As mentioned previously, the glaring omission from this letter is the mention of the pastor's name. The committee is accusing the Watchdog of attacking and harming the church members, when the blog is focused primarily on Mac Brunson, although sometimes the Watchdog is critical of Team Brunson and Jim Smyrl. But in Mac's view of the world, to be critical of the pastor, to call for the pastor to explain his actions, is tantamount to attacking the church and committing grave, public sins. Sorry, but Mac ain't the church.
We have examined charges "A" through "M", and will examine "N" through "P" here as a final installment in this series.
"N. You have strongly urged your fellow Church members to disseminate the contents of your blog site to as many people as possible, including those enrolled in their individual Sunday School classes, and should they fear to do so, to submit those class rolls to you and you would disseminate the content of your blog site yourself;"
The Watchdog is guilty as charged. Yes indeed, the Watchdog very much would like the members of FBC Jax to read the contents of this blog site. It would help to get them thinking more objectively about what is happening at their church. The Watchdog has not sent any emails out to members, although has received emails from readers who DO have email distribution lists and they may or may not have distributed the contents of this blog. I know of one member who claims to have the list of the 210 members who were invited to a special meeting with Mac last month to preview the "Next Generation" plans.
ONE WORD OF CAUTION: If you do send this site to other members, get an anonymous email address because the discipline committee may be at your door if they get wind of anyone being so "destructive and divisive" as to send this blog to other members. Not too worried about the drunkards and adulterers and swindlers...but doggone it they have GOT to stop these bloggers!
"O. You have always blogged this site and the contents thereof anonymously and refused all prior requests to meet with appropriate Church personnel that that any legitimate questions that you may have could be considered and answered."
The man who received this letter claims that the church has never, ever contacted him about the blog...they just showed up at his door and delivered a trespass warning for being accused of running this blog. The church has never contacted the Watchdog, so I guess we'll just say the discipline committee has their facts wrong. Perhaps Team Brunson has told the committee that they have tried to reach out to the Watchdog, but they would never mislead anyone, would they?
"P. You have committed such other acts and made such other statements as would threaten the unity and harmony of First Baptist Church and its operations and ministries."
Definitely a lawyer "catch all" accusation...I wonder what "other acts" they are referring to. Maybe the Watchdog accepted a $300,000 land gift, or got the pastor to put a commercial for his relatives in the sermon...or maybe the Watchdog was caught selling advertisements to the Pastors Conference. Or maybe the Watchdog secretly changed the bylaws when no one was looking, or maybe he went to another church and called the members of FBC Jax legalists. No, the fact is that Mac Brunson is the great divider. He has done a masterful job dividing our congregation between those that are fully behind him and fully support HIS vision of the church, and those who have questions or express worry. If there is any one person who has threatened the unity of the church, it is Donald M. Brunson.
So those are the accusations.
Let's look at some of the closing statements of the letter:
"The above list is not intended to be exhaustive in detailing your inappropriate, divisive, and destructive conduct. Rather, it is description of the subversive conduct in which you have actively engaged during these past many months, and serves to substantiate the public sin you have willfully, and repeatedly committed, and continue to commit."
Wow...I guess however evil the A through P list paints the Watchdog, he is even WORSE! He is "divisive" and "destructive" and the list could go on and on! Please someone stop the Watchdog before he destroys the entire church!
"Therefore, in accordance with the instruction of Christ Jesus recorded in Matthew's Gospel, Chapter 18, verses 15-20, and in compliance with the Bylaws of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, this Committee, on behalf of the church, is compelled to meet with each of you immediately at the Church for the purpose of reconciliation and restoration...The meeting must take place within ten days of the date of this letter".
Well, I don't see how their process is in compliance with Matthew 18:15-20, although perhaps it is in compliance with the bylaws. But if they have not first sent one person, then two people to meet with the accused, but instead demand as a first step (that is after the step of delivering a trespass warning), meeting before SIX MEN within 10 days...compelled by the unnecessary issuance of trespass warnings...the Watchdog can't find that anywhere in Matthew 18:15-20 or anywhere else in scripture. Maybe Mac can tell the drummer in the orchestra again: "Hey drummer, you worried about trespass warnings? I didn't think so...only those deserving of trespass warnings should be worried about trespass warnings."
Here's the coersion part of the letter;
"Until that meeting, each of you is hereby notified that you are prohibited from coming on the Church grounds or premises for any reason except the meeting above described. This means you are not permitted to attend any service, program, activity or ministry until the above-referenced meeting occurs."
Is THAT in accordance with the bylaws? Who in the church has the power to effectively ban members from the premises for accusations made against them? Who "owns" the premises to the extent that they hold the power to ban MEMBERS of the organization from attending services in the church? The Watchdog is not being accused of creating a raucus at the church, or yelling during the services or being disruptive.
Here's a thought: a discipline committee needs to be formed by the deacons of the church to investigate THIS discipline committee to find out why they are not exercising church disicpline in accordance with Matthew 18, and to find out who was it that authorized trespass warnings to be issued against two members of the church? Come on deacons...don't let Mac intimidate you! You are to serve the MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH...did you hear Mac's son-in-law Sunday night? He spelled it out quite clearly. Deacons should be serving the people and helping them...you are NOT elected and ordained as a deacon so you can do the bidding of the pastor but you are to look after the "general welfare of the church". Read the bylaws so you know what your responsibility is. You have a runaway pastor and discipline committee serving trespass warnings, and you ought to be on top of this and find out who is driving this process.
"Any membership rolls, names, numbers, and/or addresses generated by First Baptist Church must not be duplicated and those in your possession must be surrendered to Reverend Blount within 10 days of the date of this letter."
What?? Who are they to demand that anyone "surrender" names of people to John Blount? Within 10 days? These guys are on a real power trip. What are they so afraid of? That someone might email someone and tell them to read this blog? Get a grip, guys. You can't control who people email and what they email them about.
"Failure to cooperate with this request for a meeting, which again, will be conducted for the purpose of reconciliation and restoration, required of us according to Scripture, could result in a process leading to your removal as members of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc."
Holy cow...they claim that to issue trespass warnings and demand a man and his wife go to a meeting with 6 men of the church with no copy of the bylaws provided, and no representation allowed, is "according to Scripture". What version of Scripture are these clowns reading? I mean this is so wacko as to be laughable - if it weren't so darned sad and shameful.
So that's the letter. As a reminder, the accused sent this letter in response, with this response from the committee. A meeting has not taken place as far as I know, since the church has not complied with the man's request for a copy of the bylaws and agreement that he may take representation with him to the meeting.
So perhaps the next move will be to vote the man and his family out of the church as threatened in the letter. We shall see!
Who is next? Who will receive the next trespass warning and letter?
FBC Jax: "The Church of the Open Door (for Those Not Served Trespass Papers)"