Members who were asked to stand in the picture at left, you were lied to.
How does that make you feel?
This was not just that a preacher saying something untrue and hurtful during a sermon about someone, like Mac did with Sheri Klouda.
This is worse. This was a carefully crafted, legal, official statement of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Inc. that was officially adopted by the church leaders, and then ratified by the members. And they lied in it. That would technically, make everyone who stood, a party to the lie. That hurts.
This means that Mac Brunson, A.C. ("Anti Criticism") Soud, and the other trustees and deacons violated the trust of the congregation that night. The congregation stood in affirmation of this motion sight unseen and with no discussion or questions for no other reason than because they TRUSTED these men. If the good people of FBC Jax thought for one minute that these guys didn't do their homework, or purposely lied in the motion, many would NOT have stood up.
All of you present and were visibly seen standing on the live Internet feed that took a wide camera shot at the time of the vote: Jim Whitmire, Jim Smyrl, Jarred McConnel, the Pianist, the Organist, even you [insert YOUR name here] that stood up to ratify Judge Soud's edict....you listened to arguably the most respected man in all of Northeast Florida stand and read a motion. He even had our media guys put his motion up on the I-mags so you could follow along as he read his beautifully crafted paragraphs and could appreciate them fully, word for word in all of their glory. This was a big day...the day his committee's motion would fix the problems plaguing Mac once and for all, and put the Watchdog in his place, show everyone what a coward he was, and then warn that anyone else following in his footsteps would suffer the same terrible fate as he. Problem solved, right? Wrong.
Only one problem.
They chose to lie to you.
Yes, you were lied to.
They asked you to stand and ratify a document that contains a "Whereas" statement of fact that was a bald-faced lie.
Makes one feel a little bit like Ralphie in the "Christmas Story" after he decoded the secret message in Little Orphan Annie only to find the secret message was a bogus "Drink Ovaltine" ad.
Deacons who voted Monday night February 23 unanimously to approve Anti-Criticism Soud's wonderfully crafted motion, you were lied to. Even some of you Trustees that voted on Febraury 18, you were lied to as well, since its safe to assume you would never voted to bring a motion to the deacons and then the church that told a lie about a member or former member.
But should this surprise any of us? The Watchdog has tried to warn you.
These are the same cast of characters that brought you "The Bylaw Changes of 2007", a church administration horror flick where a motion was made to approve bylaw changes without even so much as charactering the nature and purpose of the changes. Not a single peep about the bylaw changes that took church members' rights away to call a special business meeting, granted the pastor expanded authority, and created a discipline committee and discipline process that begins with the Pastor. Oh, and a little tiny clause stating members "forfeit their right" to ever bring legal action against the church. Almost forgot that last one.
But this vote was worse.
Because they lied.
About a former member.
Did I just say that?
Yes, I did. You better believe I did.
Judge Soud, which part of the A.C. Doctrine did I just violate in saying "They lied"? Would that fall under the "harmful opinion" clause? Or would that be a "false statement"? To claim "they lied", would that possibly cause "financial and spiritual risk" to the church? Was its intent to be "divisive and cause strife and disgruntlement"? Or maybe I just violated the Judge's "unjust criticism" clause? In what manner will I be "confronted aggressively"?
Are you shook up enough FBC Jax? GOOD! (to quote Mac).
OK, what was the lie?
Obviously it was Soud's intent in this motion to do several things. The crafty Judge sought to accomplish three things in a skillfully written lawyerly prose:
1. They wanted you to know that they caught the Watchdog;
2. They wanted you to know the accused left in a cowardly way to hurriedly join another church before A.C. Soud and his band of Merry Trustees and Discipline Committee members could get their hands on him ("that 'wascally wabbit', we almost had him and he got away!"); and
3. If any of you other plebe decide to follow in the accused's footsteps and you engage in any of the sinful conduct of the accused, they will aggressively hunt you down and do the same thing to YOU and your wife that they did to him and his wife.
I'll address #1 in a later post. They obviously believe they caught the Watchdog, and they believe they have proof. Good for them. So I'll grant them that they acted in good faith based on the evidence they have (which they still have not provided to the accused despite repeated requests for it - more to come on this later) making it impossible for the accused to answer their claim.
I want to address the second of the three main points of Judge Soud's A.C. Doctrine. What he said was a lie. He could have said any number of facts about the accused. Perhaps it would have been most helpful to those voting to state what the nature of the EVIDENCE was against him. Even a vague description of the nature of the evidence, or even a statement that they know beyond a shadow of a doubt they got him. No, they decided to tell you the circumstances of him leaving to show him to be a coward and call into question the family's sincerity in joining another church - as though the accused's new church was a snap decision not out of the Lord's leading but a cowardly move to avoid the discipline that they deserved at the hands of Anti Criticism Soud and his discipline committee.
But Soud got it completely wrong.
Judge Soud's grand edict says the following:
The discipline process started November 28 with trespass warnings being issued against the man AND his wife. Anti-Criticism Soud didn't tell you that. There was no Matt 18 biblical process initiated whatsoever. None. Period. Minor detail, huh?