Saturday, December 30, 2006

More Thoughts

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

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

Friday, December 29, 2006

Hmmm... Could It Really Be?

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 28, 2006

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

The latest from Christian Worldview Network is here.

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

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

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

Channel 3's coverage is here and here.

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

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

Channel 24 made this brief mention of the story.

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

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

The December 19th Associated Baptist Press article is here.

The Baptist Press article from December 20th is here.

The December 20th Agape Press article is here.

Blogger Wade Burleson has also written about Bellevue.

Another article is here.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A Bellevue Grandma Weighs In

The latest: On 12-27 we received this.

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

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

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

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

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

On 12-22 even more people received this.

On 12-23 we all received this.

On Christmas Day, we received this.

On 12-26 we received this.

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

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

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas!

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

I offer you
this and my apologies to Clement Moore.

Merry Christmas!


Saturday, December 23, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 23, 2006

Here's the latest from the Commercial Appeal.

Today's Commercial Appeal letters to the editor are

Friday, December 22, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 22, 2006

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

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

Today's Commercial Appeal letters to the editor are

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

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

Channel 3's latest coverage is
here and here.

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

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

The Michael Reagan Show can be streamed from here.

Michael Reagan's commentary is here.

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

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

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Dr. Spradlin Faces the Music and Responds

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

Dr. Spradlin has issued this statement.

In it he states...

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

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

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

This is the Commercial Appeal's latest article.

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

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

Anyone With Information...

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

This statement appears on

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

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

She quotes Mr. Coombs thusly...

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

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

Indeed it will.

Today's Media Coverage - December 21, 2006

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

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

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

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

WREC Radio's website coverage is here and here.

The Michael Reagan Show can be streamed from here.

Michael Reagan's commentary is here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 20, 2006

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

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

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

Be sure to tune in!

Channel 3's coverage is here.

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

Seminary President Calls for Steve Gaines to Resign!

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

Quotes by Dr. Spradlin include:

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

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

Steve Gaines issued this statement.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Other Truths

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

Monday, December 18, 2006

Today's Media Coverage - December 19, 2006

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

Thanks to westtnbarrister for capturing this audio.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 17, 2006

It's Time for More Truth!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. Why has the media been so quiet?

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's Time for Truth!

There is currently a serious situation at Bellevue that is just now coming to light. References have been made to this issue in the past few days, but the story is getting out now, and I think it's time to address it openly. A discussion was started in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread on December 14th after a list of needed changes for "Pastoral Accountability to the Congregation" was posted by "25+yrs@bbc" which included this:

"Timely removal from office of ministers guilty of sexual immorality with immediate and timely coordination with the appropriate authorities if any laws have been broken by a minister (no matter how long ago), including thorough investigation of the matter when the minister's conduct may have affected other church members or their children."

A poster with the screen name "sackcloth&ashes" wrote:

"Bellevue has a minister who has been on staff for many years who, while serving on staff at Bellevue, sexually molested and sodomized his own pre-teen son and continued for some time thereafter.

"The son is now of age and he confronted his minister father and the minister confessed in front of witnesses at the church.

"Gaines has known about this for well over a month and little to nothing has been done. Gaines said that it was "under the blood."

"While that may be true, it still does not relieve the minister of consequences in this life. If he would do such a thing with his own son, then perhaps it would be easier with someone else's. Usually this kind of thing can involve many other children.

"To make matters worse, this minister has been over the record keeping for children's workers for quite some time.

"This is far bigger than some private, family sin. Gaines should have removed the minister from Bellevue the MOMENT he found out about it.

"Ministers of Bellevue have been removed in the past for adultery... how could Gaines have thought that incest and sodomy were not as serious?

"God is cleaning house at Bellevue... The membership needs to wake up! It is time to stop all the standing ovations and get down on our faces and seek God.

"Mothers of Bellevue find your voices and fathers of Bellevue find your courage! Your leaders have been quiet and spineless.

"It is way past time for light and truth."

And that pretty much sums up all most of us know about it other than the names of the minister and his son. The discussion continued from there with a couple of people strongly urging the name of the minister involved be revealed in this forum. While many are aware of the man's name, including the proper authorities now, he does have a family and we need to respect their feelings, especially those of this man's son who is the real victim in all this. Therefore, in the discussions which will inevitably follow, at least until this story becomes officially public, I would request that no mention of this man's or any of his family's names be made in this forum. This news unfortunately is likely to break in the media very soon, but we do not have to broadcast the details of the story here, especially since we really don't know all the details. This is not the place for speculation about what did or didn't happen in this family. It's also not right to say that Dr. Rogers may have known about it. There's no evidence whatsoever than anyone outside the immediate family knew anything about this until the past few months when the son came forward with it and the minister confessed before Steve Gaines and other witnesses.

The discussion here now needs to focus on how the cover up of this issue by the administration has affected Bellevue and how we should go forward from here. The proper authorities must be entrusted to handle the specifics of the situation with the perpetrator and victim.

Some questions to consider include:

1. When did Steve Gaines learn about this situation?

2. What other staff members were aware of it and when?

3. What did Steve Gaines and the administration do about the situation? Did anyone call the authorities?

4. Why wasn't this staff minister immediately fired? Why is he still serving on the staff at all?

5. Since he was allowed to remain on staff, were any measures put into place to ensure this man never came into contact with children while at church?

Maybe this comment by "westtnbarrister" sums it up best:

"I first heard this molestation story roughly two weeks ago. I found the tale so stunning I couldn’t believe it was true. Not at Bellevue! Gradually, as more and more details have come out, my disbelief and shock were transformed into belief and anger. How could our pastor know this and do nothing? How about those other ministers on staff? Was there not even one man willing to risk his job for the truth? For children?"

There are many comments on this topic in the "Apologies and Forgiveness" thread which is the thread just prior to this one beginning around 10:50 a.m. on December 14th. Please continue that discussion in this thread.

There is also the allegation that a Bellevue Board of Directors member has been involved in an ongoing extramarital relationship, and he has reportedly been asked to resign. Whether or not he has complied, no one seems to be certain, but again, I would ask that any discussion of this matter also be conducted without mentioning names -- again for the sake of the families involved.

I cannot begin to fathom how painful this has been and will be for these families in the days and weeks to come. I fear there are going to be some dark days for our church in the weeks to come as well. Please, let's pray for the families that the Lord will comfort and strengthen them in this stressful time. And let's pray that Bellevue will be cleansed from the inside out and returned to the shining beacon on a hill it once was. There's much housecleaning to be done before that can ever happen.

The first 9 comments are reposts of some of the more relevant comments from the previous thread.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Apologies and Forgiveness

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read his apology here.

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

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

Monday, December 11, 2006

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Latest on Deacons' Show of Loyalty

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

Your thoughts?

Deacon Brothers,

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


Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

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

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

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

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

1. Did you attend the December 3rd meeting?

2. What were your impressions?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

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

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Communications Committee or Whatever...

Please continue here. You know what to do! (And you know what not to do. So don't do it!)

Sunday, November 26, 2006

How Old Are You?

We'd love to hear from some of you 80-plus-year-old bloggers. And some of you lurkers, too!

In an effort to see if there's a particular age group of Bellevue members who are the most concerned about the current issues facing Bellevue, I'd like to ask you to record your age group in the poll below. Since the forum is open to everyone, I'd like to ask that only those who are Bellevue members with real concerns about these issues answer. If you're not a Bellevue member or are just here to defend the status quo or think there are no problems, please don't participate in this poll. Since two or more family members may be using the same computer and may also be in the same age group, one answer per computer per day is allowed, so if for example, you and your spouse use the same computer, one of you may answer one day and the other the next.

Please help keep this poll accurate by following the rules!

What age group are you in?
Under 20
90 or older
Free polls from

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Communications Committee Meeting at 8:00 Sunday

It's now after the meeting. If you were there, please give your impressions.

The Communications Committee said they'd begin at 8:00 tomorrow morning (November 26th) instead of the usual 8:30. They meet in the first room on the right down the hallway to the left of the ERC and Fellowship Hall. There were at least 75 people there last week. We need to be there this week -- in great numbers! Go with an open mind and a pen and notepad to take notes and remember to be respectful if you're going to ask a question.

Friday, November 24, 2006

We Are Not Alone!

There's a lot of material here, and you can't possibly expect to read it in one hour or even one night and be up to speed. It takes time to study and let this sink in, but it's well worth your time! This may be at the crux of the issues we're facing at Bellevue today, and we need to be wise, informed sheep.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. II Timothy 2:15

Words of advice from a Germantown Baptist member who's been there:

"As a member of SaveGBC, I can tell you that we were totally clueless as to what was going on, until we started doing research, after the Constitution & Bylaws revision was thrown at us for the second time. My advice to y'all is RESEARCH, RESEARCH and MORE RESEARCH. It will scare you to death.

"All of us at GBC are praying for our Brothers and Sisters at BBC. GOD WILL protect his children. We are proof of that."

A "purpose driven" thread was started a few weeks ago, but there wasn't much input then as other topics arose which took precedence. Since we seem to have acquired a lot of new readers since then, I want to reintroduce this topic for discussion.

This seems to be a recurring theme in the comments, albeit one that hasn't gotten much traction, that Bellevue may be moving toward a Purpose Driven model. Please comment on anything you perceive being related to the PDC movement in this thread, particularly as it relates to the issues facing Bellevue today.

1. Do you think Bellevue is moving in this direction? Why or why not? If so, does this concern you?

2. Have you read The Purpose Driven Life? If so, what did you think about it?

3. Has your Bible Fellowship Class or other group done a study of the PDL? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

4. Do you see this movement and its wide appeal across denominational lines as evidence of the "one world church" the Bible tells us will emerge in the latter days?

It seems the Church of Christ denomination is just as under attack by the Purpose Driven Rick Warrenites as the Baptists are! is a website devoted to exposing this movement in our churches today. They maintain a forum for members of individual churches of all denominations to discuss, much as we do in this forum, the problems facing their churches. A list of these churches with links to their forums is available here.

Note: A majority of the churches listed are Church of Christ congregations, and a big issue with them that doesn't apply to us is the introduction of musical instruments into their churches. However, they have many other issues with which we may share their concerns.

Gardendale Baptist Church in Corpus Christi, TX went through a well-publicized split in 2004 over the same issue -- a pastor saying "my way or the highway." (Am I the only one who sees the irony in the name of that church?)

We have been told that Bellevue isn't part of the "Purpose Driven" movement, yet when you read some of the firsthand descriptions from members of churches which are being or already have been "transitioned," they sound eerily similar to what we're experiencing at Bellevue today.

Signs of the church growth movement.

And a new one someone sent me designed to train pastors in transitioning their own churches. This one is scary reading!

These are some links from my personal list, but there are many other sources for information on this topic.

Letter to editor of the Americus Times-Recorder (two pages long).

Reply to above.

Are Rick Warren's Teachings at Bellevue Baptist?

Berean's PDL Discernment Tool

Book review -- Transitioning

Church Growth Movement (multiple articles).

Change Dividing Southern Baptist Mega-Church thread pertaining to Bellevue.

Herescope blog.

Lighthouse Trails Research Project

One Man's Purpose-Driven Journal

Spirit-Led or Purpose Driven?

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The Purpose-Driven Pastor discussion.

The Adulation of Man in The Purpose Driven Life article.

Transitioning an established church.

Multiple Links about the seeker sensitive and purpose driven church philosophies.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Let's Give Thanks

Since this is Thanksgiving Day, if you're just dropping in between all the family, food, football, and fun, please, instead of commenting on the issues facing Bellevue, use this thread to tell how God has blessed you and what you're thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

So we thy people and sheep of thy pasture will give thee thanks for ever: we will shew forth thy praise to all generations. Psalm 79:13

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. I Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The $25,000 Question -- Life Choices Answers

Life Choices
Mission Statement

Life Choices of Memphis exists to provide a non-judgemental and Christ-like environment to educate and empower women to make life-affirming decisions.

In response to the recent donation of $25,000 to the First United Methodist Church of Memphis, Life Choices issued this statement.

Bellevue Baptist Church, at the suggestion of pastor Steve Gaines, recently made a donation of $25,000 to the First United Methodist Church of Memphis following a devastating and highly publicized fire in October which destroyed most of the fully insured, historic, 113-year-old church building in downtown Memphis. The donation was approved by the finance committee but never brought to the congregation for approval. The gift was not earmarked for any of the mission projects the church operates but was presented to the pastor of the church, Rev. Martha Wagley, to be used as she and her congregation see fit.

Certainly not all Methodists or Methodist churches share her views, but Rev. Wagley is a known supporter of pro-choice (i.e. abortion on demand) and pro-homosexual (i.e. ordained clergy, gay marriage, etc.) causes. Should Bellevue Baptist Church be contributing to an organization whose leader holds these views and actively promotes these causes?

When asked about the donation, the Communications Committee's response was, "We didn't realize they had a female pastor." Rev. Wagley was featured on news broadcasts and in the newspaper for several days in the aftermath of the fire. Is it possible that neither our pastor nor anyone on the finance committee could have not known this?

Would that have been the deciding issue? What about Rev. Wagley's stances on abortion and homosexual rights? Were those things not issues? What if she were staunchly pro-life and anti-gay-rights? Would this have made a difference?


I'm about to introduce a new "rule" for posting comments. From now on, everyone 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 most profiles, all you'll see is the number of profile views. There is no need to reveal any personal information. All that will show is your username and the number of times your profile has been viewed. No e-mail address or other information will show (unless you choose to do so). This is an attempt to keep up with the "imposter" problem we've had the last couple of days. Your cooperation will be appreciated. Comments by posters who continue to hide their profiles will be deleted.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Financial Issues or Whatever...

The last thread is approaching 500 comments and needs to be cut. Please continue here.

Please try to maintain some semblance of civility, and please don't feed the bears or the trolls!

Conduct Becoming a Minister?

This topic isn't about Steve Gaines. It's about a dear Sister and an event that, if you've been reading the last couple of threads, you already know about. Charles and Pam Gremillion wrote a letter to all the deacons on October 9th which you can read here.

Eight of the responses they received are here.

Needless to say, the Gremillions were troubled by some of the responses they received.

On November 18th Mrs. Gremillion phoned the church office to speak with a minister about some of the concerns she still had. Doyal Long, Minister of Biblical Guidance/Pastoral Care, was the minister who took her call. This is Mrs. Gremillion's account of their conversation.

Is this really conduct becoming a minister?

Saturday, November 18, 2006

"A Message to the Congregation"

In the front of the Communications Committee booklet sent out by the church this week is an open letter entitled "A Message to the Congregation" which is signed by Harry Smith, Chairman, and committee members, Jim Angel, Jeff Arnold, Jim Barnwell, Al Childress, David Coombs, John Crockett, Derek Duncan, Scott Foster, Bryan Miller, David Perdue, Mark Spiller, Steve Tucker, Wayne Vander Steeg, and Chuck Taylor, ex-officio. If you have not received a copy or are not a Bellevue member and would like to view the booklet (mostly) in its entirety, you may do so here. See the "Introduction" section to view the letter.

In the letter is this request from the committee:

"We would also kindly ask our membership to refrain from writing e-mails and responses on websites or blogs. This only serves to spread misinformation."

Your thoughts about this, please.

And if you happen to know someone whom you think might benefit from reading some of the "misinformation" to which Mr. Smith and the committee members referred, please refer them to this website, the URL for which is:

It seems only fair that people be given the opportunity to hear all "sides" of the issues so they can then have a truly informed opinion.

Yet Another New Financial Thread

Congratulations, you posted over 360 comments in the "Another New Financial Thread" in under 15 hours -- a new record. So here's the latest "new" financial thread.

Just a note: Some of us blew off some steam last night which is bound to happen in a venue such as this sometimes. But today's a new day, so let's pledge to stop feeding the bears and trolls and return to some semblance of serious, civil discussion. Your cooperation is much appreciated!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Another New Financial Thread

The last financial thread has almost dropped off the main page and has seen no activity for three days. So here's a new one. You know how to use it!

Ask the Communications Committee -- Now Available Online!

The Communications Committee has now set up a separate website (now defunct) with a list of FAQs and a form for submitting your questions online. That's one less excuse for not submitting questions. You don't even have to leave home now. So submit those questions! Flood them with questions -- legitimate questions. Be respectful and non-confrontational in your remarks, but let them know if you still have unresolved questions! It's the process we've been given, and if we don't follow the process they're just going to say it's a handful of disgruntled members who have questions. This is your opportunity to prove them wrong!

Thanks to googleguy for bringing this to our attention.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Yet Another New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

With 400 comments in a little over 48 hours, the last deacon loyalty pledge thread was getting too long and needed to be begun anew. So here's the latest thread.

Remember there are other threads with topics more appropriate for some of the comments that were left in the previous thread.

And please, while it shouldn't be necessary to repeat this, try to be civil and respectful in your comments.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dr. Adrian Rogers -- Your Memories

Anything not strictly "on topic" and of a positive nature in this thread will be deleted. "Bellevue friend" suggested this topic as a tribute to Dr. Rogers, and that's all it's for. Think about the online guestbook for Dr. Rogers' family which has grown to over 140 pages, and don't write anything here you wouldn't write there!


Since today is the one year anniversary of Dr. Rogers' homegoing I am wondering what is your most treasured memory of him?

For me, it was meeting him on four different occasions. He was the kindest of men! He always made you feel like you were the most important person in the world!

My most vivid memory was hearing him preach at Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City when they were installing their new president and had set up an outdoor tent that must have seated 1000 people or better.

At the beginning of his sermon, a terrble thunderstorm hit... they lost most of the power including his microphone. Undaunted, he left the platform and began walking back and forth down the aisle preaching like a modern day Billy Sunday!

I am so glad I had my whole family there... my wife and our three sons heard the "Greatest Preacher" of his generation... stand and deliver!

Write your most vivid memory in his honor!

bellevue friend

Thank you for the idea for this thread, "bellevue friend"!

Need I say that anything not strictly "on topic" and of a positive nature in this thread will be deleted?


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Another New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

Congratulations. You've left over 300 comments in the "New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread" in less than 48 hours. So for the sake of our dial-up friends, please continue your discussions here.

Please keep it civil, respectful, and stop and think before hitting "Send"!

Sunday, November 12, 2006

New Deacon Loyalty Pledge Thread

The old "Deacon Loyalty Pledge" thread has gotten too long and drifted off topic, so please continue that discussion here. And please remember to be civil and respectful in your comments.

History of Bellevue Baptist Church

This is an interesting article about the rich history of Bellevue by James R. Pirtle. Enjoy!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Love Offering 2006

This Sunday, November 12th, is Love Offering Sunday at Bellevue Baptist Church.

After all the information about the improvements and future expansions of the physical plant of Bellevue, there is a reference to funding for the Impact Ministry Center in Frayser, the only mention of any of the 2006 Love Offering going towards missions.

Now, let's look at giving by various churches across the SBC to the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for international missions. In 2005 Bellevue Baptist Church was 41st in amount given at $201,725.00. The list of the top 100 churches in total giving is here.

To put that into perspective, however, we need to look at the per capita amount given. For a church like Bellevue, reported to have 29,700 members, that's a paltry $6.79 per member! Even if just 10,000 members contributed, that's still only $20.17 per person. The list of the top 100 churches in per capita giving is here. Note that BBC comes nowhere close to making the cut.

Here are last year's designations for the Love Offering, and there's no mention of missions.

A search of Bellevue's website results in 0 (zero) records containing "Lottie Moon" or the terms "giving" and "missions" in the same article.

Considering the issues facing our church now and the information presented above:

1. Do you plan to contribute to the 2006 Love Offering?

2. Do you believe that recent Love Offerings have been wisely invested in Bellevue and in the ways they were promised?

3. What is your opinion of the amount given to missions? How does it reflect on our vision to "Send out Thy light and Thy truth"?

4. Estimates of the cash reserves of BBC range from $25-30 million, and this year's general budget receipts are estimated to exceed $30,000,000. How does this influence your opinion?

Please remember to keep your comments respectful of others regardless of whether you agree with someone's position or not. We can disagree without being disagreeable.

Thanks to "memphismom02" for the idea for this topic.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Deacons to Pledge Loyalty to Pastor Steve Gaines

The following letter was written by deacon chairman Chuck Taylor to the deacons:


At the conclusion of our Deacons meeting that followed the evening service, all who were present unanimously approved the following motion:

"The 2006 active Deacon Body of Bellevue Baptist Church met November 5th after the evening service and unanimously approved the following motion. We the active Deacon Body of Bellevue Baptist Church wish to convey to our Church family our affirmation of Dr. Steve Gaines as God’s appointed and God’s anointed Pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church. We commit ourselves before God and our Church family to serve with loyalty under his leadership and to free him up to do the work to which God has called him to do. We publicly demonstrate our loyalty to Pastor Gaines by signing our name to this motion and standing before the Church congregation in each of the morning worship services on November 19, 2006."

Over the next few days, each Vice Chairman will be calling the men in their group to go over the motion and answer any questions. The motion requires each Deacon to sign his name to the motion indicating his public approval of the motion, so please go to the Events Registration Center to sign it. If you have any reservations in signing this motion, please discuss it with your Vice Chairman. I want to reiterate that every Deacon that was present in the Deacons meeting following the service unanimously approved this motion, with the understanding they were to sign it and to stand before the congregation on November 19th. Our congregation needs to know where the Deacons stand during these challenging days.


Interesting article: Preacher Rule According to the Scriptures

What do you think of this?

One answer per person, please.

Do you think it's Biblically sound for the deacons to sign a pledge of loyalty to the pastor?
Certainly. He's the spiritual authority of the church.
I don't know, but I see nothing wrong with it.
I don't know, but it bothers me.
No. We are to pledge allegiance to no man, only to God.
Free polls from

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ask the Communications Committee!

On Sunday night, November 5th, we were told by Harry Smith, chairman of the Communications Committee that they had received only about 15 questionnaires from members. The forms are available at the ERC in the west lobby, but perhaps some have forgotten to pick them up. Therefore, a downloadable copy is being made available here.

There is room for one question on this form, and I'm sure there are many with more than one question. Whether or not submitting these forms will result in any questions being answered, no one yet knows. However, if they receive only 15 forms they're going to think everyone is satisfied with the kinds of answers that were given in the information meetings on 9/24 and 11/5, and who would blame them? If you were not satisfied with the answers you received in those meetings, I would encourage you to download and fill out a copy of this form for every question you have. Do it this week! If it takes 10 copies, then by all means fill out and submit 10 copies! There is a special box in the west lobby where you can drop them off.

Also, we were told on Sunday that members of the committee will make themselves available beginning November 12th in a room near the fellowship hall between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30 on Sunday mornings. We were invited to drop by and meet the committee members and ask any questions we may have for them. So again, I would encourage everyone who still has questions to drop by and visit with the committee.

Go with an open mind, and please don't be confrontational! Remain calm and respectful, ask any legitimate questions you might have, and give them the opportunity to respond. You may think this is a waste of time. Maybe it is. I hope not, but it is the procedure that we've been given to try to resolve these issues. Right now we need to work within the system.

Please don't give them the satisfaction of saying, "Only 15 people had questions, so that means the other 29,985 are satisfied."

Monday, November 06, 2006

Carol Pemberton Letter #2

On November 4th Carol Pemberton wrote a follow-up letter to her October 12th letter to the deacons.

What do you think about this one?

Saturday, November 04, 2006

E-mail Exchange Between Deacons on Biblical Authority

The following is a series of letters, the first two from deacon Robert Teutsch to some unidentified but concerned Bellevue members.

Letter #1 and Letter #2 are here.

Letter #3 which is here was written by Mr. Alvin Ellis, longtime Bellevue member and now inactive deacon to Robert Teutsch after Mr. Ellis received copies of Mr. Teutsch's two letters.

Letter #4 (immediately below) was Mr. Teutsch's reply, in its entirety, to Mr. Ellis.

From: Robert Teutsch
To: Alvin Ellis
Sent: Monday, October 30, 2006 8:01 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: Letter: Bellevue Stuff

This is where you and I disagree.

Letter #5 which is here is the letter Mr. Ellis sent to each member of the deacon body.

Mr. Ellis has given his express permission to publish his letters here, and Mr. Teutsch gave his permission to the unidentified recipients to "pass [them] on to anyone else who may be seeking truth in this situation."

Mr. Ellis has shared with me some statistics regarding the replies he's received from deacons to his letter. So far he's received 11 e-mail responses. Two disagreed with Mr. Teutsch. The rest didn't say they disagreed, so he says he assumed (based upon the instructions in his letter) that they agreed with Mr. Teutsch. He characterized them as ranging from "harsh" to "can't-we-just-all-get-along." He says he's received several positive verbal responses and one "rather harsh" verbal response. Some of the specific responses (sans names) will be posted later.

New Financial Thread

Since everyone used the "Announcements" thread for discussion anyway, and since that thread has now grown to over 200 comments, we need to tie a knot in that one and start anew.

So please continue the current discussion in here.



Friday, November 03, 2006

Words to Consider

This was shared with me by a brother who requested I post it. These are wise words that we all should consider.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Proverbs 24:3-6

3 A house is built by wisdom and becomes strong through good sense.

4 Through knowledge its rooms are filled with all sorts of precious riches and valuables.

5 A wise man is mightier than a strong man, and a man of knowledge is more powerful than a strong man.

6 So don't go to war without wise guidance; victory depends on having many counselors.

Each of us have our own stories of how we came to Christ. It was at this point we examined Christ's love for us. It was at this point the humility of His Love and Mercy struck us, wooed us, cared for us, and granted us a hope for our future. We were introduced to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

These are serious times that require serious discourse. Cavalier statements that disregard others feelings or lose track of Whose blessed name we profess is totally uncalled for. Dr. Rogers said something along these lines. Truth without love is butchery. Love without truth is hypocrisy. If I got this wrong - please, someone correct me - Proverbs 9:8-9.

The other morning I listened to another pastor speak of how Jesus spoke in parable. This pastor suggested that Jesus did this so that the listener could think about the whole story without getting into a defensive posture. He referred to this defensive posture as "judicial hardening." Judicial hardening occurs through the process of debate when your faith is challenged and results in the hardening of the heart. Some may not be challenging others' faith but some are questioning others' integrity. I guess I can see the hardening of the hearts.

I ask all those in concern to pray for humility. Please have a conviction for your point of view but balance it with a humility for another's point of view. God is omnipotent. God is sovereign. We are the recipients of life because a Man's love was so great that he had His flesh thrashed, nailed to some wood and hung for many to mock. I am compelled to remind you of His Church in this forum, His Life, His sacrifice, His grace and Mercy for our lives. His church is a vessel for our redemption. His church is a vessel for relationship. We are mutilating our own body.

So please reflect before you react. Please pray before you respond. And provide for others an edifying atmosphere to speak their hearts.

Proverbs 25:28 A person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls.

New Poll

Christians grow, or not, depending on a variety of influences. The current situation at Bellevue has affected many people in many different ways. This poll is intended to measure just how these issues have affected your walk.

Please read before answering:

When answering, please consider only the influence the Bellevue situation has had on your Christian walk, not whether you've become disillusioned with the church or any person. This is about the effect on your daily walk with and faith in the Lord only.

One answer per person, please.

Thanks to "mkw" for this poll suggestion.

Considering for a moment ONLY the issues facing Bellevue right now, how have these issues affected your Christian walk?
They've had a positive impact and strengthened my walk a lot.
They've had a positive impact and perhaps strengthened my walk a little.
They've had a negative impact but have weakened my walk only a little.
They've had a negative impact, and greatly weakened my walk.
They've made no difference.
Free polls from

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Announcements... or Whatever

This thread has gotten too long for those who are "still stuck with dial-up," so please, if you would, go to the "New Financial Thread" above to continue the current discussion. Thanks for your cooperation!

Originally I wrote: This thread is, as the name implies, a place for announcements rather than in depth discussions.

Note regarding Richard Emerson's comment from 2:06 a.m., November 3, 2006:

Mr. Emerson wrote me this afternoon and requested I remove his comment because he'd lost his password and couldn't log in. I honored his request. However, his edited version of those comments is in letter form

If you have something you'd like to have included here, rather than put it in a comment in this thread, please place the information in a comment and leave it in the "Suggestion Box" thread. That way I can add links and edit as needed and post it "on the front page" in this thread.

So much for that idea. Now that there don't seem to be any announcements, at least not any that have been dropped in the Suggestion Box, I've just changed the title to reflect the fact that discussions are indeed taking place here.

That's all. Continue on now...

Psst! Please come in here to tell people if they don't like it to leave.

It seems there are a few people who, instead of trying to follow the topics offered for discussion, are choosing to instead make sometimes long-winded and often disparaging comments of the "if you don't like it, leave" variety. Requests to keep things civil and respectful are being ignored. Therefore, in the interest of fairness and openness, this thread is now available for anyone who wants to leave such a message. Any further messages of that flavor left in other threads will be copied and moved to this thread, and the original will be deleted.

There are some who want to come here and have legitimate, civil discussions of issues facing Bellevue and the church in general, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to do so with all the off-topic comments scattered throughout this forum. So please feel free to use this thread to offer your unsolicited advice.

Thank you in advance for your cooperation!

Monday, October 30, 2006

What Would You Do?

Okay, here's one from the Suggestion Box...

If a respected staff member came to you with information and claimed to have documents that could hurt the office of the pastor, what would you do?

Please, try to separate the question from Mark Sharpe & Co., Dr. Gaines, and Bellevue and think in generalities.

1. Could you in good conscience keep it to yourself?

2. What steps would you take to try to resolve the issue?

3. How many months should you try to resolve the issue if there's no cooperation from the pastor?

4. Would Matthew 18 apply in a case like this? If so, and you attempted to follow Matthew 18 and got all the way to the step where you needed to take your issue before the church, how would you go about doing that?

5. What if you had a job in the secular world and a respected colleague came to you with information and documents about your boss that could hurt the company? Would you handle that situation any differently?

Again, regardless of your opinions about the current situation at Bellevue, try to think of a general situation without considering specific personalities and think about what you would do. We should all seek to know what Jesus would do, but what do you think Jesus would do?

Thanks to "eccl.7:25" for this topic suggestion.

Purpose Driven?

This seems to be a recurring theme in the comments -- that Bellevue may be moving toward a Purpose Driven model. Please comment on anything you perceive being related to the PDC movement in this thread.

1. Do you think Bellevue is moving in this direction? Why or why not? If so, does this concern you?

2. Have you read The Purpose Driven Life? If so, what did you think about it?

3. Has your Bible Fellowship Class or other group done a study of the PDL? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

4. Do you see this movement and its wide appeal across denominational lines as evidence of the "one world church" the Bible tells us will emerge in the latter days?

These are some links from my personal list, but there are many other sources for information on this topic.

Letter to editor of the Americus Times-Recorder (two pages long).

Reply to above.

Are Rick Warren's Teachings at Bellevue Baptist?

Berean's PDL Discernment Tool

Book review -- Transitioning

Church Growth Movement (multiple articles).

Change Dividing Southern Baptist Mega-Church thread pertaining to Bellevue.

Lighthouse Trails Research Project

One Man's Purpose-Driven Journal

Spirit-Led or Purpose Driven?

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6

The Purpose-Driven Pastor discussion.

Transitioning an established church.

Signs of the church growth movement.

Please remember to keep your comments civil and respectful and reflective of the Christians we are. We don't have to agree, but we don't have to be disagreeable either.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Prayer is the Key

This was placed in the Suggestion Box by "prayerwarrior." I think it deserves top billing.

"I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men;" I Timothy 2:1

The following prayer guide would be wonderful to use at such a time as this as we pray for Bellevue:


Acknowledge God's sovereignty and praise Him.

Thank Him for guidance and the opportunity to promote healing.

What is God wanting to teach through the situation?

Ask God:

1) For the Holy Spirit to convict those who have done wrong.
2) To have the right words and attitude when talking with those involved.
3) To give you His love for the person(s) involved.
4) For humility in dealing with the problem.
5) For all involved to know the truth.
6) How to handle the situation His way and the courage to do it.

Pray against:

Blindness to sin
Distortion of the truth
Disunity among believers
Unwillingness to hear truth or inaccurate hearing
Cold/closed/hard hearts
Destructive protectiveness

May we all remember that prayer is the key to everything in life. Pray that God grant us strength and wisdom in this and every situation.

Another prayer to consider, this one from "1cor13"...

Dear God help us to be kind, tenderhearted, and loving with those whom we disagree with (Ephesians 4:32). Help us to be merciful with those who have wronged us (Matthew 5:7), for we know that we all deserve hell, but thankfully you don't give us what we deserve in Jesus Christ. (Romans 6:23) Help us to see clearly our own sin in a disagreement (Matthew 7:1-2), especially when passions stir our flesh. Guard our conversation that it be filled with grace and edifying to the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:29) Keep us from demanding justice when we ourselves need new mercies each day. (Matthew 18:30) Help us to be patient with each other as you have been infinitely patient with us. Help us to not keep a record of wrongs (I Corinthians 13), as a gracious expression of love. Dear Lord, keep our disagreements with people from turning to hatred of them. (I John 3:14) For we know that Christ loves sinners so much that he shed his blood for them.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Some Bellevue members have stated that they're taking the money they normally would give to the church and giving it to other Christian organizations or setting it aside until things at Bellevue blow over, so to speak.

Have you changed your tithing habits because of all this? If so, and only to the extent you wish to share, to what sorts of causes are you now giving?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Financial Issues

Links to 3 articles on this subject can be found here.

A simplified definition would be the transferring of a Church asset to an insider for less than fair market value where "insiders" are defined as "pastors, ministers, board members, officers, and employees."

It is alleged impropriety of this nature that Mark Sharpe claims to have knowledge of. Specifically, he claims that current and former staff members with whom he had a close working relationship have claimed to have proof of such occurrences and have confided this information in him, but they will not come forward with that proof until the appropriate protections are in place. They reportedly have been willing to do so all along, but Dr. Gaines and other staff members have refused to meet with them under these conditions.

1. Should Mark Sharpe and these individuals be granted the opportunity to present any evidence they might have with the protections requested in place?

2. Should a preacher and other staff have church credit cards? Why or why not? Should there be accountability to the membership for the use of these cards? Should the receipts be available for review at any time? What if there are allegations of misuse? Who should be able to review them?

3. Use of a church credit card for personal expenditures, even when those charges are reimbursed to the church, is considered "co-mingling of funds." Aside from any legal ramifications, is this proper?

4. The more openness and transparency there is by the staff regarding the stewardship of money, the fewer questions there will be. How much transparency do you think is necessary?

Use this thread to discuss any matters related to financial concerns at Bellevue.

Communications Committee Revisited

Has anyone submitted a question to the new Communications Committee and received a response? If so,

1. What was your question?

2. What type(s) of responses did you receive?

3. Do you think the committee has been given the information necessary to answer your questions?

4. There was a check box on the form that you could check to request a meeting with the committee. Did you do this? If so, have you been invited to meet with them?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What Do You Tell the Children?

Someone asked about resources which might give insight into how to explain all this to children.

Anyone have any ideas?

1. Have your children asked you about the situation at Bellevue?

2. Have you heard your children and their friends discussing it?

3. Have you discussed any of this with your children? If so, how did you explain it?

Is Bellevue a Part-time Job for Dr. Gaines?

This was the question posed on the savingbellevue site. This is a list of his known speaking dates for the next few months. There may be more, but this is all the person who researched this could find right now. He has already been away on Wednesday evenings for other speaking engagements, including 9/25 to 9/27 at Second Baptist Union City, and a Thursday morning, October 12th, at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has already had a two-week personal vacation. With most jobs one has to be employed for one year before receiving a vacation.

He told us in the 9/24 "information meeting" that he needed Wednesday nights off from preaching for committee meetings and such so he could devote other nights to family activities. There was no mention of revivals or other speaking engagements.

So... what do you think?

1. Should family activities (i.e. volleyball games, etc.) take preference over being in church on Wednesday evenings, especially if you're the pastor of the church?

2. Is it okay for a pastor to be away from the pulpit for more than say, 2 or 3 Sundays in a year (in addition to a regular vacation), and not reimburse the church for his replacement? Do you consider this "double dipping"?

3. Do you think "family activities" is the real reason he's gone so much and doesn't preach on Wednesday nights? Did you find his explanation to be completely truthful and acceptable?

4. Does Bellevue need a preacher more than a pastor? Of course, we need both, but the whole package isn't that easy to find. So if you had a choice... which would you choose?

5. Would you like to see Dr. Gaines delegate less and take a more active and personal role in ministering to his flock?

6. Why was he so "pooped" (his word) that he needed another associate pastor in the form of David Coombs? Dr. Rogers was a much older man and didn't have to hire another associate. Should the church have voted on hiring another high-level pastor considering the high-level salary such a position must command?

Welcome to the "New" BBC Open Forum

Recently a concerned, anonymous Bellevue member created a blog called BBC Open Forum to serve as a continuation of the Commercial Appeal comments section which appeared along with the two articles about the current situation at Bellevue. (See first thread in this blog for links to those articles.) It was begun as a place for people to comment on and discuss the issues addressed in the CA articles. For reasons known only to himself, this person has decided to remove his blog which also shuts down the discussion forum.

Therefore, this blog, the New BBC Open Forum, has been created to continue to serve the same purpose as the original BBC Open Forum, that is, a place where those concerned about the Bellevue situation can come to comment and exchange ideas in a respectful, Christian spirit.

The rules are as follows:

1. You can remain anonymous by using a screen name, but you must register. No "anonymous" comments allowed. It just gets too confusing otherwise.

2. Comments will not be moderated at this time, BUT if any comment contains profanity or is judged by me to cross the line (and I think most of us know where that line is), it will be deleted. Sorry if that doesn't sound "fair" to some, but I'm ultimately responsible for this little corner of the 'net now, so please don't make me have to go there. With very few exceptions, people in the BBC Open Forum have conducted themselves in an appropriate manner, and I trust everyone will continue to do so. While we haven't always agreed, most haven't been disageeable. To paraphrase something BBC Open Forum said, remember that whatever you write here will be seen by the world, so choose your words carefully and set the right tone.

3. Threads and the accompanying comments from the original BBC Open Forum have been transferred to this forum, and new threads will be added from time to time. The comments from the original BBC Open Forum threads will all be posted together in the first comment in each transferred thread. Comments can then be continued from there.

4. Anyone who wishes to begin a discussion of a new topic is invited to post a suggestion in the "Suggestion Box" thread created solely for that purpose or to PM me at the e-mail address in my profile. Please do not use this thread for any other purpose such as to tell me to "shut down this blog," etc. It is intended for new topic suggestions only.

I have posted comments in various threads on the BBC Open Forum site as "notastepfordsheep," and while like everyone else, I have my personal opinions about things, I will always endeavor to keep my personal feelings separate from my hosting of this forum. My purpose in continuing this blog is not to push my ideas to the forefront but merely to provide a place for the original BBC Open Forum to continue. I want this to be a place that can be fair and balanced to everyone. Please bear with me while I "learn the ropes," as I'm new to this blogging stuff!

The End of a Brief Era -- Original BBC Open Forum Says Goodbye

From the original BBC Open Forum:

I have been invited to move along and am accepting the invitation to do so.

I plan to delete this site at some point soon in the future. If you want to copy & paste all this stuff to a new site you have my permission (not that you need it). Should anyone wish to begin a new blog to continue the conversation that is easily done through the blogger site and it is free. If you wish you may set up your site and post a link in the comment section of this thread pointing people there.

Not that it matters but I don’t much care about credit cards or the fence. It is listening to the words on tape and the Holy Land trip business that bother me. Those are not allegations, they are just the way it is. The words from the heart and the set up of the trip are well documented. Decide for yourself and stay or leave as you see fit. I already have. Some may cheer and some may be disappointed by this. Perhaps no one will give a hoot.

I don’t feel very good about much of what has happened and I don’t see a “winner” coming out of this. Well, God always wins in the end but you know what I mean. Anyway, I just can’t hang around here or any other BBC site because it is starting to impact my personal walk a little too much. Maybe that is selfish, I don't know. Moving on may not be the right thing to do, but it seems right to me.

Please don't respond to me in the comments. I won't be reading them.

I don’t know what else to say. I’ll let my last words to you be my personal favorite Bible verse which is John 16:33.

"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."

posted by BBC Open Forum at 11:10 AM on Oct 24 2006