Friday, October 13, 2006

Here, let me hold up this mirror...

If you anti-Bellevue folks genuinely like the way you look in it, well, I don't know what else to say--except to encourage you to look a little harder. This anonymous comment is a prime example of what you (and all of us) should seek to avoid:

You guys just don't get it. Do you not see that you are amateurs compared to Josh Manning


Again, it's about personalities, not issues. The Sheehan Syndrome is alive and well, as noted previously.

and he has gained more respect after Weatherwax letters than he ever had.


Respect from whom, exactly? From those who write anonymously, throwing rocks and then hiding their hands? How, exactly, does throwing long-distance verbal Molotovs engender respect--much less "more respect"--from anyone?

Do you have a problem with the truth?


Good Tom Cruise impression. I'll refrain from playing the Jack Nicholson role here, if you don't mind...

Looks like to me PW lied in his first letter and admitted it in the next.


Your opinion is irrelevant, as is mine. The fact of the matter is that Bro. Phil Weatherwax's second letter didn't apologize for anything. In it, he did state that he loves young Mr. Manning, and is concerned about the level of contentiousness.

You and are now following the pattern that our Paster (sic) started. You better watch out


Nebulous, veiled threats are part of that contentiousness.

or people will start holding the tithes for God until SG and Jamie are fully exposed.


As are more pointed threats.

Its all about the money now and Steve caused it. Yeah he knows the Bible but so do you and so do I.


Thank you for the compliment, but honestly, I have no idea what you know and what you don't know. Behind your anonymity, you could be an eighty-year-old Buddhist.

Or a forty-year-old atheist.

Or a twenty-something grad student.

Please, people--if you feel there are issues to discuss, discuss the issues. Leave personalities out of it. When you attack others, you do no favors to the name of Christ.

I'm going to leave this mirror propped up for awhile. Let's all make good use of it.

--Mike

28 comments:

ilovebbc said...

Can someone who can get a message to Bro Phil let him know that some of the comments he directed toward Josh should be emailed instead to the Haywood guy - Sorry I don't recall his first name. I assume the link at the bottom of savingbellevue.com is correct. So Bro Phil needs to email him at signup@savingbellevue.com. Obviously Josh and Haywood are in touch or Haywood wouldn't have all the emails between Josh and Phil but anyway I think Haywood is responsible for some of the things Phil thinks Josh did.

Anonymous said...

maybe you should have looked in the mirror before you took that picture and combed your hair :Jack Nicholson

Pastor Mark said...

I have personally benifited from the ministry of Dr. Adrian Rogers in numerous ways. I am a better Husband, Father, Pastor and leader because of his incredible influence.

There is a line in the movie ” The Natural” where Robert Redford’s character is asked ” When they see you walking down the street, will they say, there goes the best there ever was”?

Adrian Rogers was in my opinion “the best there ever was”

Imagine the incredible pressure to suceed him! I would hope that the dear people at Bellevue would give Dr. Gaines a chance.

I wonder are some of these issues in reality the result of a grieving congregation, that is struugling with the home going of Dr. Rogers?

The suggestion that Dr. Gaines should not travel and always be at Bellevue (Every Wednesday night, when other pastors and associate pastors would see the opportunity to speak at Bellevue the opportunity of a lifetime)simply does not fit with the call to one of the premier churches on the planet.

He is in demand just as Dr. Rogers was, and always will be… Dr. Gaines represents The Lord Jesus Christ and Bellevue to the world!

I do believe the Leadership needs to meet with those who have concerns. I am certain , that the Lord desires Humility, Brokeness and Repentance for everyone involved. Such a church wide desire by everyone... will lead the way to a new day at Bellevue!

Remember: "Whenever you sling mud, you loose ground"

I am praying for your dear church, Dr. Gaines and everyone in leaderhip.

Dr. Mark Hensley

Rick said...

Very good point.

What are the issues?

Josh Tucker said...

Well, let's focus on one of the primary issues -- finances.

The financial issues appear to have the most traction lately with most individuals. The largest single problem I have with the manner in which Mark Sharpe, regardless of intent, went about pursuing his questioning of the administration is that there is a grave lack of demonstrable evidence behind the assertions he made. The evidence is not available to those he would make his case to, otherwise, he would not be in the position of having to ask the administration to provide evidence that his assertions are incorrect.

Unfortunately, Mark is presuming that the information he received from whatever source(s) within the finance department or deacon financial committee to be contextually correct, without mischaracterization, and completely understood by himself and his source(s) of information.

Under current U.S. law, whistleblowers are immune from being prosecuted for breaking confidentiality agreements as long as they have the evidence to back up their claims, and, this is important, actual wrong doing has taken place. If individuals within the finance department or on the deacon committee believed illegal activites to be taking place, why not document them? From the beginning, why has there been a demonstrable lack of evidence and a willingness to follow assertions without proof?

Josh Manning stated that he is willing to act as a witness on behalf of Mark Sharp in order to satisfy the biblical requirement of 2 or 3 witness to bring a charge against a church elder. One problem, this verse specifically referrs to first hand witnesses or the actual observers of a crime or morally wrong act. Mr. Manning is not a first hand witness of any of the original issues and neither is Mark Sharpe; not unless they have access to the church's financial documents. In that case, why would Mr. Sharpe need to go before the administration asking for evidence to refute his assertions in the first place?

I need to reiterate my point. Where is the evidence and where are the witnesses?

So far, the bulk of the issues with the finances appear to be related to one's opinion and belief on how a church is to be run with regard to the pastor's utilization of the church's resources and the church's financial decision making process.

Seriously, what are the issues: salary levels, credit card use, the church's tax exempt status? To my knowledge, these are the issues that are giving everyone fits. Nevermind the fact that Bellevue has deacons on the financial committee who have extensive backgrounds in finance outside the church and are completely qualified to deal with these issues. Nevermind the fact that Bellevue does have a financial department staffed with individuals who have the background and knowledge to handle these issues. Nevermind the fact Bellevue utilizes an outside auditing firm to look over its financials.

Are we talking about breaking the law and illegalities or are we are dealing with issues of personal preference as to how church resources should be managed, operated, and spent?


A second issue I have with Mark Sharpe is his willingness to disregard other serious concerns in the pursuit of his truth finding. I presume most people recognize the need for confidentiality to be mainted with regard the church financials, however, the manner of approach utilized by Mark Sharp would cause any layers of confidentiality the church has set up to be broken down without merit (without demonstrable evidence of wrong doing), and allow Bellevue's finances to be publicly aired.

Anonymous said...

I have had a number of conversations with fellow members, deacons and some outside our membership. The most prevailing thought that keeps coming up is not the "what" but the "how". There are a number of long standing members which are more concerned on "how" this situation is being handled by our leadership rather than "what" has transpired.

I and others are concerned that Bro. Steve would preach two sermons which intended or not were not appropriate and seemed to us to be very self-serving considering the meetings which would follow said sermons. Secondly there is a concern of how in these meetings his words were demeaning to those who have voiced a concern. His use of words to describe the fence as “It was the little bitty white fence about that tall” is certainly a half truth. Anyone who cares to witness this “little bitty” fence could drive out to the countryside of Lakeland and find for themselves that this fence is approximately 48 inches in height. Half a truth is not a truth and we should expect a pastor to be truthfule to his flock. By the way the shepard went after the lost sheep rather than suggest that the sheep join another flock.

My personal feelings as well as those I’ve spoken with believe that Bro. Steve lacks the humility needed to resolve this situation. It is not a question of who is right or who is wrong but a question of being humble enough for Godly wisdom to prevail. No one is anti-Bellevue but all have a right to their opinions and because the leadership failed to properly handle this situation we have to see it magnified for the world to see. May those who use the term anti-Bellevue stop using these words to describe fellow church members, fellow Christians, and brothers in Christ.

rick said...

Something I don't understand is the reference that Mark Sharp makes to Matthew 18. Matthew 18:15 says " If your brother sins against you,"..

It appears that Mr. Sharpe is saying that Dr. Gaines has sinned against him Personally.

Not just a concern for the church. Therefore, it's obvious to assume that he has felt a great offense has been committed against him, that Dr. Gaines will not acknowledge in his view.

So is the real issue in all this the fact that Dr. Gaines has replaced Dr. Rogers? That Dr. Gaines can never live up to Dr. Rogers. That any change made in the church is an implied criticism of Dr. Rogers minstry?

After all, were not most if not all of the finacial procedures in place during Dr. Roger's time at Bellevue?

What has changed? Only that he is no longer there.

I think the pastor is correct when he wonders if a lot of this has to do with a congregation still grieving. And a brother who somehow
has been greatly offended.

Numbers 12 said...

Miriam and Aaron Oppose Moses

Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite.

"Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?" they asked. "Hasn't he also spoken through us?"

Amd the Lord heard this.

(Now Moses was a very humble man, more humble than anyone else on the face of the earth.)

At once the Lord said to Moses, Aaron and Miriam, "Come out to the Tent of Meeting, all three of you."

So the three of them came out.

Then the Lord came down in a pillar of cloud; he stood at the entrance to the Tent and summoned Aaron and Miriam.

When both of them stepped forward, he said, "listen to my words:

"When a prophet of the Lord is among you,
I reveal myself to him in visions,I speak to him in dreams.
But this is not true of my servant Moses;
he is faithful in all my house.
With him I speak face to face, clearly and not in riddles;
he sees the form of the Lord.



Why then were you not afraid to speak against my servant Moses?"



The anger of the Lord burned against them, and he left them.

When the cloud lifted from above the Tent, there stood Miriam-leprous, like snow.

Aaron turned toward here and saw that she had leprosy; and he said to Moses, "Please, my lord, do not hold against us the sin we have so foolishly committed........"



Is this a fair comparison to the current situation? How can we compare Moses with Steve Gains?

Moses was called by God to lead Israel.
Steve Gains was called by God to lead Bellevue?

Moses murdered and Egyptian
Steve Gains,.....trespassed.

Aaron & Miriam were believers and held influential positions.

So are the one who want Steve Gains to resign.

Maybe this is not a fair use of scripture, I don't know.

What does someone else think?

Anonymous said...

Josh Tucker,

I believe you are right when you say that Mark Sharpe has no first hand knowledge of any of these issues.

For example, on his website he quotes Steve Gains as saying "absolutely not", when asked by a deacon if Steve thought it would be appropriate for Mark Sharpe to address the deacons.

What I heard Steve Gains say is that he felt it would be "inappropriate" for Mark to address the deacons on this.

A small but significant difference in wording. But for me it calls into question any first hand knowledge Mark has about any of these other isssues

Anonymous said...

Why is it,
that

Where there is humility, some see arrogance,

Where there is honesty, some see deception.

Where there is concern, some see intimidation.

Why is it?

Qualifications said...

The following are some items that are listed in "Qualifications For Deacon", published by Bellevue Baptist Church:

"The deacon is one who is to help create and preserve harmony in the church. He should be able to keep and have the reputation of keeping confidence those things which should not be discussed openly. He should be wise and discreet"


"He should see that his duty is to lift up the hands of the pastor to and to work with loyalty under the pastor's leadership. He is to free the pastor to do the work which God called the pastor to do."



All deacons, before they are allowed to serve, pledge to live up to these responsibilities.

Anonymous said...

How dare Brother Steve not preach this morning? Do we not pay him more than the President of the U.S. and shouldn't expect him to preach every Sunday morning?

Regards,

Mark Sharpe and just a handful of others

Anonymous said...

Brother Steve didn't preach this morning? I'm not surprised.

If fact, there are some that say Steve Gaines never left Gardendale. They don't know who the peson is who's been showing up at Bellevue, but it's not the real Steve Gaines.

Mike Bratton said...

"May those who use the term anti-Bellevue stop using these words to describe fellow church members, fellow Christians, and brothers in Christ."

I heartily agree. And as soon as those to whom you refer stop engaging in behavior that warrants the description, I promise to stop using it.

"Brother Steve didn't preach this morning? I'm not surprised."

Um... Did you read the article to which you posted your comment, whoever you are?

--Mike

Anonymous said...

Oops! I meant that tongue in check!

"Brother Steve didn't preach this morning, I'm not surprised"

Sorry for the misunderstanding!

carolsupporter said...

The preacher today made some jokes that offended my wife extremly. I do not appreciate Steve Gaines choice of guest, I'M STARTING TO FEEL THE SAME WAY ABOUT HIM.

carolsupporter said...

Mike

We appreciate your hard work. but sometimes I get confused about your comments. Why the carolsupport Identity? Do we agree what CP said in her letter to the Deacons? I hope so brother. Just for Clarification.

Thanks

Anonymous said...

The situation at Bellevue may have started with a handful of discontented people. Some major in minors, always looking for to find fault. But the number of upset and disappointed people is growing like wildfire. My own concerns are more a product of the handling of this affair than anything ele. Said handling has led to the fellowship-killing verbal sparring and invective.

I believe your use of the term anti-Bellevue is exactly the kind of overheated rhetoric we do not need. It no way can that term be seen as anything but divisive. If you want, call yourself pro-Gaines, but those of us with concerns are pro-Bellevue, not anti-Bellevue.

Please understand I think we all have a right to our opinions, so I'm not belittling yours. I just wish you would reconsider and refrain from unfair name-calling.

ilovebbc said...

Does anyone besides me recall Dr. Rogers telling us that there will be those who won't like the new preacher, the changes he makes, etc. and that after doing everything they can to ruffle feathers, they'll get mad and leave the church and Bellevue will be a better church because of it?

Mike Bratton said...

"My own concerns are more a product of the handling of this affair than anything ele. Said handling has led to the fellowship-killing verbal sparring and invective."

So you would agree that "Saving Bellevue" efforts to label those for whom they feel disdain as "cowards" and "the Mafia," as two examples, are inappropriate?

"I believe your use of the term anti-Bellevue is exactly the kind of overheated rhetoric we do not need. It no way can that term be seen as anything but divisive. If you want, call yourself pro-Gaines, but those of us with concerns are pro-Bellevue, not anti-Bellevue."

If I may, whoever you are, the behavior of those attacking the senior Bellevue staff is what is divisive. Referring to someone as "anti-Bellevue" is a summary label of behavior, and not "name-calling."

Name-calling is to refer to someone as a "beanhead," a "girly-man," a "goofball."

Or a "coward."

Or a member of "the Mafia."

Let me be clear. I am not necessarily "pro-Gaines," nor am I necessarily "pro-Bellevue." Having said that, and before getting taken out of context, Pastor Gaines has shown himself to be a solid preacher of the Word, and Bellevue is a marvelous church.

Do I completely agree with each and every action the church staff has taken in these proceedings? For the hundredth time, no--some matters could've been handled better, something the staff and leadership has unequivocally stated both in public and in private.

As I've said before, the only people drawing lines in the sand are those affiliated with the "saving Bellevue" nonsense.

Please, post the same cautionary comment at savingbellevue.com or an affilited site--if you can find a place to post comments at all. Let's see if it sees the light of day.

--Mike

Mike Bratton said...

You could even post it at an "affiliated" site.

--Mike

carolsupporter said...

summary label of Behavior is Judging, 6, 1 , half a dozen, or another. Anti Bellevue means you are calling people traitors because they are standing for the Truth. Do you know all the answers? NO YOU DONT so why dont you demand the handling of this matter to get to the Truth that all started this when MS asked them why? and He , you , and I have the right to ask why. Please understand God is in control, so are you saying ANTI GOD?> I know your not. Search for the Truth and thats where God will be waiting on you. Also be patient, things behind the scenes are in progress, we have a mighty God.
With Much Love

PS.I know your going to have some dis agreements, please take your time and pray before you make YOUR CALL.

Mike Bratton said...

"Anti Bellevue means you are calling people traitors because they are standing for the Truth."

Not in the slightest. The "Saving Bellevue" site posts things that are dubious in nature, then yanks them down when called on it--without so much as a sentence of retraction.

It also posts things that, when read closely, work against their "stand"--then yanks them down as soon as it's realized.

"Saving Bellevue" uses Scripture for a club, clumsily mishandling it in weak attempts to condemn those who dare to disagree with them.

"Do you know all the answers? NO YOU DONT"

To coin a phrase, whoever you are, it's not about me...

"so why dont you demand the handling of this matter to get to the Truth that all started this when MS asked them why?"

Apologies to the entire state of Mississippi for any confusion... but I digress.

Did the informational meeting (transcripted on this site, and at savingbellevue.com until it disappeared without explanation) not give you any "Truth"?

Is the newly-minted Communication Committee not transparent and accessible enough for you?

And if I may, it "all started" when Mr. Sharpe and his associates breached Scriptural protocol and began broadcasting their displeasure to the general public.

If there is blame to be laid, lay it there--at the feet of those whose behavior is anti-Bellevue.

"and He , you , and I have the right to ask why."

In public? No, actually, we don't.

"Please understand God is in control, so are you saying ANTI GOD?> I know your not."

Generous of you to understand and admit that.

"Also be patient, things behind the scenes are in progress".

My, but that sounds ominous, coming from a psudonym... Hmm...

--Mike

Mike Bratton said...

And even more ominous, coming from a pseudonym...

My internal spell-check must need updating.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

I am the anonymous writer who requested that the label anti-Bellevue not be continued. Please don’t take the time to educate me on the English language as I am fairly proficient in this area. You may be a great voice person but I do have a functioning knowledge of our language. Just for your edification ‘anti’ is a term meaning ‘against or opposed to something’ therefore your use of anti-Bellevue would mean that someone is against or opposed to Bellevue. And that is not the case.

Additionally Dr. Rogers’s comments were in the context of a pastor’s style of preaching and leadership. I don’t think anyone who sat under Dr. Rogers believes that he would have approved with the methods being used to stifle and intimidate fellow members.

My last point to you Mike is that you seem to demean people who don’t post their names. Some of us may not be in a situation whereby we can post our names due to our position within the church. I recall Dr. Roger’s asking if a man was in search of the truth or just searching to fortify his stated position. Mike, I ask you directly “Are you seeking the truth or just looking to support the stand which you have taken?”.

Mike Bratton said...

There's another one that deserves its own post in response.

--Mike

Anonymous said...

did you carry your laptop to church or just stay home to run down christians, you need help, your agenda is not for my GOD. I pray your light bulb comesw on someday, savingbellevue.com is not what god is about and its what you live for,Get a life and surrendefr to Jesus Christ. You are always on the defensive. You have created more damage for yourself at Church

Mike Bratton said...

"did you carry your laptop to church or just stay home to run down christians, you need help, your agenda is not for my GOD. I pray your light bulb comesw on someday, savingbellevue.com is not what god is about and its what you live for,Get a life and surrendefr to Jesus Christ. You are always on the defensive. You have created more damage for yourself at Church"

I'm guessing that's for me. A couple of things:

1) Actually, I had to stay home for family-related reasons, not that it's the slightest bit of your business. Feel better?

2) "More damage"? Ah, our friend has returned, apparently. I addressed that mindset in a previous post.

--Mike