"...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

Saturday, April 19, 2008

First Baptist Academy: New School in a Hotbed of Legalism

Jacksonville - you are no doubt aware that First Baptist Church Jacksonville is working to open a school in the Fall of 2009. The name of the school is the First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville. Pastor Mac Brunson is the founding pastor of this school.

Here is a link to the school's website: http://www.fbcjaxacademy.com/

You might be interested in knowing that the pastor of First Baptist Jacksonville, Mac Brunson, the founder of this school, said the following about his church, which will operate the school as a ministry to Jacksonville as a part of our desire to spread the gospel:

"Down in Jacksonville, I'm in a hotbed of legalism. Everybody has a list of rules, and they all seem to have no real relationship with Jesus Christ."

If I were a parent looking for a Christian school, I would be very concerned about sending my kid to a school where the church operating the school is a "hotbed of legalism" according to the pastor. I also would be concerned if the pastor things "everybody has a list of rules", and that no one "has a real relationship with Jesus Christ". I don't think we want our kids indoctrinated by legalists, do we?

To be fair, here are the links where you can hear the words of the First Baptist Academy of Jacksonville founder. These were spoken by Mac Brunson on April 7th, 2008, while preaching in North Carolina at a pastor's conference.

"I'm in a hotbed of legalism" - the short version

"I'm in a hotbed of legalism" - the longer, more "in context" version.

Buyer beware. You might want to contact Mac Brunson for some clarification on what he meant if you are concerned.

33 comments:

Anonymous said...

Watchdog-
It looks like you've found something that you can agree with Dr. Brunson about. I know that you are being facetious. But that is not a good thing, especially following your previous post, because WORDS DO HAVE MEANING!!!!!!

My advice, move on and follow Acts 5:38-39 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; BUT if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God." (emphasis mine)
"Let God be found true, and every man a liar..." (Rom.3:4)

Anonymous said...

one thing that dr. vines told the deacons before he left was that we were an ideal church to pastor.what in the world has happened?some people might consider front hugs vs. side hugs to be legalistic,too. didn't smyrl preach on that? just stirrin' the pot bloggers.

Anonymous said...

After listening to Mac speak, I am angry all over again. If there were a place for us to speak believe me, he would have some accountability required for his actions. What I find difficult is the Zombie like compromise of our church.

We have been so conditioned to follow the pastor, that we are now following him off the cliff. If FBC wants a successful school then they must remove the cloud over the church. A school will be very challenging. We cannot afford to have a pastor at odds with the church.

This is the first time in many years that I have felt the pastor really didn't like us very much. Mac is the one that is legalistic as evidenced in his decisions, in his preaching, and general attitude. If Mac thinks we are legalistic, I would suggest he remove the mote in his eye. Maybe this will enable him to see us in a different light. I don't know why we have to beg a preacher that we have treated well to like us.

Anonymous said...

Its funny how far this blog has come. I remember some earlier blogs that only wanted to ask some questions since the pastor refused to respond to anonymous emails. Had he just simply chosen to respond to one or two anon emails, the blogging would have never started. But it seems his legalism (refusing to interact with with anon emails out of personal conviction) has opened a can of worms that can never be closed. Only his apology and humility on this huge miscalculation lends any hope to ever getting this blog stopped. I mean, why blog about anything if you knew you could email the pastor anonymously and he or one of the staff would get back to you?

You have to admire his sticking to his conviction on not responding to anon emails, no matter the price it is costing him and the church. But you also have to question his wisdom? Then again, woman DO have more sensitivity to the Spirit according to Mac.

Blog on Watchdog. Your blog is a help and blessing to so many.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Watchdog - I have two little girls, one 6 and one 8 that I currently have in a Christian school close to my home. I was considering FBC Jax Academy, but I am concerned about the lack of land for sports fields as well as the distance downtown to drop them off and then pick them up. Also, with the city bus stop on one side, and the Hemming Plaza where the homeless are on the other side, as well as the Trinity Rescue mission on still another side, I was not feeling safe about the neighborhood. I know there is plenty of security, with even roads closed on Sundays, but would they have that 6 days a week now?

And with gas being so high, and the tuition being so high, I doubted I would be able to afford to send my kids. Now, your post is the final straw for me. I feel like it is a final Word from God on this. I will not be sending my kids there. The school they are at is already conservative enough and I do not want to expose them to legalism. It can kill a child's beliefs just as dead as liberalism can.

Thanks for the good information. I will keep checking your site for more helpful information.

OP Soccer mom - Shelly R.

Anonymous said...

1:10 pm

This blog is not an insurrection, such as referred to in Acts chapter 5. This blog is a forum where legitimate concerns and questions can be asked. Also, where ideas can be expressed. Your example is not applicable to this blog.

Please do not confuse the context of this chapter that these men who were apostles and had walked with Jesus personally (which no has done in over 1900 years) relates or compares with whats going on in this blog.

The leader and about 400 men were slain or scattered (it was an insurrection) vs. 36 and in vs 37 another man perished and the people who followed him (another insurrection). I have not read anywhere that persons here are fighting against God or are desirous of an insurrection.

This is not a biblical doctrine otherwise everything done by any pastor would be right in his own eyes and the congregants should just simply trust and obey. This was the sad ending of those that died in Jonestown and in Waco.Present day example Tx and Utah dealing with self appointed Messiahs.

Additionally, the pastor(if this is who you refer to) in accordance with your suggestion could never do a wrong or make a mistake.

Pastors just like anyone else do make mistakes and when they are told or shown by someone who knows better, some see the light. True, some do not, and unfortunatley the church pays for it, whether it is a small thing or a big thing.

There are many pastors that have not kept faith with their churches. Which would lead one to question whether they are truly called or not. I am not referencing Dr Brunson. But you did choose Acts 5 incorrectly.
Should one take your position on Acts 5 then church members of self called preachers would be at risk, being led by a pretender to the pastorate. We are Baptist not a denomination thats obeys the head of a church "no questions asked".
My statements are in no way an indictment of anyone in particular. I speak as to the general position of trust that is given a pastor in any church.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - this post, with audio, undercuts your criticism. It is clear from the clip that Mac is referring to squabbling preachers, who are "irreconcilable talk show hosts," rigid and legalistic in their own opinions. You might want to listen to the clips more critically and carefully before you post them in support of your specious attacks.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

His comments were not limited to preachers. He was talking about people in the church primarily, and then he threw in "pastors even". But his remarks were generally speaking how mean everybody is...and of course his remarks about "hotbed of legalism" and "everyone having a list" were not directed at pastors.

Anonymous said...

You are now being vindictive. This post does not ask questions, it does not inform. You know and everyone that reads this knows you are just trying to hurt the church, trying to harm the school to harm Mac Brunson. You need to consider how your words are harming good people.

Anonymous said...

8:59

No there may not be an insurrection at First Baptist, but it is evident that some of you (not you particularly) are at least wanting a bloodless coup, If Dr Brunson does not meet your requirements!

Anonymous said...

9:23 a.m.

To use a well known "spoken political phrase" lets ask this question. Are we better off in any venue now than we were before Brunson got here. I believe that would be a resounding NO!

A coup no. A pastor accountable to the church yes. Especially a church that has always had a history of loving and trusting their pastor. It would be nice if the church felt THEY are the reason the pastor came and not just a job opportunity.

The reference of 8:59 p.m, I believe upon reading it was addressed to the incorrect usage of Acts chapter 5. Or does rightly dividing the Word not mean anything anymore?

Anonymous said...

WD,we have been for a long time. Think about it, we were rewarding ALL our students with trips for disciplship. Forcing them into youth chiors at camps. I can remember one year during Operation Andrew members were PAID $50 for a first time visitor. You've been here for sometime, right (I guess, who knows who you are....hehe oh wait, I forgot, I know who you are.)My point is for the last 15 years at least, if you did everything on our list you were in God's will and we rewarded you for it. And just how many cars did we give away over the years? Do you not remember any of this? Where were you then?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 3:37 - reward trips is not legalism. There may be plenty wrong with reward trips, even enough perhaps to do away with them, I don't know. But to equate the practice of encouraging young people in the disciplines of faith by rewarding them with a trip is, well, its encouraging them in the disciplines of the faith. Never, ever did our church tell young people - "do what's on this list and you're OK with God and go on this trip, else you're bad and you stay home."

Cars? How many cars did we give away? I only know of 1, and that was a Caddy on a long-time staff members retirement.

I don't know about giving $50 for every visitor in Operation Andrew. Again, maybe a really bad practice, but not quite sure that is legalism, if indeed FBC Jax ever did that.

Mac called our church a "hotbed of legalism". He can make light of his words like he did today "When I open my mouth, who knows what is going to come out." or something to that effect. What kind of example is that for younger Christians for the pastor to say that? He can say he loves us from his pulpit, but his actions and words demonstrate otherwise.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:37

Let's assume your right that what you are telling us about in the past is legalism. Aren't you living in the past? That is in years long gone, so why bring that up now?

Furthermore Mac Brunson did not say that we WERE legalistic in the past, or that in years gone by we did things in a legalistic fashion.

He said he was, currently is, now, as in today, is in a hotbed of legalism. Are we still legalistic then? If so, he's been here 2 years, and we're still a hotbed of legalism?

Anonymous said...

The Pope was just here. Does anyone know if he was given a $307,000 piece of land for "love and affection." Those Catholics are so gullible you know. They treat the Pope as if he is God's man here on earth. Wouldn't surprise me one bit to see someone give him such a thing.

Anonymous said...

WD: Great Smyrl sermon - I love to hear bible preachers every now and then when they by chance fill the pulpit when our preacher isn't able to preach. But I don't think Smyrl got the memo. We are a hotbed of legalism so he needs to tone down those messages that call for total obedience to specific things in the Bible. And his swipe at the Catholics was uncalled for, that also might be viewed as "legalistic". Come on guys, get on the same page, will ya?

Anonymous said...

Re: Legalism:

Didn't we just give Mac & Debbie a check for an ....again (undisclosed amount) to celebrate their second anniversary. Just like we did in the old "hotbed of legalism" past.

The beat goes on.

Anonymous said...

What's going on with this horrible guitar music we heard in the morning service? Not to mention the teenage drama in the evening service. You maybe trying to reach the youth but you are losing the older faithful members with this stuff. Please understand that this type of activity prior to the service is not conducive to putting one in a Godly frame of mind.

The whole direction of the church is becoming very immature.

Anonymous said...

Geez, you bloggers can really get some mileage out of one quote.

Steve W

Anonymous said...

Who says every service has to have funeral, I mean organ music.
Live a little.
Who says everyone likes your style of music? I watch other churches.
FBC is in the stone ages as far as music goes.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I enjoyed the group yesterday in the am service; yes, having guitars and drums from a special music performer is different, but I thought they were good and weren't crossing a line that might be too much for our older saints. They were quite good I thought, and they were missionaries, unlike some of the hotshot Christian groups that make the circuit of mega churches demanding huge fees to "perform" at church. I'd much rather have a group like that come in than _________ (deleting name that everyone would recognize) that would demand $5000 or more to even pick up a mike.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 3:43 - is that you Paul Z still lurking?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Steve W - one quote yes, but just another example Steve in a long series of careless blunders, arrogant actions, for which Mac will never ever apologize or explain or clarify because his ego is larger than the airspace of the worship auditorium. I've never in SBC circles seen an ego like Mac's where he thinks he can say whatever he likes in whatever way he wants, do whatever he wants without explanation, and never be held accountable or explain to the people whom he is charged to lead as pastor. The things Mac does and says I might expect from Benny Hinn or Creflo Dollar, but not from a SBC pastor leading a conservative SBC church like FBC Jax that has always loved and followed their pastor. His words and actions continue to demonstrate that he is abusing us, taking advantage of our tendency to love and follow our pastor.

"Mileage out of quote" Steve?

No, its another example of an arrogant pastor's two-year long abuse of his congregation.

And his quote yesterday of "you never know what's going to come out of my mouth" and "if what I say offends you, you ought to hear what I don't say" might be cute coming from someone who is a bit more humble, but when an arrogant man like Mac says it, who the prior week just told a group of pastors about his church: "I'm in a hotbed of legalism. Everybody has their own list of rules, and they seem to have no real relationship with Jesus Christ" - well, its just an example of the brazenness of Mac Brunson. Its enough to make one's stomach turn to see such raw arrogance on display toward the people he is supposed to love and lead.

Anonymous said...

dear anon 9:10,welcome to the wonderful world of contemporary christian worship aka worshitainment. someone once preached that we were not going to be the rock and roll church.if that wasn't rock being played during that skit,what was it? oh btw,if you want to see the beatles just go to the 1st grade assembly room,there they are dressed in their sgt. pepper outfits on the wall.just "imagine" that.

Anonymous said...

Honestly....I agree with Dr. Brunson. Legalism is very apparent in Jacksonville & even more apparent in the church. Legalism, in its truest form, is someone taking their views, beliefs & opinions and then cutting someone else down because they differ in those views & beliefs....is that not what this blog does? Yes. the creators of this blog have their ideas of how the pastor should do his job and how the church should be run, and because he doesn't agree with you....you create a blog in an effort to rally others against him, which you cloak in the lie of being "informative". In fact, my post will be criticized because I differ from some by supporting what the pastor says & does.
I am a parent and when the school opens, ill be first in line to sign my child up because I want him to be under teaching that shows him the problems & shows him the reality that those problems exist, not just in the world, but even more so in the church. I want him under teaching that isn't afraid to be bold, and I want him not to be afraid to stand on his beliefs, knowing full well that even the church will attack him.

Dr. Brunson, KEEP PREACHING! This blog doesnt represent the views of the church but of a small handful of upset & offended!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I'm not going to criticize you for defending your pastor, but I am going to try to persuade you that you're wrong in your assessment of legalism.

Your definition of legalism is incorrect. Though you might have a misunderstanding of what legalism is, I'm quite certain that Mac Brunson DOES know what it is and so do the preachers he was preaching to in North Carolina, and that's what makes his words so damaging when he says we are "legalistic".

Legalism is much more sinister than "putting someone down because of their beliefs or views" as you say (if that is what it is, then Mac and Jim Smyrl would be legalistic because they have put down those who prefer ties, and more traditional worship - those are their "beliefs and views"). It is a teaching that says to gain God's favor you have to adhere to a set of rules, or you have to worship in a certain manner, or you have to adhere strictly to a list of dos and don'ts. Even Dr. Lindsay and Dr. Vines who preached hard on certain sins were not legalistic as they preached against them as a matter of conviction not as a requirement for salvation - and Dr. Vines always taught us about "legalism" and "liberalism" and how to identify them and the importance of avoiding them. Liberalism is really distorting the gospel and placing a burdensome yoke on people.

Mac Brunson knows that. And I'm certain that he knows we are NOT and NEVER HAVE BEEN a legalistic church. He's trying to modernize the church, to move us in a direction that he thinks best to reach people for Christ, and for that I commend him. However, any pastor knows that when you go down this road you will face opposition from those who are more traditional and that even fear change. So instead of lovingly explaining, and guiding, and teaching, and being patient yet persistent in telling us what we are changing and why we are changing and all of the other things that a loving leader does to get his people to change from things they are comfortable with - he instead is resorting to making slanderous claims and complaining and making himself to be a victim: that we are worshipping the past, that we are worshipping previous pastors, that we are "comfortable in our sin and in our compromise" if we don't go along with him.

Mac can't have it both ways. He can't tell us about a school for 1 year, tell us we will be holding a vote on it at some point, then lo and behold call an UNANNOUNCED business meeting at which the vote is taken and the vote is couched as a motion to take 1/2 million dollars from the church to start the school....then turn around a few weeks later and go to North Carolina and whine that he's "in a hotbed of legalism" at FBC Jax. Sure, take 1/2 million from the church for a school with our church's name on it...but whatever you do Mac don't slander the name of the church to people in North Carolina and NOT think its going to affect people's view of the school. This is what makes me so angry...instead of him going up there and bragging about how our church did vote and affirm the 1/2 million for the school showing that we ARE following his leadership in this area...he instead complains about a hotbed of legalism.

And don't think either Mac that slamming our church behind our backs won't affect those who might come to your pastor's conference. We'll make sure that we keep your "hotbed of legalism" quote front and center, until such time you apologize or explain it.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason says to anon 7:25 p.m. and others who seem to miss the point of this blog: - I am not going to criticize you for your views in support of your pastor and church. Thanks for sharing them. I will just say that I have no problem with WHAT he is doing, it is just with HOW he is doing it. He could continue to do everything he is doing as far as I am concerned, but he MUST be open and honest about them or he will forever be dogged by people who have questions and concerns. He needs to explain himself from the pulpit, or at least respond to anon emails that voice some concern over these issues:

For example: he can go ahead and accept a gift of $307k from a member only two weeks after he arrives. That is not really my concern if he paid the proper taxes. But to not even tell his congregation about it and by not even explaining why it was offered and why it was accepted and why the timing of it...well that makes us wonder about his motives for coming, his relocation package, what the search committee knew about it and many other concerns.

Another example...if you are going to spend the church's money to publish a bulletin, and then use that bulletin to promote trips you are hosting the very week you arrive at the church, go ahead and do that. But just let us know if you are profiting personally from it based on how many members sign up to go with you. And if you want to start another school in the city downtown, go ahead. But please don't tell us we NEED it to reach people for Christ because "no one is home anymore." And don't have a fundraiser for a Jewish hospital that performs abortions and that is tied in to private business ventures with "prominent deacons" because "Jesus was a Jew."

Does this make sense? Sure, he was called here to lead, not me! I understand that! But to make by-law changes, hire his family, remodel the children's building for his own secluded luxury office suites, to live rent free in an oceanfront condo for a year, to accept the huge land gift, to be out of the pulpit sporadically with no explanation, to bash his congregation, and to promote a local builder that just happens to be the same ones that gave him the land gift...well he can do all that, but his ability to lead out is severely hampered and his motives are called into question. And as long as that continues, I would encourage people not to give another dime to his "family business" and to hold him accountable in that manner.

And finally, there is no reason to tell him "KEEP PREACHING" since #1 he does not read this blog, and #2 he WILL keep preaching no doubt as long as he can continue the above personal wealth building and branding himself at our expense. Every time someone puts a dollar in that offering, they are in essence saying "keep preaching."

Anonymous said...

10:16 p.m. Voice of Reason:

KEEP PREACHINMG!!

THIS IS EXACTLY WHY THE BLOG IS HERE. IF PEOPLE CAN'T SEE THIS THEY CAN'T SEE ANYTHING.

Anonymous said...

"worshitainment" posted by 6:59

Surley this venue is digressing even more! Watchdog could you please be a better WATCHDOG for your site. I can't imagine this falling under your proclaimed categories of demading accountability. However, it does make apparent the hearts of those who are participating and following your lead.
Shame.

Anonymous said...

If Mac was speaking to those who use this blog to demand certain things of the pastor, so he can be recognized a pastor in their eyes, He was correct about the legalism.

I don't expect too many here to recognize the application.

Rules, rules, have we got rules for our pastor...

Anonymous said...

TEST

Anonymous said...

Really! Move on - you need to find something to occupy your time, er, life. Quit filing lawsuits and realize that you brought any problems on by putting yourself out on a PUBLIC forum. Once you do that - you "out" yourself. You are probably only after money anyway. So sorry for your family.

Anonymous said...

FBC JAX IS a hotbed of legalism. Dr. Vines devolved it to that before he left. Of course, you worship Dr. Vines, so you blame Dr. Brunson. I think you're a hypocrite.