"...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

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Two Rivers Baptist Church - Lessons for FBC Jax?

FBC Jax members - if there is anything about Mac Brunson and his inner circle that concerns you: whether it be his occasional abusive preaching style, how he talks about us to other churches, how he made significant church bylaws changes with absolutely NO explanation, how he put his wife and son on staff after he came and to this day there is no communication to the congregation as to what specific ministries they are responsible for; or maybe its the spending of $100,000 on the pastor's suite before he even arrived, or the $307K land gift for love and affection, or the wedding reception for his son, or his generally lavish lifestyle - if ANY of those facts concern you, I recommend you carefully review what has happened at Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

This is the church pastored by Jerry Sutton - Sutton was a nominee for SBC president back in 2006 - he was the favorite of the big shots in the SBC, and authored the book 'The Conservative Resurgence", but he still lost big to Frank Page anyway.

Here's the summary of what has transpired of late at the church: On Sunday May 12th, 77 long-time, faithful members were kicked out of the fellowship, as they demanded to see church financial records - including expense and salary records. They were concerned that church monies had been spent on the pastor's daughter's wedding reception, and other irregularities. Access to these records was not granted, and they decided to file a lawsuit last year to grant them access to these records that they believed they had the right to inspect under Tennessee law. The suit was dismissed, although the judge did grant access to some records, but still questions remain unanswered by Sutton. Fast forward to May 4th, 2008: a vote was held to ex-"communicate" or remove from the fellowship, the 77 members who inquired about the finances. However, perhaps the Lord intervened, and miraculously, the effort to remove them failed by a very close vote. This did not stop the pastor. He then took matters into his own hands, and since the 77 members being voted on were allowed to vote on the motion, the pastor on May 11th, at the conclusion of the service, held a "show of hands" vote on whether those 77 votes should count. The motion to not count those 77 votes passed, and the members were then kicked out of their church home. Never mind that the church bylaws specifically state that all members are allowed to vote on all motions before the church.

OK, I've probably overlooked a lot in that one paragraph summary of what has transpired. But thankfully, churches like ours have a full record of what has transpired, on the Internet.

You can do your own Internet research, so here are some links for you to visit and read:

1. Read the series of articles at Baptist Press that have to do with Two Rivers. Click here for the list of these.

2. The "dissenters" who are demanding openness and accountability from their church leadership have a website - click here. Visit their website, and notice some of the questions they have of their church leadership, which they have not received answers to.

Just a few things that concern me over events at that church as they relate to our own church:

- the chain of events that has now blown up at Two Rivers into a move by the pastor to kick out long-term members of the church started with some questions that members had in 2006 about spending and personnel decisions at the church. Suppose Sutton just answered the questions. OK, maybe there was some embarrassing information. Maybe even some spending improprieties. Would answering the questions honestly, openly, quickly, humbly have been better in hind sight knowing now what has transpired? Some of the questions were concerning using church funds for personal expenditures of the pastor and his family. Any of this sound familiar?

- the pastor's response to questions regarding salaries, expenditures, etc could have been a move to more openness, more accountability to the people of the church - but instead questions were not answered. Since the pastor was stonewalling information, someone dared to sue the church to exercise what they believed were their rights as members to know details on how money was being spent, and the members who participated in the lawsuit are viewed as the recalcitrants. While our church has not gone that route yet, there are more than 77 people gravely concerned over the decisions of our pastor the past 2 years - and our pastor takes every opportunity he can, and so does Jim Smyrl, to cast a negative light on those who attempt to hold the pastor accountable. While Brunson and his supporters make the issue that his critics are seeking to be "anonymous", Two Rivers shows the issue is not one of anonymity - questions will NOT be answered whether its b y anonymous recalcitrant bloggers or 77 members with their names on letters. And of course its easier to expel members once they put their names on a letter. So don't be fooled by the pastor whining about anonymous emails or bloggers. That won't change anything except maybe invite a very public lawsuit.

- The Two Rivers dispute shows the importance of a church's bylaws. You'll notice as you read about Two Rivers that one of the issues related to expelling these people from the church is what the church bylaws have to say about church membership, church discipline, and pastoral authority. Is it a coincidence that as the lawsuit was unfolding last year at Two Rivers that our pastor, Mac Brunson, clandestinely changed OUR church bylaws to give himself more power, to define how church conflict is handled (which can affect the rights of members to gain access to financial information), and the formation of discipline committee? Why would the pastor make these significant bylaw changes without explaining them in any fashion to his congregation? Why would he not give members copies of the new bylaws before the vote?

Its a shame, but these mega church pastors refuse to move into the 21st century when it comes to church finances and accountability to the people who are giving the money. Is there any wonder that mega churches in the Southern Baptist Convention are on the decline, as admitted by SBC president Frank Page recently? While the trend of mega church pastors in the past 20 years has been to accumulate huge wealth for themselves and their families, and while they keep preaching the need to be willing to change methods and styles to reach a new generation, they ignore the need to be completely accountable to all donors of their churches as to how the money is spent. Pastors like Mac Brunson (who sometimes appear to be CEO wannabes) love to look to the business community for examples on how to run their organizations, how to use the latest marketing and advertising gimmicks to attract people to their church, but one lesson they refuse to learn from business and government is the importance of complete financial transparency. One need only look at the trends in government and corporate governance to know that less accountability and openness as it relates to finances is actually harmful to an organization in the long run - hiding executive salaries from the members is to the advantage solely of the executive, but it does not serve the mission of the organization. It might allow mega church pastors to accumulate more wealth and enjoy more perks for themselves and their families, and it might allow them to serve the interests of the close inner circle of supporters, but it is harmful to the church as a whole. One need only look at Two Rivers and First Baptist Church Jacksonville to see this.

So what can church members do? Well, Two Rivers shows one thing: no matter how ugly the dispute might get, mega church leaders will NOT let church members know how the money is being spent. Period. It will not happen. It took a lawsuit at Two Rivers, and all that did was cause the church members to be expelled as recalcitrants. While our mega church pastors look to corporate America for the latest marketing trends on how to attract new members, the members would do well to learn a business lesson also: corporate America only listens to you as far as it effects their pocketbooks. So, if you have any doubt that your church is spending money on pastor wedding receptions, huge salaries for pastor and family, perks galore, your pastor is accepting huge personal gifts from donors of the church, then my friends and brothers and sisters, there is only ONE way you can "request" and be heard when it comes to more openness regarding church finances: that is with your pocketbook. Churches often ask us to "boycott" companies who take actions that we disagree with as Christians. Why, because they realize that a drop in profits will get the shareholders and leaders attention. I would humbly suggest we do the same. We need to stop our giving (not "to God", but to FBC Jax) until the leadership is more open with all receipts and expenditures: and answers questions about the pastoral transition that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars of gifts, perks, and even conversion of valuable ministry building space to a personal office suite. No ugly litigation needed, no blogging needed, nothing but a simple drop in receipts will force the leadership to respond to their donors. The alternative? Just keep giving more and more every time a "special offering" is asked for to further Mac's personal ministry, keep giving your "tithes and offerings", and let Team Brunson spend the $14 million dollars how they see fit. Would you send $1000.00 to someone who assured you he would give $1 to the local food bank? Or to someone who thanked you, told you they loved you, and then kept asking you for more and never gave you any accounting. Would you "trust God to deal with the man" or would you use your God given mental abilities to demand an accounting? Please pray about what God would have you do... We already know what Team Brunson would have you do.

89 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Watchdog: Thanks for the information on what happened at Two Rivers. I had heard bits and pieces, but appreciate your going into detail about what happened there. Certainly a lot of "red flags" for mega churches to heed and hopefully avoid. Thanks for your time and a thorough post!!

Anonymous said...

What if the answers you have gotten from people concerning some of these issues are correct? Do you think that you might possibly be wrong concerning any of the issues you raise? I do want to point out that you're an outsider, and therefore not privvy to the meetings/conferences concerning what you are bothered about. Do you know for certain that these issues are wrong on the part of Dr. Brunson?

I think that you cannot with 100% accuracy say you are correct. If the Church Staff did list their salary what if what you saw you didn't believe - you might think they are hiding the actual truth because they don't want the Church to really know how much they make...see? This can go on and on and on. There is no answer that satisfies you unfortunately. You are what i like to call a conspiracy theorist - the sky is always falling in, people are always out to get you, the government is covering up aliens, etc.

I pray that you can figure out some way to ease your anxieties and worries over things that you don't understand. If you feel like you are on the right track in questioning Dr. Brunson like this, I have to question where in the Bible it says this is the Godly way to do it. I have a feeling that you don't care if it's the Godly way to handle it - and if so, I wish you would put that disclaimer on the front of your website so that people who get on it will know where your heart really is.

Anonymous said...

Possible solutions:

1. Sue the church to do what you want it to do or get what you want to get.

2. Leave and join a church that gives you all the details on church administration you desire.

3. Continue to blog and act as if you are on a righteous crusade against church abuses.

A couple of names come to mind of past church dissenters, John Wycliffe and Martin Luther. I realize their challenges were more doctrinal in nature but there are some intesting similarities between them.

Both of them were concerned about church abuses in the area of money.

Both saw a wealthy church that constantly sought more money from its membership.

Both sought to publicize and preached against the church on the subjects with which they disagreed.

Both were considered trouble makers (heretics) by the church authorities.

So far I see some similarities between FBC bloggers and these two men. Here is where you differ:

1. They were willing to sign their name to their charges.
2. They were willing to testify and defend their charges against those accused.
3. They were willing to sacrifice all they had in defense of their charges.
4. They were completely honest in their dealings with those they accused.

My challenge to the blog authors and others that support the charges is; do you really believe the charges you have been bringing against Dr. Brunson for over a year? If so, then you should be willing to "count the costs" and persue it to it's fullest (outside of the legal system).

Incidentally, both were tried by the church authorities and found to be guilty of their charges to the point where they were removed from their teaching positions and excommunicated from the church. Are you willing to expose yourself to this possibility?

Both provided a basis for future impact on Christianity. Wycliffe in the future Protestant Reformation and translating the bible into English which resulting in it being translated into many different languages. Luther in staging the Protestant Reformation which we enjoy today. Are you willing to show other mega-churches that you can indeed be transparent to its membership and continue in reaching the community for Christ?

I see those that write this blog as wanting change, but not wanting to have any costs or sacrifice attributed to them, but taking the credit if change does occur. Incidentally, from what I know, NOTHING has changed due to this blog writings. I think it is time for you to examine why nothing has changed.

It is dishonest to cast accusations without your name signed to it. I do not think you should list your names in church disagreements on the internet, but I do think your group should have a private meeting, draw up your “95 Theses”, sign it and deliver it to Dr. Brunson, requesting a meeting to resolve or get answers to the issues.

As I see it, God was in what Wycliffe and Luther did, because they exercised great faith in God and were willing to lay down their very lives for what they believed was the truth. You are not and therefore God is not in what you are doing and it and will not change anything at FBC Jax until you are willing to do so.

If you are not willing to carry this out to its fullest, I would suggest shutting down this blog and exercise choice #2 above.

Steve W

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Steve - you've been reading this blog for over a year, and you still don't get it. Your post was a waste of your time because its entire premise is wrong. I really thought you were a bit brighter than this Steve. You've shown yourself on the other baptist forums to be a great defender of Baptist conservative thinking - and I agree with you 99.9% of the time on those issues you take up with liberals. That's why its a shame that you come here to try and relate and compare and contrast the things discussed here on this blog about Mac Brunson to Martin Luther and his crusade against the church. There is really nothing to compare or contrast there Steve.

Luther's entire crusade was doctrinal. This blog isn't about Brunson being a heretic or a false teacher Steve! Can't you see that? Or are you so blind that when someone chooses to blog about OBVIOUS things going on in the church: $100k spent on a pastor's suite, the pastor accepting a $300k land gift from one of our church donors, wife and son on staff with no minisitry responsibilities communicated to the church, and others...that you automatically think that we are claiming Brunson to be a bad man or doctrinally impure. The only thing that might at some point rise to any level of comparison to Luther is when Mac finally cranks his discipline committee into gear and tries to throw members out of the church. Look at Smyrl last night, for instance: claiming "I'm watching my pastor be attacked by Satan." Good grief Jim Smyrl. Poor Mac is under satanic attack. Cry me a river for poor Mac.

No one is bringing "charges" against Mac Brunson. You've used the word "charges" over and over in your post, and that's ridiculous. You'd like to couch it in those terms, as it makes it look like there are people who are lying or slandering Mac Brunson, we're bringing "charges" like Mac is a criminal. Poor Mac is the victim, right Steve? As someone said on this blog before: Mac can go ahead and accept the land deal, put wife and son on staff, ramrod bylaw changes, renovate and take over the 1st floor conference room...BUT FOR GOODNESS SAKES MAC KNOW THAT YOU WILL FALL UNDER SCRUTINY WHEN YOU DO IT! DON'T DO ALL OF THOSE THINGS THEN HAVE YOUR RIGHT HAND MAN DECLARE YOU AS BEING ATTACKED BY SATAN WHEN QUESTIONS ARE ASKED AND ANSWERS DEMANDED.

You seem to want to tell me what to do. You don't like how I'm "pursuing the charges" against Mac Brunson. Tough. I'll put it back on you Steve. If YOU don't like how I'm doing this, then you stop me. You'd like to if you knew my name, and so would others on church staff. I'm sure you can get it. Until you do and try to expose me and throw me out with the discipline committee, I choose to be anonymous. Deal with it.

You like to say "casting accusations without your name on it". This blog has not been about casting accusations, its been about pointing out the poor decisions, and the abuses of power that are plain and visible. You and I might disagree on the analysis of what we see, but we're not dealing with accusations, but facts and the analysis of the facts.

You say that this blog hasn't changed anything, and won't. With that Steve, I agree. This blog has not made any real changes. It has affected how Mac Brunson preaches however, as he has bashed our congregation to others and he has preached hard to the congregation and has made himself to be the victim. As I said in this post: nothing will make change at FBC Jax...no blog, not even a lawsuit requesting financial information with 100 members names on it. The only thing is when people get fed up with what is going on and leave the church or stop their financial support.

I like your logic: God was in on what Luther and Wycliffe did, and I'm no Luther or Wycliffe, so God is most certainly not in what I'm doing. Love the logic there Steve. And glad that you are able to speak as to what God is in and what he is not in. Since you know what God "is in" and what he is not in: to what extent was God "in" the $100,000 expenditure on the Pastor Suite, and the loss of that valuable space for ministry? Please Steve, tell us what God thinks of that in your next post.

Anonymous said...

Voice of Reason says:

Hi Steve W - good points. I just don't think I am quite ready to die or be excommunicated over FBC Jax not being open and honest about their finances. Instead, I think I will just stop giving until they agree to become more transparent. And until they respond to my anonymous emails, I will continue to blog.

Also Steve - my guess is Luther would have blogged if he had the ability. Don't you think nailing his thesis on the front door (not on some other location) was about as public as it could possibly get in his day? Don't you think some told him to take his concerns to the leadership and not post them so publicly. Others probably told him NOT to put his name on it since he was a prominent member. Either way, he gets criticized.

Be sure, I would stop blogging tomorrow if FBC Jax would allow me such a strategic place to post my questions. They won't, so I blog. And some accuse us bloggers of bringing up the same old issues. Us blogging anonymously has been brought up over and over again, yet some still bring it up again. You still don't get it Mr. W. Transparency in finances is all that is being asked. Period.

Anonymous said...

It's sounds so good for people to say we should sign a petition or meet as a group and take action. It's just not feasable. I'm sure if that happened any of those people would be "labeled" as "one of them." We would never be treated or looked at the same at church. The ironic thing is that in that situation, I'm sure there would be many people who wish they had the neve to come forth but were afraid.

dos rios said...

OK, I've probably overlooked a lot in that one paragraph summary of what has transpired. But thankfully, churches like ours have a full record of what has transpired, on the Internet.

Whenever I read a statement such as yours, I cant help but think of Nehemiah 6:8:

"Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head."

At least get your facts straight, watchdog. The grumblers at Two Rivers had been griping for months on end before they were finally confronted. We tried to accomodate them. Oh, how we tried! Their chief complaint was that they were not in charge, and even though we tried to explain to them that 71 people is not a quorum in a congregation of 1200+, they would not accept majority rule.

It was only after their ungodly attitude was finally challenged that they filed their lawsuit in man's courtroom. I just wish we had done it sooner.

If you wish to identify yourself with them, then you have condemned yourself by your own words. It's just like the sexual deviants at the "New BBC Open Forum" in Memphis who chose to ally themselves with a corrupt former employee over Pastor Sutton before hearing all of the facts. I suppose it's understandable that they'd elect to make a decision prematurely, since the accuser won't be eligible for parole for another 6 months.

I suggest to you that you choose your allies more carefully in the future. If you view the dissenters at Two Rivers as your heroes, well, we'll view you as every bit as irrational as them.

You have give new meaning to the term 'grasping at straws'

New BBC Open Forum said...

"It's just like the sexual deviants at the 'New BBC Open Forum' in Memphis who chose to ally themselves with a corrupt former employee over Pastor Sutton before hearing all of the facts."

Say what?! "Sexual deviants"? Please clarify what you mean by that, and please name the "corrupt former employee" anyone "at" the NBBCOF allied him or herself with! I, for one, am not acquainted with any current or former employee of Two Rivers.

Anonymous said...

dos rios - members wanted accountability and transparency of finances at Two Rivers. That is all we want. They are not our heroes, just real life examples of how people are treated that dare ask any questions about how the $14million is being spent.

Also, Two Rivers is an example of why we remain anonymous. To put our names on posts would serve only to escalate this matter into the press and courts since if our names were out there we would be approached by the media, not to mention zealots on both sides of the issues within the church.

It shows the hypocrisy of those who claim we don't get answers because we don't sign our names. Those folks signed their names, and still received no answers.

So, if I am understanding you correctly, I am to believe that all 70+ members at Two Rivers and the hundreds at Bellevue who have asked questions, must all be "irrational." What an argument: only an irrational person would ask questions about where their donations are going. These folks asked questions. Therefore, they are irrational. the WD also asks questions, so those irrational people are his heroes, therefore WD and those bloggers must also be irrational.

It is irrational to give millions upon millions to a new preacher, watch him increase his personal and family wealth by hundreds of thousands, and still not ask any questions, all the while when he is changing by-laws and tightening up information rather than being more transparent.

AND...he continues to take up "special offerings" and ask for more money every chance he gets, including a $500,000 "loan" from the church to the school.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me the real problem in these churches is the lay leadership. Obviously, some men have drank the Kool-aid and helped these pastors change the by-laws and given them unbridled authority. It is those men, particularly the "president/trustee" of such an organization, that demonstrates very little maturity or wisdom and who seems to be played for a fool by the wiser and shrewder pastor. These gullible, star-struck, young (usually) deacons seek position and influence in the community and church and do the pastor's bidding. They don't know any better. All it would take would be for them to simply lovingingly and humbly request that the pastor be more responsive to the membership and be more open in finances and in church business. Changing by-laws without full explanation and discussion is bush-league. Shame on any "president/trustee/deacon" who would allow the pastor to take advantage of the flock like that. Those deacons are there to serve the flock and the church, not just the new celebrity preacher. Shame and embarrassment to you guys. You will give an account to your Lord and to your families sooner or later. God is not mocked, you reap what you sow. Be sure in this, your sin will find you out.

Anonymous said...

I wish we could talk about this face to face because I am not coming across as intended in my posts.

Since that won't happen, just forget about it. I guess I am a poor writer.


Steve W

Anonymous said...

Steve said. "A couple of names come to mind of past church dissenters, John Wycliffe and Martin Luther. I realize their challenges were more DOCTRINAL in nature but there are some intesting similarities between them."


Watchdog said, "Steve - you've been reading this blog for over a year, and you still don't get it. Your post was a waste of your time because its entire premise is wrong. I really thought you were a bit brighter than this Steve."

Conclusion, Watchdog is a moron.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hey, that's satanic recalcitrant moron, sir. Don't sell me short.

:)

Anonymous said...

"It seems to me the real problem in these churches is the lay leadership. Obviously, some men have drank the Kool-aid and helped these pastors change the by-laws and given them unbridled authority."

NOT FACT. Lay leadership has nothing to do with church decisions.

Get your facts straight and come and play later.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Strange. Lay leadership has "nothing" to do with church decisions? Try asking Sunday School directors in our church. Ask the "influential deacons" who were instrumental in bringing the "Time to Stand With Israel" to our church last year.

Anonymous said...

The reigning powers whoever they may be, use the old guilt trip scenario to keep the sheep in line. Traditional practice says "support and trust your pastor" the powers count on that a lot. The Lord said "Be wise as serpents harmless as doves" Matt 10:16.

Where are the Godly men hiding? They all allow the church to be thrown into confusion. How can they be proud to be leaders? I say they are total failures. I personally, would resign before I would be a "yes man".

Anonymous said...

May 15 11:12 and 11:21 nailed it exactly.

The lay leaders of most Mega churches ARE to blame when problems are allowed to fester. If they had exercised some backbone early on instead of allowing the hostile takeover of the churches this problem would not exist. The problem really lies with the people that bring Jed Clampet to Beverly Hills to begin with.

I know they were thinking "just give him time to get settled and get his feet on the ground". Blah,blah, well it appears this time was used to change the bylaws, to allow the long time staff members to depart and to become financially secure. Many come in with a Plan just like the Roman Legions did when they sacked the city. Poor old congregation, just "praying for the new pastor". Well, many of us who are labeled as dissidents, morons, satanist, etc are also praying. Contrary to the judgement of us we also read and study our Bibles, and pray for God's will to be done.

oc said...

dos rios,

"sexual deviants" at NBBCOF? You need to either back that up with some facts or admit that you have no idea what you are talking about and apologize.

And yet you have the nerve to tell Watchdog to "get your facts straight"; and still you can say what you have said about the NBBCOF?

OK. So now show us the "facts" that the NBBCOF is sexually deviant. We all await your evidence.

Your assessment of the Two Rivers Church situation was one thing, and I was willing to hear you out on it. But when you started in with that ignorant "sexual deviant" stuff aimed at NBBCOF, well, you lost all credibility right there.
You started taking random shots, which is the mark of a desperate person. When there is intense pain, then everyone becomes a target. You just proved that over again.

I understand that you took those random shots because you are hurting. Your church, your pastor, are not what you thought they were. You are disappointed, and you trusted too much in the organization, and worse, you trusted too much in a man; I understand. Too much pain all at one time, so you lash out at others and make stupid remarks.
I understand that too. I've done it. Pain will make people act unreasonable, as you have become.

But this may be a sanctification point for you, that is... who do you trust?
Pastor Sutton? Or the One without sin?

But until you have come to a conclusion on that question, I would urge you to refrain from shooting flaming arrows into the shadows. It is friendly fire. You shoot at friends.

I pray that your pain will not be useless, but instead will work out for the good. (we all know the Scripture.) But in the mean time, I would hope that your pain would not continue to be a weapon you use against your brothers and sisters in Christ, but instead may become a place where we can meet, it would be a familiar place, for we all have pain. It's a familiar place for all. We can meet there, but we cannot stay there long, for we will be healed by the One who knows the MOST pain and has conquered it all. But until we meet each other there, we need not inflict more pain toward one another along the Way to that glorious meeting.

Now dos rios, give evidence, explain, and/or apologize, as He leads. Not as your personal pain and disappointment lead, but as He leads. And I will pray for your pain, and hope you will pray for mine.

oc.

Anonymous said...

In the name of fairness: the issue with "counting" the votes at Two Rivers centered over the proper procedure for counting votes. The church by-laws stated that Roberts Rules of Order shall prevail. Roberts Rules of Order clearly state that any person being censured or disciplined CANNOT vote on the issue. I don't have a dog in the Jacksonville or Two Rivers race, but please be accurate in your reporting of Two Rivers.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Maybe so Anon, but it sure reminds me of Hillary and the democrats.

They decided that Florida and Michigan delegates would not be counted, and they all agreed.

Then the primaries take place and lo and behold they weren't to her liking, so guess what...now she DOES want to count them.

Jerry Sutton and the church agree to count the recalcitrants' votes, the vote is taken, "thank you Jesus for showing us your will in this vote", no, wait a minute, Jerry doesn't like the results, so let's do a quickie vote to NOT count them.

Pretty sad.

arevans74 said...

Just stumbled across this - I'm a pastor in the UK. Fortunately over here almost no churches have enough money to give rise to these kinds of issues 0 but it seems horrible what's happening in some of your churches.

My only observation, and encouragement, would be that unless a pastor or church leader does something criminal - in which case the government authorities should take them on - I don't think it's ever right for a church member(s) to take their church or another Christian to law. That's Paul's teaching in 1 Cor 5 where he explicitly says it's better to be wronged or robbed than to sue. That's a hard teaching but, essentially, I think it must mean that its better to leave a place you rightfully consider a spiritual home with all the heartache that brings than do the wrong thing yourself. That's the teaching of the gospel all the way through of course - better to suffer than do wrong.

With my Englishman's hat on it seems to me that many American believers can get caught up in your culture's attitude of a tendency to litigate everything and that perhaps you need to be counter cultural here and leave with integrity and dignity, rather than a no-win, no fee claim.

Anonymous said...

anon wrote:

"NOT FACT. Lay leadership has nothing to do with church decisions. Get your facts straight and come and play later."

See how gullible and deceived some of the pastor's supporters are? My facts are straight. You need to open your eyes. Lay people were on the pastor search committee, on the finance committee, lay people "negotiated" the relocation package and salary of the pastor, they serve as president/trustee, serve on discipline committees, serve on budget committees, call business meetings and ask for votes on issues that had not been discussed, give ALL the money.

You can't have it both ways. You can't defend the pastor by saying a committee approved everything he has done and that he is accountable to committees, and then say the lay leaders are not responsible for this mess.

Too bad the lay leaders are all whipped little puppies who are so thrilled to say "yes" to the pastor they operate like goo goo eyed little girls and their favorite celebrity. So the guy is a good preacher...so what?

Anonymous said...

To the writer May 15, 2:35. Brother you need to do some research. Most of these mega churches are having the same problems that FBCJAX is having. I was told by a member of the search committee that Brunson was not going to have his wife on staff. That Brunson was, on at least two occasion, NEGOTIATING his contract. That there would be big changes. That contemporary christian music is not a problem. That nine or eleven songs before the message was not entertainment. I was told by a deacon leader that all of these big preachers were getting BIG pay contracts. Research will reveal where all of this is coming from. God is in control. We can either drink the coolaid or fight the problems. The question we have to ask ourselves is, is God in this movement or is He just allowing it to happen. We know, from the bible, that apostacy will increase in the latter days. Personally, I do not believe that God is in this new movement.

Anonymous said...

Brunson has already gained control of the church. He has his yes men all hand picked. He has new bylaws. He has a church that, except for the questioner, will vote for what ever the pastor calls for. So what can the reader here do now? You can inform the church! First you need to find out why all of this is happening. Stay in prayer and seek God's will.

Anonymous said...

So Seriously...

Who is excited about the new Indiana Jones movie? Sure Harrison Ford may be old....but come one....he's Indiana Jones at heart.

Anyways, I decided to try & lighten tho mood a little....the tension on this blog is so thick! lets relax a little....WD, if this really is a blog to inform, lets inform & not attack one another! That goes for Brunson supporters too. (Not singling out any one person)

Ill keep giving to the church, not because I support the Pastor (which I do) but rather, because I'm commanded too. You can twist all you want, but tithing is Scriptural, whether the tithe is misused or not. Besides, God is big enough to handle the problem, if there are any, at FBCJax. WD you ask for the church to stop giving...that's very stupid, not calling you stupid, just saying that you ask Christians to stop doing what we have been commanded to do by Scripture. That makes no sense & I believe you to be smarter than that:)

Keep giving! If there is something going on that is an abuse, i believe in a God that doesn't need the help of a blogger to fix it. If the monies I give as a tithe are being used for the wrong things, then God will take care of the one who abuses, not the one who gives.

Also, WD, what do you have to say now about your accusation of the Pastor not keeping his word to help Rev. Jones? You now have videos in the service showing that Dr. Brunson very much is still helping to do all he can to help Rev. Jones.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: I am new to your blog. I actually found out about it from my mom (who lives in another state) while trying to get the FBC web address to find out information on Mrs. Lindsay's passing. I have been a member of this church for 33 years and agree with almost everything you are saying about our church. I must say I was quite appalled sitting in Sunday School one morning and they were passing around a basket for Trey's reception. A "money tree" is the word that was used. Obviously, I did not contribute one dime. There have been countless people that have been married in our church. Did we as a church pass around a basket for those couples? Absolutely not! As I now work on Sundays, I do not get the opportunity to attend church like I would like. Reading your blog has definitely brought me up to speed as to what is going on in our church. It is sad.

For those people who respond to your comments with negativity, I say quit coming here to read the blog.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog and those interested.

I ran accross the www.mefmusic.org website and see where Mac Brunson will be preaching at their Bible Conference June 23-27.

MEF stands for Music Evangelism Foundation. This engagement is called MEF Bible Conference 2008. It is to be held in Branson, Mo.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 5:23 Please advise where in the New Test is tithing commanded? Chapter and verse please.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 10:23AM

KOOLAID HAS BEEN THE ACCEPTED DRINK AT FBC FOR AWHILE NOW.

What you have reiterated is correct. I personally believe we are in the "falling away of the church" spoken of in II Thess 2:3 "Let no man decieve you by any means; for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first". I don't expect things to be better for this reason. But I find it ironic that the preachers don't recognize what's in the Bible that they preach from. The emphasis must be on getting people saved. Preachers will have much to answer for, as to their faithfulness to their calling.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:33

GIVING is scriptural for the New Testament church, TITHING is scriptural for the Old Testament Church.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

thinkaboutit:

Just to clarify. Vines' home was valued at UNDER $300k in early 2000's.

Mac Brunson, on his arrival, accepted a $307k LAND GIFT from one of the church donors, and then proceeded to build a home on the property that is appraised at over $1 million.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Your post did bring back the memory of Trey's "money tree" collections being passed around in our Sunday School, when the new pastor was BARELY here, and of course I had no idea who Trey Brunson was or why on earth money was being collected for him. At the time, I thought "hmmm, that's very odd." Then the ads for the "Holy Land Trips". Then the sporadic preaching schedule, vacating the pulpit with no warning. Then the remarks that he couldn't preach tonight because "he was up against a manuscript deadline". Then I found out his wife was on staff and on salary. So these were all things that began to pile up that have caused members to question his motives, and question his judgement as pastor.

Speaking of the manuscript deadline, I have received excerpts of his pastor's guidebook. Its funny how the very thing he cautions pastors about, accepting gifts from members and showing favoritism to members, are things he violated himself at FBC Jax. I'll be sharing these excerpts and my thoughts and analysis with the readers of this blog in the very near future. Seems Brunson's advice to other pastors, in the area of salary and finances and gifts is: "do as I say and not as I do." But more on that later.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 5:33 pm

Kudos to our church for rallying and helping Rev Jones in the rebuilding of his church.

I did notice Dr. Brunson took the occasion Wed to show some video clips, and then explain that "he went hat in hand" to W.W. Gay to ask for the air conditioning system to be donated.

Question: Last September Mac told us that "Trey negotiated" a deal for the air conditioners. But now Mac says HE went and got W.W. Gay to donate them. I wonder which is true.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:23 said:

"I was told by a member of the search committee that Brunson was not going to have his wife on staff. That Brunson was, on at least two occasion, NEGOTIATING his contract."

Interesting. Brunson has said that he agreed to come here without knowing his salary.

I sure would like the real story to be told. You say, "why Watchdog, what interest do you have in knowing the details of his salary negotiations, and what business is it of yours.?" I'm glad you asked!

I want to know what the circumstances were - was the land gift used to entice? Did they negotiate the positions for Trey and Debbie? Was the free condo use part of the "package"? What about the $100k and takeover of a quarter million worth of valuable Children's Building space - what that part of the negotiations? These are relevant, because our pastor has told us he didn't know his salary when he agreed to come - leading us to believe that he just said "Sure, I'll be your pastor, pay me whatever I'm not concerned about it." That just isn't reasonable. Also, he told thousands of pastors at the 2008 Pastor's Conference that one of the biggest problems in the Southern Baptist Churches are megachurch pastors negotiating huge salaries like NBA stars.

Maybe the story will be told.

Anonymous said...

For the Anon who desired proof where were told to give or tithe:

2 Cor. 9:7
2 Corinthians 8:7: "But just as you excel in everything--in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in your love for us -- see that you also excel in this grace of giving."

Matthew 22:21: ""Caesar's," they replied. Then he said to them, "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's.""

Hebrews 7:3: "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, like the Son of God he remains a priest forever."

Hebrews 7:4: "Just think how great he was: Even the patriarch Abraham gave him a tenth of the plunder!"

Hebrews 7:5: "Now the law requires the descendants of Levi who become priests to collect a tenth from the people --that is, their brothers--even though their brothers are descended from Abraham."

Hebrews 7:6: "This man, however, did not trace his descent from Levi, yet he collected a tenth from Abraham and blessed him who had the promises."

2 Corinthians 8:3: "For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own,"

2 Corinthians 8:4: "they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints."

Hebrews 7:9: "One might even say that Levi, who collects the tenth, paid the tenth through Abraham,"

Hebrews 7:10: "because when Melchizedek met Abraham, Levi was still in the body of his ancestor."

Luke 6:38: "Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you."

Mark 12:43: "Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others."

Mark 12:44: "They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything--all she had to live on.""

Nothing that explicitly says "TITHE TO THE CHURCH"...but if you cant look at these verses & see that we are clearly called to give to further the Gospel and to help the poor....youre just not reading what it says. Besides, if were not to give, why did Christ make a big deal out of the widow giving? If youre going to take the argument that it was only in the Old Testament and we are no longer held by Old Test.laws, then explain why Christ didnt rebuke the widow for giving instead of praising her and making her an example for his disciples & those around?

Alright, ive given my scripture proofing our calling us to give, please feel free to give proof for not giving.

Anonymous said...

I don't know nothing about what you are talking about, (two rivers) but why does Dr. Brunson always say people shouldn't whine about being victims and stuff...I just wondered why shouldn't they whine and stuff? Its my only gripe with the church, cause sometimes i like to whine, well...i guess you do too watchdog (whine i mean) so maybe this is a question for your expertise. You might be the expert one to ask this question to...do you think people shouldn't whine? Signed the Whino

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Whiners get on people's nerves. And of course it depends on what is "whining". Some say this blog is nothing more than me "whining". I don't agree. But I think Mac Brunson is a whiner in the pulpit many times.

Anonymous said...

May 17, 2008 5:33 PM - please tell me where it says in the Bible that I am to give 1/10 of my money to the local church? Thanks. I will begin doing so if you can point me to any such scripture.

And also, please show me a scripture that says if the money given is being misused, God will take care of it. Don't you think he uses men to do those things. I mean we give "to God", but it really goes to Mac Brunson doesn't it. So if God does fix it, might not he use men? If so, would he use the telegraph? The Pony Express? A phone call? An email? or a blog?

You seem to be regurgitating some things you were taught, and like a child accepted it. That is okay, brother/sister. A childlike faith is great. But when it comes to money, we shouldn't be so naive if we see repeated evidence of abuses.

Blessings to you. :)

Anonymous said...

May 17th - 11:52 - THANK YOU for admitting: "Nothing that explicitly says "TITHE TO THE CHURCH"...but if you cant look at these verses & see that we are clearly called to give to further the Gospel and to help the poor....youre just not reading what it says. Besides, if were not to give, why did Christ make a big deal out of the widow giving? If youre going to take the argument that it was only in the Old Testament and we are no longer held by Old Test.laws, then explain why Christ didnt rebuke the widow for giving instead of praising her and making her an example for his disciples & those around?"

You and I are in agreement. The "tithe" is OT legalism used to coerce giving from its members who are not giving. It also gives false pride to those that are very poor stewards of their finances, yet do give a tenth to the local church.

I also agree that we are to give, and give generously. I think where we differ then, is IF, and that is a HUGE IF, we believe the money we give is being used to build personal wealth by the pastor, or is being squandered and not going where we think it should be based on the scripture, or that only 1 cent on the dollar is going various ministries, THEN, we should not just let "God handle it" but we should demand an accounting before giving one penny more. We should NOT keep giving out of some legalistic desire to "tithe."

Thanks for the effort at biblical discussion of this issue. Most of your verses support what I am saying. As for Abraham, he gave a tenth of his "plunder", not his wages. And the other verses, either say nothing of the tithe, or clearly speak to the context of priests and Levites, or Jews, or the OT storehouse, or involve animals or food. Never does it include wages, and never does it involve giving to a local church.

Anonymous said...

"But I find it ironic that the preachers don't recognize what's in the Bible that they preach from. The emphasis must be on getting people saved. Preachers will have much to answer for, as to their faithfulness to their calling.

May 17, 2008 7:47 PM"

First of all, any Pastor's job is to "equip the saints for works of service", and to lead the people in following the Great Commission and the Great Commandment. The pastor is not called "to get people saved"--this is the work of the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. The pastor is to lead out in equipping the members of the body to evangelize outside of the four walls of the church.

The weekly worship service/gathering is NOT FOR LOST PEOPLE! It is for the Body of Christ, who meets together to exalt Christ in response to what He has done for them, and to inspire, encourage, correct and reprove through the proclamation of the Word. Christians should leave a worship service different from when they entered, ready to encounter the world through the power of the Holy Spirit to be witnesses for Christ. We as Christians (and Southern Baptists in particular) need to get over the fact that lost people are not being saved in our worship services--that's not what they are intended to do. Not saying it doesn't happen or can't happen, but that our desire when we leave a service should be for God to use what we have learned to lead us thriough the week to strive know Him better, serve better, and witness for Christ better.

Anonymous said...

Hey did you hear? Students at FBC Jax are going to learn HISTORY. Wow. Where do I enroll my kids? Will anyone there be teaching the BIBLE?

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:10

You make some very bold, and quite frankly, stupid remarks that show your immaturity and lack of Biblical depth:

"please show me a scripture that says if the money given is being misused, God will take care of it. Don't you think he uses men to do those things. I mean we give "to God", but it really goes to Mac Brunson doesn't it. So if God does fix it, might not he use men?"

SOOOO....because im dealing with the immature, ill entertain your post because clearly, you need to learn a few things. First off, its is very...VERY arrogant to presume that God needs men to do anything. God doesn't need you, or any person, to carry out His will...if He did, He wouldn't be God. Im not saying He doesn't use men, im saying He doesn't have too...my God is bigger than your logic, proven by the verse that claims God can do "exceedingly more" than man can imagine.
Sure, God can use man, but you cant tell me exactly what God is going to do and exactly how He is going to do it. God will, no matter what you believe, have His will fulfilled whether through man or of Himself.

Also, IF there is an abuse on the part of the Pastor...who do you think he fears more or worries him more: God or man? God or an anonymous blogger?

Im still waiting sir/maam for you to back up your argument with Scripture.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I know you think you're being very spiritual when you say:

"First off, its is very...VERY arrogant to presume that God needs men to do anything. God doesn't need you, or any person, to carry out His will...if He did, He wouldn't be God. Im not saying He doesn't use men, im saying He doesn't have too...my God is bigger than your logic, proven by the verse that claims God can do "exceedingly more" than man can imagine.

but you're not being reasonable. Its things like what you've said that give Christians a bad name, as mindless people who can't think clearly.

God does use men to stop things that aren't right. He always does. He doesn't walk on the earth, he doesn't sit in on budget meetings, he doesn't vote at business meetings. Whether it be a pastor and lay leaders who spend $100k on a pastor's suite renovation, or a Darrell Gilyard who preys on little girls (I'm not equating, I'm giving two ends of the spectrum of offenses)...God uses men to fix the problem. Did you hear me? He uses men to fix the problem. Men. People. Human beings who walk around and think and talk. Sure, sometimes men need to stand down and let things work out, but its always people on earth that accomplish his will and fix things.

And since you were not afraid to call someone stupid, I'll be frank with you:

Your logic is dangerous. Your EXACT logic is why Trinity is in the mess its in, and why many, many kids were ruined. Men at Trinity who knew what was going on said "we need to let God handle this. Its not my place to speak up and say this man is a pedophile. God doesn't need me to fix this; my God is so big and awesome that I know he can handle this problem and he doesn't need me." Wrong. God needed ONE MAN to go to the Jacksonville Sherrif's office and say "I think that maybe my pastor is abusing boys and girls." That's all. Just one man. And maybe God needs just one man in a position of authority at FBC Jax to stand up and tell the pastor, tell the rest of the trustees some of the things that are wrong at FBC Jax. Maybe God is looking for that one person.

So in conclusion, the anon you responded to might be "stupid" as you say. But you're "dangerous".

Anonymous said...

anon 6:41 wrote:

"God doesn't need you, or any person, to carry out His will...if He did, He wouldn't be God."

I disagree. God uses men to accomplish his Will. And sir, how dare you say God wouldn't be God under ANY circumstances. He is, and forever will be, no matter what box you have tried to put him in. Now, He needs men to give money(just ask any preacher about this one), he needs men to preach (how can they hear without a preacher and how can they go unless they are sent.) Of course, God can do anything by definition, including need to use men to accomplish his will here, but that is not the point. If I accepted your logic I would never give one cent to the Lord's work (God can handle it without my money) Never tell anyone about Christ (God can save whomever he chooses without me intervening) I would never pray (God already knows what I need, so I don't have to worry about telling him) We should NOT have accountants and auditors (We DO have this at FBC Jax and every other church) since according to you, God's man would never abuse finances AND if he did, God will work it out. So why do we have men in those positions. And why do we have men on committees to form a search committee? Couldn't God call his man and the preacher show up on the doorstep telling us God called him? Why waste our time with a committee of deacons? Can't God serve the congregation without using a man?

Sorry if this reveals my immaturity. Feel free to correct my understanding about any of the above.

Anonymous said...

Wd - this blog has gone on long enough. It seems like the only issue is transparency in church finances. (The other issues are lesser, but seem to be concerns largely due to the lack of transparency about them - for example nepotism, salaries, land gifts, wedding reception, Israeli hospital fundraiser, etc) So, why doesn't the president/trustee of FBC Jax, or the Chairman of the Deacons, ask our pastor to be transparent in the area of finances so this blog will go away. Do you think they are hiding something? If not, is it PRIDE, that keeps them from doing what is right? Don't they care about what is happening at the church? I don't know how those men can sleep at night. I hope our church is not being run like Two Rivers. I can't believe they arbitrarily kicked out those members. Would our church do that? Do you think our pastor emeritus, Jerry Vines, or his pastor, Johnny Hunt, would give Dr. Brunson Godly counsel that would tell him to run things in this way?

I do still give to the ministry, but it is getting harder and harder since the "other 90%" will not buy as much gas or food or health insurance. Does God really want me to keep giving when the leadership refuses to give an account of every penny spent? I want to do what is right, but feel I can't trust the pastor to give me a straight answer. Is it possible that God is calling the richest men in our church to make up the difference? Men like Mr.Collins, for example? Sorry to sound so confused.

And WD - I would feel better about you if I knew your name. Even though I probably don't know you, I wish I knew who I was reading and writing to. I understand why you don't, but you could help so many of us out more, I think, if you used your name. Have a nice week.

A single mom of two,

Vicky R.
Westside

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Vicky - thanks for your note.

I don't think the pastor or any of the inner circle lay leaders view this blog as a threat. In fact their tact is to keep it low key, not mention it to very many, and hope that we just go away. Not a bad strategy. The number of readers of this blog is very, very small as compared to the size of the church. And so far as I can tell there is no one in the lay leadership that believes anything that is going on at the church is worth upsetting the apple cart over. Two Rivers was very likely in the same situation we were - until someone inside spilled some beans on financial shenanigans, asked to see the records, then had the gall to file a lawsuite to see what they believed to be rightfully theirs to see as members of the church.

Now...if this blog gets a lot of readership, or if someone decides to sue the church to get records, then their tactics will change.

Follow the Holy Spirit's leading on giving. Don't be held captive to the "list" of the pastor of what you must do in order to be blessed, which is to give 10% of your income to his church. You can obey the New Testament in regards to giving in other areas besides the local church.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: apologies for the length of this blog but a proper answer requires it.

Anonymous 11:52p.m.May 17

I commend you for your zeal and your study of the scriptures. Keep reading.

II Cor 9:7 Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity; for God loveth a cheerful giver.If you notice it says, "as a man purposeth in his heart not of necessity". Clearly it is man's decision, he is not bound. God does love a man to GIVE cheerfully. No where in this verse is the tithe or the law mentioned.


II Cor 8:3-4,7.
(3)For to their power I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;(4)praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.(7)therefore, as ye abound in everything, in faith, and utterance, and knowledge, and in all diligence, and in your love to us see that you abound in this grace also.

Please notice the huge emphasis on grace!! You have made the point clearly using these verses that giving is a gift. This entire chapter is about GRACE in giving. No mention of tithing at all. A second emphasis is on commitment to the brethren. A law is absolutely NOT imposed.

Matt 22:21 They say unto him, Caesar's, Then saith He unto them " render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's: and unto God the things that are God's".

Again, no mention of the tithe. Rendering unto Caesar is of course a reference to the monetary exchanges required to function in the world. Then the things of God of course, such as, the church, anything that is of a real spiritual nature. Giving to the poor or anyone in need when prompted by God to do so. Nowhere, here is a command to tithe mentioned.

Heb 7:3 Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. (4) Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave a tenth of the spoils (5) And verily they that are of the sons of Levi who received the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law, that is of their brethren, though they come out of the loins of Abraham: (6) But whose descent is not counted from them received tithes from Abraham and blessed him that had the promises. (9) And as I may so say, Levi also, who receiveth tithes, paid tithes in Abraham. (10) For he was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchisedec met him.

Please note how Hebrews is presented in the Bible. "The Epistle of Paul the Apostle To the Hebrews". Again, Hebrews is a Jewish book. Directed to the Jews. Paul is telling them about Jesus. But he speaks to them as a Jew to the Jews. Now to your verses listed. This chapter is refering to Abrahmam's giving to Melchisidec King of Salem. (This is even prior to the law being given). Notice vs 5 refers to Levi and the preisthood that are commanded to take a tithe according to the LAW. Vs 6-10 continue on discussing the descendants of Abraham that are to continue to tithe unto the priesthood. Clearly given to the Jews.

Luke 6:38

"Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again".

This again refers to giving in general. No mention of the law of tithing to any person or institution such as a church, etc. This reference refers to liberality to all.

Mark 12:43,44

(43)And He called unto Him his disciples, and saith unto them, "verily I say unto you, that this poor widow has cast more in, than all they that hath cast into the treasury": (44) "For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living".

Jesus makes a point of this widow's liberality marking the pureness of her gift and of her heart. The previous verses of Mark 12 38-41 (please read) speaks of the scribes and others that have much, and make a great show of giving that which they can well afford.Their offering of much were indeed small compared to all that the widow had. Notice that the time period of the widow that Jesus is observing is still in the Old Testament as Jesus has not yet been crucified and given instructions to the church mainly through the Apostle Paul. Grace was not yet evident it was still a mystery to be accomplished.

No one has stated that giving is not important. But, it is not commanded to the New Testament church to tithe. I know some people that give over and above 10%. But that is their choice and ability. Today's New Testament church is under GRACE. It pleases God for us to give to His work. But there is no command to tithe.

Regarding the New Testament church, most of these "churches" were in homes. When there was a need in another home church a special offering was taken up from the brethren. Never was it a command or 10% required. It was given as a gift as each could afford. Now another problem arises: we are coming to a place where we must examine the worthiness of the recipient of our giving. This is done through much prayer. Pouring money into questionable ventures, places, or people is not what we are expected by God to do. So, much prayer should go into this decision. Not all request for money are from God. Many poor and sick people are sometimes much more deserving of our bounty than are some who put one on a guilt trip by trying to place them BACK UNDER THE LAW.

It is always good to give of what you have to the benefit of others. It then becomes your blessing. But, if you can't truly afford to give no one should condemn you.

Confusion always comes when someone tries to put Old Testament Law into the New Testament church and the age of Grace.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:22

Sir: How is one expected to rejoice in the Lord if one is not SAVED? You are completely wrong about salvation not being the FIRST responsibility of the preacher.

Romans 10:14: "How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?".

Souls going to Hell are much more important than any social gospel. Your comments that we are to strive to know Him, serve better, and witness about Christ require this question. How is one supposed to do any of the above if they are not SAVED to start with. They cannot witness of someone they don't know. So, SALVATION is the starting point, right?

Paul stressed through the leading of the Holy Spirit to preach the Word II TIM 4:1-2 I CHARGE THEE THEREFORE BEFORE GOD, AND THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO SHALL JUDGE THE QUICK AND THE DEAD AT HIS APPEARING AND HIS KINGDOM; PREACH THE WORD; BE INSTANT IN SEASON, OUT OF SEASON; REPROOVE, REBUKE, EXHORT WITH ALL LONGSUFFERING AND DOCTRINE. (the whole counsel of God) and do the work of an evangelist, making full proof of the ministry.
Sunday school teachers can do a lot of what you claim, visiting the lost in pairs, but. the pastor has to be the primary one to lead the lost to Jesus THROUGH SERMONS as this is supposed to be his calling.

Anonymous said...

"You are completely wrong about salvation not being the FIRST responsibility of the preacher."

I am glad to know you are the full authority on this subject. Otherwise, how would you know that I am COMPLETELY wrong? Let me ask you, in the Romans passage you quoted, did Paul also say that the "preacher" had to be the ordained, paid leader of the local church? What about the Great Commission? Are those who are not "preachers" exempt? I think not. Anyone who is a child of God and has the knowledge of the gospel is compelled to share it. They become equipped to do this through the preaching of the Word.


"Sunday school teachers can do a lot of what you claim, visiting the lost in pairs, but. the pastor has to be the primary one to lead the lost to Jesus THROUGH SERMONS as this is supposed to be his calling."

So only Sunday School teachers and preachers can visit the lost? And where did get anything about a social gospel from what I said? I said the job of the pastor is to equip the saints and that worship services of the local church (meaning Body of BELIEVERS) are not for lost people to get saved in, but rather for these believers to be equipped to share the gospel. Do you think most people come to faith in Christ by listening to a sermon? I am not saying this does not or cannot happen, but it is rare. Most people come to accept Christ because of someone in their life (a friend or family member) telling them about Jesus, and all that He has done in their life--a personal testimony. I hope and pray children come to Christ not because they heard a great sermon from the preacher, but because I told them about Jesus, that He and he alone can save them from their sin and give the gift of eternal life.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:08

Youre arguing a mute point...I never said you had to give 10%...I said we are called to tithe. You argue that the New Test. church is under Grace...good, I didnt argue against that either, we agree. I said we are called to tithe or give or whatever you would like to call it. You argued that Hebrews was written to the Jews...implying not to the New Test. church...I agree, but that doesn't mean it doesn't apply to us today. You can't say that certain Scriptures are only meant for certain times or groups. You also can't pick one Scripture to follow and throw out the rest...that is a sign of legalism. If Hebrews was ONLY for the Jews, which you implied to prove your point that the verses referring to giving were meant only for the Jews of that period, then you have to say ALL of the book was meant ONLY for the Jews of that period...throwing out the verses telling us to mature in our faith and encouraging Christians not to fall away from Christ but to press on in our spiritual growth. Are those verses ONLY for the Jews of that period like you infer about the verses on giving? Well they have to be if what you say is true...and that is simply wrong. The Bible is all or nothing. Like wise, Scripture tells us that Christ didnt come to do away with the Law, but to fulfill it. It also tells that God loves a cheerful giver...not a cheerful blogger, a cheerful event planner or a cheerful minister....God loves a cheerful giver. Besides, all you have...all anyone has, is from God..."Every good a perfect gift is from above"...so you tell me, if what you have is from God, why wouldn't you take what He's given you and give it back?

The mission of the church is to spread to the Word, is it not? Well, it seems to me that in order to spread the Word, there must be funds for the spreading. WD has made a big to-do about the TV ministry and how the church has all this equipment but doesn't use it...to which I might add, the Pastor explained all of that to the congregation weeks ago about how the TV stations cant yet support HD but will in the following year, and when they do, the TV ministry will be fully established. Now, you tell me, how was the church able to afford the equipment the blog says should be used??? Furthermore, how do you think the church will be able to pay to actually use the equipment and keep the services on air??? How is the church to help Rev. Jones rebuild his church??? How is the church to help support missionaries abroad spread the Word??? MONEY! Thats no new concept to this blog....its all thats talked about on here. Now, how does the church acquire the money...TITHING & GIVING! Sure, some of the resources are donated, I have no problem with that, but the majority of it is funded by the tithe.

Let me bring this down to your level for a second...you tell me how the church is supposed to even function with out the tithing and giving? It couldn't even turn on the lights to have the service if we all followed the bloggers ridiculous advice to stop giving.

WD, youre a basket full of contradictions. You tell us to stop giving...yet you say the Pastor isn't keeping his word to Rev. Jones to help finish the church. You see videos, in the service, that the Pastor is keeping his word and you still aren't satisfied. You skip right over the fact that you were wrong in your accusations. Who cares if it was Dr. Brunson or Trey Brunson who got the AC? That wasn't your original argument. Your questions & assumptions were proven false and you dont have enough dignity to say you were wrong....you only ask us to stop giving. Well, if we stop giving, we cant help churches like Rev. Jones church....so that doesn't make much sense.

This blog isn't after answers, clearly, because when you get your answers, you immediately jump to something else.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon says: "Your questions & assumptions were proven false and you dont have enough dignity to say you were wrong....you only ask us to stop giving. Well, if we stop giving, we cant help churches like Rev. Jones church....so that doesn't make much sense."

Answer this: since YOU brought up the matter of our church finances and Rev Jones....how much did FBC Jax actually donate to the rebuilding of Rev Jones church? As I understand it, no money from FBC JAx went to this. Brunson went "hat in hand" to W.W. Gay to get the A/C. Great, good job Mac. He said the wood was donated. Again, great! Labor was given - super! The church funds weren't even there to buy the nails, as Mac had us dig deep Wed night and give our "change" at the door to buy the nails. I'm not trying to be critical here, just respond to your point that if we don't "give" how can we help Rev Jones church? You make my point! If one is interested in helping Rev. Jones, then DON'T give to FBC Jax since they don't have the funds to help rebuild his church, but they certainly DID have the funds to put in custom buookcases and lavish furniture in the pastor's suite. I don't think one penny of anything you or I have given to FBC Jax went to Rev. Jones' church.

To clarify - my big "to do" as you say was not really about the HD ministry, that was some other guy's beef...my main beef was this: we don't make our church services available on the Internet in archived form. That's a waste of our resources. The only thing that get's archived are MAC'S sermons, and those only on HIS website. That's a crying shame, that a church our size doesn't archive video of ALL services on the internet for viewing by all. I've made that case, and its absolutely 100% indefensible that a church with our resources can't find the money to archive VIDEO of our services like 95% of other mega churches do. Unless its not financial, but maybe it serves Mac Brunson's own interests to just have audio on HIS website. It stinks I tell you. We should have all Video available so that the music of our services can be a blessing world wide 24/7, and even our other preachers that preach besides Mac can be heard on the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:00

Never claimed full authority. Please do not try to rewrite my statements. I think you do a lot of twisting of the word. I did not say any of your assumptions. Read it again. Re: your statement on Sunday School, read it again and try not to twist it. Sunday school teachers used to go visiting with the members of the class. Have you ever been on visitation?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 11:16

Ah ha, the ugly legalism tag arises again. Pay attention, 10% is the tithe. And no, the Old Testament Law does not apply to the church, or, we would still be in the courtyard sacrificing animals. Again, GRACE giving!!!the tithe is NOT, repeat NOT to the church under GRACE. Do you understand that the Old Testament was under the law? The New Testament after the Resurrection is under GRACE. Since we will not convince each other, you tithe and I will give.

oc said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

On October 28, 1998 Mr. Darrol Louis Gillard changed his name to Rev. Darrell Lewis Gilyard. He immediately married Tenise Williams thereafter, under the new name Darrell Gilyard.

Can anyone verify that the birth name Darrol Louis Gillard is his true birth name? Has the birth name Darrol Louis Gillard been properly vetted?

In closing, if our (unchanged pre-1998) Darrol Louis Gillard has married several women in other states Darrell Gilyard (his alias), are/were they legal?

Let's start from his beginning (Ocala/Green Cove Springs). His Marriage License to Tenise Williams articulates he was born in New York (as Darrol Louis Gillard).

Let's make an in-depth investigative effort on "Darrell vs. Darrol"!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Not too relevant here...who cares what the name is on his prison jump suit...Gilyard, Gillard, Sweetie Pie, pedophile, whatever.

I CAN tell you with 99.9% certainty when he came to preach at Jax in the late 80s his name was "Darrel Gilyard", not "Gillard"

Recommend posting this topic on Tiffany Croft's blog:

www.tiffanycroft.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Hey, Watchdog!! How was church yesterday?

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, this goes on in all churches. We have the same thing going on at FBC Dallas, even though Mac is gone. It's not nearly in these proportions, but it's there. For instance, there is no line item for the Sanctuary Choir on the church's budget. It has just suddenly been removed. Some of the choir members asked and were told told "we just don't break it down that way." Well, you used to, so why don't you know, and why isn't it shown? It is because the current interim music minister wants all the budget for his precious orchestra? Like I said, this is not nearly as big a deal as what's going on at FBC Jax or Two Rivers, but we fear that this is just the start of things being hidden and the members not being told the truth.

Anonymous said...

FACTS: Many of you have mentioned what a preacher should preach. All well and good. What rings loud and clear, to me, is what we do not hear. When was the last time we heard a soul winning message? You can not lead someone to the Lord if you do not know how to lead someone to the Lord. Should the pastor equip the church members in soul winning? Should repentance, justifcation, salvation, propitiation and Hell be taught from the pulpit? Am I missing something here? Someone has said we will be surprised if anyone gets saved at FBCJAX.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 16 - 11:18 p.m. - you rant about contradictions. You are not reading closely enough. Take a deep breath. Of course donated funds are needed to run the church and its ministries. We did not say stop giving. What has been suggested is "stop giving until their is more openness regarding finances." Obviously, the presumption is that once the leadership is more open, the blog will cease and the giving will return to normal levels. They can't have it both ways. They can't demand and beg for increased giving while at the same time being less accountable. Well, I guess they CAN, and ARE doing so. So lets stop giving until they open up on some financial concerns. Believe me, God's people are giving "God's money" so that there is ample enough to pay the light bill." That is not the problem at FBC Jax.

By the way, you also show much ignorance and lack of Biblical knowledge by stating that "Are those verses ONLY for the Jews of that period like you infer about the verses on giving? Well they have to be if what you say is true...and that is simply wrong. The Bible is all or nothing." It is well known and accepted by every rational thinking Christian that the Bible must be read in its context. Some examples: picking up snakes. Woman not speaking and remaining silent, keeping their heads covered, blood sacrifice of animals, sell all that you own and follow me, etc, etc, etc. You sound very very naive and gullible. Yes, we believe ALL the Bible, NO the parts about picking up snakes DO NOT APPLY to us today. The concept behind that is still true, doing all things through Christ. Please don't be so foolish to take some passages literally when they were meant figuratively. If you have any questions about this, email the pastor. I am sure he can help you with which ones he wants you to take literally (like bringing the tithe into the storehouse) and which ones don't apply to us. (House churches, no paid/professional clergy) Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Ran across another conference Aug 9-16 to be held at Schroon Lake New York. Dr. Brunson will be preaching there that week. You can view the itenerary at www.wol.org/inn/conferences.php

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, here is just one of many sites that more clearly explain what is happening at FBCJAX. The money problem is just symptomatic of the real problem at FBCJAX. scionofzion.com/purpose_driven.htm Are you strong enough to share this with the church even if you do not believe that this is happening at FBCJAX? Check it out for yourself. The fact is, most of these signs have already taken place. Stay in prayer.

Anonymous said...

Regarding 8:03 a.m., previous comment on FBC and Purpose Driven Church. I agree wholeheartedly with this comment and wondered that no one else has made the connection before now. Almost every step required to take a church Purpose Driven is in place. Check out Southwest Radio Bible Church, do some research you will be amazed at how far we are into Purpose Driven. We already have the rock music in the children's dept. Once a Contemporary service starts then you will be well on your way to a complete Purpose Driven Church.

While on the Southwest Radio Bible Church website locate Evangelist Bailey Smith sermons on April 21-22 about the WORLD COMING INTO THE CHURCH. This is worth your time to listen too.

Anonymous said...

Last blog sorry for wrong dates, Bailey Smith was on April 14 & 15.

Anonymous said...

This isn't a slam, but a sincere question - what is wrong with the purpose driven concept? I had not heard of it before now. I recently left FBC after 25+ years. I read the link and can say that the church I'm now attending matches most of the description of purpose driven. But - I love my new church! I look forward to Sunday's and that wasn't true for me for a long time at FBC. I leave church feeling good - and challenged - at the same time. Feeling good because I feel like I "experienced" God, and challenged to be a better Christian. And challenged in a way that is not guilt ridden but an honest desire. Although my new church is very casual dress, no hymnals, a Baptist church but Baptist is not in the name, praise music - many of the characteristics as those listed as purpose driven - but I don't see them as bad - more neutral - just different.

I'm probably not asking my question well but it is a sincere question that I am curious to hear the response to.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - good question on the PD church movement.

I probably depart from some of the posters here on this, in that I am not worried that FBC Jax is going "purpose driven". I think that a contemporary service is probably coming, and I don't mind. I don't think Mac Brunson has some sort of hidden agenda to "move us" into the PD movement. I think he like many others wants to make whatever changes will help us reach more people while not compromising our beliefs. I've said it before, I'll say it again. When Mac Brunson came I KNEW change was coming, and I welcomed it. The music changes made were great.

However, where I do take issue with Mac is how he and Jim Smyrl have complained about people "living in the past" and "worshipping the past". They need to LEAD and stop whining about the resistance they get. Shut up, plot a course, and sell it and communicate it in LOVE to your fellowship - don't beat them up and ram it down their throats.

There were some who thought Mac Brunson preaching out of the NASB and not the KJV was a crisis. But everytime there is change there will be critics, and the only thing you can do is love the critics, don't complain about the complainers, and JUST LEAD.

For example, Jim Smyrl's comments last fall when he didn't wear a tie showed his immaturity and lack of leadership experience. OK, he's in the pulpit without a tie. Fine, that communicates a move that the church is open to more "relaxed" dress on Wednesdays. Fine. But then he dares to say there are people who are more concerned about whether he has a tie than they are about a co-worker lost and going to hell. That's ridiculous - desiring the preacher to wear a tie and witnessing are not mutually exclusive - and YES there are some older, precious saints who do like the pastor to wear a tie. SO WHAT! Is Jim more spiritual not wearing a tie, than those who prefer him to have a tie?

My concern over Mac Brunson has nothing to do with these kinds of things. It is over the things I've blogged about - and its not the color of the carpets, the music, the clothes he wears, how he parts his hair.

But about Mac's leadership I'll say this: his preaching is a MAJOR disappointment, and my concern grows by the week. He continues to treat his congregation poorly, his preaching is lately dark and negative, and I people many times feeling cut down rather than lifted up. He hit us again with the "legalistic list" remark Sunday, carelessly not bothering to differentiate between what might be convictions that one holds (which I might have on a list), and legalism. There is a huge difference between convictions of what we do and don't do, and what he calls "legalist lists". To not explain this with clear examples that we can all understand but just hammer "legalistic lists" is quite dangerous, especially to parents who are trying to build character in their kids and helping their kids develop Christian convictions. Many teenagers here him hammering "legalistic lists", and with no explanation or examples from Mac they are thinking "yeah, my dad has a legalistic list of not drinking, taking me to church t3 days a week, 10% tithing, no profanity in the house, I have to get a hair cut, no tatoos, etc." Thank kind of careless preaching is SO disappointing and it does not help parents. I have a post with some audio clips that I'll put up very soon to make these points.

Also, as time permits I'm working on a series of posts here discussing Mac Brunson's book "A Pastor's Guidebook" and some of the recommendations he makes to other pastors that he violated himself here in Jacksonville. Stay tuned, you'll find these extremely interesting.

Anonymous said...

I brought my Bible Sunday, just like I do every other service. And yet the man implied that somehow we don't bring, or read, our Bibles. What is his problem with this? The last time he asked us to hold up our Bibles I saw thousands of them go up, practically every person had one. Instead of saying: "thanks. Isn't that awesome, look at how many Bibles are out there. Great job, congregation." He said nothing. I guess it makes him feel superior or more spiritual. I can't figure out what his motives could possibly be about implying that we don't bring or read a Bible.

RM said...

Wow. I'd like to come to your church if those are the retirement benefits you give. I've never heard of anything like that and I've been a pastor for 43 years.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

RM - obviously you saw the anon post before I deleted it.

An anon posted here claiming to have knowledge of previous pastors' "retirement" draws from our church. I've decided to delete this post - although if what the anon posted here is true, then what a shame.

Anon who posted: you have my email if you want to give me further information confirming your information, otherwise its so damming I don't want to put it here. If you don't want to email you can post with a first line of DON'T POST and I will read your message but not post it.

Anonymous said...

WD: Please repost the retirement package comments. I have heard different things in the past. The rest of us have a right to this info also. I know you are waiting for proof, but it could confirm what we have already heard, or maybe be confirmed by someone else. Thanks. Don't post of course, if the blogger has asked that it be removed, or if you know it is incorrect info.

Anonymous said...

Someone mentioned Bailey Smith's sermons on the world coming into the church. Went to his website and looks like the world has come into his personal biography. I'm just a layman and would never allow my christian accomplishments to be touted like that. (this is not to say the sermons aren't good as I haven't listened to them)

Anonymous said...

WD your 10:25 Thank you for being open about your opinion of the PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH MOVEMENT. I will not be able to address all of your concerns here but let us look at "LIVING IN THE PAST AND WORSHIPPING IN THE PAST" We grew to over 20'000 members by using bliblical principles. In the Pastors Conferance we even trained thousands of preachers using these same principles. Could we have done better? Certainly! Did the Holy Spirit grow the church? Absolutely! The way we conducted our church was prayed over and over that God's will be done. We always tried to do the best that we could that Christ would be glorified. What we did in the past,iiving in the past and worshipping in the past, WORKED. Now here comes the PURPOSE DRIVEN CHURCH and they say you can't do it that way anymore. They call the way we did things before TRADITION. Tradition to them is LEGALISM. So, if you want to continue to do what WORKED. You are being legalistic. You obviouly do not believe that we are legalistic nor do I. Mac Brunson said that FBCJAX is a"hot bed of legalism". Did I quote him wrong? How much does he want to change? Anon gave us a site to check out, to see if we are going PURPOSE DRIVEN. Did you check it out? I did and found we are way down the road to being ful blown PURPOSE DRIVEN. By the way, who said that the way we lived and worshiped in the past would not work in the future? Was it RICK WARREN? I believe the PURPOSE DRIVEN Churchers want to change our traditions for their traditions. So Watchdog, we are always ready to change the way we do things if it will glorify our Lord and win more souls. The next question we need to ask ourselves is were are all of these changes coming from? Stay in prayer

Anonymous said...

my 4:25 Here is a site that will show you how to change an established church to a purpose driven church. Much of this sounds good but look out for how they do it. http://stateofthechurch.com/Articles/transition anestablishedchurch.htm

Be carefull with the address. If the site does not show up,shorten it to http://stateofthechurch.com

There are many ways to change a church. This is just one way they do it. Also, notice the Pastors.com link - Rick Warren

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - if you have any information about how much is being paid to Dr. Vines, I would not post it. Too many people will make it about Jerry Vines. Its not. The bottom line is that SOMEONE in our church is approving these kinds of expenditures without any accountability to the people that give the money. This is about our gullibility and willingness to give millions without any insistence that we see an accounting of where our money is going. As long as this is going on, those few yes men can spend it however they like...and reap the benefits of their power and generosity with our (I mean "God's") money.)

Will even ONE president/trustee/deacon get a conscience and demand the books be opened? Even one? So many are quick to "Amen" when the pastor refers to a legalistic list without even saying what things he is talking about, but these same "ameners" sit like whipped little gullible lap dogs when the hundreds of thousands of dollars are being secretly spent. These men will give an account to Jesus someday, not to us, unfortunately.

Please Lord, move on the heart of just ONE "insider" yes man. Give him courage to serve YOU, and not man. Amen.

Anonymous said...

Your previous blogger has laid out correctly the problem in churches today. And yes FBC is well into Purpose Driven. Check out the article previously presented to you "Is Your Church Going Purpose Driven" (scionofZion.com/purpose_driven.htm).

Most of these churches today are taking a CUE from the Purpose Driven Movement and the "feel good" pablum they feed gullible church members. Many know very little about how the church will fall in the end time Laodicean age. We're in it folks!!!

Now for this "legalism tag". Who cares!!You can call me legalistic, "I don't care". If you mean because I believe in the way things worked previously. Also, because I don't think any thing about Purpose Driven is spiritual or on Judgement Day, will prove "acceptable", then call me legalistic, I don't care. One thing you can't do is tear down what this church and others have done in the past for Jesus. You can't negate the preaching of Godly men or the souls that were saved. It doesn't look so good now in the Laodicean church age does it? Guess what? Its going to get worse. Most preachers now are of this age. So, if the past worked, how are you going to fault us who were there and know it worked? Call me legalistic, I don't care!

Jesus is speaking: Rev 3:14 " And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; these things sayeth the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God; vs 15 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold or hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. vs 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth".

BigBird said...

UNQUESTIONING LOYALTY TO PASTORAL LEADERSHIP THE MARK OF A CULT.
Check this out at wayoflife.org
We already look like most of the traits outlined in this article. We are moving to ecumenism at an alarming rate. The SBC and Richard Land has embraced Rick Warren's formula. Thomas Road Baptist has converted as well.

Anonymous said...

Purpose driven or not, all I want is some transparency in finances and to have my emails responded to. :)

Anonymous said...

4:45 You wanted to know where these changes are coming from? Someone said that Rodney and some staff members whent to Bill Hybels purpose driven church, Willow Creek Association, for some training. Bill Hybels church is one of the largest purpose driven churches in the country. What we did see when Mac Brunson first came to FBC was a big change in the music. The volume got turned up and the number of songs per service increased from 3or 4 to at times 6 to 10. We got loud contemporary music. Some blended music. Some music that had verses repeated over and over,almost like a chant. They call it praise music. People asked that the music volume be turned down. I am not sure if they have turned it down. Rick Warren said that he liked it loud because his members liked it loud. At the same time that the music changed we went into a CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SERVICE operation. All of this to attract the unchurched. Unchurched is what the purpose driven church calls the lost. Much of the music is enjoyable but when half of the service is music that becomes entertainment. Then when half of the next half of the service is a history lesson, how much time is left to hear about our heavenly father. You know, the One who gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life. Many fine churches, by linking up with Warren and Hybels, have hitched their horses to the wrong wagon. They know not what they do.

Pastor Rod Hendrix said...

WD you may think that the purpose driven movement is harmless but I assure you that it is beginning of your church's departure from lifting up Jesus Christ so that He will draw all men unto Himself[John 12:32].

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

pastor Rod - I wouldn't say that my view is that PD movement is harmless - I'll say that the "PD" changes of the church are not the primary purpose of this blog although I don't mind them being discussed...and I'll say this: the departure of lifting up the name of Christ at our church is not really the PD movement at this point, although it may be eventually. Right now its careless preaching by Mac Brunson, too much history lessons, its abusive, angry, and dark demeanor of the pastor that makes the gospel unattractive at our church - which I don't think has anything to do with the PD movement, but has to do with Mac himself. I used to want to invite people to my church because I knew they would hear a clear gospel message, from a bible expositor, full of truth but spoken sincerely in love by a preacher who loves people and is not angry with them. I cannot being visitors to our church to hear an angry man, talking down to his congregation, blasting us unnecessarily for things that are not important or not true to give history lessons mixed with a little bit of bible. Its embarrassing really to be sitting in church as a grown man, to hear another grown man angrily and condescendingly tell us "Now look up here...sit up, focus, and look at me and listen..." I'm trying to find under what scenario as any kind of public speaker, teacher, presenter where I would use that kind of language with my audience. I haven't thought of one yet.

Pastor Rod Hendrix said...

"Right now CARELESS preaching by Mac Brunson,too much History lessons,it's abusive,angry,and the dark demeanor of the Pastor".WD point proven!!!I personally believe this is the beginning of a falling away from John 12:32.Thanks again for your effort to inform the FBC membership thru this blog and allowing outsiders like myself to participate.(I was once a member in the late seventies)

Anonymous said...

Glad to see some of you have sufficient biblical discernment to recognize the Purpose Driven church movement has reached into FBC.

A must read along with many others can be found in the topic The Church Growth Movement An Analysis of Rick Warren's ":Purpose Driven" Church Growth Stategy. You can read for yourself at the website...
www.a-voice.org/discern/saddle/htm

Note the two paragraphs where Rick is speaking about 25 of the Largest Southern Baptist church pastors: Adrian Rogers, Charles Stanley, Ed Young Sr, himself and some others (wish I had all their names) and he says that they all get together in a hotel for 2-3 days and just talk about our churches. Then he says they say Rick tell us about Saddlecreek. So for a couple of hours he tells them about Saddlecreek and there is W A Criswell taking notes in his seventies. (this had to be between 1978-87) since W A Criswell would be in his 80's after 1988. Rick says Criswell was taking notes and still learning.

Then Rick notes "if you want growth, dynamic growth then he must do it the "Saddlecreek" way, but if the pastor decides to stay in the conservative traditional mode, his ministry of church will wither on the vine".

When Dr Criswell preached here at one of his last conference's (around 1997?)he preached on "Give me that old time religion". I have the the video. I do not recall him saying anything about Purpose Driven and could have possibly changed his mind regarding PD if he was ever for it to begin with.

Guess what? Dr Lindsay was still much apart of the conservative traditional mode just like his father before him from 1940-2000. I don't believe FBC got into Saddlecreek and for those years 1988-2000 FBC flourished. I just do not get what Purpose Driven could ever do for FBC.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Here is an anonymous post that an FBC Dallas member posted today in one of the articles from March that no one would see, so I'm posting it here:

----------------------------
I just want to say that the Anon post of March 12, 2008 1:31 PM was right on target with the blinders comment.

As a member of First Baptist Dallas, I've observed and heard from close friends and family members who were employed that Mac is not the person people think he is...he has evidently let money go to his head and wants things done his way. It's unfortunate because I feel that pastors need to live like the pastors they should be - not in million dollar homes with six figure salaries. I think it's reasonable to expect to pay them enough for their work plus cost of living, but at the same time. Nepotism is also an issue....members of his family were paid a lot to do very little to nothing. I was really praying that the move to Jax would make him change, but unfortunately it sounds like he's the same or a little worse. The move was the best for First Baptist Dallas. We are seeing more and more decisions in a short time than we did in the same amount of time when Mac was there. As always, my prayers are with both churches for nothing but the best. I just pray Mac will see that he needs to be more humble and approach people with a sense of kindness.

Anonymous said...

Loyalty and Cult: Friend, I know that you are upset with the way Brunson is browbeating the churchmembers. Many others who have left their churches for this same reason would agree with you. See if this makes any since. You have, over the years, gathered a loyal body of believers in Jesus Christ. They are they who helped spread the gospel and in large part why the church grew. They became loyal primarily for two reasons. First they had pastors that preached the word from cover to cover. Pastors who they could love and trust through good times and hard times. Secondly they provide an atmospher where you could come and worship our Lord. You came whenever the doors were open and so did I. The messages were expository or evangelistic and most always about Jesus. It was easy to be loyal because we were in this together and you knew that you would spend an eternity together with Jesus. Now comes the cult. Recently, you have been getting a lot of Purpose Driven warning signs. Many web sites have called PD cultic. You can resurch and dicide for yourself. One thing for sure Rick Warren says once you begin the transition from a traditional to a PD church NEVER GIVE UP. The problem that Brunson is having is that he is pushing too fast. The transition should go slowly. As you progress through the transition you will encounter resistors. They say that this is normal just continue. You still have your loyal ones. The transition goes through stages. It appears to me that you are now in the get rid of the nonloyal people stage. Those who resist the changes are disloyal. PERIOD. They mean to drive you out if you do not like what they are doing. Rick Warren calls those who leave, BLESSED SUBTRACTION. Check your new bylaws. Have they changed how to deal with problem people? Once they have driven out the problem people what do they have left? All loyal people! Now they can do whatever they want to do. The loyalist will let them. The old people will die off and with them their traditions. I guess this is why some call this cultic. Don't give up on Brunson just yet. He may surprise us all and see the light.

Anonymous said...

May 22 - 5:54 pm - this blog is not about a pastor leading his church to be purpose driven. It is about a pastor operating without any accountability, building personal and family wealth as a priority over the best interest of the church, and refusing to dialogue with any one who has questions. It is about weak, cowardly, yes men on key committees that allow it, and it is about gullible sheep who so loved and trusted their former pastors that to them, they would rather be fleeced than ask any questions of the new "shepherd." If even ONE of these yes men put the interest of the church over that of themselves, they would respectfully request/demand more accountability...and giving would skyrocket and the FBC Jax might again have the hand of God on it. Until then, God has taken his hand off FBC Jax and is using faithful men elsewhere.

Just my opinion...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I think you've said it very well. There is nothing more than Brunson would love to think he is being criticized for "doing God's will" in moving FBC Jax into new areas of ministry. This is what Brunson and Smyrl wrongly think, that Brunson is being attacked by Satanic forces because he is God's man doing God's will. Smyrl said as much a few Wednesday's ago.

That is absolutely NOT what is happening here, he is meeting opposition because of his greed, arrogance, anger in the pulpit, and his words to others about us, and lately his careless preaching about "legalist lists".

Anonymous said...

When you get on your knees (if you do) to pray to a perfect and Holy God, do you think that He hears you when you are attacking His Church? Instead of wasting your time writing blogs about what is wrong with your church, and other churches around the nation, why don't you get up off of your office chair, and do something about it? The only thing that you are doing is causing disharmony within the Church of God. You are Satan's cancer. I pray that one day you will be held accountable for choosing the side of Satan.

Anonymous said...

So much of this sounds sadly like FBC Pikeville in KY. Although not a mega church by any means, we still have the angry, dictator-like pastor who is not accountable to anyone, and the all too familiar "koolaid drinking" deacons and lay leaders. Although several have been willing to ask those important questions, most no longer attend or are willing to say anything after being told by the pastor or his wife they werent welcome, were removed or felt the need to resign from their ministry positions, treated with hostility or gossiped about to others as being "trouble makers", and told he no longer considered himself to be their pastor. This problem is not limited to mega churches. Please pray for other churches in this situation as well.

Anonymous said...

p.s. the FBC Pikeville pastor even referenced FBCJax when changing the bylaws manipulating people into thinking that was the right thing to do.