"That is BLASPHEMOUS SELF-PROMOTION", Jim Smyrl boldly declared Wednesday night describing a TV commercial produced by FBC Dallas and available at their website. Jim didn't tell his listeners it was FBC Dallas' advertisement - probably because he only quoted part of the advertisement to make his point, when the rest of the commercial that he left out would have proved him wrong. A full playing of the TV commercial, along with its visual images, makes it very clear it is no where near "blasphemous" in any sense. It is a commercial that explains quite well what is the mission of First Baptist Church Dallas.
So FBC Dallas: your former pastor's right-hand man is accusing your church of blasphemous self-promotion. Imagine that: FBC Jacksonville accusing FBC Dallas of blasphemous self-promotion? Are you kidding? Isn't that like the pot calling the kettle black?
Well, we can at least say Jim is learning well from his mentor Mac Brunson. To make a point in his sermon, he uses a half-truth - half of a commercial - and thereby declares a church as being guilty of "blasphemous self promotion". Pretty strong accusation there, Jim, against FBC Dallas. They are not promoting man, but are communicating their church mission and their vision of the church's role in the life of their city and its people. Not promoting even the preacher, but promoting their church's faith in Christ.
Watch the clip below...you will see and hear the commercial Jim partially quoted, and you will then hear Jim's selected quotations from it. Jim doesn't tell his audience that its only a select few quotes...he describes it as though he is quoting it in its entirety. That's pretty deceptive there, Jim.
Now, let's compare that commercial that Jim says is "blasphemous self promotion", with the most recent TV spot getting airtime here in Jacksonville for FBC Jacksonville.
It is Mac and Deb sitting on a bench. Mac says something like: "This is my wife Deb, she's been my partner in ministry for over 30 years." Then Deb goes on to describe how they have persevered through many of life's trials, family struggles, life-threatening illnesses, caring for aging parents....and that their doors are open (not the church's doors, but Mac and Deb's office doors) and they want to "walk with you" in the Christian life. Now I will go out on a limb, and declare that this is SELF PROMOTION. Not a word about the church. Or about Jesus. Its about Mac and Deb. They are so AWESOME, you must come and meet them by walking through their open door. Mac and Deb are just like you. They want to walk with you. So the draw to FBC Jax is not Christ, it is Mac and Deb.
So Jim, please don't point fingers at other churches from our pulpit. Look at OUR OWN church.
I mustn't either pass up the chance to make this very humorous point: Mac brought the A-Group to Dallas, and FBC Dallas kept the A-Group on board even after Mac left. I wonder if Maurilio and his company dreamed up the FBC Dallas branding commercial that is now criticized by Jim. Wouldn't that be ironic: our preacher declaring a commercial as "blasphemous", when it is was a product of the very same church marketing firm that we ourselves pay for marketing of our own church!
I would close with this: In his sermon Jim does make a valid point in all of this: that the modern church is shamelessly using marketing strategies appealing to people's perceived needs, or other marketing gimmicks and images - rather than lifting high the name of Christ to draw men. So Jim is right on that point...the shame is that our own pastor and lay leaders need to listen to Jim's message - and stop the outflow of hundreds of thousands of dollars of God's money to pay church marketing and promotions firms in Nashville and Atlanta.