Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just when I was looking forward to writing about something else...

An anti-Bellevue blog is closing.

No, not that one. Or that one. Something previously titled "Bellevue Baptist Church - OUR (sic) True Story," now re-titled as "From Bellevue Baptist Church to the World...." evidently intends to shutter its publishing.

And I'm sad to see it go.

The author (or authors) of that blog missed (or ignored) the point of my interaction with them, as you'll see in their most recent article. Normally, I would've responded on that blog, but for whatever reason I "may not comment with this account," according to Blogger.

You Finally Win

You hypocrites and brood of vipers, you win. How 'bout a round of applause, no?


Let's keep in mind that "brood of vipers," in particular, was a phrase Jesus employed when speaking to those opposed to Him and His mission. It's informative to the rest of what "Don" has to say.

After receiving a record setting amount of email, most which were completely absent of anything Christian, and after the way other bloggers who have been kind to our cause have been treated, we are pulling this blog down - mostly for legality's sake. Can't elaborate on that now, though.

But when you are able to elaborate, by all means feel free to use this venue to do so.

All day we collectively received calls from "minister friends" and from "concerned people" whose choice phrases cause those of us contacted to believe solely otherwise. No matter what Steve Gaines says, harassment is never a good thing on any level, and bullying never wins out in the end.

So you don't think that your choice to single out two Bellevue staff members and call them racists, then reference the alleged "countless deacons and bible fellowship teachers and lay leaders who make awful racist remarks on the ball fields, out fishing, and in public" was a good one after all? Because your anonymous remarks were just what you claim to detest--they were harassment, and they were bullying in nature.

Congratulations, Mr. Mike Bratton! How happy you must be now that you get your way, since you are so vehemently against anyone who wishes to pose their opinion.

Now you've moved from harassment and bullying to outright lies.

You DEMAND that they tell their names or that they show their faces or you paint them out to be liars and evildoers.

Where? When I wrote this to you? Quoting myself thusly, and like so:

"Either put the weight of your reputation(s) behind your accusations, or refrain from making them."

And like so:

"Your 'reputations' are of precisely zero consequence until you publish your names with your accusations. Is that elementary point so very elusive?"

And like so:

"As a friend of mine once reminded me, if someone won't sign his or her name to his or her complaint, that complaint is worthless."

I never suggested that your charges against Bellevue staff were necessarily "lies" or that you were anything resembling "evildoers." I asked you to sign your name to your complaints. Now, the things you've said regarding me were absolutely lies, and I encourage you in the name of Jesus to apologize for them and repent of them. But I was attempting to give you the benefit of the doubt. Since you post no e-mail address, and since I cannot post to your blog, I have no option but to correct your misstatements here.

While you win the battle by us pulling this momentary blog down, you have proven a point that is about to be made known to the entire world ........

Let me ask a question I've asked for months now: Where is the Biblical precedent for broadcasting the presumed private sin of another to the world at large?

And you definitely will get to see our faces in the very near future. See, what you have always failed to realize and what you clearly cannot see because of your ego that is in the way (and let me say this not just to Mr. Bratton; this I speak to all of the pro-Gaines crowd who use the bully pulpit for their own promotion and personal gain) is that SHEEP ARE HURTING AND SHEEP ARE DYING AND THEY PERISH FOR LACK OF KNOWLEDGE AND YOU HAVE IGNORED THEM FOR THE LAST TIME. (And yes, there are those close to the pastor who are gaining personally from their "squashing" of these sites and comments, but more on that at a later date.)

Interesting. We're getting into "threat" territory now.

You have allowed them to lay bleeding by the wayside, by beating those who simply look for answers. You attempt to destroy those who question things that are clearly not Scriptural and you attempt to make them a laughing stock before your peers. You continue to beat them and blast them into a faux submission, and only when you stand before the Lord - only then will you see the thousands who now lie broken and stranded in the path.

You want control, not restoration. You want power, not fellowship. And it sure seems like for the time being, you have it ...


One hundred eighty degrees incorrect. Those whom you and yours attack mercilessly are people, from my experience, who desire fellowship and healing. They are far from perfect, as they would be quick to admit, but their orientation is one of openness and commonality.

So I implore you, have your fun for now. I promise you, and this is the very sad part, that it will be short lived. We went to the people who were at fault, and we were rejected - wouldn't even listen. We then took a group of godly people to confer about the problems, and still nothing. We tried to take it to the church - and were promised our day - yet still, nothing. And I want to say that how anyone can say that the opposing viewpoint had a chance at all of being heard at the "business meeting" is completely out of their mind. Period.

Since we don't know who you are, there is no way to objectively validate your statements. Did you go to the people at fault? Who knows--you're anonymous.

And again, the contrarians had their opportunity, and fumbled it. Just as you have.

So, now we will take it to the people. All the "facts" you accuse us of not having, all the things you say aren't real hidden behind a blog screen name, and all the things I am absolutely certain that you all have ignored because you liked your position ... all is going to be made known. And you are going to realize that you have been very, very wrong.

If so, I'll be the first to admit it.

Too many threats have been levied against too many people, too many "rights violations" have been incurred by too many innocent bystanders, and too many federal laws have been either bent and/or broken by the current leadership - and finally, there are those who are listening. The most sad thing is that the "church" is the one who chose to ignore it's own in this matter... now the matter is being taken up in the only place where people will listen, and act.

And you can control no one's behavior but your own. To date, you, whoever you are, haven't exactly acquitted yourself with élan.

Thank you to every one who listened, who prayed and is praying, and who has never been afraid to speak up. May God bless and keep you as you continue to stand for what is right.

Please keep us in your prayers and keep your eyes open. This is all we can say for now.

No matter what anyone may think, we all trust and believe that Jesus Christ is Lord.


I haven't seen anyone question your salvation--though that is a favorite tactic of those who share your viewpoint. Why, you even opened your article by doing just that.

Sincerely,

Don



I had hoped that "Don," and whoever else was working with him in publishing, would understand the responsibility required in making the accusations found in that blog--namely, to sign one's name to one's charges. And more than just a first name, obviously. For reasons known only to "Don" and his presumed colleagues, this responsibility has not registered.

And I'm sad to see that.

--Mike

EDITED TO ADD: Thankfully, we seem to have a sort of apology for the previously-quoted remarks. You can read it here.

25 comments:

bepatient said...

I still don't understand how belittling people and embarrassing them (which I would assume is what they were trying to do to you Mike) is supposed to help people turn away from their sin?

This is like religious festivus- we shall now have the 'airing of grievances'.

upside down said...

Maybe it's just my cynical way of thinking but does it occur to anyone else that some of the charges that these anti-Bellevue* sites contain are the same fundamental issues they are complaining about?


They talk about the lack of transparency at Bellevue while most of the owners of the sites are anonymous.

The complain that the leadership has told them "if you don't like it leave" whereby they tell readers of their sites "if you don't like the way I run the site then you are free to leave".

They complain about hate speak and lies. Well if Sickofthelies gets another standing 'O' for her continued lies, hate filled posts, personal attacks, and tired rhetoric I think I'm going to throw up in my mouth. The last phrase chosen because it's posted so often by those regulars.

You have a forum moderator at NBBCOF that needs to look up the term open in the dictionary. She challenges those who support Bellevue while at the same time applauding even the most outlandish remarks by her fellow 'friends'.

They complain that the Dodd's non-Bellevue family members voted at the business meeting. While most of the regulars on the blog no longer worship or maintain membership at Bellevue.

She linked the post you've written about as if it was new revealing information. That clown has been up with his blog for months with very little credibility. Yet she helps revise what was once dead as if it's new revelations.

Tim Coggins wants another business meeting...hint to Tim: Next time understand the procedure. You missed out by not making amendments to business on the agenda. Once you allowed that to pass it was up to the "majority" to determine the time the meeting ended. Your amendments like the $3 million may have failed but at least you could have got some issues to the floor. Did you guys ever once think about an amendment to the Committee on Committee recommendation to place "one of your own" on the finance committee. I am not saying it would happen but at least you'd know how the majority felt. But then that would mean you could no longer attack the pastor and leadership, you'd have to attack the majority of the members. And that's just too tough a task for IDC, isn't it?

Well, thanks for providing me a place to vent.

* see I am now fully on board with the correct usuage.

solomon said...

upside down,

I've been wondering about the committee recommendations myself. The former pastor stood at the mike and stated that he couldn't support the names given, but offered no alternatives.

I admire his resolve for standing up and making his thoughts known, but the chances of one man persuading the congregation to vote down the committee recommendations were remote.

Why was there no motion made put one 'their own' in a position of authority?

bepatient said...

Or here is a BRILLIANT idea- why didn't they make their motions available to view on the IDC website prior to the meeting??

We would have been familiar with them and could have voted through them in quick succession. They likely would have been voted down but at least they would have had a chance to be heard. But their own lack of transparency screwed them again.

upside down said...

solomon, if I understand Robert's Rules the time to put up a name would have been during the discussion of the motion. Therefore it would need to be an amendment. If the amendment got approval it would attach itself to the main motion. We've witnessed our congressmen doing this for years in order to get something for their constituents by adding it to a larger bill. The great thing about doing this as an amendment is that a motion to end the meeting would have been out of order since the primary business had yet been resolved. There is a way to make change within a system but it takes those with the will and knowledge to do so. Evidently IDC was lacking in both areas. But based on some of Tim's rhetoric I'm not the least surprised.

During the financial discussion they could have added an amendment that would have required congregational approval of any salary over $150,000. And it probably would have passed! But they have Josh Manning start with quarterly meetings and Sexuality issues. What could they have expected other than someone asking for a close to the meeting. Isn't Josh the bright kid who should have know how to get it right? Maybe he was to busy secretly recording those around him.

solomon said...

Shoot, I'd have voted against any salaries over $150000 myself.

I can understand their not knowing the best way to proceed, but at least lets try something sensible.

So let's have quarterly business meetings. What will we discuss? Whether to go back to annual meetings? Whether or not the cameras should be turned on? Whether people can wear masks when they go down to speak?

Once a year is more than enough for that, thank you.

solomon said...

I've just been getting caught up on my reading 'over there.'

I was stunned by the 'announcement' that Mark Dougherty had been fired, only to find out (surprise) that it was a lie. I'm shocked that the person who passed on this bald faced lie offered an 'apology' to all involved, but denied that it was really his fault since his source was in error. Also, NASS stated that it was all probably part of a conspiracy by Bellevue to pass on false information, so no one was to blame but the church leadership.

i.e. 'It's all Bellevue's fault that we are liars.'

I also was amazed by a comment about Scotty Shows. It said something like, 'we don't know for sure that he's a racist, but we didn't think PW was a pedophile but since he was, Shows must be a racist.'

There was also a post that Donna Gaines was teaching a college ladies class to gain control over them at an early age, and it was 'of Satan.'

The pastor's wife teaching young girls is of Satan.

Folks, they are becoming irrational. They're getting worse each and every day.

We really need to pray for them. They've been getting hammered by the 'PD' conspiracists and fundamentalists for almost 6 months now, and it's really showing. I wonder if any of them will be able to find a church they can belong to again?

This is how I'll be praying for them, and I encourage everyone to create your own list.

1. Father, bind all Satanic influence away from them.
2. Free them from the bitterness that is growing each and every day.
3. Lead them to a true Christian fellowship where they will find nourishment and accountability. SOON!
4. Each one of them will humble themselves so that they may be lifted up at the proper time. If they refuse, Lord, then humble them yourself.
5. Show them their sin, so that they will repent.

This is the last thing I have to say about the NBBCOF. There is a person I love very much who had an abortion. She was young and scared. Her parents were legalists, and that cold legalism is what frightened her into ending her pregnancy. Had she known about God's grace and mercy, things would have been very different.

Anti-Bellevuers, you have done the very same thing. In your zeal to portray the FUMC donation as evil, you have reopened that wound. Your portrayal today of abortion as the unforgivable sin has forever turned this woman against you. She lives every day with the trauma and guilt of her action. What hope of mercy does she have from you?

I wonder how many women are in the same situation? And how many recovering homonsexuals who are trying with all their might to overcome their affliction have been hurt by your words?

I honestly wonder, anti-Bellevuers, are you trying to make friends or enemies?

bepatient said...

No church will ever be good enough for some people, and I agree that legalism has driven more people to sin than you would imagine. Fear is a powerful thing. I still believe fear is part of WHY SG was so slow to act in the first place. He was afraid of one more scandal, one more "investigation", one more log for the fire.

I still think he was flat out wrong, but I also know that BBC has always had a reputation for piousness and for being very judgmental- I hope if nothing else comes of it, perhaps this will be used for the greater good in that we have shown that we are willing to forgive and accept you- no matter where you come from and what you have done.

And anyone that has dealt with insurance knows that State Farm (or whoever) didn't show up with that insurance check the next day...
Do I think they were a little rash in just sending over some money? Probably, but it is what it is and that money was given to God in the form of tithes and I have faith that it will be used for His purpose.

upside down said...

solomon like you, I do not understand how that other board can accept lies from their own while challenging everything said by our pastor and administrator. Many times they will be one that speculates (example: Jim Angel suspected of a conspiricy to end meeting) and it will evolve into a fact (example: Jim Angel admitted that he had conspired to stop meeting). First you must know that I personally know Jim Angel. And Jim has stated that there were no pre-planned stragety to use him to stop the meeting. But those who wouldn't have recognised Jim prior to the meeting seem to have some intimate knowledge of his actions. Secondly, common ration thinking would tell you that if there were some kind of conspiricy then no one would acknowledge it publicly as stated on the other blog.

The same logic that prevails on that board provides us the insight that our children were in danger for six months due to Steve Gaines. The truth is that the same danger was in place for 17 years. Logic would say that since PW had confessed to Bro. Steve that we would have been in less danager since he had admitted his past actions. But it sounds better to speak only of the six months than to the 17 years.

upside down said...

bepatient, wasn't it the legalistic Jews who had Jesus crucified? Did you happen to see the grace extended to Charlie Fox. Charlie was the one who was so certain about MD firing. Then he humbly asked forgiveness for his lie. And yes those who have not forgiven our pastor was quick to forgive a man who has not only written slander at times but is not an admitted liar. And that's the problem with spreading gossip. It is one thing to provide a first hand accounting of an issue but to provide gossip as facts only creates confusion. You would think their legalism would demand that they would be truth tellers as well.

Mike Bratton said...

Interesting discussion.

By the way, please don't miss the "Edited To Add," containing a link to an apology for the comments quoted in my article.

Thanks.

--Mike

solomon said...

I have have a question about the apology. Is this from 'all of them' or just 'the kid?'

'The kid' distinguishes himself from don in his post:

Guys, thank you for your graciousness and again I am truly sorry (Don, you are more than kind).

Whatever it was the kid wrote (I missed those posts), I believe he has come under conviction and is sincere in his desire for forgiveness.

However, unless I missed it, 'the kid' doesn't mention that 'don' has also retracted his statements. And they were severe.

Karen said...

Mike,

You get to say whatever you want on your blog, NASS says what she wants and "the Kid" can say what he wants. I just want everyone to leave everyone alone. Things have gotten so far out of hand and there are personal attacks being committed against each other. Whatever your opinion is of the issues at BBC, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ and we need to remember that. Our opinions differ, but in the long run, who really cares? Amen?

karen

Karen said...

be patient,

In response to your comment about State Farm (or whoever) not coming through with a check immediately, I posted this comment over at NASS's blog. Just think about an alternate way of handling the FUMC "relief effort".

Phil Weatherwax has compared the check to the Tsunami relief effor and I said this:

The Tsunami relief? Ok, let's compare: The Tsunami survivors were dirt poor, no insurance, no water, no food, no clothes.

FUMC: Fully covered by insurance, yet we give them $25K.

Not exactly the same, is it?

And BTW, Bellevue operates a Thrift Store and a Food Bank. If the money we gave was to be used to feed and clothe the downtown homeless, BBC could have provided this service with no extra cash money being spent. I just don't get how $25,000 get thrown around with no thought for its use - if food and clothing were needed to replenish FUMC's ministries in those areas, we could have managed that.


Also, after I posted this, I got to thinking (I do that from time to time!). What if BBC had asked members to give during a special offering for FUMC? That way members could have decided for themselves if they wanted money given to a church with objectionable practices. I'm just trying to say there were other ways of getting relief to this church without a broad brushstroke of "we've giving and that's it" and admitttedly, no prayer was offered for guidance about the gift or thanks for having the opportunity to give.

To me, it's not the amount of the gift, it's the lack of anyone on the Finance Committee informing Steve Gaines that FUMC might not be the best place to spend money due to its beliefs that are in direct opposition to the Bible, SBC and BBC tenents.

Thanks for listening.

karen

solomon said...

karen,

If I can jump in...

You said "I just want everyone to leave everyone alone." If you mean that you want for people to treat each other with respect, then I agree wholeheartedly.

However, if you are saying that you want for us to ignore others when they do and say things that go against God's Word, then I can't agree with you.

We are expected to hold each other accountable. Simply scrolling by sinful posts and pretending they don't exist is wrong.

Luke 17:3
So watch yourselves. "If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.

Karen, I haven't been posting for long, but I've been aware of a lot of things that have been posted. I was in a Bible study group, and one of the ladies always brought prayer needs from the blog. Your name was often brought up. Didn't you receive a rebuke for recommending a Beth Moore devotional? (something about mysticism) And also for posting the lyrics from a Christian song that mentioned 'Mother Earth?' (New Age)

Wouldn't it be great if everyone cared enough to correct others in a biblical way, they way we should? If sin was as frowned upon as Rick Warren?

bepatient said...

Karen, you and I are on the same page- there are TONS of alternatives for contributing to FUMC in the way we did. I think it was a poorly thought out gift and needed more prayer. I can see where they would assume that most of the time the views of a Methodist church would not be all that different from our own.

But most of all, I believe it was given from a good spirit- no one was trying to fund abortions or anything else. God knows our hearts and I think He takes that into account. If we were supporting them on a long-term basis or something that would be a whole different ball game.

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

Sol says...
So let's have quarterly business meetings. What will we discuss? Whether to go back to annual meetings? Whether or not the cameras should be turned on? Whether people can wear masks when they go down to speak?
Once a year is more than enough for that, thank you.

Actually Solomon, your bylaws call for monthly meetings. If BBC did have regular business meetings, and the BBC adm. showed some accountability and openness, it would be a step forward in healing. There is a letter on David Coombs Adm. web page where he states BBC is and always has been congregationally governed, and then his next letter (which the BBC membership received together IIRC) tells the membership who the new board members are (congregational vote?). I feel BBC members have a lot of reasons to be upset over how this meeting was held. I only saw two tapes, but the hired Parliamentarian answered two questions BM referred to him incorrectly, and the answer he gave shut down dicussion more quickly. McCarty knew what he was doing.

Upside Down- What is Jim Angel's reason for calling for adjournment? He was in order to do so, however that's pretty rude thing to do when someone's motions is on the floor, especially when he knew no other business meeting was scheduled to discuss un finished business. If he was concerned about time(the nursery workers were paid to be at BBC until 1pm for the meeting), he could have made a call to vote motion after a few people had spoken. IMO it looked pretty fishy, and I can see where others have concerns over his motives.

You may not like how some people second guess everything, vent their frustrations, etc... But, can't you at least acknowledge they have very valid concerns, and the things we all know is truth is questionable at best, and certainly not done through any type of congregational governance.

Karen said...

solomon,

Thanks for letting me know I'm being prayed for - I need it! Hope they don't pray for me cause I'm a jerk or something! :)

As far as my 2 chastisements, I still read the Beth Moore book about missionaries and enjoy it, so the person who did the chastising, to me, just voiced his opinion and we went on. I think no less of him and didn't come back with "my Scripture can beat up your Scripture" attitude that I've found distasteful on on blogs referenced earlier. The "chastisement" on that did make me sit up and take notice of what I was reading and will keep me on notice if I buy another Beth Moore book, but it didn't make me burn the book either. If God wants me to burn it, He'd set it on fire for me or make me want to buy a lighter, don't you think?

As far as the song I posted-FWIW, I went back and and made sure what I thought I heard in the song was what actually was being chastised. Don was wrong in his words to me as the quote in the song says
"Too many would be prophets sayin’
"It’s the end of it all"
‘Cause mother earth can’t take much more
he hammer’s gonna fall"

The lyric is quoting the prophets; it's not glorifying "mother earth". See what I mean? All that to say, I knew what the lyric was, but I didn't feel like fooling with it just to prove a point, so I deleted the whole post and didn't say anything to Don other than "thanks for bringing that to my attention".

We are on the same page about we want everyone to get along though - not to allow our brothers and sisters to sin - but we do need to be careful in which the way we do it. It's difficult to "read" a person's heart when you're just reading their words on a screen, so we do need to be careful in which the way things are said on the blogs. That's all I'm saying.

karen

Mike Bratton said...

Karen said...
Mike,

You get to say whatever you want on your blog, NASS says what she wants and "the Kid" can say what he wants.


While I cannot speak for the others you named, Karen, I can speak for myself--and I do not get to say whatever I want. I say what I ought to say, what is responsible to say, and what I am led to say. Christian meekness means acquiescing to the control of Christ in our lives, and is antithetical to doing, or saying, what we please.

I just want everyone to leave everyone alone.

If I didn't love those with whom I've disagreed, that's precisely what I would've done.

Things have gotten so far out of hand and there are personal attacks being committed against each other.

Yes, and both the Closed Forum and "Saving Bellevue" are Attack Central.

Whatever your opinion is of the issues at BBC, we are still brothers and sisters in Christ and we need to remember that. Our opinions differ, but in the long run, who really cares? Amen?

Amen. Will you be saying the same things on the Forum, or e-mailing them to SB/IDC/ACT?

--Mike

Karen said...

Mike,

I've told everyone to behave themselves over on NASS blog, too. I'm an equal opportunity chastiser! :)

I see your point on not being able to say whatever we want - I meant that you formed this blog to publish your opinions and should be able to without being told not to. Just like everyone else with a blog. That's the purpose of Free Speach and all that flag waving stuff.

I'm in "can't we all just get along" mode today - can you tell? :)

karen

upside down said...

Karen, why don't you ask NASS why she has banned some of us? I was in the middle of a love fest when I got banned. She allows SOTL to vent without challenge but should one of us pro-Bellevue types challenge any of the untruths then we get banned. So much for freedom of speech. It makes me angry to see posts such as Charlie Fox's about MD where I knew it to be a lie but was banned to present the truth. I see you were quick to forgive Charlie saying we all make mistakes. Any chance of that going beyond the 'friends' group on NBBCOF.

By the way I see that once again NASS is showing negative numbers concerning Bellevue. She should be embarrassed that she in effect has lead a charge which has resulted in the decline of POF at Bellevue. She can claim she is the messenger all she wants but she has been one to add fuel to the fire. She is accountable for her part in the discord among the brethren.

Thankfully Mike has a place which still allows for civil disagreements and both sides to present their case. NBBCOF is 97% a one sided anti-Bellevue blog. And may I ask how is that glorifying our Lord?

junk99mail said...

On that "other" blog, I posted the following. Some of y'all have probably seen it there, but aren't allowed to comment there, so, being the glutton for punishment I am, I thought I'd give you the opportunity here. Blast away!

-----

junk99mail said...
I have read posts from those who have said that giving $ to FUMC after their fire is no different from giving $ to humanitarian relief efforts such as for the victims of the tsunami in Indonesia. The argument used is that we do not agree with the doctrinal or moral views of Muslim Indonesian tsunami victims, so we should not be concerned with the doctrinal or moral views of the pastor or members of FUMC.

I have also read posts in response saying that the difference is that FUMC had insurance and didn't really need the money, but the tsunami victims are poor. But there is a much more important difference than that. In short, it is that God actually encourages giving to those who are not Christians, but He specifically commands against giving to those who claim to be Christians but who are involved in immorality or have serious doctrinal errors!

Jesus and the apostles taught by word and by example to be generous and giving to at least three groups: (1) our physical family (1 Tim. 5:8), (2) our spiritual family (meaning those with whom we would share fellowship/communion, 2 Cor. 8:1-15), and (3) those who do not know Jesus at all (including those who would persecute us for being His followers, Matt. 5:38-48).

But the Bible specifically forbids providing material aid to those who claim to be Christians but whose teachings or lifestyles are not consistent with basic Christian principles. Those are folks to whom Matt. 18, 1 Cor. 5, and similar scriptures would apply -- people who are subject to "church discipline" because of un-repented of immoral activities / associations or because of severe doctrinal error. Scripture commands that we be separate from those individuals in terms of fellowship/communion (1 Cor. 5:9-11) and cooperation in ministry (2 John 9-11). We are to love them, be gracious and kind to them, and hope and pray for their repentance before God and restoration to fellowship with other believers. But until such repentance is evidenced, we are forbidden by God Himself from sharing with them in fellowship or ministry.

Therefore, the primary reason why BBC administration should not have provided financial assistance to FUMC is not because FUMC didn't really need it, and it is not because they are Methodists instead of Baptists, and it is not they have some secondary doctrinal differences. If those were the only issues, there might still be reasons to support them. No, the primary reason BBC administration should not have given them $ is that the church's primary leader (pastor) claims to be Christian and yet teaches and supports things in direct violation of God's most basic moral law (e.g., abortion is a "right", when in reality it is murder).

I can't say with certainty whether or not the core doctrinal views of the church or its pastor are Biblically sound, because their current website does not provide a statement of their basic doctrinal beliefs. At the least, it is inappropriate to provide financial support to an organization claming to be Christian without knowing its core doctrines. The fact that they have a woman pastor who supports immoral causes would at least make one wonder if they care enough about the teachings of the Bible to adhere to core Christian doctrines – such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ (His Deity, virgin birth, sinless life, atoning sacrificial death on the cross, bodily resurrection & ascension, and bodily return), the necessity of the new birth and salvation by grace through faith, etc. But even if we give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are in line with scripture on basic doctrines (a dangerous assumption, I know!), since we already know that their moral views and associations are contrary to scripture, then by virtue of God's command we must not provide them with material support.

Ya know, this is basic, simple, Christian stuff, not rocket science, nor deep theological and philosophical truth. Just plain old basic biblical standards. It is sad, frustrating, and mind-boggling that a Baptist pastor and staff would not know these things -- or possibly even worse, know what God says and not care.

I'm junk99mail and these are my Perceptions.

7:00 PM, April 17, 2007

bepatient said...

JunkM,

You are missing the main point of what I have said on this issue-

I have lived in Memphis my whole life and I had no idea that FUMC was anything other than a regular Methodist church (I noticed the woman pastor but I don't believe that is a hill to die on) and it is easy for me to see how the finance committee would just assume the same.

Bring it back to something personal- if you believe BBC has gone to the "dark side" as far as the leadership is concerned- does that negate the validity and spirit of all the tithe you gave in good faith before you felt the way you feel now? Shouldn't you have researched and prayed more to be sure that you weren't giving God's money to something or someone that wasn't on the up and up?

Like I said, it would be different if we were supporting them on a long term basis.

God gives us the chance to learn from our mistakes.

junk99mail said...

bepatient,
I trust that God can use our mistakes, and even our sins, for His purposes and ultimate glory. He is honored by an offering cheerfully given as an act of worship, whether or not those who administer the funds did so wisely. But that does not negate our personal responsibility to be wise stewards, nor that of the church leadership.

I infer from your last sentence that you would agree that the gift was a mistake. I like to think it was originally given in ignorance of the church's pastor's views. One would hope that everyone involved has learned from the incident. But responses I have commonly seen tend to either be in defense of the gift (like "they are Christians, too, after all, even if we don't agree on everything, so that makes the gift ok") or criticizing it for the wrong reasons ("they didn't really need the money"). My point was to step back and examine the matter from a more biblical perspective than either of those responses.

But I realize that I have the advantage of hindsight. And I also realize that we all fall short of the biblical standard, so we should definitely be gracious and forgiving about any wrong choice made. I would only hope that, with the benefit of the kind of wisdom that comes from the consequences of doing the wrong thing, the BBC administration will take more care on such matters in the future ... and be willing to own up to the fact that is was a bad decision, rather than attempting to justify or defend the action.

Fair enough?