Wednesday, September 27, 2006

What is done in the dark, can be brought to the light.

First, for those of you who may have thought I disappeared, I had a problem with Blogger in the last couple of days that caused my blog to disappear. I appreciate the quick response from them, especially considering I pay nothing for this service. If it happens again, just be patient and try again in a few hours.

Associated Baptist Press has a very interesting article about the role of blogs in a church conflict. One of the churches mentioned is Bellevue Baptist Church, which is the well known church where Adrian Rogers served as pastor.

I would love to hear some reaction to this story, so if you read it, take a minute and leave a comment.

You can read the story by clicking here.


Mac McFatter said...

Short answer. Ultra conservative leaders (fundamentalist) of any ilk do not trust their subjects (members), nor do the subjects (members) trust their leadership.
Mac McFatter

Eric said...

My first reaction to the whole article: Ugh.

Airing your dirty laundry is never wise, and almost always destructive. The very public nature of the SBC-CBF rift leaves a sour taste in my mouth, even though there isn't much other way to present both sides to such a large audience. So taking a single church's dirty laundry to the whole world (literally) is even worse, and violates the principle Paul outlined when talking about Christians suing each other in secular courts, as the article pointed out.

Just because the one pastor resigned as a result of all the pressure brought by the bloggers doesn't mean they were right. The article even mentions that a review of the books found no financial irregularities.

Mac, it has nothing to do with fundamentalism, liberalism, or any other kind of -ism. It has to do with pride, selfishness, and impatience. It has to do with church members who aren't willing to work solely within their own church to fix its problems, and the "pseudo community" nature of the congregation. A healthy congregation can work through the conflict without resorting to cyber-insurgency. If both sides are keeping the focus on Christ and His church, they will find a way to resolve their differences. If they aren't keeping the focus in the right place, that's the time to take action, but only within the context of that local congregation, and in accordance with Biblical principles.

Gil Gulick said...

Eric, for the most part I agree with you. However, I do have a point I would like your opinion on. What if the leadership of the church refuses to allow an issue to be addressed. In other words, what if all other avenues of taking an issue to the church as a whole, as described in Matthew, are cut off? There are times that I believe the most important thing that can happen is for the truth to come out. I think there is a very high burden that has to met here. By truth, I am not talking about subjective truth or allegations. I am talking about a situation where the leadership of the church is misleading the congregation in such a way that it can be objectively disproven if the facts are allowed to come out. Let me know what you think.

Eric said...

Well, obviously, a Biblical response requires all sides to follow Biblical teachings. If any one "side" decides that they are not beholden to follow God's rules, then everything breaks down pretty quickly and the damage is already done. Let me restate that for emphasis: the failure of any party to follow Biblical teaching guarantees that the church, i.e., the global community of believers, will be hurt as a result of the conflict. In a situation like that, the best you can hope for is to minimize the damage.

I encourage anyone that is facing such a situation to do everything they can do to remain focused on Christ and His church, the ministry of reconciliation that He has given us, and to work to minimize the damage. But failing all else, the truth is more important, for we serve the God of Truth.

I would also like to clarify something from my previous post: when I speak of church members, that includes church leaders, too. A leader in Christ's church is just a member with a title, called by God to be first among the servants.

Gil Gulick said...

I agree with you Eric, except maybe for a clarification. I don't think the goal should be to minimize the damage, the goal should be to let the truth come out, however harmful and hurtful that may be. I think that is what you meant, but you just didn't say it that way.

I agree with you completely on the last paragraph. It is very important to remember that the church does not belong to the pastor, or even to the members. It belongs to God and God alone.

A_Peasant_in_the_Pew said...

As a member of Bellevue Baptist Church, I wanted to give you my take on the Blog issue as it relates to church conflict. First, let me remind you that Bellevue is a large church...around 30,000 members. I have met our new pastor once...briefly. In a church such as ours, the pastor is virtually untouchable.....protected by his entourage of security personnel. Is this necessary? Probably. Actually, I haven't noticed as many security people guarding Dr. Gaines as there were with Dr. Adrian Rogers. But wow....other things have changed dramatically. The Pastor is also surrounded (not literally) by a group of men...mostly successful, affluent bussiness men who serve on the key committies that run the church. Business meetings are generally forums where we as the membership are told what we are "going" to do! Pastor Gaines recently held an "Informational" meeting where he addressed some of the issues. He later told another church where he was guest speaking about our "Informational" meeting. He explained that "Informational" meetings were meetings were they (The Pastor and his men) speak and we don't! He followed that comment with a laugh.

I tell you all of this hoping that it will help you to realize that in such an environment, the "common" man has little influence and only a very small voice. Blogs are a wonderful common denominator and the power players don't like it! If Belleuve were a typical congregation, then I believe a Blog would be an inappropriate way to address issues within the church. But in the megachurch arena, it seems to be an effective way to bring attention to issues that should be addressed.

Bellevue is a wonderful church and although I am not happy with some of the things that have been going on recently, I certainly have no plans to leave. The advantages far out weigh the disadvantages. The blogs have brought issues that needed to be addressed to the forefront and I firmly believe they will now be addressed. Otherwise they would have been swept under the carpet and the power players would have continued with their own agenda.

Gil Gulick said...


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and providing us with a glimpse of what this looks like from the inside. I appreciate it.

bellevue carpet cleaning said...

It's amazing what the internet has done to transparency in all aspects of our social lives, from church to politics. Bellevue is a nice church.