"...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 12, 2008

Mac Brunson: "Jacksonville is a Hotbed of Legalism"

Mac Brunson preached 4/7/08 at the "Empowered Church Conference" in Charlotte, NC at Hickory Grove Baptist Church, pastored by Dr. Joe B. Brown. My intent here is to let everyone know that Mac views Jacksonville as a "Hotbed of legalism". I've never heard him say that before here in Jax, and as you'll see below he doesn't explain this claim, so we are left wondering what he means. But before I give you this quote of Mac's, some up front words of explanation.

You can listen to his 4/7/08 sermon at this link: Hickory Grove Sermons. Thank you Dr. Joe B. Brown for having a website at your church that archives every single sermon at your church, whether it be yours or even one of the pastors who spoke at your recent convention. I don't know of many pastors who would make the sermons preached by popular megachurch pastors at a convention available FREE AND CLEAR on their website. It shows that you're interested in getting the Word out to the world, and not holding a conference and making money off of people to purchase the sermons. I think many megachurch pastors who are intent on gathering money from sheep outside their own church could learn a thing or two from you. And certainly our church could look at your website as an example of one that does provide useful sermon resources as a part of its own ministry, and not just giving its sermon ministry over to the pastor's 501(c)3 website.

But about Mac's sermon. Before I point out a few things about this sermon, I want to first explain why I listen to his sermons out of town as I'm able, and then blog about them. No doubt the few anti-Watchdog bloggers who are vocal here calling me a coward and that make assumptions about my mental state and motives, will say I'm out to get Mac, that I need to get a life, etc. No, the reason I am listening to Mac outside of Jacksonville and I encourage you all to do the same, is that it might serve to give us some perspective on what is happening to us in our church. Mac often times preaches "from the hip", and says things I believe he didn't plan to say and probably at times wishes he hadn't said. So it can only help us to listen to Mac's sermons away from his home church to gain some perspective on what he does here and why he does it. We saw this last year in a few sermons he preached in North Carolina that I blogged about.

On the positive side: a very solid sermon from Mac. Those who might think Mac is a "purpose driven" preacher, or that he is somehow not a true conservative, should listen to this sermon on how a preacher can energize their church. When you listen to this sermon it is absent the anger that he is prone to express to us (presumably because he is not angry at his audience?), seems to speak from the heart to preachers, and he is quite funny actually at times. Parts of this sermon he has preached to us, about the "vanishing church" in northern Africa where the 27 books of the NT were confirmed, yet that church is in ruins while a new mosque sits within eyesight. All in all a good sermon that I think our church should hear. He even addresses "election" that many interested in the Calvinism issue in the SBC might be interested in hearing!

Now some of the critiques:

1. In his 2nd point, he talks about the "sustaining sufficiency" of scripture. He gives some "context" for this point talking about "demoniacal times" as described in 2 Tim 3:1 - after reading these verses he says "...have you ever lived in day where you've seen people more unloving than they are in are our day; irreconcilable, and listen I'm not talking about people in the world I'm talking about guys in the church. Pastors even!! Irreconcilable....mad and screaming at everything, furious, upset, day in, day out, irreconcilable". Then he goes on quoting more of 2 Tim 3: "...'holding to a form of godliness though they deny the power.' That's legalism. And I want to tell you something, down in Jacksonville I'm in a hotbed of legalism. Everybody's got a list of rules, but they seem to have no real relationship with Jesus Christ." I find that quite interesting. Just who is he referring to? Christians in Jacksonville in general? Or the stiff-necks at FBC Jax that he thinks "have a list". Not sure what might be on that list, maybe things like "1. pastor should not take quarter million dollar gifts from donors; 2. pastor should not put son and wife on staff with no stated ministerial responsibilities; 3. pastor shouldn't ramrod bylaw changes." Quite a dangerous accusation to throw around, quite a broad brush to be painting with, without explaining one's self clearly. Furthermore, is it really THAT bad? Are people today IN THE CHURCHES furious, upset, mad, day in day out as he claims? Or is that his perception of his experience at FBC Jax and he is projecting that on to his audience of pastors?

2. In the same passage he talks about how pastors will be persecuted. Mac says the following: "....'and indeed all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.' Pastor: that's you, that's me. If you're serving Jesus Christ this day and time let me tell you something somebody's mad at you somewhere. Now if you want to go over in the corner and suck your thumb and say nothing to nobody, then nobody's going to bother you...so you're going to face persecution." He mentioned pastoral persecution to us this past Sunday night, and now he refers to it two days later to these pastors. I interpret this as Mac thinking the opposition he faces at his church is "persecution" at the hand of people in the church because he is "living a godly life in Christ Jesus." I so wish Mac could separate criticism over his methods and poor decision making, from real persecution that preachers get when they step on toes for righteousness sake. Jerry Vines was one who did suffer persecution when he made his "Mohamed was a demon-possessed pedophile" remark. Boy was he persecuted for that - and yet he handled it with dignity and grace - NEVER complained about it. Never made his own persecution something to preach about. He just responded to his critics one Sunday in the pulpit before he preached immediately after the controversy (as he said, he remained silent until he got back to his church, because he said he believed whatever he had to say on the matter he had to say it FIRST to his own church since he is FIRST a pastor), and then moved on. Mac as far as I can tell, and I could be wrong, he is not being persecuted because he is a great father, husband, preacher, lives a clean life, preaches against sin, etc. Its because, in my opinion, his abuses of his leadership has caused people to doubt his motives, question his decision making ability, and now wonder if he is God's man for our church. His ability to lead has been damaged because of his own actions and attitudes. He has to come to grips with this. Also, Mac will be persecuted for anything he tries to do that is perceived to be part of the "purpose driven" movement. That's just the way it is, and he needs to get over it and stop talking about it. But this purpose driven criticism is separate from what he is facing at FBC Jax and he mustn't confuse the two.

3. When Mac mentioned "election", he said the following: "We've come to this whole issue of election because it gives us an excuse not to lead people to Jesus Christ. I think it gives us the opportunity to explain away why we're not baptizing people any more in our churches. 'Well, they're just not elect'. Well I want to tell you something: from the Friday of Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday morning we saw 118 people get saved. I just hope he keeps electing them in Jacksonville." I never did hear that 118 professions of faith were made that weekend, is that really true? I know we had quite a few baptisms Easter Sunday, but were there really 118 "professions of faith" during this weekend? I just want to be accurate: were there 118 people who expressed professions of faith, or was there a total of 118 decisions, some of which were baptism, some professions of faith?

But I would like to know why Mac thinks Jacksonville is a "hotbed of legalism". Does anyone think this is true? I would assume he is not talking about FBC Jacksonville, but our area in general. When I look at our city, I see a city chock-full of strong churches, many that take strong stands for the gospel, many of which have very innovative techniques to reach a very diverse group of people in Jax. No question, this is a "conservative" city - many church members are in local politics and judiciary. What I and other see about Jacksonville as being very positive, I guess Mac sees it as "a hotbed of legalism". Strange indeed. Maybe he is getting to not like Jacksonville.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason says:

You summed it all up perfectly with this statement:

"Mac as far as I can tell, and I could be wrong, he is not being persecuted because he is a great father, husband, preacher, lives a clean life, preaches against sin, etc. Its because, in my opinion, his abuses of his leadership has caused people to doubt his motives, question his decision making ability, and now wonder if he is God's man for our church. His ability to lead has been damaged because of his own actions and attitudes. He has to come to grips with this."

No wonder people think you write some of the anon posts. I couldn't have said it better myself.

I hope we can all agree Mac is a good man, a good teacher, a good husband, a good father and an excellent orator. No one heres believe him to have ANY moral sins or illegal activities in his life, that would be cause for his resignation, and for that we are all grateful. I personally pray that God will keep him clean and keep him close. Yet the rest of your observations are also true. His motives and leadership have been questioned for only one real reason: lack of openness and accountability. If he ever learns to respond to questions and concerns in an open and loving way, with humility, his time here might be blessed of God. Unfortunately, I am not sure the A-Group or his spiritual advisor have these traits.

Anonymous said...

Jacksonville a hotbed of legalism!!!! What does this say about the "God called" preachers who led this church and the city for years based on God's Word? I guess we just suddenly arrived at Legalism.

Legalism: Websters dictionary:
strict, literal, or excessive conformity to the law or to a religious or moral code.

This sounds more like a cult than anything else. What religious or moral code in Jacksonville is bothering him? What would he prefer Jacksonville conform to?

And these people (whoever they are) have no real relationship with Jesus? Why does he go out of town to blast Jacksonville and the church? And since he made these remarks about Jacksonville at large I guess it would include most everybody? He did not mention legalism on Easter when he was attempting to raise funds.

What a tesitmony for Jacksonville!!

Anonymous said...

I have never seen a preacher make so many mistakes one right after the other. Could it be that he is not called here? He doesn't like the church (insults them constantly, he bullies) and in general is mean spirited to the congregation.

He doesn't like "legalistic Jacksonville" whatever that means. But he does like the land gift, the money, and the perks.!!!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hotbed of legalism. On what grounds are we a hotbed of legalism? We are a hotbed of crime and murder (that Mac said he was going to work on but decided after 2 meetings wasn't worth his time), we are a hotbed of growth and urban sprawl, we are a hotbed for new jobs and imports, we are a hotbed where new churches and new satellite churches springing up. We are a hotbed of Christian schools all over the place, a hotbed of conservative politics, we are many "hotbeds". Oh, and back to the religious "hotbeds" - we are a "hotbed" of child preying baptist preachers - with Bob Gray preying on little boys and girls during the 80s and 90s, and Darell Gilyard trying to secude young women at his church. We are a "hotbed" of mega churches actually, none of which are legalistic as far as I know (but Mac maybe in his two years has been able to assess all these churches), but all of which where the pastors make well over $100k and live in houses worth more than $400,000.

So what was that again about "hotbed of legalism" Mac? Can you explain?

Hey Jeff Brumley - why not ask Mac what he means - if we truly are a hotbed of legalism, shouldn't you do an expose and let's find out where all this legalism is?

Anonymous said...

I can't speak to what Mac might have been talking about, but I believe FBC Jacksonville is caught up in legalism. Especially with kids it is difficult to worship "at your own pace" or comfort level, or availablity. If the kids can't be there Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night and many other nights thrown in here and there it's like they don't belong. What if a family choses to stay home on Sunday night? What if work or sports or something else prevents them from attending on Wednesdays? Now suddenly you're not as good of a Christian as those who do. Is there no place for them at FBC? It feels that way.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this "hotbed" is getting too hot for Mac. Great going Mac insult the city now. Thats going to help reach the lost!! The thing about Spurgeon is he didn't attend and therefore wasn't warped by the schools for scribes and Pharisees.
That would be todays seminaries.

Anonymous said...

Hi watch "puppy" - did you think that maybe Dr. Brunson was referring to YOU and your little band of merry watchpuppies? The list he is referring to is the list that you and your friends/family keep about Mac and what a pastor should do and not do, and you watch him like a hawk and when he does something not on your list, or forgets something on your list then you blog about it to each other and the entire world. You have a form of godliness, you know the talk, you go to church (sometimes), you smile and shake hands at church, your kids are in the ministries here, but then run home to slam the church and the pastor, all in ways that are against scripture. So your words, even your attitudes and meanness in this blog show your heart to be dark. Thus maybe he was referring to FBC Jacksonville as a hotbed of blogger legalists intent on stopping progress at the church.

Just my opinion dude. Sorry if I hit too close to home, or if I stepped on your toes. The truth hurts.

Truett said...

I am a Southern Baptist Pastor from the West, and wanted to share some observations.

Blogs certainly are a means to voice concern and hurt. They also can be a place where pain and hurt can be leveled anonymously with out the recipient being able to defend themselves.

I have never met your Pastor but followed with interest his call to Dallas and now to Jacksonville.

I believe he is a sincere Pastor, who always is prepared to bring God’s word to God’s people.

His uses of historical illustrations, to segue way to the passage are certainly an acceptable introduction to the body of the message.

I believe that excesses in salary, and costly gifts to the Pastor and other concerns are something the Church body should address.

It’s apparent that these are concerns to you, and perhaps to others in the congregation.

I don’t disagree that they are valid concerns and I believe that the Church ultimately should deal with them, if in fact the Church body believes these are concerns that need to be addressed.

By the way my philosophy of ministry that I leaned from (Adrian Rogers) is that a Church should be:

1. Pastor- led

2. Deacon served

3. Committee operated

4. Congregationally approved

I don’t for one minute believe that a Pastor regardless of the size of the Church he serves … should not be humble, loving, teachable and accountable to the Lord Jesus in every aspect of life and conduct.

Dr. Rogers who to me demonstrated what a mega-church pastor should be like, once told the story of a Pastor who subscribed to the theory of Pastor supremacy...only to find out that the congregation canceled his subscription!

It’s apparent to me (That you are a bright person, with concerns that are truly troubling to you).

I would encourage meeting with your pastor and sharing your heart, (Have you tried?) If he hears you, or does not at… least you will know that you did your part to follow our Lord’s instructions from Matthew 18.

You have stated that your Pastor is a good man, and I believe he is….in a world that riddled with scandals, sexual impropriety, embezzlement etc... infinitum, you have in the pulpit a good man, who like us all is flawed but who has a heart to serve His Lord.

As a Pastor, I would say... let him serve, without constantly finding fault!


I hope that you will receive this in the Spirit that it was intended.

I am not saying the issues you raise our not valid, or of concern to the Church at large, yet if the Church seems not to have the same concern, then until a time when they do….continue to pray for your pastor, seek to meet him face to face eye to eye…..if that does not happen……then follow our Lord’s conduct who when being verbally bashed by those mocking him while on the cross…...did the following:

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. (1 Peter 2:23).

Our wonderful Lord Jesus who has made First Jacksonville what it is, can certainly handle your current issues...justly.

Anonymous said...

Another "Mac-ism", another foot in mouth. I beginning to think Mac wants to tick off as many people down here as he can!

"Hotbed" means "conducive to rapid grwoth and development"

So to say we are a "hotbed of legalism" means that not only is Jax legalistic, but the conditions are ripe for more legalism and growth of legalism.

Please explain, Mac.

Anonymous said...

FBC Jax - if you need some encouragement, go to the website linked here and go listen to Fred Luter's sermon preached at this same conference in NC. He is a man that has been through a storm in his life and ministry like no other. There is no way you can listen to this sermon with a dry eye.

Paul Z said...

I would just like to post that I flipped for the heck of it to the local affiliate that airs FBC Jax on TV and it does appear that at the very least, the 8am broadcast is in HD. I guess if I care to interupt American Top 40 at 10:30 I will see if it is in HD and/or live again and report back.

If these things are indeed the case, then I can put to rest one of my biggest complaints about things.

Anonymous said...

Legalism = for example: teaching people they must tithe based on the Old Testament or they are robbing God.

Lying = telling people that since they gave 10% while under the law, we should give even more now since we are no longer under the law. (I guess if taxes get cut, I will give even more to the government now since I used to have to give a higher percentage?) And logical extension, if we used to have to follow so many OT laws BEFORE grace, we should follow those laws even more now since he have been set free via grace. Remember, Jesus said you used to have to walk one mile, now go and walk two!

Conclusion: these preachers manipulate the word to manipulate the sheep. Where is the shepard (pastor) who is called to protect them and give his life for them like Jesus pointed out and modeled?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - I have a suggestion. Why doesn't the A-group or Team Brunson solve the heart of this matter by simply hiring a PASTOR who could shepard this congregation? After Lindsay, Lindsay, Jr. and Vines, these sheep are used to relying on and following their loving shephard, who would die for them and protect them at all cost. At least if the church hired a pastor to go along with the A-group and Team Brunson, we would not all be hurting so much. Please God, send us a PASTOR to care for your sheep.

Paul Z said...

The 10:30 airing is not live...at least I hope it's not. If it is, you have some serious problems. Anyway, I am going to assume this was some recent Sunday night service seeing as how I saw a huge crowd of people disguised as empty seats everywhere. Seriously, if there are more than 2,000 people in this service I am watching I would be amazed. It's still a lot more than most churches would have on Sunday night, but it looks to be the same ratio of attendees that would be at a smaller church. But in a large auditorium, it looks really bad. On a positive note, those red seats look really lively and bright in HD.

Dave Miller said...

Here's what bothers me about this entire blog. Why the anonymity? Very few folks use their own names.

I don't know much about Mac Brunson. But it is hard for me to take seriously the opinions of the Watchdog or any other commentors who hide behind secrecy.

Anonymous said...

Dave Miller - welcome to the blog. We have discussed why we remain anonymous, and why it is important that we do so, at least 40 - 50 times. It is no longer an issue. Feel free to comment on the nepotism, land gift, by-law changes, A-group, or any of the other topics if you like.

Anonymous said...

Any word in church today on the dollar amount given on Easter Sunday toward the media evangelism campaign?

Paul Z said...

Dave,

They claim they will be ostracized or kicked out if they use their names. I use mine because I don't go there, and even if I did I wouldn't care if my thoughts were posted with my name attached since my feelings about many of the things I feel are wrong with the direction of the church (most of which are still in disagreement with this blog) are well known by people from when I did go there.

Anonymous said...

Attn 9:23..Thank you for pointing this tithing question out. I have said law vs grace for years. You can't find anyone with knowledge or guts enough to state this fact. I used to tithe for many years, until I really studied the concept. My family had it rough and we did without many times, but we kept tithing because we were put on a guilt trip.

I watched a lot of people get ahead while I got further behind and enough problems for three families. The only people I know that think tithing is a good idea are preachers and other millionaires. So keep the guilt trip. I give when I am able. Tithing is only the start at FBC.
MALICHI 3:10..IS IN THE OLD TESTAMENT. THERE ARE NO STOREHOUSES ON ANY CHURCH PROPERTIES THAT I KNOW OF.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Those of you interested in the "storehouse tithing applying to the church"...take a look at Tim Guthrie's blog entry at www.sbctoday.com. Here is his first sentence:

"A church is referred to in scripture as the storehouse. It is the place that the tithes and offerings are to be brought."

I wonder where in scripture he gets this.

Then Tim says:

"I believe it is a sin for a church to only give 2 to 3 % to missions due to unbalanced “fluff” ministries and staff positions. So balance is needed, I believe, and practicing such balance. Our church does give at the current time 11% to CP and total missions giving surpasses $145,000 per year."

I posted there last night reprimanding their blogsite for making that statement, yet these same men won't call out mega pastors all over the country who are making hundreds of thousands per year in salary, some having "fluff" staff positions for their family members. I mentioned the interview done by SBC Today of Mac Brunson as an example of their failure to hold mega pastors who are enriching themselves accountable. One blogger gave me a good tongue lashing and they removed my post.

I would like to know if anyone can point to me in scripture how the church is the storehouse referred to in the old testament.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 9:28 a.m.

We were supposed be getting a pastor this time. But, the congregation had no input in the selection process. They were just told who they were getting and to vote yes. The selection process was top secret only the "elite" knew who he was. I remember the church and some members trying to find out who our pastor was going to be and everyone keeping it a secret.

When Dr Lindsay Jr and Dr Vines came to this church everything was open and above board even their salaries!!!

I like you need a pastor, the world beats me up enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 9:28 a.m.

We were supposed be getting a pastor this time. But, the congregation had no input in the selection process. They were just told who they were getting and to vote yes. The selection process was top secret only the "elite" knew who he was. I remember the church and some members trying to find out who our pastor was going to be and everyone keeping it a secret.

When Dr Lindsay Jr and Dr Vines came to this church everything was open and above board even their salaries!!!

I like you need a pastor, the world beats me up enough.

Anonymous said...

Legalism as I have had experience with it regards, length of a dress, length of hair on the men, not sitting together in church, women wearing slacks, or mowing the lawn on Sunday, etc. What is he talking about with this legalism? Maybe a church is just to follow a man and not question anything, or its deemed legalistic if he is referring to the church.

Anonymous said...

When Mac addressed the preachers in Charlotte and spoke of mad screaming preachers, etc., I thought I recognized some reverse psychology at work.

I do believe Mac follows closely the Purpose Driven format.

I believe Mac's failure to answer any of the questions in this blog, re: the nepotism, land gift, salary, etc., has become a stumbling block to many in the church. It is my opinion only that a loving pastor would not want this attitude to prevail.

As to Mac being persecuted I don't know of anything else this church could have done or given him to make him feel more welcome.

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the SBC as a denomination is a 'hotbed of legalism.' Most of us have been in it so long we don't even recognize it anymore.

Anonymous said...

Many of our civic leaders; mayors, city councilmen, tax collectors, property appraisers, are past and present members of FBC. Also, don't forget several philanthropic citizens. Which of these Jacksonville leaders is he talking about when he talks about Jacksonville being a hotbed of legalism? (assuming he is talking about Jacksonville in general).

Where does he apply this hotbed of legalism term exactly, church, city, or both?

Anonymous said...

Amen 10:46..On this list that we legalist have, I am sure nepotism would rank very high. I would like to address that point. Team B doesn't acknowledge that this church would fall completely apart without the VOLUNTEER members that work so hard to SERVE GOD.Teachers, outreach leaders, choir members, orchestra, nursery workers, ushers, deacons (?some of them), etc. All of them are volunteers. I apologize if I left anyone out. Most of these people have 9-5 jobs minimum during the week. Many do other things: visitation, hospital visits, counseling, general ministry to their fellow members. All VOLUNTEER work. After this they come to church Sunday for two services and on Wednesday night and some on Thursday for choir and orchestra practice. None of these VOLUNTEERS are paid, or they would not be VOLUNTEERS. This army of God's servants are the unpaid backbone of FBC. This group enables Mac and family to have a church that pays them well.

Anonymous said...

Many of our civic leaders; mayors, city councilmen, tax collectors, property appraisers, are past and present members of FBC. Also, don't forget several philanthropic citizens. Which of these Jacksonville leaders is he talking about when he talks about Jacksonville being a hotbed of legalism? (assuming he is talking about Jacksonville in general).

Where does he apply this hotbed of legalism term exactly, church, city, or both?

Anonymous said...

I'm just blown away at the fact that you're wondering what he means.

Why don't you just ask him?

You think he would "intimidate" you for asking him this very vanilla question?

Anonymous said...

I'm just blown away by the fact that WD can't see how legalistic our church has been.

Pastor Brunson has been dealing with this from the pulpit from the beginning.

Anonymous said...

Regarding tithing: I have some members of my family that without my help could not get by. Illness and other circumstances have reduced their livelihood. I think God wants me to help them before I give 10% or more to a church that calls itself (incorrectly) a storehouse. I cannot give this required(?)money (according to church doctrine-to be in God's will) to my family and also have enough to tithe. Since some preachers are big on giving to missions I would like to say this is my mission field. If the truth were known many people put on this guilt trip of tithing, feel the same way. Especially, when they see a preacher & family all getting paid by church members, living a lifestyle that we can't come close to. Yet we try to help those that cannot help themselves even in our own family.

Tithing is an Old Testament doctrine. The New Testament churches were in the houses, and I don't think they collected the tithe. They collected a gift as they could, and there was no mention of demanding it to be in God's will. I don't remember Jesus demanding a tithe. He saw the widow give all she had, he sent Peter to get tax money out of the mouth of a fish. Yet while on earth He owned nothing. People are the ones that apply demands, as well as, restrictions on ourselves because we incorrectly interpret God's Word.

Notice I did not say we are not to provide for a place of worship. There are many more able to that than others. I don't believe demanding a tithe is scriptural in the New Testament Church.

Anonymous said...

"I don't believe demanding a tithe is scriptural in the New Testament Church."

Jesus demanded more than the tithe. "Give all you have to the poor"

Anonymous said...

12:23 annymous: Please refer to Mark 9:18 wherein Jesus was talking to one person!! Jesus told that one person to go and sell that which he had and give to the poor. That would be the young rich ruler whose money was his idol. I believe you have mistaken this verse for something it was never intended. Hope this clarifies something for you. If we were all to sell and give to the poor who would be the seller and who would be the receiver. We would all be poor.

Paul Z said...

Anon 12:04 it's because he/they know nothing different. Lindsay and Vines never preached against it and always told the church how wonderful they all were, so now that it comes up with a new pastor it ruffles feathers. Funny isn't it? They talk about the word and wanting it straight, but in truth, many of THEM have the same itching ears they accuse contemporary church goers of having. They don't want to hear the truth when it pertains to them and it is not all great.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 12:04 - Examples please, of how FBC Jax is "legalistic". Please be specific.

Also Anon 12:04, examples please, of when Mac Brunson has ever addressed the problems of "legalism". I don't recall him addressing that. He's criticized us for "worshipping the past", "worshipping previous pastors", for anonymous emails, for not more than 50 agreeing to pray with him, etc...but I just don't recall him dealing with legalism in the church. He has mentioned church discipline LOTS of times, but not legalism.

I don't believe you know what legalism is if you believe our church is legalistic.

Paul - you're losing credibility fast when you say previous pastors didn't deal with legalism. That's an out and out lie - either you never heard Vines preach or you were fast asleep during his sermons. Jerry Vines on a regular basis dealt with legalism - defining it, and cautioning our church to not be legalistic. I challenge you Paul to cite specific examples of the FBC Jax "legalism". And you might want to start with your definition of "legalism".

Paul Z said...

The fact that I need to "define" legalism is a joke in and of itself. What? If we don't have the same definition it is considered invalid?!

Example 1-Music. Not you specifically, but many in the congregation. The feeling is that if it isn't the same style, the same way we have always done it, it's wrong. The fact that I have seen members of the choir not singing newer songs but them singing right along one tune later with the old standards is proof enough it happens.

Example 2-Coats & Ties. Shortly after he came to be the pastor, I was sitting there on Wednesday night and he took off his coat and I heard GASP in the crowd. I am not making that up! Was it loud? No. But was it audible? Yes.

Example 3-Church services. Someone who refuses to attend Sunday night there for whatever reason, doesn't attend Sunday School functions, doesn't have their children involved in every last thing they offer there is looked down upon. Are they looked down upon in obvious ways and shunned, not usually. But there is an attitude that you don't care about the spiritual well being of your family if you aren't THERE every time the door is open and doing everything that is done.

Example 4-the commercial you blogged about. Why? What point was there in having any criticism of it whatsoever? He tried. Has he tried different things? Yes. Have they all worked as well as YOU wanted them to? No. But the point is he is trying different things.

Previously you have said he is not trying anything new. Maybe it'e because in addition to your sometimes valid concerns, there could be others you don't know about. Like not accepting any sort of new direction from the same old way of doing things.

I am sure you will belittle, criticize, point out my version of legalism is unfounded, a crock, and all in all wrong. But I assure you, THAT was the First Baptist I came back to when I moved back to this place in 2005. I have no reason to lie or make it up.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks, Paul.

You don't have a clue as to what "legalism" is if those are your examples.

Example 1 - different churches have different music styles. Every church has its own preferences based on the congregations. Our church has done an excellent job, and this is one thing I have complimented Mac Brunson on, in having more modern worship music. To use that as an example of legalism shows you don't know what it is!

Example 2 - ok, there were 50 people at most (I was there, and you are overstating it) who made some kind of noise about it, but the commotion was not over him taking it off, it was over his comment about taking it off. Besides, this is NOT LEGALISM. I've written about this before - if Mac thinks we're "legalistic" becdause some dear older saints love to have the pastor in suit and tie that is NOT legalism. In fact, let me tell you what is more like legalism than this: its when you don't wear a jacket or tie in the pulpit, then criticize those who prefer you to have a jacket and tie, as though you are less Christian because you prefer the pastor to be in a coat and tie. That is exactly what Jim Smyrl preached on a Wed night.

3. You're a little warmer here...but our church has made concerted efforts to not make people feel badly for not coming, especially kids who come from divorced families who couldn't meet qualifications for reward trips because of missing services when at the other parent's house.

Example 4 - I blogged about it because I wanted to. I wanted peopel to know that there was a commercial on late at night with Mac using the Starbuck's "third place" as a way to draw people to church. If me blogging about that is legalism to you, well, never mind.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Now Paul and Anon...some REAL Examples of legalism at FBC Jax:

1. Preaching storehouse tithing, that if you don't practice this then you will not have God's blessings, and you are disobeying God. If I give 3% to my church, and 10% to other charity organizations, pastors at FBC jax would say I am disobeying God, "robbing God" and would point me to Mal 3:10. Mac has taken this legalism even further than Vines or Lindsay, by playing audio tapes of Lindsay lovining encouraging his church to tithe, and Mac has just as much and forcefully told people they are obligated to tithe.

2. Our church has a practice of following the pastor and never saying a word against anything he tries to do...and the deacons feel a tremendous amount of pressure to never say one word against the pastor, that they must be in lock step with all of the pastor's ideas. This is a form of legalism - you are sinning, you are against "God's man" and therefore against God himself if you dare speak up against something you believe to be wrong the pastor is doing.

Robert L. Peeples said...

You are disobeying God if you do not give him a tenth of your income. It does not matter how much you give to other organizations and charities but God does require for us to give him a tenth back of what he has blessed us with.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Robert.

There you go Paul.

Right on cue, Robert gives us an example of what legalism produces.

A young man who would dare to say a person is sinning if they don't give 1/10 of their income to the church.

Robert L. Peeples said...

God says its sin, not me.

Paul Z said...

Once again you miss the point. I dont care how so called modern it gets, it's the ATTITUDE of certain people within the church. You make no mention of the example I gave with the choir. I don't care whether a church as a whole wants to be traditional and that is what they are happy with. There is a difference between preference and believing anything else is wrong. The latter describes MANY in your congregation.

There were 50 at the most, but I am overstating it? What did I overstate? I said and I quote, "...I heard GASP in the crowd. I am not making that up! Was it loud? No. But was it audible? Yes." How was that overstating anything? If it was audible, then I didn't overstate it. I didn't say 1500 people ripped their garments and cried out for mercy in the church. I said it was audible...I heard it. I can't be much clearer than that. And what did he say that was so wrong? You said it was what he said. What did he say that was so offensive? "Folks I am sorry, but it's hot outside and the lights are too" or something to that effect. Wow...what an offense!

Concerted effort or not, the attitude of being more spiritual than another by how many times you attend church is alive and well there.

Now you can tell me I have no clue about legalism all you want. But the issues above had nothing to do with preference, it was the idea that anything other than what has been done is WRONG! And the truth is, it doesn't matter what you call legalism or not. The fact is there are people (like me) who won't go back because these attitudes exist. I would rather go somewhere where these aren't brought up and no one cares about them. In other words, the place I thought FBC Jax was before I came back here.

By the way, you say Robert subscribes to legalism. Funny, he attends YOUR church Watchdog.

Anonymous said...

This legalism quote is interesting -- mostly because it was made out of town, about his church and/or city, apparently with the expectation that no one "back home" would know about it. However, while he has not used the term "legalism" at home, he has addressed the congregation with certain "smart remarks" which I think mean the same thing. (Like the jacket comment.)

I think Paul Z raises some legitimate points in his post listing examples of what he sees as legalism. At least he actually posted something substantive, as opposed to many who respond by attacking WD personally, saying he is in sin, etc. -- without ever addressing the issues raised.

In my experience, I think Dr. Brunson perceives a level of "legalism" that vastly exceeds the level actually present. He likes to paint the congregation with a broad brush ("If you people would read your Bibles..." type stuff) without considering that his comments are really only relevant to a small minority. I think this goes to his desire to maintain his victim status, as he feels it gives him some moral high ground from which to speak, make decisions, and act on behalf of the "church" -- that is, the congregation.

As for the discussion regarding tithing, and Robert Peeple's assertion that not giving at least 10% of your gross income to the church is a sin, I have to ask: Robert, is it "sin" for me to give 10% of my gross income to various other Christian charities, rather than a check made out to the church? I support foreign missionaries who raise their own support, give money to students seeking to go on mission trips, and give to other organizations such as a Christian crisis pregnancy counseling center. Does that really make me a sinner? You might want to consider your allegations a little more carefully before painting everyone with such a broad brush.

(Yes, I meant to use that analogy a second time.)

Anonymous said...

Robert again is correct. Jesus said "not one jot" will be taken out of His word. Tithing is a biblical teaching that was magnified by Jesus' teaching to give all we had to the poor. It was radical then and is so far from what we believe today.
Today we actually complain about giving 10 dollars to the 100 we earn. Then we even go so far as to say that it was God's to begin with. So God "gives" us 100 and we complain about tithing 10 bucks. It's a shame. But I digress.

Paul, you hit the nail on the head, much to the dismay of the dog. You knew he would get bent out of shape on this one! The legalistic attitude can even be seen in the dog's "assesments" of our pastor. If he doesn't like it he sets up his arguments based on his (mostly non-biblical) reasons to show the "errors" of our pastor.

Legalism is real. Dr. Bruson spent an entire series on the Fruits of the Spirit. Prior to that, he spent several lessons on what legalism is. I knew what it was prior to his arrival. It was rampant by the time Pastor Bruson arrived.

It's funny Paul, the reason I did not define legalism, is due to the fact that I knew dog would disagree and run from there. I don't think he's even given his definition. Legalism is a horribly twisted line of logic. Check out Martin Luther's commentary on it. It's amazing.

Let's keep in mind that Galatians addresses it. It was a huge problem then, too.

How's my hair look?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Here you have it friends.

So Mac Brunson perhaps WAS saying the "hotbed of legalism" is right in FBC Jacksonville. I thought he was referring to Jacksonville, but Mac's supporters I believe here are helping me see that FBC Jax IS the hotbed to which Mac refers. When Mac showed up, what he found was a church that is a "hotbed of legalism". Here that Jerry Vines? How about that Mrs. Lindsay, your husband's church that he toiled in ended up being just a hotbed of legalism that needed fixing by the mighty Team Brunson. Thank God for Team Brunson coming in to save the day.

In reality, this helps me understand Mac's actions and attitudes toward us. He thought he had to come straighten us out because we worshipped pastors and were legalists. It is all making sense now.

Its so bad here that he has no problem even going to other churches and telling everyone what legalists we always have been in FBC Jacksonville.

Dr. Vines - why did you lie to us all these years? You told us we were obedient people, a loving congregation, giving our tithes, supporting ministry, striving to live godly lives, when in fact now we know that when Mac arrived he found a "hotbed of legalism". It was so bad that Paul Z had to leave the church to escape this hotbed of legalism.

I reject all of what you are saying wholeheartedly. FBC Jax was not a legalistic church when Mac arrived...surely there will be some things that need correction...some areas maybe where there WAS some legalism or haughty spirits...

Doesn't it all make sense? If Mac shows up and finds us a "hotbed of legalism"...doesn't it stnad to reason he needs to clean house? Get rid of Pigg, Howard, and definitely get rid of that redhot legalist Bobby Barton...bring in your own guys...bash the congregation for worshipping the past and worshipping pastors.

If we were such a hotbed of legalism, why use clips of Homer Lindsay, Jr to persuade us to give more? If we're a hotbed of legalism, certainly the one to blame above all others is Homer G. Lindsay, Jr.

I'm sick.

Anonymous said...

Robert - please do some research on tithing. Or better yet, email Mac Brunson and flat out ask him to tell you the truth about tithing and specifically about Malachi chapter 3. He knows it is not biblical to preach the tithe. As a matter of fact, listen to him closely. I was impressed that he had enough integrity not to preach that lie. Of all the faults I may have pointed out with his leadership, he has not lied to us about tithing our using Malachi 3 to support it. He does encourage generous giving even beyond the tithe, which IS biblical. But you babes still need to believe that if you are tithing you are complying with some sort of commandand. Please move beyond that legalistic, old testament practice of shepherds and farmers (ONLY) giving to the priests.

And Steve W - if you are out there, tell me one place where Jesus tithed and tell me how the FBC Jax is now the OT storehouse and tell me how Malachi 3 applies to me being under a curse if I don't give of my cash to the church.

If you guys are really interested in learning what the Bible says about tithing check out this site:

http://tithing.christian-things.com/howmuch.html

Rick W said...

Watchdog, I see you have been a member of FB for 20 years? Wow... 20 years. I have been a member for 52 years and personally like the fact that Mac Brunson has brought us into the 21st century. While I respected Drs. Lindsay, Sr. & Jr. I found that Dr. J had NO CLUE how to pastor or administer a church and our services became a "show" between he and Rodney Brooks. He only wanted "puppets" who would bow to him - such an insecure man... Mac in bringing well educated, free thinking staff and actually letting Jacksonville know that we are part of them and not apart from them has done wonders for the Lord in letting Jacksonvile know we care about them.
I read your comments with interest and then have pity for you. Such a lowlife that you will not come public with YOUR warped perception of what is going on (so you think.)
Perhaps you should go to another smaller church where you could use your expertise with them. I will pray for you, pray that you may see the light to leave. FB has been around a long time - it will contiunue to be here regardless of what your finite mind and mouth think.
Thank you Lord for the Brunson's and the wonderful, God-blessed staff he has assembled at FB. For once we have a man who allows us to be the church that truly cares for a city. Thank you Drs. Lindsay Sr. & Jr. for your leadership - even you men were forward thinking for your time. As far as Dr. Vines, who not only was killing FB, his record of chruch growth was pitiful in the churches he "pastored" - before he came to FB. It was all about him and when the people caught on they left as well.
You go Dr. Brunson... bring it on, don't let this weasel who can't idenity himself bother our church anymore. JESUS LIVES AT FBC!

Anonymous said...

to 4/13/08 8:40 pm:

I think Dr. Brunson said it at some point Sunday -- though he said it very quickly.

I think the amount he said was $125,000.00. I think that's probably really small potatoes compared to what he was hoping to collect. I forget what the goal was. Does anyone know?