August 15, 2008
Bellevue's Fragile Unity
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."