparently doesn't make for nearly as sensational a story as Ergun Mehmet Caner, the "towel-head" (his word) raised in Turkey as a devout Muslim and trained to "do that which was done on 11 September."

Fred, the Catholic mechanic, isn't nearly as inspiring as Fred, the evangelical Christian mechanic with the moving testimony. And when you can't find a good (and true) story about church members beating up on the pastor (there are plenty about pastors "beating up" on church members), you take a story about anti-abortion protesters disrupting a church service and rewrite it to suit your purposes.

How stupid does SG think people are? Especially after the Joan Rivers' "twin" story and the Nashville marathon winners, does he not wonder if someone is going to think, "Hey, I don't remember ever reading that story," and try to find it just to satisfy their own curiosity... and then figure out he's making the whole thing up? That's all I did. I thought surely with all the things I've read about abusive church situations in the past few years that I would have run across this one, and I likely would have remembered it. Even if I didn't remember it, I certainly should have been able to locate some mention of it somewhere -- a newspaper article, a TV report, a blog, something. But I came up empty.

I can't decide (1) if he's so arrogant or emboldened that he thinks he can say anything and the sheeple will swallow it (if this is the case, that actually seems to be working pretty well for him), (2) if he convinces himself he's telling the truth, or (3) if he's just that careless.

Let's assume the best case scenario, that it's simply carelessness. The man has a Ph.D. for pete's sake. How does one earn a Ph.D. if he's this lackadaisical about basic research? He's the pastor of what's still considered a large church. Doesn't such a prominent position demand more regard for truth and accuracy? I realize no one's perfect. We all make mistakes. (By the way, those are words I never want to hear a surgeon say.) But I don't see how there can be any excuse for being this fast and loose with well-documented facts. This is much more than just getting a detail or two wrong. If he's that careless about being truthful about details that really don't matter in the grand scheme of things -- marathon winners, Joan Rivers' "twin," this -- then just like Ergun Caner, why should anyone believe him when he talks about the things that really matter?

One of the few things I vividly remember from my days in the primary department of a Baptist Sunday School was the little song they drilled into us which was based on Luke 16:10. I can't find the song online now. It probably wouldn't be considered "cool" enough for today's children, but it made a lasting impression on me. Either this is all there was to it or I just can't remember the rest, but the tune and the line, "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much," keeps running through my mind. (Read the rest of that verse for the corollary.)

If you aren't careful to be truthful about the little everyday details of things and not "embellish" a story to make it fit your purpose or make it more intersting to your audience, then why should we believe you're going to be truthful about the big things? Of much more eternal importance, why should a lost world believe you?


New BBC Open Forum said...

It's interesting this was an anonymous visitor's impression Sunday. Comment from the FBC Jax Watchdog blog:

Anonymous said...

Off Topic:
I visited Bellevue Baptist Church for the first time in years yesterday just to see what was going on over there.

Surprisingly the crowd was fairly large. The music sounded good (traditional service 9:30 am), but the sermon title dropped my jaw.

“Enforcing Church Discipline” – are you kidding me? From the guy who let a child molester run the children’s department at the church for six months and didn’t announce it until the Commercial Appeal ran a story.

Now that takes some ego or a complete lack of any kind of insight. I guess he never would have decided to preach on that subject if he had any clue that he was guilty of what he was preaching against.

He ran off a laundry list of offenses including doing things that are spoken against in the Bible and being arrogant and doing what you want to do instead (especially church leaders).

It perfectly described his actions in his first year at Bellevue. Then he pointed his finger and said in a loud voice: “The Bible says to remove the evil man from the church.” I looked at my wife and shook my head. Wow.

At one point he read off a list of offenses and asked “does that remind you of anyone?”

Yes, sadly it does.

May 3, 2010 10:13 AM

WishIhadknown said...

Always good to see a bully in the pulpit!

32yrs@bbc said...

All the embellishment has to do with spin - thinking the story has to be bigger than life in order to grab attention and entertain. The truth doesn't seem to matter. Embelishment or spin equate to lying. Sadly, there are many for whom truth no longer matters.

The bully pulpit tactic that seems to be the "in" thing with certain pastors is the corporate philosophy. The head CEO has to keep a tight rein on those under his authority, has to show them he is boss, and demands unquestioned loyalty. He wants team members. Those who question anything are considered negative thinkers, threats to the organization and therefore denounced and dispensed with.

BTW,NASS, you obviously put a lot of work into this new thread - and and a job well done, I might add.

Junkster said...

Good post, but ...

This is the post that never ends,
Yes it goes on and on my friend
Some people started reading it,
Not knowing what it was,
And they'll continue reading it forever, just because ...
This is the post that never ends...

New BBC Open Forum said...


Did you learn that word from your friends at BBC or was it at ECS? It's so... I don't know... uncouth.

No sir, I don't think I know you or have any reason to e-mail you, nor do I owe you any explanation for when or why I blog. You're certainly entitled to your opinion as am I, and you're welcome to register (making your profile visible) and join any discussion here. I'd be interested in hearing other viewpoints.

You seem to have totally missed the point of the article. Rather than questioning me, i.e. shooting the messenger, I think if I were you, since you're an "active member" of BBC, I'd be asking Brother Steve why he can't seem to tell the truth. That, of course, is up to you though. Other than that, as I've reminded others before, all I can advise, and I'm saying this kindly, is if you don't like reading this blog... well... don't. I can't imagine having the chutzpah to ask someone I don't know from Adam (in a disapproving tone) why he chooses to blog. I mean, that's not even on my radar. Besides, Brother Steve has told you not to read this blog, you know.

I would like to thank you for doing more than Steve Gaines has done, and that is not to question the salvation of those you consider "troublemakers." I appreciate that. Perhaps he could learn something from you.

gopher said...

You know, I've always wondered about this story that Steve told at Bellevue a while back:

"..Can I tell you one story? I was in a missions meeting one night in Gardendale Al. Only time this has ever happened. And, had our staff in there, were listening to some folks... we were planning a trip overseas with somebody from the International Mission Board.

Two of my staff members, actually 3 of them, were trying to coral a man... that was "absolutely" out of control....

and somehow he had made it past, back into where the offices were, he got past some doors he should not have got past...

and he was saying words, there is no way I can even come close to describe them, they were the most vile , vulgar words can imagine (WOW).

You say Brother Steve , do you think he was demonize? I don't know if he was or not, ???

I can tell you this..
I've never done this before in my life and I have never done it since..
But I'm telling you....
no one told me to do this, it just rose up within me that this is what I knew it was supposed to do...

He was coming right at me!!
and I... and God is my witness (what about those 3 staff members) No Embellishments Whatsoever!!

I said in the name of Jesus Christ and this came in there, I don't know where it came from but I think it was God... you know that God said He will give you a word of KNOWLEDGE and Wisdom ....I think I needed one... (He still does)

I was in a missions meeting, I wasn't looking for any crazy folks...amen.

and this man is COMING AT ME...
3 staff members trying to hold him back ..I said...
In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and as the pastor and authority in this church ..I COMMAND YOU to be quiet (didn't tell that spirit to go way , just be quiet? WOW)
and I'm telling you. it was like I SHOT him with a GUN
... and this man... he fell like a box of rocks (a Benny Hinn thing), and they took him to another room and prayed with him.. and he went home. And nobody was hurt. But I'm telling you , he was not there to just to make a visit.. "

32yrs@bbc said...

I have prayed for SG that he would humble himself and become the loving shepherd-pastor that Bellevue needs. Why he can't just be a joyful servant of the Lord, love his people, focus on teaching them the Word of God, build on the spiritual heritage of Bellevue rather than tearing it down, take off his fighting gloves and rest in the Lord, is beyond my understanding. Tension is contagious just like joy. I get tense just listening to his voice and seeing the tension his face reflects.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"I have prayed for SG that he would humble himself and become the loving shepherd-pastor that Bellevue needs. Why he can't just be a joyful servant of the Lord, love his people, focus on teaching them the Word of God, build on the spiritual heritage of Bellevue rather than tearing it down, take off his fighting gloves and rest in the Lord, is beyond my understanding. Tension is contagious just like joy. I get tense just listening to his voice and seeing the tension his face reflects."

Exactly. That's been my prayer, too. You cut straight to the heart of the matter and summed it up beautifully. There definitely seems to be a LOT of deep-seated anger there. Someone told me a couple years ago he watched a BBC service online with the sound muted. His impression was "that's one very angry man." I can't watch him on TV very often because I feel my blood pressure rising.

WishIhadknown said...

Why he [SG] can't just be a joyful servant of the Lord, love his people, focus on teaching them the Word of God, build on the spiritual heritage of Bellevue rather than tearing it down, take off his fighting gloves and rest in the Lord, is beyond my understanding.

The short answer is power. Like the word, when used properly, power is sharp and capable of excising sin from the sinner. When used improperly, it is a club used to subdue any who question my authority.

Personally, my opinion is SG believes he is incapable of wrong doing. I believe he sees himself as being so spiritually superior that only he can see the way things should be done correctly. Remember he came to us with the intention of correcting the things we did not do right.

My prayer for SG only comes from the directive of scripture and is simply that God’s will be done. Sadly, my heart is not in it but I am directed to pray, so I do.

My hope is that younger ministers will learn from the mistakes and not follow his lead. The church is the fellowship of members of the church not the pastor. It is the pastor’s responsibility to minister to the sheep and prepare the sheep to be witnesses to the world.

Or as my current pastor put it, “This is your church, I am just the pastor. The church belongs to you and I am only here to serve you.” That, my friends, is a man who understands the proper order of things. That, my friends, is a man I can serve.

You see in my belief system, there are no disposable members. My love to the brethren. Peace be unto you all.

New BBC Open Forum said...


That's the word, authority. This was illustrated in "gopher's" video.

And I'm... God is my witness... no embellishment whatsoever. I said, "In the name of Jesus Christ... and then this came in there and I don't know where this came from... I just think it was God. You know, God says He'll give you a word of knowledge and wisdom. I think I needed one... right... I didn't... I didn't... I was at a missions meeting. I wasn't looking for any crazy folks. Amen? And this man is coming at me... three staff members trying to hold him back.... I said, "In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ... and as the pastor and authority in this church... I command you to be quiet." And I'm telling you it was like I shot him with a gun.

Being large and in charge... that's the key. The name of the Lord Jesus Christ wasn't enough. He had to let the man (and the audience) know that he was the pastor and authority in this church.

I learned a long time ago when SG says "true story" or "no embellishment"... it's usually, at the very least, embellished. Also when he stammers and stutters and trips over his tongue he's often not being totally truthful. Some people can embellish without missing a beat. Bill Clinton is one of those people. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, SG isn't.

New BBC Open Forum said...

From the anonymous commenter:

“Enforcing Church Discipline” – are you kidding me? From the guy who let a child molester run the children’s department at the church for six months and didn’t announce it until the Commercial Appeal ran a story.

I believe Paul Williams was the "Minister of Prayer" the last few years he was at BBC. I don't recall him ever running the children's department although he was said to have been spotted in the children's department on occasion. Someone saw a photo of him wearing a nursery smock pulling some children in a wagon. If that alone wouldn't send chills down people's spines, I don't know what would. He was an EMT or paramedic and a first responder inside the church building, and part of his job was interviewing volunteer workers who'd answered affirmatively on questionnaires that they had been victims of CSA, a position several women have reported he seriously abused.

32yrs@bbc said...

"My hope is that younger ministers will learn from the mistakes and not follow his lead. The church is the fellowship of members of the church not the pastor. It is the pastor’s responsibility to minister to the sheep and prepare the sheep to be witnesses to the world."

Well said! The crux of the matter is a pastor is to love, lead and
help his people to grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. When that happens, they will be salt and light in an increasing decaying and dark world.
The words of your present pastor are indication of a humble servant heart. May the Lord raise up more
like him. Just as voters are becoming weary of the spin of politicians, Christians are growing weary of spiritual leaders
who are putting a spin on their rhetoric. Just as voters are hungry for men of integrity to lead this nation, Christians are hungry for men of integrity to lead them spiritually. The status qua is no longer going to satisfy either faction and if that is true, it will be a blessing to both our nation and the church.

Michelle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
New BBC Open Forum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
32yrs@bbc said...

"The same people don't seem to be fazed by the fact that Steve Gaines can't seem to tell the truth."

Truth is no big deal these days.
Neither is integrity.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Michelle said...

I honestly can't believe you spent THISMUCH of your time researching this story. Reading you go on and on and on and on and on (can we get to the point already) and on and on and on, all about it made me want to beat MYSELF in the head with a microphone. At least you put some amusing pics in there to illustrate your rather redundant and well researched point.

You mean kind of like I felt a few threads back reading you prattle on and on and on and on and on? (Paragraphs are always a good thing.) I do appreciate your acknowledgement of the thoroughness of the research and that you enjoyed the pics!

Okay, so what did you think of my "redundant and well-researched point"? Did you agree, disagree, think it's no big deal, think I'm one of those "tares" Steve spoke about, what? Seriously, I'd like to know. So far the only criticisms I've heard are of me. The same people don't seem to be fazed by the fact that Steve Gaines can't seem to tell the truth. Perhaps if he'd spent one-tenth the time researching his facts as it took you to read this article we wouldn't be having this discussion. Hey, I'm just the messenger here. Don't shoot!

my turn said...

It's sad to see the direction BBC is going under the leadership of Dr. Steve Gaines.

Attendance is down, giving is down, there was no Passion Play this year, and staff members for many years have been replaced with inexperienced replacements.

Other Baptist churches in the area are growing as a result with former members.

Embellishing a story to make it fit a sermon point is not a good practice.

As another poster wrote, I pray the Lord will direct Dr. Gaines to be the loving pastor for the church he has been called to lead.

32yrs@bbc said...

If we really want to get to the "root" of what is going on with pastors of a certain generation, we have to look at
Bill Hybels' corporate method of managing a church, and Rick Warren's contemporary method of growing a church. They both had tremendous growth with their churches. But growth in numbers doesn't always equate to spiritual depth.
Seeing only the growth, Baptist pastors began jumping on the Hybels/Warren bandwagon to grow and glow their churches. The theory was: ignore opposition and even boot out opposition, and have messages, programs and music that will draw people in the doors and feel good when they exit the doors. It was: Out with the old and in with the new no matter how much destruction resulted in the aftermath. Hybels has since renounced his methods but no one is listening. Even Warren is (or so I've heard) trying out some old hymns now and then (maybe they seem new to him.) Warren's church is in CA which has an entirely different culture from the more traditional South. What works there is not necessarily going to work here. What we have now is one big mess which only the Lord Himself can untangle. People are hurt, discouraged and even bitter that their lives have been turned upside down. They may not have lost faith in the Lord but they have lost faith in the established church. Another reminder that we must keep our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.
Especially true in the days we are living in now.

WishIhadknown said...

As always, 32yrs, a heartfelt amen. With or without my hand or hands raided.

fogmachine said...

Steve Gaines is not a pastor.
He should not be leading anyone.
Lying does not seem to phase him.
He is a lover of money who is prostituting the gospel.
He uses the Scripture out of context on a weekly basis.

He continues to do so because of dumb sheep. The problem with accepting a fake as your leader results in the sheep accepting anything. Accepting lies turns a church into an apathetic church that doesn't really stand for much of anything.

On the surface, people will be able to go get entertained and go through the motions of church but the group of people who think they are a church might as well be social club or a lodge.

And we wonder why the church in America is ineffective today?

tn_lizzie2000 said...

I sat in the sanctuary at BBC last Saturday, for the MHEA Homeschool Highschool Graduation ceremony.

Janice Holder, the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court and a Christian, gave the Commencement Address. She spoke words of great wisdom about the value of personal integrity.

She told the graduates that their integrity was the most important asset they could take with them to college or the workforce, and that no amount of money could ever buy it back.

Oh, how those words echoed in that place...

32yrs@bbc said...

"She told the graduates that their integrity was the most important asset they could take with them to college or the workforce, and that no amount of money could ever buy it back."

INTEGRITY is a rare commodity these days. We live in a "whatever"
culture that has now invaded the church. The greatest need of this nation is leaders in the gov't and in the church who are men/women of integrity. Proverbs 11:2,3 "When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom. The
INTEGRITY of the upright will guide them..."
INTEGRITY (Webster's) 3. the quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, and sincerity.

googlethings said...

In a previous church,one of the pastors told a "whopper" which was a story that was an urban legend and definitely not true. I wrote him, enclosed the link, explained that it wasn't true, etc. He wrote and thanked me. So what, right?

6 months later he repeated the story in another sermon!!!!! I asked another pastor at the church about it. He said that it was "just a sermon style."

New BBC Open Forum said...


Please make your profile visible (see instructions on front page under "About Me") if you'd like to post future comments. Thanks!

WishIhadknown said...

Googlethings, I know the feeling. Recently, we had a guest speaker at my church from the Southern Baptist Convention. He started his speech/sermon with a story about himself, which he acknowledged was a lie. He then went into a testimony about leading numerous people to Christ. It just seemed too good to be true and then I remembered how he started his sermon with a lie and I wondered how much of the other stories were true. Guess I’m a little jaded by this new “by any means” philosophy that is so rampant.

Dr. Bill Loney said...

If somebody says somethin that is half true, partial true, somewhat true, and they knows the whole truth, they aint misquotin or embellishinatin...they's justa lying...dont that just make them a liar?

You can tell if they is lying...their britches a'be on fire

As Mama Loney used to say:
"Bill, all liars goes to hell...course I might be lyin too, in which case I could be in danger of hellfire, just ferget what I's sayin and git back to your lil dug out hole under the porch"

a platinum proverb mama loney, a platinum proverb

bill loney, MD

WishIhadknown said...

"all liars goes to hell..."

'lessin theys saved by the blood of Jesus!


New BBC Open Forum said...

Dr. Bill! Welcome back!

I was avoiding the L-word.

Dr. Bill Loney said...

yep, gotta avoid the old "L" word. Oh, its alright if you talkin 'bout some lawyer, politician, or criminal (course, thats kinda of redundantical), but dont call out anybody's professional steeple talker. Nope, that crosses some imaginary ethical line, put up by the purveyors of religiosity.

It's kinda sad though when you ponder on it...the very things we despise about our lawmakers and statesmen, gets glossed over by most if'n their pulpit puppet is'a doin it. Apathy...complicity... hypocrisy, all in the name of brother Jesus...yep, that's purty good breedin ground to spawn off lyin of the orthidoxical nature.

Now, they's still preachers out there that aint got sucha penchant fer tale-bearing...mosta them's got fired or run-oft though.

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

It is Sunday morning and I will be heading out the door soon to go to our small, simple but spiritually satisfying church. It's a good feeling to really look forward to church each week. We can worship the Lord anywhere, anytime but there is something about being with fellow believers to pray, sing
His praises, and hear His Word that
strengthens one's faith in a special way.

For those who have become weary of the church, disillusioned by the antics of some spiritual leaders, and have withdrawn from the organized church, I would say "Don't give up!" Keep searching till you find a church fellowship that will welcome you, love you and one that "fits" you.
Doesn't matter the size. It's not the size nor the setting. It's not even the oratory skills of the pastor. The main thing is that he is a man of integrity, a man who
has a heart for God and a love for God's people. Not a perfect man (there is no such thing) but a man who humbly seeks to do the perfect will of God. Those pastors are out there. There are, sadly, just fewer of them these days.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Oh come on, you don't really want to know what I thought. Anyone who reads this blog already knows not to dispute your opinion of Steve Gaines or Bellevue Baptist Church, unless they are looking to get some whiplash retort from you. Apparently now you've even stooped as far as criticizing the grammatical errors in people's comments on your blog? Wow.

For a blogger with such strong opinions about everything, you don't seem very objective to the views of others. It would appear that the only dialogue you are able to engage in is with those who agree with your point of view.

I read your blog occasionally because I am actually interested in the views of others, and because I am NOT close minded. My BAD for making the grave error in previous threads for defending the church and pastor I care for. I mistakenly read the title of this blog as being an "Open Forum". Maybe you should re-think that if it really isn't.


Believe me, if I didn't want to hear your opinion I wouldn't have asked. So yes, I really would like to know what you think... not about me (I think you've made your opinion clear on that topic), but what I asked you about before. Namely, do you agree it's okay for a preacher to "speak ministerially," disagree, think it's no big deal, what?

Please leave "me" out of it. I'd honestly like to know what you think of a preacher who lies from the pulpit. There. I said it. The L-word that I've been trying to avoid. I'm not talking about a preacher who makes a mistake, gets a detail wrong from time to time, makes a grammatical error. We're all human and we all make mistakes. I'm talking about someone who intentionally and repeatedly "stretches" the truth or makes up things and tells them as truth to illustrate his point or make himself sound more interesting or important.

So my question again... does knowing that a preacher (any preacher, not just SG) doesn't mind "embellishing" in a big way about things that really don't matter make you the least bit skeptical when he talks about things of importance? You seem to be a big supporter of Steve Gaines, so I'm sincerely interested in hearing how his supporters justify these things in their minds.

This forum is "open" in the sense that it is open to all opinions. Every comment you posted was published. What it's not open to is people who don't abide by the few rules I set up -- make your profile visible (you can still remain anonymous) and that you do not become a troll. Since you obviously do not fall into either category, you are welcome to post comments.

I'm not sure what your definition of being "objective" to other people's opinions is. Just because I (or you) don't agree with someone else's opinion doesn't make me (or you) "unobjective." I'm really struggling right now with understanding what appears to be blind loyalty to a man (men) of questionable integrity. Few of Steve Gaines' supporters comment here now. A couple were banned ages ago for the very troll-like behavior I described, but anyone else is welcome to comment.

I don't recall saying anything about your grammar. I did mention that paragraphs are nice when you leave a long comment. They make it easier to read.

Bad grammar and spelling (and I know mine isn't perfect) drive me insane. There - their - they're. Two - to - too. Your - you're. Putting an apostrophe before the "s" in the plural form of a noun. Using "me" and "I" incorrectly. Those are the main ones, but again, I don't recall mentioning any of those things.

So, Michelle, the floor is yours. I promise you won't get a "whiplash retort" from me unless you consider any disagreement with your opinion a "whiplash retort." Really, I just want to listen. Of course, I can't speak for anyone else.

32yrs@bbc said...

NASS, regarding your "debate" with Michelle, nothing will be accomplished. Those who choose to ignore character flaws and blindly follow an individual can find all kinds of rationalizations for doing so.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I'm not interested in debating anyone, and my goal is not to change people's minds. I don't have that power. I am interested in hearing other points of view, and I'd particularly like to hear Michelle's. But I want to hear what she thinks of the topic, not her opinion of me. It seems that the few people who post or e-mail me who are diehard supporters of Steve Gaines will not discuss the topic at hand. Rather they try to divert attention to me or other bloggers and shoot the messenger. I want to hear someone express a logical defense of Steve Gaines' actions. Perhaps I'm just missing something.

gopher said...

Anyone remember how the Andy Griffith Show was one of Steve Gaines favorites?

Well when Steve was about 5 years old, this one first aired
October 7, 1963

Well, not to be outdone, just last Sunday night Steve Gaines told his version of this frightful tale.

Watch and Listen at your own risk

Now you might think one may be flippant taking about this, as Steve himself says you should stay away from Witches and the like, but since Pastor Steve Gaines personally took (or would it be he went with) his family to the Broadway show Wicked, I'm sure we don't have anything to worry...

Oh, Steve also prayed a condemnation on anyone who accuses Bellevue Baptist Church in judgment, so watch your step Mister.

And if anyone missed it, God was at Bellevue Baptist Church this past Sunday morning at 9:30, if you don't believe, just ask Steve Gaines, he will tell you.

tn_lizzie2000 said...

I want to hear someone express a logical defense of Steve Gaines' actions.

This blog has been saturated with the absence of this from day 1.

The SBC has a book (copyright 2008)called, "Restoring Integrity in Baptist Churches."

Does BBC have this in the library? Anybody here know anything about it or read it?

Michelle said...

Okay, here we go:

First of all, to the blog admin, I have re-read my post and am hard pressed to find anywhere within it where I "attacked" you personally, I had only remarked on what a seemingly long post it was, only to make what seemed to be one or two points (in my understanding of it). It seems that your friend "Junkster" made the exact same observation, yet wasn't replied to with a demand for an opinion. Is that because you already know they agree with your point of view as always?

Is that why you're so interested in hearing mine? I mean, honestly, it must get extremely old hat, always having your posters agree with your point of view. (that sentence should suffice in addressing tn_lizzie's remark about this blog being so "absent of the defenses of Steve Gaines' actions". Didn't know that was my job. Sorry.

To address the post from 32yrs@bbc: I do not "blindly follow" anyone except Jesus Christ; supporting and not bad mouthing one's pastor for being a fallible human being, and "blindly following" him are two different things, as I see it. But that's me. Perhaps you should not be so quick to "shoot the messenger" as the blog admin likes to say; I find it extremely helpful to hear what the Lord needs me to hear in the message without even thinking about the messenger or his personal life. I go to church to hear from God, who can speak to me just as easily through the preacher as through the nursery worker. If the alleged hypocrisy of it all bothers you so badly, I hope your 32nd year at bbc was your last, and that you've found the church that's perfect in all it's ways and suits you. Truly!

And Gopher? Your comment about Bro. Steve's prayer of condemnation at last night's service actually made me laugh, as interestingly enough, I thought about all of you and this blog when he said those very words. I'm curious, do you attend Bellevue? If so, why? Personally I appreciated that prayer for what it was, as I personally have been struggling with many worldly attacks in my own walk with Christ, and it was very helpful to me in teaching me how to pray during such times.

I know my answer probably doesn't satisfy your curiosity about my thoughts on your article, but to be honest, I really never had an opinion on it in the first place, other than how long it was, or I would have said so. It's not my job to judge whether or not it's "right" (about the stories or embellishments) or what not, I guess, any more than I question whether or not the Bible really happened or if the people in the stories "really" even existed. I suppose you could say my faith goes in to play where all that's concerned, and I've never had a closer walk with God than since I joined this church.

If that makes me ignorant for not questioning every single anecdote, then maybe I should change my blogger name to "dumbsheep" or something.

Let me say this in closing: Just because some of us love and support our church does not make us ignorant and stupid. I have made a commitment to a church that has come along side me personally through thick and thin, and I try to honor my commitments by returning that same level of loyalty. I don't idolize BBC, nor believe it to be perfect in all it's ways any more than those running it.

Don't shoot the messenger? This whole BLOG is about shooting the messenger!! Maybe more people WOULD post their support of the church or "come to Steve Gaines defense" if anyone on your blog ever seemed even "remotely" respectful of anyone else's views but their own.

I'll keep reading though, if you don't mind.

--- Signed,
One of the sheep

New BBC Open Forum said...

Thanks, Michelle. I never said you were "attacking" me, so quit putting words in my mouth. I asked that you not make it about me which, to some extent, you still seem to be doing.

The only question I had was does it bother you or not that Brother Steve frequently "embellishes" or on occasion flat out lies with some of these stories he tells from the pulpit. It's a pretty straightforward question really. Either it's okay or it's not. You've apparently chosen to overlook or avoid that issue, and that's okay. Of course, you're still welcome, as always, to read and to post your thoughts any time.

"I've never had a closer walk with God than since I joined this church."

That's wonderful. May you continue to walk with Him.

New BBC Open Forum said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
32yrs@bbc said...

Michelle, indeed I have found a church where I can worship under the leadership of a humble servant who shepherds his people with integrity. I am truly happy for you if you are growing in Christ at BBC. Not knowing how long you've been there, I have to question whether you know all that has transpired the past four years. If you don't, then I can understand more where you are coming from. If you do, I would wonder why you do not have some concerns about the lack of integrity among those in leadership. Yes, we are to follow our Lord Jesus Christ in complete surrender. But the Holy Spirit within us gives us the power of discernment to guide and protect us. It is not wrong to question when we are aligning our questions with the Word of God. It is our plumb line in this increasingly
situational-ethics world. It is vitally important that the messenger lines up his life with the message. Of course, there is no perfect being except Christ our Lord. But those who teach His
Word are held to a higher standard
of accountability (see James 3:1).
When a man is no longer held accountable by his peers or those under his authority, he is on a dangerous slippery slope - just because he is human.

I'll end with this: in spite of our different perspectives, we are united in our Savior. One day we will be worshipping Him together around His throne.:0)

Grace and peace to you through our Lord Jesus Christ.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"It's not my job to judge whether or not it's 'right' (about the stories or embellishments) or what not, I guess, any more than I question whether or not the Bible really happened or if the people in the stories 'really' even existed. I suppose you could say my faith goes in to play where all that's concerned... "

I've now had time to go back and read your comment in its entirety. Wow. I've heard the old "judge not" verse (taken out of context) with regard to the words or actions of another person, but I've never heard it applied to the Bible itself. Frankly, I'm dismayed at such a "head in the sand" attitude. To even consider comparing the Word of God (which we obviously take on faith) to the word of a mere man (with seemingly no discernment or considering his track record) is like comparing apples to oranges.

So are we not to exercise judgment when considering the words of others? You've judged me in a certain way. I readily admit I've formed an opinion about you (and I could be wrong). But we're not to judge what the preacher says simply because you say you believe he's "a good man" and has helped you in some material way?

I don't want to put words into your mouth (as you've done with me), but would I be correct to say that the answer to my question is a big "I don't care"? I must defer to the wisdom of "32yrs" on this one.

I do believe you're very new to BBC and probably aren't aware of much of what has happened. You have accused me of having "disdain" for Bellevue and "deeply negative personal feelings" for Steve Gaines. That may be your perception, but you don't know my feelings and that is not the case. I have no personal feelings for Steve Gaines one way or the other. My "disdain" for Bellevue is not for the church but for what a small group of powerful people have done to the church. Steve Gaines is merely a symptom of a much deeper problem that goes back years before he arrived. Maybe someday you'll discern what a lot of others have already have, or maybe you'll keep your head in the sand (or the clouds). Only you can decide that.

There have recently been some relevant discussions about this topic (judging) on the FBC Jax Watchdog blog and The Wartburg Watch.

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


Several things about that "evil spirit" story smell. How did the next-door neighbor know the previous occupants were "Satanists"? Why, if it was such a big deal, did he not tell them long before? What if Steve wasn't home? Did Donna, as not the "husband and pastor of the home" have the authority to "cast out demons"?

This sounded a lot like the story about the Birmingham businessman who had Steve and Donna walk through his business after hours and pray and cast out "demon-possessed items," some of which were the personal property of employees. I think "fogmachine" can weigh in on that one.

And then there was the demon-possessed man who burst into a missions meeting at Steve's previous church (I think at Gardendale) and was stopped dead in his tracks by Steve's "pastoral authority." (Didn't someone post a video of that recently?) I thought it was only the Kenneth Copeland types who spoke directly to the devil.

On a related note, has anyone ever heard that Lucifer, before he was cast out of heaven, was the heavenly "worship/music leader"? This is apparently what SG claimed in his sermon Sunday. I've never heard that. I actually found a few references to it, and most seem to use Ezekiel 28 as the proof text.

New BBC Open Forum said...


There was nothing "private" about your comment. You revealed no personal details to me, so I revealed none. I assumed (often a bad idea) that you were saying you think SG is a good man or a man of integrity because he's helped you personally in some way. I shouldn't have assumed it was anything material and for that I apologize.

If you think I'm ignoring you because I don't care to get into an offline discussion with you... then I guess in that respect I am. I read what you wrote, but I generally don't respond to what I perceive as phishing expeditions.

Bill said...

"It's not my job to judge whether or not it's 'right'"

How did you come to this conclusion?

Please read Matthew 7: 5 before commenting. This verse seems to be implying that it is.

You might also want to read "The Scoop on Judging" by Greg Koukl.
There are several types of judging mentioned in the Bible. All but one (hypocritical judging) are encouraged.

"I guess, any more than I question whether or not the Bible really happened or if the people in the stories 'really' even existed."

It sounds like you are equating Steve Gaines' words with scripture. Is that the case?

Paul commended the Bereans for not following his words blindly but instead checking out his sermons for accuracy. Is Steve Gaines greater than Paul who wrote 2/3 or the New Testament?

"It is no longer a "surprise" to me that more BBC supporters do not post on this site"

Perhaps it is because Steve Gaines told his church members not to read this blog. Why aren't you doing what Steve Gaines said to do Michelle?

New BBC Open Forum said...


Thank you for saying what I was trying to say yesterday.

Please make your profile visible as per the note on the front page. Thanks.

32yrs@bbc said...

"Paul commended the Bereans for not following his words blindly but instead checking out his sermons for accuracy. Is Steve Gaines greater than Paul who wrote 2/3 or the New Testament?"

Although it is not politically correct to mention his name in some circles, Adrian Rogers would
on occasion say: "Don't take my word for it. Get in God's Word and check it out for yourself." Another exhortation from him:
"God gave us an intellect. He does not expect you to check your brains at the door." And another:
"The emotions are the shallowest part of our being. God does not do His deepest work in the shallowest part." And from John MacArthur:
"The greatest thing missing in the church today is discernment." I'd have to agree.

gopher said...

Hi Michelle

What do you think? Does Steve Gaines have a infatuation with the "dark side"?.

Lets review some of Steve's own words..

His story of exorcism of a demon possessed? man in Alabama

His story of exorcism of his Haunted House in Texas

His exorcism of his computer after googling for pictures of Satan on the internet in Memphis

Soon he will be "seeing" Adrian Rogers walking the halls...

Adrian Rogers Lives...

Now you know why the staff are making comments like...

Bellevue will still be Bellevue even if Steve Gaines is no longer pastor.


Admitting that Bellevue no longer has a "strong preacher" like Adrian Rogers, where vistors came without any "effort" of members. (LOL)

So it is now up to the staff (and deacons, unless providentially hindered) who are require to attend the Prayer on the Porch, Work days, Special Events (to cover lack of volunteers ) plus Pray over all those empty Bellevue seats, bright and early Sunday mornings (like the Catholic Rosary - chair #A12, chair #A13, chair #A14, etc or do you think they cheat and do it by rows now?) that they have been doing over the past years.

Maybe Carolyn Higginbotham (Minister of Prayer Ministry, whoops) should write a prayer book for the staff to use?

Who amongst us don't belong?
Steve Gaines, portrayed by Hook

New BBC Open Forum said...

"(like the Catholic Rosary - chair #A12, chair #A13, chair #A14, etc or do you think they cheat and do it by rows now?)"

LOL at that visual. Maybe they do it by sections.

Michelle said...

"Perhaps it is because Steve Gaines told his church members not to read this blog. Why aren't you doing what Steve Gaines said to do Michelle?"

Well, because BILL, as I stated before, I do NOT "blindly follow" anyone except Christ, and DO exercise my God given discernment all on my very own, and I do so by seeking my information from many sources (God, my fellow church members, and yes, even biased and un-biased sources) before making these decisions. Believe it or not, this is NOT the only site on the internet that contains "information" (BIG quotes there) about Bellevue or Bro. Steve Gaines.

What bothers me about the posts that inevitably follow mine (every single time I post) is that no one on here can seem to just accept my point of view without QUOTING me in their OWN post, not being challenged or given an opinion other than my own. Also, the insinuation that because I don't go with the "mass mentality" of an always negative blog, that somehow this makes me "ignorant"; Why? Because MY views line up with a body of believers who's faith and love of Christ I have experienced in person as opposed to a cast and crew of jaded ex-Bellevue members who hide behind private identities on the internet so they can spew all their garbage?

I don't need to be reminded about what the Bible says about exercising judgement. Perhaps I should have said it is not "my job" to publicly and verbally chastise ANY man simply because I don't agree with him. THIS particular blog doesn't just state alleged "facts" but follows up and mixes in it's "facts" with mean-spirited remarks and implications about the subject which it is discussing. THEREIN lies the difference between judgement and discernment. Clearly he must preach more truths than falsehoods or I dare say there wouldn't elapse so many months in between posts, what with so many dozens of sermons to pick apart in between?

Just because you are able to dig up stories from years ago that bear similar semblance to something Bro. Steve says during a sermon doesn't mean He is maliciously trying to "deceive" us, like you are implying. Whether or not all or most or any of the stories Bro. Steve uses while illustrating is really of no consequence to me; it also doesn't bother me that Jesus used parables in the Bible to illustrate His point during His teachings.

And NO, that is not my comparing Steve Gaines to JESUS, and to implicate such about my earlier post is just ridiculous and antagonistic. There is a difference between giving one's "thoughts" on a subject and stating them as "facts". I don't need to back up my "opinions" on matters with Bible verses in order for them to be legitimate.

As far as a "phishing expedition" goes, I really have no idea what that means, it sounds kind of like you're implying a sinister intention on my part...if you don't wish to be contacted, you should disable your "contact me" link on your profile, as opposed to accusing people of having sinister motives when they do so. Mine was an honest attempt to engage in a discussion with you without being publicly admonished by all the followers of this blog. Unlike you, I am honestly seeking the truth, not trying to be controversial and stir up a blog riot. "not wanting to get into an offline discussion with me", sounds more like you not wanting to talk without your bloggers there to promptly back you up!

And what's with the big emphasis on having a "public profile" on this site, when you yourself reveal nothing but a mere picture of the Bellevue crosses linked with some horrible story of a bunch of deaths that occurred the night the photo was taken!! Maybe you're the one who has something to hide, such as your OWN identity?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Blogger is completely messed up tonight. I've copied and pasted two people's comments and posted them myself because it wouldn't let me publish them. Now they've disappeared along with one of mine. So if you post a comment and don't see it, I haven't rejected it. Hopefully this problem will be resolved quickly.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Apparently Blogger got the problem fixed. This was my earlier comment that disappeared:

From the front page:

Anyone who comments must make his or her profile viewable by others. Before you panic at the thought of revealing your personal information, if you'll look at a typical profile, all you'll see are the date joined and the number of profile views. There is no need to reveal any personal information unless you choose to do so. Comments by posters who continue to hide their profiles and those whose only purpose is to disrupt (i.e. trolls) will be subject to deletion. Your cooperation will be appreciated.

For anyone who hasn't been around long and those who might have forgotten, we had a problem during the first year or so of the blog with a handful of people assuming the identities of others. For some reason they seemed to think this was a real riot, but it only caused a lot of confusion and offense. (At least two of those imposters are now deceased... which is kind of creepy.) Therefore, I made it a rule that everyone make their profile visible. It doesn't mean you have to post any personal information in your profile. It's simply a way to make sure two people don't assume the same screen name. While it's possible to tell people apart by examining their unique profile numbers, this requires rolling your mouse over the screen name and is not apparent just by reading through the comments. Occasionally someone new will not notice the front page before posting; therefore, sometimes a gentle reminder is needed. I appreciate the way almost everyone has cooperated.

Bill said...

"Well, because BILL, as I stated before, I do NOT "blindly follow" anyone except Christ, and DO exercise my God given discernment all on my very own."

If that were the case Michelle, then you wouldn't be making the two statements below:

"I guess, any more than I question whether or not the Bible really happened or if the people in the stories 'really' even existed."

"It's not my job to judge whether or not it's 'right'"

"Perhaps I should have said it is not "my job" to publicly and verbally chastise ANY man simply because I don't agree with him."

Well, that certainly sounds more PC, but your original statement is really more logical since it was in response to a question about Steve Gaines lying from the pulpit.

"And NO, that is not my comparing Steve Gaines to JESUS"

So, how would you interpret the statement that you wouldn't question one of his stories any more than you would question the Bible? Considering that the apostle Paul called the Bereans "more noble" for checking his sermons for accuracy.

"Clearly he must preach more truths than falsehoods"

So, how many falsehoods are acceptable to be preached from the pulpit of BBC?

"Whether or not all or most or any of the stories Bro. Steve uses while illustrating is really of no consequence to me; it also doesn't bother me that Jesus used parables in the Bible to illustrate His point during His teachings."

Again, this seems to imply that you don't understand what the Bible teaches about discernment.

You can easily prove me wrong by showing in the Bible where a teacher claimed that a story he was using in an example was true and it turned out to be false and the Bible's reaction is that it doesn't matter.

Of course, Jesus never claimed that his parables were true stories so that is just a bad analogy. And if he had done that, he would be a liar and not God.

I look forward to reading your thoughts. If you could keep the emotional attacks down to a minimum and deal with the issues, the would be a plus.

Bill said...

By the way, anyone who want to see just where this all can lead may want to visit the FBC Jacksonville Watchdog blog.

The average church member may not care about integrity in the pulpit, but the world seems to.

This story is about to go national.

gopher said...

Michelle said...

"Clearly he must preach more truths than falsehoods..,."

You got to be kidding, you're admitting Steve Gaines preaches falsehoods?

How many would you think is ok?

Deuteronomy 18:22

"If a prophet speaks in the LORD's name and what he says doesn't happen or come true, then it didn't come from the LORD. That prophet has spoken on his own authority. Never be afraid of him."

What is also interesting here is that when Steve Gaines first came to Bellevue there was a incident concerning a purported dream (a spiritual encounter) he allegedly had and how he told Mark Dougherty to silence a person who was saying "Amen" (it's now acceptable, but back then it was not)

When questions were raised concerning this, Steve Gaines then denied ever having or saying such a thing. TEXT

“Let me talk to you about something that was pretty amazing to me. That was that I had a dream and that that caused me to do something. We have a member of our church- I've met him. The Lord has saved him- he's an awesome person. And he gets excited, and I can appreciate that. He says amen quite a bit. And that's fine. But it was getting to the point where it was a little hard for me to concentrate on my preaching while that was going on. The Bible says you ought to handle things like that in public. By the way, it says you handle anything like that- in private rather- you ought to handle it in private- and any confrontation like that. And so, I woke up on a Monday morning - it happened the day before- I woke up, didn't have any dream. I told Mark Dougherty- I said I really want us to talk to this church member and just ask him in private in a very simple way if he would not say that as much. Just kinda back off a little bit. Well somewhere between that and- somewhere- I was told, somebody said you had a dream or a vision about this in the night and that's why you told this man that that's the case. I never had a dream about that. I never told anyone I had a dream. No staff member I've talked to- three of the staff members involved- None of them said that I said that I had a dream. I want to read to you and I'm not trying to promote my little devotional book. If you want to know what I believe, by the way, I believe I put it in print. 365 pieces of my heart.”
(ie: buy my book)

Now Steve Gaines freely brags about all his Exorcisms (spiritual encounters)to his current audience .
(these are repeated, for those who have already checked)

His story of exorcism of a demon possessed? man in Alabama

His story of exorcism of his Haunted House in Texas

His exorcism of his computer after googling for pictures of Satan on the internet in Memphis

So someday Steve Gaines will become tired of Michelle and then say:

"I've met (her). The Lord has saved (her)- (she's) an awesome person. And (she) gets excited, and I can appreciate that. (She) .. .... quite a bit. And that's fine. But it was getting to the point where it was a little hard for me to concentrate on my preaching while that was going on."

Michelle said...

WishIhadknown said...

Indeed most of us here are not big fans of Steve Gaines. I would like for you to understand that the last few years and our separation from the Bellevue fellowship we were once a part of and we still love has been extremely traumatic for us. Something along the lines of a divorce.

Many of us served at Bellevue for thirty years or more. We were baptized at Bellevue, married at Bellevue and expected to go to heaven from Bellevue, or in other words, hatched, matched and dispatched.

It seems to bother you that we hide our identities. Do you know why? It is because those who are known are subject to retaliation.

It is great that you are being fed. We expected that too, when we stood on that fateful morning almost five years ago and elected Steve Gaines pastor. If ever there was a vote I wished I could retract that is the one.

Look beyond yourself and consider. To your left, there is an empty seat where once a brother worshipped, prayed, and praised God. To your right, a seat sits vacant where a dear sister also worshipped. Can you honestly tell me it has been worth it?

Let me start at the beginning by first asking you, do you believe it is important to have rules? Don’t you think a church as prominent as Bellevue should set a good example? Don’t you think that a church as prominent as Bellevue should obey the rules? Alternatively, is Bellevue simply too big and important to follow the rules?

You see, Michelle, the rules of calling a special business meeting are well established. The rules of making a motion to the membership are equally well established.

The rule for calling a special business meeting requires at least two weeks’ notice to the membership before the meeting is held. The special business meeting where Steve Gaines was elected was called with one week’s notice. Trivial perhaps, but it is the trivial things that reveal our true character.

The rules also require that the motions the membership is to consider are to be specific and be presented at the time the meeting is called so that the membership may have sufficient time to make an informed decision. At the time the special business meeting was called, we were only informed that we would be presented with the person who was to be our next pastor, nothing specific, we were never told who.

Since the meeting was not properly called and the motion not properly made would this not mean that Steve Gaines was fraudulently elected?

I have been in two churches since I left Bellevue. Both have conducted pastor searches and selected new pastors. In both cases, the churches followed the rules. Special business meetings were called and held two weeks after being called. The motion that was read was specific and named the person we were being asked to elect. On top of that, the voting was by secret ballot.

So if other churches follow the rules why does Bellevue get to ignore them? What does this say about the character of the leadership at Bellevue?

That’s it for now, more later perhaps. Grace and peace to you and all of the brethren. Respectfully.

Bill said...

"Wow....proof that no matter what I say, you will find some way to take it out of context."

Michelle, we can only go by what you write.

If, for example, you write that Steve Gaines preaches more truth than falsehood, you give the impression that preaching falsehood from the pulpit is acceptable as long as the truth he preaches outnumbers the falsehoods.

If that is not what you were trying to communicate, please make your statements more clear.

I don't think that the problem is that you are being taken out of context. The problem is that your philosophy aligns better with the culture than it does with the Bible.

Being asked legitimate questions doesn't make you a victim.

You may want to visit the FBC Jacksonville Watchdog blog to learn more about why people make annonymous comments on these sites.

The pastor at the blogger's church had a police officer (deacon) file charges against him (which turned out to be totally false) so that he could get his personal information and serve he and his family with tresspass papers.

So the fears are well-founded.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Hey Charles,

Is that pervert son-in-law of yours your family's "legacy"?

Dr. Bill Loney said...

I think with all the hoopla over the preacher's tale-bearin, one thang has been forgotten...the miracle that got wrought on his yard...what was that stuff what got miraculously disappeared?

New BBC Open Forum said...

... ...what was that stuff what got miraculously disappeared?

Loony grass?

32yrs@bbc said...

Bill, thank you for your succinct reply to Michelle.

Michelle, no one is trying to defame you or discourage you. They are simply trying to get you out of your defensive mode to the point where you will understand why this blog originated and why it is a platform for those who are concerned not only for what is happening to BBC but what is happening to the church in general.

Maybe it is the way you express yourself but you come across as not seeing how very vital it is that a person in spiritual leadership be of utmost integrity.
Lack of integrity, lack of noble character in leadership is a dangerous slippery slope. God will not bless that which goes against His holy Word. The church is becoming weak and impotent today because of a careless, casual attitude toward the things of God.
Our world is in a mess. The wheels are coming off and when the church needs to be its strongest, it is at its weakest - all because of a lack of integrity and the fear of the Lord.

TN Lizzie said...

June 2, 2010
Daniel in the lions' den

This video of the anti-Israeli protests in L.A. shows the only young man who had the courage to counter the pro-Islamist demonstrators. It's amazing!

Didn't Dr. Rogers say that every Jew alive today is a reminder that God keeps His promises?

New BBC Open Forum said...

Hi Ima,

Long time, no hear.

gopher said...

Helen Thomas tells Jews to go Home to Germany ?

Sound's like some Southern Baptist Pastors - get out and find another Church (or in Israels case, another Country)


New BBC Open Forum said...

Maybe in the morning I'll be able to think of a more measured response to that, but for now all I can think of is... what an idiot!

32yrs@bbc said...

Regarding Helen Thomas: old people tend to be like children - they speak their mind without thought to the consequences. Helen is a flaming liberal and she spoke the thoughts of those like her. The Jews are a thorn in their flesh, an inconvenience and, in their minds, are in that land illegally.
The U.S. under Obama's watch is falling right in line with Biblical prophecy - turning its back on Israel. Hold on to your hats because we, as a nation, are in for a continuing accelerated downward slide. God has said in His Word that Israel is the apple of His eye and He will curse those who curse His people. God's Word is infallible and incorruptible and if He says it, you can count on it.

32yrs@bbc said...

I was thinking today how Jesus lamented (grieved) over the sin of Jerusalem (Matt. 23:37). The Jews followed the Law to the letter and sacrificed in their temples but it was all in vain because they refused the One God sent to them.
They were all show and no substance.
I believe Jesus is lamenting over so much of what is going on in our churches today. There is a form of religion but it is all hay, wood and stubble. So much of what is being done in His Name is all in vain. So many go to church out of habit or social reasons or even for business reasons. And many
(not all!) of the spiritual leaders
are as corrupt as those priests in the temple in Jerusalem. We, the church, are now in the Laodicean church age where we are passive, self-centered instead of Christ-centered and we nauseate God. I pray He will turn the curse which is now upon this country into a blessing in that it will cause us to fall on our knees in total submission to Him who is our only hope and help. Jesus is coming soon and His Bride, the church, must be purified for her Groom.
The fires of suffering have a way of burning off the dross to make us more like our Redeemer.

johnthebaptist said...

I see ol' Stevie boy is startin back on the preaching trail. Oh, how soon people forget. Listening to him at the preacher's conference online now sort of make me sick. It would be a good message if I didn't know what he is preaching is what is doing in his own ministry. How sad.
He was at at a expository preaching conference at Southwestern earlier this year. If I was there, I would have gotten up and left. He has nothing to say to me, in my opinion. I will download other peoples messages but never his.

johnthebaptist said...

Now Stevie Boy has said Bellevue is full of hypocrites...and how tough he has he has broken out in song!!! What a showman!

New BBC Open Forum said...

That was a recycled sermon from 4 weeks ago called "Portrait of a Dying Church," including the snapping turtle story and the PowerPoint graphics (with the BBC logo edited out) of the fill-in-the-blank outline.

Did you see the people on the stage behind him when he was doing his Gomer Pyle imitation? There were a few titters in the audience but they weren't laughing, and that one guy was just staring at him like "what... the... heck?"

Oh, the bursting into song. He just had to go there, didn't he? I really didn't think he would, and darn it, now I owe someone dinner. Thanks a lot, Steve.


johnthebaptist said...

I didn't know that was a re-hash of a sermon since I don't watch him. I did wonder how it flowed so well when he usually has a bunch of uh's and studdering. Now it makes sense since he had practiced it who knows how many times.

Call me old fashioned but I thought the music was awful. Just my opinion of course.

Sorry ol' Gomer cost you a meal. Shaaazam!

New BBC Open Forum said...

For the most part I concur with your opinion about the music. Even when they sing the old hymns now they almost always "embellish" them, sometimes to the point where all you recognize are some of the words. The tunes are indiscernible (to my ear) from the "contemporary" stuff and one contemporary tune is indiscernible from another.

32yrs@bbc said...

Now that enough time has passed, can anyone honestly say that Bellevue Baptist Church is a better church than it was before SG? I have to give credit where credit is due. He won the battle - but at what cost?

I noticed that First Assembly is having a Celebrate America - probably much like the one BBC used to have - a celebration of the Godly principles upon which this nation was founded. We were given a good shot of patriotism (especially good for children and young adults who are no longer taught those truths in school), and God was glorified. Now BBC has Starlight Spectacular with highly-paid entertainers (like Mandessa from American Idol) and the biggest fireworks display in town.
"Oh, how the mighty have fallen"
can be said of BBC.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Isn't it wonderful when Bellevue makes the front page of the Commercial Appeal?

gopher said...

Just when you thought

"Bellevue Loves Memphis"

was true.. well at least for some...

(of course it's already not for a large segment of previous members)

But apparently NOT "that" part of

Memphis either.

Interestingly they even hyped it up having GAY's at the VUE . While Wes Bowen didn't use the word GAY, it was widely spouted on campus.


Junkster said...

From the Commercial Appeal article:

According to Jacobson, Scotty Shows, the church's recreation minister who also attended the second meeting, told her that because she was gay the team could not play. She was told that the team's participation would send a message to Bellevue members that the church condoned her lifestyle.

Well, that explains it. BBC can't be perceived as condoning homosexuality, for fear of being kicked out of the SBC.

Exactly how playing softball with a non-church team that happens to have a homosexual team member could be perceived as BBC "condoning her lifestyle" is a mystery.

Jacobson said she is not looking for the church league to rescind the decision, and wouldn't return anyway.

Good thing BBC took a stand against gays -- wouldn't want any sinners around that BBC folks might share the love of Jesus with. "Forget that silly Great Commission stuff, we've got ball games to play, and we don't want any deviants messing up our fun."

Oh, and isn't it strange that BBC can't stand to be around gays when playing softball, but keeping a pedophile on staff at church was just fine?

I think this article deserves a new post.

gopher said...


"Bellevues Loves Memphis"

but Bans a Black Female Ballplayer

Even Tim Simpson's station has chimed in.

Way to go Steve Gaines....

While monies of the once popular

Bellevue Baptist Church dwindle

creative ways try to bring it in

($350 per team registration fee)

Now its backfired and Bellevue now has a
black eye

Anyone remember Steve Gaines, when he shut out Bellevue Members (Mark Sharp, Josh Manning, Richard Emerson, etc) and the press didn't know what to do?
Saving Bellevue Site

Well not this time.

Just think about all those monies being spent on Billboards , TV , VBS , Fireworks, etc

Now up in smoke

With this weekend's Forced Staff Visitation's of those "New" people who visited Bellevue during Camp Outrageous and then the 4th of July Celebration all coming up.

Lots of Luck Steve or better yet, open that new prayer room quick.

Now "Ballevue" really needs Saving


New BBC Open Forum said...

"I think this article deserves a new post."

It appears a lot of other people do, too, judging by the increase in blog hits yesterday. I've been watching the convention and following the fallout from that, but I'll start a new thread now and try to add to it tonight or tomorrow so discussion can continue.

New BBC Open Forum said...


Your wish has been granted.