"...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

Friday, October 3, 2008

Welcome Dr. David Allen

This Sunday Dr. Allen will be preaching at FBC Jacksonville in the absence of our pastor Mac Brunson who is on vacation. Our church has always been very fond of Dr. Allen's preaching and we look forward to having him at our church on Sunday. He is the Dean of the Southwestern Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas.

Dr. Allen preached a number of times in advance of Mac Brunson coming to our church in the spring of 2006. After we voted to call Team Brunson to our church, it took nearly two months for them to come to Jacksonville in which time we had a number of very high profile preachers "preparing the way" for Mac.

Those of us present back then will remember the theme of Dr. Allen's messages, that the cloud would move again for our church - according to Dr. Allen God was going to again begin moving in our midst once Mac came. Those 2 months between calling Mac and him actually arriving were great months of anticipation in our church. Most of the preachers devoted parts of their sermon to heap praise on our new pastor, and we were so hopeful.

Mac finally arrived in April 2006, and it didn't take long to see that maybe the cloud wasn't going anywhere too quickly. In fact after about a year, it seemed that the only cloud moving was the steam coming from Mac's head as he raked us over the coals. Instead of a pastor coming to love us and get busy ministering to our church and our community, it seemed like we were viewed more as a source of capital for the projects and promotion of Mac Brunson and a new market for the Brunson brand than we were a church in need of a loving shepherd to move us into the next generation.

Dr. Allen, Mac tells us that you are one of his closest friends, that you were Mac's prayer partner as he considered the call to come here. We know that perhaps you are getting one side of the story of his first 2 1/2 years, and we want you to know a few things as you come to preach to us:

- its been a rocky 2 1/2 years for our church to say the least. Although Mac has told you and Paige Patterson that he never got a honeymoon at our church, that is a lie so please don't believe that. Our church welcomed Mac with open arms, we prepared a lush office suite for him, put wife and son on staff, and he was given the reigns of our church. We introduced him to the community on Father's Day by renting our minor league baseball stadium. He had our full support. We even allowed him to bring his marketing consultant and put him on our payroll. There were some people alarmed over Mac using the NASB, but that was a small minority and that might be expected in a church that has used the KJV for decades. So we were behind Mac fully, but within the first few months he squandered the good will through his tepid effort at pastoring and preaching and his acceptance of land gifts and free rent at ocean front condos upon his arrival - made all the worse when we found out he counsels pastors in his pastor guidebook to NOT do the very things he did when he came to our church.

- Mac has likely told you that he has been opposed at every turn, that he has had a rough time for the last 2 years, we want you to know it has been EQUALLY as hard on us. Mac has preached hard. Not hard on sin, but hard on people. Not only have we had to deal with the departure of most of our staff in the first year and a half, but we've had to deal with Mac slandering us when preaching at other churches. We're used to pastors preaching the truth in love, but we're getting preaching of some truth, lots of history and legalism, and unhealthy does of pastoral anger. We're not used to it. He has told us that we are worshipping the past, that we are worshipping previous pastors. He hired one of our favorite "preacher boys" Jim Smyrl who many thought was Vines-esque when he served under Vines, but now Smyrl has followed Brunson in the style of hard-on-people preaching with very little love and even less wisdom. We've seen Smyrl transformed right before our eyes under the tutelage of Brunson.

- And we've had to deal with a pastor who seems to be a legalist. While he denounces legalism, and even declares that we are a "hotbed of legalism", he himself preaches legalism in the areas of service and giving in the church and church discipline. Our previous pastors did preach tithing, but they also balanced this with the New Testament principle of giving out of love for our Savior. But we don't get that from Mac.

So many of us are hurting. We feel like we've been brought an uncaring, self-serving preacher who wants to exert his will on the church. He changed our bylaws without even explaining why, and didn't even care enough to hold an honest vote on starting a school. We've been told that if we don't follow his lead and direction we are sinning.

We are praying Dr. Allen that you are bringing a message of hope to our church this Sunday. We've had Mac bring in preachers in his absence that also preached hard on us in defense of Mac - even our own former pastor Dr. Vines came in February 2007 and angrily preached to us about anonymous emails and people complaining about the pastor's salary - with the disgusting sight of the two men high-fiving each other on the platform after Vines declared about a troublesome church member "...I don't get paid enough to be yo pastor, bruther." Some laughed. Many of us cried at that sight.

We hope you aren't going to come in and judge us. We are a loving people. We aren't legalists. We want to follow a loving pastor-shepherd. We hope you can speak the truth to Brunson about his actions these first 2 1/2 years - and on Sunday we hope you can speak some love and truth to us.

After all, its been 2 1/2 years, and we are still waiting for the "cloud to move".

14 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers - was just listening to a David Allen sermon at the SWBTS chapel archive site.

Quite interesting, he gave a moving sermon at SWBTS chapel on 3/27/08 on being a servant. To hear an excellent Bible sermon, filled with truth, love, genuine emotion, a genuine call to serve Jesus and others, and DEEP...listen to this sermon.

Here is the link to the chapel page:

SWBTS Chapel Spring 08

Thy Peace said...

Watchdog: A very good post. You are humorous in your writing. The sad thing is the subject matter is serious.

I just listened to Dr. Allen's sermon on Servanthood. A very deep and moving sermon. It was very simple and direct.

We are living in a very "rich" era of the internet. It's truly a blessing to listen to sermons and watch sermons which are archived.

I would strongly encourage fbcjax to follow the footsteps of SWBTS Dallas, in archiving their video and audio of their church services. PLEASE add your past to it. Sermons and Church Services (including music) when Lindsay Sr, Lindsay Jr and Dr. Vines were your pastors. We want to hear and appreciate the services that took place at that time. There is no shame in listening to past pastors and past music. You (fbcjax) have a rich heritage. Please present it to your audience.

The other side of the internet era is the effect of blogging. Pastor Wade mentioned that during his "inquisition" (my wording) at IMB, they likened blogging to Internet Pornography. Now we find fbcjax has official blogs. So does Dr. Mohler and others. What gives? Looks like the thinking is slowly evolving (sorry about the reference to evolution).

I personally would prefer if Dr. Brunson would beat us with his love and servant nature. Rather than putting the guilt trip by saying, if I see something wrong in a brother, I am seeing my own sin in the others. I am sure that is true in lot of cases, but please Dr. Brunson please show us your love and understanding. Don't beat us, please.

Thy Peace said...

I read Jim Smyrl blog post on "New Homiletic and New Monasticism". For simple readers (like me) the last paragraph explains clearly the result of both New Homiletic and New Monasticism", according to Jim Smyrl.

I would like to comment on the following:
"Any movement in which participants seek to find self significance primarily through the actions of humble obedience, will naturally follow the course of cultish practices. Meaning in life is not sought in obedience, but in the propositional revelation of God’s Word. Obedience is not a search for reality or meaning, but rather the outcome of a life continuously being transformed by Truth."

I would strongly encourage both Pastor Mac Brunson and Jim Smyrl to practice "propositional revelation of God’s Word". If my understanding is correct, this is what was done by Dr. Vines and Lindsay's.

About obedience. My understanding of the Word of God, is that there is a "dynamite" of power in the Word. This power is released or experienced in one's life, as one follows the Word of God in obedience. That is, the Word reveals itself, if one acts on the Word. This power is in the action or should I say it becomes visible in the action. Please note that this action is only in one's individual life. This is not to be forced on others or coerce others to follow the Word. It does not work that way. When one follows the Word obediently in action, the Holy Spirit reveals the Word.

About the cultish practices. It only comes about, if one is not allowed to question or dissent or think for oneself or check the sayings of preachers or people in authority against the scriptures.

Thy Peace said...

There is more to this style of preaching. I am slowly getting the terminology correct in my head ...

There seems to be a difference in expositional preaching and propositional preaching. I fully do not understand it yet. But I am getting there :-) (Maybe by next week)

Here is an excerpt of David Allen from his "A tale of two roads". I personally did not read this. I derived it from a google search. So please verify the excerpt yourself.
"David Allen concludes:
“A high view of biblical authority creates a solid foundation for expositional preaching. Such exposition will respect and reflect the various literary genres in which God was pleased to reveal His Word. But the view of biblical authority adovcated here requires that the umbrella term for preaching today should not be “narrative,” “topical,” or any approach to preaching other than the expository method. Biblical xposition week after week from the pulpit is, as far as I am concerned, the logical outcome of ahigh view of biblical authority and the most effective means of fulfilling Paul’s mandate to ‘preach the Word.’”


If this expositional preaching, then I am for it.

Thy Peace said...

I would like to apologize for making too many comments on this post.

I just finished listening to Dr. Allen's sermon. Very good sermon. I know you do probably do not want to hear lot of bad stuff about Dr. Allen and Dr. Patterson. I simply can not accept their "misogyny". Yes, I know they have wives, daughters, mothers, ... I am talking about their treatment of women at SWBTS. This goes way beyond women being pastors.
-------------------------
Here is an excerpt from Pastor Wade Burleson blog article:
The Contaminated Pulpit and Other Weird Things
"Women are being removed as SBC professors.
Women are being removed from the SBC classrooms.
Women are being removed from serving as SBC administrators.
Women are being removed as SBC strategic coordinators on the mission field.

All this under the justification that the BFM says women shall not be 'Senior Pastors'. What? How do the above positions fall under the category of 'Senior Pastor'? The BFM doesn't say women can't serve in these areas!

I have an observation: to remove women from being SBC professors, students, missionaries, and administrators, all because the BFM 2000 says they can't serve in those positions is as dishonest as someone acting as if the BFM 2000, the only consensus doctrinal statement of the SBC, prohibits people from serving as missionaries who pray in a private prayer language. Oh, wait, that's already being done.

Wake up people."

-------------------------
I simply can not understand how Christ filled people who give wonderful sermons, who claim to follow Lord Jesus and who claim to be obedient to God, can react this way to women. My gut feeling is, this conservative resurgence in SBC is hollow. It's almost like in John Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress", the leadership of SBC are like the Blind Juror. This whole thing is so sad.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I give Allen a "pass" on the Sheri Klouda issue. It was Paige Patterson, and I have never read that Allen agreed with Patterson on the issue of removing women seminary professors.

Thy Peace said...

Watchdog, technically you are correct that Dr. Allen was not directly involved in Klouda case. But there are so many omissions on his part to clarify the issue. On many occasions he has not returned phone calls to Wade for either clarification on the issue or for request to receive information.

I personally like Dr. Allen. He is very personable and approachable. He is a good speaker. Very articulate. All I am saying, SBC leadership went off on this role of women at SWBTS. I do not know when the pendulum will swing back to center.

Anonymous said...

I watched the tape of last week's Iron Did Swim sermon on TV this morning. I was amazed that this man would read from Dr.Lindsay, Sr. so much and tell us "look what Dr. Lindsay said(or did)." What happened to preaching the Bible? What happened to getting our edge back? Do we get our edge back by looking back to Dr. Lindsay? All I see when I look back is a man of God preaching the Word and leading the people to be used of God. Mac must have come to the realization that he doesn't love us and we don't love and follow him, so he tries to get us to follow Dr. Lindsay's words from 50 years ago. Pathetic how much we hear about the past, and about Dr. Lindsay, when it is time to RAISE MONEY! Sick, Sick, Sick.

Anonymous said...

As an older gentlemen in the church, I used to try and mentor the younger men, and would try and share with Dr. Brunson about our glorious past. But then he would criticize me for "worshipping past pastors" and "living in the past." Now he seems upset I don't talk about what God did here anymore. Obviously, we see the same things as Dr. Brunson, and of course he is right about this church not being used of God anymore. He blames us. We never moved. It is clear that it is the new leadership that has led us to where we are today. And maybe some of that experienced staff he let go (so he and his family could take those salaries for themselves) would be helpful about now? Maybe "the past" knew more about seeing God work miracles through our congregation than the A-Group? I hope someone down there dares ask Mac that question!

Mac - it wasn't our branding and marketing consultant that made it happen. And when you bring out the iron did swim sermon and can't preach anything fresh from it other than yell at us and quote Dr. Lindsay,...well it is time for you to hang it up and go into the business world. You stink as a pastor! Got it? Good.

Thy Peace said...

I just finished listening to Dr. David Allen evening sermon at fbcjax. He is good. I hope they bring him back often to fbcjax. God bless you, Dr. David Allen.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thank you Dr. Allen for delivering two well-studied, in-depth Bible sermons. We are a people hungry for a preacher who will preach the Word, verse by verse, to feed the sheep and allow the Holy Spirit to deal with the hearts of people.

it is written said...

Dr.Watchdog I am a local pastor and I have listened to countless sermons by great and not so great preachers.But after watching Brunson's sermon Sunday morning on the "Iron swimming" It has to be one of the WORST sermon's I have ever heard!And Brunson has a doctorate in theology....THIS GUY IS UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!!

October 6, 2008 12:24 AM

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

It is written - That is why Dr. Allen was a breath of fresh air. For so long we have had to suffer through "sermonettes", with just a little bit of Bible, a lot of history, preached by a man with a personal agenda who will stretch the truth and scripture to make his point.

Dr. Allen went in depth explaining the scritpures from his text, he didn't hunt and peck to make a point. His preaching made the scripture come alive in the minds of his listeners, making direct application to their lives. And he did it with THE WORD...not with yelling....not with berating....not with guilt...not with scare tactics.

I mean when a preacher stands in the pulpit and declares on several occasions that the churches in Rome that Paul was writing to were "satellite churches" similar to our concept of satellite churches, the man is either stupid, or he thinks his listeners are stupid to believe such nonsense. David Allen would never preach that, or if he did he would make a biblical case backed up by scripture and history - not just throw it out there..."hey gee whiz by golly, them there Roman churches were satellites TOO!!"

Anonymous said...

Local pastor "It is written" 12:24 a.m. Oct 6. I can believe every word you wrote. Following either of the Dr Lindsay's message on the Iron Did Swim is like a 12 year old trying to beat Tiger Woods in a game of golf. In my opinion, he would have been better off to have given his own message rather than attempting to deliver a sermon in an area that would be impossible to obtain the heights and depths of theological teaching masterly and beautifully given by the Lindsays. But, you have to remember, Dr Brunson has a Phd in History not theology. The wisdom of our former pastors and the style and manner in which they delivered and taught the scriptures is unequalled. I would have never surmised that Dr Brunson would have attempted such a nightmare. It only proves that those pastors or elders are to be given double honor when they actually believe and teach bibilical truths. It would be interesting to hear more from you as a local pastor as to from whom you have learned some bible truths and how long you have been in the ministry. Shallow sermonettes are very boring and uninteresting to listen to these days. Possibly you could enlighten us as to some really good local preachers of the gospel? Thank you for your imput into this area. It is such a comfort to hear from a local pastor to us lay people agreeing that what we are experiencing is some of the worst preaching available in Jacksonville. Such a shame.