August 28, 2008
Adrian Rogers bore a great cross and even though he has gone on to heaven the legacy of that cross remains. Literally three crosses that stand tall at the I-40 corridor in Memphis. Your TV and radio broadcast his sermons on Love Worth Finding.
A great ministry like this took a lot of money. So hundreds of thousands have supported him in making this great ministry possible. This is a commendable legacy.
But there is a negative side to this story. Christ said he has a cross for each of us to bear, individually. I don't believe that He meant for us to absent ourselves in "cross bearing" for the sake of another's cross. Neither did He expect us to create a great dependence on others to bear our own cross. I believe that the apostle Paul exemplified this principle. When he received finances he did it for the poor saints in Jerusalem. The ideal of a few great men raising great sums of money for a great world-reaching ministry is not biblical in my opinion. It means that money has replaced the work of the Holy Spirit and the by-product is the wealth and fame that the individual minister acquires. "The laborer is worthy of his hire!"
God does not need your money He needs you. So in the style of my normal "rant" let me say: the Church wants your money and your warm body to fill their seats. They want you to behave decently and orderly and not "split their church." Once you have proved your loyalty they want you to contribute your talents to the continuity of their cross-bearing. The message of today's church is "take up my cross and follow me."
I close because I have to be at work in an hour and twenty minutes in order to finance my cross-bearing.
August 22, 2008
The message of Christianity creates an upheaval of social order. No flesh can glory in God's presence. No distinction of persons is acknowledged by the Holy Spirit. In fact Paul says that God chooses the weak and foolish things of the world to confound the wise and the mighty.
Christ as a youth confounded the wise men at the temple. His ministry gained wide acceptance among the common masses. He attacked the religious leaders and at times mocked their wisdom with his replies. He chose simple common men to be his close disciples. He courted national disaster by rousing a riot of common men by riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey. He received the honor due to a great king! He left a template to be followed in the expansion of the Church.
Peter encountered this template in a vision. All that God had made was not to be considered unclean. Paul's proposition for the gospel was the power of God is for everyone that believes. No more were there Jew and Gentile, free or slave, man or woman, rich or poor. The leader was a servant. A poor slave would be served by a leader. He or she would have a voice in ministry.
A slave could prophecy in open assembly! However a woman had to have her head covered in order to pray or prophesy. This concession like the one made by James in Jerusalem to the missionaries going to gentiles was made to accommodate the Jews spread abroad throughout the world.
Paul had to make concessions to women at Corinth. If they needed to know anything they should ask their husbands at home. She should not exercise authority over men in a teaching capacity. (I Cor 14:34; I Tim 2:11) This establishes the ongoing problem of keeping peace in the Church. Biblical teaching mingles with tradition and culture in order to have peace among the brotherhood. The common catch phrase for this endeavor is Paul's admonition. "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints."
Ministries today are built upon this, "all things decently and in order". Decorum must prevail. However this has evolved into a non-biblical ecclesiastical structure. The template left by Christ has been abandoned. The gap between pulpit and pew is built upon a terrible restriction to the common man.
Conflict in Corinth is not a problem anymore for our mega-churches. Decorum without peace is not the goal. Bellevue had decorum but providence proved otherwise. How many churches have peace in America? Men create decorum but God brings peace. He is the author of peace.
"But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them.But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." -Matthew 20:25-28
August 20, 2008
Unlike Adrian Rogers when Peter's sermon was interrupted he stopped preaching. He didn't raise his palms to quieten them. There was a Holy Spirit intervention. The circumcised Jewish men who came with Peter were behind the eight ball. The last ball was a easy shot except the eight ball was between them. These were uncircumcised Gentiles and they were praising God in an unknown language. This mirrored what had happened to them at Pentecost. These Jews were saying how can these receive the Holy Spirit as we did? Peter was saying how can we forbid them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ? So that day the whole group at Cornelius' house were baptized.
Dr Rogers would not have handled this the same way. Perhaps the first person to be filled was a....well we really don't know. Knowing that women are always spiritually sensitive let's just assume that a trustworthy household servant girl was the first and was the "prime" that cued the others to obey. Adrian would not have allowed that girl to interrupt and the rest would know not to follow her. Adrian would have to finish his sermon.
Peter's sermon was 10 verses, very short. The exposition of scripture, edited for a future LWF format was more important than the plain, simple response of a servant girl. "Now you did not hear what I was saying."
Dr Rogers, himself said: "The Holy Spirit is there to lead you, comfort you, guide you and instruct you. He is so sensitive that He can be easily quenched." The Holy Spirit Your Best Friend - p.20
Aren't you glad that Peter let God's people grow that day!
August 18, 2008
"Brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant." NKJV
"Brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed." English Standard Version
"Brethren, I do not wish you to be ignorant." Darby Translation
"Brethren, I do not wish you to be ignorant." Youngs Literal Translation
"Brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant." New International Version
"My friends, you asked me about spiritual gifts." Contemporary English Version
"Now, dear brothers and sisters... I don’t want you to misunderstand this." Living Bible
This could be proof positive that there are no perfect translations. The last several decades of political correctness have made it difficult to express the singular gender specific. The word brother in I Corinthians 12-14 is derived from the greek word αδελφοι adelphos meaning "a brother". The word adelphotes means "brethren, brotherhood".
The assumption is that Paul is addressing the brethren at Corinth. All the older translations use brethren or brothers. The newer translations, striving to be gender neutral use the words "friends" "brothers and sisters" to refer to the congregation. The German translations have the same problem. Luther's Bible had "liebe Brüder", "dear brothers" while the later translations had "liebe Brüder und Schwestern."
The specific question for I Cor 12 and 14; was Paul addressing the whole congregation or specific people who needed instruction? The context of these two chapters seem to imply a specific person or persons. A brother or some brothers.
Another political incorrect term is used in the older translation, "ignorant." We teach our children to never call someone ignorant, stupid or idiot. Wycliffe drew from crude olde English expressions such as dumb maumets, dumb simulacra (12:2); idiots (14:23,24).
It is my opinion that Paul would never call everyone in a congregation, ignorant. Whether the first or twentieth first century no one would give a blanket statement to everyone as ignorant.
But in either century there will be those who could be called really ignorant. I believe that Paul was writing to a specific brother , maybe brothers, and saying: "Oh brother or Oh brothers!" "Don't be ignorant!"
Few people reading this from me will take this serious. Why, probably because I was a Pentecostal preacher for almost 30 years. You won't take me serious because I don't have seminary experience (BA in Biblical Education) I avoided Bible language studies by majoring in education. (studied German). You will not take me serious because I am non-cessationist.
If we can look at this Pauline passage and dismiss the "tongues" and "sign gifts" we can gain insight from Paul's guidelines for congregational cooperation between pulpit and pew, assuming (we probably cannot) the terms "pulpit" and "pew" were relevant in first century Christianity.
The duty of the pastor is to restrain the abuses within the congregation but not to restrain the congregation.
The context of the chapters imply that the pastors may not excel in spiritual depth. They excel in administrative gifts for directing the body in biblical guidelines. They shepherd and teach the body. The ideal that the pastor is the spiritual giant for the flock is a misnomer. He coaches a team and the game is not kiddie tee-ball. His players live in a world of opportunities. They work in markets where what they learn from the coach are incorporated into day-to-day living.
The pastor's boast is what his team has accomplished. Today's team boast of what their coach has accomplished. The world's markets are the spectators and the Church is the training room.
Today the Church's building is the Colosseum and the team is the spectators. Rather the coach is the "game". The team witnesses unto their coach striving to bring people to "coach." "You have got to hear my preacher!"
Pastor, let your people grow! Let go and let God have his wonderful way with His people. There are good pastors but the indicator of this problem is the vast numbers of people who go to Church and that is the extent of their Christianity. Too many pastor are concerned about their vocation and the effectiveness of their ministry.
The problem at Corinth was not the chaos among the brothers and sisters. The chaos was the reaction of people fill enthusiastically with the Holy Spirit. Wherever people are Spirit filled
there will be chaos. The pastor guides the zealous and enthused into biblical order.
The dispensational cessationist perspective has enabled fundamentalist to rule the Church from the pulpit and keep the people restricted to "lay inactive status." The fault of lay inactivity is not the lack of desire of the people rather the lack of trust shown by the pastoral staff.
August 17, 2008
His wife and daughter went to different activities and We went to the auditorium for the Wednesday evening service. It was one of the rare times when Dr Rogers spoke on Wednesday nights. He referred to Church growth and at that time I was not familiar with The Purpose-Driven Church. *
I was familiar with the Church growth program at Fuller Theological Seminary under Peter Wagner, Donald McGavran and John Wimber. I had studied them in several college courses and had grown weary with them in years of study later in the ministry. I was disappointed to hear Dr Rogers enunciate these principles.
He referred to Bellevue's growth of over 800 baptisms in the past year and his point was that Bellevue can do much better than that! How often have you been in a Church service where a statement was made like that? Over 800 baptisms in one year at one Church! 800 baptisms!
A lady heard this and spontaneously broke into applause. Only one lady. In a sudden gesture, Dr Rogers raised his palms toward her and told her, "now you listen to what I was saying." "You didn't hear what I said." Now I was embarrassed for the lady and felt that this lady would go home that night feeling foolish.
She truly had not heard his point that even though they had over 800 baptisms that year they could do much more.
Later when we got into the car to go home, I stated to my friend that he had witnessed a difference in a Pentecostal and a Baptist service. In a Pentecostal service that woman would not have to suffer an embarrassment. The preacher in all probability would have deferred to her applause and ask the rest of the congregation to join her in an expression of praise.
I believe that God arranged for me to observe this. This seems to be a defining moment in spite of the incident being isolated. It was a slip-up for Rogers and I am sure he retired that evening wishing he had not treated the lady that way. That lady's applause has haunted me and I can't get it out of my mind. To me it is as Moses striking the rock instead of speaking to it. It had the appearance of being insignificant but God held Moses to a high standard and it cost him dearly.
The perception came across as regular people have their place, like a good woman should be seen and not heard. It seem to represent the view that massive Church growth took place over the individual. That woman responded to the thrill of her personal baptism. Her response was inspired by the Holy Spirit. His sermon was inspired by visions of massive people movements.
With all my heart I believe that woman's offering of praise, non-verbal clapping, was accepted in heaven. All Dr. Rogers had was the praise of men.
*Bellevue was using the 40 day program of PDC (1995) and along with Robert Schuler, Bill Bright, Jack Hayford, Rogers had written an endorsement to the Book. "Rick Warren has been used to challenge my thinking in the area of church growth in an incredible way. This book is on the must-read list for every pastor."
August 15, 2008
Bellevue will be united! (Watch this video)
The unnamed staff who was confided in by Paul Williams knew the fragile nature of Bellevue's unity and so he advised him to keep quite. He and Rev. Williams knew full well the consequences of coming out with this revelation. This could very well destroy all that Dr Rogers had done to build a thriving Church. This staffer was not going to allow that to happen. Dr. Rogers was left out of the loop about this abusive behavior by one of his staff.
After Dr. Rogers' death in November 2005 Paul Williams and his wife confided in Jamie Fish,
another staffer, in May 2006. They knew that soon their son would come forward. Again the fragile unity prevailed by keeping silent. June 2006 Steve Gaines was confided in by the couple and no one knew better than Dr Gaines about the fragile nature of the Church he pastored. He kept silent for six months. Apparently he hoped it would go away quietly yet within a few months the son, his wife and friends went to Dr. Gaines and that is when the issue became public knowledge to everyone.
However the frail unity was breaking up before the Williams revelation came out. No sooner than Roger's death the dissenters were rising up. The scapegoat for their dissent was Pastor Gaines' supposed move away from Church tradition toward the Church Growth Movement and elder led control. The root of much of the dissent was the "pastor-led, deacon-served, committee-operated and congregation-approved" leadership of Rogers.
Gaines came to Bellevue receiving the mantle and blessing of Rogers in ornate style. Perhaps Gaines thought that he could slide into the traditional leadership role Rogers had left for him.
Rather he found deeply buried dissent over that tradition. There were those who had not been happy with Roger's running the Church with a small nucleus of men making major decisions. Gaines was caught between this dissent and the dissent of those who loved Rogers' style but could not tolerate another filling his shoes. They formed a website before September 2006, Integrity Does Count and Saving Bellevue both now inactive. New Bellevue Baptist Open Forum remains with a nucleus of dissenters still discussing Bellevue's leadership crisis.
Perhaps Rogers did not realize the extent of this buried dissent. He stated in his sermon that perhaps many may not like the new pastor changing the music program. His suggestion was they should just obey the new pastor and work with him on that. Maintain unity for the sake of the Church. There were major changes made at the beginning of Gaines' pastorate and Rogers understood this.
If Dr Rogers had survived this crisis would not have taken place, at least not nearly as fast as it did. It is my opinion that the Williams family would have maintained the secrecy of the abuse and that Dr. Rogers' death was the cue that the son was waiting for. I cannot fathom the pain that this young man must have endured for nearly two decades!
My question is "did God intentionally arrange this appointment with death?" It would seem in the best interest of the SBC and the flagship Church to leave Dr Rogers alive as a vital key to the unity of the Church. Or...was God looking out for Chris! My thoughts: "if God did all this for Chris, then my God is far greater than I can comprehend!" "The God who so loved the world that He gave his own son, lost (forfeited) a mega-Church to rectify an injustice to a young boy, who most of you have not known that his name is Chris."
My vision from God is that when Adrian arrived in heaven a chair was shoved forward and an angry voice ordered Dr. Rogers to "sit here and watch your beloved Bellevue be destroyed."
August 13, 2008
Wikipedia states: "In the various criminal codes of United States of America, the term "sodomy" has generally been replaced by "Deviant sexual intercourse", which is precisely defined by statute." " New York State Penal Law, Article 130, "Deviant Sexual Intercourse". The definition in this particular instance is as follows- "Deviant sexual intercourse means sexual conduct between persons not married to each other consisting of contact between the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis or the mouth and the vulva".
The moral failure was non-consensual sex of a SBC associate pastor at Bellevue Baptist, an adult man. a father, with his adolescent son. This is an incestuous homosexual (pedophilia, neophilia, philopédie, pederasty , ephebophilia, hebephilia, Greek love, pedagogical eros, man/boy love, and intergenerational sex) crime.* **
In 1987 the SBC condemned homosexual behavior as a "manifestation of a depraved nature and a perversion of divine standards." They viewed homosexual behavior as being linked to a general "moral decline" in America. Rev. William Merrell, the SBC's vice president for convention relations said in 1997-MAR: "It is a fundamental contradiction, to say 'gay minister,'...The teachings of scripture are plain; that one is called to live a life that is in keeping with the principles the Lord has given us. Homosexuality is a fundamental denial of those principles." Within the SBC, Merrell said members always have affirmed the same position: homosexuality is a sin, homosexual ministers should be removed, and gay and lesbian people must renounce the lifestyle if they want to be members of the denomination. source
Bellevue violated this. Specifically, a retired unnamed staff member failed to realize the seriousness of this thinking that Rev. Williams could remain a minister and he took it upon himself to make this decision. Jamie Fish heard the revelations and also did not realize the seriousness of this despite his denominations strong statement. He took it upon himself to act independently. Dr Gaines, who should have known better and perhaps helped construct the strong statement about homosexuality and knew the urgency of dismissing a "gay minister" failed to do so and he acted alone. This would still be covered-up and Paul Williams still a staff associate if his son had not come forward with his friends. The question is; would Steve Gaines have kept him on as an associate? I believe he would. Paul would have made sure of it. Rev Williams is a sick pervert and calculatingly sly as demonstrated by seventeen years secrecy with Adrian Rogers!
I feel dirty posting this and I grow weary of the Christians who treat me as perverse for doing so. I am evil, they say. Few, very few, in the Christian community will admit the perverseness of this man, yet they will crucify the victim and messengers.
Yes, this son is a victim. The cycle of homosexuality has sought his soul for destruction. His innocence has been destroyed and he has not known the normality of growing adolesents. He was raped by his own father and as his father has said he was molested by his father, the son struggles in his own confusion. His family, though counseled and perhaps healed, nevertheless will never be relieved of remembrances. Bellevue Baptist need to face this son and do whatever this son ask in retribution. If it is a financial settlement, how much has Bellevue already spent on legal counsel? How much has been paid to Rev Williams? (What is the situation of Williams ministerial credentials?) The Bible discourages us from taking a brother to court, yet Bellevue should settle this with the boy (man).
Please, common man in the pew, if you are disturbed by this rise up and revolt against this tyranny. If you do you will be obeying God.
As for me, how long, O Lord? I will continue this blog, outraged at this terrible, terrible sin. You will hear and hear from me about this.
*The search for resources is so morbid and evil that I can not link to it. There was not a site for father/son sex which is an evil that evil people will not deal with!
** "Rape of Faith" A brave personal account of a survivor victim raped by a priest. Graphic and vivid and maybe offensive to some readers.
It is necessary to fully understand the pain and struggle that a young boy experiences.
August 11, 2008
Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary is located on 51 acres across the street from Bellevue (35 of the acres were donated by Bellevue). Wikepidea
3.) Where is the line drawn for a man to know when his charisma and personality are in the way of the will of God in prospering a Church? Bellevue was Dr Rogers' Church and all the outsiders in the area knew that with the exception of the loyal attenders. Are not most of our American mega-Churches built on this false foundation? Was Bellevue a "personality cult"?
August 2, 2008
August 1, 2008
In Acts 15 we observe two attempts at reconciliation. First the antithesis of circumcision arose as a condition for gentile conversion. However it did not withstand the arguments presented by Peter, Paul and Barnabas and the whole assembly was silenced concerning the issue. However James offered an acceptable reconciliation that imposed lesser conditions upon the gentile gospel message. The conditions were abstinence from meat strangled and offered to idols and sexual immorality. This was a reconciliation to preserve the Jewish presence in all the cities with Synagogues in all the world.
However these conditions were not held except for sexual immorality. Quite often this reconciliation was a problem for the spread of the gospel. Paul wrote his letter to the Romans and Galatians to reinforce the view of salvation through faith alone without conditions imposed by Jews.
The reformation period clarified the issue of faith when the antithesis of free will arose from inadequate views of sinfulness. There have been theological swings and swifts as reconciliations were fought and new expressions emerge.
The SBC Baptist Faith and Mission reflect a modern shift of reconciliation from older creeds to more modern "creedless" views. There was a subtle shift from "Whole Gospel" in the 1925 IV. Salvation statement to the 1963 to the "whole man" in the IV. Salvation revision. This represents a swift from God's redemption to the free offer toward the "whole man." In order to address "certain needs of our own generation" revisions were necessary. When "pervasive anti-supernaturalism" arose the SBC introduced the 1925 BF&M. When the "assaults upon the authority and truthfulness of the Bible" the 1963 version was developed. When family values were threatened an article was added in 1998. In the 2000 BF&M the vague "certain needs" without clarification were met.
Adrian Rogers, a key component of this modern resurgent shift, successfully built a national media ministry called, "Love Worth Finding" in 1987, coincidentally with the Harmonic Convergence with the theme song, "Love Will Find A Way." These convergences come through rational systems. "The real is rational and the rational is real." The love worth finding and the love that finds a way is found through a rational system called the Coherence Theory of Truth.
"Men do not need to sense reality, nor do they in fact sense it; they understand it, reason it out, infer it, figure its nature out logically." -Sahakiam, p.1451
The pervasive anti-supernaturalism at the turn of the century successfully synthesized with the gospel thesis of old and another gospel emerged, adopted by the Southern Baptist as well as American fundamentalism and Adrian Rogers took it hook line and sinker! Perhaps this explains his strong anti-Calvinism.