"...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

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Let's All Go to the Holy Land!!!

URGENT UPDATE: I caution anyone considering going on this Holy Land trip to do your due diligence on the travel agent involved, "Purpose Travel" owned by Bruce Peterson, located in Irving, Texas. The company is apparently not incorporated in the state of Texas, and there is no information on the agency with the Better Business Bureau. Neither are they members of the American Society of Travel Agents. The address given on the registration form is a private residence and not a commercial establishment. I have first hand knowledge of travelers using an "on the side-travel agent", a person who does travel arrangements on the side and who have been burned badly. I urge you to contact the agent and get references and check them out before sending any money whatsoever. As far as I can tell this person is not connected to the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville; maybe a personal friend of Mac. But buyer beware!!
-----------------------
Before I post my next article on the Pastor's Guidebook, wanted to put a quick note on the most recent abuse by the Brunson's of our church to further their own agenda.

On the FBC Jax website scroll, you'll see the advertisement at right touting the next "Holy Land" trip with the "Brunson Family".

I know the Brunson supporters are all for this, and don't see anything wrong with it. But its just another example of the Brunson's using our church to self-promote. Less than 1% of the FBC Jax family could even consider going on such a trip that costs $4000 per person. If the Brunsons want to host Holy Land trips, let him do it on his own website not on our church's website.

I think it also a very bad witness for our church to put this on our website - it shows perhaps misplaced priorities - we should be about ministry, about the gospel, about reaching our city for Christ, not serving as a travel agent getting people to sign up for $4000 Holy Land trips, no matter who the host is. Our church website should be all about touting the MINISTRIES OF OUR CHURCH, not trips set up by the pastor, not the pastor's latest book. This Holy Land trip is a private trip that only a very few select people from our church will go on, and it is NOT a ministry of our church. I'm not saying such trips are wrong, or that people that can afford them shouldn't go on them; I likely will go on a Holy Land trip some day. But putting it on our website, and you'll probably now see it in our Sunday bulletins as well, is too much. Most ministers who host these trips don't do it on their church websites, but instead will do it on their 501(c)3 websites where it should be.

Also, I call on the pastor to clarify a few things with his congregation regarding this trip, since he has had the A-Group put it on our scroll:

1. Who is paying for Mac Brunson's travel expenses? Is it the church, is it Mac himself, or is it the travel agent he has selected giving Mac free travel based on the number of people who sign up for the trip?

2. What does "the Brunson Family" mean in regards to who is going on the trip? We assume his wife will go, but does "the Brunson Family" mean his grown children, spouses and grandchildren? If so, is the church paying for their transportation or is Mac paying it?

3. What relevance is it that its "the Brunson Family" going? I sure see how going with Charles Ryrie might be important, assuming he is teaching or leading the trip, but what is the significance of the other Brunson family members going?

4. This is a two-week trip. If "Brunson Family" means Debbie Brunson and Trey Brunson, are they using their vacation time to go on this trip, or is this viewed as part of their job responsibilities and thus they won't have to use their paid leave for this?

5. Is there a committee that decides what is and what is not appropriate for placement on our website? Or does Mac get to decide alone?

We'll wait pastor for your answers. Or perhaps someone can schedule a meeting with Mac and report the answers here for us. Or send him an email, and then let me know the response and we'll post it here.

66 comments:

Anonymous said...

I don't see anything wrong at all. Dr. Brunson is a historian, and his knowledge of the Bible and history makes this a worthwhile trip for not just FBC Jax members, but Christians all over the country. I know you don't like to think about it Dog, but Mac Brunson has nationwide, worldwide appeal - there are people all over the country that listen to his podcasts and think he is a very godly preacher and yes historian. Putting this on the website IS a ministry of our church since we are getting the word out to Christians that our pastor is going to the Holy Land and they can go with him. He is our pastor, so his ministry is our ministry as much as that hurts you to accept.

Stop trying to find a demon under every rock. You're making a fool of yourself I think.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

"And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the LORD JESUS: and great grace was upon them all.NEITHER WAS THERE ANY AMONG THEM THAT LACKED:FOR AS MANY AS WERE POSSESSORS OF LANDS OR HOUSES SOLD THEM AND BROUGHT THE PRICES OF THINGS THAT WERE SOLD,And laid them down at the APOSTLES'feet:AND DISTRIBUTION WAS MADE UNTO "EVERY MAN" ACCORDING AS HE HAD NEED.[Acts 4:33-35].Here's a HISTORY lesson for ya!!! The early Church and their leaders(Apostles)did not enrich themselves at the expense of the people but rather collected in order to make sure that every brothers(members)needs were meet.

Robert L. Peeples said...

First, you used the banner on the church website after Mrs. Lindsay's death as an excuse to pin the so called abuse of self-promotion on the part of the pastor. If you ask me, that was a ridiculous accusation because the pastor's bald head was in the picture. How is that a promotional picture? And what a disrespectfull thing to do when someone passes away. Why would you take her homecoming with the Lord so lightly and use it to promote your own backslidden agenda? (I'm really trying to make a point here)

Now you have a problem with the Holy Land trip link on the website. What's wrong with this one...the wrong colors were used?

1. I'm sure Pastor Brunson is taking care of the expenses for his family and himself. i wouldn't force my kid to pay his way to Israel for a family vacation.

2. Does it matter who in the family goes? If Pastor Brunson is paying for the family to go, what difference does it make? Are you jealous because you're not a Brunson Dog?....I think so. Is there something wrong with a family taking a trip to the Holy Land to learn about historical events in the Bible? I don't think so. If I had a family, I would love to take them to the Holy Land to learn about the places where my Jesus went and lived.

3. It's the summer time. Children are out of school and this is when families take vacations. "The Brunson Family"--just a warm way of inviting other families in the church to join them on a Holy Land trip.

4. So you have a problem with how long the trip is? First, you complain about him not attending 5 crime prevention meetings, now you're upset because he's gone for two weeks. Which is it??

5. Pastor Brunson is our pastor, not the graphic designer for the A-group.


You may be waiting a long time for answers about these silly questions. For over a year now you have demanded answers and have recieved none. Do you really think he will start answering such ridiculous, misguided notions now?

IT IS WRITTEN,

Excellent. I just read that scripture the other day. Those leaders back then gave of their abundance to the apostles who needed housing, food, etc. Those apostles were doing the work of the Lord. J.D. Collins gave out of his abundance a piece of property to Pastor Brunson (a member of the church, a brother in Christ), who didn't have a lot to build a house on, and who is also a preacher. This further proves my point about the whole land issue. There is nothing wrong with giving out of love to another brother in Christ. But according to you recalcitrant, jealous, church police, it's wrong when the gift reaches a certain value. Then the love is conditional and therefore makes the gift corrupt and questionable in appearance.

IT IS WRITTEN said...

Robert re-read the passage again,they gave for the corporate good of all the members not to enrich the Apostle's.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Robert - thank you for posting something that addresses the topic.

Why are you so sure that Mac Brunson is taking care of the expenses? What do you base that on? Do you think he pays for any of his travel, even when he goes to conferences to preach and earns honoraria? If you found out that the church was paying for him to go on this trip, would that bother you? Would it bother you if the travel agent agreed to cover Mac and family expenses provided a certain number of people sign up for the trip (which means the people going collectively are paying for Mac).

On the 2nd question, my point is Robert I don't care if the family goes...but why promote it as "The Brunson Family"...he is building a brand for "The Brunson Family".

Robert, please read my posts more carefully. On point 4...I don't care how long it is...I'm merely pointing out its TWO WEEKS...and if "Brunson Family" means he's taking Debbie Brunson and Trey Brunson, and GIVEN THEY ARE EMPLOYEES OF THE CHURCH (although we really don't know what their ministerial responsibilities are), I'm simply asking the question: will they be taking their vacation time to go on this trip which is not a ministry of the church? I assume that as employees Trey and Debbie Brunson have a specified number of vacation days, and I hope they don't view themselves as special "privileged" and can take two weeks off of work doing non-work related activities UNLESS they are using their paid leave time. Can you understand that Robert? Or is that being too petty?

On point 5: its a matter of accountability. Is there any person or committee in the church who would dare to tell Mac that our church website should not be used to promote non-church ministiry activities? Or did Mac unilaterally decided to put this on our website (I know the answer)? There are other members in our church who host Holy Land trips - can they also get THEIR trips advertised on the FBC Jax website? (again, I know the answer to that too)

I don't expect to convince you Robert. And this isn't the grossest of abuses I admit. But is another in a PATTERN. Its a pattern of Mac Brunson coming to this church, and using it to promote what HE wants to promote, and if he's taking his family and his family's travel is paid by the church or by those going through the cost of the trip, then ITS WRONG. The common practice for these trips Robert, in case you didn't know, is that the host (Mac Brunson in this case) either gets free travel and expenses, or in some cases gets a financial reward, depending on how many people go. Since that is the "norm", if Mac is NOT doing it that way, and he wants to use our website to promote, then he should tell us that he is NOT doing it that way.

Does it not worry you Robert, or anyone at FBC Jax, when Mac preaches a sermon like he did Sunday night about "quarrelsome" church members and then he does this sort of thing?

Anonymous said...

WD I am new to blogging. Is it appropriate to mention names on this site? If there is some caution please correct me. My post regarding a former employee did not get through. Also, a Mr. Robert Peeples receives an inordinant amount of post time. Is he on staff and therefore has valid information from which to speak? I will try to be polite and not comment further.

Anonymous said...

ANother salient question would be, "How much money will the host receive for each person who signs on?" These trips can be quite lucrative for the host(s).

As a pastor, I could not in good conscience make money off of my church members in this way. He may not be, I don't know. Depending on the numbers he may just be covering his and his family's expenses.

These are legitimate questions that should already have been asked by church lay leaders.

Curious Pastor

Robert L. Peeples said...

I knew you would be glad to see a comment on subject Dog.

To the Anon who questioned my position:

I am not a staff member at FBC Jax. However, I, Robert Lemuel Peeples am the Commander in Chief of Operation: Muzzled Dog. My troops, The Pro-Brunson Supporters, are in full force and we see victory ahead. The battle will be won and the mission is nearly accomplished.

Now, here is the serious part of my comment. The Watchdog is right, there is certainly no convincing taking place. Just opinions expressed and their supporters or opposers taking sides and sometimes arms.

If you found out that the church was paying for him to go on this trip, would that bother you?

Excellent question Dog. I think this is the question that bears the most weight in your article and presents the most concern to your readers. Personally, I would have no problem with the church paying the pastor to go to the Holy Land. Actually, you and I would be paying him to do this. We give our tithes, they go into the budget, and are possibly used for this purpose. And that brings me to my next point. This trip is not a vacation. Our pastor will be going to the Holy Land and different sites around it found in the Bible, talking about the significance of them and what they mean to us as Christians. This trip is educational and insightful. Nothing wrong with that.

My question to you W. How is this trip a non-church ministry activity? We read the Bible, we study the Bible. Doesn't that include the places in the Bible? Why...yes it does. That's why I see it fit to visit these places and study them even closer.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, churches are more and more becoming worldy instruments used
for self-promotion and enrichment.

Anytime you hear the terms "brand" or "market share" or hire marketing groups to help push the brand, then you should know that you are being run by the World and not by the Word. John chp.3 vs.30 says (John speaking of Jesus) "He must increase, but I must decrease." Ask yourself: Who is increasing and who is decreasing?

Anonymous said...

Um. You are a scary person WD!

Anonymous said...

Seriously folks, what purpose is served to the community a church ministers within to take a group of church members with their pastor to the Holy Land?!? Whether it is JAX or Woodstock or Bellevue, I find it so strange how all these pastors feel the need to go to the Holy Land or, my long time favorite, leading a "Bible Cruise" almost every year! How many people would sign up for these opportunities driven by some travel agency if the name "Brunson" or "Hunt" or "Gains" wasn't on the advertisement?!? It is a sad day when just the possibility of vacationing with your semi-celebrity pastor and his family becomes something to market within the Temple of God. Can you imagine Jesus offering the Dead Sea Cruise? What an abomination! We have become so complacent as believers that these types of offerings are even provided and defended is beyond me. I wonder if God puts on hold any of the lost bound for eternity in Hell until we come back from walking in the steps of our Savior - funny thing is I bet He would rather us walk in the new steps He set for us in our communities instead of the old dusty prints He left in the Holy Land.

Sorry if I sound brash, these cruises and Holy land trips just drive me nuts.

Anonymous said...

To those that defend the fall of the church into the world, please understand that ALL of us one day must give an accounting for allowing this to happen.If we continue turning a blind eye to what is happening in the church: allowing Purpose Driven to come in; allowing a marketing group to help decide the direction of the church, (books, tapes, and functions). I rarely hear anyone say anything about Prayer. Our previous pastors taught us to pray and to seek Gods will. We need to get back to what God blessed in the past. We need to get the world out of the church.James chp 4 vs4b "whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God."

Those of you that will come back with "you will give an accounting for blogging, blah, blah, blah." Get over it, we've heard that already. Pay attention to whats happening to the church.

Anonymous said...

What would Jesus say? I can only imagine something like this:

"My child, Mac. I love you and am very pleased with your faithfulness and commitment to me these many years. But I wonder...why do you feel you are entitled to a life of privilege and luxury because you have been faithful to preach MY word? Driving in luxury automobiles, living in exclusive neighborhoods in million dollar homes, traveling to exotic locales, not showing good stewardship of funds given to my work, accepting large monetary gifts from my sheep, using my funds to employ and enrich your own family? Was that part of my call on your life? When I return, after I show you a tour of the hungry and poor right outside your church's door, will you be proud to then give me a tour of your luxury office suites, of your home, of how you managed not only your personal wealth gained from preaching my word, but also how the church funds were used. I encourage you my son, to get back to your first love, so that when I return, I will be able to say to you "Well done." I have many plans for the faithful members of FBC Jax, but you have been influenced by the things of this world. Return to me and I will return to you.

I don't blame those sheep who are showing their love for me by showing love and generousity towards you and your family. They don't know any better and are ripe for exploitation due to their deep love for me. Please don't take advantage of them. Lead them and don't be afraid to be open and honest about every penny that is spent. Trust me. I will still supply all of your NEEDS. Signed, Jesus

Anonymous said...

Well I would hope that they pay from their own pocket. Theology driven ministry dictates that we need to take the reward trips away from the youth so that policy should trickle all the way up. Wouldn't it be hypocritical if it didn't?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't mac "do something different" and show leadership and say instead of the $400,000 that these 100 people traveling to the Holy Land would be spending to walk the exact same place I walked last year...we have decided to donate this money to the school (or to the children's building, or to the senior adult ministry, or wherever else we or our city need it!) You talk about "doing things differently" - this would send shock waves out all over the evangelical world! Imagine the hit the cruise industry and Holy Land tours and Greece/Medit. cruises would take. And imagine the blessing to God's people in need.

But I digress...some will say I am being judgmental and will show their ignorance by telling us "yes, but...yada yada yada." Save it. You can tell it to Jesus.

Anonymous said...

WD - anything in the pastor's guidebook about seeing the world on your congregation's nickle?

Anonymous said...

This is not the same company mac uses, but some interesting info from Ed Hill Tours site regarding "compensation" to the tour "host", which in this case is the Brunson family (even Barry?):

"Tour Host Benefits: Ed Hill Tours typically offers tour hosts One Free Tour for every Five full-paying passengers enrolled. This may vary depending on the needs of the tour host. For a detailed explanation of all our benefits please call or email Ed Hill Tours."

WD - I wonder...obviously they are over charging the group 20% per enrollee to be able to give one away for every 5 that enroll. Also, if 100 people enroll to go with the Brunson family, that would be 20 free trips. Do you think they give him cash for the cost of each free trip he doesn't use. Or might some actually be paying for a trip that Mac in fact has for free? I can't help but wonder that a man with Mac's "smarts and drive" wouldn't be cashing in on his ability to attract 100's of gullible sheep to go to Israel with him.

We still aren't Catholics are we? Isn't the tour made up of mostly traditions of the Catholic church as to where Jesus slept and was born, etc. No thanks. I think I will send my $4000 to some missionaries. Good night all!

Anonymous said...

Watchdog - the numbers would be staggering if we added up the amount of money "God's people" spent across our convention to travel to the Holy Land due to the promotion given it by their pastor. How many will go with Brunson? 250? If so, that is $1,000,000 just this year on just this trip. He already cruised the med. sea didn't he? Now throw in Bellevue and Dallas and Prestonwood and all the other SBC churches who do these trips and cruises and the yearly expenditure is in the hundreds of millions of dollars. And we wonder why our numbers are falling. Where is the leadership? Where is the outrage by pastors such as mac brunson, who supposedly are walking close with jesus? But didn't the bible say something about the love of money. This stuff is so commonly accepted now there is no outrage or even questioning. I guess I better give more money to our church budget. Someone has to pay for all of this.

Anonymous said...

To anon 6:14 pm - very well put. I hope Pastor Brunson reads that. Maybe all this talk about wise/unwise stewardship of God's money is more relevant to me because I'm currently reading a biography of a man named George Mueller of Bristol, England. I highly reccomend it, as he really epitomized wise stewardship of God's money, more than any person I've ever heard of.

The things Watchdog brings up touch a nerve with me because I saw a lot of this in the church I grew up in & no longer attend: a slide presentation from a church growth company INSTEAD of a sermon, reports from board members informing us of 'cost-cutting' measures because the funds weren't there, layoffs of staff, AFTER building a new church that wasn't needed, cancelling Sunday school for the summer (unheard of when I grew up!) "to give the staff a break", eccumenical service with the local synagogue/various other denominations, etc. The whole church became more and more like a social club or a business where God was more a by-product than the focus of our gathering. I watched things happening not unlike the things Watchdog brings up and it saddens me because I watched my church slowly fade from the once dynamic, Bible-teaching, God-centered one it used to be to the shell it now is, a "whited sepulchre", outwardly beautiful but filled with "dead men's bones". And I dare say very few still attending would even see that, so scarce is discernment there anymore. So whether you agree or disagree with Watchdog's concerns, at least consider whether he may have a point. Churches don't suddenly crash and burn; it's generally a slow, bit-by-bit slide til one day you sit up and wonder what happened, like the frog in the pot slowly boiled to death. It behooves us all to remember that in everything Jesus - the head of the church - is to have preeminence. God bless.

D

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

149,000,000 dollars is the worth of one of our heroes in the ministry. He has been taking trips for years with those would come to be with him. Is this a lucrative life style? Looks like a fair exchange to me. I sure wouldn't want to disparage his name by mentioning it here. Look at all the good that he does in the ministry. Tickets anyone?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this will provide some insight into how the sheep are being sheared.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Anon - that is a good article that does provide some insights into this practice.

If you read the comments of that blog article, you'll see that they discuss the fact that Adrian Rogers at Bellevue hosted these kinds of trips. But Rogers never pushed them through Bellevue, but through his Love Worth finding ministry. Rogers never earned a salary from LWF.

Will Mac Brunson tell us whether he benefits personally from hosting this trip, or if the travel agent is paying his and/or his family's trip through the fees charged to the travelers? Since that is the COMMON practice, unless we hear otherwise, we can all assume Mac is getting a benefit - we'll assume he's part of this kind of fleecing. If not perhaps he'll tell us. But if everyone thinks like Robert and that there would be nothing wrong with us paying for his trip or Brunson earning a benefit based on how many sign up, then no big deal, right? But he won't tell us, because he's the boss. There is no one at the church to whom he is accountable that might suggest that promoting his own trips on our website is wrong, or that he should disclose any benefit.

Another abuse of our church by Mac Brunson? I assume so if he doesn't tell us.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Another abuse of our church by Mac Brunson? I assume so if he doesn't tell us.


See, this proves my point. Everything our pastor does must go before the "Watchdog Committee".

Anonymous said...

This is just sad blog so please pray for this guy

I find this blog completely inappropriate and I believe God's word speaks clearly to the subject and how we should submit to authority and the methods we are called to use to resolve conflicts. I don't know how one could justify a public blog attacking his own church.

"Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves"
Phil 2:3

"But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vain" Titus 3:9

Pro 6:16 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:
Pro 6:17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood,
Pro 6:18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,
Pro 6:19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

Maybe you ought to spend a little more time reading your bible and lot less time slandering a pastor and sowing discord.

-Jack

Anonymous said...

Having found this site by accident, I began reading it yesterday, and responded to the posting about the "brand". I came back today to see if this rubble continues - obviously it does.

Jack - thank you for your comment. I agree wholeheartedly.

On to the "topic" - or naysaying - at hand. Having been a part of this great fellowship for many years, I know there are a multitude of economic statuses. My husband and myself, as young couples often are, were in the "lower" end of the financial spectrum. Can you imagine how much that affected us at church? Fellowshiping with our peers? Mentors? Those is various activities with us? Choir? Young couples? Preschool? Oh my - our worship??? It affected us ZERO. We knew there were "haves" and "havenots" financially. That never once affected any of our worship or ministry as members of this fellowship. There were certainly members who took cruises, went on extended vacations, went places we were not in the position to at the time. How much did we begrudge them when they returned and shared their expeiences with us? NONE. We rejoiced with them. Oh my. Some of the places they went were "secular" - that is not "spiritually oriented" - perhaps amusement parks, etc. Because they were able to do things at times others of us weren't - did that make them poor stewards of their time and finances??? Absolutely not!! What is wrong with offering this opportunity to those who have means to take advantage of it? And, if, Dr. Brunson is the historian I've read on here, and Dr. Ryrie - what a blessing to be able to partake of!!!
My Old Testament professor, Dr. Jerry Lee, was an expert on the Holy Land. He had taken many, many trips with students from the college - to our dis-benefit he had stopped the trips due to health and safety reasons - I would have loved to have gone!! Just sitting in the many hours of Old Testament classes and hearing him describe the exact locations, describing the places, smells, sounds - made them come alive. He did this included in our class lectures, and brought locations into context with the New Testament - enough for us to get an image.

Most people, oh my - even faithful Christians - take vacations. Wow, hmmm, that was an example that our Lord and Savior set for us....hmm, if I remember correctly, Our Heavenly Father did as well - its called the Sabbath. Why begrudge people who have means and ability to use a time of retreat to experience the places of the Scriptures in a different way???
Perhaps the Watchdog, who obviously has nothing else to do but judge others, should take a vacation and go.
We have served in many churches that have this same, underlying, back-biting, condesending spirit (hmmm, I don't remember the Holy Spirit being condescending) that kept them stuck in these family battles - and held the church back.

By the way - never did I see any family with needs - mine included - be ignored and not ministered to by loving friends in the church and certainly not to put the needs behind the desires and whims of others.

Dr. Brunson is NOT First Baptist - the faithful families and individuals are the fellowship - and again I say - they are not blind nor ignorant.

When we sang at the SBC in 1990, Camp had arranged a wonderful piece for us that included, "Let the Church be the Church, let the People Rejoice!"

A few other hymns that might be appropriate for the nay-sayers:

On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand

Have Faith in God, He's on His Throne, Have Faith in God, He watches o're his own....

and, instead of nay-saying, how about:

I Must Tell Jesus, all of my trials, I cannot bear these burdens alone. I must tell Jesus, In my distress, He kindly will help me; He ever loves and cares for his own....


In MY Life, Lord, be glorified....

I've got peace like a river....

Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His Word, Just to rest upon His Promise, just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!" Jesus, Jesus, how I trust HIM.

And, my personal favorite of all time:

When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll, whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is Well, It is Well, With my soul!

May posters here and naysayers in so many churchs find the peace that passes all understanding so that we can get on with the real "business" of the Church (that is, The Body of Christ) sharing the LOVE of Christ - and not scarring non-believers away by back-biting our own brothers and sisters in Christ.

J

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

J - thanks for your contribution here.

This article on the Holy Land is not meant to say that these are wrong, or that people of means shoudn't go on them! How can I make it any clearer? I said so in the article! I said I myself may go on one - I have the means but my circumstances wouldn't allow it now.

The issue is that our church - its name, its website - is being used by our pastor. He's sees nothing wrong with using our church name and website to promote HIS...HIS....holy land trip. Can't you see the concern? If he's going to do that, knowing that the normal practice is for Holy Land trip hosts to reap financial rewards based on the number of travelers who join with him, he owes an explanation to his congregation. Is he gaining financially from this? Are travlers paying extra money through the travel agent that is then being used to benefit the Brunsons? If not, he needs to say so.

Can you also see the concern of a church advertising a trip for $4000 to the Holy Land in terms of what that says of our priorities? Let the Brunsons reach out to people in some other means about this trip, but not our website. Its not a church function.

And I mention the "family" because "the family" happens to be employed at the church. And if this is touted on the website as some sort of "church function", then I assume that "the family" employed at the church will go on this and will have their way paid either by the church or by the travelers. And they will be taking time away from their duties at the church...that's why I'm asking if they are taking vacation time.

And you know what? If this was the only concern over the past year, it might slide with nary a raised eyebrow.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Here is another post from "J" posted in the previous thread:

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

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

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

J

Peace to all involved. May the Lord be glorified.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

J - apparently there is no one...no deacons, no trustees....no one that is willing to oppose the pastor in the matters raised in this blog. Maybe they don't like what is going on, but they believe like so many that "God will take care of it", that its not their place to hold the pastor accountable. See Dr. Lindsay taught us to follow our pastor, and our church is now doing that but now to our detriment.

Anonymous said...

The Holy Land is big business.

The Holy Land isn't very holy right now, it's full of guns and bombs.

People, including preachers have been making money off of JESUS for years. I have always thought this an appalling concept. The sad part is, if JESUS had not come to earth to save man, dying on the Cross, to forgive man for just this type of greed, then no one would be able to"hawk" tours to see where HE died and was buried! To commercialize our SAVIOR in "any" form is, in my opinion, disgraceful!!! No one really knows for sure where JESUS was buried. HE doesn't want anyone to know for just this reason. HE knew some one would come along and cheapen it or in some way worship it as an idol.
No one knows where Moses is buried either.

Something to think about: This stuff started when the soldiers cast lots for the robe that JESUS wore. JESUS did not want relics, places, or things associated with him worshipped or commercialized (making money off of). This is probably one reason that JESUS did not own anything. We don't have the chalice HE drank from in the upper room,we don't have the staff HE walked with, we don't have the robe, we don't have any thing HE built as a carpenter. Relics that could be commercialized. Worship the CREATOR not the creation.

No thank you no commeralized trips for me, allowing the "religious" to make money. I am waiting on the New Jerusalem.

JESUS said this is how to remember HIM: Luke Chp. 22 vs 19b: "This is my body which is given for you: this do in remberance of me". vs.20, Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you".

Anonymous said...

The large church pastors have been caught up in this high flying lifestyle. All of them are making large paychecks. They have become part of the good old boy society. We have always wanted the best for our preachers but it has gotten out of control. Now the preachers want their lifestyle to continue so in comes the Purpose Driven movement, THE MEANS, to control the church. The PD preachers don't care what this blog says. They have control. So, in your face Watchdog. We will continue to do just what we want and you can not do ANYTHING TO STOP US. Oh there may be a few who will get upset but that is to be expected. The bloggers will cause us some problems but we have the SUPPORTERS who will take care of that. OUR LIFESTYLE MUST GO ON.

Anonymous said...

There are many pastors who live through the complaints like you have towards your pastor and come out on the blessed end of the stick.

Bottom line is are we going to trust God to bring blessings or do we sense our calling is to usher in the righteousness of God to our house of worship?

Mr Dog, do you think if you tell your story one more time somebody else might agree? If you yell loud enough people will listen?

I still have the promise, What you intended for evil God intended for good. There's hope for us all.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

So Anon - what do you think about Mac Brunson advertising his Holy Land trip on our church website? Would you think it wrong for him to gain financially from these sorts of trips?

Come on, stay on topic.

If you want to blog about the silliness of my blog, and about how this is wrong, don't come here, but instead start your own blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dog,

There is nothing wrong with the ad on the web site. I believe there are many people who would love to spend time with the pastor and get to know him away from the pulpit.

As far as him gaining financially from the trip, you need to show that he is and not speculate. Without facts all you are doing is causing people to think of things that may not be true. But, if your goal is to get people to live questioning every move the pastor makes and see him living in gross sin, according to you, then you are meeting your goals for some.

Anonymous said...

This blind following gives a glimpse of how easy it is going to be for the anti-christ when he comes on the scene. He is going to be so much more appealing, charismatic, historic, cunning than any of these BIG DOG PREACHERS in the 'Christian Mafia'. If there is no discernment now, how do you think you will wake up one day and all of a sudden have discernment. Discernment is a gift and one that is lost if not used.

Just think how much could be done for Christ on the missionfield and how much the missionaries could be helped if all of this money was sent to spread the gospel rather than physically making a trip.

Yes, the congregation is responsible to know how the money is spent and if God's money is being used to send MB and His family on this trip (and there are many trips a year). We are all called to be good stewards of God's money. To be otherwise, is to be lazy and a coward. Talk about robbing God! This is being done right under your nose and you are purposely turning a blind eye. That is a dangerous position to be in because you have opened yourself up to whatever the devil decides to send your way! Those who don't ask questions have become FOOLISH.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - thanks for posting on topic.

By you saying that I should be able to show that he is gaining financially and not speculate, I interpret that to mean that you would consider it improper for him to gain financially (either through money or free travel for himself and family) from hosting this trip.

That being the case: a pastor should be above reproach. If he is going to host this trip, and then use our church to promote it, AND knowing its a common practice for hosts of these trips to earn rewards from the travel agent based on the number of travelers, then I believe the responsibility is ON HIM to explain to us that HIS trip is different than the norm and he is not gaining at all financially from this trip.

Is it too much to ask the pastor to be above reproach in matters such as this? Or is that being quarellsome and legalistic and divisive?

Anonymous said...

Who is this travel agent in Dallas that Mac uses to coordinate? If this is a trip to be promoted on our web site, why is Mac not using a local travel agent in Jacksonville? Is there any church member who might be a travel agent who could do this?

Anonymous said...

Watch Dog, I usually assume that if I'm the only person who sees something, or believes something to be wrong, maybe the problem is with ME and not with everyone else. How arrogant of you to assume that YOU know the truth about matters at our church.

For all that you say here on this awful site to be true and worthy of consideration let alone worthy of action, you have put yourself in the position that says people like Judge Soud, Adrian Soud, Dave Bristow, Tom Boney, David Strickland, Tom Stimler, and many other fine men in our church are fools. Are you willing to say these men are blind guillible sheep? None of these men are anything of the sort. I believe if our pastor stepped out of line and was abusing our church, or misuing church funds, or acting inappropriately...just ONE of these men would speak up.

So I ask the people who read this and post and attack our church and pastor: who do you believe? The many PROVEN and TEST and TRIED men of integrity at our church, or some nameless, faceless, bitter, angry, disgruntled blogger?

Robert L. Peeples said...

Well stated Anon 12:46. You are now promoted to Commanding General of Operation: Muzzled Dog.

Problem is, many of the people on this blog think the people at FBC are blind and gullible, easily fooled into obeying the pastor and leadership as if were slaves to their own personal agendas. Fact is, the people of this blog, the anti-Brunson folks, are easily misguided by the Watchdog and tend to believe incorrect information found in these articles. They are the ones who are blind, blind in sin, which causes them to go along with the nonsense found on this blog.

This question is necessary to ask again.

Who do you believe? The many PROVEN and TEST and TRIED men of integrity at our church, or some nameless, faceless, bitter, angry, disgruntled blogger?

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dog,

If the pastors travel is free because the travel agency is offering such then this is between him and the travel agency and no ones business in the church.

One thing you will have to do also is put Dr. Ryrie in the same position. Are you also questioning his integrity and transparency?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - thanks for posting on topic.

I disagree that its "no one's" business in the church if the pastor is using our website to promote his trip, where the travel agent is charging higher fees to the travlers so that a portion of their fee can be given to the pastor or pay for his travel. This is not right, unless Mac is the owner of the church and can do as he wants. Can you cite me an example of how this would be acceptable in the business world? A CEO uses his company's website to advertise some venture of his own to get employees or shareholders to go with him on a trip or something else? Its just not right, and I'm embarrassed for my church that so many can't see this.

You mention Charles Ryrie. Excuse me, but Charles Ryrie is not the pastor, nor is he the "host". Mac Brunson is the host, according to the registration form, and Mac Brunson is the pastor of the church. I have no bone to pick with Charles Ryrie. Does that make a little bit of sense?

Robert L. Peeples said...

Watchdog,

You are posing valid questions regarding this trip to the Holy Land. But I think the questions are unnecessary to ask.
Yet, you tend to ask them. And not only do you ask, you automatically assume the answers you would want to hear without presenting any relevant facts with your answers.
Credibility is lacking and continues to do so along with a lot of other things associated with this blog.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Dog,

The ad states that there is a Holy Land Trip with the Brunson Family and Dr. Charles Ryrie.

Yes, the form does say near the bottom that the trip is hosted by the pastor but that is stating nothing more than he is taking the lead on such a trip. He is putting the news out, inviting any and all and going to be their go to person during the trip.

I think you ought to find the money and go and get to know the pastor. If I had the money I would pay your way, but my economic position will not allow such a privilege.

Who knows you might begin to love that which you find unlovable.

The breakdown on expenses seem cut and dry. Ca you trim any cost off of what is listed? Try it. Apples to apples though.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Robert - I can't reason with you Robert on this, because you've already stated that you wouldn't have a problem with our church paying Mac's travel to the Holy Land. Your judgement is clouded, and I hope that if that is how you view the role of the church - to collect money from God's people to give travel benefits to the pastor - that you are never in a role of responsibility in a church.

But can you agree with me here:

What would you think if the travel agent, in his pricing, is charging a 15% premium to the travelers so that he can provide a cash or travel benefit to the Brunson family. If that were true, would it bother you? Would you think that is behavior becoming of a pastor, especially a pastor that by any objective standard does not need that money as he is well compensated by his church, drawing a salary from the church, and taking two weeks away from his ministry to the church to go on the trip?

If that WOULD bother you, then Mac owes an explanation to his church to let us know that he is different and doesn't accept benefits from the travel agent. Am I assuming facts? Yes, I'm assuming, unless Mac tells us otherwise, that he is getting a financial benefit from the trip. Why? Because that is how it is done, its the standard practice for hosted Holy Land trips - so if he is a man of integrity he will tell us that HE doesn't do that. And when I observe his other actions the first two years of his tenure, I'm not inclined to just assume that he is different and wouldn't be taking a benefit for hosting the trip.

Anonymous said...

WD: Why are some so angry and hateful to you? Have they not noticed that a lot of people that are members of FBC have brought up the lack of visitation, removing Outreach and Care group Leaders, History, History, History, Jazz/rocknroll in young dept, cells that might not bring fruit, a school downtown where no one lives with gasoline above $4 per gallon, the A-Group, branding, satellite church, on and on we go and they believe this is all a figment of the WD's imagination? Get real. They need to go back and read all of these blogs and they might learn something. Also, just look at the Sunday School attendance. Its less than 20% of the total church enrollment. This is where individuals can discuss the Bible and zero in on their particular needs not in the Main Worship Service...this is the Heart of the church!!!Is this also WD's fault??

I wonder if they have read any of the savingbellevue.com entries? If they took the time to read it they might find that disturbing. Mac Brunson has done nothing illegal...please note that...it has never been said here by anyone. It's the new modern methods and changes that are being discussed here.

You know sometimes those on the outside looking in know more than those on the inside looking out. That could be why Sen Grassley and his Senate committee are investigating super rich ministries. Thus, you have Grassley on the outside looking in.

The people onboard the Titantic were told it would never sink, guess what? It sank anyway.

Anonymous said...

As a pastor, just because something I do bothers someone in the pew is no reason I owe them an explanation. If this were true then we who pastor would be explaining something to someone all the time. Then we would have to explain why we are not getting all the other needed work done.

Your call for explanation because something bothers you, if practiced, opens Pandora's box. I don't expect you to agree but the reality is there...

From one who serves as a pastor in our great but imperfect convention.

Robert L. Peeples said...

I've heard it put "it's all about the money". I think in your case Dog, it is. That seems to be the hard line throughout this blog. Could it be that you are more concerned about the money than the ministry of the church?

I'm not going to play the "What would you think" game with you Watchdog. That's childish and illogical. As you always tell me, so I will tell you........you're smarter than this.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

How sad. Church members who don't care if their pastor is fleecing them or not. In fact not only do they not want to know, they want to criticize and demean someone who does demand to know. Pastors chiming in saying they don't owe an answer to the congregation over actions that are questionable.

How sad.

Anonymous said...

Brother Dog,

If all the answers to your questions were given and nothing, I mean nothing, showed any source of wrong, impropriety or anything less than above reproach... where would that leave you?

Satisfied, until you get a whiff of some other possible stink. I doubt it. See, what you do is work on possibilities of impropriety or your definition of what improprieties are. I agree with the previous poster who said, basically, there are enough checks and balances in place to keep real wrong from happening on a continual or large basis. If they are not in place then I would recommend that you go back 10 or more years for facts.

Longevity does not make a wrong right (as you infer concerning the pastor receiving gifts).

Robert L. Peeples said...

Good point Anon.

Even if the Watchdog got his answers and they were above reproach, the dog would still be hungry. He would look for the bad and the ugly, even if it wasn't there to begin with. That's what money envying preconceived notions can do to a man's life.

Watchdog holding the pastor accountable, doing God's job; Making sure his car isn't to pricey, his house isn't too luxurious and that his church trips are paid for in the proper manner; Reaching into the character of a pastor and trying to destroy it. Questioning a man's leadership, a man who is trying to obey the Lord according to God's call for his life, a man who is trying to reach the lost in Jacksonville, and doing the best he can..

How sad

Anonymous said...

I wonder which breaks God's heart more. The seeking of truth in a man's life or the truth giving of the Lord's life?

It seems some believe their call is to expose the guilt of another (whether real or perceived) rather than tell lost people about the life changing gift of Jesus.

Who knows... not I. Watchdog may be a great soul winner. I hope so.

Anonymous said...

Many things break God's heart. When you quench the Holy Spirit, when you grieve the Holy Spirit, when you have no emphesis on winning souls. Paul said,"For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, WOE is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!" I Cor 9:16 We have discussed many things here brothers and sisters. Do you think maybe we should be thinking of WOE IS UNTO ME; IF I PREACH NOT THE GOSPEL?

Anonymous said...

All churches do these trips, the big churches anyways. Whats the difference? I myself personally just wish i could go to the Holy Land one time in my life but it doesn't look too likely. It makes me jealous when some people get to go over and over. Don't you think thats your problem too watchdog, you are jealous? I admit i am. I am JEALOUS. Cause i always wanted to go to the Holy Land, and right now i am having trouble getting to San Jose Blvd from my house. But I guess thats God's chosen path for me.

Anonymous said...

Please schedule a meeting with Dr. Brunson to address these issues. He is your brother in Christ and if you feel that your brother is in sin or you have a grievance against your brother, go to him directly. Speak the truth in love. Above all, pray for him and others mega-church pastors that you feel have fallen into the same traps.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:42

You say "all churches do these".

But this trip is not our church, it is a trip hosted personally by Mac Brunson, using his personally selected travel agent in Irving, Texas. This has nothing to do with a ministry of FBC Jax, and thus should not be promoted on our website.

This is the same argument I made with the "Night to Stand with Israel". But Mac chooses to use our church resources for events that are not related to the ministry of our church. I don't know why he does it - I suppose because he can. How sad. Where is the "honor" in that?

This has nothing to do with my personal jealousy. I'm pointing out that the pastor is abusing his authority by using our church website to promote his own Holy Land trip.

I'm sorry that my fellow Christians can't see that this is wrong, and that someone in our church, maybe a deacon or trustee should go to the pastor and demand that he not use our church resources in such a manner. Mac Brunson is familiar with practices in the business world, and he uses many of them in the operation of his church, and rightly so. This is a case though where its in his best interests to do something that would never be tolerated in any business - the CEO using the corporate website to advertise a private venture.

Anonymous said...

Anno. of 10:42 Maybe the preacher will pay for your trip out of his profits, he has that option to allow some to go free if he chooses, I believe. Then you won't have to be jealous any more.

Annon. of ll:29 You forget these "traps" are lined with money!

As to talking face to face, you must be kidding. Others have tried that, others have sent SIGNED e.mails with no results or have been marked as disenters. Please make a REASONABLE suggestion.

Anonymous said...

Anno. of 10:42 Maybe the preacher will pay for your trip out of his profits, he has that option to allow some to go free if he chooses, I believe. Then you won't have to be jealous any more.

Annon. of ll:29 You forget these "traps" are lined with money!

As to talking face to face, you must be kidding. Others have tried that, others have sent SIGNED e.mails with no results or have been marked as disenters. Please make a REASONABLE suggestion.

Anonymous said...

WD: What we have here is a run-away train. Many of these mega preachers do this stuff, and if one does it the others follow suite. The money is there and the temptation is great. What I don't understand is, why does the "church" allow it? I guess they have NO power or say so in the church they support. I guess this is why some churches get the tag "social church". Where is the Spiritual church. To be fair many try to stay and hold on, praying that the church they love(which is sick right now) will survive. I have heard the callous remarks: "Well, if you don't like it leave." Who are they to tell long time members who have built the church to where it is today, to LEAVE. Thus, adding insult to injury. It's like telling someone that has built a beautiful home, that they share with others, to leave, as someone else has taken your home over and you have to leave, no recourse, just leave. Oh, maybe you can stay if you keep your mouth shut, don't make waves, and smile, smile, smile. Makes you sick doesn't it.

Anonymous said...

maybe, perhaps, possibly, could, wonder...all dangerous words. they are words that plant doubt--not state fact. I have read your blog and thought that the point was to point out fact...but these words make yours ideas seem less like facts and more like wishful thinking and uneducated rambling.

Anonymous said...

Has Mac Brunson lost his first love? Are the worldly things in life more important, than the GOSPEL. Are riches and lust getting the best of him? He rarely preaches the GOSPEL. WOE, is right. Were does he get that kind of heart? Some have said it comes from Rick Warren or Bill Hybels. It could be Rick and Bill's MENTOR Robert Schuller. Is Mac Brunson following the MENTOR? Here is what Schuller said about REPENTING. "I don't think anything has been done in the name of Christ and under the banner of christianity that has proven more destructive to human personality and , counter productive to the evangelism enterprise than often CRUDE, UNCOUTH, AND UNCHRISTIAN STRATEGY OF ATTEMPTING TO MAKE PEOPLE AWARE OF THEIR LOST AND SINFUL CONDITION." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Schuller That is what he said and that is what he believes. He also said that Jesus never said a negative word. Schuller also said "if the gospel of Jesus Christ can be proclaimd as a THEOLOGY OF SELF -ESTEEM, imagine the health this could generate in society." Is this the new THEOLOGY DRIVEN ministry here at FBC JAX? If Dr. Brunson has changed his heart and thinks that Schuller is right; it is no wonder that we seldom here the GOSPEL at FBCJAX. Is this where PURPOSE DRIVEN originated? So, let us see how often Mac preaches the Gospel! Week one: NONE 6/01/2008

Robert L. Peeples said...

Anon 12:42,

I have a few comments regarding this part of your comment:

I have heard the callous remarks: "Well, if you don't like it leave." Who are they to tell , to LEAVE. Thus, adding insult to injury.

God wants you to be in a church where you can grow as a believer and minister to the lost in your town or city. If you feel that there is a hindrance in your current church, (such as a CEO pastor that many people think is a greedy and selfish pastor) preventing you from doing these things, then PLEASE find another church. It's what God wants for each of his children.

Anonymous said...

Annon: 2:19 & 2:25

Thank you both for providing examples to support my comments. This type of attitude to those of us who helped build this church, but have either been "advised" to move on so we can be blessed, or disparaged personally is exactly what many of us have faced. But like most experiences in life I guess, you must have it happen to you before you understand. Remember what your attitude has been toward others when you face similar experiences in life.

Remember this one "Do unto others as you would have done unto you."

oc said...

robert l. peeples said:

"God wants you to be in a church where you can grow as a believer and minister to the lost in your town or city. If you feel that there is a hindrance in your current church, (such as a CEO pastor that many people think is a greedy and selfish pastor) preventing you from doing these things, then PLEASE find another church. It's what God wants for each of his children."

June 6, 2008 2:25 PM



Since you seem to know what God wants for other people, at least back that up with Scripture. I don't know of anywhere in the Bible that tells us to ignore the wrong in the church, and if we don't like it, to go away. Show us, Robert. With Scripture, in context.

Anonymous said...

You can bet that "the Brunson family" means just that. If it meant just Mac and Debbie it would have said that. And you can bet all of them will play some role to justify it, like teaching a Bible class, or maybe Trey is "putting it all together all by himself" like he did at one of the conventions. They did this when they were at FBC Dallas and got by with it so why should they stop now? But people can post comments all day long on this blog and it will do no good. Unless the church members get together and do something about it, it will keep on.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Peeples, you are a fool if you think Mac Brunson is paying his on way and his family's way!

Anonymous said...

First let me say, thank you to Mr. Peeples for being a man of honor and integrity. Only bitter, resentful people start nasty, venom-spewing blogs like this Watchdog person. I am disgusted by the way this Watchdog criticizes OUR Pastor, the leader of our flock....I know Dr. Brunson personally and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is a man of God. I have not frequented this blog as I truly feel it isn't pleasing to the Lord, especially when it is full of bitterness, complaining, resentful and petty opinions expressed by a handful of people. The majority of people at FBC love our pastor and support him. Mr. Watchdog......isn't it time to stop this nonesense? Don't you realize you are the one that is not being Christ-like? Don't you realize you are being used by the Devil to do his work? I am praying for you, that you stop this absurd blog. You are trying your best to drag a Godly man and his family through the mud, let's do something constructive and stop this before damage to our beloved pastor and his family is done.