Monday, March 12, 2007

Redeemed

There are some who suggest that there are certain sins from which one cannot be healed--some, even, who are ostensibly members of Bellevue. For them, and for everyone else, this article should be of interest.

--Mike

34 comments:

Derrick Calcote said...

There is something in our own flesh that makes us want to look down on people whose sin is different than ours.

Mike, I think I've told you this story before...

I was visiting a small baptist church in Indiana about 10 years ago. The pastor was reviewing the parable of the sower, and discussing the different types of "soil."

His take on it was we should not waste our "seed" by spreading it on unreceptive ground. There were certain people who we should not even bother witnessing to, and he singled out homosexuals.

I've never done this before or since in a church service, but I raised my hand and was recognized by the pastor and got an opportunity to correct this false teaching.

I pointed out that the sower scattered seeds on ALL soils. It was up to the Lord to provide the increase. From the natural world I made an illustration that we have all seen a tree springing up from a city side walk. Hostile soil? You bet, but the right seed (the gospel) and the power of the Holy Spirit and through Christ, indeed all things are possible.

This proved itself to be true in my own family as well. I had an uncle (now deceased) who had falling into homosexuality, but was later saved.

Praise the Lord for sister Charlene.

Praise the Lord for the pastor who loved her enough to share the gospel with her.

Derrick Calcote said...

Off the topic, but a quick note about the "Open" forum. They just kicked off another poster.

"JustMyOpinion" this time.

It appears that there is a trend.

SpringerSpaniel said...

Of course there is a trend...

You don't agree with us, and you go buh-bye.

Why, they've even taken to questioning the Various Baptist bookstores around town... which evidently are sinful because they carry Rick Warren materials.

I have never seen a bigger group of self rightous perverters of the gospel in all my years.

They do tend to make me think "Pharisee" when I go there.

Springer Spaniel AKA Jeff

Trollcakes said...

Springer Spaniel tends to make me think "curb your dogma."

Just say'n.

bugsii said...

I'm not sure if you've been cleansed of NBBCOF Trollcakes so I will ask...I thought that was funny but I'm not sure you meant it to be...can I laugh??

I agree with your points Springer. But I my favorite line was "Springer Spaniel AKA Jeff"

Mike Bratton said...

Yes, I meant to say earlier that I thought it was a masterful quip. :)

--Mike

just my opinion said...

Derrick mentioned that I was banned from the dissenter's forum. This is the email that was sent to the forum administrator which provoked her to respond on her open forum. So, now I am banned for a private email. People who are searching for the truth must learn to recognize it when they see it.

Dear Fellow Believer,

I received the following email this morning from a dear lady who was asking me about Mrs. Rogers' article. As you can see she was unclear about the article.

"Did she post directly to the blog or was it an article she had written for something else? I'm not asking for her words verbatim, but after hearing the rumor of her moving to GBC & then you being able to confirm for me that it was just that - a rumor, I was caught off guard."

I know that you are making all efforts to maintain the blog as fairly as possible. But fairness in us humans is not as easily obtained as we would like. I know that when I was coaching that I found the referees constantly calling against my team and for the other team. But in discussion afterward the opposing coach would remark, "well, you guys seemed to get all the calls tonight". My point being is that when an activity involves us we often allow our emotions to take the lead rather than our logic. It may not have been you intent but I can speak from the "other side" when I say that by posting Mrs. Rogers article it appears as an endorsement of those who are dissenting against our church. This created two wrong situations. One it placed a burden on Mrs. Rogers that should not have been there. Secondly it allowed bloggers to activity place Mrs. Rogers on their side of this "cause" which is not the case.

I've seen the unfairness of this blog in that one can attack a person who is supportive of our leadership in any way they choose. But dare to combat that person with the same rock that was thrown and you're challenged by you and others. And speaking of others, do you not find it interesting that many of the most challenging and derogatory of the posters are not even part of the Bellevue family? Some have expressed that they've had to leave churches or in one case asked to leave a church due to conflicts. I wonder if that spirit of conflict just carries over from battle to battle. I bet that you could provide me with a two paragraph post under JMO which supports the church and you would be surprised at the results. They would criticize your tone, motive, knowledge of the Bible and possible your grammar should you not spend the time to review every syllable.

I will end this by saying that I was disappointed in your judgement to draw Mrs. Rogers into this fight. If she desired in be in this battle she would. In the advertising we would call what you did, truth blending. You take a known truth and place it with what you are selling and hope they blend into a positive supportive message. Truth blending may be ok for Madison Avenue but it is far from being truthful. And isn't that what Mrs. Rogers article was about, being truthful. Maybe you missed the point of the message in your zeal to tear down Bellevue Baptist Church. I'm sure you would say your group is just trying to get Bellevue on the "right path". But then you would be saying that the rest of us Christians are slothful in our duties. And I guess that would be your message. If you listen to linden and his ignorance then we would have very few pastors left to preach that met his standards. But I am thankful for Jesus who gave His life that we could have grace. By the way, if we are to come unto Christ as little children, how do we do that without all the knowledge that lindon expects us to know? What a divisive duo that Lindon and Lin are, yet you banned a member of our family, Mike Bratton!

But it's all,


Just My Opinion

Derrick Calcote said...

JMO,

Well stated.

If you get a chance could you drop me an e.mail?

dcalcote@msn.com

david S said...

To all who have been asked to leave:

Does it seem strange that people are asked to leave by a group who is upset that they are being asked to leave?

No one asked me to leave. however, I chose to stop posting because I recieved an email from a fellow pastor simply stating, "You will never convince those people. You're wasting your time." This pastor went on to state that I am getting a taste of "legalism." And I was. Everything said became twisted.

I applaud Mike for calling for a Business meeting. I do believe those concerned about Bellevue bring some legitimate problems to the table. They should be addressed. I fear that the tone of their argument will cause them to be ignored or laughed off.

Bepatient said...

I do not know Lindon's intent for continuing to post there, but I do know that she specifically encouraged one poster (SOTL) NOT to seek reconciliation with someone (DC). Now, I am not saying that she would have even attempted to reconcile with this person- but as Christians we should not be encouraging other Christians to hold grudges and continue hanging on to animosity.

I;m sure those that follow the NBBCOF can think of other examples as well.

arminius said...

Greetings, exiles! The Lord be with you!

I just found my way over from the NBBCOF. It's quite a strange place! Do they always drive people away who aren't like minded?

What an encouraging story of redemption. I count it as my blessing for the day. Thanks for posting it.

I've heard it preached over and over that you can't outrun God, and testimonies like that demonstrate its truth. It makes me think of Romans 8:38-39.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Derrick Calcote said...

Welcome Arminius,

May our Lord bless you. Praise be to His name that He would save wretches like us.

In His service and yours,

Derrick Calcote

Mike Bratton said...

arminius said...
Greetings, exiles! The Lord be with you!


And with you, as well. However, my blog predates the Closed Forum, so I don't know I'm exactly an "exile," but more like someone who had a neighbor's door slammed in his face--I just came back home. :)

I just found my way over from the NBBCOF. It's quite a strange place! Do they always drive people away who aren't like minded?

I believe it depends upon how much one presses that point.

What an encouraging story of redemption. I count it as my blessing for the day. Thanks for posting it.

Much obliged.

I've heard it preached over and over that you can't outrun God, and testimonies like that demonstrate its truth. It makes me think of Romans 8:38-39.

Amen.

Keep fighting the good fight!

As young David said, the battle is the Lord's. Although we're not exactly at odds with giants... :)

--Mike

Trollcakes said...

Nor we, Davids.

Mike Bratton said...

Actually, in many ways those of us who are Christians have it easier than David did in his day.

--Mike

Bepatient said...

Kinda off topic I guess, but since we have been discussing the NBBCOF I just have a thought or two.

1. In James 2 he talks to the church about not showing favoritism to the rich. This just made me think about the fact that it is not really about the rich (that is just the particular area they struggled with) but about judging others and preferring others based on their outward face. How is the constant disgust shown for the "millionaires" at BBC any different? Are they not judging others based on what they think is important vs. what God thinks is important?

2. Another thing we discussed recently while studying James is the totality of God's law. When you disregard part of the law, you are disregarding ALL of the law. So saying "well, look at what he did" to excuse your own actions is just not going to cut it with God.

3. I know this has been said time and again, but it bears repeating- It will NEVER EVER cease to amaze me that they go on and on about integrity but continue to insult people who see things differently and belittle those who disagree.

James 2:9 But if you show favoritism, you sin and are convicted by the law as lawbreakers. 10For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it.

Trollcakes said...

1. Be that as it may, Bellevue bears credible scrutiny on the Millionaire club issue, given that those whom are navigating the sex scandal and the public relations are doing so in what is a very corporate and expensive manner. It all goes back to: if it walks like a duck...

or Occum's razor, if you will.

2. Is this even an argument? You mean if I go 5 miles over the speed limit on my way to the beer joint, I have no right to question the fitness of a minister who does nothing about a admitted pedophile in his midst for 6 months. I know, it sounds really horrible when it is actually articulated out loud.

If that's the case, then you must follow suit by opening all the prison doors and letting those rapist and killers loose; and let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Just say'n.

3. Yes, it's been said time and again, but doesn't bear repeating. Wouldn't you berate some opinions or are you advocating the equality of all opinions?

"It will NEVER EVER cease to amaze me that they go on and on about integrity but continue to insult people who see things differently and belittle those who disagree."

What is insulting is trying to answer this broad brush. None of you articulate how these ministers have been accountable for this mess or defend why they are deserving of your trust as leaders in the aftermath (because you know you cannot), only that you disagree with those that won't play along or leave. Saying you disagree is not a argument--in the sense of containing facts and qualifiers--just a statement of loyalty; then saying that I must respect your position of loyalty on the face of it, admittedly, sets it up for ridicule.

Mike Bratton said...

1) Occam's Razor can often be turned into Occam's Billy-Club, and be wielded with a great deal of imprecision, depending upon the individual employing it.

2) No, actually, it doesn't sound at all horrible. Then again, it's a Christian doctrine, so its popularity outside of Christendom is problematic. Actions have consequences, obviously, but appealing to law rather than grace can boomerang on you.

3) The staff member in question no longer serves on staff, is losing his ordination, and barring an apoplexy-inducing move by another church, will never serve on a church's staff again. Those who did not act properly were censured by Bellevue--although (as previosly logged) I expected penalties much more severe than that.

However, the original point still stands: Crowning oneself, or one's organization, as an arbiter of integrity despite integrity issues on a rudimentary level is, to be generous, counterintuitive.

--Mike

Trollcakes said...

Well,

1. No, that legal and consultant price tag says quite different. But nice dodge going for the tag, as I've grown fond of your practice.

2. No, BP's is still an airless, broad swipe at everyone and nobody in particular at NBBCOF; it has nothing to do with a theological misunderstanding. Unless you are arguing that Christians are above a standard of, as you say, sober conversation and instead, any old poorly stated argument, sentimental glazing or unstable justification is "under the blood."

What nonsense; I love language and am a fan whiplash wit and biting sarcasm (love Twain and Menchen), but I find its use, too often, is as a means to deflect and dismiss credible remarks.

For instance, "the minister in question..." Who's question? No one is critical that the pedophile is getting his just desserts, but what does his fate have to do with the culpability of the Pastor and the other half-dozen ministers who sat on their hands? This, above all, doesn't make sense but you guys continuely return to it.

Aren't we all accountable for our own actions before God, or is that part not actionable for ministers?I know, how could I possibly understand--it looks cut and dry to the layman, but it's actually akin to understanding Biblical prophesy, right?

Can you articulate the gravity of their wrongdoing (or even, the lack thereof)and credibly argue that they have, indeed, been made accountable (if you choose to argue, that yes, letting the pedophile walk was pretty irresponsible); that they deserve, not just your trust and respect as leaders, but all members?

I get the "they cannot abide a difference of opinion" jag, I just haven't heard you apologists just plainly state:

"Yes, Pastor Gaines, although he really screwed up, has my renewed and absolute trust, plus everyone should follow suit, because of X"

Or, "Dear Leader and other dear leaders have been accountable for their irresponsible leadership by X."

Or, "What they didn't do for 6 months wasn't so bad given X."

Mike Bratton said...

Now you're comparing Pastor Gaines to Kim Jong Il--and by extension, comparing those not out for his hide to loyal North Korean socialists.

I'm not asking for the sake of argument, but why would discussion of this matter be productive?

--Mike

Bepatient said...

For the record Trollcakes, you are smarter than to think that is what we mean. I won't even dignify it any more than that.

And to the rest- does the "Open" Forum remind anyone else of those people that we all know who shouldn't ever be allowed to watch Dateline? They see a story about some rare disease or situation (bed bugs come to mind) and all of the sudden it is everywhere, in every corner... ? Sorta like a hypochondriac, but with everything (PDC anyone?)- not just illness...

bugsii said...

Trollcakes, WWBD? You left your "Sanga" after a sex scandal. You said that you were told "if you cannot find in your heart compassion for the lama, then for whom may you have compassion?", "it is our karma together", and "There were also dire warnings against speaking ill toward lamas or tulkus (clergy, more or less) and most everyone complied.".

I'm assuming that advice has it’s basis in some Buddhist teachings. Yet you "had to walk away from that fellowship, because of unquestioning loyalty dipped in sanctimony; with nowhere to go." Fellowship may not be a requirement in Buddhism but since you are a Buddhist and went to a Sanga I'm assuming that good Buddhists go to Sangas for fellowship. Did you turn from Buddhism or just find another Sanga? Since you said you went to Leawood Baptist, what made you turn from Christianity or Baptists? (Maybe it was Baptists that propelled you from Christianity) I would think in certain situations it would be convenient to convert to Muslim so that you could kill the infidels.

You’ve heard the varying arguments on both sides of the Christian fence and we know what the legal system says; now tell us what would Buddha have to say about how we should handle a man that raped his son (I don't know the details but I'm assuming the worst)? And how we should handle the men that tried to show him compassion? Shouldn't you fully receive the same for your bad karma or do you show different levels of compassion for different levels of bad karma?

What Paul Williams did is unforgivable in my human mind. What Pastor Steve did in handling that situation seems irresponsible but I will never understand because I don't know what happened each and every step. I would like to think he was showing him compassion. But I don't have to totally understand because I have confidence that God will sort that out. I will just remain faithful to God (not Steve or Bellevue).

Regardless, YOU TROLLCAKES WILL NEVER UNDERSTAND why some people would continue to support their pastor after making mistakes nor will you understand anything else that happens within our fellowship SINCE YOU ARE NOT A CHRISTIAN. Our fellowship has a biblical foundation and contains a dynamic that is from God. Most call it religion but the fellowship of those who believe are the body of Christ and the bride of Christ. She is cleansed from all her ugliness by Christ’s work alone.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.” Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

If you don't mind, if you need to respond could you dumb it down a little for me? I don't have the time or patience to try to figure out what you and Mike are discussing most of the time. Do you guys talk like that or just write like that?

SpringerSpaniel said...

Is it just me, or do you get the distinct impression that the folks on the un-open board plan on be-heading Bro. Steve and the rest of the leadership if Roberts Rules of Order aren't followed exactly, word for word Sunday morning (or rather their interpretation as it benefits only their viewpoint)???

I mean... c'mon... they are going so far as to say that they planned for a majority of people to have to leave to take their kids to the nursery/care so that they wouldn't be present for the meeting.

Will ANYTHING at all (other than the public beheading of Steve Gaines and throwing Chuck Taylor, Mark Doherty et al off of the New Mississippi River Bridge??) please them???

Springer Spaniel AKA Jeff

arminius said...

springer (aka Jeff),

I'm a newcomer here, and I'm still finding my way through the muck. I drove over to Gardendale Sunday night, and after a few random conversations I'm convinced that there is reason to be concerned about Steve Gaines as your pastor. I think he's a great preacher, but he seems to make a lot of people mad. It seems very odd for a man of God to make so many Christians mad.

Having said that, I'm perfectly aware that many of the dissenters want to be mad at someone, and Dr. Gaines was a sitting duck. So no, nothing is going to satisfy those people who have unresolved anger and bitterness problems and have found a target.

We sing a hymn 'My Faith Has Found a Resting Place', but the anthem of the NBBCOF should be "My HATE has found a resting place".

From my correspondence, I've learned that some of the loudest protesters were complaining several years ago that Adrian Rogers should retire because he was over the hill. They were unhappy then, and they're unhappy now.

What can you do with people like that? Other than pray for them, that is.

SpringerSpaniel said...

arminius....

Rick and Bubba gave Steve Gaines a good report... that's good enough for me...

I am, of course, assuming that you are from the Birmingham area...

If not, please ignore my comment.

On a more serious note...

I get alot of of Steve Gaines' preaching... makes me think and re-evalute myself and my relation to Jesus Christ.

Isn't that what it's really all about????

arminius said...

jeff,

I'm about 100 miles from b'ham, but Rick & Bubba come across loud and clear through a Huntsville station. Maybe they can MC the 'I2' I've read about...

I think it's wonderful that you are challenged by Steve's preaching. It could very well be an indication that God is working at your church. However, I'd be hesitant to equate personal growth with your environment. Daniel lived most of his life in Babylon, yet was still able to pray 3 times a day and live a live of utmost integrity. God redeems circumstances as well as people.

If you're growing, you should stay where you are. As the evil, purpose-driven, liberal mystic Henry Blackaby said in his pagan idol worship book 'Experiencing God', you should look for where God is working and join him there (not bad for a heathen).

I'm done with the NBBCOF, but not with your church. I'll be checking in from time to time, and me and my church will be praying. We're little, but we're loud.

Grace.

david S said...

arminius
"It seems very odd for a man of God to make so many Christians mad"

The sad truth for our generation is that we have preachers who won't stand up to wickedness IN the church and they won't make people mad. Seems like Jesus (a true man of God...) made a few people mad. Religious people!

Sin stinks; in the church and in the world. The church wants the preacher to confront the sin in the church, but not the world.

The attitude of the anti-Bellevue crowd is that nothing should change within the church. Worship should not be used as a tool of evangelism. the pastor need not equip the church to be fishers of men, but simply passify the fish he's got.

Granting that mistakes have been made, the sheer meanness of the anti-crowd delegetimizes their complaints. (Out of the overflow of the mouth, the heart speaks). Go check out whats coming out of their mouths. Of course a preacher who dares to confront sin will anger them. Gosh, when someone confronts my sin it makes me mad, too.

Support Brother Cakes said...

Funny, it's like four passenger side airbags taking turns inflating one another.

Amy said...

David S said,
Of course a preacher who dares to confront sin will anger them.

Well, from what I can tell people at BBC aren't mad that Steve Gaines confronts sin- quite the opposite!

He didn't confront the sin of a member of his staff admitting he had raped his own child. The only reason this man was fired was because the incident leaked - and he was forced to confront the issue.

Please tell me of an example of Steve Gaines confronting any sin at Bellevue.

maybejustmaybe said...

Amy, listen to his sermons. He is strongly vocal against sin -- sexual sin, dishonesty, blasphemy, idolatry, failure to worship and praise God, refusal to acknowledge God as the giver of all things, strife, a dissenting spirit, failure to submit to authorities established over us by God, and many, many others.

david S said...

Amy: "Please tell me of an example of Steve Gaines confronting any sin at Bellevue."

I'll give you three:

1. He generally confronts sin from the pulpit by preaching the Word.

2. He personally confronted sin by confessing mistakes and asking the church's forgiveness.

3. He confronts sin when he seeks to Shepherd the church forwardand force people out of their comfort zones.

4. He confronts sin when he attempts to follow Matthew 18 and go immediately to his brother. But instead he is accused of "trespassing." I wonder if when jesus comes through those gated communities if Mr. Sharpe will say: Jesus is trespassing...

I wish you and others understood that what is being said is not that there are no problems. However, the conduct and verbage of the "concerned" destroies their arguments. You can't call people to righteousness with mouths full of grabage. (see mikes post today for examples he's pulled out. I don't feel like reading through the trashing of the Bride to give you quotes, but you need not look far).

Was Dr. Rogers treated poorly? Maybe.
Was the PW matter mishandled? yep.

But when the pastor gave the church the business meeting it asked for, did the "concerned" go with open minds? or did they get right out of the meeting and hop on the internet for some more bride bashing?

As soon as the ministry meeting was over it was being called a "horse and poney show..." Strange, I watched... and heard great things that are happening. Heard about people being saved. heard about children's ministry. I wonder if these people will call the new heaven and the new earth a "horse and poney" show. Why are they completely unable to rejoice with anything good happening within the Bride? Why?

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