Mac Brunson's sermon Sunday September 21 was a classic sermon that characterizes perfectly his first 2 1/2 years at our church. It had it all. It was full of half-truths, misuses of scripture, attempts to persuade not through the truth of the Word and prompting of the Holy Spirit but through coersion and guilt. Mac did all he could to get his hand on your wallet this Sunday - only problem is he has a problem with the truth. Mac admitted early in the sermon he didn't really want to preach that morning - perhaps he should have stuck with his gut feeling and spared us the ensuing abuse that was about to come.
Here are some of the "highlights" (or "lowlights") of Mac's sermon from Sunday:
1. The Church in Rome was a Group of Satellite Churches: Mac again this Sunday told his congregation that the churches in Rome were really a group of "satellite" churches. If by that he means "satellite" in the way we use that term today, he's a liar. There was no mother church that the churches reported to. The churches in Rome met in people's houses. There was no rock star preacher who went around preaching to them. In fact just the opposite: the case can be made that the collective churches were "autonomous" churches and certainly not "satellites". But Mac thinks enough of his sheep are biblically illiterate that he can make them think his plan for satellites is directly from the scripture - just by saying it. But I've shown multiple times that Mac plays loose with historical facts and scripture if it suits his purposes. This is a classic example of that. But his sheep are smarter than he thinks.
2. You Should Keep Your Commitments: Mac showed what a hypocrite he is by again this week lecturing us on how we should be keeping our commitments. "When you make the commitments, you stick with the commitments" he proclaimed. He said it once, and got no response from the congregation...so he repeated it again...and then again until he got a smattering of "Amens". Only problem is he should be preaching to himself. He embarrassed our church by not keeping his commitment to attend meetings of the Crime Prevention Steering Committee set up by Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton and to which Mac committed to attend. So who's not keeping their commitments?
3. Mac Says Not to Use Your Gifts in the Community, Only in Church: Mac proclaimed that Christians have a responsibility to use their gifts not in the community but in the church. In Mac's mind, the world starts and ends with First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, that any good that will come to Jacksonville must be through his church. At least he's consistent: he says we should only be serving in church and not in the community...and so very little of our church budget goes to helping the needy in Jacksonville - in fact many more times the annual FBC Jax budget that goes to helping our community goes to paying Mac and family their salary.
4. Mac Says Inlight Ministries is the Preaching Ministry of FBC Jax: He says several times "he gave this ministry to the church" and that Inlight Ministries is the "teaching ministry of FBC Jacksonville." That's a lie. Its his ministry. Its the teaching ministry of Mac Brunson, not FBC Jacksonville. You say "what's the big deal?" It shows how disingenous Mac is. When Mac left Dallas, he brought this ministry with him because its HIS ministry. When he leaves FBC Jacksonville, he will take that ministry and the programming brand equity that the hundreds of thousands of dollars from our church have purchased, with him to his next endeavor just as he did when he left Dallas. When he says he "gave" this ministry to us and its "our ministry", he means that money coming in to the ministry goes to FBC Jax to buy air time - OF COURSE IT DOES! It would be scandalous if it did NOT, since our church members funded the INSP program costs! If this is our ministry, then he can shut down his http://www.inlight.org/ website. But Mac has come under pressure for taking hundreds of thousands of dollars of money from us to broadcast HIS sermons on INSP network, so his response is to tell us that its "our" ministry when it is NOT.
Most megachurch pastors have their own websites. The sermons they prepare and preach are their own intellectual property and they can make them available on their websites. Not a problem. Robert Jeffress who replaced Mac Brunson at Dallas, has his own ministry called "Pathway to Victory" separate and distinct from the ministry of FBC Dallas. And if the church decides to contribute money to the pastor's ministry to help fund his broadcast, and its communicated to the church and its in the budget and the church votes on the budget, great. But look at how Mac does it: he has his ministry, he wants to be on national TV like his fellow mega pastors, he holds a special offering on the largest attendance Sunday of the year to put his ministry back on TV, he gets back on TV using money from FBC Jax, and now he is telling us that its "our ministry" and not "his ministry". This is Clintonesque parsing of words. He did the same with the "Time to Stand with Israel". He told us "we're not sponsoring it, we're just hosting it."
5. Mac Proclaims to Know what the Lindsays Would Say About Satellite Ministries: Very interesting that Mac proclaims to know what two men that he never met, Homer Lindsay Sr, and Jr, would say about his plan to start satellites. Its likely that neither would be in favor of a satellite church that Mac has planned, but might be for a church plant. But whatever the case, can't he stand on his own and make the case himself for satellites? Must he lie about churches in Rome being satellites, and telling us that our deceased pastors would be for it? He has yelled at us as always looking to the past and worshipping previous pastors, but when it suits his purposes he not only looks to our previous pastors, but presumes to know what they would say when he never even so much as shook their hands in his life. Interesting that he only tells us what the dead pastors would say...I wonder what Vines would say about satellites?
6. Mac Calls Those Who Don't Serve "Blackmailers" and "Sinning Against the Holy Spirit": Mac is a divider. If there are people in the church who aren't serving in any official capacity, he doesn't appeal to them to serve out of love for Jesus, or to give of their time to serve out of love for their church or fellow church members...but out of guilt. And if you don't serve - then you are a "blackmailer" and you are "sinning against the Holy Spirit". No scripture to back up his claim. Doesn't have to. In Mac's church, if he says it, then it is so. Our pastors warned us of this kind of abuse - they have always told us to measure words said in the pulpit against scripture..
7. The Group That is Not Happy About God Moving in Our Congregation: In Mac's church, if you're not fully behind Mac, you're against him and against God. Mac refers to those in our church who are not happy about God moving in our congregation. Again, Mac's attempt to divide his church - be happy about what he wants, or you're against God. Mac loves to do this with his opposition: instead of dealing lovingly and gently with those who have concerns with his leadership, instead of addressing directly concerns that people have, he instead mischaracterizes them as being "not happy about God moving" in our church, and thereby belittles them and can conveniently ignore their legitimate concerns. Classic Mac Brunson strategy.
In the next article we'll look at Mac's legalistic approach to motivating people to open their wallets and give to his church.