Wednesday, October 04, 2006

An open letter to Mark Sharpe


Since there is no other way you've made available to get in touch with you, this is going to have to do. I'm aware that you and yours stop by from time to time, but rarely, if ever, leave responses. Perhaps that will change.

The so-called "Saving Bellevue" site has a new entry: "Mark Sharpe asks Steve Gaines to resign." Such a National Enquirer-esque advertisement brings to mind the danger of believing one's own press clippings. You've been quoted in the paper, and mentioned on a few websites, so now it's news that you are asking Pastor Gaines to resign?

Not hardly. Your pastor and three others cared enough about you to come to your house and try to talk with you. That's something to be blessed by, not complain about. Yet you wear it as a "red badge of courage," talking about how you've been intimidated and harassed.

But let me examine a few choice quotes from your "epistle." Speaking of fences, I quote you thusly, and like so:

Steve Gaines, you mentioned Sunday evening that you and the others “were so desperate to try to protect Bellevue – we were so desperate”. What were you desperate about protecting?

The answer, which should be obvious even to your own group, is to protect Bellevue--"saving" it, if you will--from the type of gossip and antagonism you and yours dispense.

You misled the church by inferring that the website had stated that the Bellevue 4 jumped over the gate. Nobody has ever stated that you or others jumped over the gate.

(I must say, referring to the "Bellevue 4" is absolutely hilarious... in a pitiful way...)

Mark, let me be blunt here: You are representing part of the truth as all of the truth. How did Pastor Gaines begin his remarks regarding the vaulting of fences? Why, you can read it in the transcript used to have posted, and which this site still does. I quote it thusly, and like so:

We've already talked about the fence, and I want to join Brother Chuck and we're representing the others that were involved- the four of us- we absolutely.. that was a mistake obviously, we shouldn't have done it.

In case you've had trouble finding that quote, it directly precedes your referenced quote regarding Pastor Gaines desiring to protect Bellevue from the bile your group dispenses.

By the way, Mark, have you called the sheriff's department yet? Trespassing is something they're interested in. No? You haven't reported this heinous trangression of county law by that gang of scofflaws, the "Bellevue 4"?


After reading your missive--which, apart from the rumor-mongering, reads as self-aggrandizement and resumé-touting--there really isn't much else to comment on. Except, of course, to note that the analogy you and yours inspired with your opinion-laden accusations, "more 'I's' than a sack of potatoes," is the new catchphrase for the 21st century.

Please, post a comment or three here, Mark. Your opinion is just as important as anyone else's.

Not more, though.


EDITED TO ADD: A commenter made an excellent point, Mark. Your proclamation calling for Pastor Gaines to slink away into the night mists is from you.

It wasn't even from the prestigious law firm of Sharpe, Saba, McClerkin, Benson, Bobbitt, Haywood, and Manning. Just from you.

Why is that?

EDITED TO ADD SOME MORE: Once again, Mark, you've made it into the Commercial Appeal. Do you have James Dowd on speed-dial?


Anony Moose said...

Jesus applauded the efforts of four men who tore apart a man's roof in order to get their friend to Him.

Thanks, Mike.

Anonymous said...

I guarantee you had the Ember's been there, they would have pressed charges on those 4 men.

Anonymous said...

He also applaudes those that break national laws in smuggling Bibles into certain countries.


Anonymous said...

Mark Sharpe won't comment on here. He is a low-life coward, guess that is why he needs to live in a gated community.


Mike Bratton said...

Here, now...

Let's keep this focused on the issues. No personal disparagements directed to Mr. Sharpe, Mr./Ms. On Lyam Ember, or any other Embers.

Thanks in advance.


Anonymous said...

Would it be considered a "disparagement" to say that Mark Sharpe and his "flock" have definately crossed a line and if anyone should leave OUR church, it should be them?

Mike Bratton said...

No, that would not be a disparagement.

As I've stated previously, the group crossed a line when they began to wield Scripture in a disingenous way. To date, they appear to be doing their dead-level best not to get back on the right side of that line, but to put that line in their collective rear-view mirror.


Anonymous said...

Yes, I would like to send an open invitation to Mark Sharpe to resign as being a member of BBC. He doen't even need to give a two week notice, he should leave immediately.


Anonymous said...

I see you won't post this message. Little too close to the "truth", huh?

Mark Sharpe's tone is one of humility, honesty, and simply asking for truth.

Your tone, Mike Bratton, on the other hand is pompous, arrogant, and smart alec right down to your picture being posted on every comment. Is this about you?

You try to sound clever, but don't know what you're talking about.

Mike Bratton said...

As you can see, I do post every comment--even those which disagree with my viewpoint. Uniformly, those antagonistic posts (including your most recent one) don't stop at the issues (or even start, sometimes), but roll right into what I prefer to refer to as "personal disparagements."

You know--the sort of schoolyard name-calling that attacks the individual? Off the top of my head, such posts usually include words like "arrogant," "pompous," "smart alec"... things like that.

My picture is attached to my profile as a way to stand behind what I write, thanks. I note you can't say the same thing about what you wrote; you didn't give a first name, or even a pseudonym, for me to work with.

And if I don't know what I'm talking about, perhaps your next post could, oh, I don't know, contain some specific examples of just what it is I need to know?

Mr. Sharpe and his cadre have spent the past few weeks and months attempting to destabilize Bellevue Baptist Church by using lies and half-truths, all of which have been documented and soundly refuted. His, and their, "tone" pales in comparison to their actions--which are disappointing, to say the least.


Anonymous said...

At least you do allow and post comments Mike...Thanks!! Asking for our pastor to resign doesn't seem very humble to me.

Anony Moose said...

Dear all,

Encourage your deacon officers to take care of this matter. Ask them to do whatever it takes to (1) restore, or, if we're past that, (2) remove Mark Sharpe and Jim Haywood from Bellevue membership. I am sure there are others involved, but these two have proven their malicious intent and refusal to repent.

You don't leave a cancerous lump in your chest and hope that it goes away; you remove it before it spreads and consumes the body. Yes, people will be hurt... hurt precedes healing, and there can be no healing if we don't handle this.

Bellevue body... you are just as much a part of the solution as church leadership is! Tell those spreading the strife to stop or leave. Apathy is a vote against resolution. Ask your leadership to handle the matter quickly.


notonlyamemberbutsomuchmore said...

I can't think of anything MORE arrogant and lacking humility than to ask a man called and confirmed by God to lead our congregation to resign because a) he doesn't preach on Wednesday nights, b) there are at worst conflicting reports about his alleged "dream", c) he personally tried to visit MS and d) allegations of credit card misuse have been refuted (oh, I'm sorry, they are still valid allegations because the answers are not what the Sharpites and Sharpettes want to hear).

Yeah, that reeks of humility, doesn't it?

All members of BBC should invoke Titus 3 against MS and RM and the libelous blogger:

v9. Avoid foolish arguments, genealogies, rivalries, and quarrels about the law, for they are useless and futile. 10 After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, 11
realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned.

MS and the 'ites and 'ettes have been warned more than twice. The reason why Titus 3 says to break off contact is because the lies and deceit of a heretic are cunning and if you continue to make contact, the heretic will cause you to slowly question what you know is truth. Eve didn't set out to eat the apple--she was lied to and listened to it instead of walking away--and then she started to doubt the truth that she knew.

It actually grieves me to see the comments (yeah, the very selective comments since only pro-MS comments are allowed on the access controlled site--they killed the open comments when they saw that there was an overwhelming backlash) on the libelous blogsite and by so many people and the letters by people who I once found respectable who have bought into the deceit and are literally GRASPING to find fault with anything. If you are looking to find fault, you will.

I recommend that we all do the following:
1) pray that MS and the 'ites and 'ettes do not sleep, nor their spouses, until they have humbled themselves and come to repentance. If you don't sleep, you can not function.
2) pray that libelous webmaster and blogster also do not sleep until they are convicted and take down the site and blog. If they do not, pray that the server crashes beyond repair so that the heresies stop spreading around the world.

Thank you Mike, for having a site that allows truth.

notonlyamemberbutsomuchmore said...

Oh yeah, and to libelous webmaster--I have personally sat on your site and clicked refresh hundreds of times to rack up the numbers just for funsies. Seems that your website does not track individual IP address hits, but every time someone opens your page. So, YOUR numbers are WAY inflated by those of us who go there all the time just to see what mistruths are propagated next.

I hope all those who are impressed by your numbers will read this and see that your numbers are grossly, grossly overstated. In fact, I added about 50 or so while I was typing this. Just for fun.

Heh heh.

Anonymous said...

Yeah let's see if we can cause their site to hit 1 million, then they can go to the Church and say that since the entire Memphis Metro area has been on the site that everyone in the city agrees with them. Haha

Anonymous said...

Mike, you forgot "Emerson" as one of the partners in that firm. For some reason, and it just floors me, Richard Emerson fails to have his name plastered around like Mark. He is one of the driving forces behind this, but somehow his name isnt in lights (but yet he was one of the key speakers at that off-campus meeting).

You can make Hathcock a partner, too. He is a conspirator and was taking notes with libelous webmaster 2 sunday nights ago. These purveyors of division should not be allowed to shrink in the shadows but should be called to account.

Mike Bratton said...

If I can't point to someone's name publicly claiming participation in this anti-Bellevue garbage, I am loathe to include them in anything.

Pity that more of us weren't invited to the off-campus soiree. I wonder if they taped it?


Anonymous said...

I can really sense the fruit of the Spirit with you all.

Anonymous said...


You are a bully, and damaged at Bellevue. You need to check what your saying with God. If you have a relationship with him, listen.

Mike Bratton said...


You are a bully, and damaged at Bellevue. You need to check what your saying with God. If you have a relationship with him, listen."

This is precious. It deserves more than just to lie here in the "comments" section. It deserves its own post in response.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

Satan's greatest weapon against the church is division. How come so many people can't see that's what is going on here? And the division is NOT coming from our pastor and staff, but from a FEW people with an agenda, as has now been revealed.

We must counter this by showing unity. As long as people keep following and supporting MS and haywood, this illness will not go away. People--stop giving them any credibility and just ignore them so we can get back to the business of reaching lost people.

I wonder how many people who WOULD have come to BBC and WOULD have been saved but now will not because of this? They will think that from the paper and other sources that there is this big divide at our church--which there is NOT--it is only a few. So they don't come and here the gospel and spend eternity in hell. I hope they know that the blood and souls of those will be on their hands.

Anonymous said...

why was Steve Gaines fired from West Jackson Baptist Church????

Mike Bratton said...

I don't know why he left, or the circumstances of his departure from West Jackson.

Did you call and ask anyone before you tossed that anonymous brickbat?


Anonymous said...

you act like you have all the answers. this in the commercial appeal today. See now you try to bully me.

Mike Bratton said...

"Anonymous said...
you act like you have all the answers. this in the commercial appeal today. See now you try to bully me."

If you're the same "Anonymous" who posted the question regarding West Jackson (and honestly, it's getting hard to keep up with all you anonymous people), I'll have to take your response as "No, I didn't try to talk with anyone, but thanks for asking."

Or words to that effect...


josh tucker said...

To the West Jackson poster,

No specifics have been listed about Gaines tenure in West Jackson, including in the Commercial Appeal commentary poll. I've already stated this elsewhere; you're engaging in libelous behavior without evidence.

Anonymous said...

TO --- JS

you need to read the comments, twice West Jackson has been mentioned

Anonymous said...


I have been in ministry many years. The things that have been mentioned concerning the pastor should not be dismissed so quickly. You would be shocked to hear what many pastors say behind closed doors. Sadly, big salaries and arrogance usually go hand in hand. However, Bellevue will survive. Just a general observation.


Dacus Grant said...

It is curious to me that all of the mudslinging and accusations (especially those from Mark Sharpe), appear to mirror the same types of ploys the Democratic party uses against it's counterparts. Many of the items in question are so ridiculously nitpicky. Oh no! Dr. Gaines led a revival and he so happened to preach on a Wednesday night at another church. He is such a hypocrite! God forbid there be exceptions to the rule. The ONLY reason why these allegations are so big is due to the powers of the internet and media. Over 4,000 members participated in numerous standing ovations two weeks ago, and the media wasn't in on that.

Anonymous said...

Based on the commercial appeal online pool it appears more than a few people think something may be going on. Why not have a meeting with Q & A to air this thing out?

Ex-deacon accuses the new Bellevue pastor of misleading church and misusing finances. Is he correct? See related story
(1) Yes 44.0 % (385)
(2) No 38.9 % (340)
(3) Undecided 17.1 % (150)
Total: 875

onlyamember said...

I am glad that I can provide you with entertainment. I do feel sorry for you guys, that your lives are so empty that you have to continually put others down to build yourselves up.

For that last time. I am not on sides. Regardless of who has brought them up, there have been some questions and concerns raised and seem to still be some out there. I don't know them all, nor do I need to know them. Steve has addressed only the ones he wants addressed. If all the concerns had been addressed, I ASSURE you that Mark Sharpe would end this. Mark is not the type of person to maliciously go after someone. (you might want to check my spelling on that one, I am in a hurry). I don't know about the others on the website, but just like yours, there are people on both sides taking this way to far and causing more trouble/damage.

You don't know me, and right now I am pretty thankful that I don't have to mingle with someone with an ego as inflated as yours.

As far as my family, you leave them out of this. You don't have a clue who we are. It is pretty scary to think we have people in our church walking around with the attitude that you have. You seem to be one of those with a 'God' complex. You need to be careful with that.

As far as me, I am done with all of this. After reading all these posts and seeing how ugly everyone has gotten, it broke my heart that I was giving others ammo to continue. I do not feel bad, nor am I changing my position; that if Steve would hold the meeting Mark has called for, all this can end.
As long as you continue Mike and Anonymasse, the ugliness will continue.

As far as West Jackson, I do have first hand knowledge. Steve was not fired, Gardendalle (sp?) called him and left in view of a call. I will tell you, again, first-hand from West Jackson deacons, that Steve started off with a bang there like he has here. They thought he was very arrogant and he came in their and 'wiped' out all the long-time staff and replaced them with his people. This came from West Jackson members. There was a big stink and there was a group of West Jackson members that wanted him gone. As a matter of fact, believe it or not, I defended Steve when he first came here. We were told over and over how arrogant he was and that he would come in and 'wipe' people out. I assured them Bellevue would not let that happen. Boy, don't I feel stupid. I was also told that there were not financial issues or anything 'ugly' with Steve leaving West Jackson; he went in view of a call to Gardendalle (sp).

Now, I will continue to pray for all involved and hope that Steve will hold the meeting that has been asked of him so we can get all this behind us and enjoy the Spirit of Worship once again at our Beloved Church.

Anonymous said...

I was told by Chuck Hannaford that the best predictor of FUTURE behavior is PAST behavior.

"Slippery Steve" can't fool all the people all of the time. Dr. Rogers has labelled many a preacher with the title, "Crooked Arrow." Bellevue deserves better.

Josh Tucker said...

To the "Slippery Steve" poster, what past behavior are you specifically referring to? You presume to have knowledge that the rest of us aren't privy to.

Bellevue Friend said...


I am growing increasingly weary of the multiple attacks against your new Pastor. He has apologised for the fence many times does he have to say I am sorry?

The expense to take several couples out to eat, is a part of serving a church of your size...and assuridly it was a budgeted amount ( according to your own finance person) No inpropriety none!

Why the desire to handcuff your new Pastor who has stepped into the posistion previously held for 32 years by Dr.Rogers?

Dr. Rogers was often away on Wednedays not always...and I must say that I do believe your new Pastor should be in attendance when he is not away, representing or encouraging another Church or seminary as a guest speaker.

I am confident that your new Pastor is not abusing predetermined time away granted to the Senior Pastor of Bellevue!

I have to say that the deacons who responded in a hateful manner should be ashamed....and why on earth would you want those mean spirited men in Leadership!

I don't believe they speak for Dr. Gaines, or the Church...and certainly would be quickly rebuked by Dr. Rogers if he were there!

However Folks, some of you ( Not All) are eating your Pastor alive! ....acting more like goats than sheep, critizing, defaming, belittling etc!

Dr. Rogers always spoke so very highly of the Saints of Bellevue,

I am very concerned that if this doesn't come to a quick resalution your church will be seen as anything but loving...and what Pastor would want to serve a people that refuse to let him be human.

I don't believe your Pastor should be making more than Dr. Rogers....but honestly after reading some of your criticisms a a million a year wouldn't be enough to have to put up with such disdain and disrespect!

Should your Pastor be held to a high standard...absolutely!

In the process show respect for the office of Pastor...he is not Gaines....

He is Dr. Steve Gaines, Senior Pastor of the Bellevue Baptist Church of Memphis!

Your former Pastor Dr. Rogers in his book "Standing for light and Truth" on page 44 wrote:

There are often two classes of people in the church: Those who complain and those who know how to pray. The people murmured against Moses, but Moses went to the Lord!

Lets all do the same!
Ephesians 4: 29-32

David said...

Dear Mike and the rest of the gang, pro and con. Please, Please stop all this. It is way past time for this to stop. What may have or may not have been legimate concerns have gotten way out of hand. Can't anyone see what is going on here? Satan is winning. Pride has entered the picture on boths sides and we are making a mockery out of it. The "Saving Bellevue" side has their position, Mike, you have yours and Dr. Gaines has his and I must say this, neither side is right or wrong. I do have some issues about the methods of Dr. Gaines but I do feel he is the right person for Bellevue. When we allow pride to enter our lives, trouble is just around the corner. My beloved Pastor Rogers preached that so many times.

It is time for this to come to a end. I have pleaded with several of my deacon friends to get all sides in a room, spend a time of prayer and work this out. Good people on both sides are being trashed and when God's people stoop to name calling, trying to destroy each other that is not right. I am reminded of the old poplar phrase: "WWJD." Certainly not the way it is being done now. To trash Dr. Gaines and the staff is wrong, to trash Josh, Mark Sharpe and others is wrong. Folks wake up they are all children of God. WWJD?

It is not going to go away and more feelings are going to get hurt, innocent people are going to be hurt. It must stop. And stop now.

How long do you think this would have gone on if Dr. Rogers were alive today? Well he is not. So we must follow his example, lets resolve this in love.

Mike once again I beg you to make the first move. You have the means with this blog. I am going to send this to Josh's blog and savingbellevue. I just wish more would stand up and urge the parties involved in this to work it out. Did the apostles agree with each other. Do we see examples of pride among them? Some how we have managed to quite the Holy Spirit. But remember when they became focused and truly Spirit Filled? How many were saved in those days? Folks that is revival and we can get there again.

I have posted my name. I hate it when posters will not identify theirselves. I am a long time member of Bellevue dating back to the early 80's. It is grieving me to see how our church is being torn apart by something that started out as genuine concerns by some very Godly men has gotten so out of hand. I am reminded of a prayer that Dr. Rogers used so often, Lord please help me forget about me and focus more on HIM?" What about it Mike? I am in prayer for all sides. Will you join me in praying that we have some real healing as Christ would have us? Please we must rebuke Satan and do it now.