"...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

Monday, December 15, 2008

What Would Jesus TAKE?

In the next installment of "What Would Jesus _______" as follow-ups to the Times Union 12/7 article "What Would Jesus Blog"....we will ask the question:

"What Would Jesus TAKE?"

If Jesus were our pastor, would he have accepted a $300,000 land gift just weeks after he showed up? Would he have played a commercial for a business of the person who gave him that land gift in the middle of the Sermon on the Mount?

I know that this topic has been discussed here on this blog many times, but it bears another examination in light of the Times Union article. If there was ONE, indisputable, verifiable, PROMINENT claim made on this blog about Mac Brunson that bears examination by a Times Union reporter, it is this - if you are one of the many new readers of this blog since the Times Union story ran, please read this next paragraph very slowly:

Mac and Debbie Brunson, just three weeks after arriving in Jacksonville as pastors of the FBC Jacksonville, accepted a land gift in Deerwood Country Club valued currently at $307,000. This gift was given to the Brunsons for "love and affection" as stated on the deed, and the giver of the gift is a member of and donor to the church.

The deed for this gift is publicly available on the City of Jacksonville property appraisor's website here. Despite this being perhaps the most prominent issue of this blog, and despite this being one irrefutable fact on this blog, the writer of the Times Union story did NOT ask Brunson about this allegation. Instead he characterized the blog as being about salary and the church's desire to start a school. Why ignore this issue?

Now, before you reject the rest of this article as irrelevant because you are thinking: "So what? The man accepted a gift, what is wrong with that?" or before you say "That's his own business, who are YOU, some anonymous blogger to be judging what the man does in his private life?", I implore you to read the rest of this article. Don't let the fact that this is written by an anonymous author cause you to reject the truth that is written here. I am a member of FBC Jacksonville, a person you've likely seen around the church or maybe know me personally. If my facts are wrong, or disagree with my arguments, reject this article and don't give it a second thought.

The desires to dismiss this issue out of hand as irrelevant are normal. When we first hear news that might shed a negative light on a man we respect, we don't want to think he did something unethical. But you and I as members of FBC Jacksonville must think more deeply. You owe it to your Lord and to your CHURCH to think more deeply than just "what's wrong with a man accepting a gift?" This has the potential to reflect very poorly on our church. It needs to have the light of truth shone on it, and if there is nothing wrong with this gift because of things behind the scenes, let it be said so.

I would first like to make this case...everyone at our church needs to understand:

For other non-profit 501(c)3 organizations such as the Red Cross or Compassion International: if a man is hired to lead the organization, then accepts a very large gift from ONE OF THE DONORS OF THE ORGANIZATION WITHIN DAYS OF ACCEPTING HIS POSITION...this would be universally seen as UNETHICAL.

You know it in your gut as you read this. Most of you reading this work for companies that have told you under what conditions you may or may not accept gifts from customers or vendors for obvious reasons - and $300,000 land gifts are definitely off limits! If you can't grasp that concept, then don't bother reading the rest of this article, as it won't make any sense.

A man that accepts a six-figure salary to lead a non-profit organization should never accept large gifts from one of the donors of the organization, unless it is fully disclosed and explained and approved by an independent review board! A 501(c)3 receives its revenue primarily from DONATIONS! Donations go to the organization, not the HEAD of the organization. Should not people who approach the leader with personal gifts be directed to give the gift to the organization, since the organization is giving him a comfortable salary? In a church, if a large gift is given to a long-time, beloved pastor (three weeks in Jax doesn't make him "long time" nor "beloved") and a gift is given, should not that be disclosed to the church so we may all rejoice?

What bearing does what the Red Cross or Compassion International's views on gifts have on us, a Christian church? Well, Mac himself has written in his "Guidebook for Pastors" that pastors should hold themselves to HIGHER ethical standards than the world - not only THAT, but he also believes pastors should behave more ethically than other CHRISTIANS!! Here's what he says in his book, "The New Guidebook for Pastors", page 180:

"In the Bible, people in leadership positions were called upon to have higher ethical standards than the other people of God. The pastor should never see how close he can come to the line between what is ethical and unethical, but he should stay as far away from it as possible" Mac Brunson

So if you can accept the fact that no other 501(c)3 organizations would see this as ethical, and that Mac should at least be as ethical as secular organizations, then read on. If you believe that perhaps Mac behaved in a less than fully ethical manner in accepting this gift - if you believe at least that this gift GIVES THE APPEARANCE of impropriety, then read on.

Let's be generous. Let's assume that if all the facts were known about this gift, that we would conclude there was nothing unethical. Its all on the "up and up". Fine, I'm open to that possibility. But on the surface this act looks to have greed and privilege written all over it. Thus, the pastor immediately needs to answer the following questions about this gift to clear any of this up. If he made a mistake somewhere, he can admit it and ask forgiveness. He needs to provide answers to his congregation that he himself has declared he is fully accountable to. I would propose the following subjects to be addressed with the church:

a. He needs to explain the circumstances behind the gift: when did he and/or his wife become aware of this gift? Was it before or after they had accepted the call to pastor FBC Jax?

b. He needs to explain why he thought it was ethical to accept the gift. If he is earning a salary from our church, and our church is presumably paying his relocation expenses, how then can he take a $300,000 gift for "love and affection" from one of our wealthy donors? Did he consider other options, like encouraging the man to liquidate it and give it to the church as a seed gift for a school or satellite church?

c. He needs to explain what the rules are for accepting gifts that apply to the staff of our church. Does his accepting this gift mean that other staff members can accept large gifts? Is it open season for wealthy members to donate large gifts to staff members that they personally like? If its not acceptable say for John Blount to accept a six-figure gift from one of our donors, then why would it be OK for Mac Brunson to accept one? Or is there one set of rules for the "senior pastor", and another for everyone else? Can just the "executive pastors" accept large gifts from donors?

d. Mac needs to explain how his accepting of this gift is not inconsistent with his advice given in his book "The New Guidebook for Pastor's" that is read by future pastors in seminaries. How can he caution pastors against accepting gifts in this book, but yet he accepts a $307,000 gift just says after accepting the call to pastor FBC Jacksonville?

e. If Mac and/or his wife were made aware of this gift at some point prior to them accepting the call to be pastors at our church, was the relocation package adjusted accordingly? If Mac and/or his wife were made aware of this gift by certain members of the search committee during the negotiations, were ALL pastor search committee members and members of the personnel and finance committess made aware also so that a fair relocation package could be negotiated to take into consideration this extremely large gift given by one of our members?

f. Mac needs to also explain why he decided to air a testimony (click here to listen) in the middle of his sermon earlier this year, for the sons of the man who gave him this gift. The testimony was a professionally produced commercial highlighting the residential construction business, owned by two sons of the gift giver, that has decided to close their sales offices on Sundays. Was this quid pro-quo for his land gift? If not, did we charge the business for this free publicity, especially since it aired on our broadcast on TV-12? If we are charging $12,500 to ministries to highlight their themselves during the pastor's conference with a 60 second video, wouldn't we certainly then charge a for-profit business for that same privilege that will end up airing on local TV-12 since it was in the middle of the sermon? Why or why not?

These questions deserve to be addressed by the pastor. As I said, Mac himself has stated he views us as his "bosses" and that he is fulling accountable to each of us. Really? Put your money where your mouth is, so to speak, Mac. Explain the gift.

You might say, "this is almost 3 years in passing, let's just let it go." I say we CANNOT. Firstly, what does this gift say to other wealthy church members? What if a wealthy church member in the future decides to buy influence or favors with the pastor? Secondly, we've already crossed the line where we sell advertising at our Pastor's Conference! How far are we away from selling references to businesses in the sermons? Thirdly, shouldn't our church say to all staff members to not accept any gifts above a certain amount from church members so as to not burden them with having to determine the motives of the gift giver? Its what the "world" does, shouldn't we at least have ethics that are at that level? How can our ethical standard be lower than the world's?

Mac himself points to pastors' ethical failures in his book on page 180 and says: "You are either honest or you are not. Many pastors have ruined their ministries by compromosing personal ethics....One cannot help but wonder if such pators are even saved, let alone called to preach." So it was Mac who accepted the land gift and has given the appearance of impropriety. He comes close to the line he said pastors should never get close to. Thus we ask: was what you did unethical? If so, are you saved? Are you called to be a preacher?

Mac has felt pressure in the past to address this issue. If you click below you will hear his defiant, arrogant explanation of his housing situation. This is the only time he has gotten vaguely close to explaining the land gift, and he did it to boldy proclaim "I'm paying for THAT house". True, he's paying for the million dollar house, but he did NOT pay for the $300,000 land on which the house sits. So that is deceptive at best. Another potential unethical act - deceiving us about paying for his house/land - deserving of an explanation.

Mac needs to address these issues with the church - fully, openly, honestly, and humbly. Not half of the story. No arrogance. Drop the bulldog approach, Mac. If he can't address this with the congregation to whom he said he is accountable, then perhaps a trespass warning could be issued to Mac....and his wife...until such time he agrees to explain why he has done what he has done.





52 comments:

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks D - do you have the rest of both versions?

Anonymous said...

WD

All points well noted. The movement to oust or to bring to order an out of control mega church pastor is very difficult.

First - The Pastors
They are typically excellent communicators. They are adept at the power of persuasion. They did not rise to that prominent of a role by not dodging an issue here or there.

Second - The Leaders
Most leaders of the local church are lock step in with the pastor. For staff positions they are fearful of being let go. For those in lay positions there is the sense that they are influential and recognized in the church, become prideful of their position and lose all perspective of their actual responsibilites.

Third - The Congregants, Worshippers, Members, Units, Sheep
They believe that people are attempting to destroy their church. They are comfortable in their pews - don't make waves. They don't know you and they are too lazy to take the time to look into the allegations. They like to reminisce of the good ole' days and wax eloguently about the days when 7,000 to 8,000 would be in attendance on a Wednesday nite service.

The few who take the time to read, post and who have ligitimate concerns have their own issues - who knows, so the world goes round and round. This really must be exhausting to you, to say the same things over and over and to reiterrate point after point with proof of your findings and concerns only to have people say "so what" "who cares" "what's your point." I don't know how you do it, but God bless you for diligence.

To me it's obvious the guy plays with the facts a bit loosely and takes advantage of every opportunity available to him and his family. This has to get the attention of some influential leader in the SBC who takes him to task for saying one thing in his book and doing the exact opposite. Truly incredible stuff.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I love Maurilio's twitters. Here are a few interesting ones:

"getting ready to spend the day with Sal Sberna [pastor in Houston]on everything from his stage presence to television concepts for his new teaching series."

Sal, look out. If Mac's "stage presence" is a product of Maurilio's coaching, you might be in trouble.

And here's another of Maurilio's twitters:

"Our yoga instructor said 'it's ok to pass gas in class. We all do it'. She has no idea of what she's just done. "

Glad to see that Maurilio is into Yoga! Maybe he can come down on his next visit and help turn Mac and Jim S. onto some meditation through yoga.

RM said...

Did you guys really have 8,000 in attendance on a Wednesday night? I've been around a long time and sure never heard your church was that big...

Also, don't expect any of the authentic "leaders" of the SBC to do a thing--they are all doing exactly what Mac is doing.

Big Tuna said...

Just a wee point of clarification WD. According to the tax rolls, home is valued just under $700K, property is $300K for a total of $1M. I am building a log cabin in the mountains and all construction quotes I am getting is for $200/sq ft. $700K is not THAT much for a 5000 sq ft home. Dog, what kind of home do you live in? How did you get the down payment? What kind of cars do you drive? Are you willing to be as transparent as you want Mac to be?

Big Tuna said...

Whty do my comments have to be approved by you? Oh it is your blog and you maintain total control over the content. Despot.

Anonymous said...

RM
you have no idea how alive this church use to be. You may think that PURPOSE DRIVEN is OK, because all of the "leaders" in the SBC are going that way. That failed system is killing churches all over the country and it will kill yours too. The Holy Spirit can leave the pulpit in a heartbeat if the pastor becomes a teacher instead of a preacher.

Have you ever been in a church that is just going through the motions? Well that is what we are doing here at FBCJAX. Just showing up.

Let me just mention the Pastors Conference. On the final night of most of our Pastor Conferences, we would fill up the church {9300} then overflow into other buildings of the church.

Not any more!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Tuna Salad:

You didn't read the article. I said that if you can't come to grips with how unethical it is for a leader of a 501(c3) organization taking gifts from the donors of the organization, my arguments don't make any sense.

Am I willing to be as transparent as I want Mac to be?

Absolutely - as soon as the members of FBC Jax start sending me about 20 to 30,000 per month in salary and benefits to my wife and I, I'll be VERY transparent to all of the members who pay my salary and afford me the wonderful lifestyle! And I won't incessantely complain to them about how rough I have it as a pastor!

Sorry you can't see that. A guy who is earning money from a church, from people giving money to God, should be open and transparent with the money he earns, and certainly with the gifts he receives from the members. OK, let's restrict it, maybe just for those gifts over, say $50,000?

Not sure what your point is on the price per square foot. Focus Tuna: $307,000 gift 20 days after he arrived, for love and affection, from one of our donors. Focus...that's the issue.

Anonymous said...

FBCJ stopped being a church after Lindsay died!! Now it is just a social get together, where very naive people go to see friends, in turn be seen by friends, and just to feel good about themselves because "they have been to church". They do this routine, because that's what they have always done. Sometimes it is just too painful to look at reality. Preachers count on these attitudes to keep them in business. What has happened to First, shows you how fast under less than stellar leaders (all the way around), a church can become irrelevant!! It's like going to sleep peacefully, on a beautiful summers eve, and waking up to a frozen tundra in the morning. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is a dramatic time at First. But I must say that I expected something like this once Lindsay died. Having observed the "leadership" for years I am not at all suprised that they are in the position they now find themselves, indeed the whole church is now paying the price for this lack of spiritual discernment. Which leads me to this, as leaders, that profess such "faith", WHERE IS THE SPIRITUAL DISCERNMENT? Just how did they get themselves and this church in it's present condition. God didn't lead them there. You can't blame the congregation, because the pastor and leaders HAVEN'T TOLD THE PEOPLE WHAT THEY ARE DOING MOST OF THE TIME. THE DECISIONS ARE MADE BY THE PASTOR AND LEADERSHIP. SO THE PEOPLE CAN'T BE AT FAULT. GUESS THAT PUTS THE PROBLEMS BACK WHERE THEY BELONG ON THE PASTOR AND LEADERSHIP. Someone "sold" something when coming here, and someone "bought" it. Now it's pay the piper. Sad, Sad, Sad!

Anonymous said...

RM, it used to be that when you walked into FBCJ you felt warmth and caring from other members; the pastors made you personally feel you were in good standing, no matter your financial worth or standing in the community, and the wives of the pastors were ever so loving, always reaching out to everyone within the church and throughout their communities, and they served with grace and love. The wives did not work for the church and would not accept financial support for the time and services rendered in the name of our Lord.

Now, you feel tension and apprehension once you enter the doors. Folks seem to be afraid of their own shadows and appear to simply going through the motions of playing church, and are intimidated by the pastor and other leaders and laymen.

WOW, what a difference. Yet, seems most don't want to face facts about the turn-around from being a God led church to one that most folks now wonder about. Seems POWER is the motivator of the current situation.

Anonymous said...

"The New Guidebook for Pastors" has been revised; the new edition, "The New Guiidebook for Pastors, Practicing the Opposite Will Profit You More, Forget the God Stuff."

Anonymous said...

WatchDog, I have three words for you BUILD A BRIDGE...(here's three more) and GET OVER IT!I agree with you and most of everything you say, but you keep on saying the same old stuff over and over again. We know Mac has some issues...but I am concerned that you are letting him rule your life with this on going blog. How about taking a christmas break on the blog and chill with your family or something. I love you, but you gotta chill on the FBC drama for a little bit. This is from one real person 2 another.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:46. Don't forget the money!!! It was also a known fact that Dr. Lindsay did not know the amount of money any member contributed. He said that was between the giver and God. He did not want money to influence his relationship as pastor with anyone.

Anonymous said...

What Would Jesus Take?

I think Jesus would TAKE MAC OUT TO THE WOODSHED. No! Not like my dad use to take me. He wouldn't have to whip him. Jesus would just talk to him.

Maybe he would say, I am the way the truth and the life. Mac how many times have you told the people about me.

Maybe, he would say, I am come that ye might have life and that ye might have it more abundantly. Mac, how often have you preached about me.

Or maybe, he would say, if ye keep my commandment ye shall abide in my love even as I have kept my fathers commandments and abide in his love. Mac, how many times have you preached the GOSPEL?

You see Mac you preach about Jesus and who he is and not about men and their needs. It is not hard Mac, the people come to hear about Jesus and our heavenly Father not about some history lesson.

Major on winning souls Mac and let Jesus take care of their needs.

After all Mac, what is ONE SOUL WORTH? Don't let Jesus take you out of the pulpit.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

You still haven't given me an answer on why you won't add the names of the fbc trustees in a link under the link 'A List of Mac's Abuses'.

Folks reading this blog will know who the trustees are then and be able to contact them.

Also, some of the trustees will not like having their names on this blog associated with the truths you have written about Mac.

Over time I think having such a link will be helpful in getting some of the issues you bring up solved. I belive this would be a proactive move in the right direction.

Let me know your thoughts on this.

Anonymous said...

Since the Discipline Jax Style post has moved off the front page maybe you would put a link to it on your favorites list as well as a link to the letter so that people can find it easily.

That is one thing that the majority will probably find unbelievable when they see it.

Did you hear if the wrongly accused "trespassers" received an apology for being targeted in error?

Anonymous said...

Does money that goes to Lottie Moon offering go to pay salaries of IMB trustees, President of IMB, VP of IMB? Or just to the missionaries?

Anonymous said...

United Way Story

Check out the story above for what happens when a nonprofit "CEO" collects excessive pay . . . and does it in a secretive manner.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 7:30

90% of the Lottie Moon offering goes to missionaries salaries, housing, etc.; 10% for materials needed for their work.

This is according to the WMU web page.

If I learn otherwise, I will not contribute again!

Anonymous said...

As one who has worked with Compassion International, I must "sound an alarm". Compassion is a great organization HOWEVER they always compensate musicians and speakers for their endorsements and promotions. The personality either receives a portion of the sponsorships or a cash donation. I could safely assume (based on my experience) that someone or something received a "donation" for their presentation at your church. And beware - they will be "pushed" at the upcoming pastor's conference, if I had to guess.

Thy Peace said...

WMU is being pushed aside now from SBC. As far as funding goes, they are receiving no funds from SBC/IMB, even though they own the trademarks to Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong (though shared with SBC/IMB for missions purposes). There is a somewhat sordid tale about the trademarks, but WMU graciously ceded some sharing aspects to SMC/IMB.

Now they are being "jettisoned" or "sidelined".

It's Best to Never to Bite the Hand that Feeds Us

Anonymous said...

RM, since no one has answered you directly, allow me. NO, unless there has been some really special occasion on a Wednesday night I would be willing to bet there has never been a Wednesday night service with 8,000 people in attendance or really anywhere near that many. The RLA sat 3600 I believe, based on that alone, where exactly would you have sat an overflow crowd BIGGER than the crowd sitting in the main auditorium? I doubt that ever happened. Again, if I am wrong, I am wrong.

After moving into the current auditorium, again, no. Sunday nights and Wednesday nights usually had anywhere between 3,000 and 4,000 which percentage wise compared to those who attend Sunday morning is probably about the same for those in much smaller churches too.

Anonymous said...

Money is fungible. Claiming that all the money from Lottie Moon goes to the missionaries doesn't make it true in a functional sense.

The larger the Lottie Moon offering is, the less the IMB has to spend from their regular budget for the missionaries. Therefore, the larger Lottie Moon is, the greater the amount of money that is freed up for the IMB to spend on administrative matters and huge salaries for their top executives.

Analogy: Say I have $2,000 in credit card debt. You give me $2,000 to pay off my credit card debt. I pay off the debt, then the next month I buy a big screen TV on my credit card for $2,000. You say, "I gave you the money to pay off your debt not to buy a TV." This is the same thing that happens with Lottie Moon and the IMB. Money is fungible.

Anonymous said...

I find it very entertaining to see you scramble. You are running out of "material" while our Church is loving and supporting Dr. Brunson.

Oh the sad day it will be when the watchdog is no more (did you sense my sarcasm?)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

The sad day is here.

I sense your sarcasm.

I sense your love for Mac.

I don't sense your love for Christ and fellow church member.

Oh, it used to be that we loved Christ first at our church. The sad day arrived when we changed our mission to "loving and supporting" the pastor. Oh boy, have we "supported" them. Lots of support - for all of them.

Have a blessed day.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:51

Why don't you reveal yourself - you are in no jeopardy of being sent a trepass warning (or are you?) Hmmmm...I understand.

I love that you pointed out your sarcasm...do you laugh at your own jokes as well?

I appreciate your speaking for the whole congregation - that's awefully magnanimous of you. You must be of some great influence and importance - uh huh...

Anon 12:51 <----- Sheeple and loves grape thank you...

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:51:

Reveal yourself and we shall see where things go from there. Until, you should love the Mac more, as you seem to love Jesus less.

You scramble for justification of an ungodly leader. But you seem to fit right in.

Anonymous said...

Anon: 12:51

Of sad day indeed. You will think sad when you are asked if you allowed Satan a seat in church and the pulpit, and were you diligent in proclaiming His word, rather than man's.

You sound "silly" in your remarks!

Anonymous said...

watchdog,you better watch your back!! A litte birdie told me who you are and I am going to tell on you! You will no longer be annonymous anymore!
- Peace out!

RM said...

I always find it amusing when an anonymous poster chastises another anonymous poster for being anonymous. Rather ridiculous I would say...

Anonymous said...

rm you are pretty ridiculous! RM is just as anonymous as anonymous is. YOU dumb a**!

Anonymous said...

I am anon 12:51.

I am glad my comments hit such a coard with ya'll.

Will I reveal myself? Whats the point? I dont know who any of you are.

As for me loving my pastor more and loving Jesus less. I wasn't aware that supporting my Pastor (who has been very gracious to me and my family) and loving Jesus (which I do very much, but that is between me and Him) were mutually exclusive. I love Jesus and support my Pastor. It can be done.

And as for referring to me as "sheeple". Man you don't even know me. I watch, I read, I listen. But don't challenge my maturity or my intellegence just because I don't agree with you.

I whole hartedly disagree with what ya'll say. But I will never call you names. It is hard to show "love for my brother" in a post. I pray for you watchdog.

And yes, I do laugh at my own jokes.............if they are funny.

it is written said...

Dr.Dog..You asked what would Jesus Take?...I'm sure that he negotiated a contract for 30,000 per month to come preach and too save the world....Mac makes nearly as much as the President of the United States who is reponsible for a population of 300,000,000..And the koolaid drinkers defend THAT!!..I've said it once and I'll say it again; No man who has been called of God will swindle hundreds of thousands of dollars out of peoples personal givings(not business earnings)to preach what he has supposedly been compelled to DO!!!.."WORSE AND WORSE" is my motto "WORSE AND WORSE"..Dr.Dog.!!

RM said...

Anon 9:16,

Email me your name and address and I'll be glad to return mine. But then that would make us both dumb a_____. Me for thinking you would actually identify yourself and you for believing me.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, IT IS WRITTEN is right.

Worse and Worse.

When the church members see their SANCTUARY DOWNSIZED BY ONE THIRD MAYBE THEY WILL BEGIN TO GET THE PICTURE.

That is right! When Mac arrived he told the Deacons that he wanted to downsize the sanctuary because he did not like preaching to a small group in a big sanctuary.

He said, WHEN WE DOWNSIZE THE MAIN SANCTUARY WE CAN USE SOME OF THAT, newly created, non-sanctuary space for the old folks. Since he was not going to build a building for the old folks,he would provide a space for them close to the main sanctuary.

Mac wants to use some of that $20 million, that he is demanding, to downsize the MAIN SANCTUARY.

That is real leadership. Mac says, you give me $20 million and I will make you smaller.

Way to go Mac!

That is what he said then folks. What he wants to do now is anyones guess.

There is no transparency here at FBC JAX.

Anonymous said...

Anon 1251 here again.

RM. I don't think it would benefit either one of us to know who the other one is.

For the record, I was not the one who called you the DA. It doesn't matter, but just wnted you to know that.

Anonymous said...

to anon 12:51

You need some more coffee or something. Clean off your glasses, get closer to the monitor.

Church Discipline - FBC JAX Style -Part 1

Now how on earth can you defend what happened? Is the pastor so insecure that he is going to send the SS to a members' home the night before Thanksgiving no less to threaten them with trespass. Going on the night before Thanksgiving with a threat to stay off church property? It did not have to be done that night, that was obviously done for the most impact and to ruin their holiday. Mailicious? I think we had a sermon recently about getting rid of malice. The Lord let them get egg on their face for it because they did not even have the right person yet accused the people of such.

You can't fit Matt 18 in that scenario. It is not there. The staff ought to be able to discern that as well but I guess their quiet time must be slipping or there is some thing in the Greek that the Holy Spirit is not able to relate to the common man.

To make it worse, Dr B's book for pastor's tells them to go meet with members in person, more than once if necessary.

How do you defend the pastor telling other pastors to do something that he won't do?

The book also tells pastors not to accept large gifts, live in very expensive homes, or to drive luxury cars.

Hmmmm.... at least 2 things in the book where Dr B is telling others to do one thing but not doing it himself.

You go right ahead and defend these actions. A mother's child was hurt by those misdirected actions of the church and we know what Jesus said about harming one of his little ones. The church has bore false witness against a member and is nonrepentant about it.

So you're ok with selling commercials on the imags in the sanctuary and charging ministries for tables at the PC? There are some people at church who still know and understand that the sanctuary is where the worship of a HOLY GOD takes place.

Who knows who else's family or children will be falsely accused in the witch hunt. You probably hope it will be many. Get rid of anyone who can think for themselves. That is the plan right?

Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Anonymous said...

Check out this definition from Wikipedia and see if ANY of it applies to the FBC JAX discipline committee: (I have BOLDED the ones I found similar.)

A KANGAROO COURT,is used to describe proceedings that deny due process rights in the name of expediency. Such rights include the right to summon witnesses, the right of cross-examination, the right not to incriminate oneself, the right not to be tried on SECRET EVIDENCE, the right to control one's own defense, the right to exclude evidence that is IMPROPERLY OBTAINED, irrelevant or inherently inadmissible (e.g. HEARSAY), the right to exclude judges or jurors on the grounds of PARTIALITY or CONFLICT OF INTEREST, and the right of appeal. The OUTCOME of a trial by "kangaroo court" is essentially DETERMINED IN ADVANCE, usually for the purpose of providing a conviction, either by GOING THROUGH THE MOTIONS OF MANIPULATED PROCEDURE or by allowing no defense at all.

Anonymous said...

Downsizing the auditorium?. Looks like small group theology.

Anonymous said...

You know if Jacksonville was the key to filling up the sactuary rather than traveling all over the world, then maybe, more people would come to visit.When you ignore the people just around the corner you'll never get the others down the street. Church is going backwards.

Anonymous said...

Here is a thought for you...

I am a pastor who moved to my current church three years ago. Real estate at my previous pastorate were reasonable. The cost of buying a home or building a home here, were so outlandish that we could not afford to move here.

During discussions with the search committee I told them that this was the major holdup in our move to the church. One member of the search team made this suggestion/offer:

He gave the church a lot to build us a house on at cost (still much more than our previous home.) The land was appraised at current value. Over the course of seven years a portion of the land cost was forgiven. That portion was and is taxable, and reported to the IRS.

If we leave before 7 years, we owe the church the remaining value.

I don't know how you 'fix' your problem. But for other churches in our situation, people need to realize that property values will restrict where pastors can move. We need to be creative and legal in discovering solutions to these problems.

Second, as one who has watched your strife from a distance, my heart goes out to you AND Brunson. It is very obvious that changes need to be made. But someone at a much higher pay grade than me will need to counsel you on who needs to change.

At some point, the anger has got to subside. You must let it go for your own sanity. The anger within this blog is truly frightening. Yes, yes, I already know your response, your anger is justified, warrented, etc... But when will it end?

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, what is Mac' GOLDEN PARACHUTE?

Mac is not a PASTOR he is a CEO! So he must have a GOLDEN PARACHUTE. RIGHT? He negotiated his contract here at FBC JAX. His book even revealed that is what preachers should do. If so, what is Mac' GOING AWAY PRESENT?

$20,000,000!!!!

I say give it to him now. Just get him out of here.

How long did it take us to SAVE THE MONEY TO BUILD OUR CURRENT AUDITORIUM? WAS IT ABOUT FIVE YEARS TO SAVE 17million dollars?

We should give Mac the money and start paying off the debt now. In about seven years, WITH A NEW SPIRIT LED PASTOR, WE WOULD BE DEBT FREE AGAIN.

We have seen how to build a church. It is easy.

1. PREACH JESUS AND HIS GOSPEL.

2. GO VISIT

WE DID IT ONCE! WE CAN DO IT AGAIN!

YOU GIVE MAC THE MONEY AND HE WOULD BE OUT OF HERE.

LET'S DO IT!

Anonymous said...

I think it very strange and odd that a person who served in a church for 20 years in various areas, would be served with a trespass warning advising them not to be come back to sit in a pew and listen to what transpires. Compare this to any bar in town, where you could go in, sit down, and observe what's going on in there. As long as you did not disrupt the firm, you could sit there until they closed, and never be handed a trespass warning. Without just cause, such as disrupting the service, creating a distraction,etc., this "trespass notice" is not legal. These people have as much right to be in this church service and bldgs., as anyone else. It is a public forum open to the general public. The church has no grounds unless as stated above, to keep these people from attending. I think the purpose was to anger said members, embarass them, and therefore, cause them to CHOOSE not to attend. But, two members of a discipline committee have no legal ground to discipline these people in any way. Not to mention erroneously marking the "wrong" people. And even if they did disagree with the pastor, it is still a public forum, open to the PUBLIC in general. Otherwise, the wronged people may have a discrimination suit, as well as harrassment issues, add pain and suffering and maybe add tresspassing willfully to inflict emotional pain when the committee members tresspassed on victims property to deliver said papers, thus "blindsideing" them, not having called or in any way warning them of their intentions. At any rate it was very badly done. And should shame anyone that had anything to do with such a deed. Where was the compassion of this pastor, or committee?

Says a lot about this type of church doesn't it? And it used to be the church of the "OPEN DOOR"?.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 10:02 - the arrangement made in your case sounds reasonable.

Perhaps there is some similar arrangement with Mac, I don't know. But it requires an explanation to the church since it looks like the man took a $300,000 gift from a donor with no strings attached. Which means the land belongs to the church, not Mac. If he obtained that land because he was the pastor of the church, and there was no real "love and affection" between the giver and receiver, then the gift belongs to the church. To accept such a gift under the guise of "love and affection" when he had been here all of three weeks, is a sham. Its highly unethical, it casts a poor light on our church, and Mac should be called to give an accounting for his actions.

And I'm not angry. I'm not sure where you are seeing the "frightening anger". I'm really not 'angry' about what is transpiring at my church. Persistence in speaking of a wrong to inform others of the wrong doesn't necessarily mean I'm angry. It just means I'm persistent. Taking the "long view of ministry" as Mac says.

And about anger: if you listen to Mac's preaching, he is the angry one, he is the vindictive one, that is for sure. We'll take a look at that next, "How Would Jesus Preach". Stay tuned.

RM said...

There is a whole lot about this discipline committee and serving papers on that family that just doesn't add up...

I know full well that Mac and the trustees (or whoever authorized this committee and action) knew what they were doing both legally and ethically before it was ever done. I have a feeling there is much more to this issue than what we are reading on this blog.

I do beg to disagree in that the church is not a public forum. It is a group of believers who can choose to exclude or remove whoever they choose according to their individual by-laws. In this case, I would imagine that Mac changed the by-laws to accomodate what they are now doing.

You people are in way over your heads with Mac and his cronies. Blogging obviously isn't going to deter them or it would have done so in this instance.

I am also wondering if WD isn't the one who was served the papers????

Before you jump in to attack me, I am NOT a fan of Mac nor his methods but I have learned after 43 years of pastoring that there is a lot more than meets the eye in most situations.

Too bad you can't all get together in an adult manner in a business meeting or private meeting and hash these things out so its not out there for public consumption.

Whatever you do, you will be in our prayers.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 11:42 - I suppose any "owner" of an establishment, or an agent of the "owner" can ban someone from the premesis - whether it be a bar, or a store, or a church. No matter the reason. I can keep people off my property if I tell them "Don't come on my property"

The question is: who has the authority, who is the "agent" of the church with the authority to issue trespass warnings? Is it the discipline committee? The Chairman of the Deacons? The President of the Trustees? The Pastor?

Thy Peace said...

Off Topic:

Wade Burleson is coming out with his new book, Hardball Religion: Feeling the fury of Fundamentalism, to be released in Spring 2009.

Foreword
Chapter 1 Blindsided!
Chapter 2 At Home on the Range
Chapter 3 The Phone Call
Chapter 4 The IMB Policies That Became the Fuse
Chapter 5 The Chairman’s Outburst at Pensacola Beach
Chapter 6 The Day Adrian Rogers Died
Chapter 7 Discovery

Chapter 8 The Blog
Chapter 9 Teaching the Rookie a Lesson
Chapter 10 Closed Doors
Chapter 11 Those Weirdoes from Oklahoma
Chapter 12 Meet Me in St. Louis
Chapter 13 Trustee Leaders Trying to Save Face
Chapter 14 A Unanimous Reversal

Chapter 15 "Keep Your Mouth Shut and Your Pen Silent!"
Chapter 16 Religious Liberty and Baptist Freedom
Chapter 17 Turn Off His Mike!
Chapter 18 The IMB Motion at Greensboro
Chapter 19 The 2006 Southern Baptist Convention at Greensboro
Chapter 20 Reflections on the Historic 2006 Convention
Chapter 21 Welcome to the Neighborhood Dwight McKissic

Chapter 22 Sheri Klouda
Chapter 23 Continued Hostility at the IMB
Chapter 24 “What Idiot Said There Was No Investigation?”
Chapter 25 The Garner Motion in San Antonio
Chapter 26 Censured
Chapter 27 Resignation
Chapter 28 Future
After Word

Here are Dr. Sheri Klouda's humorous comments:
Dr. Sheri Klouda said...
I had no idea what you were up to.
When you sell the rights to the screen play, I would like to play
Sheri Klouda from Chapter 22 alongside Native Vermonter as "Young Wade." If you make it to Indy on book tour, I would be happy to see if we can get a great big Wade Burleson cardboard likeness created for you. Also, someday you could branch out with other marketable items, such as t-shirts.....imagine the resources for doing ministry! The book, of course, will be banned from Lifeway.....

Let me just take this opportunity to express my gratitude once again to everyone who supported us in the last year and a half, and wish you all a blessed celebration of Christ's birth.

Blessings,
the Hebrew Professor
Wed Dec 17, 03:30:00 PM 2008

Hardball Religion: Release Date - Spring 2009

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, you are a hateful, hateful person!! You make me want to throw up! How in the H-E double hockey sticks can you call yourself a Christian? I hope Mac and the rest of team brunson finds out who you are and beats the devil out of you when they see you at church. I hope debbie hits you in the eye with one of her red pumps and Trey runs you over in his SUV. You are a sorry no good two faced piece of crap. Go in your cage stupid dog!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

So anon - is it ethical for a pastor to accept a $300,000 gift from one of the church's donors?

Sticks and stones, brother.

Thy Peace said...

Dr. Sheri Klouda gave a further update of Pinky's condition here.

Anonymous said...

"Before you jump in to attack me, I am NOT a fan of Mac nor his methods but I have learned after 43 years of pastoring that there is a lot more than meets the eye in most situations."

One of the more clever things I learned on staff at a mega church is that people in the pews do not believe the negative stories. The staff ministers are great communicators and can explain anything away.
They are also respected in many venues outside the church. I was stunned that we could call up the police chief (in a large city) and get him right on the phone to deal with 3 protesters who were across a busy highway holding a few signs. We could also get reporters to answer our calls very easily and plant stories. Reporters are lazy and are always looking for stuff.

But more importantly, much time is spent in mega's keeping stuff secret. The last people they want to know what is going on behind stage are the 'audience'. That is why they need huge staff's they are paid. They are more likely not to say anything because they have a mortgage to pay. And the truth about things would hurt giving. They know this for a fact.

Mega's are amazing in what they can accomplish with sheer size and power. There are a lot of 'goodwill' tactics. We were told to develop relationships with government, media, etc. Those 'relationships' came in very handy.

So, I agree that you never really know what is going on behind the scenes. It was much worse than I ever imagined. It was simply a big organization that marketed God for the profit of a few. Then 'audience' loved being a part of something big and grand. They loved their 'celebrity' ministers and would think they are being good Christians by paying them 6 figure salaries when they are wondering how they are going to get their kids through colleg.

One time they had a huge campaign to build yet another building. It was heart wrenching the tactics they used to get offerings above and beyond the tithe and other offering programs. Of course, a few elders gave a million here or there (they are elders because they are rich successful businessmen) but the real story was the single mom giving a ring her mother had left her. Of course, she could not afford to fix her car but she was moved to give that ring. Oh and how these poor folks were praised! There were many such stories. All the while, the pastor is living in a 6 thousand square foot home and making a very high 6 figure salary. Not to mention the other very high salaries for senior staff and middle managemnt.

I do not know how these people look at themselves in the mirror each day. The hardness of their hearts is incredible. They really believe they deserve this. It is 'cult of personality' and they believe that numbers really do mean God's blessing.

I often think of the martyrs that went before us. Who lost everything for His Name..even their lives. Many of our Baptist anecesters roamed Europe because they were not welcome in most countries. They would have been burned at the stake. They did not waver. They stood their ground and many were drowned or burned because they refused to baptize their infants or join a state church.

Can you picture your pastor doing such a thing for the truth of the Gospel? If not, you may not be in a church at all. You may be in a social club and he is the well paid entertainment director.

Sam

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share this with those of you who believe you are being Christian by supporing your pastor no matter what.

It is just some food for thought. I especially relate to his words that Paul did not labor to plant and grow churches to build his own ministry, make a name for himself and live in comfort. It did not belong to Paul. Whose Ministry is it? And is there even a ministry there?

we are so far from the NT model of the Body that we cannot even see it.

http://www.batteredsheep.com/whoseministry.html

Sam