Tuesday, September 26, 2006

"Wherever the truth takes us"

Hot off the "Saving Bellevue" scandal-sheet presses:

On Sunday September the 24th, Steve Gaines told the Bellevue family that 100% (then he corrected himself and said almost 100%) of the deacons supported him. Steve Gaines knows this is not the truth but yet he had no problem saying it in front of 4,400 people.

This is not about choosing sides. It is about seeking the truth wherever the truth takes us.


1) The anti-Bellevue folks have, collectively, developed what passes for mental telepathy. Some or all of them can now read the minds of people, and know beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure (to coin a phrase) whether or not another person knows something to be true!

2) In front of "4,400 people"? Precisely that number? Not 4,398 people? Not 4,415 people?

Let's see the official head-count, and photographic evidence that precisely four thousand, four hundred people were in the congregation to hear Pastor Gaines speak. Not a person more, not a person less.

Pastor Gaines corrected himself, but it appears in the "Saving Bellevue" misguided zeal, little things like numerical accuracy are thrown under the bus. Let's see if they correct themselves, or if they even notice the irony in their latest little commentary.

Never mind that the anti-Bellevue group chose sides as soon as they started publishing and granting interviews--remember, it's wherever the truth takes us.

--Mike

UPDATE: I find this absolutely fascinating.

The above-quoted material from "Saving Bellevue" has been removed. Mental telepathy, double standard, and all.

And what's that sound? Why, it's the sound of silence on the "Saving Bellevue" website; apparently, Adrian Rogers' audio remarks are no longer being misused there.

Why were those items removed? It couldn't be because they should never have been there in the first place...

Could it?

UPDATE 2: Pastor Rogers' audio remarks have returned.

Do the words "copyright infringement" ring a bell to anyone?

They should.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

The figure 4,400 is obviously and estimate of the crowd size and not head count. If they had said 4,432 than THAT would sound like a head count.

Furthermore one does not need to read Steve Gaines mind to assert that he is lying. For instance, if Mr. Gaines says 100% of deacons support him and a person (Mr. X for example) knows firsthand that several deacons do not support him then Mr. X knows for a fact Mr. Gaines is exaggerating at best and flat out lying at worst.

If you are going to criticize accuracy, pick a better target than the reporting of the crowd size which is an obvious estimate and a minor fact. A better target of criticism would be the lack of an “on the record” list of deacons that do not support Mr. Gaines. Criticize the opponent’s lack of support to document the falsity of the 100% approval comment, not their headcount.

Psalm 15 said...

Mike,

Refreshing!! Keep it up

You are making the points that need to be made

Thanks

Mike Bratton said...

Let's consider these remarks, shall we?

"The figure 4,400 is obviously and estimate of the crowd size and not head count. If they had said 4,432 than THAT would sound like a head count."

Pastor Gaines made an estimate--obviously--and anti-Bellevue folks such as this anonymous individual refuse to extend the same generosity to him.

"Furthermore one does not need to read Steve Gaines mind to assert that he is lying."

This is precious...

"For instance, if Mr. Gaines says 100% of deacons support him and a person (Mr. X for example) knows firsthand that several deacons do not support him then Mr. X knows for a fact Mr. Gaines is exaggerating at best and flat out lying at worst."

Convenient of you, whoever you are, to leave out the rest of the "Saving Bellevue" quote--that he "corrected himself and said almost 100%".

You took part of the truth and attempted to present it as all of the truth. Quoting Pastor Rogers, that means you, in your anonymity, turned that part of the truth into a lie.

Feel free to apologize in a subsequent comment...

"If you are going to criticize accuracy, pick a better target than the reporting of the crowd size which is an obvious estimate and a minor fact."

There is such a thing as a "minor fact"? Would it be a "minor fact" to note that you, for whatever reason, left out something your anti-Bellevue friends reported on their own site?

"A better target of criticism would be the lack of an “on the record” list of deacons that do not support Mr. Gaines. Criticize the opponent’s lack of support to document the falsity of the 100% approval comment, not their headcount."

Again, you ignore the fact that Pastor Gaines (and if you're a member of Bellevue Baptist Church, he is your pastor, whether you like it or not) emphasized the term "almost 100%" in his remarks.

And the anti-Bellevue folks do, indeed, suffer from a paucity of support.

--Mike

Arron said...

So here's my question (and feel free to e-mail me with an answer or whatever...) Theere's only one point here that still hasn't been addressed: the proof of no wrongdoing.
Now, I am a former Bellevue member, and for a long time, I was quite bitter with the church for reasons of my own, which, honestly, though I could explain here, I really probably shouldn't. In any case, I realize now that Bellevue is not a bad place, and that there are wonderful people there. I like it (at least, moreso than I did when I first left), although I have found a good church where I am now at college, and I've stuck with it. I'm only saying this to give you a little background.

Anyway, From the layman ignorant person's perspective, why not just put the whole thing to rest by producing the docuentation the people are asking for? And if one answers "because that means they've WON!", I say, were they REALLY out for BLOOD, or to WIN? And if you try to fight in an unchristlike spirit with them, has Satan not won then ("The laughter of Mordor will be our only reward...")?

Now, I am neutral (because I literally know NOTHING firsthand), but that's a pretty serious charge to level against people - that they're fabricating the whole thing (although someone certainly could be)...
And if they are lying, why not just put them in their place firmly with documentation? Am I to believe that a church as scrupulous with its funds as Bellevue (I've seen and heard the Music office budget in years past) doesn't keep good enough record of its finances to prove these folks wrong? I just don't understand why this is such a big hollabaloo (hullaballoo?), unless the naysayers are actually right...
And I DON'T want them to be right, but show me an alternative as to why the necessary documentation has not been produced... It can't be that difficult in this, the information age, to do so...

Arron said...

One other question (seriously, e-mail me if you will...): What's the deal with Mike Spradlin? All the time I was at Bellevue, I never got anything fom him but the most loving and Christlike attitude imaginable. Now, I go to SavingBellevue, and I hear that he was in trouble? Do you know if that's true, false, or indifferent? I'm only trying to figure things out...

PS: Have you read Jesse McClerkin's letter? Again, I know NOTHING but what I've read, but it seems terribly sad...
-Arron

Arron said...

Honestly, here's one last question, and I don't know if it's a good one to approve or not, but maybe it is one that needs to be asked...
From the premise that God is Sovereign,
What is going on right now at Bellevue?

And from my EXTREMELY LIMITED perspective (which I have already established as COMPLETE and UTTER REMOVAL from firsthand information),
What if God's plan involves the splitting of Bellevue into severaal churches? What if God wants the church split so that more locations, more sermons, more Gospel presentations, more saved, etc....

And by the way, What about discipleship? I mean real discipleship (which I never did get while I was there - NOT to say that t wasn't happening, but I PERSONALLY never found it)... Is it happening now? Personally, I don't know that once a week on sundays is the best time to have discipleship (i.e. I don't know that Sunday School is quite effective), but maybe it does work for some... Maybe what the church actually needs is what it seems no one really wants - to stop being Bellevue altogether and start being the Chruch...
And maybe it has to have radical surgery in order to be more effective...
I'm not necessarily arguing for this, but I am kind of chewing on it...
Goodnight.

Anonymous said...

>> There is such a thing as a "minor fact"?

Yes, this is why the Commercial Appeal has editors, to identify the key facts in a story. In this case I would say the assertion that a Pastor lied is the lead, not the crowd size or the possible misestimate of crowd size.

>>This is precious...

Not sure what part you are talking about but I’ll take a stab. Yes, you can prove someone is lying without “reading the mind” of the liar. Attorneys do this every day at 201 Poplar. I never said Pastor Gaines lied or even insinuated it. I merely offered an example of how it would be possible to prove he was lying in this particular case without reading his mind. I then went on to offer the advice that you attack the saving Bellevue assertion of lying, not the crowd size because crowd size is not the main point. If Saving Bellevue can’t produce deacons – more than just a couple – then they are the one who is lying and Steve Gaines assertion that 100% … or almost 100% support him is not a lie but is indeed a true statement.

>>> And the anti-Bellevue folks do, indeed, suffer from a paucity of support.

I have not read the entire website so I’ll only comment on the assertion the “100%... or almost 100% support me” quote. People can argue about what “almost 100%” means but I’d say if they can’t produce an on the record list of a reasonable percentage (my personal number is >= 15%) of the deacons that do not support Pastor Gains then their assertion he is lying has no merit. If a guy says almost 100% support him when in fact only 95% do then sorry, he is NOT a liar in my book.

>>>You took part of the truth and attempted to present it as all of the truth. Quoting Pastor Rogers, that means you, in your anonymity, turned that part of the truth into a lie. Feel free to apologize in a subsequent comment...


I reread what I said and I still don’t think I have anything to apologize for. I thought your criticism of the 4.400 number was nitpicking and missed the point. I still feel that way. It is just an editorial opinion. You may feel that is a big deal and you are entitled to your opinion. I won’t apologize for mine.

I just thought the “Mind Reader” comment you made was a kind of a cheap shot. Now they may deserve cheap shots but that does not mean you have to take them. I offered an EXAMPLE (introduced by the words “For instance…”) of how a person can prove another person is lying without “reading their mind”. As I mentioned above, lawyers do this everyday by using evidence against the liar. I never said Saving Bellevue has offered such evidence that Steve Gaines lied in making the 100% comment, clearly they have not. THAT is what I think is the main point of this whole story. Saving Bellevue called the Pastor a liar, but offered no on the record evidence (such as a letter signed by several deacons that they do not support the Pastor) to support the assertion. Don’t construe my example in the prior post as something other than it is. It was just an example of how to prove someone a liar without being a mind reader.

Pastor Gaines is not may Pastor. Furthermore, even if he hadn’t clarified his 100% support remark to “almost 100%” he deserves some degree of reasonableness when we parse his remarks. When people are speaking in public they shouldn’t have to worry about someone parsing their words to the extent that if 1 out of 200 deacons didn’t support them then they “lied” when they said “100% support” instead of “almost 100% support”. While it is good he clarified the remarks to “almost 100%” it was not really necessary in my opinion .

Mike Bratton said...

"Arron" has posed some interesting questions, which I'd like to address.

First, regarding the idea of the Bellevue church staff presenting "proof of no wrongdoing": Arron, I'm going to take a stab and presume you're a married man. Have you stopped beating your wife?

I don't want to hear this "Why, I've never laid a hand on my wife in anger" business. My sources tell me they know someone who knows someone who says someone told them they know you beat your wife to a bloody pulp on a regular basis, and I want--nay, sir, I demand--proof that you have stopped beating your wife!

What's that? Not the right way to go about it?

I completely agree.

Secondly, regarding Dr. Spradlin: He is a personal friend, and I will refrain from discussing him in this venue unless and until I have his permission, and the express written permission of Major League Baseball.

(By the way, Mike--the shorts you wore to soccer last night have me off the hook with my wife regarding my clothing choices. I am in your debt, sir...)

Thirdly, regarding Mr. McClerkin's letter: I read everything they post there. I even read the things they post, and subsequently delete. Again, I don't presume to know his motivation for doing what he does, other than the obvious fact that he's chosen an inappropriate venue in which to vent.

And lastly, I do not know of a Scriptural precedent where people were divinely led of God to use half-truths, elevated personal opinions, gossip, and slander to split a church. I do know that Bellevue starts church plants in a variety of locations; I also know that Memphis is already blessed with a variety of church-going options.

With regard to discipleship, Arron, it's where you find it. A small church, just as a larger church, may provide much, some, or little-to-nothing in the way of discipleship. Give God the opportunity, and He will equip you in the ways He wishes you to be equipped.

--Mike

Mike Bratton said...

And now, to address yet another anonymous response..

Pastor Gaines did not lie. Had he left his "100% support" statement uncorrected, you might actually have a legitimate complaint.

Since he did not, you do not. I get the impression you understand that.

And isn't it interesting that the anti-Bellevue types actually removed the quote from their main site? If he's caught him in a lie, why isn't the evidence still there?

What was "precious," and still is, was the statement that, and I quote it thusly and like so, "Furthermore one does not need to read Steve Gaines mind to assert that he is lying."

People can "assert" a lot of things, you know. I asserted, wrongly and as an example of the flaw in such alleged reasoning, that Arron was beating his wife. I can also assert that you, whoever you are, choose to post anonymously because you are a well-known member of organized crime who passes out bags of crack cocaine to first-graders. I also assert that you shake down the elderly for protection money. I further assert that you lure unsuspecting individuals to seedy hotel rooms, where you drug them, slice them open, steal internal organs from them for profit--then leave them in bathtubs, covered with ice.

Assertions are fun, aren't they?

When we're serious about them, we should make them prayerfully, and with care.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

Exactly right. You can assert all of those things about me with no evidence. Furthermore you don't even have to read my mind to do it.

But the proof is always in the pudding, which save Bellevue has yet to produce. You have no proof I'm a crack addict and they have no proof Steve Gaines lied.

My point was that your cheap shot about them being mind readers was uncalled for. You should have scolded them for lack of evidence to support their assertion. They deserve it.

My "precious" statement was making the point that it is entirely possible to know a person is lying without reading their mind. Is it your position that it is impossible to know a person is lying unless you are a mind reader?

Demand pudding (proof) from the save BBC people that Steve Gaines lied. It is nit picking to gripe that save Bellevue had a bad head count of 4,400.

Finally I did not assert Steve Gaines lied. I was obviously using an example as indicated by the introductory phrase "For instance...". Read my posts again in context and with comprehension.

Mike Bratton said...

My anonymous friend, my astonishment regarding the purported telepathic powers of some anti-Bellevue people was neither "cheap" nor a "shot." I direct you to the quote upon which I commented, thusly and like so:

"Steve Gaines knows this is not the truth but yet he had no problem saying it in front of 4,400 people."

He knows, "anonymous." Pastor Gaines knows what is and is not the truth, yet their misguided statement is that he knows, yet he lies.

Proper assertions require facts to support them. The only way the anti-Bellevue people could have such facts information about Steve Gaines is by delving into his mind. You know: "My mind to your mind... my thoughts to your thoughts... Our minds are merging... our minds are one."

(Well, that's more of a mind-meld than old-fashioned telepathy, but you get the idea.)

And with regard to reading for context and comprehension, perhaps you missed my earlier statement, which I quote thusly and like so: "I get the impression you understand that."

I appreciate your input, though--let me spell that out clearly. Regardless of the topic, this is a place where discussion of ideas is always welcome.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

Why do I always repartee with people I basically agree with? Oh well must be a character flaw. Flaw on my part not yours.

Anyways...

If Steve Gaines really was lying (I'm NOT saying nor asserting he was lying) then of course he would KNOW he was lying. When you lie you pretty much KNOW you are telling an untruth. Otherwise you would just be mistaken, or lacking full information.

For example if Gains - in good faith - *thought* he had 100% support when unknown to him there were several deacons that didn't support him then the statement "I have 100% support" would not be a lie. Now it may not be true, but Gains is just less than fully informed in this case since in good faith he truly thought he had 100% support. I would not classify that as a lie. It would just be a wrong statement made in good faith, made by a person lacking total information. That is not a lie because in his mind he thought he DID have 100% support. Of course a person should correct the wrong statement when they learn new information if the statement in question is a big deal as in this case.

Contrast this with a person that *knows* for a fact he lacks full support because people have communicated to him that they oppose him. If a person in that situation knows he has less than 100% support yet says “I have 100% support” then he is flat out lying because he is saying something he KNOWS to be untrue. Not only does this person KNOW thay are lying the people that told him they oppose him also KNOW he is lying. They don't need to read his mind becasue they remember what they communicated to him. Therefore in this situation the language of Save BBC “Steve Gaines *knows* this is not the truth…” would be acceptable language. If however Save BBC has no evidence to support their assertion, and never directly communicated their opposition then they are way out of line and definitely wrong to make the above statement and they are in fact are the liars.

So, you can know that someone is lying and also know that they know they are lying. That is the save BBC assertion. The problem is that they have offered no evidence to back their assertion. They should be hammered for that until they put up or shut up.

To summarize:
>>>Proper assertions require facts to support them."<<<
Agree 100%. Some would suggest this is a two sided coin though and that a letter supporting Gains signed by all deacons would be needed to confirm his assertion of near total deacon support. I disagree and think Gaines deserves the benefit of the doubt absent a letter from multiple deacons spelling out their opposition.)

>>>"The only way the anti-Bellevue people could have such facts information about Steve Gaines is by delving into his mind."<<<
Disagree 100%. If several (not just a couple) of deacons had informed Gaines that they did not support him then those people would know he was lying because they had communicated their lack of support.

Sorry for any bad typos. In a hurry...

Feel free to respons or not as you wish.

Peace, blessings and high blog traffic to you!

Mike Bratton said...

Two things to consider, regarding the "100%" reference, which was immediately corrected to "almost 100%":

1) People are allowed to have a slip of the tongue every now and again. Unless you're Steve Gaines, in which case the anti-Bellevue group won't hear of it.

2) I wasn't able to get back in town fast enough to be in the service or the meeting afterwards, but it could have been an attempt at humor.

Whichever, the "Saving Bellevue" people have taken down the reference. Nevertheless, it will remained enshrined here as an example of the mentality behind the viewpoint.

--Mike