Friday, March 09, 2007

With one hand tied

(Note: Please don't miss the "Edited To Add" at the end of this post.)

As those of us who are members of Bellevue Baptist Church look forward to a congregational meeting Sunday morning, March 25th, the unfortunate shrillness of the anti-Bellevue opposition has increased. They're louder, all right, but they're still not saying much that's substantial--and the things of substance they do say get drowned out by the noises surrounding their favorite sport, attempted character assassination.

That's what separates the anti-Bellevue types from those, concerned by some recent events in Bellevue's leadership, who want to see issues addressed yet seem able to air their concerns without insisting Pastor Gaines isn't really a Christian, but a willing servant of Satan. The latter group desires comity, reconciliation, and healing; the former group desires power, and the only way available to them is to tear down Bellevue as much as possible, and restructure it in a way that benefits them.

After months of attempting to dissuade a cluster of these people away from their bitter, slanderous remarks, I've been asked not to address them any more. Oddly, their moderator (as well as other participants) seems to miss the irony of a site supposedly dedicated to "comment and exchange ideas in a respectful, Christian spirit" limiting comment, censoring ideas, and encouraging disrespect to any who would dare disagree with the prevailing mindset. Here are some of my most recent submissions, so you can see just what terrible, terrible things I wrote:

Post One:

Truth Rules said...
Mike,

I have been following your posts for quit some time. I must say that you state your opinions in a such a way that your opponents are unable to refute most of your facts. But I've noticed that rather than refute facts with a counter argument they change the direction of the debate. That seems to be problematic for anyone searching for truth. Keep up the good work. There are many of us who enjoy your posts.


I appreciate your kind words. And I'm glad you have also noticed that instead of answering simple questions or engaging in discussion, some find it easier to just lie about me, and lie about what I say. I asked a boatload of questions, and I don't recall seeing one person among the "regulars" attempt to continue the discussion.

No one can point to a personal attack that's ever come from my direction, yet we read nonsense about how I allegedly "don't want to discuss anything in a civil (or civilized) manner" when the people tossing those same allegations can't even brook an opposing viewpoint without throwing bombs.

You "regulars" will have an opportunity, from what I gather, to speak up in public. I seriously doubt you'll behave then as you do now--but who knows? As I've said several times now, we have serious concerns at Bellevue which require serious and sober discussion and debate. If you're not up to the task, there's no shame in admitting it; however, believing that the bile and invective that flows so freely from the keyboards of the "regulars" is either serious or sober is self-deception. You folks still have a couple of weeks to compose yourselves, but if this is it, there's a problem.

"Why do you even bother with those people, Mike?" When a day goes by without that question, I'm surprised--but when I'm asked, the answer is a simple one: Because I love "those people," and I believe you have legitimate questions, legitimate concerns, and legitimate pain.

The way you're doing things now doesn't help you. All I do is try to get you to realize that.

Truth Rules said...
Brady, thank you for posting. I made my first post on this blog today as well. I usually post on some other blogs but have read this one for months. It is hard to understand how these who profess Christ's love in their hearts can be so anger with anyone who says anything positive about our church.


There are a number of "regulars" here who have, sadly, a vested interest in Bellevue's implosion. Some are angry, some are bitter, some are wounded, and all have reasons to ask questions. Those reasons, however, do not--cannot--justify the months and months of personal attacks against those with whom you disagree in both Bellevue's leadership and laity.

And if memory serves, I've read some remarks about whether or not I ever object to Bellevue's leadership as strenuously as I do to the behavior here. To be blunt, I don't have to--they don't threaten me, attack me, or circumvent my questions.

You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress. :)

--Mike


Post Two:

New BBC Open Forum said...
memphis,

"Banned" is such an ugly word, but as long as he's just trying to keep things stirred up, you could say that. Mike hasn't always done that,


Mike doesn't do it at all, actually. (Grr... I hate it when I refer to myself in the third person.) Again, why is asking questions such a terrible thing?

so let's not go so far as to say it's permanent, just that he needs to stop heaping pain and derision on the people who post here. Tim just summed it up well in his last comment. Not everything that's said here has to be confronted.

You must be joking.

Read back at what's been sent my way for having the temerity to ask questions. Then, tell me with a straight face that you're not playing favorites with your "regulars."

And what makes anyone think he or she has the right to come here just to disrupt? I don't post on the Bratton Blog because I have nothing to say there. Actually, I could have thought of several things back when I read it regularly, but I didn't because it would have just been argumentative, and the moderator probably wouldn't have let it through anyway.

Presumption, ma'am. The only things I blow off are things with obscene or otherwise offensive language.

Or if he did, he'd have tried to pick it apart like a day-old Thanksgiving turkey carcass.

Then don't serve up day-old Thanksgiving turkey. :)

I don't need that here, and I don't need to go anywhere else for it. But if that's all Mike wants to do, he should [go].

So, let me understand. You and yours want a place where you can post anything you like, of any length and on any topic, without people disagreeing with you?

Then here's a tip: Rename this place. As has been otherwise noted, people who aren't members of Bellevue are as much a part of your core group as people who are, so the idea that this is a "BBC Forum" is out. And as for it being "Open," well, that doesn't match up with your desire for exclusivity, does it?

--Mike


We are confronted with a problem that's all too common in modern society: The need for sober-minded people to address wrong behavior with "one hand tied behind our backs," so to speak. When one of the little "Open Forum" clique questions the salvation of someone with whom they disagree, it would be simple to suggest that the people making such spurious remarks might want to make sure of their own salvation before they question others' relationship with Christ. It would be simple, but it would be wrong.

No one but God can see into the spirit of a person; no one but God can make the call so many Forum denizens make with ease. But ask those folks to stop, and they'll make you their next target. The same pattern holds with any of their behaviors, such as gossip, misuse of Scripture, the aforementioned character assassination attempts, even the refusal to sign their names to their attacks. It is a problem the Bellevue administration has been faced with, and on a smaller scale, it is a problem I've had to address for a number of months.

Oddly enough, it's an answer to prayer to find I've been relieved of the opportunity to speak the truth in love on that particular site, though I understand that what I write here won't miss their sight. Bitterness is such a pervasive element of that cadre's existence that it will be a welcome respite to not wade in it on a regular basis. Now, there is the temptation to take a cue from the "Open Forum" regulars and post there under a pseudonym, but it is a temptation that is easily dismissed. Speaking your mind while claiming your statements will be a crucial part of Bellevue's healing, while tossing bombs from the bushes is the tactic of those who wish only harm on Bellevue and her congregation.

Consequently, those of us who address the anti-Bellevue folks do so at a disadvantage from the start. That is, depending on how you define "disadvantage." We may not have as many options available, but that's all right, because (to coin a phrase) it's not about us.

--Mike

EDITED TO ADD: In perusing the Formerly-Open Forum, I came across this unfortunate, yet typical post. Quoting thusly and like so:

I spent the last few minutes looking for the last post I read from Mike Bratton. It is in response to Former Pastors respectful written, heartfelt concerns he addressed to BBC administration.

If I may ask, "A former pastor," why are you a former pastor, rather than a current pastor?

--Mike

9:30 AM, March 05, 2007

You and I have respectfully disagreed with each other, and that's how it should be done.
Mike's post above was just an example of how he treated many people on this blog- he got personal and ugly if he didn't agree with what someone said.


The technical term for such a response is "grasping at straws." Had "Amy," the individual who refers to my question as "personal and ugly" actually asked me why I asked the question, she would've learned something. One of my oldest and best friends is a man who is also a "former pastor." I wanted to know what circumstances had transpired in that poster's life to bring him to the place where he was today, since I'm sympathetic to the things that brought my friend to be in that same category.

But in the toxic environment of the Formerly-Open Forum, any question posed by the "enemy" is automatically hostile, and any action of an "ally" is either applauded or excused.

60 comments:

Trollcakes said...

Here is my response to your posting in the wee hours of last night. I quote thusly and likey solely:

Bratton,

You've got one channel--contempt. So, you frame the issue as no one can point out an occasion in which you've made a personal attack. You regularly cast aspersions on the motives of those posting here.

You call it what you may, but if you show contempt for people--accuse them of things like questioning someones salvation without qualifier, answer in smarmy quips dripping with dismissal, get on tangents about a simple greeting, or wax judgemental about some stupid copyright--then use language to futher marginalize people with legitimate problems ever trusting Gaines or Coombs based on even simply the partial information from the leadership alone, while minimizing their culpability in matters much more grave than copyright violations, gossip or theological opinions, then you have in fact crossed the line yourself regarding sober discussion.

Take this gem, for instance:

"months and months of personal attacks against those with whom you disagree." Are you afraid to say perhaps, "people who cannot sit under a Pastor who not only sheltered a pedophile for 6 months, but was incurious regarding with whom he would be in contact (from the PCIR, not gossip)." This cannot reduced to a simple "disagreement"--if a school principal did exactly the same, not only would they no longer work for the school system, they'd likely have trouble finding a job period.

Or this from your blog:

"If your group's said to be all about integrity, yet it commits copyright violation after copyright violation (even after the copyright holder says "Um, would you mind not violating our copyright?"), then what's your group really all about?"

You play the plausible deniability game well; but you are in fact questioning the integrity of the whole group built on a milquetoast argument (and one never even articulated). Thus you've attacked the motives of everyone in the group(insert plausible deniability here).

You constantly display an unbalanced sense of outrage, and it would be humorous, if you didn't constantly badger people that are alienated, shocked and wounded.

Just because you think you are above the fray is futher evidence of your arrogance and dillusion. Truly, you should seek to get the 2x4 out of your own eye, before you attempt poke the splinter from another's.

Finally, your beloved leadership doesn't have to circumvent your questions as long as you're pitching softballs. ("Pastor Gaines and Bellevue leadership, I know you keep tabs on this little corner of the Internet, and I'm frankly blessed by that beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure. Just as I have never questioned the character of those who would attack you, please understand that I do not question yours.") Awe, how sweet you are to the rich, powerful and law-yered, Bratton.

But the victims of the mess they created--let them eat cake, eh?

Mike Bratton said...

Projecting tone upon those with whom one disagrees is a time-honored Internet-discussion tactic, one which I avoid. You've given us examples of contempt from your own keyboard, yet you cannot find any from mine. Tell me why that is, exactly?

And since you think being cordial to people when you disagree with them is a bad thing, what are we to take away from that?

Oh, one more thing before I forget--namaste is no "simple greeting," and I'm pretty sure you understand that. For a Christian to unintentionally use language that is not only non-Christian, but anti-Christian, is never a good thing. However, as you describe yourself as a non-Christian, my concern with it as a Christian might not make much sense.

--Mike

bugsii said...

NBCCOF is being dooped. And all their smarmy little “I love you trollcrates” messages should make them vomit after this.

Your Trollcrates("Bite Me") used to be known as Mofocrates. His blog is at http://mofocratesjournal.blogspot.com/. He has a little blurb about his adventures at BBCOF under the heading of “My affair with BBC Open Forum “ and another angle on “They're really wearing out that saved-by-grace ticket”. You can catch a glimpse of his philosophies at many sites if you look hard enough(search Mofocrates). For instance, http://queernotes.blogspot.com/2006/12/war-on-christmas.html. Or at this site http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2005/11/redesigned-flight-93-memorial-still_30.html where he tells a fellow art writer he/she should write for http://landoverbaptist.org/ (not really a baptist site, not really a religious site). You might really enjoy his banter at https://beta.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6645968568707279878&postID=4880375651365793573&isPopup=true . How about http://rocknrollplanet.blogspot.com/2006/10/life-my-universe-and-everything-else.html seems to show that he is into meditation. I guess that comes with being a Buddhist. He is a career blogger. Not only that but he claims he is a school teacher. You read some of the stuff mentioned above and tell me if you would want him teaching your children.

NOW, NBBCOF allowed him into their bunch and they've come right alongside him. They shut down brothers and sisters in Christ and question their salvation because they dare to argue. Yet they hold Trollcrates as one of their heros. He is openly anti-Christian and they fully protect him in their group.

NBBCOF has exposed our wounds and hurts to the world. They've allowed lost people to join them to fight against other believers. It would never dawn on them that "wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses".

Trollcakes said... on NBBCOF
Let's all attend on the 25th, wearing eye patches--celebrating one blind eye. It will be a glorious time of fellowship!

Will he truly have fellowship with his fellow NBBCOFers????

I post this here because I know it will not get any air at NBBCOF.

Sorry for the rant Mike. Trollcrates I am merely a man trying to follow Jesus(not Steve Gaines or NBBCOF). My intention is not to beat on you. NBBCOF needs to step back and take a look at themselves.

Trollcakes said...

No sir, you are merely trying to kill the cannary. I've never represented myself as anything other than what I am, here or there, and registered on the site using my original nom de plume, until NASS asked me to augment it.

What does Bratton say? "It's not about me."

However, good work there, inspector.

That's cool; this currency's spent. Back to trading congratulations, brethren.

Mike Bratton said...

Actually, in this case it is about you--and your motivation to participate in the festivities. Quoting your blog thusly, and like so:

"Basically, I’ve ingratiated myself there to swat at flies, or gigging toadies, that constantly launch broadsides against a faction that finds the pastor has been proven incompetent to reestablish the trust and confidence of the BBC flock. I think this will eventually split the church. Stay tuned."

A non-Christian actively working to foment dissent within a Christian church.

Imagine that.

--Mike

Bepatient said...

Since irony seems to be a recurring theme around these parts, something occurred to me....

The very group (and I mean that quite broadly, I don't mean to imply that they are all this way) that embraces Trollcakes in the internet world are the same people that would likely avoid him in the real world (if I were a gambler I would put good money on the fact that they would be horrified to find him teaching their children). I can say without a doubt that under different circumstances were we all to just stumble upon each other at say, the park or Walmart, the folks who support him so fully in cyberspace would be the ones running the other direction. Those of us in the other "camp" are the type that might actually be willing to come and play a game of pool.

I would also guess that given his background in the church and SBs in particular, he knows that.

Bepatient said...

also from his blog:

"Beware of organized religion, or any other meddling corporation."

Amy said...

Mike,

Okay, I'll bite:

Why did you ask Former Pastor why he wasn't a pastor anymore?

You re asked him later in the blog, and that post didn't come across kindly either.


.....And since the last time I asked this question, it apparently got lost in the shuffle: Why, precisely, are you a "former" pastor? Retired? Doing denominational work? We'd like to know.

--Mike

11:54 AM, March 06, 2007


Former Pastor actually addressed why he retired from being a pastor a little bit later in the blog, but I noticed he removed his post, which is sad because it was a great witness about a Godly man.

About Trollcakes-from what I read
from his posts, I just knew he wasn't a Christian anymore, and was a Buddhist. I also learned he could be compassionate, sweet, and funny. On the NBBCOF blog he didn't mention the other interests of his life. Because of what I have learned doing a Google search on him,(especially because of what I learned), we really missed the boat by not showing him the behavior we should hold dear by following Christ's example.

Your right, I wouldn't hang out with him apart from the blog. I wouldn't turn him away at the church doors either.

Amy

Bepatient said...

Amy,

I actually don't have a problem with him weighing in and visiting the forum- I do wonder why he is there and I think that is a fair question.

My amazement lies in the fact that he is openly anti-religion and SBC in particular, and yet many don't seem to see it as a little odd that he is weighing in on matters of church government and the role of the church in the world, etc. They just seem to see that he is nice, agreeable and often entertaining. But mostly they see that he very eloquently supports the cause.

I am just questioning whether he has the best interest of our church at heart and if he doesn't, shouldn't it be very telling that he is encouraging one path so strongly over another?

To me it is like if Willie Herenton showed up at the City Council meeting and starting agreeing and encouraging Carol Chumney- don't you think that would make her pause and wonder why?

Would I hang out every weekend with Trollcakes? no, I do believe we can't get dragged into certain lifestyle- we are to be set apart from the world. But I would likely be willing to venture out into his world within reason... The bulk of the people I know that have been led to Christ or back to the church have done so because someone took the time to just get to know them as a person without simply viewing them as a "project".

Most people aren't banging down the church doors and not being let in. I don't think that is what is keeping them away.

bugsii said...

Trollcakes, having re-outed you I must now apologize. I admit to having an attitude of satisfaction in getting it out of my system. But it's because I wanted to point out the hypocrisy on the other side of the boat not because I wanted to attack you personally.

The websites you post to are radical to me but I understand because I come from a similar background. I just don't get it though....you are defending the people that in my mind you would typically consider hard nosed Baptists. They are the reason my brother quit church until late in his life. I'm not saying they all are like that because I don't know them. But I know the factions in the church and I'm confident I am correct.

I met a guy the other day that talked about an old job he had and how the boss was a Christian that went to Bellevue(a leader) and he was openly hypocritical at work(pray for Jesus at lunch for all to see and then lie to customers on quotes knowing that other coworkers were aware). I talked to that man for a while and explained how the person he was talking about was among those kicking up dirt over Steve Gaines. I didn't know for sure but I stepped out on a limb just because I know my church. Later, on that petition to stop David Coombs that man's name was on there with choice words about our church, Coombs and Gaines. I knew it.

My grandparents were racist southern baptists when I was growing up and left me with no desire to go to church or find out who Jesus was. They have not changed much and their church is withering away. I became a Christian late in life and I recognize "religion" when I see it.

If you are anti-establishment then you are prime for joining a worthy cause for Christ. Jesus wants people that can think for themselves. He doesn't want people that huddle and protect themselves. Jesus went against the religous establishment day in and day out(within His Father's guidelines - He didn't come to get rid of the law but to fulfill it). My sister who also accepted Christ late in life used to say "You laugh at me because I'm different, I laugh at you because you're all the same". You are siding with the bunch that are all the same and want to keep things that way. Would you actually hang out with people that speak bible verses all day? I'm not saying that's bad, but I don't know too many lost people that enjoy that too much. At some point we are to go into the world and make it real to others.

Paul said that when Christ came into his life he did not consult with others(Apostles and brethren) but did what he was led to do(Gal 1:16-17). People looked at Peter and John were amazed because they were unschooled. They were not like the Pharises. They remembered they had been with Jesus(Acts 4:13) and that's the difference.

Until you have embraced Christ as your saviour, you are on the outside of these issues completely. And as believers we are to judge among ourselves and not involve a non-believing world.

Notice I have still not mentioned that I support anybody or anything related to our church. God places people in leadership and he removes people from leadership. I am merely a man trying to follow God with all of my heart. He will prompt me to stay or go. It is all I can do just to get up in the morning and with God's help try not to screw my day up too much.

The best to you Trollcakes.

bugsii

Mike Bratton said...

Amy said...
Mike,

Okay, I'll bite:

Why did you ask Former Pastor why he wasn't a pastor anymore?

You re asked him later in the blog, and that post didn't come across kindly either.


"Didn't come across kindly"??

I supposed that the man was either retired, or that he had moved on to denominational work. How is that "unkind"? Seriously.

About Trollcakes-from what I read
from his posts, I just knew he wasn't a Christian anymore,


Let's be clear here. There is no such thing, according to the mandates of Scripture, as a "former Christian." If someone is a Christian now, that one was a Christian in the past; if someone is not a Christian now, that one was never a Christian in the first place.

"Former churchgoer"? Certainly.

"Former Christian"? Never.

we really missed the boat by not showing him the behavior we should hold dear by following Christ's example.

What behavior are you and yours showing him now?

--Mike

Amy said...

Mike,
You are right, I shouldn’t have labeled Trollcakes a “former Christian”. I stand corrected. J

Re: Former Pastor - I thought your remarks were sarcastic- using words like “precisely” and “we’d like to know” sounds like you are expecting him to defend himself, to me. The problem with the written word is sometimes the tone can be open for interpretation. I apologize if I saw your statement for more than it was.

I think “we missed the boat “ with Trollcakes, because a confessed un-believer was watching Christians and he did not always get treated kindly, or with respect by you and a few others.
I remember you telling Trollcakes “you have bigger problems then” and “your on the wrong path” when you addressed his faith. We are commanded to love our neighbors- not just the Christian ones we agree with. I think the reason Trollcakes keeps coming back is because several posters have shown him love and kindness- without compromising their beliefs, I might add. I think he’s a likeable guy and has been very kind and encouraging in response to the kindness shown to him. . He’s a sinner that needs Christ- just like all of us. It really doesn’t matter what his motives are for logging in to NBBCOF, we are obligated to treat him with love. I would also guess by his latest interactions with others, his motives may be to converse with people he has grown to care about.

Mike Bratton said...

Amy said...
Mike,
You are right, I shouldn’t have labeled Trollcakes a “former Christian”. I stand corrected.


Accepted.

Re: Former Pastor - I thought your remarks were sarcastic- using words like “precisely” and “we’d like to know” sounds like you are expecting him to defend himself, to me.

Um, I offered that he might have retired, or moved into denominational work? He sounds like an erudite individual with a story worth telling--thus my interest in the details of his story, not just a general reference. From what I saw, it was indeed a moving tale.

The problem with the written word is sometimes the tone can be open for interpretation. I apologize if I saw your statement for more than it was.

Accepted. As I said elsewhere, the Forum is loaded nowadays to presume a tone in the writings of people with whom its regular members disagree, and Nass is the "leader of the pack" in that regard.

I think “we missed the boat “ with Trollcakes, because a confessed un-believer was watching Christians and he did not always get treated kindly, or with respect by you and a few others.

By me?

You have to be kidding.

Unless desiring to share the Gospel with someone is unkind, you are more than a bit off in your estimation.

I remember you telling Trollcakes “you have bigger problems then” and “your on the wrong path” when you addressed his faith.

Does he have a bigger problem--walking in spiritual darkness?

Is he on the right path, or the wrong one?

Is it more loving to be honest with someone who, were he to die tonight, would enter into a Christless eternity in hell--or to indulge him because he agrees with you and yours?

If I can be blunt, the Forum's official position not to witness to him is one of the single most unfriendly, unloving things I've seen in my 44 years of life.

As Christians, we have one job--to share the Gospel as we have opportunity. Refusing to share the Gospel is active disobedience to Christ, and is but one example of the problems your group celebrates as virtues. Were I you, I would disassociate myself from them as quickly as possible.

We are commanded to love our neighbors- not just the Christian ones we agree with.

And how loving is it to refuse to tell your neighbor what Christ has done for him? Loving one's neighbor, Amy, does not mean indulging their spiritual self-destruction.

I think the reason Trollcakes keeps coming back is because several posters have shown him love and kindness- without compromising their beliefs, I might add.

You are mistaken, unless their beliefs do not include taking the Great Commission seriously.

I think he’s a likeable guy and has been very kind and encouraging in response to the kindness shown to him. . He’s a sinner that needs Christ- just like all of us. It really doesn’t matter what his motives are for logging in to NBBCOF, we are obligated to treat him with love. I would also guess by his latest interactions with others, his motives may be to converse with people he has grown to care about.

If I may, you've seen his motive--to cause dissent among Christians. You've had the opportunity to see what he thinks of the local church: "Beware of organized religion, or any other meddling corporation." You can see a picture he likes, one that uses a painting of Jesus on the cross as the "Y," as three people stand next to the painting and spell out the "M," the "C," and the "A." (Funny, hmm? Remember, he's a likeable guy. Kind and encouraging.)

There's a point where someone in you group is going to have to say "You know, we care about you, but you have to cut this junk out." There's a difference between caring about someone and indulging their self-destructive behavior. First chance I saw, I tried to talk to the man about Christ--but members of your group did their dead-level best to shut me up.

I haven't attempted to pursue that line of conversation because it's obvious that a) he is cold to the Gospel message, b) he is interested in damaging both Christians such as ourselves and Christian churches such as Bellevue.

Yet your group not only tolerates him, but celebrates him in his lost condition.

That's wrong.

--Mike

Trollcakes said...

For someone who loves to belly ache about others judging motives, you sure got mine all sewn up there, Mr. Grand Iquisitor. What color eyes do I have, all-knowing one?

I have stated enough contexts repeatedly (a Southern Baptist, a survivor of CSA, and a survivor of a similar scandal in my Buddhist group) for being drawn to the blog, visiting the church and meeting real people with genuine trust and accountability concerns to which I am obviously sympathetic. That was the draw.

Then, to see their leadership and fellow Christians act as if such concerns are to be glossed over, and that they are, if fact, the aberrant ones--that kept me returning. And I watched how a particular form of politess from the truthseekers is insisted upon by the BBC apologists, no matter how inane or downright insulting they get, which has included threats, tongues, and bucketfulls of sanctimony.

And yes, I like them very much and care about what happens to them enough to defend them, since cry-foul rebukes don't impress me. And if I am going to be made into a patsy for your latest attacks, then I have grown to love them enough to walk away, because y'all have been relentless and don't wish to heap on more suffering (insert C & P quip here).

How presumptuous of you to whittle thousands of words and sentiments over several months into an evil desire to foment dissent or to damage Christians? You don't know what's in my heart, and such a blanket judgement of it reflects more poorly upon you than it does me.

So Amy, even if you think I'm a dirtbag, don't believe this claptrap. If you read my own words, sans commentary from the peanut gallery, you will see that I am more genuine (warts and all) compassionate and articulate than Bratton, JMO and Bugsii put together.

But they're in the fold and I'm not, nor do I own a Ph.D, thus this is probably just another sneaky attempt to destroy the church.

Cakes

PS--I don't link to porn, so I'm sure there's enough "gotcha" material on my blog for you guys so as to not need to make any up.

david S said...

Mike,

Glad to see a business meeting has been called. Sound voices have been heard.

Concerning the anti Bellevue Blog: Does it interest you that only those who oppose the views of the majority are seen as hostile and asked to leave? Meanwhile, the main group is allowed to level any charge they want against the Bride of Jesus without any repremand from the moderator. This "open forum" allows the most vile, degrading comments as long as they smear Steve Gaines, rick Warren (or any pastor for that matter). However, if anyone objects to such behavior they have "worn out their welcome."

No need to go there. they are not interested in discussion, they are interested in destruction.

Amy said...

Mike,

How was your statement

“you have bigger problems then” and “your on the wrong path”
sharing the gospel with Trollcakes? You didn't follow up those two statements with scripture, or testimony. I have read posts were folks have shared verses, as well as part of their testimony with 'Cakes. You're right, he is on the wrong path, but what about the Grace and Salvation that is offered to him? That's usually what comes next when witnessing to an unbeliever.

I am going to address your post above by responding to points you made in your last post. These statements are mean, un-true, and un-called for. They also might shed some light on why we don’t feel your love, Mike.

There's a difference between caring about someone and indulging their self-destructive behavior.

I haven't seen, or heard, anyone indulging in self-destructive behavior with, or because of, Trollcakes. Also, Trollcakes doesn't bring anything destructive to the forum. He's right- you don't know his heart. But you do know he is a person with a heart, and feelings, so treat him accordingly.

If I can be blunt, the Forum's official position not to witness to him is one of the single most unfriendly, unloving things I've seen in my 44 years of life.

There is no "Official Position" not to witness to Trollcakes and you know that.

The next two statements go hand in hand. You take a below the belt swipe at us with one statement, then contradict yourself with the other. I don’t think part of the Great Commission is deciding if some one is worthy to hear the Gospel or not.

Refusing to share the Gospel is active disobedience to Christ, and is but one example of the problems your group celebrates as virtues.

I haven't attempted to pursue that line of conversation because it's obvious that a) he is cold to the Gospel message, b) he is interested in damaging both Christians such as ourselves and Christian churches such as Bellevue.




Yet your group not only tolerates him, but celebrates him in his lost condition.

We don't tolerate Trollcakes- we love him. Nothing would make me happier if Trollcakes became a brother in Christ. Until then, as long as he shows up to accept it, I will treat him with love and kindness. I will also join others who have shared their faith with “Cakes.


You've had the opportunity to see what he thinks of the local church: "Beware of organized religion, or any other meddling corporation."

Even more reason to show him the love of Christ that will never change, even when men and groups let you down.

First chance I saw, I tried to talk to the man about Christ--but members of your group did their dead-level best to shut me up.

Show me when this happened.

See Mike, when you belittle people with un-necessary digs, folks don’t see the grace or love you’ve experienced knowing Christ.
If you can’t say what you want without a personal attack, then maybe you shouldn’t say it.

Trollcakes,
I don't think you're a dirt bag at all. You are welcome to converse with me anytime. I do pray you find salvation through Christ, and that you will listen to the words of those that love you on our forum.

bugsii said...

Trollcakes, they asked you to change your name from Mofocrates? Why?

Memphis said...

David S, you are correct about your post. They do not want anyone to disagree with them or for anyone to see another side. They want to the right to speak to people in whatever tone they wish, but they want to quiet people who speak to them in the same way. I have never seen a group of people come off as so pious before, and there are 2 people that come to mind which I will not name on here.

No wonder that people do not take them seriously as they believe. The tone some of them use is very immature, and if you notice, many of the regular posters do not even attend BBC.

Trollcakes said...

boo

bugsii said...

Trollcakes, my questions from the previous thread(on Bratton's site)to you...

My questions...1)are you a Christian and 2)are you a member of Bellevue?

I asked this because I do not read every single thread on the other site and was concerned that I had some misconceptions about you. Your answer....

Trollcakes said...
I am a practicing Buddhist in the Vajrayana path, a former Southern Baptist fully aware of your articles of faith, a school teacher and a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. Thus, that is the context from which I ingratiate myself into the discussion.

It has repeatedly been bandied about that what is happening at BBC is none of my business, but the safety of children is not a church issue (especially when they don't do anything about it) but rather a community issue. A teacher or principal that did as Gaines would rightfully lose their job and likely face criminal charges. Why should a minister be cut so much slack?

Aren't y'all Christian conservatives that love to preach personal responsibility? I guess that is until the shoe is on the other foot.


I asked you another question....

Trollcakes, they asked you to change your name from Mofocrates? Why?

And you said
boo

I'm not sure if your reply was to me or Memphis. Instead of standing around punching each other in the face I just wanted genuine answers to establish a genuine conversation with you.

Trollcakes said...

Sure you do. After the initial question that I answered on the Lengthy. Ponder thread, your very next step was to engage, on the blog and NBBCOF, in what is known in rhetoric as Argumenum ad hominem:

1.Abuse of your opponent's character.

2.Basing your argument on what you know of your opponent's character.

You didn't ask the questions to open up dialogue with me, you were checking to see if I was, in fact, the author of MF's Journal, while too lazy to read some threads that would have confirmed it.

Otherwise, you, Bratton and the rest of you perveyors of character assasination (I don't link to porn, Bugsii) over rhetoric, have dodged my legiimate arguments and questions on this blog like the plague while ironically making me the object of it--pathetic.

It's a lightweight and a lowly tactic by lesser men without rhetorical or ethical gifts; I guess, that is, until a Christian does it--then it's "under the blood." But let me assert, you have in no way any spiritual gifts of which I would ever be wanting. Seems, above all, you are the ones that cheapen the "grace" to which y'all say you fervently believe.

And you complain that I won't answer your paltry question, Mr?

HA!

bugsii said...

Trollcakes, I posted my initial question that you responded to because you made a statement that I found interesting. I found it interesting because I thought I had read that you were not a Christian and not a Bellevue member. But before asking about that statement I asked you directly to answer those questions. I will not go back and search every post made to find that info when I have the means to ask you directly. I am lazy in that sense but that is certainly where my laziness stops. I don’t read that site everyday and when I do read I will only read a day’s worth because in my intermittent reading I find that the arguments never change. I still maintain that NBCCOF are like the Athenians that “spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing.” Acts 17:21. Anyway, in your response you lashed out at me presupposing why I was asking the question.

Now about my "rhetoric"...when I found the first post I stuck this on NBBCOF…

Trollcakes said...
SOTL,

I sincerly hope you don't isolate yourself from those Christians who live their faith with integrity and humility--even I know they are around.

You need the fellowship, dear girl. If I can help, let me know.

How do those comments compare to Trollcakes comments under his other id Mofocrates....
https://www2.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6645968568707279878&postID=4880375651365793573&isPopup=true


I continued to find your other postings and my anger was towards the hypocrites on NBBCOF. That was followed by the same post with all the links that I also posted to Mike’s site(both posts were deleted from NBBCOF).

My whole reason for posting those two comments had nothing to with you. I stated that in my post and apologized to you later. It was completely aimed at NBBCOF. Why would I think you’d care about what others would think about the philosophies at any of those sites? NBBCOF said she knew about your other posts and I’m assuming you knew she knew. So why is that even a concern? And, I don’t understand why you quit posting to NBBCOF if these things were already known. You are who you are.

You’ve mentioned that I said something about porn but I don’t remember ever making a statement about porn. The word “porn” is used in one of your links.

I can’t explain everything that has happened at Bellevue but do you think that it is happening in the shade somewhere out of God’s hands? I am in shock because of the PW situation. But even more so because earlier I had condemned the Catholic church for putting up with the same thing. My own words convicted my own church. Even the appearance of evil should have been avoided.

I was not reading NBBCCOF or savingbellevue.com for kicks. I was reading for information. But it has become a little Christian National Enquirer. Manning turned off his blog because it was heading for the destination. Savingbellevue has also removed the link to NBBCOF. As an outsider to Bellevue do you not find that curious? The truthseekers against the “truthseekers”? Shouldn’t that leave room for you to understand that there are others like myself that are seeking truth and would like it without all the noise and are trusting a mighty God to take care of things?

Mike Bratton said...

Amy, sorry for the slowness of my reply.

Show me when this happened.

Your memory and/or searching capabilities seem to have worked well enough to fetch some statements back to mind. Your people worked to shut me up right after I made the statements you remembered.

See Mike, when you belittle people with un-necessary digs,

Like these?

"You've got one channel--contempt."

"Basically, I’ve ingratiated myself there to swat at flies, or gigging toadies".

"For someone who loves to belly ache about others judging motives, you sure got mine all sewn up there, Mr. Grand Iquisitor. What color eyes do I have, all-knowing one?"


Or do those qualify as "necessary digs"?

folks don’t see the grace or love you’ve experienced knowing Christ.
If you can’t say what you want without a personal attack, then maybe you shouldn’t say it.


I couldn't agree more.

Which is why I talk about issues, and not personalities. Which is why I would choke before comparing you, or anyone else in your group, to Hitler, Bill Clinton, a member of the Mafia, or Satan.

Your Forum is home to ever-increasing bitterness, and it will do all those who subscribe to the Forum way of doing things a great deal of spiritual harm if left unchecked. And before you respond--if I didn't care about you all, I'd have let you all soak in that bitterness without saying a word.

Oh, but that's right. I've been asked to not say any more words there. Here's hoping your group dissolves before its effects on its membership become long-lasting ones.

--Mike

bugsii said...

Amy, I'll ask you the same thing I asked Trollcakes. Do you not find it curious that Josh Manning closed his blog to posts because it was heading for the same place that NBBCOF has arrived? And that SavingBellevue has removed the link to the NBBCOF blog and replaced it with a link about gossip(it's titled "Operation Intimidation" but it is about gossip and can be applied to all not just the blog)? If you can't hear what Mike is saying then listen to Josh Manning and Jim Haywood. Their actions say it all.

Go to http://bellevuetruth.blogspot.com/2006_09_03_archive.html and look at "Cleaned Up Comments Pages" and then below that "Comments are Ended" and tell me if they sound familiar.

What I called a "Christian National Enquirer" Josh called “spiritual internet pornography”.

If they're not going to shut the site down they at least need to change the name to "Lucy's Blog" or remove the reference to "Bellevue" and "Open". And they sure need to stop talking about bible verses and our Lord in the middle of the mosh pit. Did you know that 25-30% of posts are made betweeen 10pm and 3am? And that there are usually 5-10 bloggers that account for 60% of the posts?

Don't think that they represent a majority over there. There are people that agree with them about the need for changes but they do not agree with how are church is being presented to the world through that forum.

Amy said...

Amy Said: Show me when this happened.

Mike Said: Your memory and/or searching capabilities seem to have worked well enough to fetch some statements back to mind. Your people worked to shut me up right after I made the statements you remembered.

Amy Said: My three kids are off for spring break, so I don’t have time to really search all posts. However, I did find a post from Junk99mail, on March 5 at 11:46 in which he states what I remember: That after your post about “bigger problems” the comments directed at you were about your insulting approach toward an un-believer. I also remember a few posts directed towards you after Trollcakes told you he was happy on his path, and you replied “your on the wrong path”. Again, no one’s argument was against your belief, just the tone in which you said it. As I said earlier, neither one of these statements were followed with the offer of grace and/or salvation. So I don’t really buy into your argument of being “more loving” toward ‘Cakes when you speak the truth.
I did see a post in which you encouraged ‘Cakes to email you if he wanted to hear about salvation, but that was after your previous posts, and so I doubt he emailed you re: salvation based on your prior witnessing techniques. ‘Cakes knows we are anxious to speak to him about what Christ did on the cross for all sinners. When I did search some this morning, someone alluded to a post in which trollcakes asked us to please not witness to him anymore and I had forgotten about that. So my prayer is he will see Christ in the love shown to him.



Mike Said: Or do those qualify as "necessary digs"?

Amy said:
No those weren’t necessary. You’re a Christian, he’s not.

Mike said

Which is why I talk about issues, and not personalities.

Amy said: IMHO, I think you do engage personalities when you make statements like you did on your post here: 10:00 PM, March 10, 2007. Three examples being…

Refusing to share the Gospel is active disobedience to Christ, and is but one example of the problems your group celebrates as virtues.

Yet your group not only tolerates him, but celebrates him in his lost condition.

…the Forum's official position not to witness to him.

BTW, show me the official position.


It’s your turn to search a little and show me the Official Position (not listed on the rules section on the home page I might add), and where “my group” has celebrated ‘Cakes lost position.

Amy said...

Bugsii

Now to you!

Do you not find it curious that Josh Manning closed his blog to posts because it was heading for the same place that NBBCOF has arrived?

The link you posted didn’t work- please repost. I looked at Josh’s site and from what I gathered, he was getting a lot of hate messages directed at him filling up his inbox, and he didn’t have time to moderate them- he is in graduate school at Harvard after all. He still has a link to NBBCOF on his site and still comments there.

I looked at Savingbellevue.com and you are right. Jim Haywood did take the NBBCOF and replace it with the video link on gossip. So, it must be his position then.


I agree with you that there are a lot of people who want change but don’t blog, as there are probably alot more people that don’t want things to change and don’t blog.
I am a member of GBC and as you probably know we had a big split last year. I think that what everyone needs to understand is people on both sides of the issues are hurting and experiencing loss as well because it’s gotten to the point where Bellevue will never be the same again. This is what I feel about GBC and Bellevue- they may even become better because of what has happened, but good people got hurt and left, and that’s sad. I truly pray that the open meeting that has been proposed becomes a step in healing. We never got that at GBC. I do think there should be some ground rules posted so that it doesn’t become ugly, like: Is this a Q&A meeting only? How will questions be asked and answered?
Will this be a meeting where proposials are made and voted on? Do we follow Robert’s Rules? ( great rules btw: it’s orderly, folks can’t keep bringing up same questions, and there is no toleration for getting mean spirited. All questions are addressed to the meeting’s chairman( at GBC it’s chairman of the deacons) and if they aren’t respectful, he shuts the person down, not the person who has been asked to respond. Example: Chairman_____ My name is Amy Robb ( you always say your full name) , I would like to hear David Coomb’s response regarding what committee nominated the new board members and why weren’t they put before the congregation so we could vote?
If it is a true business meeting, a member could state their name and say I would like to make a motion that we have a business meeting every month. Some one would second it, debate and vote would follow.
If they do decide on Robert’s Rules, people need to study up, because there are specific rules everyone needs to know to keep it orderly.

Sorry so long. Now I am off to pay attention to my kids. I’ll check back later.

Mike Bratton said...

"Tone" is the least substantial of any objection in a discussion or debate, Amy, particularly when it's being conducted in the words-only medium of the Internet. Great caution must be taken on the part of a reader to refrain from imparting a "tone" that never crossed the writer's mind, and might actually be at cross purposes from the writer's intent.

When in doubt, asking for clarification is always a good thing.

As for the Forum's official position, all you have to do is ask Nass, since she's the one who articulated it (if memory serves). It's something along the lines of "Pleased to have someone here who is not only a non-Christian, but expresses antipathy for Christ and for Christianity as a whole. We like him better than we like some professing Christians. Leave him alone, and don't share Christ with him."

And while you're chatting with Nass, ask her why she's so quick nowadays to toss fellow Christians who don't toe the Forum line. If the word "tone" is either mentioned or implied, well, just refer back to my initial remark.

--Mike

bugsii said...

Amy, you can go to bellevuetruth.blogspot.com and down on the right under Archives click on 2006-09-03 and you will find the headings I spoke of under there.

Excuse my ignorance but what are Robert's rules? I agree that it needs to be orderly. I'm hoping it will be an example for my children who have been overhearing everything in the news and from everywhere else AND will be in the service. I hope I do not have to deprogram them when I get home.

I have to agree with Bobby Moore when he preached Sunday night. I'm not sure if this is verbatim but this is how it spoke to my heart..."Bellevue will heal when we develop a servant spirit". THAT WAS DIRECTLY TO ME.

One note on evangelical styles and your note to Mike...I think people need grace and mercy and I think others need a loud reality check. I don't lean toward the evangelism style that stands on the corner and screams hell and damnation to scare people into heaven and I don't agree with the evangelism style that hopes someone will be saved by our behaviour. They both have a place.

I think you'd agree there's a lot of ground in between. It is discernment and listening to the Holy Spirit as you build relationships that should guide you to help someone move from point A to point B, then C, etc...

I like your last line "I am off to pay attention to my kids". Your priorities are inline I see!

Amy said...

Bugsii,

Robert’s Rules are Parliamentary Procedures that were designed by Mr. Robert ( I think in the 1800’s) for groups to conduct orderly meetings where the majority rules, but the minority is heard. Below is a link that explains how it works.

http://www.csuchico.edu/sac/parliament.html#III

The two SBCs I have been a member of both used Robert’s rules. My father- in law was transferred a lot during his career and he told me all the SBCs he’s been a member of used them too in business meetings. We even used them in my college sorority.

I did look at the second link on Josh’s site. He states posters on both sides of the issues
lacked integrity and engaged in mud slinging, which as Christians we should know better. He also stated that posters on both sides of the issue followed the rules and debated with integrity. He didn’t intend for his forum to become “spiritual internet pornography”—the ability to log on, sin anonymously, and no one ever know about it. He also stated he doesn’t have the time to moderate. He didn’t call NASS’ forum “spiritual internet pornography” and like I stated earlier still posts there and NBBCOF is still linked to his site- so he must feel she cleans it up pretty well.

Bugsii said;

I think you'd agree there's a lot of ground in between. It is discernment and listening to the Holy Spirit as you build relationships that should guide you to help someone move from point A to point B, then C, etc...

I do agree. But, I still have problems with the way Mike didn’t follow up his statements.
Mike said: Is he on the right path, or the wrong one?

Is it more loving to be honest with someone who, were he to die tonight, would enter into a Christless eternity in hell…


All the reason to follow his reality slap with the salvation that is offered to him. I think anyway.

‘Cakes follows the rules. He has asked for us not to witness to him anymore, however he’s also met a few of the posters for church. So as far as I can tell, we need to show him love to show him Christ.

We can agree to disagree. I don’t see people I disagree with as the enemy (just misguided- hee hee), and I am always pleasant and respectful even if people aren’t that way to me- I mastered this being an E.R nurse :)

Amy said...

I let NASS know of our posts on your forum. If she feels it would do any good to respond, maybe she will.

I will say, there are several people: BePatient, Derrick Callote?, Memphis, to name a few – don’t make me search! that have managed to consistently state an opinion in opposition to the majority’s opinion and they haven’t been kicked off. I don’t remember them hitting below the belt either.
You didn’t reference the remarks I called you on earlier ( except the “official position”), but tone or no tone, words mean things, and those words were insulting and not necessary. Sadly, others make un-necessary remarks as well, but that doesn’t make it right.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Bratton said...

You didn’t reference the remarks I called you on earlier ( except the “official position”),

It's fascinating, actually. When I copiously respond to everything written by people in a certain faction, I'm lambasted for it. When I respond to only those things I consider to be of prime importance in posts from that same faction, I'm supposedly ducking things that people have (dut dut dummmm!) "called" me on.

Utterly fascinating.

--Mike

Amy said...

Mike,
Are you saying you have to consider an inquiry of prime importance before you respond to some one of a certain faction?

Trollcakes said...

Bugsii,

Unfortunately, we are defined by our actions, not titles, degrees, authority or even our best intentions or own self-image.

No dialogue may open between us, because words a form of social currency and you cashed out your chips, brother, when you and others in the mutual admiration society here sought to make my friends at NBBOF liable for my heresy and past jottings, and why I feel the need to cut them loose. I accept your apology, but we must both dine on the consequences. (But don't look for "consequences" in the Bible.)

I just never understood the mentality of being sordid for the sake of good. It is why I take to a solitary spirituality, because ethics are always tenuous in religious organizations.

We both know that on a Christian blog, attributing a connection to "porn" is meant to discredit me or, frankly, to make me look like the scum of the earth, which I am. I have the sense, however, to do what's right regarding a pedophile. Please judge me harshly--it's like a medal.

It is your small hearts that cannot see anything good or compassionate in me or my advocacy for this group of individuals; the beautiful thing is that when you deem to use any tact to make caractures of others, outside your own enclave, it is you and your credibility that is diminished.

I hope your church is worth alienating your own.

Bepatient said...

Well I am not going to address this to anyone in particular, because it addresses several things mentioned previously....

While there are a few of us that have managed not to get banned, we are still responded to in an amazingly disrespectful way- if the shoe was on the other foot, we would get booted off in a heartbeat for saying things like "you are not an honorable man". So yes, we have managed to hold on, but only because we bite our tongues more than the "other" side.

As far as speaking the truth in love, no one spoke up (except someone I know in real life) to defend me when Esther started questioning my salvation and belittling my knowledge of the "basics". She was rude and condescending but only one of the the "regulars" raised an eyebrow (thanks Karen!). So again, it all depends on which "side" is speaking that "loving truth" because honestly, if I was a different person- her "christian love" would have sent me running right on over to join Trollcakes on another path.

And I will reiterate my position on Trollcakes- my issue is not with him at all- it is with the group of "mature" Christians who think that his opinion on matters of spiritual things and church governance carry more weight than those of their fellow believers.

Mike Sense said...

Mike-
You might remember me...we exchanged comments a number of months ago as I encouraged you to reflect Christ and the gospel to those that visit your forum. I empathized with the situation and, as previously stated, exhorted you act in a manner that shows grace and truth as Christ does.

While I do not question your integrity Mike, as I do feel you are zealous for truth to be shown, I am terribly disappointed that our interactions did in no way temper you sarcasm and rather un-loving tone. You might be tempted to label me as a softie that cannot graciously confront...this is far from the truth.

To this I suspect what you will do, you will say "quote this, and quote that". Then, you will go point by point and educate me as to what your intentions are and then challenge me in a way that leaves a long thread. Go for it, but I will not get entagled in a long discussion. I do not have the time nor do I desire to. To this you might then say, "what a drive-by wack job"...I do not mean to do this. And I am not trying to frame things as to where I leave you no room to respond. But I just won't get pulled into a large discussion.

But Mike, as I sift through your comments and responses, I am disappointed. Time and time again Mike you have people on your website that do not feel honored, do not feel loved and feel marginalized and talked down to. SImply put, there is not justification for this. I cannot help but think of Machen and Wilberforce and the positions they were in. They were part of vigorous debates about matters much bigger than BBC's, yet, they were revered and respected by their opponents, which helped with change. Were they always dealing with rational, Christ-exalting people?!? Of course not, however they did not respond in kind, but had the Holy Spirit working through them to allow them to be gracious and truthful.

I will be honest Mike, I do not know anyone who would read through what you write and walk away feeling the radiance of the glory of Christ. Maybe I am wrong here, but that is how I feel and I truly think you need to seriously reconsider the manner in which you are loving people on your blog.

I am aware of everyone's need to be right and desire to hold the flag of truth high, but I never think that this gives us license to be rude.

I love the Church Mike, I really do. And, I have grown to like you through this blog...disagree with you, but like you. And for this reason I write the comment. Delete this comment if you want, personally respond to me if you want...I don't care. What I care about is your reflecting God's glory as you were designed to do. You're a neat guy but I believe, as a brother, you are making a mistake. Blessings brother and know that I will be praying for you all.

Mike Bratton said...

Mike, I always appreciate your comments, but to presuppose that I would refer to you as either a "softie" or a "whack job" misses the point that we who are involved in this Bellevue discussion must focus on issues, and not people.

However, were you to make similar observations on the infamous Closed Forum, your comments would be hardly greeted with the same bonhomie as you find here.

I defer to your knowledge of John Machen and William Wilberforce, and I make no claims to be at or near their level of eloquence. However, I know that over the full scope of my dealings with those who stand foursquare against Bellevue Baptist Church that I have been honest, straighforward, and compassionate. You'll have to tell me if either Wilberforce or Machen had their salvation questioned, their sexual preference questioned, or their intelligence questioned by those with whom they debated.

And no doubt you understand that your opinion on "feeling of the radiance of the glory of Christ" from what I do here is one that is not universally shared, so I would ask that you at least recognize that.

--Mike

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Bratton said...

Someone had something additional to say after the post that moved you, Amy--quoting thusly, and like so:

WatchingHISstory said...
ezekial
"some more rocks for your sling. . .be warned however . .folks around here get downright offended with the idea that one can loose his salvation."

Am I allowed an opinion? Are you speaking for everyone on this board with a threat? Is everyone thin skinned theologically?
AOG is very convincing and the others sound good, some maybe hypercalvinism. I'm traditional five point, simply because of point one.
Irrestible grace has a pratical result in that it causes one to experience true humility, like the publican. Resistable grace produces the kind of response I got from you. You can't have it both ways. Your attitude is the kind that is getting Bellevue in deeper trouble.


I'm as much a fan of Calvinism as I am of the Forum's bitterness. Which is to say, not at all.

As much as I would like to think that things are roses and clover there now, they aren't, and absent radical change will never be so.

Referencing Pastor Rogers' observation on the subject, the bitterness there will destroy the Closed Forum, its container--and in the process, harm those who invest themselves too heavily in it.

Please, Amy, don't be one of them.

--Mike

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mike Bratton said...

Amy, I appreciate your offer to help, and I'll respond more there.

From how that post, and sub-thread, reads, I think the reference to "Zeke" being a "convert" was with regard to the doctrinal issue, not with regard to his salvation in general. If I've overlooked something, I'd appreciate your highlighting it for me.

--Mike

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bugsii said...

Trollcakes,

You are not scum of the earth. I am sorry that I had any part in making you feel like scum of the earth. I mean that from my heart. But in agreement you said “I am”. That breaks my heart more than anything else. You were created in the likeness of God and to say that you consider yourself scum of the earth is to admit that you do not understand God’s love for you. You may understand Southern Baptist doctrine and may be a good Buddhist but you do not understand God’s love for you and his jealousy for you against the things that cause you to consider yourself scum.

Our church is NOT worth alienating our own. I think it is pure arrogance that says we can SAVE BELLEVUE or would want to do so (especially as a priority in our lives). God built it and God will do with it as he wills. We are to be personally responsible for our own relationship to God. When we moved to Appling Road it was considered that we were conquering Canaan(fear, doubt, pride, etc...). Isaiah 23:11 says “The Lord has given a commandment against Canaan to destroy its strongholds.”. Our church has some strongholds. I think Pastor Rogers said “People are in the business of hiding things. God is in the business of revealing things”.

I am truly sorry.

arminius said...

Wow! I stumbled onto a somewhat engrossing discussion on the NBBCOF the other day, but I had no idea what a combative place it was.

I know of Bellevue through LWF ministries. I heard about the scandal there last year, and I've 'heard' that there have been doctrinal changes. I'm a little skeptical after reading the information here, but what (if any) Baptist doctrines have been altered?

bugsii said...

Arminius, how are you? I don't know much about baptist doctorine but I read my bible quite a bit and am not aware of any biblical doctorinal changes at Bellevue.

I am training myself not to read over at NBBCOF anymore but I had to see the latest example of their rudeness. I jumped over and read how you were responded to. You got off easy!

You should know better than asking a simple question. It implies you have a hidden agenda much like Steve Gaines. And, you mentioned Mike's site which means you are obviously a troll as they suspected. I see you followed up with an attack on one of their regulars which is definitely against nbbcof doctorine and means you are lost. I'm using their logic sorry. Thank you for bearing with me in a little folly.

What part of the country are you located in?

arminius said...

Greetings bugsii! I am doing very well today by His grace, and I hope the same is true of you.

I'm not far from Memphis, in the north Alabama area. I visit Bellevue whenever I'm in that neck of the woods. That's why I'm curious about doctrinal changes. Bellevue's influence reaches a long way!

I hadn't noticed any big changes on my visits, and the only difference I've seen is that the congregation applauds during baptisms now. We've always done that here, so I don't think it's significant. I suppose some people might get upset about it, though.

I must say I'm still scratching my head about the NBBCOF. One day there was a passionate debate about Christian orthodoxy, and the next it was mostly mudslinging. I read a few of the other threads, and I see that I got the wrong first impression. I do indeed count myself lucky. I saw where one of the bloggers I interacted with threatened to beat up 'just my opinion'. Close call!

Well, no sense dwelling on it. I'm glad I've found a place where I can keep tabs on that wonderful church.

Grace and peace!

Amy said...

Arminius/Bugs(which is what I will affectionately call you from now on!)

I read the forum yesterday. I'd read remembered Arminius'posts and I don't get the same impression as Bugs.

Bugs:
And, you mentioned Mike's site which means you are obviously a troll as they suspected. I see you followed up with an attack on one of their regulars which is definitely against nbbcof doctrine and means you are lost.

I didn't get mom4's comment either. Unless she felt like your question about this "Mike's Blog" was a firing shot over the bow to see if that elicited a Mike Bratton and/or his blog hate-fest. I didn't see your follow up as an "attack" either. You asked her about her comment, which I admit would be perceived as insulting. She apologized to you. If you want more clarification as to why she used the phrase "new trolls" I would ask her.
Say what you will about NBBCOF, they haven’t mentioned Mike Bratton( to my knowledge) since he has been banned. I didn’t even know he had a blog until I was reading what I had missed and NASS made reference to never posting on his blog. When I checked Mike’s blog out I noticed he had posted a quote from me on “With One Hand Tied” commentary so I made a comment about it above.

Did you read what NASS directed you too in her answer about doctrine? My short answer is the BBC leadership lately hasn’t played by the rules biblically, per BBC bylaws, Tennessee law and/or SBC guidelines. These are not accusations either.

arminius said...

Amy,

Grace to you. I did see NBBCOF's response, which I am looking into. I stumbled across the 'savingbellevue' website today, which is rather enormous and disorganized. It's going to take a while for me to form a final opinion.

I didn't see NASS's post, but I'm getting the drift that most of the dissent is about the style of worship on Sunday mornings. The new pastor has clearly made some rather thoughtless and irresponsible decisions, but deviating from established doctrine is not one of them as far as I can tell. From my perspective, it appears that about 66% of the arguments are being fueled by unhappiness with the music.

Honestly, as an occasional visitor to Bellevue, I don't see that much difference. The applause after baptism, and the choir not singing from sheet music are two differences I've noticed. One thing that did strike me as odd was that the offering is now taken up during what Bellevue calls 'morning worship' by the choir. This combination of 2 different forms of worship takes away from both of them. Still, this isn't worth fighting over.

My mistake was that I completely got the wrong impression of the blog's purpose. I enjoy discussing theology, and a google search led me there the other night. The top thread was right in the middle of a stimulating argument about Reformed theology, but I see now that was unusual and actually discouraged.

I'm not anti-NBBCOF, and I'm going to keep visiting it for a while. One thing is 100% sure, they are a very divided group. They are fighting on way too many fronts. They need someone to step up and give them direction. That bickering does no good, and it's sinful. As a group, they should be trying to woo the current church members to their side, not making them angry. If they would pick one problem at a time and attack it in a sensible way the church might just cooperate with them. All they are doing right now, apparently, is waiting for someone to make a mistake and pouncing on it.

Since the current goal is to fire Steve Gaines, his congregation won't help with that. Maybe they should set their sights on something else and start small.

That Rick Warren paranoia needs to stop, too. 'PD' seems to be a catch phrase for all that's wrong in the world. I think any church would benefit from going through a book called 'Rick Warren's Bible Study Methods' (although the name is a little presumptuous). RW is a man who has met with unusual success, and other's are trying to copy his success. That is not a visible factor at Bellevue. A lot of our Church of Christ fellowships are joining the 'CGM', and it's very different than what I see up there.

As for mom4's apology, I don't have any comments on that.

Peace!

bugsii said...

Amy, you missed the last sentence in that paragraph I think.

On another note, I was thinking about the Samaritan story today. When he found the injured man he had pity on him. He bandaged him, put him on his donkey, took him to an inn and paid the innkeeper to watch over him until he returned. He may have sought justice later we don't know. But we do know his first concern was healing NOT finding his attackers and seeking justice.

Is it possible that behind the scenes in the instance of PW and all involved that their interests were in healing then justice? Leading PW to be properly reconciled with his son and then turning himself in for his offenses.

I am not dismissing the fact that PW should have been removed immediately. That was a huge mistake to let that go for one day.

Luke 10:27 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"

Amy said...

Bug,


Bugs said,

Amy, you missed the last sentence in that paragraph I think.

I don't understand what you a refering to.

As far as PW I couldn't begin to guess the motives of the people involved. I will say if Steve Gaines would have dismissed PW immediately, it wouldn't have been a public incident and probably made it a lot easier for PW and his son going forward.

maybejustmaybe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
maybejustmaybe said...

Amy said,
I will say if Steve Gaines would have dismissed PW immediately, it wouldn't have been a public incident and probably made it a lot easier for PW and his son going forward.

Those of us who support our pastor get labeled as "Kool-Aid drinkers" when we espouse anything viewed as a "company line." I've heard Amy's comment more than once on the NBBCOF blog, and I wonder about the validity of it and if some of the "truthseekers" may be imbibing on a powdered drink of their own. This statement just doesn't ring true to me and it never has. I absolutely agree that said minister should have been fired immediately BUT I don't think the matter would have gone away quietly and ended up less public than it has become, and I wonder if the publicity of the issue really has anything at all to do with the healing in that family. Obviously, there are issues among them that signify much brokenness that is separate from the issues at the church.

Those who continue to pursue an absolute right to know all details of all matters in the church would have been suspicious about why a man who had been "faithful to the ministry for 38 years" had just up and been fired ... and his dismissal would have been suspect and publicly scrutinized just as have been the voluntary resignations of men like Red, Mullins, Whitmire, Vaughn, and others. Those who are predisposed to smell rotten fish in Denmark tend to crinkle their noses miles away from Copenhagen. Though immediately dismissal is what should have been done, it would not have gone without notice and disappeared over the horizon, imo.

Amy said...

MJM-
What comment are you talking about? I have never made a reference to Kool-Aide!

Re: PW's dismissal, I should have been more clear. Six months earlier if PW would have been dismissed after he told Steve Gaines he had raped his son, it wouldn't have drew the national attention it did, and there wouldn't have been the outrage that it wasn't handled properly.

Mike Bratton said...

Excellent observations, MJM.

With regard to the other departures, I've posted a conversation with Rob Mullins, where he reiterated what he said from the pulpit--that there was nothing untoward about his departure, and that he was doing God's will by pursuing other ministry opportunities.

And that's some truth for those who genuinely seek it.

--Mike

P.S.: Nice fish analogy, by the way.

Dr. Whitmire has a set on loan from Bellevue for Germantown Baptist's Easter celebration, so I don't exactly see that there are hard feelings regarding any awkwardness in his departure.

In conversation with Randy Redd, his circumstance was similar to Rob's, in that he was going where the Lord led, not leaving or being thrown out of a horrible situation. Many of us who saw him at the last SBC saw he was very happy, with no animosity toward Bellevue whatsoever.

And with regard to Cary Vaughn, well, he's running his own company and still volunteering to be the object of my machinations (one more time) in the Memphis Passion Play. Any ill feelings there? No, none that he's voiced.

Mike Bratton said...

Amy said...
MJM-
What comment are you talking about? I have never made a reference to Kool-Aide!


Or General Foods' International Coffees, Crystal Light, or any other powdered beverage, for that matter.

I don't believe the inference was that you, in particular, have done so, Amy. However, you must admit it is a typical Closed Forum generalization, never mind that it's inaccurate.

Re: PW's dismissal, I should have been more clear. Six months earlier if PW would have been dismissed after he told Steve Gaines he had raped his son, it wouldn't have drew the national attention it did, and there wouldn't have been the outrage that it wasn't handled properly.

In fairness, we don't know what attention it would've drawn, because things didn't work out that way. We can presume, we can hypothesize, but we cannot know.

--Mike

Amy said...

Mike,
If Steve Gaines had fired PW immediately, it probably would have gotten out, on what level (Memphis area, National?) I don't know. But,there wouldn't be the national controversy of allowing a confessed pedophile to stay on as a pastor.

Amy said...

Mike said...
Or General Foods' International Coffees, Crystal Light, or any other powdered beverage, for that matter.

That's right!

Mike Bratton said...

Amy said...
Mike,
If Steve Gaines had fired PW immediately, it probably would have gotten out, on what level (Memphis area, National?) I don't know. But,there wouldn't be the national controversy of allowing a confessed pedophile to stay on as a pastor.


Not that I'm singling you out at all, but there's a lot of speculation about what would've happened long-term in the Williams matter. To date, I've not heard that Pastor Gaines has addressed what his long-term plans were for Mr. Williams--but I think the best way to find out just might be to ask Pastor Gaines.

--Mike

Trollcakes said...

You have a public scandal because of a lack of timely discernment and common sense from the leadership, and one that did not take action until forced to do so under public scrutiny.

The media did its job; it is perhaps a bitter pill to swallow, but we both know that when it is church folks--e.g. Pastor Ted gets caught in bed with those he condemns, or any number of indicted crooks in televangelism get their just desserts, or a Pastor of SBC mothership doesn't have the wherewithall to deal with a pedophile--it is highlighted as newsworthy by its very own perfidy.

The public knows what a grave and dangerous error the Pastor made and correctly views that he has merely recieved a slap on the hand for it. Forgiveness is a virtue we should all seek, but trust is different matter altogether. If you break it, you cannot just ordain it returned good as new.

Christan conservatives are further highlighted when they deliver weak justifications for the Pastor's inaction, argumentum ad hominem and alls-well-that-ends-well appeals, since you guys generally milign situational ethics and are the advocates of "personal responsibility and accountability."

No, Bellevue leadership made its own bed, including the need for media and DCS intervention, not to mention a NBBCOF and IDC, and now they must wallow in it.

Mike Bratton said...

As I said before, we don't know what the long-term plan was to address Mr. Williams' status, and no one has said when (or if) such a plan had been developed.

Perhaps a Bellevue member will ask Pastor Gaines on the 25th?

--Mike