"Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst."

–Reflections on the Psalms, CS Lewis

"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people."

–The Case for Christianity, CS Lewis



I (Deb) have a very special place in my heart for Bellevue Baptist Church, even though I have never been involved in the congregation.  As I mentioned early in this series, Adrian Rogers, in life and now in death, has influenced my life tremendously – perhaps more than any other pastor.

I began watching the Love Worth Finding (LWF) broadcast in 1988, and I want to thank everyone who has supported this ministry because it has impacted my Christian walk more than anything else.  As I began to dig deeper into God’s precious Word, my faith began to skyrocket!  With every passing day, my faith grows stronger as I experience God’s faithfulness in my life.   I am so privileged to be able to listen to Dr. Rogers every afternoon on the local Christian radio station as LWF continues its important outreach, and I am truly grateful! 

I have heard so much of Dr. Rogers’ teaching over the past 21 years that I consider myself to be his disciple, even though I never met him.  That’s why I have been profoundly affected by what has befallen Dr. Rogers’ beloved Bellevue.   My heart grows heavy when I think of the many long-time members who felt they had no alternative but to leave their church because they didn’t agree with the rapidity of change when Steve Gaines took over or the lack of transparency in handling some crucial issues (Paul Williams, elder-led).  Of course, others have stayed at Bellevue to try and make a difference.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I heard Steve Gaines speak in person at a Southern Baptist seminary shortly after he accepted the position at Bellevue, and I was very impressed!  I will never forget the title of his message – ICHABOD – which means “the glory is departed from Israel”.   I even wrote a letter to the seminary president on January 26, 2006, thanking him for the wonderful message he (the president) had given at my former church and mentioning that I had heard Steve Gaines months before during a chapel service.  Here's EXACTLY what I wrote:

"Last fall I came to the seminary to hear Steve Gaines' message.  I was so moved by what he shared.  I had the opportunity to shake his hand on the way out and express to him how much Adrian Rogers had meant to me.  It was a daunting task for Bellevue Baptist Church to find a minister to replace Dr. Rogers, but I believe they have chosen well." 

Had I heard the following comments by Steve Gaines at the time they were spoken to his Gardendale congregation, I would have had a different opinion of this “man of God”.  I wonder whether Adrian Rogers or anyone in the Bellevue congregation knew about these remarks prior to the arrival of their new pastor.  Here is Steve Gaines speaking on the evening of July 10, 2005, to the Birmingham congregation about the position he had accepted at Bellevue:

Didn’t I Tick You Guys Off


The primary reason we have been focusing on Bellevue is to inform Christians that there are some trends occurring within Christendom that are absolutely devastating congregations.  This is just another example of hyper-authoritarianism, which we have been warning about since the inception of The Wartburg Watch.  


Dee and I find it extremely ironic that evangelical Christians are often so passionate in their PRO-LIFE stance; yet when there’s a pedophile pastor on staff in a church, the children are put in harm’s way.  What’s wrong with this picture?  Why do we protect the pervert pastors and sacrifice the innocent children? 

Here’s one of the reasons why church members condone such unacceptable behavior from their pastors.  Lucille commented on yesterday’s post as follows:

A friend of mine told me about your blog so I thought I would check it out today.  I must tell you that I have never been appalled at the lack of Christian love, the hatred expressed in your comments and those of your fellow posters, and worst of all is your condescending attitude toward all pastors and anyone who disagrees with you. 
What a sad sad commentary for the Christian faith.
Thursday, October 8, 2009 – 11:30 PM

Dee and I each responded to Lucille, and our comments are included below.


Thanks for your comment.  We gladly welcome negative feedback, unlike some of the pastors we have discussed in this forum.  

Could you please be more specific in your criticism of our blog?  That would be very helpful.
Friday, October 9, 2009 – 12:10 AM


Interesting comment. Since you have carefully studied our site, you know that we carefully document the reasons for our concern. We welcome comments. However, we would hope that you would document your accusations by specific examples.

For example, you accuse us of "hatred."  Where, specifically? Hatred is a strong word. I don't feel hatred towards anyone we discuss on this site. So, make your case or retract your accusation. If you can't make your case, your comment will go down as just another ho hum attack and will not make any difference in the long run. You do want to make   difference, don't you?
Friday, October 9, 2009 – 08:20 AM

It’s obvious that Lucille hasn’t spent much time looking through the archives of our blog.  If she had, she would know that we are demonstrating our Christian love by standing up for those who cannot defend themselves like the victims of a pedophile in Wonderland and the victims of a former pastor Darrell Gilyard. We have been spotlighting the New Reformed crowd who often attack churches that don’t subscribe to Five-Point Calvinism (like Bellevue), and we have tried to demonstrate Christian love by bringing attention to pastors whom we consider to be terribly misguided in their theology like the prosperity preachers. 

Lucille, we have spent just two weeks discussing the Bellevue situation, yet our blog topics have covered many issues since we began this journey in March 2009.  Why don’t you do a little reading on The Wartburg Watch before you judge us? 


There are far too many Christians like Lucille who just doesn’t want to rock the boat/church.  In their view, Dee and I are the bad guys for shining the light into the dark corners of Bellevue.  Paul Williams’ son would likely affirm that we have shown him Christian love by focusing on the shenanigans at Bellevue.  


Since Lucille hasn't responded to our requests yet, we want to point out to her and those of the same belief system that there was an excellent opinion featured in Christiantiy Today about nine years ago.  The title was: "Nice Is Not the Point"

To read the article in its entirety, go to this link:

Here's the crux of the article:

"In church communities as in families, too much niceness may mask conflict that needs to be healthily aired, carefully mediated, patiently negotiated. It's a rare congregation that knows how to tolerate deep differences and stay in conversation about them without retreating to safer ground where everyone can be nice.

But love is not always and not only nice. Love is patient, and patience is not the same as passivity. Love is kind, and being kind is not the same as placating. One reason to reread Paul's epistles is to learn something about love from a man who gave up a great deal, including the cheap grace of congeniality, for the sake of the gospel."

 Pastors need to realize that we have entered THE TRANSPARENCY AGE.  Think about all the technology that is available to the average person today – computers, internet, cameras, digital recorders, video recorders, Twitter, etc.  It’s so easy to document what people, particularly pastors, say and do these days.  As we advance in the information age, hiding sin has become much more difficult for those in the pastorate.  You never know when evidence of covered up sin will find its way onto the internet. 

Furthermore, congregants need to stop being spectators in their churches and become actively involved.  Passivity is NOT the answer.  Above all, they need to hold their pastors accountable instead of kowtowing to them.  All Christians belong to “the priesthood of believers”, not just the “priests” or “pastors”.

Sadly, so many pastors are doing things their own way instead of God’s way.  We are convinced that hyper-authoritarian pastors have taken their eyes off of Jesus and have place them on themselves.  They are no longer servant leaders, as Jesus modeled for us, but they are leaders of servants, doing things THEIR WAY.  May these kinds of pastors seen the error of their ways and turn their hearts back to God’s people. 

We leave you with one of Elvis’ most famous hits – My Way.  May we take our eyes off of ourselves and go God’s Way.


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