"...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, December 24, 2008

Church Discipline - FBC Jax Style - Part 2 - Memo to Bloggers: "NO TRESPASSING"

Well FBC Jax, below are the hyperlinks of letters and trespass warnings blogged about the last month. The accused members still have not been provided a copy of the bylaws - but they were told they could swing by the church library at a predetermined time, and for that visit to the library the trespass warning would be temporarily lifted, so they could read the bylaws - but no copy would be provided. Trespass warnings are STILL in effect he says, on both he and his wife, and will be until such time as they agree to meet with the discipline committee with no representation, and without being give a copy of the bylaws.

Two of the letters are from the Discipline Committee to the member of FBC Jax and his wife - a member in good standing who he and his wife have served in the church for many years. One of them is the reply letter from the church member. He is accused of being the owner or controller of this particular blog. When you read the list of 16 sins ("A" through "P") it sounds as though they are accusing the owner of this blog of single handedly destroying the ministry of and fellowship at FBC Jax.

Letter #1: The Indictment of the Watchdog

This 11/25/08 letter accuses the man of owning and controlling the blog, and lists 16 specific sins which are "derogatory, devisive, destructive, and demeaning"...reads almost as a Jerry Vines alliterative 4-point sermon outline. According to the accused, the letter was hand delivered on the eve of Thanksgiving, by two long-term staffers who first called and hung up on him to ensure he was home, rang the doorbell, refused an invitation to come in, and pulled out a sealed envelope and gave it to the accused man and left.

According to the man who received this letter, this was the FIRST and ONLY correspondence or notice or communication in any way of this matter. Very interesting if this is true, since the letter claims that the committee is acting in accordance with Matthew 18:15-20; which it most certainly is not if the FIRST action was to drop off a letter and trespass warnings. Greek scholars are pouring through the text to find the discipline process in scripture where step one is a crank call, step two is to drop off a letter at the man's house, and step three is to ban the members from the church property until the accused comes to meet with a committee. So far no luck in finding that process in scripture.

This letter makes the accusations, and then informs the accused that he and his wife are forbidden from coming on the property ever again until they meet with the "Discipline Committee", and that failure to meet with the Discipline Committee within 10 days will result in expulsion from the church. Another reason why the December 2007 bylaw changes have significance: did the bylaws grant the authority to this new Discipline Committee to vote members out without the approval of the congregation?

The letter has been signed by the six members of the Discipline Committee: the Chairman of the Deacons, the Vice Chairman of the Deacons, and four other members of the committee - one of them which also is the President of the Trustees of the church. So who in the world would he speak to at the church to protest such treatment? The pastor? He appointed the committee members. Certainly not the Chair or vice chair of the deacons - they are committee members. President of the Trustees? Nope, on the committee. And without a copy of the bylaws (as of Friday last week no bylaws have been provided as requested) it is impossible to know if they prescribe some sort appeal process as was outlined in the Bellevue Baptist Church bylaws that also provided for an ad-hoc discipline committee. According to some posters here, the old bylaws DID contain a type of appeal process where an accused could call for a hearing in front of the church, but that the new bylaws have removed that - this story on the bylaws is developing. Names and signatures of the FBC Jax discipline committee have been removed as requested.

Trespass Warnings

Here are the trespass warnings issued which I believe were attached to the 11/25 letter: one for the man and one for his wife. These forms were shown to a law enforcement expert, who confirmed these forms prove the persons have been warned to stay away from the premises, and thus the two members could be arrested for trespassing if an official at the church wanted to report them as trespassing. The forms had the man and his wife's name, address, date of birth, weight, height, race, sex, etc. The reason stated on the forms for the warning issuance was: "willful misconduct of a church member" for the man, and "association with member engaging in willful misconduct of a church member" for the woman. So based on this its clear to me that the woman is not being accused of owning the blog, just that she is accused of "associating" with her husband who is accused of owning the blog.

Reply Letter

This 12/1/08 letter is the man's response to the accusations and trespass warnings. He states his intention to meet with the committee, but requests a copy of the bylaws, states his intention to tape record the meeting and to have counsel present, and also asks that the trespass warnings be lifted so that he and his wife may attend church services on 12/3/08 to watch their daughter sing in the choir. He also is asking for the basis of the accusations.

2nd Letter from Church

This 12/3/08 letter is the committee's response to the accused's 12/1/08 letter. This letter ignores the request to provide the bylaws, and states that the committee will never allow the man to have representation in any meetings with the committee because of the "ecclesiastical" nature of the meeting. The committee acknowledges that the man and his wife have a desire to see their daughter perform in the 12/3/08 service but insists that the man and his wife must first submit to their demand to meet with the committee prior to the service else the trespass warning is "in full force and effect". They state:

"Your non-response, unwillingness or unavailability to meet at this time will prevent you and your wife from being granted permission to attend this evening's service."

So this committee apparently has been granted such power by the church's bylaws (or by the pastor or pastor's wife's decree) that they can dictate the terms to members by which they are allowed to attend worship services. Its worth noting that attendance at the 12/3/08 meeting would not have lifted the trespass warnings, but would only permit attendance for that one service: "...the committee...is willing to allow you on the premises, for tonight, if you have an initial meeting...this evening."

A church like FBC Jax that allows its bylaws to be significantly changed by just a few men and a pastor with no explanation or discussion of the changes, especially the addition of a discipline committee, is asking for trouble - now we have a committee deciding the terms by which members of the church can and cannot attend worship services. We were warned here, here, and here.

The man says he did send a response to the 2nd reply from the church, and says he has decided to not make that one public, at least not at this time.

What is next? His wife has been removed from her Sunday School email prayer distribution list. For the time being the man and his wife have trespass warnings against them that are "in full force and effect" and he says they will comply and will worship elsewhere and don't plan on coming back. He tells me his wife is taking it all pretty hard but is coping well. The worst part he says is the total silence toward his wife - only one staff member called her - he is one of the young, very humble ministers at the church who did not know why she was not able to fulfill her ministry anymore at the church. Apparently not all of the staff had been informed of the trespass warnings.

So it appears to be a stand-off since the committee requires a meeting under their conditions only, and doesn't seem to want to meet what seem to be reasonable requests of the man and his wife prior to a meeting. If there are any "appeal" processes or procedures in the bylaws for members who are being mistreated by the committee, they are unknown to the accused as the church still has not complied with his request for a copy of the bylaws or even an explanation of the basis of the accusations. The man says its likely that the committee is following through on their threat to revoke their membership unless they meet with the committee.

So there you have it: Church Discipline - FBC Jax style. Not according to the Bible. Matthew 18 church discipline? Not even close. Its church discipline according to Team Brunson.

These events should concern every single member of FBC Jacksonville. Lest you think Mac is a disconnected party to all of these shenanigans, consider this: Mac preached Wednesday night 12/3, the very day that Mac's committee tried to force the man and his wife to meet with them without representation as a condition of seeing their child perform in church, Mac stated that scripture teaches that one function of a pastor's "dealing harshly" with sinning church members is to "put the fear of God in YOU [the congregation]". I don't find this in scripture that a pastor is to "deal harshly" with sinners, or that church discipline is designed to put "the fear of God" into people. But that is Mac's view and intent in all of this: to put the FEAR OF GOD IN YOU, THE GOOD PEOPLE OF FBC JACKSONVILLE. Just a coincidence that he makes this statement on that particular day that the man and his wife were refused entrance into the church? I don't think so.

So FBC Jax I ask you: Is Mac successful in putting the fear of God in YOU? Or is it time perhaps for the congregation to put the "fear of God" into Mac and the discipline committee and demand that they stop their abusive ways?

136 comments:

Anonymous said...

Of course Brunson is involved in this. The current bylaws state that the first step of the discipline process is the committee (discipline) meets with the pastor to determine if the offense of a member is worthy of discipline. So the pastor is front and center - and you can bet the co-pastor (Deb) is also.

Anonymous said...

This is just unbelievable, who would think that so-called Christians would keep an obvious family of God Grace from attending the concert so they can exert their power over them. This "church" is nothing more than a money exchange in my eyes. I am so glad I do not attend here.

This abuse of power is the exact reason why it took me so long to become a member of a church or attend on a regular basis. I just hope the good people of your "church" figure this out before they start passing out the paper cups and the grape juice at gunpoint.

God bless the innocent victims of this wretched group of "church" leaders, staff and lay.

Thy Peace said...

Very interesting post. Maybe Fox News should be interested in this form Church Discipline. How about Jeff Brumley? I guess not. There is no salacious sex news here.

After reading the entire post and all the letters, I have come to the conclusion, that I am guilty of some of the violations.

I hereby ban myself from fbcjax and it's campus. I do not have any lists of email address of SS, since I never set foot in fbcjax.

My guess, they might persist in legal discovery, to flush the email lists of these defendants, if they have any.

What a contrast between Grace Community Church and fbcjax. At fbcjax, they save money by not printing the bylaws on paper, but they want you to go to the library, sign your name and read them.

I am sure if Lindsay Jr. was here, he would have just talked to the defendants without any preconditions and find out what was bothering them in the first place, without taking offense. I do not know this, but just a guess on my part, based on reader comments about Lindsay Jr.

The seeds are sown by fbcjax Pastor, discipline committee on this matter. This will have wide repercussions. The harvest will be bitter and more divisive.

I for one, am trying to mend my ways and not be so divisive. But I feel it is always good to question everything against scriptures and to understand better.

We are all one in Our Lord Jesus Christ. No one is superior or inferior, but we all are equals. We all are sinners. We are saved by the blood of the lamb.

I wish WD, Readers of FBC Jax Watchdog, fbcjax members a Merry Christmas. May the Peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ fill the hearts of fbcjax.

Anonymous said...

Who do these guys think they are? To demand that he "surrender" any lists of members or membership rolls, on p.3 of the letter?

RM said...

Seems to me that there are quite sure that they served papers on the WD. All WD has to do is tell us in a blog post that he is not the one they served and we will believe him. If he is the one served, then stand up and admit it. It doesn't diminish what you have done.

I figured when you posted about withholding your tithes that they would eventually find and remove you from the fellowship. It was a dangerous step.

I'd sure like to hear from WD personally if he is the man they served.

Anonymous said...

Can someone say "cult?"

Maybe "power hungry"

Or "control"

What is amazing to me is that outside of the church many of the so called leaders of your church are Dr's lawyers business men. How do they fall into this type of activity?

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. If I were a person looking for a church to join, this would be the last one. I would not be a member at FBCJ if you PAID ME.

What passage are they using? Matt: 18, indeed not. They arn't remotely following Matt:18. Maybe it's another version MAC 1 !!!!

Anonymous said...

Dog,

Do you have any information on why the committee believes that the member served the trespass warning is the WD?

Did the committee violate any laws in (mis)identifying WD?

Merry Christmas to you, Dog. Thank you very much for the ministry of your blog.

Anonymous said...

On this Christmas eve, I am reflecting on the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. How thankful I am for what God has done for us.

I am also thankful to all who have endeavored to show the readers the truth about PURPOSE DRIVEN. How dangerous it is to the cause of Christ.

To Watchdog, thank you for your heartfelt work in bringing to light the abuses, and errors of compromising pastors; in these last days.

To FBC Members, our love for you.

To all of you God's richest blessings.

Ghost said...

Of all the abuses discussed on this blog, this is by far the most egregious. Mac is clearly not following the guidelines scripture gives us in handling church discipline. Whether or not this person issued the trespass warnings is in fact the watchdog, the question arises how did FBC Jax obtain the information that led to them "positively identifying" this person? What illegal means were used? What other church members are the church spying on, perhaps illegally to obtain information about their conduct?

Also, Watchdog, the purpose of your blog is to shed light on those who are abusing their power within the church, so why hide the names of the members of this discipline committee? If these sycophant's willingly volunteered to serve in this unscriptural role and willfully participate in enabling Mac and his abuse of power, put their names out there so the church will know they are.

Thank you for your work in continuing this blog and shedding light on these charlatan's. Merry Christmas.

Anonymous said...

First Baptist Jacksonville INC. Have they violated Google's Privacy Policy to gain access to account holder information? They will we treading on thin ice if they have. Also, Was the "Blogger told who identified them positively so that they could confront this accusation? Where does "If a brother be overtaken in a fault, YE which are SPIRITUAL RESTORE such a one" ?

sab

Anonymous said...

Why should the accused let them know if they served the right or wrong guy? If he is NOT the WD, then he has acted accordingly by refusing to meet with the committee until he sees the by-laws and their basis for these unsupported accusations. If he IS the WD, and they are so sure about it, they would have simply informed him. (Dear Sir, we have your ip address confirmation from your internet provider...) Or Dear Mr. Dog, we have obtained verification that you own the site via ____. If this is not correct, please advise.")If they "know" its him, why don't they allow him to respond to the basis of their accusations. Maybe there is a simple explanation. OR maybe they just want him to do the obvious and say "it's not me, its so and so." Then they can go to the WD and say, "your name was given to us as being the WD." These guys are amatuers!

Since they have the wrong guy, the WD has nothing to fear and continues to blog without any threat of them figuring out who is. If he IS the WD, then he needs to be very concerned about whether they illegally hacked his computer, illegally obtained records or information from his internet provider in violation of State and Federal laws, or they tapped his phones in violation of Federal wiretapping laws. So, either way, the WD and the accused are being very wise in not giving the Discipline committee the time of day until they provide some basis for their accusations.

The committee has NO power except to ban a long time, faithful Christian lady from attending worship in God's house. These men are spineless cowards with a mob/gang mentality. You would think at least ONE would be man enough to contact the accused personally to discuss this.

They won't, and can't! BULLIES and COWARDS!

The accused, whether he be the WD or not, has simply requested two basic things, the by-laws and the basis for their allegations. These bullies can provide neither. Yet they issue trespass warnings. This is exactly the kind of abuse of power that makes Americans angry with government and churches. For me, this shows that what the WD has been blogging about all along is right on target.

Keep it up, WD!

Anonymous said...

To Mac and Honey and Trey - just remember, EVERY single gift you give, and every gift you receive from Mac, Trey or Honey, orginated from some gullible sheep who worked hard to earn the dollars, then GAVE them to Team Brunson.
Yep, every penny that passes through Mac's hands was GIVEN by someone to "the Lord." And Mac has it, and spent it. Wow. Someone else actually earned every penny and then gave it to Mac or Debbie or Trey. Incredible.

Merry Christmas Mac. And be generous with our money this year!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas WatchDog!LOVE YA LOTS!

Anonymous said...

Even if the Watchdog is identified, WHO CARES! This certainly isn't, in my opinion, a church anymore. So what, if they really do know who WD is!!! WD would not be in business with this blog., had this preacher not have created the need for it. Who needs this church anyway? Certainly not like it is! FBCJ just doesn't matter anymore. As the old saying goes, "I have been thrown out of better places than this". I know it is hard on the wife and children, but after a while they will look back and see what this church has turned into, and be glad they are gone. Like Paul: "These things have fallen out to me for the futherance of the gospel". Just being under this depressing cloud at FBCJ now, isn't conducive to true Worship. This church was once about JESUS, now it's about the leadership and control. They think they hurt people with threats of taking their name off the role and serving them with trespass papers. What kind of Christian love is that? Where is the going to the brother to restore him? When you have to threaten people to get them in line, and "under control", that is more like a cult. Who really wants to be part of a church like that? These people are better off without FBCJ, as it is now. This lady was doing what God told her to do in serving Him in the church. It's just a shame the church wasn't worthy of her!!!

slave of christ said...

jesus is lord

it is written said...

Dr.Dog have a MERRY CHRISTMAS my brother and the all the bloggers a glorious Christmas to you as well!!!

Anonymous said...

WD, I just have one question. In your opionon is there anything good or positive that Mac has done for FBJC?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - absolutely there is. the watchdog has given at least one list somewhere on this blog, I believe it was this past summer...here's a quick list of positives about Mac Brunson, good things he's done:

1. Hired Jim Whitmire

2. Increasing our focus on world missions

3. Overall some changes in the worship music have been very positive

4. Made good hires on other new young ministers on staff

5. Is by all appearances a wonderful father and husband, and he and his wife have raised three great kids.

6. Is also a wonderful son who loves and cares for his parents and siblings

7. He's not a "pretty boy", effeminate preacher. He's not concerned with his outward appearance like so many preachers who gel their hair, wear fake fingernail polish and seem to be pre-occupied with their looks. I like this about Mac very much.

8. Despite what some bloggers have expressed here, I believe Mac is a genuine bible-believing preacher, that he believes the entire bible. I believe he has allowed those around him to get him off focus.

9. Mac is not afraid to tackle very tough social issues. He was outspoken on the marriage amendment, on abortion, and other issues. He gave I think one of the best sermons I've heard on the topic of homosexuality this past summer and watchdog said so at the time. It was Mac at his best.

10. As he said on Christmas Eve, his decision to have an annual Christmas Eve service is excellent. Good move.

11. Mac has not even a hint of any sexual scandal anywhere in his past and has very high morals in this regard in his personal life.

12. He has challenged our church to consider a school - that is a good thing. WD has taken issue with the methods he used to accomplish it, and the reasons given for the school have been bogus. WD doesn't believe it the best use of our funds to reach our community as Mac says, and WD doesn't think it a NECESSITY in order to reach our community as Mac has proclaimed in selling it to his congregation. Not that we shouldn't do it, but it should be a decision made by the church if its to be done. And how does our church decide to do new projects that require capital? RAISE THE MONEY, not TAKE THE MONEY.

13. Mac has NOT taken us full blown toward the "7-11" worship music like many mega SBC churches have gone. Jim Whitmire has introduced our church to a wide array of Christian music, while keeping many of our traditional hymns.

There are others that I could think of.

For all of his good, there are just two PRIMARY things that keep him from being the leader he could be: 1. His pride; and 2. His trust of people around him that are making VERY bad decisions on his behalf and that have convinced him of how change must be implemented.

Thy Peace said...

I have a solution for fbcjax "problems".

Pastor Mac should hire WD as a personal adviser. It's always good for Mac to hear both pros and cons of how to run a church. WD has shown he can do both objectively.

If only Mac did this. I guess not.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers:

Take a look at this story on the FBC Ocala (FL) situation. The WD has blogged about this several times...but its interesting that the six ministers who were fired and banned from the church by the pastor and his "personnel committee" were reinstated after the pastor decided to leave and start his own church in Ocala.

Some background that you won't read in the story: the six ministers were fired because they had very grave concerns about the pastor's integrity and honesty and they wanted to bring their concerns to the deacon body, but were told instead they must bring them to the personnel committee. They refused to do this, as they knew the committee was a select group of men hand picked by and supportive of the pastor and their concerns would not get a fair hearing. So for their failure to meet with the personnel committee they were fired.

But the congregation was so furious over the pastor's actions that they decided to bring in a mediator (John Sullivan!) and put the pastor on paid administrative leave until things could be sorted out...but the pastor left and took about 300 members with him to start a new church in Ocala.

Thanks goodness that these six ministers stood up for their church in the face of bully pastor! These abusive pastors will stay at churches only so long as they can maintain, or even increase, their power. Once they realize their power base is in jeopardy and someone stands up to them, and that people are on to them, they flee - some flee to start their own church, some will flee to the next mega church that will take them in and give them total control of the church.

The events that transpired at FBC Ocala were in part governed or dictated by their church bylaws. That is who reports to whom, how disputes are settled, even how special meetings are called. Keep this in mind FBC Jax: a church's bylaws are very important: they specify things like:

1. How does a church call a special business meeting to discuss concerns regarding actions of the pastor and staff?

2. How would a member who has concerns about the staff or pastor get a fair hearing over some issue?

3. How would deacons call a special business meeting?

4. How can a pastor be removed from his position?

5. What actions can be taken against a person in the church who is considered to be divisive, or in gross sin, and what rights does the accused have to call for a fair hearing of their side of the story?

6. What are the rights and responsiblities of membership in the church, and what if any "rights" does a church member forfeit by becoming a member of the church?

You might say: "why should I be concerned about what is in my church bylaws? I have been a member for 20 years and never seen them! Why should I be worried NOW?" Good question! I think all members of any organization that they give money to, and proselitize for, and invest their time and efforts in, and entrust their kids to....should DEMAND a copy of the organizations's bylaws - ESPECIALLY a RELIGOUS 501(c)3 organization since courts don't usually like to intervene in church affairs (ask Sheri Klouda)...and therefore what is written in those bylaws will likely be enforced by the church on you!! Doesn't take long to read them, and they're pretty easy to understand.

Don't care about bylaws? OK, I understand. But let me tell you, FBC Jax members and prospective FBC Jax members, of two situations when you need to stop and examine your church bylaws:

Situation 1: There is conflict in the church, and/or the pastor seems to possibly be abusing his power or moving the church in a direction that many of the church members might not agree with; or

Situation 2: When certain leaders in the church propose signficant changes to the bylaws.

Those are the two scenarios when the average, run-of-the-mill member who probably couldn't care less about bylaws or constitutions, but who loves his/her church....SHOULD stop and take notice of the bylaws and ask questions and consider the changes and the reason for the changes.

And a caveat to Situation #2: when the proposed changes are NOT explained, copies are NOT easily accessible, and when marked-up copies showing clearly the changes are NOT distributed to the membership....and when there is NO open discussion or Q&A of the changes...this should increase your concern by a huge margin, and a red alarm should sound...DANGER, DANGER, DANGER....what is in those bylaw changes?

So in the coming days we shall discuss the December 2007 FBC Jax bylaw changes - since only a very select few in our church knows what is in them. Should not be a problem to discuss those here - members have a right and RESPONSIBILITY to know what is in their own bylaws, since the bylaws actually specify what the RESPONSIBILITIES are of each church member! Now, you can go and read your bylaws in the FBC Jax church library - they can be checked out...but keep in mind you may not photocopy them, and you MAY make hand-written notes...but according to the church administrator you may NOT make "hand written copies", so don't copy anything down on your paper that is word for word from the bylaws as the church has a long-standing policy against any copies being distributed to ANYONE...except of course those who are smart enough and wise enough to handle the bylaws such as the pastor and trustees. I suppose they have copies, but the plebe, those not spiritually mature, or have the wonderful wisdom of the trustees...they must go and sign them out and no copies made. Hmmmmm......doesn't it make you wonder what is in those bylaws, and what exactly DID they change in December 2007 that they were not too eager for you to know about?

More to come...

Thy Peace said...

Wow!

WD, a question. Why is the leadership so fearful of the public dissemination of the bylaws? Also, why the double standard? I am certain, these bylaws copies are in the possession of the leadership, in their homes, on their computers, and probably the staff. Why are they prohibiting the members from having a copy? Is it all because of WD? I think they are taking WD too seriously.

Or is it something more? That is why when ones actions are not in the open, it raises a whole host of other questions.

I have noticed that the federal special prosecutors when they go after politicians or others, they are always found guilty of not the actual subject matter at hand, but on mostly covering up or trying to hide their tracks.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I don't think its a response to the WD...perhaps it is a long-standing church policy to not spread the bylaws around. However, I seem to think that copies of the bylaws WERE given out back in the 70s or 80s or 90s, as I just recall seeing the old ones at one time, that they were given out at a business meeting. I might be wrong, but I just think they were given out in the past. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

But if you've ever read church bylaws they're pretty boring, and they say things that pretty much everyone knows anyways...but when it comes to member convenants, and how disputes are handled...and what if any rights are forfeited by becoming a member...those are indeed important aspects of the bylaws that members should know. There should never be anything secret, or shameful, or harmful in them that would prevent them from having widespread dissemination! Some churches even hyperlink to their church bylaws on their website.

But just as it defies logic how the members are not given access to their own copies on request, it even more so I think defies logic how changes are proposed - VERY significant changes - not under the tenure of a long time pastor but a NEW pastor - how those bylaw changes were not explained, discussed, or marked up copies made available. It really does raise suspicion. I don't even really see how legally the church can refuse to release a copy of the bylaws to a member immediately upon request. I've never heard of such a thing.

What is even more laughable is how the pastor on several occasions has said that members should have to sign a membership agreement that they know they are to tithe, to attend services, etc....so the pastor wants people to sign something affirming their committment to the church, yet the church won't even release copies of the bylaws THAT CONTAIN THE MEMBER'S CONVENANT!

And as you point out TP, are there different levels of membership? If you are a trustee and pastor, I assume you are responsible enough to "handle" the sacred bylaws. How about all the deacons - do they have copies? Or only certain deacons? What about staff members? How about lay directors in Sunday School that give up hundreds of volunteer hours every week - do they get copies of bylaws? Maybe if you're a close friend of the trustees, you might get a copy. Perhaps a big donor to the church, they wouldn't DARE not give you a copy, would they? But just a regular plebe, forget it - you're too stupid. You wouldn't understand them anyways. You might misread and misinterpret them.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

And if it IS a long-standing church policy, couldn't we all agree that its a STUPID and OUT-DATED church policy? How do we hide bylaws that the church expects members to abide by without making them easily accessible? How do we take in new members and NOT let them see the bylaws?

Answer: Mac loves traditions and "long-standing policies" if they suit his purposes. If its a "long standing policy" that he doesn't care for, well then he'll say we shouldn't be living in the past and do away with it.

Come on Mac, release the bylaws! Let the members know that if they would like a copy they can pick one up at the library - they don't even need to sign for it! Or hyperlink the bylaws on the church website! What would be so wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

Dog,

Quetion: Are you not concerned about the person who has falsely accused as being you?
Don't you owe something to him and his wife so that they are not brandished wrongly?

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace,

How are you doing? You can't seem to pull yourself away from the Dog.

Yes, you have banned yourself from FBCJ but you persist in maligning us.

Dog has a legitimate concern as he is a member. Do even physically attend a church?

Anonymous said...

Legally speaking, the most important documents FBCJax has is its Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws (a Constitution, if it has one, is considered an extra and unnecessary document, legally). The bylaws flesh-out the incorporation document; in a court of law, a judge will want to know if the congregation and/or its elected leaders--and, at times, its other individual members--have acted in keeping with what the congregation (a properly informed one) decided as stated in its bylaws. If so, all is well despite charges to the contrary; if not, the congregation and/or its elected leaders lose when facing civil/criminal charges to the contrary.

1. Recent amendments--however they were established (with or without a fully-informed congregation voting in favor)--to the bylaws are available for viewing at the state's website;

2. Descriptions at this blogsite make it appear that the recent amendments to the previous bylaws probably were approved in violation of the previous bylaws (too little notice provided--probably because the trustee leadership and senior pastor believed they knew who the WD is and had begun, with the amendments adopted, to take steps to exclude and expose the WD), rendering the amendments and present bylaws null;

3. According to the recent amendments, final say-so still is vested in the membership as a voting body and not in the trustees--and certainly not in the senior pastor or staff as such (the trustees, under someone's leadership, seem to have functioned outside the limits that even the poorly-represented recent amendments set down for them);

4. It appears that libel and/or slander toward the supposed WD and his wife may have occurred--in which case, those possibly guilty should invest in pre-paid legal insurance before the matter is brought to light by the family and the need for legal representation actually is required (church staff members involved probably cannot count on the professional liability provisions of the congregation's property insurance policy to protect them; updating and circulating resumes might temper the situation when it comes to light in 2009--as it is sure to do);

5. I would not join FBCJax without seeing for myself that it is a legally-incorporated entity in the state of Florida AND without reading for myself in a copy of the bylaws what my rights are as a member of the congreation--nor would I advise anyone else to do so, even under good circumstances; for the congregation not to provide a copy of the bylaws to new members--or, to any members--simply is bad practice AND legally dangerous. I do not understand how present members of the congregation--especially those who may be lawyers--who know these things could, in good conscience invite anyone to join the church.


Whatever FBCJax may have been during its past, today--despite what anyone says to the contrary--it appears to function as a truly dysfunctional organization and not as a church prizing "the belt of truth" (cf. Ephesians; not a fashion accessory but instead the main piece of armor holding together all other pieces) should--all the more reason not to join this Jacksonville congregation anytime soon. Because of the investment of time, talent, and tithes over the years, that is a most unfortunate thing. Best wishes for resolving it in a godly fashion.

Anonymous said...

FAKE

I have looked over the letters sent to the trespasser and spouse.

One of them has "Executive Pastor for Business Administration". The word Administration is nowhere to be found on Blount's website. Church letterhead is not that difficult to obtain. Publishing software can produce documents that look real but in fact they aren't. The veracity of these items are suspect at the very least.

Dog, you have been snookered.
Take the copies to a forensic examiner or do you just take things at face value?

RM said...

After reading the 13 things that are good about Mac I would think you people would be rejoicing. Not many churches have it so good.

My advice would be to shut the blog down and get busy working with your pastor. He's a good one and deserves better than the things being said about him on here.

Too bad that WD won't be able to join you since his membership is being terminated.

I still think the best thing would be for WD to go in and have a face to face personal meeting with Mac and iron out all these differences.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I'll answer that one Anon.

Sure, ThyPeace and many other readers here may have an interest in what happens at FBC Jax and at FBC Ocala and Bellevue Baptist Church, and they can come here and read and comment as they wish.

As I said earlier this week, there is a new breed of pastor out lurking in the SBC that people in medium to mega churches need to watch out for. They are "conservative" in their theology, but they seek power and money and control of a church. Many of them aren't too interested in starting a church (unless out of necessity), but many are interested in coming into a church that someone else has labored for decades in to build...and they want to come in and immediately be granted the same status, pay grade, control, etc. They want to use the resources and revenue streams of the church to build their brand, implement marketing strategies, possibly provide jobs for their families - and they will even come in and build consensus with a few of the powerful men in the church to change the bylaws and grant themselves even more power in the church. So yes, this blog and others I hope makes lay people in churches more aware of what just might happen to their church if they bring an unknown into their church and hand the keys over.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Now that is an excellent point...these documents might just be a scam, and I've been totally snookered! Good one Anon! I'll look into it and see!

Anonymous said...

Dog,

I concur on your "spreading the word". I am concerned about outsiders spitting venom at FBC for no reason. Even you just blogged on some virtues of Brunson. They have not done so.

And, why can't Thy Peace speak for him/her self?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thy Peace I'm sure will chime in here. Just wanted to add my thoughts - that I welcome posters to come here and post whether they are FBC Jax members or not. And Thy Peace has said some positive things about Brunson in the past, I think he/she started out as a defender of Mac Brunson on this blog.

Anonymous said...

Let me help on the bylaw distribution issue.

As best I can recollect, bylaws prior to the changes made in the 1999/2000 time frame were freely distributed to members. It was after a change made by Jerry Vines in the 2000 time frame after Lindsay's death that the articles and bylaws were not distributed. Perhaps another member from this time period can vouch for what I'm to say: Homer Lindsay, Jr. trusted his sheep with the bylaws and had no trouble in any sense with members having full access to, and complete copies of church bylaws and articles of incorporation. It was after his death that those in power changed bylaws and did not want the average church member to have easy access as power at that time had been extracted from the congregation at large and concentrated into the hands of a few of the very wealthy, powerful men in the church most of which are current trustees or powerful laymen.

Thy Peace said...

"I am concerned about outsiders spitting venom at FBC for no reason."

Wow!

My comments are hardly spitting venom on fbcjax or its leaders. Please read my comments again with some objectivity. Questioning is not the same as spitting venom.

At this point, I do not watch fbcjax internet broadcasts and I have no interest in doing so.

The reason at one point I was watching fbcjax, was I was planning to relocate to Jax. And I wanted to get a head start on fbcjax. But those plans have been scuttled for now (moving to Jax). Of course, now that I appear to spit venom, and the fbcjax drama, fbcjax is very moot for me.

Anon, do you notice I have no questions for you. I have only questions for fbcjax leaders. If you are one of them, maybe you should answer some of them. Not so much for me, but for the members of fbcjax.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:19

Uh, a few wealthy powerful men?

Lets see, that would be for over 20 years now and they are still in power? Sounds like Lady Hillary and the vast Right Wing conspiracy(of which I am a proud member). And, oh yeah, you still don't know their names for the past 20 years?

I attend and no of nothing of this evil cabal you suspect(dream of).

Apparently you watch too many conspiracy movies.

Anonymous said...

Thy Peace,

You have been commenting for over two years and NOW you say you were planning to move to Jacksonville and join FBCJ? LOL!!

C'mon on, tell us the real truth.

Probably a good thing you didn't or we would be running out of trespass notices.

Finally, why do you continue to avoid earlier questions as to what kind of church you attend physically on Sundays?

Dog, please allow him to answer. Even you can see through that moving remark.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:19..You are correct. The bylaws were always made available to the congregation as there was nothing to hide. The discipline comm. was also only to deal with proper manners in the church services!!!I have no idea about these latest ones.

Anonymous said...

I heard Joel Osteen for about 30 seconds the other night on Larry King. Larry asked Joel about being humble. Joel said he did not want to be humble, but he wanted to excell. Tells you a lot about these mega preachers doesn't it???

Anonymous said...

Just as information...All Articles of Incorporation are on file with the Secretary of each state. Possibly the by-laws as well.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 11:28 AM

Aren't you concerned about the "accused" family? Perhaps you were one of those that served the papers!! If not, your empathy for them is so lacking in compassion; you seem to enjoy their turmoil. You must be a staff FBCJ member or trusted worker.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 10:18 AM

You nailed what I conclude from these postings; FBCJ is a cult and only the elite are significant within the core.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:33

I too cannot believe this chain of events against an innocent family; however, I personally know FBCJ knows they were in error serving this family with such ludicrous actions, but are embarrassed to acknowledge the error of their ways. They are a powerful bunch of egos running the church under Brunson's leadership; yet they are cowards by not identifying themselves to the congregation.

Junkster said...

Thy Peace said...
I have a solution for fbcjax "problems".

Pastor Mac should hire WD as a personal adviser. It's always good for Mac to hear both pros and cons of how to run a church. WD has shown he can do both objectively.

If only Mac did this. I guess not.

December 26, 2008 9:04 AM


Somehow that reminds me of the scene in "It's a Wonderful Life" where Mr. Potter offers George Bailey a job, just to control him. George is considering taking the job until he shakes Potter's clammy hand, then George refuses the offer and says "You sit around here and you spin your little webs and you think the whole world revolves around you and your money. Well, it doesn't, Mr. Potter. In the whole vast configuration of things, I'd say you were nothing but a scurvy little spider!"

Junkster said...

W-Dog,
In yout post you wrote, "And without a copy of the bylaws (as of Friday last week no bylaws have been provided as requested) it is impossible to know if they prescribe some sort appeal process as was outlined in the Bellevue Baptist Church bylaws that also provided for an ad-hoc discipline committee."

Just a minor correction. Bellevue's discipline committee wasn't established by a change to the by-laws; it was created on the basis of a letter written by Adrian Rogers and approved by the Bellevue Baptist Church (BBC) congregation.

Apparently the BBC by-laws are only about a page long, and they haven't been updated since they were written in 1929. I believe that the leadership prefers to keep them simple and vague, because that way there is not much legal liability, nor much accountability of the leadership to the congregation. Plus, updating them would require membership approval, and the congregation might not approve a new set of by-laws that specifcally gives the pastor and leadership the amount of authority they have been able to assume in the absense of detailed by-laws. If they ever do update the BBC by-laws, I am confident it will be done in the same clandestine way the FBCJax by-law updates were made.

As at FBCJax, the members of Bellevue must request to see the by-laws at the church, and they cannot make copies. Read here about one man's experience when he wanted to see Bellevue's by-laws. The leadership's concern over sharing the by-laws appears to be that they could be used in legal action against the church.

Anonymous said...

Thank you WD for the positive things you had to say about Dr. Brunson. I was not aware that you had a list such as this.
Not being a member of First Baptist but one who prays for the church and attends services when I can, I appreciate the list you gave. I too agree that bringing Dr. Whitmire has brought a positive to the services of the church. Thank you again for the list. I pray for all you at FB.

Anonymous said...

RM: Like a true preacher you just talk out of both sides of your mouth. One day you are agreeing about the pastor abuses at FBCJ. Next you are criticizing WD for his work here. Make up your mind which way you stand.

Thy Peace said...

WD and Readers, please check this post of Cindy:
Book Recommendations: Where To Begin Reading the Exit Literature
Note the list of recommended books below. Though I've listed secular books apart from the Christian books, I believe that it is very beneficial to read both the Christian and the secular literature on the subject. The reading helps to awaken your sleeping discernment, so reading the secular literature greatly helps this process. Cialdini's book, the secular choice in the first row is very important, but you can read a short synopsis HERE. I also believe that reading Steven Hassan's "Combating Cult Mind Control" to be very important, as it includes his personal account of his own experience. It's amazing to me to note how very similar his experience is to the experience that one has in thought reform programs in evangelical Christian and Biblical churches that embrace sola scriptura. It is worth taking the time to read. The Lalich books listed on row #2 presents practical information that helps you with the practical, real-life problems that you experience as a result of group membership. It helps you "unmask the guru" or your group leader, deal with the everyday anxieties of living and it includes important information for those who grew up in groups and know nothing else about life outside the group.

RM said...

Anon,

Its always refreshing to see how you like to attack any pastor that writes on here. Really doesn't matter what we say, you would criticize it. I imagine your pastor is thrilled to have you in his church.

I totally disagree with the abuses at FBC, Jax but I sometimes wonder if we are being told the whole story. Seems there are a lot of people that like the direction their church is taking.

I do disagree with the existence of this blog. I think WD should publicly state who he/she is and then meet privately with Mac. I do however read it because it gives me some great sermon illustrations--and I also pray for all of you because you have one big mess out there.

FYI, in Texas churches do not have to provide a copy of their constitution and/or by-laws to the Secretary of State. Our church comes in under a blanket exemption granted to the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Not sure how they do it out there though. In Texas you would not be able to view a church's by-laws unless that church expressly grants you the right to do so.

Let me also say that if WD was a member of our church and maintained this blog, we would take steps to find out his identity and then remove him from membership. But then, we would also NOT do the things Mac has done but so you are back to the questions of "which came first--the chicken or the egg."

Have a good day and enjoy the football games this weekend...

RM said...

I just read that Tim Tebow is a member of your church. You must be doing something right! I'll be pulling for him in the BCS Championship game and hope they crush the Sooners...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

RM - you being a pastor who has read this blog for some time, would you mind sharing a few answers to some questions? If you don't want to answer them I understand, but here they are:

- I'm glad that you have gotten sermon illustrations from this blog. But what have YOU learned, if anything, as a pastor, from reading this blog? Not about blogs or the Watchdog or recalcitrant members - I'm talking specifically what have YOU learned about PASTORING and how you minister to your sheep.

- why do you recommend the watchdog reveal his identity on this blog and go meet with the pastor, when you yourself have kept hidden your identity on this blog? Why not tell us your name, and the name of your church, sir? If there could be no reason for the watchdog to keep his identity hidden, the certainly there is no reason for YOU to keep yours hidden.

- what would you do in your church to find out who was blogging about you? To what lengths would you be willing to go to find out the identity of the person? Who would you commission to find out who the rascal is?

- how would you "remove them from membership"? Would you try to restore the person first, and if so, how would you do that?

- if you removed them from membership, would you also ban them from attending any services as non-members? If you would not ban them from the church, what good would revoking their membership do?

- Why do you think that YOU do not have a blog about YOU?

- Why is there not a blog at FBC Woodstock about the abuses of Johnny Hunt? Why is there not a blog dogging the new pastor at FBC Dallas?

- If you accepted a new pastorship and within 21 days accepted a land gift worth $300,000 from one of the wealthy donors in the church, would you accept it? Why or why not?

- would you ever sell advertising and promotions at advertising market prices (not talking about covering costs, but about promotions using standard advertising rates valued using a cpm basis like other advertising medium in the world) at a conference at your church held on your property? Do you have authority as pastor to even make that decision?

Your statement about "there seems to be a lot of people who like the direction the church is taken": this blog is NOT about the direction that Mac Brunson is taking the church. It is about the abuses that have occured that threaten his ability to lead HIS SHEEP in ANY direction. Sure, there are some here who post about purpose driven and such, but the abuses here are really not about the direction of the church under Brunson. Its his abuses of power, nepotism, and other abuses of the congregation.

Anonymous said...

RM/PD keep on posting here, the more you post the more like Brunson you become and the more we see you for what you are.

It is clear that there are many bad preachers. Pointing out faults within straying pastors is important to all. You may think that a pastor should CHANGE to keep up with and be like the WORLD. Like you said" we'd better go with the flow or we'll end up with empty churches". But many here do not agree with you and post against those who believe as you do.

It is not my intent to hurt the pastors, rather it is my hope that they will return from ill advised METHODS.

What I see is BAPTIST PREACHERS who are becoming REFORMED PREACHERS. More concerned about the world and less about the individual soul.

The problems surrounding most abusive pastors in symptomatic of the METHODS that they use.

So preacher we pray for you but will not fail to point out your faults.

Anonymous said...

RM,

What a wild, weird, and wacky world we live in!

Thy Peace said...

"- if you removed them from membership, would you also ban them from attending any services as non-members? If you would not ban them from the church, what good would revoking their membership do?"

WD, I am reposting these comments, which I had posted earlier.

WSJ: Banned From Church
On a quiet Sunday morning in June, as worshippers settled into the pews at Allen Baptist Church in southwestern Michigan, Pastor Jason Burrick grabbed his cellphone and dialed 911. When a dispatcher answered, the preacher said a former congregant was in the sanctuary. "And we need to, um, have her out A.S.A.P."


Half an hour later, 71-year-old Karolyn Caskey, a church member for nearly 50 years who had taught Sunday school and regularly donated 10% of her pension, was led out by a state trooper and a county sheriff's officer. One held her purse and Bible. The other put her in handcuffs. (Listen to the 911 call)

The charge was trespassing, but Mrs. Caskey's real offense, in her pastor's view, was spiritual. Several months earlier, when she had questioned his authority, he'd charged her with spreading "a spirit of cancer and discord" and expelled her from the congregation. "I've been shunned," she says.


Tom Ascol, does things little differently about this aspect. Here are his comments:
WSJ on church discipline
When a person is removed from the membership of a church in keeping with our Lord's teaching in Matthew 18, he or she is not to be "shunned." Neither should they be forbidden to sit under the public preaching of the gospel. They need the gospel and, while we cannot treat them as members any longer, we should welcome them the same way we would a "Gentile or tax collector" (in other words, an unbeliever). We recently had a member who was excommunicated several years ago show up for a worship service. I was glad he was there and told him so. I prayed for him during the worship, that God would capture his heart with the gospel. This is far from the caricature that is portrayed in the WSJ.

There is a difference in church discipline and "pastor discipline." I have known of a few cases where overly zealous pastors tried to remove problem members in the name of church discipline. But, because their congregations had not been adequately taught and were not fully on board with the process, it really wasn't "church" discipline at all.

One of the first things a faithful pastor must do when he finds that a church has neglected the practice of corrective church discipline is teach. He must carefully explain passages like the one cited above and 1 Corinthians 5. Then he must teach some more. And then some more. He must lead the membership to see and embrace what the Bible says about the integrity of a church's identity and testimony as the body of Christ. Only after a congregatoin has been adequately taught can they be expected to properly carry out the practice of church discipline.

Where this goal is intentionally pursued with patience and love, the practice often can be reinstituted in a healthy, God-honoring way. This is one of the greatest needs in American evangelical churches in our day. While caricatures must be avoided and abusive practices must be rejected, the engagement of loving oversight and accountability breeds vitality and unity in a church.

Anonymous said...

"Your statement about "there seems to be a lot of people who like the direction the church is taken": "

When Jesus said that to follow Him you must each His Flesh and Drink His Blood, many turned away. A few were left.

There are other examples. So what makes you think that a majority makes something right?

As mere humans we are attracted to worldly successes. Many actually believe that it automatically means God's blessing. Mega churches, especially, are infected with this type of thinking.

They have not studied Matthew 7 in depth. Or, they do not understand it.

Sam

RM said...

WD,

Thanks for the long post. I'll be more than happy to reveal my name and email address when you do. Since you are the host, you go first and I'll follow suit. If that doesn't suit you, then email me your name and address and I'll email mine to you. Then we can both decide what to do with what we know. BTW, I do have a church website and a blog so I'm not hiding anywhere...

As far as your questions go, here are my answers:

1. I have learned that all pastors are human as well as all church members and we should learn to operate under grace with each other.

2. I have learned the best way to mediate differences is to do in private first in personal meetings.

3. I have learned that a pastor should listen to God and then follow His directions in leading and guiding his flock.

4. I have learned that a pastor should always hold true to the infallible and inerrant Word of God and then trust God for the results.

5. I have learned that deacons are not entrusted Biblically with the responsibility of running the church.

6. I have learned that a pastor is ultimately accountable to God and He will dispense what needs to be done.

7. Personally, I would not accept a land gift like Mac did but that's his business and not mine.

8. Personally, I think a pastor should be above reproach and lovingly guide the flock he has been given the responsibility to care for. The reason there isn't a blog about me is hopefully because I love my church family and treat them accordingly.

9. In our church, a member can be removed if the elders recommend it and upon a 2/3 majority vote of the members. This has never happened nor do I think that it ever will but it is in our by-laws.

10. I have learned that there are a lot of church members that have an axe to grind with pastors they don't like but a blog sure isn't the place to do it.

11. I have learned that I do like WD even though I disagree with some of his methods. We all have something to learn from each other and hopefully we are doing that here.

12. I have learned that when some people disagree with someone its easy to lablel them with something like PD.

Hope this helps answer some of your questions. If you have more, be sure to include them in the email where you give me your name and address.

You might want to include your phone number so we can actually talk on the phone instead of writing on a blog... I would enjoy the communication and it would be held in strictest confident. Perhaps we could even share some things that you might do to achieve your goals...

Anonymous said...

Right on sam. Also, has anyone studied Thess, Daniel, and Revelation lately. The end times are approaching...wars and rumors of wars, men prefering men over women, people speaking of peace and there isn't any peace, perilous times are alive and well over the entire globe. Now we are seeing the unfolding of capitalism going over to socialism. That giant computer is already being fed into it everyone's identity. Just a short while before the mark of the beast occurs. Yes, and more importantly, the apostate church is all around us. Preachers more than ever before going apostate and being lovers of MONEY...

Anonymous said...

12:27. sam...your are so correct. Note Jesus said there is a broad road and a narrow road and few there be that find it. Most stick to the broad road. Why. It normally cost them nothing, they do not have to study the terrain (bible), they can go unnoticed, they can blend it with the envirnoment, they won't be thought of as different, they won't be shunned, etc,etc. Get the picture?

Anonymous said...

I remember the apostle Paul saying if someone (even an angel)brings you another gospel get away from them. This new gospel is spreading its wings. Unfortunately, a lot of those sitting in the pews, cannot see it, even when it is right in front of them, in the PULPIT!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

RM - sorry, but what an absolute hypocritical cop out:

"I'll be more than happy to reveal my name and email address when you do. Since you are the host, you go first and I'll follow suit. If that doesn't suit you, then email me your name and address and I'll email mine to you."

Its not that I don't know your name...I know your name and your church, RM! I just for the life of me cannot fathom a pastor coming here to tell an anonymous blogger, who is keeping their identity concealed for a number of valid reasons - that they should reveal their name, that its wrong to keep their name hidden...yet the same pastor blogs anonymously here! Then, when I tell you to reveal your name you pull the 3rd grade argument out of "I will if you will". Come on. I have VALID reasons for keeping my identity hidden, and I assume YOU TOO have valid reasons for keeping yours hidden on this blog! Are you telling me your identity is hidden just because mine is? If you reveal your name, I still would not reveal mine, because my decision has nothing to do with yours. I'm not here trying to make a case that "RM should just tell us who he is" because WHO CARES WHO YOU ARE. I really don't care. But its hypocritical for you to recommend for me what you will not do yourself. This is one of the reasons Mac Brunson has such little credibility - he tell other pastors not to do things that he himself does. That's called being a hypocrite, and why so many SBC pastors have little cred.

Your response reveals quite a bit about you RM, and its one of the reasons I wouldn't trust you or any other pastor these days any further than I could throw them. Tell you who I am? Give you a phone call? Come on. I would sooner tell Jeff Brumley at our local newspaper by name in confidence, or a fellow blogger, than some hypocritical pastor out in the Lonestar State. Get real.

Reveal your name RM, and your church, else please shut up about how the WD should reveal his name and go talk to Mac Brunson. Sheesh.

Thy Peace said...

WD and Readers, please check this article from LifeWay:

Church Bylaws: Are Yours Adequate For Today’s Ministerial Challenges?
We live in a litigation-happy society. Assuming your church is safe from lawsuits is a set-up for disaster. While many suits are unjustified factually or legally, way too many suits against churches are appropriate because of inadequate ministerial practices. The very good news is that the majority of such lawsuits are preventable.

One of the most important documents a church can have in its "legal arsenal" is a church ministry plan set forth in a clearly written, proactive set of bylaws drafted specifically for churches in America today.

With churches that have been involved in internal turmoil or litigation, the quality of their bylaws is important. When their bylaws are inadequate, churches face a higher risk of being dragged into extensive and expensive litigation, having their ministry greatly disrupted and being ordered to pay damages, or suffering a variety of serious consequences.

If your church’s bylaws are not current and properly written, your church has opened itself up to some of the following serious consequences.

- Consequence #1: The risk of serious errors increases.

- Consequence #2: Incredible ministry opportunities may be missed.

- Consequence #3: The church may waive important rights.

- Consequence #4: The document may create obligations the church doesn’t otherwise have.

- Consequence #5: Improperly written bylaws can "invite" judicial intervention.

Anonymous said...

RM: Where are you? Are you there when a former missionary embezzled 350 thousand from the SBC funds? As a minister, why don't you yell to the hills of the abuse the SBC allowed this cover-up; as a minister, you know about this but are willing to hide the ugliness of these type situations. Also, where are you when pastors are allowed to abuse children and teens, and are "passed around" within the realm of SBC without consequences. Stop yelping about a watchdog and abuses of this pastor until you acknowledge and accept your own responsibility of protecting the sheep.

Anomonity does not matter, Jesus know who each of us are, including you.

If you are indeed a pastor, you spend an amazing amount of time blogging!

RM said...

Well, at least you have finally shown your true colors and that is that you are possessed by a distrust and hatred for pastors. Trust me, you will be removed from your church and not permitted to return--and that is the right decision on your church's part. You are a dangerous man to have in a church.

I couldn't care any less about who you are than you about me. But then I don't have a blog trying to tear apart my church and then expect people to honor my anonymous status.

I'm gone from your site. I do wish Mac the best in his removal of you from the church--it can't come a minute too soon.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Glad you can make summary judgments about me RM. Again, you show yourself for who you are. You have a mistrust of lay people, and like Mac you abhor anyone who would dare to hold you accountable, anonymous or not anonymous. You know darn well that its not the anonymity that you detest, its the airing of the abuses. For if a blogger blogged about you and put their name on it, you would only use that to throw them out of the church by your own admission.

Farewell, RM.

Anonymous said...

RM: "But then I don't have a blog trying to tear apart my church and then expect people to honor my anonymous status."

Reply: Well, you do have a blog. You even wrote an article to FBC Jax on December 4th.

Trust me, WD. RM will be back. He can't stay away.

Thy Peace said...

"Well, at least you have finally shown your true colors and that is that you are possessed by a distrust and hatred for pastors. Trust me, you will be removed from your church and not permitted to return--and that is the right decision on your church's part. You are a dangerous man to have in a church."

Because you [WD] are a discerning person, who can think on his own. Yes, such people are a threat to some churches.

RM, you should have known by now that WD can see all IP addresses of posters and can easily correlate your browsing of his blog and your posts.

WD and Readers, I would strongly encourage you read Cindy's latest post:

Finding An Exit Counselor
Exit counseling is NOT what was once known as “deprogramming,” and there is no coercion or confinement involved. Exit counseling is most simply an education process in the common ways that idealistic groups manipulate circumstances and the environment to draw in unsuspecting rational and intelligent people. By using these factors to their advantage, groups bypass the normal and reasonable process of scrutiny that individuals would normally exercise, lulling critical thought to sleep, so to speak. Exit counseling simply aims to reawaken a person’s intrinsic ability to evaluate situations and messages apart from the pressures and expectations of the group. Just like waking from sleep, you might be groggy when you first become conscious, but you eventually become fully alert without much effort. Exit counseling can be like your morning coffee, and it frees you to choose to continue in your group or walk away but under conditions of fully informed consent. Exit counselors simply point you toward additional information that will facilitate the continued process of the examination of your own beliefs, your reasons for maintaining these beliefs, and whether your group has possibly imposed beliefs upon you under duress – ideas that you would otherwise reject or ideas that do not make sense to you. I started this blog with this express purpose, making application of thought reform theory to certain areas within evangelical Christianity, hopefully directing others to the many additional helpful resources on the topic.

Cindy's blog and website has very good material to combat manipulation, spiritual abuse, propaganda techniques and others. I can personally attest to this blog and it will open your eyes to abuses else where.

Thy Peace said...

From the earlier LifeWay article on Bylaws:

Consequence #5: Improperly written bylaws can "invite" judicial intervention.

Bylaws explain a church’s doctrinal beliefs, ministerial practices and church/member relationship issues to members and non-members. Bylaws set forth the process of resolving internal church issues as they arise. A review of the bylaws can quickly tell a judge whether a church knows what it is doing can convince a judge that it’s better not to get involved in an internal church dispute.

Everyone wins when churches conduct their ministries in a way that gives the law no reason to intervene. Proper bylaws set up enforceable barriers and disclaimers that minimize the risk of judicial intervention. Member-approved mandatory Christian mediation clauses may prevent members from suing their church. Some courts may require the church to prove its members knew that such provisions were in the bylaws and agreed to be bound by them.

Robert L. Peeples said...

Dr. Watchdog,

You have been asked several times now in recent articles if you are the one who was served the legal documents by the church.

I personally think you are and you will not address it because you know you are guilty. You know you have been found out and you refuse to man up to it.

If you are not the person served by the discipline committee, then admit it and speak up on your own behalf and defend yourself. Also, if you are not the one, what have you done for the gentleman that was served? Don't you think you owe him something...

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Robert, dear Robert. I really don't give a flip what you think, and if you in your expert opinion think that the WD was served the trespass papers, that suits me just fine. Why not contact the man who was accused or his family and speak to them personally. You probably know who they are, or you can use your contacts at the church to find out. I won't speak to the matter here, but contact him and he can tell you anything that he would like you to know. Give him a call. And get some sleep.

Anonymous said...

WD: I don't care if you are the person served the trespass papers, except I am sorry for any suffering on you or your families part!! So what if you are the one served. Who cares. FBCJ is no longer a God fearing, spiritual church!!! It's a social club for longtime elitest. It's a crutch for weak minded hangers on, that just HAVE TO GO TO CHURCH and to those trying to BE somebody. It's represented falsely as a spiritual church to new people looking for a real church. AND IT'S A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY THAT IS VERY LUCRATIVE TO PASTOR AND FAMILY.

ITS' THE CHURCH OF LAODICEA TO THE REST OF US WITH BIBLE BACKGROUNDS AND SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT!!!!

Bless you and yours Dog. And Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I was just reading the "Smyrl of Wisdom", on your blog.

I find that I have NO ROOM in my heart for Purpose Driven, TDM, or ANY "new approach/program".

I have received the Lord Jesus Christ into my heart He is my Savior. When I received Him, I also at that time was given the Holy Spirit in my heart. I have NO need nor Any room for anything else!!! I find ALL of my guidance in His Word. The KJV is sufficient. I don't even need a newer, warped translation that changes what God says in each version. I guess I would be a prime candidate for Trespass Papers. Because stating what I have just said might make me DIVISIVE according to the present powers. Thank God Jesus is the judge.

Anonymous said...

I thought Rev. Smyrls message this morning was easy to follow along to. Most of the time he preaches way over my head but this morning he talked to us like we were common folk and not thealogians. When he mentioned about kids not tucking in their shirtails and wearing sandals to church that reminded me of the way Trey Brunson came to church a few weeks ago,dress pants and shirt,not tucked in and sandals on a Sunday morning. I thought if he were on staff when Dr. Lindsey was here and he came to church like that and Dr. Lindsey saw him,Dr. Lindsey would probably tell him to go home and change into something that reprsented the staff of First Baptist better than the way he was dressed or maybe Trey doesn't make that much money and that was all he could find to wear that morning.

Anonymous said...

Sooo, Smyrls message was understandable to the common folks. Guess in the words of Jerry Vines, he decided to "dumb it down" for you. Somehow I have never thought of myself as common!! I am a child of the King, how about you?

Anonymous said...

Trey Brunson is the future of the FBC Jax. If you don't like the way he dresses, leave now. His "No Limits" class is where Team Brunson wants to take the whole church. They are now the spiritual examples for the rest of us. That class is the class that sets the example for the rest of us. They are the class with all the wisdom and discernment, are growing rapidly, and are cutting edge. Want to know where your church is heading? Visit the "No Limits" class and more importantly, some of their social activities. And if you don't agree with them or the direction they are heading, and you don't feel like handing over your church to them, then good luck meeting with Trey's mom and dad to complain about it. God Bless you all!

Anonymous said...

Let's see. WD has blogged for another month. Another $30,000 to Mac, $10,000 to Debbie, $4000 to Trey and how many more thousands to staff that are out handing out trespass warnings. And they are worried about US?! About $45,000 per month to Team Brunson every month. To do WHAT? What have they really "changed" or accomplished since they arrived except for enrich themselves? Someone please tell us. We are waiting! The silence is deafening. They have done nothing! And took huge lumps of money to do so, angrily, greedily. And yet their defenders are many and thousands keep giving to them.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers - I hope you all have had a wonderful Christmas holiday with your family and friends. As you can tell the Watchdog is taking a break, but will resume articles after the first of the year.

I have a few things to share regarding the church bylaws that will be of much interest to the members of FBC Jax as well as lay people at other churches who may be undergoing pastoral changes or significant changes to their ministry that may result in changes to their bylaws.

I would recommend to the members of FBC Jax to go to the church library and ask to check out the copy of the current bylaws and read them for yourself in the coming weeks. They are not long or complicated, you can read them in about 10 or 15 minutes. Ask the church librarian for the previous version also, prior to the Dec 2007 bylaws, so that you can understand what changes you were asked to vote on in Dec 2007. Be aware that you will have to sign your name, and they will likely watch you so that you don't make hand-written copies.

The changes made in Dec 2007 were anything but minor, as I will share with you in the coming weeks - some were probably good changes....but a number of the chnages impact every single member of the church that many members may not be too happy about - especially considering no effort was made to explain the nature of the changes or the reason for them.

Best wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2009.

And thank you to Marcus Allen, Jr. for a great sermon tonight on how to make 2009 a success, and also to Jim Smyrl this morning. Strong bible-based and Jesus-focused messages. A shockingly small crowd Sunday night, which is a shame because it was a great message from Marcus Allen. I'm sure it will be on the 316 sermon archive site and I do recommend it.

Anonymous said...

FBCJax leadership must make bylaws/copying bylaws available to members and/or their agents.

From http://www.flsenate.gov/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=Ch0617/SEC1602.HTM&Title=-%3E2002-%3ECh0617-%3ESection%201602:

The 2008 Florida Statutes

Title XXXVI
BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS Chapter 617
CORPORATIONS NOT FOR PROFIT View Entire Chapter

617.1602 Inspection of records by members.--

(1) A member of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy, during regular business hours at the corporation's principal office, any of the records of the corporation described in s. 617.1601(5), if the member gives the corporation written notice of his or her demand at least 5 business days before the date on which he or she wishes to inspect and copy.

(2) A member of a corporation is entitled to inspect and copy, during regular business hours at a reasonable location specified by the corporation, any of the following records of the corporation if the member meets the requirements of subsection (3) and gives the corporation written notice of his or her demand at least 5 business days before the date on which he or she wishes to inspect and copy:

(a) Excerpts from minutes of any meeting of the board of directors, records of any action of a committee of the board of directors while acting in place of the board of directors on behalf of the corporation, minutes of any meeting of the members, and records of action taken by the members or board of directors without a meeting, to the extent not subject to inspection under subsection (1).

(b) Accounting records of the corporation.

(c) The record of members.

(d) Any other books and records.

(3) A member may inspect and copy the records described in subsection (2) only if:

(a) The member's demand is made in good faith and for a proper purpose;

(b) The member describes with reasonable particularity his or her purpose and the records he or she desires to inspect;

(c) The records are directly connected with the member's purpose.

(4) This section does not affect:

(a) The right of a member to inspect and copy records under 1s. 617.0730(6), or, if the member is in litigation with the corporation, to the same extent as any other litigant.

(b) The power of a court, independently of this act, to compel the production of corporate records for examination.

(5) A corporation may deny any demand for inspection made pursuant to subsection (2) if the demand was made for an improper purpose, or if the demanding member has within 2 years preceding his or her demand sold or offered for sale any list of members of the corporation or any other corporation, has aided or abetted any person in procuring any list of members for any such purpose, or has improperly used any information secured through any prior examination of the records of the corporation or any other corporation.

(6) For purposes of this section, the term "member" includes a beneficial owner whose shares are held in a voting trust or by a nominee on his or her behalf.

(7) For purposes of this section, a "proper purpose" means a purpose reasonably related to such person's interest as a member.

History.--s. 70, ch. 93-281; s. 100, ch. 97-102.

1Note.--Section 617.0730 does not exist.

Anonymous said...

Recent amendments now a part of public record and posted here at State of Florida website: http://www.sunbiz.org/corinam.html

(type "first baptist church of jacksonville," choose second link, scroll to document images and choose second link for February amendments--pdf version; click on link to open document)

Anonymous said...

Some states' corporation laws do permit designation of varying classes of members of the corporation--with varying rights permitted for each class. For churches, the classes basically are "active" and "inactive," with inactive members not permitted to vote in business meetings until/unless re-classified by an established committee as "active" (provisions often permitted church members classed as "inactive" to petition the committee to re-class as "active" for full participation as a member of the congregation). I suppose Christian churches can designate in their bylaws "members served with trespass warning" and "members never served with trespass warning" classes with varying levels of participation permitted--but why would they when the Bible describes means for resolution of such issues?

Anonymous said...

Hey Dog,

I think you know who I am, as I have contacted you privately in the past. I recommend that you stop approving comments from people who claim to know anything about law unless you first verify their expertise. There have been MANY comments on your site lately from people trying to pontificate on the law that are just flat-out wrong. I don't see what purpose it serves for you to approve such comments. I don't have the time or interest to correct all of the recent mistakes, but I will correct one here.

The latest example is anon 11:26. There is another section of the Florida statutes that specifically exempts churches from 617.1602. 617.1603 instead places the following obligations on churches:

"Each such corporation shall keep as permanent records correct and complete books and records of account and shall keep minutes of the proceedings of its members, board of directors, and committees having any of the authority of the board of directors. If the corporation has members entitled to vote, it must keep at its registered office in this state a copy of its articles of incorporation and its bylaws and any amendments thereto and a record of the names and addresses of such members in alphabetical order. All books and records of such a corporation shall be kept in written form or in another form capable of conversion into written form within a reasonable time and may be inspected by any member, her or his agent or attorney, for any proper purpose at any reasonable time."

Members have a right to inspect but not to copy. I don't think this is a good law (I would favor giving all members the right to copy), but it is the law nevertheless.

Frankly, Dog, legitimate legal research cannot be done through Google, and even if it could, non-law-trained blog readers would not be competent to do it. Looking up statutes on-line is not sufficient without also examining court interpretations of those statutes.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Anon...thanks for clarifying that, and your point about legal posts is well taken.

Anonymous said...

"It is the intent and purpose that this Church shall be, at all times, a pure democracy, with the direction and control in the membership, and that the Officers, Trustees and committees shall function and be subject to the will, direction and control of the Church, whom they shall serve."

Hahahahahahahahahahaha!!! Good one!

Anonymous said...

So when was the last vote to confirm all these yahoo's that are letting this garbage continue in the church?

I also agree with Anon 12.31 am. HAHHAHAHHHHHA. That was a good one.

Thy Peace said...

"Members have a right to inspect but not to copy. I don't think this is a good law (I would favor giving all members the right to copy), but it is the law nevertheless."

Thanks for the info. Now things are little bit clearer for the reasons of why the bylaws are restricted for viewing only in the library.

Anonymous said...

Trust me, WD. RM will be back. He can't stay away.

December 27, 2008 11:02 PM

RM is a typical SBC pastor in this day and time. If you have been browsing SBC blogs, you can see these pastors have too much time on their hands. Paid with tithe dollars they have time to defend the likes of Brunson, the policies of the SBC and their celebrity leaders.

I agree with one commenter who is a bit confused why RM would spend so much time defending Brunson's greed but not about the embezzlement at the IMB.

Perhaps RM is concerned about his position and if folks in his little church start asking questions. Perhaps he has been dispatched by Brunson because he owes him a favor or hopes for a promotion to a more profitable pastorate. In any event, his mission is to out WD. One cannot ruin a person who disagrees publicly unless they know who they are. I bet Brunson spends a lot of time on this matter. So far, he has proved that in a million little ways.

About the only thing RM proves being a baptist pastor is how depraved most of them have become. It is about them, their 'authority' and the sheep had best follow them or be in sin. They really do believe this about themselves. It is a great delusion.

BTW: RM, I know who you are, too. I am not impressed. You do not seem to even know scripture very well. Too bad for your sheep that you think you do. Some folks will always be impressed by a title.

How is the weather in Tx? Is it good for tennis?

Sam

Anonymous said...

Frankly, Dog, legitimate legal research cannot be done through Google, and even if it could, non-law-trained blog readers would not be competent to do it. Looking up statutes on-line is not sufficient without also examining court interpretations of those statutes.

December 29, 2008 12:21 AM

Dear Mr. lawyer,

Since you quote the state statues on churches about bylaws, quote for us the the state laws concerning employment law and churches.

But you make the point nicely: The ONLY reason the bylaws are in the Library and one has to sign to read them is because of this statute. Perhaps they decided to be smarter than Jerry Sutton at Two Rivers.

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed the Bible Fellowship numbers lately?
Attendance
Feb 1995 April 06 Jan 07
6598 5670 5377
visit 6342 not shown not shown
enrollment
15,351 12,307 12,256
members
23000 28919 29301

You will observe that there were
over 1000 less in 06 and 07 compared to 05 and 05 had 6000 less members. Enrollment down by over 3000 with smaller membership. Anyone know why visits disappeared on the reports? Also, how does 08 attendance compare to the above figures?

Anonymous said...

anon 12/28 wrote: "Recent amendments now a part of public record and posted here at State of Florida website: http://www.sunbiz.org/corinam.html"

Those amendments are to the Articles of Incorporation, NOT the by-laws.

Anonymous said...

According to their website these are the requirements for membership in RM's church.

When a person expresses a desire to become a part of Celebration Bible Church, they are encouraged to do the following:

1. Fill Out a Membership Form and Call the Church Regarding New Members' Activities. Our new members' activities are designed to acquaint you with our church and various ministries and activities that are offered. We will help you find your place at CBC!

2. Join a Bible study group. One of the greatest needs for any believer is a consistent program of Bible study. CBC offers regular Bible study times during the week and on Sundays so there is a place for every new member.

3. Discover Your God-Given Gifts and Invest Them In Your Spiritual Walk. We believe that God has gifted every believer with specific spiritual gifts and talents, and we constantly encourage you to use those gifts in the church fellowship. Classes are also offered to help you discover your own individual gifts.


Hmmm... not one mention of a profession of faith in Christ or baptism! RM may not be PD per se, but #3 is straight out of the PD playbook. I'm currently looking for a church home, and whenever I see anything about "discovering your spriritual gifts" I pass. Big red flag there.

Among the few links on his church's page are Fisher-Price and Promise Keepers. Deep stuff!

I will say this for RM. According to the pastor's page, he "founded" both the churches he's pastored rather than hijack an existing church, and I applaud him for that.

Anonymous said...

I talked to my uncle who was a founding member at Two Rivers that had moved to a new church before the implosion.

I asked him about it and he told me that he was talking to one of the guys that was part of the revolt and that once the pastor had been given his retirement package, what membership remained in the church, most of the leadership was still loyal to the old pastor. He told me that the members that were voted out would be allow back in if they apologized in front of the church. Most opted to find a new church home and some just decided they did not need to attend a church as they new they were Christians.

My Aunt, who pretty much keeps her opinions to herself, was very animated about this subject and told me that the large baptist churches are just a sham of what they used to be. She thought that the preachers were only there to make themselves wealthy with God's money and that they should be using this money to glorify God, not themselves.

My uncle then told me that the Church he has been attending over the last 10 years had recently gotten a new pastor and he wanted to have a building project to create a new office and library for the church. My uncle who has 55 years of contractor experience told him he should bid the process out for all aspect of the project, but this new pastor had already gotten members to draw up the plans and had another members business do the construction. The pastor was really only coming to my uncle to get a donation to help pay for it.

My uncle decided to find a new church as he said he is too old to worry about battling pastor and his minions looking to keep up with the Jones'.

He agreed with his wife that the mega churches are out of control and these pastors are only in it for themselves. He now attends a church with less than 250 members and said he loves it as he knows his donations are going for God's purpose, not the pastors.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 12:42,

Your aunt and uncle sound like wise, discerning folks. I think I'd like them!

Anonymous said...

RM/PD

Celebration Bible Church?

Gotcha RM!!

If you are PURPOSE DRIVEN RM, why not come out and say so? Or are you still flying under the RADAR? Don't try to disguise the fact that you [FEEL GOOD] PREACH.

By the way, you could win more souls if you were out VISITING rather than blogging. You do visit don't you? Oh! I'm sorry, they are never home so why visit.

RIGHT!!!

I forgot, RM is not reading this blog any more.

Anonymous said...

More from RM's church web site.

"Culturally Balanced - Our goal is to adapt our ministries to current needs and trends in our culture. We continually strive to share the message of Jesus Christ in such a way that it can be easily understood.

Relationship Centered - Our church stresses the importance of personal relationships among believers. These relationships are strengthened in small groups as well as large group worship.

Simply Structured - We assign the ultimate leadership of the church to the pastoral staff and elders. The daily operations of the church are under the leadership of the church staff assigned to those specific areas."








So, RM: Current needs and trends, small groups and pastor control. Nuff said.

gabriella422001 said...

why do you all always attack the people who ever question the watchdog? then you start to slander them. Now its this RM guy. Come on you all.....

watchdog, really why don't you meet with that committee and discuss your problems with the church with them? then you could stop this blog and try to work together to make a perfect church. You and your family could go back to church and then you would have a happier new year.

There aren't any perfect churches anywhere, I can't find one, or perfect pastors, or perfect members. You'll just do like I have done and probaly stop going to church anywhere if you don't try to fix these issues. You can't do anything about ANYBODY ELSE BUT YOU, so if you live by that philosophy, your life will become a whole lot easier. Mine is.
These are my words of wisdom for the new year...i am happy to share my newfound words of knowledge with you. :)

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
New BBC Open Forum said...

"There aren't any perfect churches anywhere, I can't find one, or perfect pastors, or perfect members."

I've got news for you. There never have been. But does that mean the plebe should just quietly accept whatever abuse these "imperfect" pastors heap upon them? Should they sit back on their blessed assurances and watch a church they've been a part of for years be destroyed by one man?

Oh... right. I remember. The pastor is "God's anointed and appointed." If you don't like it, leave. Or let God take care of it. After all, He would never use a mere human to accomplish His will.

Anon 6:13 is correct. Blogs are for sharing your thoughts, not to be used as a personal diary unless you want others to read it.

Anonymous said...

"Anon 12:07"...

I'm with you on the "discovering your spiritual gifts" thing. Bellevue Baptist started this stuff a few years ago. Attending a "Discovery" class is now required for membership. (That's straight out of the PD playbook, too -- clear down to the name.) Used to be if you wanted to join the church you walked down the aisle during the invitation, shook the pastor's hand (they have "staff" who handle this distasteful chore now), and filled out a little card. If you were making a profession of faith you might receive counseling first. If you were joining by letter or statement, that was it. Now you have to take a test and attend a class. Just for grins I've taken that test 3-4 times and gotten a totally different result each time. Here's the explanation and my last score:

Given below is a summary of each of the qualities which are pinpointed by this evaluation. Along with giving you insight into your own motivations, these should be helpful in directing you towards areas of service which will utilize the strengths God has given you. “He” has been used generically in the following descriptions and can, in most cases, include both men and women.

Survey Results

Sanguine 44
Choleric 42
Phlegmatic 38
Melancholy 26

When you have to consult a dictionary to interpret your test results (those sound like contagious diseases), something is wrong. Of course, I think having to take a psychological test to join a church is even more wrong, but what do I know? Last I heard they did not make people turn in their tests, but they spent nearly the whole "new members class" going over it. I think I would have just gotten up and left. If you don't know what your strengths and weaknesses are by now, a silly test like this isn't going to help.

Does FBC Jax have anything like this?

New BBC Open Forum said...

I think that was the "temperament survey." If I recall, the "spiritual gifts survey" categorizes people as having the "gifts" of prophecy, teaching, exhortation (consulting dictionary again), giving, administration, mercy, or service.

The four "temperaments" are described as follows:

Sanguine

This personality is predominantly characterized as being optimistic, extroverted, talkative, energetic, and emotionally expressive.

General strengths: Magnetic personality, sees the humor in things, pleasant and positive, expresses emotions easily, lives for today, doesn't stay angry for long, spontaneous and fun, enjoys being around people, friendly and outgoing

General weaknesses: Emotionally changeable, may be dominant in discussions, easily influenced by others, prone to lack of discipline, not naturally organized

Ministry strengths: Quickly volunteers for service, motivates others to get involved, enjoys being in front of people, contagious enthusiasm for projects, easily forgives and asks forgiveness, meets new people easily, creative in planning activities

Ministry weaknesses: Volunteers for more than can do, doesn't always stay on schedule, may be self-centered and egotistical, easily tempted, prone to ministry "burn out"


Choleric

This personality is predominantly characterized as being a leader, a doer, and an extrovert.

General strengths: Natural leader, makes decisions easily, sticks to the job, confident and self-reliant, excels under pressure, organized and "together," thrives on new challenges, sets goals and priorities

General weaknesses: Insists on own way, difficulty expressing emotions, may be insensitive to others

Ministry strengths: Sees the "big picture," quickly motivated to action, follows through on projects, not easily swayed from goals, organized and practical, delegates to others, accepts leadership responsibilities

Ministry weaknesses: Difficulty depending on Christ, may put goals before people, subject to bitterness


Phlegmatic

This personality is predominantly characterized as being stable, easy-going, consistent, and quiet.

General strengths: Takes things in stride, calm and relaxed, often known for dry wit, content with life, gets along well with others, friendly and kind, neat and efficient, finds effective solutions, good mediator

General weaknesses: Lack of motivation, avoids too much work, may be viewed as a tease, self-protective, prone to indecisiveness

Ministry strengths: Consistent walk with Christ, not easily disturbed, competent and stable, peacemaker, stays calm under pressure, listens well to others, expresses concern for others, able to accept trials as well as blessings

Ministry weaknesses: Keeps true emotions, avoids confrontation even when necessary, slow to volunteer, would rather watch than participate


Melancholy

This personality is predominantly characterized as being sensitive, creative, a thinker, a perfectionist, and self-sacrificing.

General strengths: Emotionally responsive, high standards of excellence, good problem-solving abilities, faithful friend, dependable, knows limitations, creative and talented, practical and thrifty, won't settle for being "average," appreciates the "little things"

General weaknesses: Prone to mood swings, focuses inward instead of outward, easily offended or hurt, prone to depression and negativism, critical and perfectionistic, hesitant to make new commitments, bothered by insignificant details

Ministry strengths: Cares deeply about people, stays on schedule, finishes projects, willing to sacrifice for what is important, in tune to others' needs, often gifted in music or creative arts, devoted to the cause of Christ, good planner and organizer, remembers important details

Ministry weaknesses: Sees potential problems, subject to fear and worry, difficulty in making new friends, may be intolerant of others, may have difficulty forgiving others, doesn't enjoy being "up front"


Reading that list reminds me of reading your horoscope. No matter which one you read, a little of each can usually apply to everyone in some way. To me, this is just another example of pigeonholing people. "Women can do these things." "Only men can do that." "My 'gift' is prophecy so I know such and such." (I've actually had someone say that to me. I didn't understand it then either.) Blah blah blah. Psychobabble.

Thy Peace said...

Prophezei: Yeah right. by Kevin D. Johnson
Try telling that to the powerpoint-enabled twitter blogging bobble headed research head honchos furiously at work to justify the actions and plans of the ever burgeoning denominational identity of Southern Baptists agencies and companies worldwide. Nope. I’m just going to get in trouble for calling them bobble headed and supposedly misidentifying their purpose in life.

You know what kills me though is the generally shoddy way technology is used in the local church compared to what takes place in corporate America. The leaders of many churches today think they’re technologically sophisticated and appealing to a technical person because they do things like use kindergarten-like powerpoint presentations and digital projectors instead of hymnals (and music you can actually read while singing). But, none of it holds a candle to what’s being done in the corporate world with similar technology.

Anonymous said...

New Years Resolution: Quit going to church. It is not worth agonizing over anymore. Things are not going to get better. Face it, things will only get worse. Your health and that of your family are more important than your being in the church of Laodicea. That verse come out from among them seems appropriate. No one cares whether you go or not in the first place. No one cares if you live or die anymore. Everyone is consumed by their own selfish motives, so why get involved in trying to accomplish something that occurs in a building. Why and how can I say make this statement. Wasn't it David, a man after God's own heart who said no man careth for my soul.Are we any better than him?

The best thing you can do as a Christian is to witness for Jesus Christ on the job, in the store, at the mall, in your neighborhood and to each and everyone you have an opportunity. Send your money to an evangelist that is preaching the Word. Give your extra money, if you have any, to the Salvation Army as they can use it better than most churches. Pray for America as it is on a fast track to HELL. Pray for our troops overseas and that they return home safe. Pray for the nation of Israel as they will shortly be alone in their struggle to keep the land that God said was theirs. Pray that people in the church will wise up and quit playing church. Most are too timid to witness in the first place and have so little backbone to stand up for whats right in the second. Sorry to be so blunt...but sometimes one has to say what they know is in the best interest of us all and not just a "few chosen" ones!!! Have a Happy New Year... anyway.

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

Anon 9:49

Brother/Sister in Christ

That is no way to start off 2009. I can understand the sentiment from reading many of the posts on this blog - throw up your hands and say it's not worth it - but we are to be stronger in our faith than that. Paul and the early Christians experienced many of the issues facing our church(es) today.

I do attend a loving, giving, bible expository preaching church and sit under a pastor who opens the Word of God and preaches with conviction by challenging us to be bolder, disciplined, studied and tested believers. There are churches out there like that today.

This is a "rough" patch for FBCJax - they have childlike leaders in positions of influence - they are being directed by marketing gurus (and not Christlike gurus at that). They feel the need to speak to their people in a manner that would make someone feel ill at ease. I have a friend who attends and knows nothing about this website who told me that she feels as if she is being spoken down to in a lot of sermons - Brunson particularly and Smyrl who is "immature" (her words).

There are churches who don't expect you to take some test or sign some pledge form or brow beat you with guilt. They instruct, preach, teach, exhort, and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you as you mature as a believer and trust the Holy Spirit to change your life and your way of thinking. They have opportunities available for you when you feel ready to commit to a ministry and guide you along the way by having classes or ministries from a wide range of biblically based topics.

I am an interestd observer as it relates to this blog and FBCJax. I have friends and relatives who attend regularly and hear first hand as to the changes that are happening downtown. Christ is in control. He expects us to be diligent in keeping his word, obeying his commandments and spreading the gospel to others. He left the "Comforter" for us to carry forth his word and his work.

It's important to keep churches like FBCJax clear of the prevailing trends in modern Christianity.

"It's Friday, Sunday's Comin!" I heard this message from Tony Campolo years ago and while I don't exactly agree with Mr. Campolo on some his or his wife's beliefs, this message was very powerful. It speaks of what appears to be a victorious world, Satan and those who opposed Christ. Jesus was dead on the cross and the world rejoiced. There was every appearance that his ministry, his works, his words, his miracles, his influence, his message, his very being was over, done, destroyed, Crucified to a cross as a common criminal, but that was on Friday, Sunday was comin!

Take that message and let it resonate in your soul and let that be the strength from which you draw upon.

God Bless Everyone in 2009!

gabriella422001 said...

You people are really snoopy, I will not "cast my pearls before swine" anymore. I thought my words of wisdom were helpful....that doesn't mean you gotta go to MY blog and bring quotes back over here. Watchdog, you have allowed quotes from my blog twice on here, and then people to mock me....i want you to remove both quotes cause it just proves what i said in my post above...all you all are interested in doing is mocking and criticizing anyone who disagrees with you. Now, THATS really doing the work of God right there. I was TRYING to bring some helpful insights here...next time just say THANK YOU GABRIELLA. My blog has NOTHING to do with this blog. Just like you did with RM, you start mocking his CHURCH...whats the matter with you people? Someday watchdog, somebodys gonna put up all kinds of personal info about YOU on the web. They'll start a blog about "revealing who the watchdog is"...I'm just waiting for it. You can stop all that by just stopping this blog and meeting with that committee and resolving your differences. See...I still try to help you. Just say....THANK YOU GABRIELLA.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Gabriella - I've removed the "offending" posts. I find it interesting how sensitive you are. You have been allowed to share your views here, and the least bit of critcism, or quotes from your own blog, and you demand posts be taken down.

You gave me some advice, thank you. I'll give you some. Don't come back here anymore. Move on with YOUR life. Quit reading the watchdog. I wish you peace.

Anonymous said...

Gabriella

I say this with all sincerity Gabriella - I read your blog for the first time - you need some godly counsel. You are all over the place - you want people on this blog to behave a certain way and your thoughts are so random that it concerns me. I am not being mean or am trying to make you feel badly, but I can't tell if you are 15 or 50 by your blog entries.

You should stop blogging and take care of yourself. God Bless.

Anonymous said...

Gabriella (and other like minded readers) - why would the WD meet with the committee? He has not been contacted and the committee has not asked him to do so. Are you confusing him with the man and wife who were served trespass warnings?

And even if you really believe the WD is the man that was served, why would you suggest he meet with a committee based on charges that are not supported? I would not respond to "secret evidence", "illegally obtained" evidence, or hearsay before a committee of yes men, kool-aid drinkers. If they TRULY want to meet with and restore an accused member, it is SOOOOO easy to inform the man of the basis of the accusations and provide him with a copy of the by-laws. They won't do this, which suggests they either have something to hide, or in fact, they don't have anything credible to base their accusations on. If they would simply provide the requested information, then, if the man refused to respond or meet with them, the committee can take further action as outlined in those secret by-laws. But to ban the man and his wife from the church as their first course of action, that is really just duress and coercion and arrogance and abuse of power by the committee and the yes men who hand delivered the letter. Bullies and punks in my opinion. Yes, those that signed the letter and those that delivered it are bullies and punks who are picking on a man and his wife and their children.

The man is doing exactly the right thing by ignoring this kangaroo court until they provide him with the by-laws and some basis for their charges against him.

Bullies and Punks!

Anonymous said...

Okay, I'll bite: THANK YOU GABRIELLA!

Anonymous said...

Gabriella,

No one here is "mocking" you. When you put something on the world wide web, it's in the public domain. If you don't want someone reading it and quoting it, the solution is simple. Don't put it out there! As I recall you blasted the Watchdog and some of the staff of FBC Jax on your blog, calling the Watchdog, among other things, "schizo," and you said that this blog has "Satanic undertones," but then you come here and when someone dares quote something you've written publicly, you cry foul. You can change the name of your blog and take down old posts, but they'll always be cached by Google or Wayback or in some other place, floating around in cyberspace indefinitely for anyone to find. If I remember correctly, one person said s/he was sorry you and your mother had been ill, hoped you were both feeling better, and wished for you to find the peace you so obviously seek. Another told you how to make your blog private if you don't want others reading it. "Thy Peace" left some kind comments on your blog. That wasn't "mocking." You've said at least twice on your blog that you're not going to read the Watchdog's blog again, yet here you are back, reading and commenting again.

Reading your rambling thoughts is at a minimum concerning if not downright scary. Anon 9:29 is right. You need some serious help, and that's all we're trying to tell you. You don't have to go to a church to get free or low-cost counseling. Like the other anon, I thought you were about 16 until you mentioned your grandchild and 90-year-old mother. I sincerely hope you can get that help, and I wish you nothing but peace and stability in your life. But if you choose to continue to return here and attack the Watchdog and others, anything you write in the public domain is open for analysis and criticism. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If you want to record your thoughts and don't want anyone to read them, invest in an old-fashioned paper diary -- preferably one with a big lock on it. Or write them in a text or Word file or journal kept on your computer, not a blog for the world to read. Otherwise, don't object when someone reads it and comments.

Peace, sister.

Anonymous said...

"I thought my words of wisdom were helpful...."

Not really.

"My blog has NOTHING to do with this blog."

And Watchdog and this blog has nothing to do with yours, but you didn't mind writing about it on yours.

"You can stop all that by just stopping this blog and meeting with that committee and resolving your differences. See...I still try to help you. Just say....THANK YOU GABRIELLA."

Hello?! Can you not read? Why should the Watchdog meet with the committee? They don't know him from Adam's housecat. He's not the person they asked to meet with, nor does he know the identity of the person issued the trespass warnings. The man did not reveal his identity to the Watchdog. The names and personally identifying information were removed from the letters Watchdog posted. I've no doubt that couple has moved on by now. Watchdog is obviously still attending services at FBC Jax.

Now, here's some friendly advice for you, Gabriella. Get help! Say THANK YOU, ANONYMOUS 11:20.

Anonymous said...

WHY I NO LONGER ATTEND FBCJ.

THEY NO LONGER MEET MY STANDARDS!

it is written said...

Thanks 11:06am 12/30/08..Your comments are well stated!!

Anonymous said...

"And Watchdog and this blog has nothing to do with yours, but you didn't mind writing about it on yours."

Anon 11:20 again...

Oops, sorry... cringe... that should have been have nothing to do with yours.

Anonymous said...

It Is Written,

Thanks. I really think we should pray that this lady gets the help she needs. If anyone in the Jacksonville area knows of a free or low-cost counseling center that might be of help to her, please let Gabriella know about it. We can all pray for her to find peace.

Anonymous 11:06

Anonymous said...

I am very concerned about where this church is going. Where did the Discipline Committee come from? When was it brought before the church? Who decides whether or not someones "sin" or "offense" is worthy of the Discipline Committee? Have these poor people been disciplined according to scripture..? Have they been counseled by the Pastor, have they been given a chance to repent, have they been brought before the church? It sounds like we have a nazi regime in the church, secretly deciding who is "doing" right and who isn't. If that is how FBCJax is going to be led, then the building will be empty in a matter of weeks, as we are all sinners and no one is without sin. The church is a place of healing, love, and acceptance.

Of course if the trespassing members would take this to the media, what would that do to our church and its position in the city.

God was wise to take Dr. and Mrs. Lindsay to Heaven, as they would have no part of this activity.

God have mercy on the leadership of FBCJax.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Gabriella - please, get some help. Quit blogging here at the watchdog site.

Anonymous said...

I believe one only has to read today's entries on G's blog to see what we're saying. No one called her a "psycho who doesn't know her head from her butt" or a "drug addict" or an "illegitimate parent" (all her words). People are genuinely concerned about your seemingly fragile emotional state, Gabriella. Read into that what you will, but I, for one, do believe you need to get help, not because you're "psycho" (your word, not ours) but because you seem to feel very hurt, angry, and unhappy. I do not know the circumstances of your life, but I pray for you. I really do. I wish I knew something else to say, something that would help you realize that "we" are not your enemy, something that would help bring you some peace, but I'm at a loss.

P.S. Watchdog is not an "idiot" or a "liar" or a "pig" (your words).

Anonymous said...

Watchdog is not a "moron" either, Gabriella. No one, not one person here, has called you a "psycho" or any other name. That's the label you're applying to yourself.

Anonymous said...

Gabby,

Hits on your blog are increasing because you're drawing attention to yourself. It's like watching a train wreck. You don't want to look, but you can't help yourself.

Anonymous said...

Dec.30 12:09: Your comments are right on. Especially noteing that Dr. and Mrs. Lindsay (both Sr. and Jr.) would not have approved of activities now running rampant in FBCJ. I have noticed the gloves are off, so to speak, with regard to oppression, arrogance and just plain bully tactics, since Shirley's death. She certainly would have addressed "with zeal" these "offenses" perpetrated againt this church. If you knew Shirley, you know what she would say about how this church is being run now. I believe, she was kept in the dark somewhat about some things before her passing. She was flattered and made "comfortable", therefore, not really seeing events happening. After all, a preacher cannot afford to have ALL of the past preachers wives say the same things against him. Doesn't look good. So it would be good politics to make friends with this former pastors wife. Especially since she was so loved and respected. Sort of hiding behind her in a way. We all love and miss her. Church isn't the same without them.

Knowing Dr. Lindsay, Jr., I believe he would "straightend out" Brunson in short order. None of this "stuff" would have been allowed. He probably would have served "No Trespass" papers on Brunson.

One thing that really puzzles me is; How could the men (trustees and deacons) that served under Dr. Lindsay, and know how he felt, what he preached, and how sacred he held Gods Word, could in any way behave, approve, or in any way support the behavior going on at FBCJ currently? Even the liberties taken with Gods Word are questionable. This really is a huge question in the minds of many. Either they have always done their "service" (?) in the flesh or they have a bad case of forgetfullness. Another possibility is they are so desperate to be "in" with the "in crowd", and have sold themselves out for a "mess of pottage", the favor of a man. At any rate they should be ashamed of themselves and when this regime' is over they will be left with a considerable amount of "egg on their faces". Plus they must face the members they have betrayed. Kool Aid will not help then.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 1:40 - I have wondered about the question of these trustees and lay leaders. I'll share my thoughts more on this in upcoming articles on the bylaws - but I do believe they've created a monster that is now out of control.

Their intent with the bylaw changes I believe was to solidify the power in a very few people, and take away power from the "congregation" to prevent troublemakers from creating problems similar to what occured at Two Rivers in Nashville, and also to prevent "liberal" congregants from exerting their will on the church. As strange as it sounds, I believe they're motives were to do best for the church. But we've given even MORE power to a pastor who really is not a pastor, but is a co-pastor with his wife. And he is a man who views his wife as being smarter, more in-tune with the Holy Spirit than he, and thus he defers to her in many things. They've also allowed their 20-something son to have considerable influence in the affairs of the church, and the family's "third son" Maurilio Amorim also is a trusted advisor that helps son and Mac. I don't think this was ever envisioned when Mac was hired.

We've handed over the reigns of the church to a family that we really didn't know, that has control over most aspects of the church through just a few men in the trustees....and there really is NOTHING that anyone can do. The congregation, NOR THE DEACONS could ever call a special meeting after the Dec 07 bylaw changes, unless its approved by the pastor and trustees. The only influence that members or even deacons have is through their pocketbook, sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

Check out my new screen saver/wallpaper Dr. Dog:

http://sal.uindy.edu/WatchDog-logo.gif

You need a logo like this. To distribute with those flyers in the church parking lots I am working on for you. :)

Anonymous said...

"If I can go back to a baptist church after being called a drug addict falsely, and then having the people in that church completely ruin the rest of my life... "

Wow. The whole "rest of your life"? Completely? Goodness, such (melo)drama. I think statements such as this are why people are encouraging you to seek help.

Anonymous said...

To the "210" - giving is down. PC registration is down. Do you "privileged few" want to stay out of debt? Then give a million dollars...in two weeks.

Are you giving it?

Anonymous said...

I read in this blog that there is this glass ceiling to the official documents that support such wrongful acts. In so much, there are “rights” under the request of members of a corporation in Florida. If any member requests a copy of the articles of incorporation or by-laws, they are entitled to such request per f.s.s. 617.

Also, review the article filed February 18, 2008 at http://www.sunbiz.org/pdf/18100401.pdf


Any such noted issues of concern need to be documented referencing the grievance and offered as a requested attachment from the general members. If you fail to follow this protocol, all else is in vain.

Those that wish can continue to post the same issues over and over again but to gain control of any unlawful acts; this must be dealt with under the rule of law. Else, it is like pushing the elevator button over and over again – it feels good but helps little.

Anonymous said...

Robert L. Peeples wrote:

"As a Brunson supporter, I have had to fight many urges to release my flesh into a nasty argument with the Dog and lose my testimony."

Too late, Robert. That ship sailed a long time ago.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I have the A-Group working on a website and a new logo.

Anonymous said...

Robert L. Peeples wrote...

Gabriella,
You must realize who the Watchdog and his supporters are. They are people who are bitter, misguided and so far from Jesus that they can't stand to read any advice or counsel offered to them in comments on the blog. This is why you were met with such opposition.

December 30, 2008 12:06 PM

Wow. It's really sad you think that, Robert. Maybe you'll realize how foolish you've sounded one day when you grow up. Believe me, you've got a lot of growing up to do, son.

Hey, I saw your name and phone number on FBC Jax's website recently. Something about signing up people to man the Salvation Army kettle. BTW, how'd that go? Did Doc and Honey and Trey sign up for a shift?

Surely you aren't representative of the "man in the pew" at FBC Jax. If you are, then God help you all! Everyone get out before you're assimilated, too.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Don't listen to Robert's rubbish Gabriella - he's one of the people at that church - if you were indeed harmed by anyone there, that would defend the minister to the hilt and would accuse you of creating problems. He has to assume that I and others who are concerned about the abuses at our church by our pastor are "far from Jesus". Its the only template that fits his view of the world. He's a very young man that to his credit is defending his pastor, and he believes that to be a noble cause. He is not yet able to discern - he is one who has accused me of slander, yet defends the slander of his own pastor who used the pulpit to slander Sheri Klouda. And now he takes a stab at me on your blog declaring to you that he knows my spiritual condition - that should tell you everything you need to know about Sir Robert.

Thy Peace said...

PROTECT YOUR CHURCH MINISTRY WITH NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH BY-LAWS!

- Church By-Laws are written in the concept of a Theocracy and not a Democracy.
- Church By-Laws give headship and final authority of approving decisions for the local church to the Senior Overseer (Pastor).
- Church By-Laws eradicates congregational voting.
- Church By-Laws help eliminate hostile attempts of takeovers from boards, committees or spurious groups.
- Church By-Laws uproot smothering denominational forms of government
- Church By-Laws provide accountability for the Senior Overseer (Pastor) to an outside group selected by him/her.
- Church By-Laws help avoid potential conflicts and uprisings within the local church.
- Church By-Laws is written by a Senior Overseer for the benefit of the local pastor so that he or she can correctly govern the local church in New Testament manner.
- Church By-Laws allow you to mold your Statement of Faith more closely to your personal beliefs and vision.

Anonymous said...

Anon Dec 29 9:47 Higly Concerned for Accurate Bylaws:


What do you want to know? I'm a church administrator and paid to know as much about this stuff as I can.

Employment law and churches: depends on your state. In employment at will states, any employee--including senior pastors with no contract to the contrary--can be fired for good cause, bad cause, or no cause at all. Staff development practices and personnel policies--with grievance procedures--are advised; if they are in place, courts will want to know whether or not they were followed should a personnel decision be challenged that far.

Florida is an employment at will state.

Just trying to be helpful. Fellow pastor or not: no one serving God should be able to get away with "stupid". What's described at this blogsite as reality among you guys is stupid pastoral behavior.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog: Maybe the by-laws forbid such special meetings, however, if a long, long, long picket line started to develop, just then maybe, the floor chairman would have to open up the discussion at a regular meeting of 2000-4000 people who as members were picketing around the sidewalks who would like to see another change!!! Then they can take pictures, names and guess who the bloggers are. It will give the discipline committee plenty to do issueing all those No Trespass papers. Is this still America?

Also, any item to be voted on at a regular scheduled meeting could be voted down and point of order raised to resolve any controversy involving the administration of the church and its property, etc. The congregation still in the long run holds the voting power even under most by-laws. I like your idea of the pocketbook...it is especially important during these troublesome economic conditions we are all facing.

Just thinking.

Anonymous said...

Trespass alert:

It is unconscionable that a church member(s) would be given a letter advising he/she not to come on church property and that he/she could not attend services without the threat of arrest by the local police. This should only occur if he/she were disruptive during the services. When at the same time Jesus Christ has forgiven us as sinners for all the sins we have committed and allows us to sit at His TABLE in Heaven.

What superiority and mean spiritedness between so-called brothers and sisters in the Lord. I suppose that's why every tear will be wiped away in heaven. Notice there will still be tears in Heaven a whole bunch at the hands of domineering pastors and their arrogant trustees and deacons. Churches such as this, should not exist, and claim to be representative of Jesus Christ as they only give a pretense of doing the Lord's work. You know,claiming to aid God and all the while pretending to be so self righteous in the process.

Thy Peace said...

WD, sorry for this long clipped post of Kevin D. Johnson. It is very relevant to this discussion. If it is too long, I can clip it further.

Ten Things The Ninth Commandment Isn’t by Kevin D. Johnson

However, if you study the Bible closely enough, you’ll find that remaining silent when you should speak the truth is as much a matter of false witness as lying about your neighbor. Saying nothing when what is really called for is absolute repentance on the part of a brother or officer of the church is also condemned by the Ninth Commandment. Appearing and standing for the truth are also required by those who not only value justice but seek to carry out the commands of God fully.

There’s a clear distinction in the Bible between public and private relations especially when it concerns the Ninth Commandment. Don’t you think it’s inconsistent that a pastor can crank off about the moral failures of a politician to the whole world but gets red in the face ten times over if anyone dares to question his own commitment to our Lord?

Public office holders have to realize they’re being held to a higher standard and have higher responsibilities. That’s one reason why our laws still see lying under oath as something worse than being caught in a mere lie. Although in this instance, both offenses are wrong one is worse than the other. Not all sins are equal in the sight of God (cf. questions 150-151 in the Larger Catechism). That’s why ministerial abuse is something to cry about from the rooftops even if the cry that goes forth is all too loud, hurts our ears as faithful Christians who just can’t believe what we hear, and isn’t the most objective or kindest call possible.

To my point, however, is the fact that public ministers and others in similar public positions need to understand the fiduciary role they carry in representing the Church of God and the people they serve. It means that criticism is to be kindly received and fairly heard. The order of our day ought to be transparency and openness in the lives of ministers. Your parishioners and other laymen and women need to have a voice and participation in the supervision of the congregation and wider assemblies in terms of your own commitment and work among the faithful. It means your ideas, your predilections, and even your failings are fair game and a matter of public review simply because you operate in the public sphere. This is doubly true if you are going to work toward being a national or international public figure on the Internet or elsewhere beyond the local church. In other words, you need to be prepared for criticism and take it in a way that echoes the response of our Lord instead of whining about it or getting angry.

So, in the spirit of the Ninth Commandment (and the Fifth, see that section in the Catechism), I offer the following observations especially for public figures inclined to crank off about the complaints against their persons, their ministries, or their beliefs on the Internet or elsewhere. The following do not qualify as bearing false witness:

Disagreeing strongly with a minister or denominational leader in person or in a blog post
Questioning the commitment or intentions of an elder
Wanting to get to the bottom of a matter
Outlining alternate ways to understand or do something
Calling a minister out to repent for his sin publicly
Calling a pastor out for his errant beliefs or opinions
Questioning the wisdom of a pastor
Detailing why a pastor’s position on a matter is just flat crazy
Demonstrating the unorthodox method or theology of a pastor’s predilections
Defending your own person from the illegitimate or fanciful claims of someone who carries the public trust
Now, some of these things may be done in ways which violate the Ninth or Fifth Commandments, but in and of themselves pastors and elders need to be secure enough in their own persons, the Lord, their missions, and their offices to take the hits that come and do so gracefully. If you’re right, you’ll be vindicated eventually (even if that comes only at Judgment Day).

If you’re wrong, swallow your pride and take it so the Church can move beyond the cult of personality into a real and valid expression of what it means to lead the faithful.


Amen.

Anonymous said...

If FBCJ is like other congregations, it budgets to spend every undesignated dime received each year; enough folks withholding their tithes--or giving it in designated ways (which can be declined by financial leaders of churches if certain policies are in place)--could eat up reserves and make a noticeable difference in a short time. Whether or not the right financial/pastoral leaders would have courage enough to inquire of those no longer giving is the question here. From what's been posted so far: not likely. The designated giving idea seems the better approach if so--the believer gives from what he's received, and the congregation or a ministry of it benefits from the gift. A tax deduction still is permitted.

It's not certain in the case of FBCJ that the members served with No Trespass warnings actually can legally be considered to trespass, because they ARE members. Unless the articles of incorporation or the bylaws--or the recent discipline committee guidelines--spell out more specifically what it means for members of FBCJ to trespass, the members served probably are alright to continue attending church (if attendance cannot be considered actual disruption of activities--i.e., the member isn't yelling out during worship services--then there seems no foundation for the warnings legally). Even if the matter can be pressed by the discipline committee, the warnings served (as I understand it) actually must be served to the members at the time they are "trespassing" on-campus and before law enforcement officers present--who likely would simply escort them off the campus (and be really confused about why Christians--supposedly--would do such things to each other).

The discipline committee's basis for issuing the warnings is subjective, though it attempts to be biblical, as evidenced by the reasonable folks of somewhat mature age and church experience blogging here who differ with the committee's logic/interpretation of the Bible. The question is: does the committee or trustee leadership or senior pastor REALLY want to make a big hairy public thing of this without attempting genuine biblical reconcilation ("running rough-shod at will over all-comers" does not count as biblical reconcilation in any reasonable person's book--even lost persons)? I doubt it--but some brave soul/s will have to step up to prove the truth of the matter; so far, there are none of those present--and the horribly emotionally insecure pastoral staff and other elected leaders are enabled to continue to function as they do, knowing no court will want to deal with this ecclesiastical matter in any case. Much more knowledge of the matter and involvement of the congregation's membership would be necessary to force something to change--even if it was to kick out everyone involved and then move forward (probably can set up a mass phone call to membership via online calling services if have the contact information, and possibly do so anonymously; doing so, though, may hamper interaction regarding access to the bylaws).

In the meantime, be careful that FBCJ doesn't have a "name that it is alive," but it's dead. Sad deal.

Thy Peace said...

Here is the odd thing.

Grace Baptist Church in Cape Coral, FL, whose senior pastor is Tom Ascol, has their Constitution posted on their website here. They have clear guidelines on Church Discipline.

Now why can't fbcjax do the same? They are in the same state.

I do not know about bylaws for Tom Ascol's church. Are they part of their constitution?

Duane said...

It's so sad to see this happening especially to fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, but just remember that we need to "distinguish between the Lord's invisible, universal, spiritual Church (the Ecclesia) and the non-profit religious organization that meets in a building with a steeple on top". sited from Chip Brogden http://www.theschoolofchrist.org/articles/churchianity.html