"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Pro Israel? Yes, but First Pro-Jesus and Anti-Abortion

FBC Jacksonville always has been pro-Israel Mac. We didn't need you to come in here and show us how to be pro-Israel by hosting this event that does not further our mission of winning Jacksonville for Christ. Although being a conservative, SBC church, and very pro-Israel, being pro-Israel is not our main focus, and it does not come before being Pro-Jesus and Anti-Abortion. Its sad that you don't have the wisdom to see this. Perhaps you are too beholden to the "prominent deacons" in our congregation that have a "financial interest" in Israel to do the right thing by your congregation (the words in quotes are yours you used to explain this event). By the way, what are "prominent" deacons, anyways? And what in the world could their financial interests have anything to do with the decision to host this event?

Mac I know you think you really answered your critics today by finally, FINALLY, announcing and explaining the Time to Stand to With Israel to your congregation this morning. You waited until 10 days before the event, hardly enough time to find a change of venue. Was this part of your strategy; or were you going to be totally silent about it except for these recalcitrant bloggers forcing your hand?

Only problem is you think we're a bunch of biblical idiots to give such a lame explanation for hosting this event. Sir, you forget sometimes that we've sat under the godliest of preachers for the past, oh 4 or 5 decades, and we see how dangerous this event is to the ministry of our church. We know that our faith, our Savior, comes from the Jewish faith, you didn't have to explain that today. And we know our Bible hasn't changed either - so you could have saved your breath there. The issue isn't our spiritual relationship to the Jews, the issue is the confusion this event will create in the minds of our community regarding the exclusivity of Jesus Christ to save the sinner, and the monies raised going to a Jewish hospital at which state-funded abortions are performed which is a slap in the face to those of us who are anti-abortion. These two facts make this the unwisest of your decisions since showing up in Jacksonville. This event is in no way the only means, and far from the best means to express our support for Israel - why can't you see that? If this is such a great idea, why are no other Southern Baptist Convention churches giving up their sanctuaries to hold these type of events? Somehow I just don't see you being the trend-setter in this area - I don't think Johnny Hunt or Ed Young (Sr. or Jr!) will be hosting such events anytime soon. These men have the wisdom to know what the mission of their church is and don't want to confuse their mission or their message in the minds of the people they are trying to reach. And they probably don't have "prominent" deacons that they consult when coming up with events to host. And they probably understand that there is little difference in the minds of people between "hosting" and "sponsoring"...they know that if its in our church sanctuary, and its on our website...its OUR event plain and simple.

This morning you failed to explain some very important things to your church. For instance, you said "we're hosting it not sponsoring it." OK, great. Why not sponsor it, and what would be wrong with sponsoring it? Do you think our community sees any difference between "hosting" and "sponsoring"? Its at our church, so its our event sir. Who is "sponsoring" it? Maybe the more relevant question is: WHO IS GOING TO BE TAKING THE OFFERING THAT IS GIVEN AND WHAT ASSURANCE DO WE HAVE THAT 100% OF THE FUNDS ARE GOING TO THE SAID CHARITY? The CEO and President of M-EDG has already himself said that he and no one associated with his company is sponsoring the event. What 501(c)3 charity will be claiming the monies raised as income, and where will these monies be disbursed? Would we not care where money raised in our sanctuary is going? Will 100% of the proceeds go to this hospital? You don't know do you, because some other 501(c)3 non-profit organization is going to take the funds, right?

Your arrogance in holding this event is breath taking. Your explanation this morning is so incredibly weak, as though you are COMPELLED to host this to show your support of Israel. Wow, we weren't born yesterday Mac! There are so many ways we can as a church lovingly support our Jewish friends - this event is not necessary to accomplish that task.

Perhaps just as breath-taking as your arrogance is the failure of the leadership in this church to stop an event that has absolutely no business being held in our church facilities. Not because we don't love the Jewish people, but because we know what our mission is, we love the people of Jacksonville and want a clear, consistent message to be sent regarding who Jesus Christ is, and we love unborn babies and don't want one single penny or one single hour of our staff's time to be spent on an event tied to abortion.

We're not going to let this one go...please people of FBC Jacksonville spread the word to those in our church who don't know what is happening. As Sheri said, knowledge is power.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny isnt it Watchdog to listen to Dr Brunson speak of courage, yet he doesnt have the courage to explain why the event should be held other than to state that we should help Israel which we all ready know and agree on. He also shows cowardice and not courage by saying we are hosting it but not sponsoring it. Do what? Makes no sense, almost Clintonian to make a distinction between hosting and sponsoring. You are right on target with calling in to question the motives behind this event. Its well known that pastors are very careful of what events they allow at our church to make sure they are consistent with our church. There are christian concerts not approved by Mac because they don't fit our church, yet he allows this event maybe because of prominent deacons backing it. I am sure he looks at his decision as courage in the face of criticism. Its cowardice in the face of knowing what is right but failing to do it because of other factors or because of his arrogance to admit he made mistake. Shame shame.

walt said...

Hey Watchdog - what is a "prominent deacon" as opposed to just a "normal deacon?" Does our church staff differentiate between deacons and "prominent" deacons? If so, what makes a deacon "prominent?" Since deacons are literally servants of the flock, would a prominent deacon be one that has humbly served so well that he has become prominent in his service as a deacon? Or is a prominent deacon one that has position and wealth?

I wonder if any deacons reading this know or care whether the staff considers them "prominent" or not. My Bible does not ever refer to anyone as being "prominent", especially those who are appointed to "serve."

And if the deacons behind this event being held at our church were not "prominent", would it make any difference+ Could a "non-prominent" deacon also bring such an event? Or once again are we seeing that "money talks" when it comes to Mac and Debbie making decisions for our church?

Shame, shame is right!

Anonymous said...

This church has been hijacked and it's too late!!! You are already a 'PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH' you just don't know it yet...'THE DEACONS HAVE NO SAY...they just don't realize it yet'...'THE ONLY ONES WHO HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT DECISIONS MADE IS TEAM BRUNSON'...that, my friend, is the bottom line.

Anonymous said...

So FBC Jax is not sponsoring it? What boulderdash! This is held at, hosted by, and sponsored by FBC Jax. I challenge anyone to find one website, Christian or Jew in Jacksonville that is highlighting this event. Even the pastors on the advisory council for the event, and the pastor's or rabbis speaking don't have this event on their website or church/synagogue calendar.

Well then, WHO IS SPONSORING THIS? Is FBC Jax collecting the money? If not who is? Anyone out there want to take credit for this?

Fact is: this is FBC Jax's event. They are hosting it. They are paying for it. They are advertising it on their website...if they are doing all of this and at the same time NOT taking responsibility for the money raised to make sure it goes where it is supposed to go, Mac is as wise as dove and as harmful as a serpent.

Anonymous said...

I have just been reading through some of the blogs and being new to the area I have some comments I would lkie to make.
1. Many times I have read about OUR church. This is not our church it his his (Gods)
2. Getting people to talk about the church is just what the devil wants. By fighting among each other God will not be glorified.
If you truley that unhappy maybe you should ask God if you are going about this in the right way. If the probles are as you say because of Mac's leadership then God could be leading you somewhere else. This type of bloging shoould not affect the Church. Please pray before you continue to talk about Gods church.

Jon L. Estes said...

WD,

I think it is important that you report the following, since I believe you want truth to be heard...

Every hospital in Israel that has maternity services is subject to the government abortion law.

This law leaves us with just a very narrow range of consideration. Since we believe in the sacred value of life, which also goes together with the commandment of multiplication in the Old Testament, we have established a committee to investigate each and every application and to extend what little consideration we do have to the extreme of saving a life rather than the opposite.


I have been in contact with the hospital and they are in a very difficult situation when it comes to offering medical services for maternity needs. They do everything they can to not perform abortions.

The bottom line is that despite this law we terminate very few pregnancies under very strict criteria as stated above.

They are also deeply burdened and broken by every life terminated.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I don't mind that information being shared Jon.

However, your post makes my point exactly as to a Christian pastor should not use his church or the monies of his congregation to donate money to an Israeli hospital.

The nation of Israel has decided to fund abortions for women over the age of 40 and under the age of 18, provided they meet certain criteria which can include mental anguish. I have been in touch with pro-life groups in Israel who tell me that the great majority of abortions are performed on women for financial hardship and mental anguish (we know what that means).

I have already given information on this blog regarding this Israeli policy, and you are right the hospital has no choice but to abide by this policy. However, the fact that the hospital must perform the abortions as dictated by law does not relieve you and I as pro-life Christians to choose to put our funds somewhere else if they are performing abortions, no matter how broken hearted they are over the abortions.

This is one of the beautiful aspects of free-will of individuals, and democratic processes. We as Christians are free to use our resources and spend our money on any charities according to the dictates of our conscience. So also the nation of Israel as a free state may choose to fund abortions in their hospitals. But in doing so, they must realize one of the results of this policy is that many Christians and Jews who are pro life may choose not to donate money to their hospital - they certainly know this and understand this and take this into consideration in implementing such an abortion policy. So pastors that decide to use our facilities to raise monies to support Israel (if that is something we choose to do - I believe its not our primary mission and we shouldn't be doing it in the first place) are having our hand forced into not giving to their hospitals where abortions are performed. If despite this policy we continue to give to their hospitals, we are in some way approving of their policy in my opinion. We should, again in my opinion, give to charities in Israel that are pro-life. Nothing could be more loving to the Jewish nation than to help Jewish women who are contemplating abortion to NOT have an abortion by meeting their physical needs. I've documented one such agency in Israel that does an EXCELLENT job of this with very little overhead costs.

All that being said Jon, if you or any individual decides to give to the AHMC of their personal finances to the AHMC because of the wonderful things they are doing, then that person is free to do so! A person is free to give according to their own conscience as they feel the Lord leading them. But please, can't you see the difference between an individual giving their money to AHMC, and a pastor of THOUSANDS using THEIR money to raise money for a cause that many would object to because of a very important moral issue?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 5:51 - thanks for checking in.

Yes, it is God's church not ours. And this means its not Mac Brunson's either. His decision to use our (OK, God's) church to host an event that doesn't further our mission, and raises funds for a hospital at which abortions are performed, is arrogance and negligence.

Because Christians are "talking about" issues at the church doesn't mean that the devil is behind it. Hate to use the example again, but there were Christians "talking about" Bob Gray at Trinity taking little boys and girls into his office for "counseling" sessions, and they were silenced as more abuse continued. So if our pastor is abusing his power and taking our church in a wrong direction, and many of the other things discussed here, then perhaps its not the devil behind the talking. Maybe some good can out of it. If our pastor is not sharing information as he should about this event, then this blog may serve some purpose in getting information out to the congregation.

No, I choose not to leave the church. Its not my church, its not Mac's church, its not the "prominent deacon's" church. Sometimes we have to stand for what is right. There may be a time I leave, but for now I won't.

If you have been a faithful member of FBC Jax for many years, you probably have been somewhat sheltered as to what is going on in our convention with the abuses of power. You need to read information on this blog, and read about abuses by the new generation of mega church pastors that many of them seem to want to use the church to establish their brand image, sell books, build personal wealth, give jobs to their families, and build kindgoms on the backs of their congregations. Mac Brunson in my opinion is one of this new breed.

concernedSBCer said...

Anon 5:51: You are right, it is His church. But He has given believers His Word, and He expects us to stand for that Word. Martin Luther didn't just decide to change cities and be quiet in the face of sin in the church. He chose to stand for Truth.

IMHO, Christians have been brainwashed to think that acting like a Christian means we are to be a doormat and not upset anyone and not ever disagree. In truth, if we are standing on God's Word, we must stand with passion and assurance. "If God be for us, who can be against us?"

There is false teaching going on now in the SBC and it is being allowed because no one wants to be in the uncomfortable position of standing and saying "That's wrong." Sure, it's hard, and we must be certain of our stand. But from what I have seen, Watchdog is standing on the Word and there are some things going on that are not glorifying God is His church.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

A few interesting things about Jon Estes' latest post above.

Jon is a pastor from North Carolina, and he took it upon himself to contact the hospital to get clarification on this abortion question, and he did it to provide information to those here who have serious concerns about abortions performed at this hospital we are about to hold a fund raiser for. I provided my response to his analysis a few posts above, so I'm not going to comment further on that. But I mention it to say this: REGARDLESS OF JON'S MOTIVES IN TRYING TO ENGAGE US HERE, AT LEAST HE IS A PASTOR WHO DID TAKE THE TIME TO FIND SOME INFORMATION OUT, AND POST IT HERE FOR THOSE WHO ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THIS EVENT. Isn't it strange that our own pastor, the very man who makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year from our tithes and offerings, who by the generosity of the members lives in a multi-million dollar house and drives fancy cars, who is supposed to be our pastor and our shepard, won't directly address these concerns in a loving manner? Jon Estes from North Carolina had to call the hospital in Israel to get clarification on the abortion policy? Wouldn't a wise pastor before hosting any event supporting a secular or non-Christian cause do the investigations up front and have these answers ready? Where is our Director of Special Projects? Can't he do the "legwork" and find out very direct answers to these questions? Or does he view the sheep asking these questions as mere "recalcitrants" unworthy of a serious response? Or does he just view himself as the king and he does as he pleases, so long as the "prominent deacons" are behind him and he answers to no one else?

I know, you say: "He would, but you're going about it in the wrong manner. He won't respond to nameless emails or blogs. Just contact him directly and he will give you all the answers you want."

WRONG!!!

One of the members forwared to me multiple email exchanges with the pastor last week (some that I've used here in my posts) in which direct questions were asked about this event and the abortion issue, with no meaningful informaton or serious attempt to provide answers. Here is the information given to the member by our very own pastor:

1. In response to the question of why no mention was made of this event from the pulpit, the pastor said that he had mentioned it "multiple times". This is not true. The first time the event was ever mentioned from Mac to his congregation was Sunday 10/28. I've asked multiple members and no one recalls him ever uttering anything about this event until 10/28. I don't know why the pastor would say something not true to a member. How sad.

2. When asked why we are hosting such an event, the response:

"A number of our most prominent deacons are a part of this group and support financially some interest in Israel." And of course the response that those who bless Israel will be blessed.

3. When asked what that particular statement means in a follow up email, no answer other than to give the names of the "prominent deacons" - no explanation of what it means to have a "financial interest in Israel", or what possible factor this could play in deciding to host the event!

4. When asked specifically about the wisdom of sending money to a hospital that performs abortions:

"We are not supporting abortions at this hospital, it is a wing for orthopedics and the offering that is taken that night is going to come from the Jews and the medical community. I told them not to count on FBC taking an offering for them."

That is the most confusing statement of all. I do understand the logic of giving to a specific project, but it still is supporting a hosptial at which abortions are performed and that they must know members, if they knew this, would be upset about it. Or worse yet, they didn't even do their homework to find out about the abortion policy in Israel! And the statement directly contradricts the information given on the church's own website that says the offering is going to come from believers obeying Romans 15:27. And why would we tell them "not to count on FBC taking an offering for them." Why not? If its worth hosting the event, why not take an event?

Then our pastor insults our intelligence with his explanation Sunday for explaining the event by pointing out "our bible came from the Jews", and "Jesus was a Jew" as his justification for holding the event. He doesn't address the abortion issue, and doesn't address the concern of using our facilities for an non-Christian event causing confusion in the minds of our city about our mission. He also makes the remark that someone said was "Clintonian": "We are not sponsoring the event, only hosting it." What is the difference? And why would we not want to host it? And by the way, just WHO IS sponsoring it, because M-EDG and FIBI said they are not the sponsors (see the M-EDG President and CEO's post from last week in a previous thread).

So there you have it. Jon, thanks anyways for at least as a pastor trying to engage us and provide information. We were sincerely hoping our own pastor, the man supposedly called by God to be our shepard, answering these questions in a loving direct manner. But no chance in that. We even got a personal response on the blog within 24 hours of M-EDG being mentioned here on this blog, from the President and CEO of M-EDG to give his side of the story and clarify that his company is not sponsoring the event and is not receiving the monies.

But nothing from Mac our own pastor, but trite, confusing, condescending, contradictory responses.

It certainly is a "new day" at FBC Jax.

And the sheep say "Baaaaaa".

Anonymous said...

In my analysis from afar, what your pastor is doing is common. Upon his arrival, the seduction of money and popularity overcame him. Wealthy laymen in the church wanted to impress him, and he wanted to gain their favor. He may have learned how important this was from his prior position in Dallas. They both have each other's backs now and feel like nothing can stop them. This is not the first time a good man caved in to the lure of wealth.

It seems these "prominent deacons" which every church has, gave millions to the pastor and church, and then when it came time for them to ask for a personal, wealth building favor, he had no choice but to comply.

I believe you have one thing wrong FBCJW - it is not the pastor that is operating without any limits, surrounded by yes men, BUT IT IS INSTEAD THE WEALTHY LAYMEN WHO OWN HIM! He is now powerless to preach or to do what is right. He has been bought and paid for. His sermons might offend you, but NEVER will it offend one of those "prominent" deacons. He may have done this in Dallas, tried to have it both ways. But when he realized he couldn't (take their gifts and then not give in to their demands) he cut and run. Your loving, generous congregation, which was groomed by the Lindsays and Dr. Vines, was all to ready and willing to support him. And the "prominent members" who did not have such influence with Lindsay or Vines due to their integrety, pounced. It looks like one even did so within two weeks of his arrival.

So sadly, the downward spiral will continue until your pastor moves on to greener pastures like the medicine men of old. The rich will get richer, your church's reputation will be forever tarnished, and the pastor will do it all again somewhere else.

My prayers and condolences are with you. This is not a prediction of what is to come, but it is an observation of what has already happened.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - yes, sad it is. Its apparent that when Mac arrived the "prominent" deacons made Mac one of them...now he lives in the exclusive neighborhood like they do, in an oppulent home like they do. He is one of the them now.

Our church to a large extent has become what so many in our city always claimed it was - a church run by the very wealthy prominent people.

Anonymous said...

When are you going to give this up? Its a huge waste of your time, you're accomplishing nothing but drag your church through the mud as people who read this will tend to think that our church is in turmoil. Cease this while you can.

You say this event will confuse people as to the mission of FBC Jax. I would say this blog is what is confusing to people. Grow up, stop this nonsense, take your concerns to the people you are blogging about man-to-man.

If there are non church members reading this material, don't think for a minute that there is any issue of division in our church. This is a blog of just a few people who have made it their passion to destroy our church and destroy the testimony of our pastor. Visit our church and you'll see attendance increasing, a preacher who preaches the Word fervently and with passion, and church members busy serving the Lord.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - if there is ever an issue that shows this blog is necessary its this one - Mac's decision to "host" (only "host" not "sponsor") the Israeli fund raiser. I honestly think he wasn't going to announce it to the church but for this blog. If a church can't trust their pastor to avoid being in the pocket of the "prominent deacons", we now see that we can't trust him to even properly evaluate the pros and cons of an event. We can't trust him to even tell the truth when asked questions.

I don't think there is anything confusing about this blog - it is trying to share information with the members of FBC Jax. The confusion comes from the lack of information from the pastors office and the contradictions when they do answer. True most have no interest apparently in these matters but I think you are misjudging the situation. There are many more people unhappy with Mac than they are letting on.

If you don't like what is shared here on this blog, please don't read it, and please don't tell anyone about it.

Anonymous said...

Sheri said...

Anon 8:52- As Shakespeare said in one of his plays:

"Methinks you doth protest too much."

You sound pretty defensive to me.

And no, we are not going to just go away and "stop this nonsense." I would suggest that it is the behavior of the Pastoral staff and the "prominent deacons" which have gotten us into this mess, and they can be men enough to do something about it.

Only the Pastor himself can tarnish his repuation within the church and the SBC.

Money is no substitute for your good name and reputation. Hopefully Mac Brunson, pastor of FBC Jax is learning this lesson, probably the hard way.

And as I said before, I am a faithful, giving member of FBC Jax for the last 20 years, and I am very concerned about the direction of our church. There are many of my friends who feel as I do, and this blog is the best way to inform other concerned members in a timely manner.

To outsiders reading this blog:

Pray for our church, and others like it. Pray for discernment for the Pastor and the deacons. Hopefully, with God's help, it's not too late to reign in the overwhelming greed, and get on with the mission of leading our city to Christ.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Sheri - I agree with your sentiments. Thanks for speaking up here.

There are many members that are just simply holding on, waiting to see what the next issue is going to be with Team Brunson. Our church has always been so faithful in following their pastor's leadership that its hard for some to objectively look at what is going on and criticize it...and even if they do come to the conclusion that there are some serious problems and poor decisions being made, many members don't know how to express these for fear they will be labeled "gossipers" or "trouble makers".

Some people feel intimidated by power and don't feel comfortable approaching people in powerful positions to tell them that something is wrong...so for pastors and deacons to be saying "just go talk to the pastor" doesn't cut it. But there are other ways to communicate to the leadership.

People at FBC Jax if you are feeling concerned over things you are observing at your church (this event is just the latest in a series - read my past articles), then voice your concerns with someone at the church you trust that has some position of authority. Go to your Sunday School teacher, go to a man you know is a deacon. Sunday School teachers and deacons who are approached by members with concerns have the responsibility of passing those concerns to their next in command, and these concerns should make their way up the chain of authority. There are some deacons however (I hope the number is small) who will not want to hear any criticism of the pastor, so ask them if they will pass your concerns to the pastor and get back to you. Some will not as they view their job as to blindly support the pastor no matter what - when they are to be servants of the pastor, but they are to be servants of the flock and if there are members who have concerns they should carry those concerns straight to the staff and then get the answer, then return the answer to you.

Or, if you are email savvy, email the pastor. The pastor's office answers emails, so long as your name is on it. Don't bother sending anything anonymously. You might have to send follow ups to clarify answers, since there are 2 or 3 or 4 in the office that apparently answer on behalf of the pastor, so you might get conflicting or wrong answers to your questions.

I agree with Sheri - the deacons (not the prominent ones, just the regular ole run of the mill deacons which by far outnumber the prominent ones) need to "man up" and take a stand and speak up when they see something wrong. If you get canned for it, so be it.

I think our next discussion here on this blog is going to be about the school.

The pastor has told us that in the next month they will be bringing information to us about the school - we need to make sure we get answers to all our questions...so we can vote as an informed body, not a body that is going to rubber stamp our pastor.

One thing you know for sure: the deacons will unanimously approve what the pastor recommends. The only way we can make a wise decision regarding the school is for the faithful members to have the information they want on the school.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jon Estes - if you want answers to your questions, you have access to my email address and you'll have to email me so that I may reply privately to your email address. Thank you.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jon Estes - why I'm not posting all of your posts:

1. I have no interest in debating the abortion issue on my blog. We all know that pro-life people have differing view of abortion...some are against it for any and all situations, some do make exceptions for life of mother, others make exceptions for rape and incest, others don't. That discussion has no relevance in the issue at hand - unless you have data categorizing the abortions at AHMC. I too have my data based on research I've done regarding abortions at AHMC, but haven't been able to confirm it so I don't post my numbers. I know that reliable numbers from the hospitals are hard to come by. But I know Israel's abortion policy that hospitals must abide by, and this in my opinion takes Israel hospitals out of the list of possible recipients of funds by pro-life conservative Christian churches. Unfortunately our pastor didn't even consider the abortion issue before deciding to host this event, and that is very sad. A wise, discerning pastor would have seen that raising funds for an Israeli hospital while not a bad thing, it is not the best option if funds must be raised by his church to help the nation of Israel.

2. I'm familiar with your tactics. I observed the first FBC Jax blog from earlier this year and I'm aware of your childish blog that you set up for about a week mocking the first fbc jax blog - aren't you embarrassed about that now? A pastor in North Carolina wasting his time setting up a blog to simply mock those who wish to discuss these important issues anonymously...strange indeed. I've also observed you in the BBC blog.

3. My gut feel, knowing your tactics, is that you have some statistics regarding abortions at AHMC that you wish to share on my blog, but that you first want to get some concessions from the bloggers about what kinds of exceptions they make for abortions. If this is not the case, I apologize, but if you do have statistics and you want to share them but first want to gain concessions of "well, I don't have a problem with rape and incest abortions.", well, its not going to happen because I don't want the blog to be a forum on abortions. If you have facts relevant to the AHMC and abortions in Israel, please share them and your references and I'll be happy to post them.

So feel free to discuss the relevant issues....I posted everything you posted when it was on topic trying to defend Mac Brunson's decision to hold this event. I do commend you for that.

Jon L. Estes said...

WB,

You make my case. And abortion is the issue you brought to the table.

There are only three reasons an abortion is performed and each of these reasons are reasons within the pro-life camp. As I stated in my first non-posted post, I support the taking of the child if it is to save the life of the mother.

I also know that AHMC only performs abortions in rare exceptions.

Some things you have not said about AHMC and their neonatal work.

Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, as a central academic facility extending comprehensive medical care to over half a million people, operates a wide range of medical services for the mother and child, with 7,200 births a year and a most active infertility clinic with a top-of-the-line premature intensive care unit. Preemies weighing as little as 600 grams (1.32 lbs) have developed into normal healthy children.

The law they must live under is wrong but to offer right neonatal services they must follow the law.

This law leaves us with just a very narrow range of consideration. Since we believe in the sacred value of life, which also goes together with the commandment of multiplication in the Old Testament, we have established a committee to investigate each and every application and to extend what little consideration we do have to the extreme of saving a life rather than the opposite.

Report it all, not just what fits your agenda. And you balk at your pastor.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Jon.

A few questions.

Can you tell us the source of your italicized "quotes"?

I question your claim that the only abortions performed at AHMC are those for rape, incest, or life of the mother (consistent with most pro life stances).

Why do I question that?

Here is a description of the law with which the hospital must comply:

A 1977 law ensures a low-cost, and in some cases free, legal abortion to any woman who fills one of four criteria:

She is under 18 or over 40 (cost to those in between: 1,500 shekels [$370]).

She is carrying a fetus with a serious mental or physical defect (free).

She claims that the fetus results from forbidden relations such as rape or incest (free) or, in the case of a married woman, that the baby is not her husband's (not free). Single women also fall under this clause, and they too must pay.

She shows that by continuing the pregnancy, her physical or mental health would be damaged (free).


Source: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Health/abort1.html

Notice "mental health" is one of the criteria. Notice the woman must claim....we all know what that means. My understanding of this is the AHMC doesn't have the option of holding to a stricter standard on what abortions they will or will not do if a person comes to their hospital and they fall into the criteria for a free or reduced-fee abortion funded by the government.

The statistics also show that nationwide very few requests for abortions that go before the committees are turned down. 96% of abortion requests before committees are approved (same reference above).

Bottom line Jon:

- we really don't know how many or what kinds of abortions are performed at AHMC. Now if you can come up with some numbers: how many abortions, weeks of gestation, stated reasons, etc, we can talk further. Until then, we don't know. We just know they are performed as they are compelled by the nation of Israel to do so.

- we know our pastor, the leader of one of the flagship churches of the Southern Baptist Convention, the shepard of thousands and thousands of pro-life Christians at FBC Jax didn't even bother to look into this issue before jumping on board with a project that his "prominent deacons" have an interest in. How said that it takes some recalcitrant blogger like myself and a pastor like you in North Carolina to provide any meaningful information on this issue.

- when questions are raised about abortion as it relates to this fund raiser, no answers from our pastor, the pastor of one of the flagship SBC churches with 20,000+ members the great majority of which are staunchly pro-life. All we get is "Jesus was a Jew", and "we're not supporting abortions".

Can you admit, please Jon, this is a sad state of affairs when FBC Jax hosts this and the pastor hasn't done his homework, and hasn't provided any meaningful answers? Or are you trying to gain brownie points with Pastor Brunson so you can shake his hand at the Pastor's Conference next February and tell him you were the guy who defended him on the blog?

Jon L. Estes said...

Every hospital in Israel that has maternity services is subject to the government abortion law. This is a law that permits the termination of a pregnancy in extreme conditions that:

1 - bear real hazard to the woman's health or life,

2 - or when the pregnancy is the outcome of a criminal act (rape),

3 - or when there are unquestionable medical and imaging findings diagnosing a severely malformed baby.


These are the three areas in which AHMC will perform an abortion. Even these are done under the following:

we have established a committee to investigate each and every application and to extend what little consideration we do have to the extreme of saving a life rather than the opposite.

It is my understanding that this investigation committee does everything it can to not allow abortions and remain available to offer natal and neonatal care to all Israelis. Be reminded that to not perform abortions (under the stated condition - which some pro-life people would accept) disallows them to even help, with great medical care and expertise those seeking maternity care.

My information is from the hospital administration officers.

I am not convinced that the thing should not be hosted in a church. For me it offers greater opportunity to present Jesus than trying to do it in the work place, the marketplace, the schools or the homes.

IO see it as an opportunity for FBCJAX members to attend and build bridges that lead to Christ. In the hallway, over a meal...

Of course, I work to find ways to present Christ not find reasons not too.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Jon - very interesting, but those statements don't square with the law which allows state funded abortions under much less stringent criteria than what you've stated. The law allows state funded abortions in many more instances than this and the hospital as I understand the law must comply. If you are conversing with the "officers" of the hospital, perhaps you could share the name(s) of said "officers".

If the hospital would care to release the data - number of abortions by categories of: (1)weeks of gestation; and (2) by approved reasons, that would be very helpful. Otherwise, I'll state it again: we just don't know, we just know that abortions are performed there. The committees as I understand the law are required to assess the woman's situation according to the law, not the hospital officer's view on abortion, and 96% of the requests are granted nationwide. So the information you've provided just doesn't make sense at this point.

Your statement:

"Of course, I work to find ways to present Christ not find reasons not too."

is so frustrating because you just don't get it. The good people of FBC Jacksonville have for decades used very innovative means to present Christ to Jacksonville. I'm not going to explain the reasons again to you as to why the event is not in line with the church's mission and message. Our church never looks for ways NOT to present the gospel. Its just that hosting this event will go counter to the OTHER efforts we have made.

The purpose of this event is not to "build bridges". It is not meant as a means to witness to the Jews. But that does raise a good question for Team Brunson: are we assembling teams of witnesses to hand out tracts to the thousands of lost people who will be in attendance? Are we equipping our people who will be there on how to witness to lost Jews? I don't think so. That's because Jon....this event is not an evangelistic event. Using your logic then we should host events by other groups of lost people in order to bring them into our church and host their special events - provided of course that we have some prominent deacons who have an interest in said events. So let's host the Jehovah's Witnesses regional meeting, we could have lunch and witness to them! In fact we could use the church facilities as a sort of "convention center"...get all kinds of groups of lost people there so we could witness to them!

Anonymous said...

Jon - the Bible says not to "take up offenses?" What is your interest in this blog? With over 43,000 SBC churches, why do you choose to keep coming to this blog to defend a millionaire pastor who could buy and sell you a 100 times over? Believe me, he can defend himself just fine if needed. Are you pastoring any sheep, or leading anyone to Jesus, or has your call changed to "get in contact with" administators at Israeli hospitals and the staff of one of the largest mega-churches in the country about something posted on a blog? Might you have other motives, Jon?

Jon L. Estes said...

WD,

A JW meeting would be focused on presenting a false gospel. You know this.

As you mentioned to me earlier, you are a smart guy, you know how to google, you can find the officers names and make contact yourself.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Are you a fraud Jon?

If you actually spoke to the officers of the hospital, then tell us who. Tell us. You won't because you didn't talk to them.

Thanks anyways Jon...as the anon said...Mac Brunson and his pastor's office staff and his "prominent deacons" don't need your help in justifying this event. They "just do it"....because they can.

Anonymous said...

watchdog - I think Mr. Estes cannot be trusted. Supposedly he has "been in contact with" the hospital and the staff at FBC Jax. Yet he offers no support of that or way to verify if this is true. Also, he seems to have other motives since he also was a regular poster at newbbcopenforum.blogspot.com. He is not a member of either of those churches and is not a resident of either of State. And people call us bloggers busy bodies!

I would not allow any more of his posts here if I were you. If he wishes to discuss what is going on at Bellevue and FBCJ, maybe he should start his own blog. In my opinion, you have given him enough time to state his views and further discussion with him is a waste of all of our time.

Anonymous said...

anon 4:16 pm Oct. 30 - WOW! What spiritual discernment you have. "Bought and Paid For" That is TRUTH! Shame, Shame, Shame on all of us for allowing this to happen. Now I just wonder...is there any way to stop this without an all out scandal? Who knows. But Ted Haggard and Jimmy Swaggart are still getting donations from gullible sheep, so I am not optimistic that the Lord "will handle it."

Anonymous said...

FBCJW - Someone is lying to you. Either one of these for-profit investment ventures is using this event to further their investment and/or solicit more donors; or it has nothing to do with private investors and is all done by our church out of pure motives to help Israel. If this were the case, wouldn't our church be proudly sponsoring it and proudly and openly soliciting contributions.

My guess is that FBC Jax is not "officially" hosting it, just like the pastor can not "officially" endorse a political candidate. However, some private venture certainly is arranging it. And some of those investors just happen to be members at the big political and social club downtown. (My apologies to Homer Lindsay, Jr. who fought this perception for years and made sure it was not true under his watch.)

Shame on any of them who tried to make it look like it was all about loving Israel when in fact it is about these start-up investment ventures to bring Israeli technology to NE Florida...and get a great return on their investment.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - there is no question that this event is not about FBC Jax wanting to help the Jews and show the love of Jesus to the Jews - that is why Mac is so incredibly arrogant to think that we bought his explanation Sunday morning. His explanation of "I want God to find me on the side of Israel" to be absolutely disgusting! If this event was about us wanting to show the love of Jesus to the Jews, we would proudly host it, we would advertise it, and our pastor wouldn't have to say "we are not sponsoring it, just hosting it." Furthermore, we would also be using the event to evangelize the Jews, handing out tracts, training people how to counsel Jews about Jesus and the Messiah. Hate to live in the past, but can anyone in a million years see Homer Lindsay allowing the sanctuary to be used for such an event as this without using it to witness to lost people?

I find it quite interesting also that President and CEO of M-EDG and FIBI found it necessary to say that his companies were NOT sponsoring this event either - very strange since he admits they had sponsored other events; but not this one.

So the question is - who's event is this anyways? Who's 501(c)3 non-profit organization will be taking this money? I agree this appears...it certainly APPEARS that this event is the brain child of Michael Cohen (he has worked to hold other events similar to this) and he is employed by or is an investor in M-EDG and FIBI which as I've already pointed out have interest in the Israeli biomedical field.

Its all pretty disgusting, and I would hope the "non-prominent" deacons would not stand for this.

To quote Mr. Brunson: "Where are the Churchmen?"

Anonymous said...

WD - how interesting it will be to see who actually comes to this event.

I've looked and I don't see any Jewish organizations pushing this event. I'm not seeing anywhere that this event has any publicity among the Jewish community. Wouldn't this be a huge event for the Jewish community to attend?

Nor do I see any churches publicizing this event, not even the ones whose pastors are speaking and/or on the advisory committee. Its only 1 week out.

Perhaps twill be a time for the investors to get together and give their money to show their unwavering support to the Israeli medical community!

I will definitely be there to take in every word, and make every observation, and I'll be sure to report back to this blog on what I hear and see! I can't wait to hear Mac's "sermon"!

Anonymous said...

anon 2:30 p.m. - I will be there too. Not because I love Israel, but because I have a new micro tape recorder that is supposed to be of the highest quality and range. I want to make sure everyone who reads this blog knows exactly what was said. Why? So IF, and I say IF, the pastor has lied to us or mislead us about this event in any way, the whole world will know what kind of man he is and won't allow this type of thing again. What is done at the meeting BETTER line up with what is on the FBCJAX website and the scripture that is referenced there. It also had BETTER line up with the email response you posted that was written by the pastor himself. I am one of the "non-prominent" deacons and I plan to participate fully in this event.

By the way, I do have a few thousand bucks I would like to invest, so I will be getting contact information from whoever it is who expects to get my investment dollars. I will be "investing" my funds to get to the bottom of this event and its real purposes. If using a church, non-profit to host and promote this private fundraising event under the guise of "supporting Israel" is in violation of any tax laws, I will make sure the IRS has a chance to investigate to eliminate any doubts that might be cast on our leadership. That is the least I can do, right?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - you're crazy. If just the mere decision to hold this event in the first place doesn't get people upset, there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING that will happen at the event that will get anyone upset.

Think of the circumstances that SHOULD cause every person to be disappointed at the least, and probably IRATE if they go back long enough to the Lindsay era:

1. Using our church facilities, which were built for the sole purpose of holding events to glorify Jesus Christ, and to PROCLAIM the life changing and soul saving message that Jesus Christ is Lord, and that He is the only way to heaven, for a purpose having nothing to do with furthering the gospel or getting people saved. I challenge anyone to point out an event prior to this where our facilities were NOT used to proclaim the gospel, or draw people so we CAN tell them about Jesus Christ. Just one. Unless part of our strategy is to evangelize and proclaim the gospel, or perhaps get contact information from the attendees so we can visit them with the gospel, then the pastor is prostituting our church and using it for his own selfish interests or those of his deacons.

2. The pastor has decided to allow some other non-profit entity to gather the funds for a fund raiser at the church, with the church not having control over where the funds will be spent. If we are hosting an event and paying the cost, then those monies should at least come through our control so we ensure they go to the appropriate charity.

3. An event is hosted that glorifies an expressly non-Christian religion that does NOT believe in Jesus Christ. Yes, the Jewish people are to be supported and loved as we have a spiritual, biblical bond, but there is no scriptural basis for using our facilities, our monies, to promote and glorify their beliefs. In fact by hosting this event in some way FBC Jax is confirming or approving their beliefs in the eyes of the world, thereby damaging the good name of our church and the purpose for which our church was built: to glorify and proclaim Jesus Christ.

4. The funds are expressly raised to go to a non-Christian, secular use which has nothing to do with missionary work, or any other work to further the gospel. In fact the funds are going to a hospital in Israel that performs abortions. Apparently the pastor didn't give this fact one thought before agreeing to host this event; any clear-thinking pastor of a pro-life conservative church would have realized that using their facilties to host an event raising money that will go to a hospital at which abortions are performed is something not to get involved in - that the event should be hosted at a neutral, secular site if the funds must go to that secular hospital. But because the pastor didn't do his due diligence before hand, and because he can't be seen as a person who bends to the will of some bloggers, and because ultimately its not his decision since we're only "hosting", he is unable to do anything about the recipient of the funds.

5. The pastor admits that "prominent deacons" have a financial interest in Israel is one of the reasons the event is hosted, calling into question the motives of the event in the first place since one of the organizers has strong ties to two companies that may have a financial interest in raising funds for an Israeli hospital.

6. The pastor was silent about the event until 10 days prior, and was untruthful with a church member via email in saying that he HAD mentioned the event on "several occaisions".

If none of these 6 factors causes people at FBC Jax to rise up and demand this event to be held somewhere else, then nothing at the event will cause anyone to raise one eyebrow.

concernedSBCer said...

Jax: That may be true, but I like Anon 5:20's thinking.

I was involved in a church where the pastor went Warren and wanted everyone that disagreed to leave. The older people kept telling that he had been very disrespectful to them and no one believed them. UNTIL we taped a meeting. There it was, in his own voice. No arguing with it.

But you are right, there is SO much wrong with this regardless.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Concerned SBC'er - good point...and no offense Anon, didn't mean to say you're "crazy", just that I very strongly believe there is little that can be done at this point. If you do go to the event and record it and there are some audio clips that the readers of this blog would be interested in, please let me know and we'll post them here to share with everyone.