"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

A Call to Prayer for a Young Girl, Her Family, and Bellevue Baptist Church

There are those cynics in the world who believe that Christians are incapable of dealing with problems in their midst, until forced to face them by the world.

Thankfully, it seems as the information age has allowed God's people called Southern Baptists to be able to police themselves.

Rather than go into the details of events at Bellevue Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, I would suggest you simply read this article and pray . . .

Already this morning I have prayed for healing in the life of a young lady, her family, and Bellevue Baptist Church. I am also praying for the pastors of Bellevue during this trying time -- that if any crime has been perpetrated that the criminal will be justly punished by the law and the courts, and that any Christian guilty of such crimes will be graciously forgiven upon repentance, and all those pastors affected by the actions of another pastor, if found to be guilty, would not lose heart in the face of trial.

Thank the Lord this issue has come to light.

The seed of transparency, when watered by God's people, always blossoms into the flower of mutual accountability.

In His Grace,

Wade Burleson

Update: I have been told the child was a boy. Just as sad. Please pray for him and the family.

98 comments:

volfan007 said...

let me just say one thing about this whole deal at bellevue....this man was on staff, and the incident happened, under dr. adrian rogers....was it not? why has this group all of a sudden made this a big deal now? why are they making everything...no matter how small it is...a huge deal....now?

the fact is they dont like steve gaines, and they are making mountains out of molehills and jumping on everything that he says and does and try to make it look bad.


all of us pastors have dealt with people who get mad at you, or they dont like the direction you are taking the church....and, all of a sudden, you are no longer the hero and best friend who can do no wrong. you are the dog who can do nothing right. and, they shout loud and clear about every little unwise decision you make. pastors, am i right?


we need to pray for this great church and this fine, Christian pastor, steve gaines. this is really sad.

volfan007

Stephen Fox said...

Wade:
Proud of you for having the integrity and honesty of bringing your blogging world's attention to this trouble of a powerhouse in the next generation of emerging SBC fundamentalism.
I have to point out, however, the irony of linking a noted CBF, Alliance news source, ED.com for your reference here.
Will be interesting to see how Richard Land nuances it all.
I have expressed myself in the SBC Trends discussion at www.baptistlife.com/forums
STill hoping a conversation develops with you and WMU's retired Ex Dir, Carolyn Weatherford there in the new year.
Back to Bellevue, Christa Brown story.
I encourage all of you to read the New Yorker Review and see the Kate Winslett movie Little Children.
I think that parable may be didactic for all of us with this troubling issue.

Wade Burleson said...

Volfan007,

You may be right,

However, pedophilia is a crime.

I served on a police task force in the state of Oklahoma focusing in on sex crimes. The statistics are alarming. The only way to help a pedophile, like a drunk, is to ban the man from children (or in the case of the drunk, alcohol).

I am of the opinion that a child abuser who is serving as pastor disqualifies himself, permanently, from pastoral ministry, no matter the repentance, no matter the counseling, no matter the forgiveness.

Pedophilia should have consequences for the perpetrator until death (never alone with children, tight accountability, etc . . . ) even though he may be forgiven of his sin by God's people.

I realize that false allegations are often made, but it seems that the pastor in question has made some sort of confession.

If Dr. Gaines had information, he is on treacherous ground not reporting it.

In other words, I would not consider this nonreporting by Dr. Gaines a 'small' thing.

irreverend fox said...

Wade,

you are a pastor of a big church so maybe you can help us/me understand this.

why is that there are THOUSANDS of wonder men of God pastoring churches that are not big...single staff types...that would have enough common sense to know how to deal with this situation in the right way...

and yet it seems like the pastors of big churches act like fools? I'm serious and I'm not trying to be sarcastic.

what is it about a large congregations and fools/ closet homosexuals/ adulterers... am I out of line or is my observation that the larger the congregation the more suspect the pastor is?

why is pastor Charles Whitlock or Roger Larison or Martin Jones not house hold names? these men have a deep love Christ, have absolute integrity, humility and have a true, genuine, spirit filled pastoral heart for people? why are these men not mega church pastors and yet so many who are have no such qualities?

once again I'm just bewildered at the american evangelical church...

Anonymous said...

volfan007

I would say that it does not matter who the pastor of Bellevue is now. Certainly sexual misconduct toward a minor is not a "molehill"

Jack Maddox said...

This is just heart breaking...I do agree with Volfan that here is a group of folks 'hunting' Dr. Gaines and they are using this to their own end...HOWEVER, If Dr. Gaines sat on this...and apparently he did, then he is without excuse and this may be he final nail in the coffin. Now we do not know all the details so all of this is speculation...but the fact is PREACHERS...when you get word of any sexual abuse or misconduct with a minor by anyone...confidentiality is out the door...you MUST REPORT IT! As a parent of a foster child who was viciously abused and a SBC Pastor, I feel I can speak with some credibility to this.

Blessings and prayers for BBC

Jack

johnthebaptist2007 said...
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johnthebaptist2007 said...
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Bob Cleveland said...

Wade:

The events speak for themselves, but I think it's evidence that the end times are upon us. If so, folks in the ministry and maybe even the laity had best get the act cleaned up. It looks like God may be cleaning up the bride for the marriage ceremony.

While previewing this, I noted JohnJax's comment about "the majority of those who post on your blog could make great arguments that the "parameters" need to be broadened to include repentant child abusers..". I'll let you comment on its appropriateness, but I object on my own behalf to any inference of that, at all.

I agree with Wade's statement, only moreso.

johnthebaptist2007 said...
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volfan007 said...

i did not say that sexual crimes were a molehill...good grief! of course, sex crimes are bad...and especially against a child are worse. this man should not have been a minister....i agree.

my point was this.....this man committed the crime 17 years ago...while a staff member under dr. adrian rogers. do you not think that no one at bellevue new about this then? why was he allowed to stay on staff? and, why are they just now making a big deal out of this? why didnt they say the same things about dr. rogers? thats my point. why now? why are they making this an issue now? what happened to all those 17 years under dr. rogers?


the molehills i was referring to was not the sex crime deal. it was steve gaines jumping a small fence to try to talk to one of the men who is so angry with him. the molehills they are making mountains out of are the changing the traditional service to a blended service and them not liking it and getting mad at steve gaines for it.

so, please, dont think i was belittling what happened to the sex crime victim. i was not. i was just wondering why they are making that an issue now...after 17 yrs under dr. rogers not hearing a peep out of any of them? could it be that they dont like steve gaines and are trying to use this to discredit him...make him look bad....and get rid of him as the pastor?


volfan007


ps. i loved and respected dr. rogers greatly. so, dont try to make this into a statement of me being against him either. he was a great man of God. i dont understand him allowing a pedophile to continue on staff...do you? maybe david could wiegh in on this and help us out.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother Wade,

While I agree that Dr. Gaines should not have sat on this information for 6 months, I cannot help but allow myself to empathize with his situation. He is under attack from church members calling for his resignation, some for reasons of letting Jim Whitmire go, and a 17 year staff member enters his office and confides this to him. As I said earlier, I do believe he should have at least had the staff member share it with the Executive Pastor also and then decide how to proceed. But, I can understand him not wanting to add that log onto the fire. He did what many pastors do, allowed his heart to rule the day. I do credit him with doing the right thing once he found out that the staff member was less than honest about the resolution within the family.

I do call Dr. Spradlin to task for his public involvement now. I do not know if this link will work but you can cut and past.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/mca/local/article/0,2845,MCA_25340_5225600,00.html

I too have prayed for this situation. I once heard the late Dr. Adrian Rogers say; "The Devil would rather start one church fight, than sell 12 barrels of liquor."

Blessings,
Tim

johnthebaptist2007 said...
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John Fariss said...

A lot of those who have responded to this article want to make it broader than it is, don't they? Some want to make it about megachurches, about Adrian Rogers, about Steve Gaine's pastorate, about those called to established megachurches, about Richard Land, even about the CBF! Pardon me folks, but your (Freudian) slip is showing. Consider whether your comments reveal more about where your focus is than what is going on at Bellevue.

Both as a police detective and as a pastor, I have had some dealings with sexual predators. And I discovered two things: one, they often do not understand their own actions, or like their actions, and may feel terrible shame, guilt, or even remorse over it; and two, none of that stops them from repeating it--at least none that I have been familiar with. It is not just a bad habbit one can break by will power or even through faith. Opportunities also must be limited, one way or another, as the act is often not about sex, but rather about control--which is why the gender, age, and physical attributes of the victim are irrelevant.

I appreciate the focus Wade has: let us unite in prayer for those affected by it.

volfan007 said...

so, this man was on staff for 34 years at bellevue. the incident allegedly happened 17 years ago.

yes, steve gaines should have told someone in the church. yes, gaines should have done more about this. like tim rogers said, maybe his heart ruled the day over his head. the incident happened years ago. steve says that he thought the whole issue was resolved. he was informed that it wasnt. he told church leaders about it after he found out that this was not just some past, over and done issue.

again, maybe steve has not made the wisest of decisions on how to handle all the disgruntled folks at bellevue....but again, they are making huge mountains out of molehills. this crowd does not like steve. they are angry. they will say anything and accuse him of anything to get rid of him.

also, i too dont understand dr. spradlin making public comments about this issue. that was surprising. i know dr. spradlin. he is a very wise and godly fella. this surprised me.

volfan007


volfan007

gmay said...

The nature of blogging continues to amaze me. Wade made a simple call to prayer and here we go. Gossip, innuendo, and personal opinions kill the spirit of prayer. The bottom line is, "none of us know all the facts." This is not a "fundamentalist", "moderate" or "liberal" problem. It is not just a mega church problem. One of the two churches in Texas making new today include a medium size church and a small church. Perhaps today is a day to cry out with the voice of Nehemiah in intercession for our brothers. The situation in Bellevue is not helping any faction in Baptist life. The precedents being set in the blog world are ushering in a new chapter for pastors to deal with in the future and I am afraid these are not healthy precedents. It is a sad day when what used to be a difficult business meeting will now be a public blog. Perhaps this is not a day to point fingers or take up arms of defense, but to cry out with Isaiah, "I am a man of unclean lips among a people of unclean lips."

volfan007 said...

john,

are you saying that a pedophile cannot be changed by the power of God? that a child abuser will always be a child abuser, and there's no hope for that person...ever? and, are you saying that this man has probably done this to a lot more children? and, that he has probably been doing this thru out his 34 years at bellevue?

volfan007

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

This issue is one that needs prayer not debate. The Pastor, church, family, and son all need our prayers not our discussions.

I do believe that Steve Gaines is getting a raw deal but this new situation is totally seperate and one that should wake us all up to the evil that is attacking the church today!

Alycelee said...

I've been observing comments here as well as the other female staff members at my office.
I have to tell you we are shocked at some of the comments.
We published a series of stories about abuse among Christians. According to the Christianity Today poll of 1808 women, 18% were sexually abused. According to several other reports, 1 in 4 women in the church are abused in some manner.
The Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence provides guidelines for pastors and staff who ministers to women who have been abused: UNDER THIS LIST WAS DONT DO NOTHING,
This sounds like what has been done-NOTHING
VOLFAN-the reason they made a big deal is because it is a BIG DEAL. It's a reallly big deal. This isn't about Steve Gaines, it isn't about making him look bad, its about a crime.
I'm amazed that your prayers go out to the church, this fine pastor and I hear nothing for this young lady? That is what is really sad!

Alycelee said...

Bob, I agree, I too was offended at that comment from JAX, please don't paint me with that brush.

And I do agree that God is exposing sin. No longer will these things go hidden, in any of us.

If the victim was male/female, young/old does not matter. They were indeed victim. The price to that victim is costly. I work with such victims often and see how it cost even generations to come. Our prayers need to be to all... including especially this victim of the crime.

Kevin Bussey said...

I agree with Tim G. This whole thing is tragic. Imagine what this is doing to "THE CHURCH" in Memphis.

I will pray for all involved.

Debbie said...

Volfan:It happened 17 years ago, but to this girl it was as if it happened yesterday. The victim relieves it daily I assure you. When sexual abuse happens, it changes the victim for life. A murderer can still be arrested seventeen years after a crime.

I agree with Alycelee. I'm surprised at some of the comments. It's a crime and it is a big deal. God can heal, and He's the only one who can. Thus the prayer.

CB Scott said...

ALL,

I agree with Wade Burleson completely word for word in this matter as he answered Volfan.

I guess it is because he is of a similar background as I that he sees the "line" so clearly between pastoral ministry and obeying the law of the land.

Pastors and seninary officials alike had bettwer learn that not to report at once this crime is against the law regardless of their rational for not doing so.

We are mandated to obey the law of the land in both the O.T. and
N.T.

There is no valid excuse in this situation for disobedience. Not even the plea of ignorance will stand.

cb

Roger Simpson said...

Gmay:

I agree that bringing up this issue does not or should not "help" any "facet" in the SBC. As you say, it does not cut one way or the other relative to "Moderate" vs. "Conservative" or "Mega Church" vs. "Smaller Congregations". That being said, it does not logically follow that people should get a free pass from having to face the consequences of actions. Sometimes it takes exposing things to the light of day before people will take action.

I think anyone looking at the various "situations" in recent history with leaders in the "church" in the USA will admit that more often than not there was no contrition or acknowledgement until external circumstances finally blew the cover.

I just don't see how anyone can look the other way when sexual abuse is involved. I just don't see how one can just "let this stuff ride". The Catholic Church is seeing the ramifications of what happens (a) when their has been abuse, and (b) when many who should have taken action to stop and/or expose it just "looked the other way".

If BLOGGING is in any way instrumental in stopping or exposing sexual abuse in the church then this should be encouraged not discouraged.

Roger Simpson
Oklahoma City OK

Jack Maddox said...

cb

You are dead on with this one!

Preachers and really everyone ned to study up on the laws and aplication of law in this sensitive area.

Many preachers have made decisions of the heart and it has cost them dearly...

Jack

Winning Truth w/Tim Guthrie said...

Just a point: The person molested was the ministers son - not daughter.

Debbie said...

Tim Guthrie: And I knew that, that's what I get for going quickly. Thank you for the correction. Just substitute the word the boy for the girl.

jasonk said...

I have been following the issue at Bellevue for months now, and it has grieved my heart terribly, because I believed that the people behind the blogs were only out to get Steve Gaines. I still believe that.
However, Gaines set aside his role as shepherd when he neglected to report this abuse immediately. Why did he do it? Don't know. But if the shepherd puts his most vulnerable sheep at risk even for one moment, he should not be a shepherd anymore. And Gaines put these sheep at risk for six months.
God help the church. I hope no children were molested by this pastor in the six months since Gaines found out.

Anonymous said...

In Tennessee, a victim of child sexual abuse has 15 years from the time the crime is committed to press charges.

I do not support the decision to keep quiet, but are we talking about breaking the law here? Or is this more gossip generated by people who think they know what they are talking about?

volfan007 said...

again, this man was at bellevue for 34 years. the abuse happened to his own son 17 years ago. if, as john farris says, a child abuser doesnt do just one and cant stop himself, then where are all the other children that this man abused? did steve gaines try to believe him when he said that it has not happened since that time 17 years ago? that he had repented and was getting help, and maybe his work at the church did not involve children?

i am not excusing steve gaines here. i am simply trying to see that maybe steve was trying to believe the best, and maybe he has more info than we do.

i agree with yall. this man should not have remained a minister. alcylee and debbie, take a deep breath. it will all be ok. i know that yall dont like me, but please dont put words into my mouth, and read all that i said instead of taking my statements out of context. thanks.

i am just pointing out to all of yall....that there is a group at bellevue that absolutely hates steve gaines. they dont like that he nudged jim whitmire out. they dont like that he introduced a less formal, less traditional service. they dont like the fact that he is not as sophisticated as dr. rogers. they just dont like him. all of us who know this situation well knew that steve would have trouble at bellevue. steve is a little rougher around the edges than dr. rogers, and he is not dr. rogers. he is steve gaines. and, anyone who followed a legend like dr. rogers was going to have a hard time. but, this group is really out to get him.

now, i am not....i repeat...alcylee and debbie and cb and wade....are yall listening...i am not saying that child abuse is not a big deal. i am not saying that child abuse is a molehill. good grief, charlie brown. never did i say that. yall have missed my point entirely.

what i was saying is that this group is jumping on every mistake....on every shortcoming...on every unwise thing that a good and godly man like steve gaines is doing, and they are blowing it up out of proportion in order to crucify steve. open your eyes.

volfan007

CB Scott said...

Volfan,

I believe you to be a man with a good heart and I believe you are far beyond that which you would have us believe as far as your education.

At the same time your comments relating to pedophiles leads me to believe you, like so many pastors and various other church leaders, need to do some research into the darkness of the kind of people that engage in child sexual abuse.

I really believe Paul spoke to their mind-set in Romans 1,especially in verse 28.

I am making no condemning statement toward you. There is a great need for many, even in high positions of the SBC, to seek knowledge in this area.

I think it would be a good idea for at least one of the sermons at the Pastors's conference or during the SBC proper to be dropped and have a legal expert in these matters which is also a cooperating Southern Baptist, living a holy life before God and the whole world to speak to this "growing problem" and its ramifications to the local church while we are in San Antonio this year.

cb

Kevin Bussey said...

The victim is the one who was molested. Yes, the staff member should have been removed immediately. This whole thing is just tragic.

CB is right. We need to be more educated on this. I'm fortunate because my wife is a trained Social Worker by background and she keeps me informed.

God bless us all.

Jonathan K. said...

Volfan,

The reason why this has been brought up, in my belief, is that the secular news media has brought it up, more generally, with what happened at New Life in Colorado (by the way, another minister at New Life Church has now resigned because of the same thing).

It may be they also do not like Steve Gaines... but that's mere speculation on our part. We really cannot say what their real motives are. We need to pray.

Regardless, Wade, I agree with you that pedophillia is a crime, and a minister who engages in that has broken a sacred trust and disqualifies himself from ministry (until he can be and is restored, and that takes a LONG TIME, if ever). I do not believe in any kind of permanent disqualification, because who are we to limit God (although I do believe in indefinite disqualification).

Anyways, this is sad, and like others have said, we all need to pray for God to work good from this very sad and unfortunate situation.

Bob Cleveland said...

In the insurance business, there's an old saying: "Once a thief, always a thief". That refers to the fact that "Employee Dishonesty" Insurance excludes anyone who has ever stolen from an employer and either caused a claim, or been convicted. And that follows them the rest of their life.

There can be external causes which drive someone to the desperation of stealing, to feed their family, provide life-saving medical treatment for a loved one, etc. But no such external causes are behind molestation of a child. Or an adult, for that matter.

Said that to say: how in the world can a church, any organization naming the name of Jesus, have anything but ZERO TOLERANCE for that? EVER? It has nothing to do with forgiveness. God forgives and we must, too. But we must not confuse forgiveness with the idea that sin does not have consequences that will not ever disappear, this side of heaven. One of those ought to be, and to have been, that the perpetrator must be removed from ministry, period.

Of course we need to pray for the church and for the family. And we must not do so through gritted teeth, from our lofty positions of righteousness, but rather as sinners whose offenses were as disgusting to God as anyone's.

Also: does anyone think that "the problem" is limited to the Catholic Church? And is there anyone who hasn't had "those thoughts" about the Catholic Church and its (a) covering up the whole matter, or (b) refusing to recognize and deal with it?

CB's right. This needs attention from the SBC, at the convention. As events have indicated, it's been needed for years, if not decades.

Bowden McElroy said...

Just to stir things up a little: there is a difference between child molesters and pedophiles. The difference is not in the enormity of the crime or the impact on the victim. The difference is one of prognosis and recidivism rates. (The Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers)

It probably makes little difference in whether or not the Bellevue minister should go. It does make a difference in the tone of this discussion.

It also points out why pastors should not conduct their own investigations into allegations: most are simply not trained to know whether an offender is treatable or not.

Alyce Lee said...

Thank you CB.
Vol-don't like you? I don't even know you. I remain perplexed at your comments here. I simply can't buy a conspiracy theory. It's like Ananias and Sapphira have just lied to the church and we are jumping on the band wagon and saying their is a conspiracy "out to get them." (sounds like what we suggested the Catholic church did) I don't know Steve Gaines, I don't know this minister, I have no agenda to get either one of them. In fact, I have compassion for all involved including all the people of the church.
But just as Ananias and Sapphira's sins found them out, ALL UNREPENTANT SIN in the church will find us out as well. God is the one purging the church. He is your conspiracy. GOD EXPOSES US, because don't we ask Him to?
We all need to search deep inside and see what dwells therein. Because it seems apparent that God is at work cleaning us up. It's not our "name or reputation" we need to be concerned about. We have no name or reputation. We are nothing. It is the name of Christ we exalt.
I want to say I pray for Bellevue, the pastor, the minister. I pray for God to continue to work and His will be done. I pray for mercy and grace and compassion and for HIS will to be done.
But with a heavy heart, I pray for this young man, that God would begin to deliver him for what has held him captive for so long. That this stronghold in this family would be broken now, with this young man. God still goes after that one lost sheep.

volfan007 said...

alcy,

have you not jumped my case on several occasions at different blogs when you didnt like what i was saying? in fact, the way you wrote to me several times sounded...well....harsh....very harsh. is this not true?

alcy,

i too join you in praying for bellevue and steve gaines and the victim and the minister who did this.

volfan007

John Fariss said...

volfan007,

Can the power of God break the power of sin? Of course. Me, you, all of us could give volumes of examples. But then we would have to get into the "hows" of that happening, as well as the motivation of the perpetrator. I suppose it is possible for a person to go to God in deep anguish, contrition, and repentance, confess such a sin, and have God supernaturally take away the desire to repeat as well as forgiving the act itself.

Possible. Theoritically. But I have never seen it happen that way with a pedophile.

I suppose a person may commit such an act once and once only (although I say this only as a possibility). I have seen a person "redirect" such sick desires and attribute it to God--and usually those have been redirected at targets less public but still perverted (i.e., porn) or violence, even in a socially acceptable form (contact sports, boxing, etc.). The problem is that those folks are a time bomb ticking away. Do you think Satan is going to quit tempting that person? I don't; my experience is that he keeps needling me where I am weakest. Keep in mind: assuming it happened, we do not know if the motive was sex directed to a highly (in fact criminally) inappropriate target because of some perversion, or something else. Either speaks of deep-seated problems, but very different problems. Sex crimes such as this are often not primarily about sex, but about control. You have heard, I'm sure, people use a vulgar expression, "F___ you!" That is an "everyday" example of control using an expression of sex as a vehicle. What it really says is, "I am so powerful and so in control of you that I can have my way with you any way I choose!" Most people go no further with it than this verbal expression, but there are a few. . . .

It is for those persons that the age, gender, and physical attributes of the victim are irrelevant, because their act is about control, albeit expressed in a sexual way. They also may exert control in other ways--few if any of which are healthy.

And finally we get to the "hows" of God taking the desire for such acts away. Again, we can talk all day about possibilities, but the facts and statistics are that child molestors rarely (if ever) cease their activities without significant accountability. God can act anyway He chooses, but He rarely chooses to act in a vacuum. He most often acts through His servants--whether those are counselors, pastors, psychiatrists, chemicals, or prison guards. Removing targets, or at least making targets more inconvenient, less accessable, goes far in reducing pedophilia. Intervention is the key, and is vital. I am in prayer for the church and all involved.

John Fariss said...

By the way, volfan:

Please don't put words in my mouth. I said what I said, and I didn't say he had committed additional criminal acts at his church. If you think I said that, you are looking at the problem too narrowly. The issue may be sexual perversion, the issue may be the victim (whether by age, gender, attributes, relationship, or a number of other possibilities), or the issue may be control, which can be expressed many different ways (including sex, but not limited to it). If you are unclear about what I mean, ask; but don't put words in my mouth or assume I meant something I did not say.

Alyce Lee said...

Vol, I'm not even going to address that one.

volfan007 said...

john,

i didnt put words in your mouth. i was simply making an observation. you said that..
"And I discovered two things: one, they often do not understand their own actions, or like their actions, and may feel terrible shame, guilt, or even remorse over it; and two, none of that stops them from repeating it--at least none that I have been familiar with. It is not just a bad habbit one can break by will power or even through faith."

how did i put words into your mouth? there are your words. that is what i was responding to.

volfan007

CB Scott said...

Bob, Bowden, John F. and Alyce Lee,

Good comments, all.

Volfan,

I need to make a statement of "balance" to you if you will.

In speaking about the sorrow of child sexual abuse I failed to say something and I am sorry for the oversight and apologize to you.

You are "Ten Ring" at 1000 yards when you say that Steve Gaines has been attacked. He has. He has been attacked in an ungodly way by people I think are little more than idol worshippers. I owe the late Dr. Rogers much, but I know he is now with Jesus. I truly believe there are some in Memphis that have not come to grips with the fact that he is gone and they are "sickly" angry. Due to their misplaced anger they have "targeted" the man that has taken Dr. Rogers place as pastor.

With such an "overburden" Steve Gaines is put in a position wherein he can do "no right" versus these folks' conception that Dr. Rogers could do "no wrong".

That is sad and that is sin.

My comments in the last two days to you were not related to Dr. Gaines directly. My comments were directed to us all that carry the position of "minister" in any form.

One more thing, please consider Bowden's comment and read the material he suggest for us all to read.

Also it would not hurt to email John F. and Wade B. Both of these guys have had to look into the face of "raw evil" due to their former "ministries" to the victims of human bondage. I bet they can tell you much if they are willing to scratch the surface of the scars on their own hearts.

cb

John Fariss said...

I cannot see your heart, but I can only read your words.

You said, "are you saying that a pedophile cannot be changed by the power of God? that a child abuser will always be a child abuser, and there's no hope for that person...ever? and, are you saying that this man has probably done this to a lot more children? and, that he has probably been doing this thru out his 34 years at bellevue?"

It is phrased as a question, but it comes across as a statement, even as an rhetorical accusation. Simply tell me: how did you mean it? Because it comes across like you are putting words in my mouth. If you did not mean it that way, I would lovingly and respectfully suggest that you work on your communication skills.

I am nothing more than an informed layman in this area, addressing it from my own experiences (which are more extensive--I hope--than the average). Read Bowden McElroy's comments for a profession's input, and that from a Christian perspective.

Tim Rogers said...

Brother CB,

I agree that we cannot allow evil to go un-challenged. The staff person should have been dealt with months ago, but remeber, according to Brother Steve Gaines, he understood it was a family issue and handled within family. He just found out some weeks back that it was not handled in the family by the son confronting the dad in front of other church members.

It should be dealt with and we need to pray for Bellevue. We need to especially pray for the victim in this situation. We also need to especially pray for Brother Steve Gaines. For a fellow minister to go to the news media to express his desire for Steve Gaines to step down, speaks volumes to the attack he is under.

Also, here is a partial copy of a letter sent to Brother Steve Gaines; "Pastor Steve. we hope that you will enlighten us but should there be any concrete evidence brought forward to prove these writings to be true, Brother Charles and I will move hastily to do whatever we must do to protect the children of Bellevue if our church leadership will not and we will give this issue our full time attention until the church is safe for all of Bellevue`s children." Please note the language of an atagonist listed here; "protection of other", lack of "church leadership" involvment. Please note this issue happened 17 years ago. This was not under Brother Steve Gaines' watch. It was brought to the surface under his watch.

Also, it is interesting that whatever our Brother Ben Cole is trying to do on his blog he reveals a video tribute to Dr. Adrian Rogers and the last one giving tribute is the one accused of pedophile actions.

It is going to be an interesting 2007.

Blessings,
Tim

CB Scott said...

Tim Rogers,

Please read my last comment to Volfan and you will see my position on the Memphis situation as far as the current pastor is concerned.

As far as Ben and any post he put up you will have to know I had no way of knowing his intentions due to him not having conversed with me to the nature of his post prior to him posting it.

Tim, this situation of child sexual abuse is not one that should draw lines between any of us. If this is such a case as is reported all and I mean ALL true servants of the King have only one choice and that is to seek protection for the victim and a just sentence for the perp.

It is that simple and nothing more and nothing less. The problem arises when we (ministers) choose to go beyond the law of the land and make ourselves judge and jury as to the consequences for the perp. and the victim.

This is the very problem that Jesus confronted in John 8 rather than the popular "myth" that he let the woman off for her sin without any condemnation or consequences.

The hypocrites that brought her had not fulfilled the law concerning such things. Jesus called them to accountability rather than to join them in their misuse of the standing law of Moses.

In reality Jesus would not have been justifiable in sentencing the woman due to the way it was handled by the hypocrites, if the event even truly happened in the first place.

(meaning, IF the woman was actually guilty of sin and not being framed just so they could trap Jesus. That often happens, also.)

SBC ministers and SBC institutional administrators are not above the law of the land. We should take a lesson from Jesus in the eigth chapter of John's gospel. I have made no statement directed anymore at Dr. Gaines than I have toward you or me or any other SBC pastor or denominational employee of any "rank"

cb

Tim Rogers said...

Brother CB,

You are right, I do not want to draw lines between us pertaining to child molestation and the reporting of it. I have said that Dr. Gaines should have at least informed another Person on staff of this sin before making a decision to sit on the information. By doing such the other person could have given him sound advice to report it at the time he became aware of it. I do not know all that was going on in Dr. Gaines' mind, but remember he was under fire for Jim Whitmire's departure and now another staff member that was on the staff before he got there. Mrs. Rogers has said that Dr. Rogers knew nothing about it and I have no choice but believe it. As you have said Dr. Gaines is in a position of doing no right because he is being judged by a man that could do no wrong.

My main concern is others going to the media calling for Dr. Gaines' resignation. If Dr. Spradlin really loves Bellevue and believes what he has told the secular media, why would he not go to Dr. Gaines privately with other Godly men to confront him? That is my difficulty with this issue.

The victim is in need of prayer along with his family. I am praying for them as well as Dr. Gaines.

I am not upset that this has come out, it needed to come to the surface. As you called on the SBC to stress to churches and pastors how important it is that they deal with this issue, I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY. However, autonomy is our problem with that analysis.

Blessings,
Tim

CB Scott said...

Tim,

If I may say so here, I agree with you about Dr. Spradlin. I do not understand that move, but I guess it is not my place to do so.

cb

Tim Rogers said...

Brothers and Sisters,

Let me give you a scenario and Brother Wade if this changes the stream, I will understand if you chose not to post this comment.

You are sitting in your office when in walks a volunteer worker that is in an influential family in the church and they confess to you that they had a pedophile relationship with someone in their family. It is only known within the immediate family and this volunteer has reconciled that relationship with all involved. This volunteer is also involved in counseling and has been Biblically counseled through this process.

Question! What do you do? If you expose this to the police and the volunteer says they never told you that, you have just opened yourself and the church to a lawsuit. If the police contact the victim and that victim denies it because it is a resolved issue in the family, then you are again open to a lawsuit of yourself and the church. You are in a no win situation.

This is just scenarios within the family reprocussions not to mention the church members when they find you are accusing a long standing church member of this. Your hands are tied until the victim comes forward.

How do you deal with it? I believe this is the situation Steve Gaines found himself in. According to the reports, the victim confronted the abuser in Bellevue about 3 weeks ago. Dr. Gaines at that time was free to begin the investigation.

Just some thoughts of how our hands can be tied.

Blessings,
Tim

David Roberts said...

No - I haven't read all the comments. Maybe someone has already brought this up, but I believe that Dr. Spradlin has neglected the spirit of 1 Corinthians 6:4-5, which says, "So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers."

Certainly this passage refers to lawsuits between Christians going public in a court of law. Such matters should be taken care of among the church - not before those who have no standing in the church (which includes most people reading the Commercial Appeal).

Dr. Spradlin should have spoken with Dr. Gaines about it and escalated it as necessary per Matthew 16. Maybe he feels like he did so, but the final step is taking it before the church, not the population of Memphis (and now the whole country).

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not defending Steve Gaines - not by a long shot. It's just too bad this issue has become this public.

Debbie said...

David: That is taking a passage out of context. This is not speaking of calling the police when someone breaks the law. If that were the case, murderers and robbers could call themselves Christians, join a church and have a field day.

Tim Rogers: What does autonomy of the church have to do with doing the right thing when someone breaks the law or physically harms another?

David Roberts said...

Debbie: I don't understand your point. Perhaps you can explain why 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 doesn't apply - to some extent - in this situation.

Unfortunately, in our day, murderers and robbers are already in many so-called "churches." And I use the term "church" carefully. For not all who are in the church are the church. I'm sure you know that. Churches need to be very careful who they allow in as members. And even with the utmost care, there will most certainly be tares among the wheat.

You put your finger on a very sad reality in our day. Murderers and robbers (add more sinners to the list) find it easy to join the church. That's just the Baptist way. Just raise your hand, sign a card and you're in! Wow! Easier than the Moose Lodge.

Anyway, why shouldn't Dr. Spradlin have followed the biblical pattern for church discipline? What good does it do to go to the press?

It's things like this that make evangelism harder for everybody.

Debbie said...

David: I see that passage as saying not to sue another brother or sister. It does not mean not to use the justice system period. If someone breaks the law Romans 13 covers this. There is a place for the justice system and this would be the place.

CB Scott said...

David R.,

Poor, poor hermeneutic on that passage. Debbie is "Ten Ring" on this one.

cb

Anonymous said...

Debbie is not a ten ring on this one, cb.

Question: Did Gaines break the law?

Answer: Probably not, given the 15 year statute of limitations. In that case, David Roberts would be absolutely correct.

Gaines erred in not firing the man, not in breaking the law.

CB Scott said...

Anony,

There is no statute of limitation.

David R. is and was wrong in his hermeneutics. Debbie was right in hers. She hit the Ten Ring.

cb

TruthOfActs said...

To All, especial Volfan,
I may have my own ax to grind because I sense a growing trend for Baptist pastors to believe they have the honor of being boss of the church.

A recent ‘church split’ started when my relative and three others were kicked out of church for ‘resisting’ the pastor selling the church and moving it 20 miles, and in less than a year he was kicked out.
The pastor had announced he would not take part in any Sunday night or Wednesday services. He set up a ‘Leadership Board’ that removed the church from voting. In short, he became a King without the church knowing his salary
With the decline in membership, him starting a million dollar house, playing in the Hooter’s golf tournament, and being involved in an illegal land transaction was more than the church could take. They refused to give him a million dollars to leave, and he rejected their offer of a quarter of a million; so he took 200 to 300 church members and started a non-denomination church nearby.

Oh, the games that some SB preachers play, and then they complain: “They don’t like me.”

Should I trust Spradlin, the President of Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary who is the interim pastor at Germantown Baptist Church? The reason Germantown had to have an interim is the senior pastor and many of his staff quit when the church voted not to have an ‘elder-led’ form of government.
I believe Spradlin is on the ground floor of all this and knows the church is not going to stand for another Germantown or a Frank Harber Colleyville First Baptist Church where I was told I was evil and to never come back.

See, I told you I had an ax to grind.
Rex Ray

CharlieMac said...

Does anyone else find it interesting that this story is in Ethics Daily and ABP and not BP?
I wonder what Southern Baptists would really know about anything dealing with SB churches and SB leadership if it were not for bloggers and "unofficial" news reporting? Would anything like this ever see the light of day?

Perry McCall said...

BP has run a story on this earlier this week.

Perry McCall said...

The BP article was on WED. I am not a BP apologists. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw they were already reporting on the story. But they did report on it.

Laura from Bellevue said...

I am a Bellevue member and I am outraged over the conduct of my pastor. I have four children and feel completely betrayed. On Sunday before making the announcement to the church about Paul Williams, Steve preached a sermon on grace and essentially likened a child rapist to the virgin Mary! Of course it wasn't until we were on the way home from church that my realized what we had heard. You can listen to it yourself online at bellevue.org if you want to.

Dr. Spradlin is well-respected and has much information and insight into the situation at Bellevue others do not. He is a Bellevue member himself, so he wasn't speaking in a vacuum. Check out this link to read Dr. Spradlin's clarification of what happened and what he said. http://www.mabts.edu/

He said, "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.'

Yesterday the media interviewed the local prosecutor who handles child sex cases. He said, "If the pastor of Bellevue Baptist Church knew of an allegation of child sexual abuse in June, he was required by state law to report it to authorities then. That's what Assistant District Attorney Kevin Rardin says about the current controversy at the city's largest Southern Baptist Convention congregation. Rardin is the prosecutor who handles all cases of child sexual abuse in Shelby County and leads a task force of local law enforcement and child welfare agencies.
"There's a duty to report it to authorities, even though the alleged incident may have happened a number of years ago," Rardin said. He emphasized that he was talking in general terms."

http://www.wrecradio.com

So, my pastor committed a crime!


In the past Steve Gaines has fired men for divorce and having affairs. He has threatened to fire Bellevue staff for wearing immodest clothing and for failure to tithe. He has admitted at Gardendale he checked the tithing records of staff, choir members, soloists, deacons, ushers, etc. None in that group were allowed to serve if they did not believe in and practice "storehouse tithing." If he has taken such a strong stand in the past on those matters, what was different in this situation with Paul Williams? Why can a child rapist serve but a divorced man cannot? Why can a child rapist remain on staff but someone who fails to ante up 10% may not?

I have not involved myself in the ongoing controversy at Bellevue. I have been on the fence about Steve Gaines. Of late I have leaned toward disapproving of him as pastor. I think he has shown poor judgment (like locking Dr. Rogers out of the office) and firing Jim Whitmire (men I loved), yet I never felt like I knew enough about the Gaines' issues to say anything.

This issue, however, is completely different. I no longer have to lean, I can now say I want him to leave. Out of his own mouth he has admitted knowing about a child molester for six months and he has done nothing about it. Paul Williams remains on staff today pending the outcome of an investigation. We know he raped his son for years, what more information is needed? I have to wonder just what Paul has on the pastor or others in leadership that they would not act immediately.

One last thing, for those who believe Dr. Spradlin should have followed Matthew 18, Steve Gaines failure to allow Matthew 18 to be carried out against him is what started our controversy. He even refused deacons the right to bring concerns about certain financial matters before the deacon body. Also, he sent two men to Dr. Spradlin who told him that Matthew 18 does not apply to him (Steve) because it does not apply to pastors.

We need the prayers of Christians everywhere. One year after Dr. Rogers went to be with Jesus, our church is disintegrating before our very eyes. I grew up here, was baptized here, met my husbands here, and now two of our children have been baptized here. We love it with all of our hearts.

Tearful Observer said...

Here's what I know:

Much of Steve's problems at Bellevue are the result of his own actions and attitutdes.
Much of Steve's problems at Bellevue are the result of the actions and attitudes' of others.
In other words, some people are being irrationally critical of him. But really, so far his conduct has given little reason to silence them. So it just escalates.

This particular issue SHOULD BE unrelated to all of that. It hasn't been allowed to stand on its own merits for two reasons: Steve's irrational critics pounced on it as one more bullet in their gun. And Steve's irrational defenders (of which there appears to be at least two on this comment string) want to write it off as the further rantings of a few mean people who have an axe to grind.

It is neither. It is, or should be, a separte issue. I cannot speak for Steve's intentions in June. I do not know the law in the matter. I would like to think that if I were in his shoes I would have found out the law and acted accordingly. But that is speculation. But whatever his intentions were in June, what did and did not transpire then is going to have far-reachig impications for both Steve and the church in the future.

What is left is a lose/lose situation for the church. If Steve remains, the church will fall apart. If Steve steps down, his opposition will likely claim some sort of sordid "victory", thus setting an unhealthy precedent for how to handle conflict at Bellevue in the future. Neither is a positive long-term scenario.

Wade us right. Pray for Bellevue.

Tearful Observer said...

Here's what I know:

Much of Steve's problems at Bellevue are the result of his own actions and attitutdes.
Much of Steve's problems at Bellevue are the result of the actions and attitudes' of others.
In other words, some people are being irrationally critical of him. But really, so far his conduct has given little reason to silence them. So it just escalates.

This particular issue SHOULD BE unrelated to all of that. It hasn't been allowed to stand on its own merits for two reasons: Steve's irrational critics pounced on it as one more bullet in their gun. And Steve's irrational defenders (of which there appears to be at least two on this comment string) want to write it off as the further rantings of a few mean people who have an axe to grind.

It is neither. It is, or should be, a separte issue. I cannot speak for Steve's intentions in June. I do not know the law in the matter. I would like to think that if I were in his shoes I would have found out the law and acted accordingly. But that is speculation. But whatever his intentions were in June, what did and did not transpire then is going to have far-reachig impications for both Steve and the church in the future.

What is left is a lose/lose situation for the church. If Steve remains, the church will fall apart. If Steve steps down, his opposition will likely claim some sort of sordid "victory", thus setting an unhealthy precedent for how to handle conflict at Bellevue in the future. Neither is a positive long-term scenario.

Wade us right. Pray for Bellevue.

PBill said...

Tim, in the scenario you gave...

"You are sitting in your office when in walks a volunteer worker that is in an influential family in the church and they confess to you that they had a pedophile relationship with someone in their family..."

...the focus on the possibility of a lawsuit against the pastor or church for a false accusation, is exactly the wrong focus to have. Internal investigations, private handling seem to have been the preferred method of handling such in our churches. The results are disastrous.

A confession of abuse is as easy as it gets for the pastor to make a decision. What more does he want? To witness the act? He absolutely must report it immediately and let the chips fall where they may.

To handle it in-house, even for the period of an investigation puts the victim and/or other children at risk.

Few of us pastors, even we non-mega pastors, aren't aware of the proper, and legally required, thing to do in such a case.

Pastor Al Mathers said...

For anyone who does not understand just how serious and far reaching Steve Gaines casual in-house treatment of child molestation is, I suggest you read a post I found on the Bellevue blog. It sent shivers down my spine. I knew the seriousness of this matter the moment I learned of it. However, I had not stopped to consider just how many in that church are likely affected by this man's sin and Dr. Gaines' inaction in a personal way. I might have handled this the same way Steve did and that scares me to death.

Hello Bellevue,

I have been in the stands watching this conflict for months. I can remain silent no longer.

More than twenty-five years ago I was repeatedly victimized by a family member. I vividly remember his warm breath on my neck, the odor of beer stinging my nostrils. I remember the scratch of his whiskers on my innocent face. Members of my family knew about this and did nothing. They remained silent and to this day
refuse to openly discuss it. I was often left in this man's care so my mother could go on dates and spend weekend with friends. My own mother enabled my abuse!

This same man victimized others in my family as well. The Lord has strengthened me and has helped me lead a normal life in spite of what happened to me. His other
victims have not been so lucky. I know first hand the heartache of incest. God can heal you, but you never forget. It is with me every day of my life. Incest ruins lives. It ruins families, usually for generations.

A few years ago I volunteered to serve in Bellevue's nursery. As part of the screening process I admitted I was the victim of child sexual abuse, so I was asked to counsel with a Bellevue minister. I willingly submitted to the requested counseling. I told this man what happened to me in detail. He prayed for me and he described the tremendous efforts of Bellevue to prevent child molesters from accessing our children. I felt good knowing what our church was doing and it reassured me my own children were safe.

I have learned the identity of the child molester at Bellevue. I have learned the very man I counseled with is himself a pedophile. I cannot describe the anger I
feel right now. I am grief stricken when I remember my
counseling session with this "man of God." He asked for intimate details. I thought it was strange at the time, but I answered him fully. What was he thinking
about while I described my childhood terror? I was forced to relive my experience in front of a man who probably enjoyed what I told him. I call that spiritual rape! Am I the only one this happened to?

Bellevue, regardless of how you feel about any other issue in this conflict, please unite to condemn our church's actions. This accused pedophile still works for Bellevue today! I have lost all respect for our pastor and anyone else who helped hide this man's sin.

I know the pain that I experienced when my family looked the other way' and kept silent. My heart breaks for the victims of this minister. I grieve for the additional pain heaped on them by those who knew and did nothing. The pastor and all of this man's protectors must leave our church NOW!

Some of you have screamed "touch not mine anointed." What are we to do when "mine anointed" have touched us?


That makes you think doesn't it?

Love your blog, Wade.

volfan007 said...

you know, something we need to keep in mind in all of this is that steve gaines has successfully pastored several big churche before coming to bellevue. they loved him.

my wife's cousin and her husbadn are very active members at gardendale in alabama. my understanding is that they hated for him to leave. they loved him very much, and the church grew while he was there. he may wish that he had stayed at gardendaly now.

also, he pastored w. jackson baptist church in jackson, tn. the church grew, and the Lord blessed while he was there.

these are two large churches. so, its not a situation of steve not knowing how to lead a big church like bellevue.

aint it kind of funny that he follows a legend like dr. rogers, and he seeks to change a few things at bellevue, and then, all of a sudden, he's a bad pastor who is tearing bellevue apart?

volfan007

ps. the saddest thing about this whole deal is that this group that hates steve is choosing to fight this battle in the public arena. they are going to the tv news and newspapers and blogs to tell memphis and the mid south about something that ought to be handled in bellevue church......not in the public arena.

David Roberts said...

I realize the context of 1 Corinthians 6:1-8 does not literally fit this situation. However, I do believe there is a principle at work there that does. Handle church matters within the church.

I'm not saying never call the police or do anything like that. But don't immediately gloss over the scriptures that exhort us how to discipline members. The end result could be, putting them out of the church and treating them as an unbeliever (which they may very well be anyway - hopefully, see their sinful state - repent and be saved [or restored] whatever the case may be) which could include using the legal system to execute justice.

If this man had been on my staff, he would have been removed immediately, reported to the police, and offered the opportunity for restoration (not to former position, but in the church body).

Thanks to the Bellvue member who posted earlier and clarified that Dr. Gaines exempted himself from Matthew 18. That says a lot in itself.

Pride comes before destruction. The Lord opposes the proud. I wouldn't want God opposed to me and my ministry.

It would not surprise me that by the end of the year or early January that Dr. Gaines is gone from Bellevue. And some desperate church out there will pick him up. He will be given a generous compensation package and will state that he's been "called" somewhere else.

volfan007 said...

something else....this man was on staff for 34 years.....34 years! the alleged incident took place 17 years ago. where are all the other people that he molested in this 34 year period of time if pedophiles cant change and will continue to do it? why have more not accused him? did he really repent, and maybe steve gaines wanted to believe him....since nothing else has happened in 17 years?

also, in light of the ones who say that this man could not have possibly changed, and he should never be a minister again....and, i agree with you all that a man who molests a child should be let go....fired. but, let me ask yall about some other scenarios in this line:

1. a friend of mine was on staff at a large church. he had an affair. he was fired. he and his wife worked it out and stayed together. he stayed out of the ministry for two years....to prove that he had repented of this. he is a pastor again at this time. should he have ever been allowed to be a pastor again after breaking a sacred trust as a minister? should he have gone back into the ministry? ever?

2. a youth minister that i know was caught looking at porn on the computer in his office at church. he was fired. he repented. he and his wife stayed together. should he be allowed to get back into youth ministry? ever?

3. a volunteer music director and a deacon of a church that i am familiar with was having an affair. he resigned all offices in the church. he repented. he and his wife are working it out. he is now leading the music again. when deacon elections are held again, he will probably be elected again. should he? ever?

i am just curious as to all of your thoughts on these situations in light of the bellevue minister who allegedly did this 17 yrs ago and must have never done it again due to no one else coming forward to accuse him. what do yall think?


volfan007

ps. i am just asking. i am not espousing a view here. i want to know yall's view and thoughts.

volfan007 said...

in tn, you are required by law to report sexual abuse. something that happened 17 years ago....i dont know.

also, what's another sad thing about this whole deal is that there are some who seem to be taking an evil glee about this happening to bellevue....the conservative resurgence hq's....and the home of one of the leaders of the resurgence, and steve gaines, another one who leads the resurgence. i mean, some people seem almost giddy that this has happened....to conservative bellevue.....and to conservative fundie steve gaines. wow! would the Lord want us to be happy that others are feeling pain?

volfan007

Frank the former West Jackson deacon said...

Volfan007,

I cannot speak to what Gaines did at Gardendale. I can, however, speak about West Jackson and you are flat wrong. West Jackson grew, but that was primarily under Dr. Jerry Tidwell, Gaines' successor. Under Gaines West Jackson lost 50% of the membership. We lost many of our longtime backbone members. He couldn't care less about our senior citizens. He was strongly disliked by many and tore us apart, which it looks like he has now done to Bellevue. He acted unilaterally in hiring and firing, ignoring our personnel committee and policies. Frankly, he was a bully and that is why he was told he needed to find another job, which he found in Gardendale. Another thing about him is he is a chameleon. He appears one way one day and another way the next. Actually, he changes from hour to hour. Some can see through that and some don't. I've always wondered who the really Steve Gaines really is.

Now I thought Steve was a good preacher and that was the only thing that kept him here as long as he was. Today he doesn't preach the way he used to preach. He now preaches lightweight shallow sermons. I think he had a major change in philosophy along the way. At Bellevue they say he has really gotten into the Purpose Driven and seeker sensitive movements. If that is true, it might explain the difference in his sermons.

Maybe what I have told you will help you understand what is happening at Bellevue.

CB Scott said...

Volfan,

The situations you described are as comparing apples to oranges in relation to child sexual abuse and those that perpetrate it.

Please read those articles that some of us asked you to earlier. Email John F. or Wade B. and ask them to share with you just what this conduct reveals about the perp.

cb

volfan007 said...

cb,

again, i am just asking. i would honestly like to know your thoughts and others thoughts concerning what i mentioned.

frank,

i dont remember all that happening at w. jackson when he was there. how long was he at w. jackson? how long did he pastor there? and, did yall not grow while he was there? maybe you grew after losing the 50%? seems like i remember that you did. i mean, you are a member there...you'd know better than me, but i know a lot about jackson, tn, and have many friends in jackson....some are members of w. jackson.

again, all i am saying is that we need to remember that we dont know all the facts about what happened in this situation.....and, there is a group at bellevue that does not like steve gaines and wants him out. those two things should keep us from speculating and condemning, and we sure shouldnt be gleeful that bellevue is going thru such a hardship.

volfan007

johnthebaptist2007 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
volfan007 said...

here is what dr. michael spradlin of mid america seminary said about his public statements in the newspapers and such.....


Dr. Spradlin has issued a statement.


December 21, 2006
Dear Mid-America Family:
As you know, our stated mission is to train people for ministry as pastors, church staff
leaders, and missionaries to believe the Bible as the inerrant Word of God, to be personal
soulwinners and to be mission minded. What we teach must have a direct effect on what
our students do in ministry.
On Thursday, December 14, James Dowd, a reporter from the Commercial Appeal called
to interview me concerning several aspects of church life around the country and some
doctrinal issues such as baptism. We met Tuesday, December 19 at the Seminary
because he had also requested a tour of the new MABTS campus.
After touring the campus and meeting students and faculty we met in my office and
began a general discussion about the items that he had mentioned on the phone. After an
hour, the subject of ministry ethics came up and the reporter asked me a general question,
“If a minister knows of child molesting and does nothing about it what should happen?”
My answer was that, “If a minister has first hand knowledge of child molesting and does
nothing about it then that minister should resign.” He sat back in his chair and said, “You
just made tomorrow’s paper.” I knew he was referring to the Bellevue situation because
between the time we made the appointment and the interview, Dr. Steve Gaines, pastor of
Bellevue Baptist Church, announced that a staff member was placed on paid leave of
absence due to a past moral failure. The reporter applied my statement to Dr. Gaines.
When he did so, I told him that he was making a connection that I had not made. I also
told him that I did not know all of the details of the situation in question so there was a
big “if” there. He asked if he could quote me on my belief and I told him he could.
After my lunch appointment I talked with Roland Maddox, and told him about the
interview and what happened at the interview with James Dowd. I next talked with Gene
Howard and shared with him the same information.
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.
Brothers and sisters, at this time of year I have no greater desire than to focus on the real
reason for the season, the Lord Jesus. But let me ask you the question that was asked to
me: “If a minister knows of child molesting and does nothing about it what should
happen?” Biblically, I can see no other response than the one I gave.
Sincerely,
Michael R. Spradlin
President

5:56 PM, December 21, 2006

i knew that dr. spradlin had a good explanation for his pulbic statements, and i was glad to read this.


volfan007

Doug M. said...

Frank the deacon,

Being a deacon, I hope you are aware of the error of your judgment by going on a public forum like this and stating your post. "Speak not evil of one another brethren" would certainly work here. Please think again before you speak... I wonder why we baptists have the ruputation of not getting along???

doug m said...

Sorry..Reputation..

TruthOfActs said...

To Doug M.
You have chastised ‘Frank the deacon’ unfairly by quoting “Speak not evil of one another”.

Do you know what ‘evil’ is? Evil is lies. Christ said the truth will make us free. Truth is not evil and should not be hidden to cover a crime or an untruth.

In fact the Bible says to know of a crime and not report it; makes you just as guilty. (Not many sermons preached on that subject these days are there?)

Frank corrected an untruth that Gaines led the church to grow; when actually the church decreased by 50%.

Can you see you’re guilty of what you accuse Frank of doing?
Rex Ray

doug m. said...

Truthoffacts..I stand by my earlier post. Frank the Deacons’ comments were not appropriate. He may have said something that was true but the totality of it was improper. Here are a couple of quotes that he made about his former pastor on an open forum.
(1)He couldn't care less about our senior citizens.
(2)He was a bully.
(3)Another thing about him is he is a chameleon. He appears one way one day and another way the next. Actually, he changes from hour to hour.
(4)He now preaches lightweight shallow sermons.
I wonder if there are others in Franks’ church that would disagree with these statements. Frank the Deacon was certainly not just giving his opinion; he was stating them as if they were all facts.
If this was not enough, he admits to listening to "they". (5)At Bellevue they say he has..etc.

We all know how "they" can be.

Maybe there are some here that believe this type of fodder is appropriate. I do not know if he did things according to Matthew 18 in the past. But even if Frank did go to Dr. Gaines one-on-one, then took 2 more (etc.) to discuss these things, this is not the forum where church discipline is to be applied.

Please don't take this as a defense of the situation that is going on with Dr. Gaines now. I do not know the man or any of the situations, so my posts have nothing to do with that.

I only hope we can remember that these posts go out to the thousands, including the lost. If you think those comments of Frank that I listed were appropriate, then we can agree to disagree. I would be glad to discuss this further if you choose. I’ll give you my phone # if you post your email. I am not much of a typist and prefer to talk face to face or at least voice to voice. Take care! Doug

volfan007 said...

rex,

do you know anything about w. jackson baptist church? do you know if they grew or declined? and, if you dont, then how could you say...."Frank corrected an untruth that Gaines led the church to grow; when actually the church decreased by 50%."

how do you know if it did or not?

volfan007

David Brown said...

Dear fellow saints: Let me introduce myself, I am David Brown. I am the SNAP representative for Memphis and West Tennessee. I was the one that first reported this alleged abuse when I first became aware there might be some about it. Under TN EVERYONE is requred by law to report any suspected child abuse and it does not make any difference when it occured.

I became aware there might be abuse on the 7th, I called the State of Tennessee on the 8th. On the 11th I learned the name of the abuser and contacted the local investigator and passed that along. On the 12th the investigation was begun.

I wait to hear something from Bellevue but nothing. So on the 12th I place a call to Bellevue asking to meet with Dr. Gaines. His secretary was well aware of what who I was and who I representative.

I must add that I am a long time Belleuve member who just recently moved our membership to a sister church. Our move had nothing to do with Dr. Gaines.

Finally I received an official phone call from Bellevue on the 15th. I was told Mr. Williams was on a paid leave and relieved from ministry. I waited until I could confirm that Mr. Williams was still on the campus before calling back. David Coombs was who spoke for Belleuve and when I called back I asked him if Mr. Williams was on leave why was he in his office. Mr. Williams was on campus the same time Mr. Coombs was talking to me. I don't call that relieved of duties.

I pointed out to Mr. Coombs I was very upset you let an admitted pedophile by your own admission to remain in his office. I said you are giving this man a chance to destroy evidence and that I was going to call DCS again. I told him that Bellevue and Dr. Gaines were willing putting children in harms way and that was not acceptable. Coombs was shaken.

Well on Sunday you have heard by now their statements. I have no fight with Dr. Gaines over all this other stuff. My argument is he foolishly disregarded the safety of our children. I do feel that Mr. Williams should have been terminated immediately, supported with therapy but reported in June when Dr. Gaines became aware he had a pedophile on his hands. And I told them they need to wrap there arms around his victim and give him all he needs to survive this abuse.

My email is on my profile if anyone wants to contact me. If you go to www.rememberthesurvivors.com you will find my full contact information. My story is also on that site too as I am a victim of a priest in 1961. Click on the left on Paul Haas and then click on RAPE OF FAITH.

If we ever err in one of these cases, please err on the part of the chldren. I love you all and please be in prayer for the people involved. God Bless

BR said...

Wade,
I want to clarify some issues. There are those who are ill informed that are making statements on the situation at Bellevue. I would encorage you all to read and heed before you form an opinion one way or the other. Dr Gaines was welcomed with much eagerness when he came as our pastor. Not too many weeks into his ministry there, things began changing, which we were expecting, but not the kind of changes that you will see in a normal administration/leadership change. He formed a circle of wealthy business men around him and began firing long time staffers, he took over the management of the finances and recently gave $25,000.00 to a liberal Methodist church where the female pastor performs gay marriages and promotes abortion, he has lied from the pulpit over many issues, one was the 'fence" issue which turned ut to be a 4 ft fence in a gated community with obvious NO TRESSPASSING signs in plain view. There are many more and the pedophile incident is only the tip of the iceberg.
I know we are all sinners and we all need salvation and forgiveness - To me, even the split second that a sinful thought fleets across my mind is sin in the eyes of a Holy God. However, it is my choice to act upon it (the sin) and there lies the problem. Paul Williams (the pedophile)and Steve Gaines both made bad choices. I know Paul Williams on a first name basis and there was absolutely no evidence of his past in his daily walk as far as I could see. But the Lord knew, and for some reason we do not now know, the sin was confessed to Steve Gaines and confirmed by the son this past June. As the leader of our church, it was Steve Gaines' responsibility before Almighty God to take immediate action to protect HIS church from this scandal. He failed to do so and is relying on his compassion as an excuse for inobedience. I have seen no where in everything Steve Gaines has said or what has been released by the church, that he ever prayed over his decision and the Lord had given him peace to act upon that decision. He is shooting from the hip. Why? He has lost his ability to lead. Those in the Lord's will, sleep well at night, they stand strong and tall and are not grasping at every straw in an attempt to rectify yet another "mistake of the mind".
Dr Adrian Rogers did not know of the situation regarding the pedophile. He would have acted immediately and decidedly firm. He even went so far once as to fire an entire paint crew for violating a no-smoking agreement on church property - what would make anyone think that he would do less for a pedophile?
I am saying all of this to say that I believe that Steve Gaines has the potential of being a great man of God, but at this point in time, he is damaged goods at Bellevue and that is by his own hand.

TruthOfActs said...

Volfan,
Thank you for not saying “Bless you” as you have on some post. The tone of words conveys if that statement is said in love or boosting one’s own righteous.
“God bless” ended a letter, signed by a 7 member board that ‘expelled’ four members at Colleyville, TX. That ending said, “Look how good we are” (even though their letter had broken hearts.)

You, I, and most of us only know ‘hearsay.’ Therefore in a court of law, we could not say anything.
But on a blog, we become judges in our own minds. That can be good or bad. We listen to some that speak from their experiences and their opinions, and we add that to our experiences and opinions to make our comments.

I thought that was pretty well understood. So you and Doug M are correct in saying Frank the deacon and I should have said in our opinion we believe so and so.

Now Frank the deacon may have known for a fact that West Jackson declined in membership under Gaines leadership and wouldn’t have to say “In my opinion.”

When Frank quoted “they say”, he ended by saying, “If that is true.”

All in all, I believe Frank the deacon, knows what he is talking about and in the end, truth will bring that out.

Doug M,
I don’t think our thoughts are secrete enough to be said anywhere but here. Also, I don’t want to hear anything that can’t be said in public. All of us need to be more concerned about stopping these crimes than caring about our axes.
Rex Ray

volfan007 said...

rex,

God bless you.

volfan007

Anonymous said...

volfan007,

I know who you are, and I must say I'm disappointed in your responses to people on this board. Your tone and implications are not proving to be healthy in this volatile environment. The person I know you to be doesn't treat people like this in real life, and shouldn't be any different in this "anonymous" realm.

volfan007 said...

anon,

you know me? and, am i treating people badly in this realm? am i? if you know who i am, then please call me on the phone, or come visit me. i would love to discuss this with you.


volfan007

volfan007 said...

anon,

i do always try to treat everyone with respect and kindness. sometimes i fail to do that, but i try. and, keep in mind that you cant tell the tone of someones voice, nor do you see the expressions on someones face in the blog realm. in fact, many times, i have said things to people in the blogs, and they have been offended and have even asked me how could i be so mean, when i was not being mean at all.....i didnt think i was. in fact, wade himself has taken offense to what i have said several times on his blog, and i could not believe he took offense. i was not meaning to be mean. but anyway, i hate to disappoint anyone, especially a friend. if i have said anything to offend you, or let you down, please tell me what i have done so that i can make it right.

i am not comparing myself to paul here, not by a long shot. but, the apostle paul was told that he sounded stronger in his writings than he sounded in person. that he seemed to come across stronger when he wrote, than what he was like in real life. so, maybe thats the case with me as well. i dont know.

but anyway, seriously, call me if you know me. or, better yet, come to see me and i will take you out to a good restaurant, and i will buy you lunch. how's that?

btw, my name is david. my wife's name is ......

answer if you know me. tell me her name if you really know me.


volfan007

Anonymous said...

You have three kids and you relatively recently left a church that loved you in a state south of where you are now.

volfan007 said...

anon,

i think you do know me. although, i dont know why you dont know my wife's name. i do have three children...two in college, so please send money. ha ha. i did leave a great church in ms about 10 months ago, and now i am in tn at another wonderful church.

who are you? and, what did i say that disappointed you so much? if you know me, then you know that i believe strongly what i beleive to be true and wise.....and i really believe strongly the clear teachings of scripture. also, i have always loved and admired bellevue baptist church, and i have always admired and respected steve gaines. he has blessed me many times in sermons he preached, and he has always treated me good...even though i am small church pastor, and he has been a big church pastor ever since i have known him.

i really would like to know what you saw to be so bad in what i said, or in the way i said it.


volfan007

TruthOfActs said...

Volfan,
To me, I think you’ve hijacked Wade’s blog as I reply to you more than anyone else. HA

So here I go again. On Dec 25, you wrote: “I really would like to know what you saw to be so bad in what I said, or the way I said it.”

Since you have not acknowledged that the person you referred to has never answered your question, it leaves you (and us) still wondering why an anonymous person said on Dec. 24, “I know who you are, and I must say I’m disappointed in your responses to people on this board. Your tone and implications are not proving to be healthy in this volatile environment. The person I know you to be doesn’t treat people like this in real life, and shouldn’t be any different in this ‘anonymous’ realm.”

In the past, someone masqueraded himself as a missionary, and you may have thought it was me that said those words, so you asked ‘anonymous’ to tell your wife’s name to reveal if he really did know you. His answer got me off the hook, but he never answered your question as stated above.

In his ‘absence’, let me take a whack at it.

If a person told how the Holy Spirit led him to Christ, what should a preacher’s response be? Maybe he would say, ‘Praise the Lord’, ‘God bless you’, or some other nice words, but your response was different.

To be fair, I will quote what was written.

On Dec. 20, I said, “I was saved because the Holy Spirit knocked (almost physically) on my heart, and I asked Jesus to save me. That experience will never leave me regardless of what status the Bible is.”

The next comment was from you, “Your experience could have been a baloney sandwich that disagreed with you. Unless, you have the Bible to show you what the feelings and the experiences mean.”

On Dec. 21, I related my salvation experience in detail, and said, “I resent you saying it could have been a baloney sandwich.”

You never said you were sorry.

In my opinion, the attitude of “baloney sandwich’ is kin to the attitude that hung witches in the past.
That attitude may be why anonymous said it was not like the real you.

On a blog, we are all a little different than we are in real life. We are bolder, smarter, and sometimes a whole lot dumber. Being kind is not our priority. We can cut and slash without blinking an eye. ‘Get in my way’, or it’s off with your head. We can help an old lady across the street; then run over her in our automobile.

Volfan, take all this with a grain of salt. Alas, I’m afraid I’m beginning to like you.
Rex Ray

Steven said...

Wade,

Thank you for bringing this prayer concern to light.

Anonymous said...

David, yes I do know your wife's name. It begins with S. However, since you haven't given out specific details of who you are, I felt it prudent to not give that information out, nor the names of your children. As to what your character demonstrates on here, I simply ask you to begin back at the top of this blog, and simply read your statements. Read them in light of the whole context and given careful consideration of how they could be perceived. It appears that one brother already took issue with you questioning his salvation - which by the way, is always shaky ground when you've never met the person.

I've learned over the years of working on the web that what you put in print never comes out the way you would say them with your voice, and therefore, you MUST be extra careful what is written. I standby my statement that your character on here is not inline with who you are in person. Again your character is judged by your purely written word - and again, you must be careful in how you say your thoughts.

volfan007 said...

anon,

you do know me. and, i thank you for your words of exhortation. i dont know where i questioned someones salvation. i have looked over all my posts on this post. i cant find where i did. i also see nothing to be ashamed about in what i wrote. my point to all was to not condemn steve gaines without realizing that we dont know all the info yet, and people should keep in mind that a group at bellevue does not like steve, and wants to get rid of steve. we should always take with a grain of salt what folks like that say.

anyway, i thank you for your words. i will try to write better, in a way thats more loving and kind. i tend to write short and blunt.

rex,

i didnt say that your salvation experience happened due to you eating a baloney sandwich. i said that if you base your beliefs on experiences, then a baloney sandwich that didnt set right on your stomach could give you an experience. we should base our experiences on what the bible teaches. emotions can fool you, ie., you ate some bad sausage, and you had an experience.

rex, i say this with an illustration. i knew a man who told me that angels beat him up in his den one nite. the man was going thru a very hard time in his life. do you think that angels beat him up? i dont. why? because, i dont believe that angels come to us to beat us up in our den. the bible doesnt teach that about angels. and, this man is not crazy, btw. i know he sounds crazy, but he's not. but, his experience did not line up with what the scripture teaches. just as all this physics talking to dead people and telling family members that thier loved ones are in heaven...even though ole uncle joe was a drunk and a wife beater and never went to church a day in his life. but, the medium on tv told them that uncle joe said that he was in heaven. well, i dont believe it. why? because the bible teaches that uncle joe went somewhere else.

thats all that i was trying to say to you in our discussion about experiences and you doubting that the bible is the inerrant Word of God. i am sorry that you took it wrong, and that it caused you to get upset.

volfan007

volfan007 said...

ps. i meant to write...psychics, not physics...lol.



anon,

i guess too, that my love and admiration for bellevue baptist church is stirring up some strong emotions. i have also been blessed many times in talks with steve gaines and in hearing him preach. so, its very painful for me to see this happening to bellevue and to him. it just disturbs me greatly. it hurts my heart. and especially, to see some liberals and others take a devilish glee that its happening to a great, conservative church and to a good, conservative man. thats especially painful.

but, anon, i wish that i could see you again...whoever you are. you sound like someone i knew in ms, who was serving the Lord out of hernando. or, you are a bro. that i love dearly who recently left strayhorn. i'm not sure yet.

volfan007

TruthOfActs said...

Volfan,
Have you ever read something you wrote and asked yourself, “Did I write that—that’s not what I meant to say?”

You might benefit from the advice a teacher told my father in grade school, “When you get home tonight, rub your head against your horse and maybe some of his sense will rub off.”

How in the world do you think a ten year old boy would be basing his salvation experience on an ‘upset stomach’ from a baloney sandwich? Week after week, I was tormented by the Holy Spirit telling me I was lost. The peace that came when I accepted Jesus did not come because I finally learned the right Bible verses or had a sandwich experience.

BTW, last year, an upset stomach (hotel spoiled yogurt) almost gave me a ‘heavenly’ experience—ruptured two veins. Passed out and quit breathing. Nurse left the operation to tell my family to pray. A song has more meaning now: “Every day with Jesus is Sweeter than the Day Before”.

Do you see how your emotions influence your thinking? You love Bellevue, so anyone pointing to ‘wrong’ in this church is bound to be a liberal with “devilish glee.”

(I have been to Bellevue more than once. I gave Rogers a copy of ‘Truth of Acts’, but I received the usual reply of silence. The greatest praise I’ve received is by a lady that said, “This is the greatest book I’ve ever read that puts me to sleep at bedtime.”)

You claim I took the baloney sandwich wrong and wrote: “That’s all that I was trying to say to you in our discussion about experiences and you doubting that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God.”

Will you agree the Bible contains the inerrant Word of God? I do.
How about a True—False test?
1. The lies of the devil are in the Bible.
2. The lies of men are in the Bible.
3. The ignorance of men is in the Bible.
4. The stupidity of men is in the Bible.
5. All words in the Bible are NOT from the mouth of God.
6. All words in the Bible are not inerrant.

These are not trick questions.

BTW, on 12-21-06 1:31 PM, Tim Rogers commented on Brad Reynolds’ blog: “While Paul's writings are Scriptural, not all of Paul's writings are Scripture. The Holy Spirit placed together those writings and called them Scripture.”

Sounds like he said, ‘All of Paul’s writings are not Scripture, but the Holy Spirit called them Scripture.’

Does the second part of the sentence contradict the first part; like James telling the Gentiles they didn’t have to obey the Jewish laws except four?

I’m asking you because you seem good at explaining how words don’t mean what they say.
Rex Ray

Christa Brown said...

Bellevue is just the most visible tip of the Baptist clergy abuse iceberg. Suggest you all take a look at accounts of two recently reported Denton cases - see my website www.stopbaptistpredators.org - and also check the list of "blind Baptist leaders" on my website. Similar dynamics as at Bellevue. An independent objective review board is what's needed. Kids are at risk in Baptist churches all across the country, and the denomination needs to find a way to cooperatively and effectively address the problem.

Anonymous said...

May I just say...
The Williams confessed his crime against his oun son to Steve Gaines. Gaines chose NOT TO TELL.The word leaked out, authorities got involved-Gaines had no other choice than to admit he had known for 6 months and did not report it to the church so the children could be protected. Gaines announced to BBC the Williams had "a moral failure".Williams also counciled members with abused pasts and questioned them in detail having them relive horrible memories.>>>>>>> Mrs. Rodgers had been told by paul Williams (the child molester himself) that Adrian Rodgers DID NOT KNOW OF THE CRIME.BBC has been deceived and confused as well as many churches are today..There are plenty more facts should you choose to learn them...we must stay on our face before Almighty God for His Wisdom, Grace, & His coming!

Truth4BBC said...

Please do pray for Bellevue. Many long time members who became christians under the ministry of Dr. Rogers and Dr. Whitmire are used to learning from men of integrity. Men who are honest and who do not change with the weather. They were steadfast and they challenged us to live our lives with integrity. They motivated us to read in our bibles because that was the way to live a pure life before the Lord. They taught us that when we sin, God will bring it before us when we pray and he won't let us go forward until we confess the sin and get it right. We would be out of fellowship with him if we harbored sin in our lives.

That is why SOME Bellevue members have so much trouble with the Pastor, Steve Gaines, because he came to our church and told the church body that he would teach us to pray and to worship because we did not know how. He caused our Minister of Music to leave without honor, who had worked so hard in our music ministry and had everyone from preschool to seniors active in the act of worship every week and all year long. He lied about it from the pulpit. He began spending the churches money unwisely and when confronted about it by deacons, told them to find another church. He scaled a fence in a gated neighborhood to confront the deacon unannounced. IT WAS only after months of pressure from the website and blog that he apologized from the pulpit for his mistakes. He made light of what he had done and made the congregation laugh at his SIN.

Where is the Holy Spirit in his life. How can he teach the church to be pure and to obey the law? How can he teach anyone that if you harbor sin in your heart, you will not have fellowship with the Lord and that is the most desireable thing in our lives. Isn't it????

There are those at Bellevue that will stand for the truth. We will not compromise. Pray for the truth to have victory. Pray for the men and women that have to stand up for truth and adherence to the bible and to the law.

Anonymous said...

The latest at Bellevue.

one member said...

Since we have so many "preacher boys" (as Dr Rogers so lovingly called you), could you please go online to bellevue.org and listen to this mornings message. Many of us have a problem with so many of the messages being out of context and our only recourse is to rely on the past teachings, notes and research that we do. Since none of us have been to seminary, could some of you enlighten us on the scriptural references used in the sermons we are questioning. There is some controversy of opinion in the newbbcopenforum.com blog posts you can read to know where we are coming from.
Thank you for any input you can give us and please continue to pray for us.