"...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, May 31, 2008

Pastor's Guidebook: "Do as I Say, Not as I Do" - Part 1

Who can forget hearing the words from a frustrated parent: "Don't do as I do, do as I say". I heard that at least once from a parent - they were of course saying that sometimes even though they might occasionally break their own rule, please still follow my rules.

Well, when it comes to pastors, we certainly would expect that the very things they tell us not to do or to do from the pulpit, or that they would tell us to do or not to do in a famous book they have written, that they themselves would practice them in their own lives.

Apparently not so with Mac Brunson. Mac Brunson and James Bryant have a new book out entitled "The NEW Guidebook for Pastors". To everyone's shock and surprise, the Baptist Press gave it a glowing review earlier this year (click here to read it). And again to everyone's surprise, as pointed out by the BP author, this book is now required reading in four Southern Baptist seminaries and at Liberty University.

First Baptist Jacksonville members will remember this book - it was the "book manuscript" Mac was working on in the summer of 2006 shortly after coming to Jacksonville. It was the "book manuscript" that prevented him from preaching on at least two occasions on Sunday and Wednesday nights . He also told us how far behind he was and how much writing he had to do in a week's time to meet the publisher's deadline that he wasn't able to fully prepare his sermon. Well, this book is that manuscript.

As we wrap up the FBC Watchdog site and let FBC Jacksonville continue on its merry way with Mac Brunson at the helm launching churches in the burbs and a school downtown (I think they have that backwards - we have a wonderful church downtown and maybe we need a school in the burbs to reach people?), I thought it would be doing a service to FBC Jacksonville, and the Southern Baptist Convention overall whose future pastors are now reading this book, to point out that at least one of the authors of this book is asking them them to behave in ways he himself has not behaved. Readers of Mac's book can then determine for themselves - should we do as Mac says, or should we do as Mac does. Need to be "fair and balanced" you know, and see both sides of the story! And of course since FBC Jax members were paying Mac a hefty salary so he could write his book instead of meeting his pastoral responsibilities to preach (which he emphasizes is the pastor's FIRST priority, preaching - not writing books) so they deserve to know some of the "discrepancies" in the book as well. And maybe this will help the authors "clarify" a few things in the next print.

Am I bringing these up out of spite? Am I trying to hurt Mac Brunson? No. But these things in the book that I will point out are the very things about which I have blogged since last fall! These are the actions taken by our pastor and allowed by our lay leaders that I knew were wrong and harmful to our church, and I found it hard to believe that Mac himself didn't know they were wrong and harmful to our church. When I read Mac's book I then realized that HE HIMSELF knew these actions were wrong, as he wrote about them and cautioned pastors agains doing them.

We'll take a look first at this quote from the book, page 183 in the chapter "The Pastor and His Ethics":

"Some pastors unintentionally separate themselves from their people by living in executive houses and driving luxury cars. Billy Graham has lived in the same house and driven older cars for decades. He did not allow people to give him automobiles. He did not allow local committtes to furnish luxury automobiles for him during crusades. Guard against greed. It will do you in."

That is great advice for any pastor. It touches on several things: one is the pastor's lifestyle. If I read this correctly, Mac is saying that pastors should not live in "executive homes" - which is a strange use of words - I would take that to mean "large, expensive homes, like CEO executives might live in". This is a VERY odd thing to put in a pastor's guidebook. Most pastors, shall we say 99% or more - their problem is not living too high, its having enough money to meet their needs because they are pastoring small churches. So who is Mac addressing this to? This wisdom certainly has no application to a pastor of a small church earning say $35,000 per year salary, as he wouldn't be able to afford one NIGHT in an executive home. Here's the key: he's obvioiusly directing that statement to pastors WHO MAKE ENOUGH TO AFFORD AN EXECUTIVE HOME. So he is saying: "Even if you earn enough from generous church members in salary, and your preaching gigs around the country, and your book sales, don't live in an 'executive home' at a level way above your average church member." Or saying it another way: just because you can live large, doesn't mean you SHOULD live large.

Problem is, I would argue that Mac himself has separated himself from his congregation by living in an executive home. He lives in an exclusive, gated, private-golf-club subdivision where very rich executives live. By any objective standard his home is an "executive home" - it has 6 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, has a pool, and is appraised at over $1,000,000. That my friends is an "executive home". The home certainly would not be affordable by the average church member who is asked to give sacrificially - and more importantly - WILL IN THE VERY NEAR FUTURE be asked to sacrifice even more for the new ministries and facility upgrades. So Mac is very correct in cautioning pastors about living in executive homes, as this has and will continue to be a problem in Mac's ministry. So do Mac's words apply to Mac and other mega pastors, or only apply to those bumbling, stumbling pastors who aren't good enough to make it to his level?

He mentions "driving luxury cars". That's interesting. Is he saying pastors shouldn't drive "luxury cars"? Is he saying when church members see their pastor and wife driving, oh say, a big black Lexus and a Jaguar that this can harm the pastor's ability to minister to his flock?

There is one other area that this excerpt touches on, and that is "gifts". He holds Billy Graham out as an example of how a pastor should avoid accepting gifts - that Billy Graham would not even allow people to give him automobiles. We'll address this one in the next article.

So to wrap it up, one has to ask the question: Why? Why would Mac say one thing in his book and then behave in a contradictory manner to the advice he gives others? I have my own thoughts on that, but I'll let you decide. Fair and balanced.

106 comments:

Anonymous said...

Pretty amazing that at the time he was putting his final touches on the book, he was starting the construction of his EXECUTIVE home no doubt this book telling pastors not to live in EXECUTIVE homes is helping pay for his EXECUTIVE HOME.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - I loved your "swan song" and this is certainly a wonderful way for you to bow out! I will certainly miss your posts and I hope you come back! I visited your blog daily and enjoyed your "take" on things at FBCJ and the SBC. Godspeed, friend!

SBC Guy in Illinois

Anonymous said...

This is particularly disturbing for those pastors in attendance at the last pastor's school at FBC Jacksonville where Dr. Brunson told the pastors that one of the biggest problems in the convention is preachers who negotiate CEO and NBA salary packages. The nerve of him saying that, and telling preachers to not live in executive homes, when he himself is earning a large enough salary to afford such a home. He is right our convention is in trouble - if its going to be pastored by men following Dr. Brunson's example when it comes to finances.

Anonymous said...

We may inadvertently have an answer to this Mega Church Mega Pastor problem!! With the economy and the gasoline situation deteriorating daily, we are soon going to be unable to afford our lifestyle much less pay exhorbitant sums to keep up Mega-Churches-Pastors, thus, I guess, thats why they are trying to get as much as they can as quick as they can. Much to the consternation of the people giving the money.

This is not to say these preachers are thieves, it is to say maybe they should examine their calling to see if God would have them do some things differently.

Anonymous said...

Dr. Lindsay once preached on "ABSOLUTES". There appear to be no absolutes today preached in most pulpits, but these preachers are absolutely getting richer and richer.

Anonymous said...

Since the Brunsons enjoy the bennie of bringing their dogs to work unlike the other lowly pastoral staff who are stuck over in the antiquated Admin building, perhaps he wrote a chapter "A Pastor and His Dogs"? Maybe he could add that chapter in the next version which can't be too far down the road given this is required reading at seminaries and a yearly revision is in order to keep those book sales comin'!!

Anonymous said...

It is sad that I, as a seminary student, HAVE to buy Dr. Brunson's latest book if I take a class where it is required. This has always bothered me, not just with Dr. Brunson, but others in our convention (like Dr. Vines) who profit from our desire to learn from them. Who agreed to make it required reading anyway? If what you are saying is true, he is not only fleecing his congregation, but he is also taking scarce money out of the pockets of seminary students. He preached recently how tough he recalls it being when he was in seminary. Well why not make his book available for free to seminary students who are taking a class where his book is required? This would really give him a positive image with us that are coming behind him! It might also provide an example for the others who continue to gain book royalties from LifeWay from a book they wrote while being paid to pastor a church; books that supposedly were written to "help" young pastors?

Anonymous said...

"There appear to be no absolutes today preached in most pulpits, but these preachers are absolutely getting richer and richer."

Which pulpits are these? Can you verify the specific churches and pastors that are not preaching absolutes? I get so tired of people who take what is happening in their church and generalize it to say this is happening everywhere. I've got news for you: YOU DON'T KNOW about all the other churches, and what they are or are not preaching! Unless you can tell us where and who, stick to your own church and your own pastor who does not preach "absolutes."

Anonymous said...

Watchdog:

Have you noticed how people requiring answers to their questions, are too lazy to do the research for themselves? If I can find it and you can find it, why can't they? Do they just want to stay ignorant?

Anonymous said...

Anon 4:28,

Are you serious? You're going to have to pay for any textbook you get. Should you get them free because Brunson or Vines wrote them?

It's pretty sad when people like you are going to be in the ministry and you're already wanting something for nothing. Quit being a whiner about the costs of school or get out!

If seminary leaders deem a book by anyone to be something to help you with your education, that book has to be paid for by someone. I guess the school itself should pay for you books, huh?

What's scary is the future of our churches are in the hands of little crybabies who want something for nothing. Pay your way and stop your crying. Grow up!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - sorry pal, but you need to re-read the post about Brunson selling the book.

He's not wanting something for free. He's pointing out that it would be nice to see Brunson and other SBC authors who write books that are then required reading in seminary, to use PART OF THEIR PROFITS FROM THE BOOK to help seminary students buy the book. Not an unreasonable point. Of course Brunson and Vines aren't obligated to do that, but sure it would be a nice gesture.

Brunson's case is particularly disturbing. He took time out of his pulpit to write the book, telling pastors what not to do, when AT THE VERY TIME HE'S WRITING IT HE WAS DOING WHAT HE WAS TELLING PASTORS IN THE BOOK NOT TO DO.

There was a poster here a while back who said that Satan goes after pastors in two primary areas:
financial greed and sex. Some pastors have weaknesses in this area. Gilyard obviously fell over his sexual appetites. While Brunson obviously is very clean in his life in that area, faithful husband and father...yet greed "has done him in" as he stated in his book.

Anonymous said...

He most certainly is asking for it for free, and not "part of their profits."

He said:

"Well why not make his book available for free to seminary students who are taking a class where his book is required?"

He also goes on to say:

"...but he is also taking scarce money out of the pockets of seminary students."

Scarce money out of your pockets? Again, seminary student (shuttering still at the thought of him being in ministry somewhere), you have to PAY for any books you get in college or seminary. What makes the books from someone else any different, no matter who they are?

He IS wanting something for nothing.

An education costs money. Stop the crying or quit seminary and go work at McDonald's.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Shutters you? Can't you stay on topic? This isn't about seminary students wanting free stuff. This is about Mac Brunson telling seminary students to do things one way, but doing them totally different - so that he can enrich himself.

Let me tell you what shutters me pal.

Not seminary students who point out how nice it would be for a rich millionaire preacher to donate books to struggling seminary students, its preachers like Mac Brunson being held forth as the example for future preachers. Now THAT makes me shutter. How about you Anon? Or does the watchdog make you shutter?

Anonymous said...

Shutter? Splutter!!!

Anonymous said...

What happened to you to where you want to see FBC destroyed

Anonymous said...

Dear "FBC Jax Watchdog",
I stumbled upon your blog on accident while doing a search for one of the names that appears in your blog. As a former member and employee of FBC I was interested to read what you were writing about.

I left my employment at First Baptist shortly before Mac Brunson became pastor there to pursue another adventure, and only know about the man based on others’ observations.

I too am a pastor in Jacksonville, although certainly not on the scale of FBC. In fact our little body meets in homes.

I am writing this response today, because I cannot stop thinking about this blog. I write out of concern for you.

Scripture makes it plain to us that no man rises to authority except God places him there. We know that for whatever reason God has, He has placed Mac Brunson at the helm of what can be an unwieldy ship. No man can thwart God's plans and so we must understand that God placed him there. That of course does not mean that Mac Brunson is without error or unable to be held accountable for mistakes or sin in his life.

On the contrary the man of God is certainly held to a higher standard. However, there is a way to go about accountability and a way not too. Of particular significance is the passage in I Timothy 5:19 that says you should not accept an accusation against an elder except by multiple witnesses. You well know what God did to Miriam when she spoke against Moses. God takes serious the office of pastor, even if we do not.

Secondly, Matthew tells us in chapter 15 that if your brother is in sin you go to him. If he doesn’t listen you take someone with you. If he still doesn’t listen you take him before the church, etc. Of course I have not read your entire blog, maybe you have followed that course to no result and feel you have no choice but to vent your frustration here.

Which brings me to a question, and that is what is the aim of your blog? Jesus last prayer on this earth was that we would be in unity as a Body. I am not sure if you are a believer, and if not then I understand your blog. If you are a believer, then it is my humble opinion that you have unknowingly allowed yourself to be an instrument of the enemy against the Body of Christ. We are to be known by our love. Love for you and the Body of Christ is my motivation in responding to your blog. Regardless of Mac's faults are you promoting unity or disunity? Have you handled things the way scripture says we are to handle them.

Please understand my intent. This pot has been stirred quite enough. I have no intention of responding to accusations or further pot-stirring. I would be willing to meet with you and pray with you.

When I first quit my membership at FBC, (1999) I was disgruntled. I was unhappy with the way things worked, or rather didn’t work down there. It took God changing my perspective to see so much good, rather than the bad. Diversity is necessary in a Body for it to perform multiple functions. If you cannot come to peace with the way things are done within this one member of the Body of Christ, find another. Maybe you are discontent because you are not where you are meant to be. Maybe God initially gave you a discontent to motivate you to change, but instead you turned that motivation into sin, by attacking God’s anointed.

I do not know you (that I know of) but I hope that the Spirit of God would direct you on the path of righteousness.

My name is J. Quincy Richardson, and my email address is qandjen@bellsouth.net. Feel free to email me if you would like to discuss peace and hope further. Feel free not to contact me if you simply desire to stir the pot.

Thanks.

David Hammock said...

June 1, 2008

By its' very title, I find the book provocative. Why is it that someone, anyone, dare have the audacity to think they can write a book on a pastor's guide to being all he can be? The proof is in the pudding.

The American pulpit is in a state of crisis. Another Pastors' "Do-good" book only reflects the self help culture, be all that you can be, have your best life now God's best for you is whatever you can dream. Really, what would the author write for God?

Distorting and contorting the role of pastor as though somehow another book will fix things is a joke.

Where are the God "obeyers" rather than the celebrity preachers' circuit players? Where are the kingdom seekers rather than the empire builders? Where are the God pleasers instead of the man pleasers?

A true pastor is a true pastor is a true pastor. Why not consult "The Tent-maker's Guidebook to being a Pastor," by the Apostle Paul, former persecutor of people of the church, former arrogant and proud man, a former self-focused, to get what's mine kind of guy from Tarsus, changed by a true encounter with Jesus Christ. True and on-going encounters are what I'd like to write to you about. May I speak?(Paul)

Rev. David Hammock
President & CEO
Revivals For America
Raleigh, NC

Jon L. Estes said...

Brother Hammock,

DO you read any book other than the Bible and if you do have you ever learned anything from them?

I have a copy of the original "Guidebook for Pastors" by W. A. Criswell. When I was a young pastor I found the book highly informative about the ins and outs of the pastoral role. Something seminary does not teach.

Now if you gave specific examples from the book which do not agree with scripture then you might have a platform to complain.

Yet, you made your point to support your ministry against the ungodly pulpit.

Jon L. Estes
Pastor
Kannapolis, NC

Anonymous said...

To the new readers of this blog that have posted in this section: Some of you guys need to lighten up in your assessment about what this blog is all about. It is not to "destroy the church" (so dramatic!) or about "doing research to get answers." It is about basically TWO SIMPLE THINGS: First, it is simply pointing out that without accountability, there is the potential for abuse of finances and power (personal wealth building and nepotism.) Many of us believe we should TRUST our pastor, UNTIL we see evidences he has abused that trust. This blog has pointed out facts that cause us to lose trust. (I won't restate them here.) So, we would like to see some transparency and accountability from the leadership. Whether you love Mac or not, or a a "good" Christian or not, accountability and transparency is not too much to ask for, particularly when a 18 million dollar budget is involved.

Second, the man is a hypocrite, doing and saying things that are in direct and undeniable conflict with what he wrote in the guidebook. This is not opinion. This is simply and clearly posting excerpts from the book and then stating the fact of Mac doing the opposite. He says don't accept large gifts, written while he was accepting a $307K piece of land. What part of that has anything to do with the criticisms of this blog.

I realize there are some that if a pastor molested a child, would quickly be outraged at whomever called the police since they are hurting the pastor, no one is perfect, it is a church matter, we should use Matthew 18, yada yada yada. That kind of thinking is what lets sexual abusers and financial charlatans get away with their sin. And sorry, I can't "wait for God" to handle it. Bob Gray was in his 80's and died before "God handled it" and many innocent children were abused in the meantime.

And what does it matter to you anyway. Sure, there are those that are going to question the pastor's abuses...get over it. So what? There are many problems in our churches today...questioning leadership about finances and nepotism is not one of them.

Anonymous said...

I am the seminary student who posted earlier. I must have hit a nerve with someone. Let me be more clear. Pastor X gets paid to study and preach God's Word. He is paid to write books. He accepts incredibly large gifts and lives a life of luxury. He believes he has something to share with the younger generation of preachers and wants to help them. He has some "good old boys" decide they will make his book required reading, insuring more royalties and sales. In short, he is getting richer by "helping" out the young preachers that come along behind him. If he really wants to help others, and wants to spread his influence to them, then ask the seminary professors to please make his book required reading and as a matter of fact, he will be glad to give it to them free! Similarly, if he wants to bless and encourage seminary students, go preach to them in chapel, but don't charge them admission to hear him preach. (Obviously, this is not being done yet...except at preaching conferences and pastors conferences.)

What if a hospital pastor came to visit me when I was sick and then after he left, told me, "here is my bill: $15.00 for gas here and back, $100 per hour for my time. Just because you are sick doesn't mean my time and gas are not worth anything. I have to support my family too." I understand his logic, but if he is a salaried pastor, charging me more is not right somehow. His motives and greed would make me sick and he would lose all credibility.

Now, if an author of a book supported himself and his family through being an author, that is fine. But most of these books are written using church time and resources as well as excerpts from sermons they were paid to prepare and preach.

I know this is off topic, but wanted to clarify my frustration. I get it when paying for a "textbook" at seminary. I don't get it when I have to buy some preacher's book that was made required reading. What's next, I will have to buy his CD's of sermons he preached at his church? Or I will have to pay and attend his preaching conference somewhere? This is dangerous stuff going on in our SBC circles.

Anonymous said...

Rev. David Hammock - thank you, sir, for your insightful post. You obviously have seen and experienced some of the same problems we are now encountering at FBC Jax under Team Brunson. Maybe since you put your name on it some of these whiners about us being anonymous will listen to you, if not us. I doubt it though. They have made up their mind and will not consider that they might be vulnerable to sexual and financial abuse. They believe that only happens to everyone else. Not them. Even after fact after fact is presented to them.

Anonymous said...

Hey Rev Dave,

How much do you make a year?

What kind of a car do you drive?

What kind of car does your wife drive?

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ooooh Brett...boy you really got Rev Dave on that one didn't you? Man you are clever.

Only problem is you asked Rev Dave the wrong questions. If you want to stay on topic, the relevant questions are:

1. Hey Rev Dave, as a pastor, have you accepted large gifts from wealthy members of your congregation?

2. Hey Rev Dave, did you write a book telling pastors not to live in executive houses and drive luxury cars, yet you yourself built a custom executive house and drive a Lexus and Jaguar?

Come on Brett, you can do much better than that.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Brett - you're a Class A jerk supreme, and don't bother posting here anymore because I'll never let one more single post from you through...even if I suspect its you posting anonymously I won't let it through.

Those of you at FBC Jax that read this and know Brett Blankenship, tell him he should have been at church tonight to hear Brunson's sermon. He and others have non stop criticized people for posting anonymously, and one man dares to put his name on his post, this Rev Dave, and what does sweet spirit Brett Blankenship do? He uses it against the man and wants to post some ugly things about Rev Dave here on this site, which is not about Rev Dave its about Mac Brunson and the hypocrisy of telling people to do one thing when he does another. But Brett wants instead to come here and use this blog to attack Rev Dave and try to "expose" things about his past. Is there any wonder Brett that people blog anonymously? I know you Brett, and I could post some ugly things here about you, and call YOU out...but I don't. Why? Because you're not the topic here, and NO ONE CARES because you're no ones pastor and you're not the pastor of the largest SBC church here in this town.

Feel free to read this blog all you want Brett....but no more posts for you.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I've put up with enough of your nonsense Brett and should have banned you long ago.

Please go away.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Robert - I can't make it any clearer. This blog is about FBC Jax and Mac Brunson. Its not about you, me, Brett, Rev Dave, etc. And I won't let people who criticize anonymous bloggers then turn the tables and try to attack someone who dares to post their name. That doesn't make this a biased blog, it makes it, well, a blog about what its about. Brett doesn't come here and comment on the Pastor's Guidebook and the article on hypocrisy. He instead waits for someone to comment on the topic, then tries to use this to attack them. Sorry, very few bloggers who moderate their blog will allow that nonsense.

Anonymous said...

You are a complete idiot, Dog. You are banning Brett from posting because he said something YOU think is nasty, and yet you think its ok to post nasty things about our Pastor.

You think you have any credibillity with anyone?!

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Jesus would think about this blog?

Anonymous said...

Jesus wouldn't approve.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

If Jesus wouldn't approve of this blog, then what are you reading it for. Obey your Lord and leave and don't ever read this rubbish. But you can't help it. You keep coming back. Maybe what bugs you and what keeps you from totally rejecting and ignoring this site is that there is some element of truth.

Anonymous said...

If the Lord doesn't want us to read this rubbish, then what makes you think He wants you to create it?

Oh I know, it's that flawed human logic of yours that pastor Brunson talked about in a previous sermon not too long ago.

Anonymous said...

It's not the truth that is bothering me and keeps me coming back. It is a broken heart that keeps me coming back. I sit here wondering if i should bother to enter into this "dialogue"

If Mac Brunson is your pastor, and you are a believer, and you believe he is in sin, why not try to go to him and talk with him?

It overwhelms me to think that this is the message that some unbelievers are getting about the church. Bickering and backbiting. Conversations taking place behind others backs. Those accusing Mac of being hypocrites, are you not being a hypocrite if you claim to be a Christ-follower and yet are not obedient to the scriptures in handling his “sin”?

Is your pursuit for righteousness sake? Can you pursue righteousness through your own sin? No way. Either you handle something the way God has ordained or you do it otherwise, which is sin.

It was said that this blog is about accountability of leadership. Is there not to be accountability of the brethren as well? Can you get the speck out of your brother’s eye and ignore the log in your own? Those by the way are Jesus’ words again.

This blog is dangerous. The enemy of Christ would have it be dismissed as necessary or even harmless. But hasn’t Jesus set up for us the correct way to handle questions of sin among the brethren? Those of you who are so critical of Mac, do you love him? Are you compassionate for his state, or do you mean simply to devour him?

Titus 3:1-5;10,11
Tit 3:1 Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,
Tit 3:2 to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
Tit 3:3 For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another.
Tit 3:4 But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared,
Tit 3:5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

Tit 3:10 As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him,
Tit 3:11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

J. Quincy Richardson

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Got me there. Wow you're good.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Watchdog,

You must feel sad watching the blog go down like this.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Robert - I'm already sad, I've been sad watching my church turn a blind eye toward a pastor who is abusing the church and enriching himself and his family, and who is a hypocrite telling seminary students and pastors to not do what he himself did. Then he wants to talk to us about integrity and honor. That is sad. Its doubly sad when I see you all coming here to not rationally discuss these issues, but instead want to attack and cut down those who express these concerns in this format. That is what makes me sad sir. Has nothing to do with this blog or this blog going down. I never intended to blog forever. I'm closing this blog out by summarizing what my main points are, and then using Mac's own words to show that he agrees with me...but he didn't have the honor and integrity to do what he himself wrote about in a book that he sells to pastors and seminary students. Now that is one sad story.

About Mac's sermon today, which was very good. The little girl who was dishonest in his story that "sold her soul" for $9.35 in Mac's sermon - she did it because the lure of that money caused her to do what probably she knew was wrong. But she didn't have the integrity and honor to turn it down. Perhaps Mac sold his soul too then, when he couldn't turn down a $250,000 gift when he KNEW he had told others not to accept even much smaller gifts - but like the little girl it was too tempting for Mac to pass it up. At least Mac sold his soul for a much higher price, and for that he is commended. I'm sure the Lord is proud of his decision.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Brett - you are a stalker. Quit emailing me. Get a life. Play with your kids. I will not post what you send me.

Anonymous said...

Response to J. Quincy Richardson:

You post "If Mac Brunson is your pastor, and you are a believer, and you believe he is in sin, why not try to go to him and talk with him?"

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe Watchdog and some other Anon posters e-mailed Pastor Brunson about the financial accountability and other things that were going on and those e-mails were never answered. If e-mails are not being answered, do you think I could call and make an appointment to meet with Mac personally to discuss these issues? Do you really think his secretary would pencil me in for that? I seriously doubt it.

You are quick to throw out scripture and say this blog is dangerous. I think you have missed the point here. This blog was and is about accountability. I think the purpose here was to get answers and to shed some light on things that were going on in the church. I don't think it was personal attack on Team Brunson.

You say "It overwhelms me to think that this is the message that some unbelievers are getting about the church. Bickering and backbiting. Conversations taking place behind others backs." You definitely have a point but it's not because of this blog. Bickering, backbiting and conversations taking place behind others backs has gone on in FBC way before this blog ever started. I have been a member of FBC for over 30 years and I have seen the cliques. If you didn't make a certain amount of money, live in a nice home or a certain gated community, you "didn't fit in with a particular group of people". Even without this blog, there will still be hypocrites. It amazes me how on Sunday morning, people will speak to you and then when you see them out in public and they don't even acknowledge you! They act like they don't even know you.

I have learned not to keep my eyes on people as people will disappoint you. I have learned to keep my eyes on Jesus.

So he who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you had spent half as much time over these last six months praying for Pastor Brunson as you have spent ripping him and his family apart--if maybe the Lord would show you the telephone pole in your eye while you are trying to expose a toothpick in your pastor's eye. As a former resident of Jacksonville, I have always loved the ministry of FBCJax. I attended the Pastor's Conf in February and they did a fantastic job as usual. My friend you need to either get right or get out of that church. Your spiritual life is more important than wasting countless hours writing this blog when that time could be donated to a cause with a Kingdom dividend. If you don't have the nads to go for a face to face with your pastor then by all means stop standing behind your cowardice behavior on this blog and do yourselves and the members of FBCJax a favor--Leave Quickly!!

Anonymous said...

to the anon who suggested that Watchdog wants to see FBC destroyed, you are a perfect example of someone with blinders on. For some, to face the fact their leader isn't what he should be is too difficult. But when your pastors words don't jibe with his actions you don't have much choice. It's no fun admitting to being duped and easier to bury ones head in the sand and defend at all costs. It's seems to be somewhat of a pride thing.

Anonymous said...

Rich Pastors Paul warned pastors 1 Timothy6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful LUSTS, which drown men in destruction and perdition. Is Dr. Brunson in a heap of trouble? Did he not read 1Timothy 6:5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds and destiture of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness:from such withdraw thyself. These Purpose Driven pastors are using the wrong pattern. They grow big but at what cost. Compromising integrity for gain is the wrong pattern.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,
Brett is not the one you should scared of.

Anonymous said...

The reason your blog is dangerous is because you have me wondering now if your pastor and his family are only interested in money, and are taking advantage of the church and its members, like laughing at everybody behind their backs. And I think the pastor is a great speaker, and probably a great person, but YOU and believe me only YOU have planted that seed of doubt in my mind from reading this blog. And i am someone who hasn't attended church in years because of seeing "stuff", and this was the first church i had attended. So thanks FBC Jax Watchdog, you probably think you done me a favor, but i think you damaged yet again my ability to go to church. I now wonder how a millionaire family can possibly relate to the problems of the average joe out here. I see visions in my head of someone sitting there laughing and collecting dough. You know $$$$. And I know where its coming from and it ain't God.

Anonymous said...

Romans 8:28 "And we know all things work together for good to them that love God,to them who are the called according to His purpose"

This would include this blog. It helps one discover their core beliefs, what they believe, and may even bring them closer to God, because they seperate the things of the world and the things that are spiritual.I have noticed over the years that people don't like to debate because they have nothing to say. Didn't the verse say "all"?

Anonymous said...

Does the pastor not understand; he works for the church, he is paid by the church. The church is his "employer". Who among us would hire someone, put them on easy street, allow him to show up for work...or not...let him take trips, whenever, put his family on the payroll. Also, ask for more money. Moonlight at other churches, sell his own brand (books) for which the church gets no benefit. Use the church generally to promote himself and above all who among us would hire an employee and "NOT KNOW HOW MUCH WE PAY HIM", or his family. How would we know if are getting our money's worth. We as the employer have no clue what we pay him.

That's really bad business policy. When was the last time you bought anything and did not know what you paid for it? Also, who among us would allow our employee to go to other venues and talk about what he isn't happy with concerning his employer? Adding how difficult his job is, while taking the said "undisclosed" amount we pay him plus perks. Makes us look stupid doesn't it? This is the situation that we're in. By the way, we had also no input with hiring said employee and family, this is why this blog is here. Fair and balanced. We want a PASTOR that loves us and that we can love not an employee.

Anonymous said...

Do as I say, not as I do. Well Mac continues his growth program in order to reach the unchurched(PD). But he says he is not PURPOSE DRIVEN. He says this growth leadsmore to be saved. Yet here is another Sunday and no attempt to get them saved. Now I am watching this on TV so I'm not sure what has been edited. But here comes 8:49 the first mention of salvation. (The blood washing over mans sin) I liked the next six minutes where the pastor gets into salvation. So what am I comlaining about? I'm not complaining I'm saddened. You see we have been trained, for decades, that you have to get the unsaved lost before they can be saved. There has not been a concerted effort to do this since Dr. Brunson came here. He will not preach hard on the need for repentance. This is just another case of not being up front with the TV watchers. Thanks watchdog, at least we know why he isn't preaching like we know he can. The reason he will not confront the unsaved with their sin is because he thanks that will run them off. After all that would be, in his mind, contrary to church growth. I will be saddened until Dr. Brunson repudiates the PURPOSE DRIVEN movement.

Anonymous said...

For those who think that Watchdog is unscriptually attacking the pastor: You obviously have not been around long. There have been many posts here which deliniate individual dealings with the pastor. Members who have talked repeatedly with the pastor on phone and in person. Information was given to the pastor clearly spelling out the problems with the new changes and the danger of the changes. Members have talked to the deacons about these problem areas. The pastor is without excuse. He knows what is happening. So for those of you who think that this blog is the only place where our concerns are being aired, think again. If you think we are wrong, YOU GO TALK WITH THE PASTOR AND SEE IF WHAT WE SAY IS NOT TRUE. YOU ASK HIM WHAT IS GOING ON. CHECK IT OUT FOR YOURSELF. TELL HIM YOUR NAME. THEN SEE HOW LONG YOUR NAME WILL BE KEPT OF THE BLACK LIST. AFTERWARDS COME BACK HERE AND GIVE US YOUR REPORT. We know you won't do it, don't we? Hang in there Watchdog.

Anonymous said...

Annon June 1, 2008 11:59 Bickering, Backbiting & Cliques: I also am a long time member of FBC. I sometimes thought I was the only one that wasn't in a clique. This happens to a church when money and the cliques rule. God is sometimes used as a reason to assemble and call it a church. But as I have seen also, there are a lot of good people that love the Lord here also. Those are the ones that please God. You are correct in putting your eyes on Jesus, that's what DrLindsay said "keep your eyes on Jesus don't put your trust in man as you will be disappointed everytime".

I also was not considered "up to par" because I wasn't "somebody" or wealthy enough to warrant their time. I too was talked about or ignored. But that's ok. Jesus knows who I am. I just try to keep my eyes on HIM. By the way, I decided those people don't meet by standards.

Kindness from the leadership and feeling like the pastor cared about the "little people" would help.That's why we need answers to a lot of those questions posed on this blog. God bless you.

Jon L. Estes said...

Anon 10:56 AM

You contradict yourself.

You say...

Does the pastor not understand; he works for the church, he is paid by the church. The church is his "employer".

Then you say...

We want a PASTOR that loves us and that we can love not an employee.

You can not agree with yourself in your first statement then allow your second statement to be truth.

If you are the employer, then he is the employee - PERIOD!

Also, do you know how much Jerry Vines was paid? If so, can you show proof of his salary? I really don't want to spend time discussing this with you if you choose to work on assumptions.

A pastor of a wonderful baptist church who knows who I work for and who pays my salary. The one who owns it all - and He is not a baptist.

Anonymous said...

Jon you surpise me, you are not looking at the underlying problem we are faced with. We understand your faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. We have the same love of our Lord. Here in is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. With this as a given, follow me for a minute. Our church is quickly becoming non denominational. More like the old Dutch Reformed Church, now the Reformed Church of America. You know Robert Schuller, Community churches,Saddleback Valley Community Church before Rick Warren change it to Saddleback Church. We have looked at the parallel between their churches and ours, thanks to this blog, and have found a similar appearance. We are now called First Jacksonville. If you look at the Witness newspaper in the list of churches we are First Jacksonville. Not First BAPTIST Jacksonville. Our sermons are mostly out of the Old Testament. Watered down history lessons. Man centered messages with agendas rather than Christ centered sermons. My opinion. I could go on time permitting. The more light that is shown on this Seeker Sensitive, felt needs approach to spreading the gospel the more we realize how close we are to loosing our church to complete liberalism. We have made a stand that enough is enough. If you sat in our seat at church you could appreciate our predicament. Do nothing and let the church fall away from God or enlighten the members and possibly save it. Our church is on the verge of becoming Calvinist. The next thing we may get into is Preterism or Covenants. Look out for Covenants check the ByLaws. This may sound like a stretch but look at how many changes we have already made in just two years. This blog has been instramental in opening our eyes. Thank the Lord for Watchdog. Jon take a look at the SBC. We are about to lose our conservative control to Purpose Driven. What next?

Anonymous said...

Last I heard the Old Testament was part of the entire canon of Scriptures...

Nearly all state Baptist papers leave out the BAPTIST in a church's name--they are assuming evreryone knows that BAPTIST is implied...

Considering the vast majority of SBC churches run less than 100 in SS & Worship, and are mostly rural, I sincerely doubt that we are losing "conservative control"

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:49

You have been circling the planets too long. Perhaps a lack of oxygen has rendered you unable to see what is happening to churches today. Purpose Driven has taken over FBC. We are in a fight to save our conservative heritage in order to combat this New Age onslaught. It doesn't matter to leadership as they are in charge and can't see the forest for the trees.

Rural churces? Most of the large churches are in the cities and suburbs. You need to get back down to earth.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: We can't do without you. How are we going to be able to express ourselves without this blog? Thanks for all you are doing.

You have allowed us to be Watchmen on the Wall.

Anonymous said...

And you need to stop thinking that the SBC only consists of large urban/suburban mega churches. If you read my comment, I said nothing about large churches. You do not make up the majority of the SBC. Go to these smaller churches and you won't find that they are following the purpose driven model.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers: An anonymous poster just posted this on the old article on the Hollands Link. Since most of you aren't reading these older articles, here it is:

------------------

Watchdog...
An answer to your question
"Did Mac Brunson know about this $300,000 land gift before he accepted the job as Pastor of First Baptist Church Jacksonville?"

Nope he didn't.

And The Collins have been members of FBC for nearly 30 years. Serving under Dr L, Jr. and Dr Vines. And gave them wonderful gifts as well... BECAUSE (and brace yourself here) THEY CAN!
The Collins are generous because they love Jesus. Period.

So, back off of this faithful family- who just happens to enjoy blessing their pastors.
Your speculations just plant seeds of doubt in others that these men don't deserve.
If you have something you want to ask them- call them up! Ask!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Here's another one...this one really clears up a lot of things:

------------------

You people are totally off base.
JD Collins is not a builder, he is a developer.
Collins Builders (not JD's company)is a builder--but a residential builder- not commerical.
I just went to their website and saw that they only build smaller, production type houses.
So they would have nothing to do with any building the church did.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - you must be connected somehow to the Collins, because you are might sensitive. I've never criticized Collins for offering this gift.

And if what you said is true, that Mac Brunson and family had no idea that the land gift was going to be given, then he needs to tell us that.

Anonymous said...

Do Not Post :) . . . just checkin in!


Mutt,

OK . . . your drones are back spewing your talking points . . . well done (lol)

For a minute there your blog was dominated by someone you could not talk over. Way to hang in there. you do well in the minor leagues . . . but your mindset, your mouth and your argument is still weak to me!

Just bringing you back to reality! WAKE UP . . . lol

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

Anonymous said...

Mutt,

Now your credibility and your character is in question with me. You say your not posting anymore of my posts but here you are . . . .

Come on you kicked me out . . . just let me be :) I don't mind a few one sided conversations with you, actually it is the same as when you were posting my comments; so nothing has changed!

This back and forth thought process of yours is exactly what hurts relationships and i was getting use to ours.

By Grace,
Brett Blankenship

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

To the Anon who discusses purpose driven here...I think you're right. I listened to both sermons yesterday and Mac barely, and I mean barely ever mentioned the name Jesus Christ in either sermon. I didn't hear it at all in the first sermon, and he did thank God for the rain Sunday night and prayed in Jesus' name, and in closing, he did say he wanted "spiritual mass" (huh?) to attract people so he could tell them about Jesus Christ.

And then yesterday to make his point about "honor" he used a story of a little girl in the Nicholas Cage movie "Family Man" who was dishonest and didn't tell the store clerk that he gave her too much change - to make the point that she sold her character for $9.32. Yet he didn't just tell this story...he took precious sermon time to tell how this story was told to Don Miller (yes, author Don Miller), but not just that someone told it to Don Miller, but he felt the need to tell us that Trey read it to Mac, about Don Miller being told the story, about the little girl who sold her character in the movie "Family Man".

Jerry Vines and Homer Lindsay used to tell us one way to measure a preacher is by how often does he say Jesus Christ. I do declare, that Joel Osteen used the name Jesus Christ in his sermons more often then Mac did. Who's the real purpose driven preacher?

Anonymous said...

Billy Graham was told by someone close to him to never preach a message without mentioning the CROSS. From then on Billy never failed to mention the cross in any of his messages. If the message insn't filled with Jesus what do you have. Just some old guy talking. Through all the years I have found that, when talking to someone, the sooner I could name the name of Jesus the sooner I could witness. Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain, he washed it white as snow.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Point is your assumption is wrong by saying I need to "back off" this family. This blog is not about the givers of the gift. I have not been critical of the givers of the gift, I have expressly said it was wrong of Brunson to ACCEPT the gift.

BUT....since you're injecting the Collins into the conversation today, and seeing as you know so much about the Collins and what their giving patterns are to FBC Jax preachers....maybe you can tell us:

1. Did they give large gifts to Vines and Lindsay? Land gifts? How large?

2. For instance, did they give Vines a gift when he showed up in town back in the 1980s? You want to tell us that gifts were given, implying that Vines and Lindsay did or would have done the same thing Brunson did. So maybe you can clear this up and give us facts and not inferences.

3. You say Mac didn't know that the gift was going to be given until after he arrived. Did Debbie Brunson know about it? Who told Mac Brunson he was getting this gift?

4. For what reason would the new pastor coming into town be given a gift so soon? I've heard of church members giving gifts to pastors out of "love and affection" that have been their pastor for a period of time - how could this gift be given for "love and affection" if they didn't know Mac Brunson? Or did they know Mac Brunson and had such affection for him that the natural outflow of this affection was a lavish land gift?

You brought the Collins into this, so let's talk about it.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Sorry - the person coming here to bring the Collins' into the discussion is posting in old threads. Here is their post just minutes ago:

---------------------------------
So just because someone stands up for the Collins' means they are "linked" to them?? More assumptions. Just lovely.

Anonymous said...

I thought it interesting that the cover of the book shows sheep wandering around in what it appears to be a cloud of darkness.
Is there a chapter entitled "Keeping the wool pulled over the sheeps eyes"?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog re: 6-2...at 6:57

You have unmasked the problem!!If people will study the manevolent movement of the Purpose Driven Church they will see that FBC is following the PD playbook right down the line. You can't imagine how many churches that have probably been destroyed by this Hybels and Warren PHILOSOPHY. Notice I didn't say preaching, I said philosophy. See Col 2:8 "Beware less any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ".

As others have previously mentioned: We rarely hear anything out of the New Testament. We also rarely hear preaching about sin, REPENTANCE, redemption or doctines that BAPTIST believe. Sad, sad, sad.

Spirtual mass: maybe the Ecumenicalism tag is applied here also. Lets see, Ecumenicalism, Calvinism; What comes next? I worry about this spiritual mass statement.

Personally, I don't want to hear about a Nicolas Cage movie or any other worldly example when the Word of God is treated so cavalierly. Preach the WORD. Now do some of you see the Purpose Driven Movement here?

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Ditto Watchdog!!!!!! This is one of the characteristics of purpose driven a devaluing of the Cross and Christ to a more humanistics,felt needs,seeker friendly type of message.This is what I believe the Apostle Paul was warning about in 2Thess.2:3.This is only the beginning!!!!!!!!

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Watchdog also Pastors involved in purpose driven tend to be MATERIALISTIC(money,cars,houses,fame,authoritative,uncompromising,et.al.).

Anonymous said...

Yes, dog our Pastor was looking for homes in Jacksonville, prior to his arrival. Which means he was planning on moving before any "land deal" as you put it. You can find that information with a simple Google search. It was in a Dallas newspaper.

I just wonder if you can admit your mistakes in assuming he was lured by greed to come here.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I don't believe you. Let the pastor tell us himself the circumstances behind the gift. Very specifically he should tell us how this all transpired.

But the pastor himself in his book cautions pastors against "greed" in accepting gifts from people. He holds forth Billy Graham as an example, a man who wouldn't allow anyone to give him automobiles or the use of automobiles, much less gifts worth $300,000. It showed extremely poor judgement in the pastor accepting this gift from the Collins.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Watchdog,

It seems that your assumption about the "land deal" was wrong.
The pastor knew nothing about it prior to moving into Jacksonville. So to say that the pastor was lured here by a "land deal" is false.
This further discredits your argument regarding the "land deal", which means your blog has been wrong this whole time about this issue.

What gets me is that you won't believe it even if it is the truth.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Watchdog,

When can we expect the final article that is the grand finale of this whole inaccurate blog?

I'm anxious to read what you can conjure up.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Let the pastor speak for himself Robert. He has never said that he didn't know of the land gift before he arrived. He has told us he didn't know what the salary was before he came, as though that demonstrated great faith on his part. But he's never said anything about the land gift. I truly believe if it was sprang on him as a totally, out of the blue, "SURPRISE - YOU NOW HAVE A $300K PIECE OF LAND" gift after he arrived in Jax with absolutely no prior knowlege whatsoever, the news of this gift would have been shared with the congregation.

I'm sorry, I'm just very skeptical about the land gift given the circumstances of his hiring and I won't believe that he knew absolutely nothing about it until he arrived, unless he himself stands before the congregation and explains the circumstances, which he will never in a million years do. He accepted a $300,000 gift from one of the church donors just three weeks after he arrived - and in anybody's world - any organization, and company, any business relationship - any place in the world where the leader of a non-profit organization takes a large gift from one of the donors - that immediately is called into question and bears an explanation....but not in our world of mega churches, no sir, no explanation required. In fact if you demand an explanation, you're a tool in Satan's hands. What a strange world. Is there any wonder why intelligent people are so turned off to Christianity?

And Robert, even if he did not know about the gift before he came here....suppose he was out house hunting and then the sprang the surprise: SURPRISE...guess what Mac, one of our church donors has decided to give you a $300,000 piece of land!

Mac should have had the wisdom to know not to accept it for so many reasons, not the least of which is that his own views on gifts to pastors were that pastors should follow Billy Graham's example and not accept large gifts like cars (and presumably much larger gifts like land gifts) from well meaning people. But apparently the gift was just too darn good to pass up.

So Mac knew the right thing to do, because wrote about it in his book. Yet he didn't do it.

Wasn't that what he preached on Sunday about "honor"?

"Honor is doing the right thing because its the right thing to do"

"Honor is doing the right thing regardless of one's feelings"

Where's the honor in accepting a land gift of $300,000 when you know its not the right thing to do as pastor? Perhaps going to the lawyer's office, sitting down at that big conference table with pen in hand, and signing that deed enriching his family by a QUARTER OF A MILLION DOLLARS...I suppose that just felt "too good" that he couldn't do the right thing. What a hypocrite. What a hypocrite.

But maybe his sermons only apply to us plebe and not to himself?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Don't have a schedule Robert. Soon. Still have a few more articles to post.

Anonymous said...

So, WD, are you sure this is not about the Hollans or the Collins ??? You sure seem interested in them. You sound like a stalker to me!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I'm sorry that you don't have the common sense or judgement to understand that I'm not out to "stalk" the Collins or Hollands.

Anonymous said...

Stalker....probably not


Slanderer.....indeed

Need I say more?

Anonymous said...

Wow, how desperately sad this is. My family and I were members of FBC and our children began their lives within the walls of FBC. We left only to follow a call God had on our lives. In the little over 12 years since we left, we have been back and were welcomed back with open arms by loving friends in the couples, children’s', choir, and orchestra. We have served in dozens and dozens of churches in our tri-state area for various supply needs, interim, view-of-calls, as well as churches we have joined to support. We have worked very hard to not compare churches we have been in to FBC, because those are completely unfair and biased judgments. However, in all of these years, we have never experienced the love, support, and encouragement we did at FBC, nor have we experienced the same focus of reaching our neighborhoods for Christ than we did as part of our SS classes.

I/we loved Dr. Lindsey, Dr. Vines, Rodney, Edson, Ms. Freeman, Nancy...all those who were in the leadership roles at the time....BUT it was not those roles that made FBC what it was (I say only in past tense b/c we have been gone so long)...it was our peers, our SS classes, our SS teachers, our care group leaders, each of us individually that made the FBC experience what it was. Each church in which we have served, we have sought to bring the fellowship and focus of loving of Christ to others as we had learned there. Yes, Dr. Lindsey was the 'final say' - but I dare say if he had 'gone off the deep end about anything' - regardless of the years he had been there, there were enough people that would have addressed it - yes, even to Dr. Lindsey.

I say all of that to say, that the church is so much more than the pastor. They are somewhat of a checks/balances team that emanates what is going on within "the home". We were not merely "Sunday morning attendees" - we were deeply involved and just about the only day we were not @ the church for something was on Saturdays, and often we were with friends from SS as well.
I know we have been gone for a long time, and I know things change - but unless the love of Christ has grown dim in those still there - the underlying foundation is the same. I have sadly read these forum posts today.
Yes, we are given minds of our own and God has given us the freedom to make our own choices - but how sad and pathetic I find these bickering and childish arguments. What a disgrace we are to the presentation of our Lord with these qualms.
After I received my BA in Christian Education, I found I could not "serve" in churches because I was a woman. Having been taught and learned from observing "the best" - Dr. Lindsey, Guinell Freeman - and having the excitement and exuberance of Nancy Brant and Rodney Brooks - I found myself limited in my ability to fulfill the desire God had placed in my heart. BECAUSE I WAS JUDGED AS BEING DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WAS TRADITIONALLY ACCEPTABLE.

FBC members are not mindless sheep who are blindly led. They are intelligent, educated individuals who work together to exemplify and proclaim Christ's love to an increasingly empty city. When Dr. Lindsey Sr. came to FB – what did he do? He cleaned house and re-formed his foundation – yes, the church was in a different state than it was when Dr. Lindsey Jr. passed and Dr. Vines retired – but, the principle is similar. New leadership. New ways of doing things. I do not know the new pastor nor have I heard him speak, but I believe in the fellowship of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville and I believe God has in no way let it fall into a place to bring dishonor to him.
How dare so much energy be expended on judgments and self-righteous proclamations!! Christ is a Lord of order, grace, and compassion. The modern day church(as a whole) is a blatant eyesore to the cause of Christ. Yes, God has specific, clear rules for us to obey - as we do with our own children - for their protection. However, (healthy) parents generally do not put down and attack the child's each move when it is astray. Love and healthy "tough love" are shown to help bring the child back. The father of the Prodigal Son waited with love for his son - he did not go out and chastise him repeatedly and degrade and judge him - he loved him and accepted him for who he was - despite what he had done.
How sad to Christ that the modern day church shows itself to merely judge "those dreadful sinners" and attack individuals - inside and outside the church. How ashamed will each of us be when we fall at His feet and explain why we each spent so much time tearing each other - other believers - apart - and often, even more violently tear non-believers apart. This is not the way our Lord reached out to others - except the Pharisees who spent all of their time doing just that.
Why are not the great outspoken orators who are posting here using that energy to build and edify the true Church – the Body of Christ? I found this blog by accident – and am sorely saddened by the vehement attacks on others. One of the other blogs had a reason to not continue such vile postings – this is not edifying each other, the Body of Christ, and oh my – how a non-believer would respond to such words. Leaders and leaders and leaders and members can agree to disagree – and draw the line when needed – the endless pointless attacks, gossip, and whining within these pages is truly saddening.
J

Anonymous said...

Hi "J" - anon June 3 - 4:28 p.m. - I am glad you found the blog. Apparently thousands of people across the country have also.

I agree with much of what you said about the church being so much more than the pastor. And about it not being fair to compare FBC Jax to other congregations.

That is why I am so hurt to see this new family come in and use this great church to build their own personal family brand and wealth with no accountability to anyone. It is sick really. Check out the church website, you will see a holy land trip not with pastor brunson, but with the "brunson family." it is all about employing and enriching the family. And what did Dr. L and Dr. V say about judging a church by how much they talk about J-E-S-U-S. You won't hear much of that from mac. just an occasional mention right before the invitation. The man was preaching on honor and integrity and never mentioned JESUS, but did mention his son, reading a book from an author who was telling a story about a movie he saw. This preaching and leadership is so far from where you remember it with Dr. L and Dr. V it is sad. yet the man and his family operate with no accountability thanks to some embarrassingly spineless star struck teen-age girl like yes men who serve as officers and trustees and deacons. God is probably asking "is there not even ONE?" amongst this once great congregation that will tell mac brunson like the prophet nathan told david: YOU are that man!

Until then, I hope you wealthy insiders sign up to go on a nice little trip to the holy land to be with the brunsons. They go free, you pay thousands of dollars. And Jesus will ask you to give an accounting of every penny. "I was hungry...and you went to be with the brunson family. I was thirsty and you went to be with the brunson family." God is not mocked. ICHABOD on Team Brunson and the yes men who empower him.

And "J" - what do you say about the main article here? Why would he accept such a gift 3 weeks after arriving when he had just finished up the book saying that it was wrong for pastors to accept large gifts? Care to answer that, or would you prefer to criticize the blog instead,or tell us how great the church once was.

Anonymous said...

J - I don't think the lost need to come here to have an excuse to reject christ. They need simply to turn on their TV to the various religious charlatans to do that. Also, most of them probably don't bother reading church blogs. If they do, they might try one of the hundred million sites that share the gospel. But if they want to find out what Mac Brunson is doing at FBC jax, this is the place to find out. If they like it, they can come and give sacrificially to him and his family to keep making those trips to Greece and the Holy Land. If not, they can take their talents and gifts elsewhere to be used of the Lord. We already have enough "prominent" business people buying favor from Mac. We don't really need any more. :)

Anonymous said...

In response to 'J,'

This is off-topic of this blog but a comment in response to your post. I also experienced the First Baptist that you did so many years ago. Yes, there are changes at the top but you would be amazed at the changes within the Sunday School also. The concept of group leader and outreach leader has either changed or is gone. I've been a member of adult classes and can honestly say it's been about 4 years since I have been contacted by a group leader. I'm not sure if the roll of group leader has changed or if there aren't enough people willing to fill the roll.

It's not as bad in my kids classes but it's not good either. My kids teachers will usually always contact them at the beginning of the school year. Then throughout the year maybe one or two more phone calls. Even when we have missed for many, many weeks for one reason or another there is no contact from the church. I'll admit some blame in this because I have not stepped up to be a group leader in recent years, but when I was I couldn't immagine going a month without contacting everyone in my group, much less someone who hasn't shown up for an entire month.

I too remember the FBC from 10 years ago and am sad to say it's just not the same any more, and I'm not just talking about upper leadership.

Anonymous said...

They say you can't go home. Nothing is the same. Your friends are gone. The things that made you what you were have either departed or changed. The hearts that beat together to make the place what it was are gone. So when you go home, you can look back with fondness for times gone by, but you must look forward. You must look forward to what new and exciting work that the Lord has for you. For we are His workmanship,created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. When you returned to FBC Jax Watchdog Blog you found us not the same. Many have either left or have been removed. The church will never be the same again. What you have in this blog is an attempt to save the HEART of this church. Some have said the candle has gone out. Others have tried to educate the members about the danger of this Purpose Driven philosophy. Still others fear an utter lack of transparency. You see us bickering. You are right. Sometimes it gets out of hand on the blog. But rest assured, we all want what is best for FIRST BAPTIST JACKSONVILLE. What do I see? I see our members all seated in church, all of their angels beside them, the Holy Spirit and Jesus in their hearts. All waiting to see if we will continue to be the great soul winning church we once were. The question is, will we.?

Anonymous said...

Amen, J.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:05 The question you ask is important. What is Macs philosophy concerning Winning Souls or Making Disciples. Rick Warren said, "Simply stated,we are to make disciples,not converts. This means we have the responsibility to consciously do things that will result in new christians growning tword spiritual maturity." If Mac is following Rick Warren, Mac's friend, that could be why there is no emphesis on SOUL WINNING at FIRST JACKSONVILLE . I have heard that the Bylaws have been changed to major on education. If we are to make disciples not converts, does that take us out of Soul Winning? And, if there is no need for Soul Winning, does that make us CALVINIST? If the members are waiting to see if they will be a strong SOUL WINNING church again, they may have a long waite.

Anonymous said...

I thought this blog was shutting down? Perhaps it is high time for that to happen since it seems to have degenerated into something that surely does not honor the Lord.

Please end it soon.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I was going to shut it down very soon, but I keep getting egg'd on my Mr. BB - he helps me see that the people of FBC Jax are in need of a watchdog. So I think maybe we'll just have to keep it going a bit longer, as I have a number of more posts before the final post. We shall see. Keep those God honoring emails a comin' BB!

Anonymous said...

Yes WD you need to keep this blog open. From what we have seen here today there are people from all over the country who are interested in what is happening at First Jax. There is Sin in the camp. They see it everywhere and they are surprised when they find it here.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I get many more emails from people to keep it open...and the readership continues to increase in number and geographic reach. Over 500 vists and 1000 page view per day, and growing.

Jon L. Estes said...

The church will never be the same again.

This is not always a bad thing. It can be a bad thing but because some people do not like the direction or the leadership does not make it bad.

I listened to a few of Dr. Brunsons sermons (on Inlight) where he is listed as Pastor of First Baptist Jacksonville (there goes the PD theory).

I then read a few of Dr. Vines books, which are basically his sermons in print.

Both are good expositions of the passage covered. Some could take Dr. Brunson's words personally and probably ought to.

The problem most do not see but quickly convey is that things are not the same.

A few questions...

1 - What did Dr. Vines make?
2 - Did he ever receive any gift of significance, other than at retirement?
3 - Did he ever travel and was invited to travel because he was pastor of FBCJ?

Question follow up for # 1 - Are you sure and can you show it? # 2 - Are you sure and if you found out differently would it be of concern? # 3 - Absolutely.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

If some of you are not willing to examine what I consider legitimate concerns by Watchdog then please explain to me the consistant warnings in the New Testament to BEWARE OF FALSE SHEPHERDS AND FALSE DOCTRINES.Paul commended th Bereans for verifying what Paul said by the scriptures[Acts 17:11].Paul also warned of a coming APOSTASY; Is it confronting the world to today or is that only for future generation? Someone please explain to me what the Apostle Paul was referring to concerning the great apostasy in 2Thes.2:1-3.

Anonymous said...

WD We are witnessing a conflict in our country. The conflict between CHANGE and that which has worked. We who have grown up here at FBC JAX have used the word change to mean; improve upon that which has worked. We have been led by faithful ministers of the word. Those men who have preached Jesus from cover to cover in the bible. Those who believe in the NEW meaning of CHANGE say that you can not do that which has worked any more. So there is the conflict. Here at FBC JAX many of our members believe that these NEW changes that the Brunson team has brought with them are in error; and have come from a man who is in error. Rick Warren. Many across the country are anxious and fearful that this PD movement will damage the cause of Christ and will destroy many more churches. As a high profile church,FBC JAX is seen as a pivotal church. If we can be duped into following this apostate movement then others may think that the PD movement must be right. We members of FBC JAX who are against this sort of change will war against it. This blog, I hope, will continue to show both sides. If I am wrong God will reveal that to us. If the change agents are wrong then they must change. Therefore WD, stay the course.

Robert L. Peeples said...

WRITTEN,

Our pastor is not a false shepherd if that is what you are implying. And he is not teaching any false doctrine.

An example of a false shepherd teaching false doctrine would be someone like JEREMIAH WRIGHT or JOEL OSTEEN.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Robert I am not calling Dr.Brunson a false prophet,but Rick Warren "is" and PD is an apostate philosophy.Apologists Dave Hunt and Dr.John MacAuthur have both refuted Warren's books(purpose driven life and church).Even Rick Warren himself and Hybels have both publicly admitted that this(PD) ideaology has left their church member Biblically ignorant.Now if Dr.Brunson is attempting to implement this ideaology into 1st Baptist what do you think the end results will be?

Anonymous said...

The problem with Dr. Brunson is,he is using his wrong MAJOR from college. He majored in HISTORY and Bible. When you step into the pulpit you are to MAJOR ON BIBLE not on history. He has become the Dr. of history rather than the Dr. of doctrine. I love history but as someone has said I would rather hear HIS-story.(Jesus) Yes, stay the course Watchdog.

Robert L. Peeples said...

WRITTEN,


Pastor Brunson said he is not implementing the purpose driven ideaologies into our church. So why are you stuck on this issue and why do you continue to think our church is becoming a purpose driven church? We aren't. Our church is not purpose driven, it's theology driven. That's where we're headed. So get on board or look for another ship.

Anonymous said...

Jon that Theology Driven stuff won't hunt here brother. That is late coming elite talk. We know that Smyrl brought that in from Southeastern presbyterians. It Ain't BAPTIST. Look around you. The church is filled with Purpose Driven. The pastor continues to say one thing and do another. Jon, it is what the PD preachers do. They will deny it until there is no turning back. Jon you tell me where the changes are coming from? I will check you out. Brunson sent Rodney to Hybels church for some training. Go ask him. Call up Willow Creek Association and see if we did not send a group out there for training. Is Hybels PD? You know he is! Check me out. Facts are Facts.

Anonymous said...

Excuse me, but is not the Bible itself History? Is it not refreshing to see how the Bible which many of us cling to and use as the authority of our faith and the guidebook by which we try to live our lives by is relevant and real and happened. Understanding historical context and how the Bible fits within the "history" we were taught in school growing up. I believe my Christian walk and biblical understanding is improving and my biblical thinking is growing in everyday life. The Bible is the ultimate History Book!

Anonymous said...

Robert: You might be one of those sheep on the front of Brunsons book, being led into Purpose Driven, while being assured you are not going there. There are those that are adept at getting their way, while reassuring us who oppose them.... Cells, Satellites,,School,Any Bible Version,(your copy of Gods Word),Visitation doesn't work,Sunday School workers are now Facilitators, the lost are now Unchured,(it makes them feel more Seeker Sensitive comfortable, Ecumenicalism( from the GREEK meaning from the whole world) History as opposed to Doctrine,and one of the BIG marks of Purpose Driven is to Mark those who voice any opposition, or resistance to going PD. Rick Warren states "You may have to get rid of the pillars of the church as they just hold things up" This is certainly a Godly perspective isn't it. Many of us are not blind sheep to be led in any direction. As for myself, I have never blindly followed anyone because they told me too. I follow JESUS AND THE WORD OF GOD.

Robert, as some others, I think you may be Star Struck. I think you mean well, but climb over the fence and take another look. Where there is SO Much smoke there is certainly fire.

Anonymous said...

I am personally tired of all sermons starting off with statements like "In 1492,Columbus sailed the ocean blue". Who cares! Give me that Old Time Religion!!! Its all about JESUS, if not its not worthwhile, PERIOD!!!

Anonymous said...

I think you forgot to say "Yeee Haaawwwwww", Anon 12:22 PM.

Dog, I'm not suprised you can't stop your own blog. You say one thing and do another. How ironic.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I'll run the blog as long as I want. It's my blog. If you don't like it, tough. Or start your own blog about my blog, and how I should stop my blog. I will not be blogging forever, and I will wind it down when I'm ready.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Anon 12:10,

That's fine. You can call me a blind, gullible sheep. It's not the first time. What else you got?

Anonymous said...

Annon. of ll:50

Concerning your comment about the Bible being history. The Bible is about BIBLICAL history, not about world history used as Bible history. Plus, there is the future spoken of in the NEW TESTAMENT.
You know, all of those books that follow the Old Testament, the ones that talk about sin, repentance the Blood and the Cross, and how to be Saved.

Anonymous said...

Anon of 1:11

So are you implying that the Gospels (the N.T.) (Matthew, Mark, Luke & John) are not historical of the life of Jesus and that Biblical history is not related to World History? That the historical letters written to the churches in Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus, etc. are not historical? The fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sin already happened and isn't historical....even lost people consider Jesus an historical figure.....are you trying to confuse me?

Anonymous said...

Annon 2:36
You are easily confused or just quarrelsome. The point being made is,that there is a heavy emphasis on earthly, history rather than the importance of what the word says SPIRITUALLY. History is history is history. The Bible is so much more than that. Jesus said, "MY Word shall not pass away." Not my history shall not pass away. (My wording.) The other point being we get very little preaching or doctrine from the New Testament.

Anonymous said...

"You know, all of those books that follow the Old Testament, the ones that talk about sin, repentance the Blood and the Cross, and how to be Saved."

Love the "Quarrelsome" comment.

That seems to be the flavor of the blog. Your comment (above) was taken with a sarcastic tone...apologies if mistaken.

Do you consider the OT irrelevant and inapplicable in the NT church? As I understand the OT does as well point to sin, repentence, the blood and the cross as well. The Bible need be taught from a wholistic perspective. However, I will not continue this line of chatter because I don't think my pointing out that Dr. Brunson does in fact preach from the N.T. would be sufficient because however much he does would not be enough. Good Day.
We shall move to the next thread.

Anonymous said...

I stand corrected.
If the fellowship and Sunday Schools are not what they were 10 years ago, and they haven't been that way in over 4 years, then perhps FBC is reaping what it has been sowing. Dr. Lindsey taught us, and many many churches followed, that reaching the lost was an intimate, personal work that was accomplished one to one. If that has not been the focus for many years, then the focus has defininately been redirected, and perhaps letting the wrong turn continue.

We often discussed what a hard blow it would be when Dr. Lindsey was lost to us, but I never dreamed that in such a short time his leading this flock to keep their eyes on Jesus alone would so quickly diminish.

I am truly sorry that the heritage that the Lord produced has been slipping. It does seem that there are many people posting here who see what is going on - perhaps the emails and individual conversations are not enough. In no way would I encourage a "split", but it sounds as though the situation is far too serious for dealing with in the shadows of a blog...perhaps - any deacons here? this should be an open forum - face to face - to address concerns as well as answer questions. My last semester of undergrad work I did an indepth study of Martin Luther. He was an amazing man that God used mightily. He boldly posted his concerns. I do not mean to literally post on the church door, but address them openly with appropriate leaders.
FBC, however, is merely a symptom. The Body of Christ as a whole is ill. May God heal our lives, homes, and churches to be better representatives of Him.

J

Peace to all involved. May the Lord be glorified.

Anonymous said...

J - it sounds like you have an accurate understanding of the problems and you have the demeanor to perhaps help lead a turn around? What can be done? Blessings to you.