2 Samuel 16:9,11 - "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head...let him alone, and let him curse; for the Lord hath bidden him."

Matthew 7:15 - “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11 - “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Story of the Watchdog Blog - Part 1


I realize that many of you reading this are first time visitors to this blog, perhaps directed here by the Jeff Brumley article in the Florida Times Union. This blog post will share a more expanded story - how this blog came into existence, and what the concerns were at FBC Jax that led to its inception.

My initial comment on the article: how sad to read the depths that Mac Brunson has sunk to. A pastor, a man supposedly called by God Himself to love and shepherd Christians, that he would unequivocally declare to a news reporter that I, one of his sheep until just recently, am "obsessive compulsive", and that I am "not stable at all", and the real humdinger that "What you're dealing with here is sociopath". Mac suddenly knows my mental state, when he has never met me, my wife, or my kids. Not one single conversation with the man and he declares me to be a sociopath. People who know me at FBC Jax and my new church and elsewhere know this is not true and just a pathetic attempt by Mac to attack the credibility of one of his critics. The sad truth is that Mac telling a news reporter this lie about one of his sheep speaks more to Mac's lack of character and lack of a pastor's heart than it does my mental state. Thank you, pastor, who never met me or my wife or my kids - for lying about me to Jeff Brumley - but I do forgive you, brother.

Here is the story of this blog, Part 1:

What Were the Concerns?

Back in the spring and summer of 2007 I saw Mac Brunson, the new pastor hired in spring 2006, begin to exhibit actions that raised some concerns with me and several other members. Some did express these concerns in person, some via e-mail, and others with anonymous emails. When those concerns we felt were being ignored, and some members were intimidated by deacons to stop discussing these concerns, and others were asked to outright leave if we couldn't fully support the pastor, I decided to try to effect change at FBC Jax through a blog.

I saw possible abuses at our church shortly after our new pastor arrived, regarding acceptance of a $307,000 land gift just three weeks after he arrived - even though his own Pastor's Guidebook cautions pastors against accepting large gifts! I watched as we spent $100,000 to renovate 3600+ square feet of our newly constructed children's building to provide the pastor and his wife and secretary luxury office suites. I saw the preacher vacate the pulpit unannounced, I heard him say he took several Sunday nights off because he had to finish a book manuscript. I saw us spending money on the A-Group, a church marketing consultant and promotions firms. The head of this firm, Maurilio Amorim, came to be involved in personnel decisions at FBC Jax the first year of Mac's tenure, at a church and city that he knew nothing about. I saw us develop promotions plans to "raise revenue" at our pastors conference through charging for advertising and selling "promotions packages".

I saw long-term pastors leave while we were told that "God called" them somewhere else…only to find that actually they were fired and some were treated very disrespectfully in their departure after decades of faithful service. I saw nepotism on full display, with family members put on staff without the congregation being told their ministry titles or responsibilities.

I saw a video testimony featuring the business owned by the sons of the man who gave the $307,000 land gift be played smack dab in the middle of the preacher's sermon. It looked like quid-pro-quo, pay-for-play, of the worst kind.

I then began to watch the preacher begin to display an attitude toward his congregation of condescension and anger, saying abusive things to his congregation as standard fare in his sermons. I heard of large salaries totaling near $500,000 per year total compensation for Team Brunson. I watched the church sponsor a non-Christian event called "Time to Stand For Israel" that had ties to bio-medical research firms, raising money for an Israeli hospital at which abortions were performed. My wife and I were even in the service on a Sunday night in 2008 when Brunson spoke a very hurtful, bald-faced lie about a seminary professor named Sheri Klouda.

I watched as our trustees made very significant changes to our bylaws in December 2007 without one word of explanation to the congregation.

As I saw these abuses pile up, I couldn't stay silent any longer.

I thought that someone needed to speak up against these abuses and demand the leadership explain them, and stop them. Unfortunately, no one did or no one could.

I knew that if I asked questions, as a mere layman with no power or influence or stature, they would not be answered completely, or worse that I would be singled out as a troublemaker and that not only would I not be able to make a difference, but I and my family might suffer ridicule or bannishment. I did send a few anonymous emails to the pastor that went unanswered. Then Brunson and even Jerry Vines preached about how wrong anonymous emails were. I in no way wanted to leave my church. We loved the church and its ministers and ministries. So, rightly or wrongly, I wasn't about to leave, and decided not to remain silent.

So I started a blog to get some of my concerns considered by others in the church and to provide a place where others could share their concerns.

The Blog Begins

The blog began August 2007. No marketing. No advertising. No strategy. No live streaming. Just a guy who started writing about abuses he had seen at his church. Slowly traffic began to come to the blog.

I thought someone in leadership would wake up and take the mantel and stop the abusive practices, and a blog would no longer be necessary.

I thought the pastor might become aware of the blog, and himself be convicted by a layperson's view of what was wrong at the church and stop his verbal abuse, and would even begin to answer important questions to his congregation.

Boy, was I wrong.

Why anonymous blogging? I preferred to blog anonymously so as not to draw attention to myself, or make the discussion about me personally. I decided to focus on what I saw and heard, and to give a voice to those things I considered abusive. I never wanted the blog to be distracted by who I was, or make myself the issue. And of course self-preservation played a role - some who criticize my anonymity have anonymously called that "cowardice" - but if not wanting my wife and kids to feel the pain of having their husband and dad ridiculed as a troublemaker at their beloved church is cowardice, then so be it.

As it turns out, as I have learned in very recent days and as reported by Jeff Brumley, the lengths to which the church has gone to identify me and intimidate me and silence me confirmed my fears! The church leadership did indeed seek to silent a vocal dissent - a man who saw questionable things going on at the church and demanded accountability and demanded answers on a blog caused all of the power and influence that was at the disposal of the big church downtown - the wealthy pastor, the retired and respected circuit judge, even a few long-time staffers and even JSO officials who go to the church - they all rose to action to find out who this blogger was. It was well known in the congregation that Mac wanted to know my identity so the blog could be shut down, and they had finally had enough and wanted to shut it down.

Did I effect change through this? Yes, there was change. But not the kind I envisioned. The plan to effect change backfired and it resulted in the wrong kind of change.

The Response to the Blog

Instead of the pastor becoming more open and honest, less abusive in his statements and attitudes from the pulpit, it only got worse. He began to talk about church discipline in threatening, certainly less than loving ways.

Instead of lay leaders requiring the pastor to explain some of the issues raised on the blog, and maybe making some small changes in church governance that would be more open and transparent, that would be more inviting of people like me who had legitimate questions, they changed the bylaws to create a discipline committee, retracted a key provision in the bylaws to take away a key component of congregational authority, and they declared all members to have forfeited their rights to ever take legal action against the church for any reason.

Not the kind of change we can believe in.

And they - the pastor and trustees - did this without explaining it to the congregation.

Apparently they were so infatuated with shutting down this ONE LONE voice, a man who had a blog - no budget, no staff, no marketing consultants - he had to be silenced at all costs.

The Search

Unbelievably, the leadership decided they could not ignore one single, solitary voice of dissent. The blog had to be shut down. Posters supporting the pastor claimed it was nothing more than lies and gossip and innuendo. I was slandering the pastor and the people of FBC Jax, they said. I was harming the church they said - while the pastor maintained it was harmless "beauty shop gossip" and that he never reads it. It was not the pastor's own words and actions that were harming the church, it was the Watchdog's highlighting of these words and actions that was the problem.

But the Watchdog had to be found. And the blog needed to be shut down. One voice of dissent was apparently one too many for the church leadership to stand.

The JSO was involved, State's attorney was involved, and apparently some sort of mail stealing or picture taking of the pastor's wife was alleged. This allowed the authorities to obtain subpoenas to force Google and Comcast to reveal my identity, as well as a few other bloggers critical of baptist preachers.

Now they knew who I was. Now what would they do with this information?

The new bylaws had created a discipline committee. Would the committee approach me in accordance with Matthew 18 as the preacher had preached about multiple times during the life of the blog? Would they ask him to stop blogging? Would they go and lovingly confront me with the evidence against me and offer to answer my questions and ask me to shut the blog down for the good of the church, maybe admit some of my concerns were valid and they would address those?

Not a chance.

Mac's sermon references to "biblical church discipline" according to Matthew 18 apparently were just a bunch of malarkey.

It was now they decided to do what Mac had preached about church discipline - they decided to "put the fear of God in me". They said they wanted "reconciliation and restoration." Their actions spoke just the opposite. Instead of biblical church discipline, they decided to intimidate and "shut him down". They said the matter was eccliastical, when they themselves used the public servants at JSO and SAO to find my identity.

The Discipline Letter and Trespass Warnings

On the eve of Thanksgiving, my friend John Blount - a man I have respected and loved ever since I was at FBC Jax - the man who was a wonderful Sunday School teacher to me in the men's department for 5 years - he called me and hung up before showing up at my door along with Kevin King to hand me a sealed envelope and quickly departed, refusing my invitation to come in. When he and Kevin King were at my door, I assumed these two men would inform me I had been identified, might ask me to stop blogging, or may be discuss some of my concerns, and maybe pray with me or for me.

Again, I was wrong.

Their letter said I had been identified to them as the blog owner, and it demanded that I meet with their discipline committee. It also contained trespass warnings for both me and my wife immediately banning us from the church under threat of arrest. I knew I would never meet with these men until they first told me the basis of their accusations and would allow me to bring representation. I wanted to know how I had been "positively identified" by these men. I suspected they had somehow gained access to my Internet records, had invaded my privacy. As I said before, it was my desire, and my right, to blog anonymously. As the popularity of the blog increased, as more and more people became aware of it, my anonymity was now more focused on self-preservation. I knew that I had a first amendment right to blog, and that I also had a right to stay anonymous. I believed I had done nothing wrong, and that they had no right to pry into my private Internet records to find what blog sites I did or did not own.

The committee seemed very afraid to allow any of my requests, so the meeting never occurred. On December 3rd they wouldn't even let me and my wife come to the church to watch our daughter sing a solo with her ensemble because we FIRST had to meet the 6 members of the discipline committee. So we dropped her off and hurried home to watch her sing on the Internet broadcast.

The following Sunday, December 7th, 2008, at 10:00 am the during the Sunday School hour, the church administration executed official trespass warnings with an officer of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office for both me and my wife - the reason for the trespass warning says "church misconduct". I have copies of these officially executed trespass warnings that are on file with JSO. Yes, my wife who did nothing but faithfully serve in that church for many years has a trespass warning on file downtown with the JSO for "church misconduct".

I suspected their deliverance of a 3 page letter, a list of 16 sins, and 2 trespass warnings was more of an attempt to intimidate me to shut the blog down, than it was at an honest attempt at their reported "restoration and reconciliation". I knew also that it was not in accordance with Matthew 18.

So I decided I would not be intimidated by these unbiblical tactics to try to get my blog to shut down. I was not going to be a coward and be bullied by these men because they didn't like what I was writing.

Next - Part 2: The Church Discipline Process


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Anonymous said...

How can you say such things about such a great man of God? First of all, it is NONE of your business what his salary is or what gifts he receives. Second of all, slandering anyone, especially publicly is a sin, which you will be judged for. Psalm 101:5 "Whosoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy." As Christians we are called to be like Christ; made in his image. I don't see how YOU could call yourself a Christian and say all these slandering words. You are giving Christians a bad reputation. No wonder the lost world doesn't want to be saved, it's because of people like you who make Christians seem just like everyone else!

Anonymous said...

What First Baptist did is just another example of what is happening to people who dare to criticize the powerful. Earlier this month, the Phoenix police used similar tactics to raid the home of a blogger who criticized the police department. http://carlosmiller.com/2009/04/02/phoenix-police-raid-home-of-blogger-whose-writing-is-highly-critical-of-them/
The New World is only for the brave.

bapslammer said...

SHHHHHHHHHHHH! Ye shall not question authority. YE NEED BE ON BENDED KNEE. wait your too old.

You live in the baptishit belt in a baptishit city. If you do not conform ye shall be banished.

Anonymous said...

Anon April 11 2:30 am: "such a great man of God?... whosoever secretly slanders his neighbor..."

A great man of God loves his people. He doesn't try to destroy them.

A great man of God is like a shepherd. He loves his sheep.

By the way, you might want to look up the meaning of slander.

I think you will find it is Mac Brunson who slandered Mr. Rich by telling the newspaper that he is an obsessive compulsive person and is a sociopath.

Anonymous said...

Anon 4/11/09 2:30 am: You say it's none of Mr. Rich's business what Brunson's salary is or what gifts he receives?

Is it anyone's business? Is it the business of my company stockholders to know what my salary is? Of course we should know what it is! We would know if it wouldn't be an embarrassment to the preacher to reveal that he is being paid 4 or 5 times the average salary of the church members who are giving sacrificially to pay his salary!

Concerning gifts, we are not talking about a gift of a paperweight here. The gift of a $300,000 piece of land from a church member who then receives an ad on the IMAG for his sons' business is a little bit different!

Anonymous said...

"How can you say such things about such a great man of God? "

There are NO great men of God. There are only depraved sinners saved by grace. This is a huge myth that is sending folks to hell because they blindly follow professional "Christian" celebrities.

"First of all, it is NONE of your business what his salary is or what gifts he receives."

Well, why would a 'man of God', as you describe him, want to hide his salary and full compensation. I bet you would be surprised what his golden parachute entails.

" Second of all, slandering anyone, especially publicly is a sin, which you will be judged for."

What slander? Be specific. Now, does this apply to Mac for calling Tom a sociopath or is he exempt in your bible because of his priestly status?

" Psalm 101:5 "Whosoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy."


" As Christians we are called to be like Christ; made in his image. I don't see how YOU could call yourself a Christian and say all these slandering words."

And what is HIS image for us? The Beatitudes? Could you explain how Mac bears His Image? I would be interested in how you come up with that.

" You are giving Christians a bad reputation. No wonder the lost world doesn't want to be saved, it's because of people like you who make Christians seem just like everyone else!"

No one can give a 'Christian' a bad name. That is because most are Christian in name only. That includes many pastors. Of course, I am interested in your phrase that people like us make Christians seem like everyone else. Like Mac? With his quest for money, power and fame? But Mac is set apart on his own throne.

The cognative dissonance in your comment screams. HEre you are defending a snake oil salesman peddling the Word for profit and fame. Yet, you are willing to ignore the part your idol played in this whole saga. What is scary is that Mac is 'normal' to you as a pastor. That is scary.

The more I read this blog and comments from Mac defenders, the more I see how biblically illiterate the FBCJax folks are.

dparker said...

It is Dr. Brunson's responsibility as the (hopefully) stronger Christian, to lovingly pursue reconciliation and to restore fellowship with Mr. Rich. I hope that God will place it on his heart to do this, and to show the world--the world that is watching this closely--"What Jesus Would Do". As for the other allegations in the blog, he should stand up and be as open and honest as he can be, answer the questions that have been raised, and then let God handle the situation and fight his battles for him. If there is no wrongdoing, then Dr. Brunson and the church both will come out stronger. It is always best to do the right thing, and to take the high road. I pray that Dr. Brunson will get on his face before the Lord and seek His perfect will in this situation. Our prayers are that God will be glorified. Praise to our Risen Saviour!

MR said...

All of you who back the watchdog up don't know anything about FBC obviously. Either that, or you have no conviction about slander. It's a SIN! The watchdog who is a so-called "Christian" doesn't show it in his actions to be Christ like at all!

Anonymous said...

See obviously ya'll don't know anything about the church! He received a gift of land, actually it was a condo, when he just moved here because he was waiting on his house to be ready. Someone freely gave that to him, so that really isn't anyone's business. That was a very kind gesture because the condo wasn't being used. I'm sure a alot of people have done that. And I knew before about his salary. Dr. Vines got paid the same amount as Mac, so why wasn't the watchdog upset with Dr. Vines, huh? What does salary have to do with it anyway? Would the watchdog be upset if a missionary who lived over-seas received that much money? I guess so. The point is, is seems most of you who side with the "watchdog" don't go to the church, so you have no idea what you're talking about. Most of everything he's posted is taken out of context to seem like he is an "abusive preacher" when he is not at all. He is convicting, and apparently the watchdog didn't like it. So if you don't go to the church, just shut your mounths because you have NO idea about the real story and just side with a man that makes everything seem so horrible. God knows this is wrong and he will judge in his own way.

Anonymous said...

All of you who back the watchdog up don't know anything about FBC obviously. Either that, or you have no conviction about slander. It's a SIN! The watchdog who is a so-called "Christian" doesn't show it in his actions to be Christ like at all!

April 11, 2009 4:24 PM

Would you detail for us Mac's Christlike actions in responding to this blog?

You can start with him calling WD a sociopath for the newspaper.

Then, would you list the criminal activity WD, Tiffany Croft and BBC open forum engaged in to get subpeona's for their private information? Then would you please show us the police reports where Mac reported the stealing of mail and the stalking of his wife?

Strange there are none.

FBCJax members are scary people in what they believe and what they refuse to see. Of course, they have to ignore lots of facts.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon 4:34 - just to clarify.

Mac did receive a free stay at a multi-million dollar condo for about a year when he first came here.

But he also was gifted a $300,000 lot in Deerwood for "love and affection" from one of the donors to the church.

Two separate gifts: stay at condo, and $300,000 land gift. Not just one gift as you stated.

So who really doesn't know what they're talking about?

Anonymous said...

What are you SO jealous about that you have to get so upset about what he receives? If someone wants to give a pastor something that is their business. If you were a pastor and someone willingly gave you a piece of land, wouldn't you take it? I would think so. That is between that person and the pastor. In the end, nothing will matter anyway. You are just wasting your time and words. And Mac NEVER said that he KNEW the watchdog was stealing his mail and taking pictures of his wife, he just thought maybe if he had so much hatred that maybe it was him, he didn't know. If someone were doing the same thing to you, wouldn't YOU want to find out the culprit? I know I would. I know the Pastor tithes weekly, gives money to charities, and endlessly helps with seminary scholarships etc. which he has told the church. He is even helping with scholarships for the school being built. So I don't know why you even CARE about what money he receives. I can GARAUNTEE that Joel Osteen and other mega churches out there get paid a lot more than Mac, and Osteen preaches a bunch of lies and "feel good" words that aren't completely biblical.

Anonymous said...

The irony of this blog is that Mac supporters are doing him NO favors when they comment. I bet he wishes they would stop. :o)

Anonymous said...

To MR April 11, 2009 4:24 PM:

Do you have a dictionary? You can find one on-line. Slander means telling something about someone that is not true.

There has been no slander except for when Mac Brunson told a newspaper reporter that a person he's never even met is an obsessive compulsive sociopath!

Now that is slander!

Anonymous said...

"The irony of this blog is that Mac supporters are doing him NO favors when they comment. I bet he wishes they would stop. :o)" April 11, 2009 4:55 PM

LOL LOL, I'm thinking you're very right about that! They seem to be only helping him from the frying pan into the fire!

Anonymous said...

what is with the opening verse?

"...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

i'm sorry, but jesus has no compassion for people like the watchdog who IS the slanderer. you act like you're so helpless and so abused, yet YOU are the one doing the abusing. once again, this verse is taken out of context. if you read the whole chapter it is about when jesus went throughout the towns sharing the good news and healing the sick people.

35 Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

i don't see how this has ANYTHING to do with being "abused" by anyone. it talks about how the people didn't know anything about jesus and they needed a savior, so he had compassion on them and wanted to shepherd them in the right way. stop trying to get people to feel sorry for you when you can't even use verses in the right context.

Anonymous said...

You're right, slander is telling lies about someone that is not true. The watchdog has gone off of stories that he's heard from people and blew it up into this huge deal. If he's never even MET the pastor, how can he really know what the truth is? How can he REALLY know what his character is like? And yet all you other people are slandering as well when all you do is go off what the watchdog is saying, and you don't even go to the church NOR really know what kind of pastor he is. Thanks for proving my point.

Anonymous said...

"And Mac NEVER said that he KNEW the watchdog was stealing his mail and taking pictures of his wife, he just thought maybe if he had so much hatred that maybe it was him, he didn't know. If someone were doing the same thing to you, wouldn't YOU want to find out the culprit?"

So where is the police report?

Anonymous said...

You're right, slander is telling lies about someone that is not true. The watchdog has gone off of stories that he's heard from people and blew it up into this huge deal. If he's never even MET the pastor, how can he really know what the truth is? How can he REALLY know what his character is like? And yet all you other people are slandering as well when all you do is go off what the watchdog is saying, and you don't even go to the church NOR really know what kind of pastor he is. Thanks for proving my point.

April 11, 2009 5:26 PM

Where are the police reports for the allegded criminal activity against his wife and stealing mail?

Anonymous said...

Anon April 11, 2009 5:26 PM: We don't have to know Mac Brunson personally to know that what he has done is wrong. He has made some horrible decisions since the day he arrived. Plain and simple: It doesn't require a PhD to know that you don't accept large gifts from people in your congregation and especially when you then give them a free ad on the IMAG at church. You avoid the very appearance of impropriety!

I think you will find some posters who are not from FBCJ but they have pretty much showed up since our good pastor decided to act like a wolf instead of a shepherd and his bad choice of words has attracted a lot of outside attention. He has no one to blame but himself.

Did he deny what he and/or his henchmen had done to find the watchdog blogger? No, he just called him names.

C'mon man, read the writing on the wall! This is some bad stuff. Brunson will not recuperate from this one.

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:26pm...Ma'am do you know Brunson personally or just by listening to him? And I'am guessing that you are a woman?Would I be right?

Anonymous said...

I know the watchdog and his family, and I'm surprised that he would have the guts to say all this crazy stuff! I really didn't think his family was like this, but these days you can never tell...

Anonymous said...

Since when is it wrong to accept gifts from people in the congregation? It is a kind gesture, someone helping another with something. If you claim that its wrong, then why isn't it wrong for non-profit charities to accept donations? I see so many of those a day it gets annoying. Its someone giving of their own money to help someone else. Every pastor at FBC has been paid the same amount, Dr. Vines got paid the same salary as Brunson, so why didn't people get mad about that as well? Because the church is so large it can afford to do that. Sometimes God gives more blessings to certain people and less to another, so why don't you get jealous over a friend who has more money than you?

BrigidsBlest said...

Technically, I'm quite sure you could sue the pastor for libel for his comments. They were printed, he's not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist who's qualified to make such statements about your mental health, and such comments could directly affect your financial, mental, and emotional well-being.

Anonymous said...

"If he's never even MET the pastor, how can he really know what the truth is?"

Most mega church folks spend very little time with their pastors. Most only know him from speaking in the pulpit or a handshake in the hallway. He makes 'appearances' at certain functions in the church and parties. But very few can claim to know them personally very well at all.

But they all think they know him. It is a strange "Body of Christ"relationship. So, basically, asking how can anyone know the truth about him is a moot point. Most can only go on what those close to him say about him.


Anonymous said...

"Sometimes God gives more blessings to certain people and less to another,..."

Strange how folks always think such things are 'blessings'. In fact, it could very well be the opposite. I would not consider Joel Osteen's wealth and gifts a 'blessing' for him.

When scriptures speaks of such things it is talking about 'spirituality'..and abundance of the Holy Spirit not material things that will rust on earth. Barnabus did not give his estate to Peter. He sold it and gave the money to the Body for one reason: To help the poor. It was not even used to plant churches. Read Acts.

" so why don't you get jealous over a friend who has more money than you?"

If you read Matthew 6 real close, you will see that some will receive their rewards here on earth. Not a great position to be in. And certainly nothing to be jealous of.

Anonymous said...

You do all a service by your open account of events. I'm ashamed of these church leaders who are so-called followers of Christ, as well as the law enforcement for their wrongful role. Please continue to shine the light on what is true here.

downtownparks said...

The best part of this entire comment thread is that there are a ton of anonymous posters bashing the owner of this blog for going after FBC.... ANONYMOUSLY.

Irony in its truest form. Effing hilarious.

Nice Work FBC watchdog. Its too bad people cant see that your intent was a better church for your family, and not grand standing for some sort of weird pseudo-celebrity or pride.

Anonymous said...

There ought to be fire after a actions like this.

Unknown said...

Felicitations on your decision to stand by your commentary and face down the silent majority. Perhaps you have a clearer idea now of what uncritical religious belief can ultimately lead to.

The next step is to return to the book, and re-read it with a truly open mind. You'll be very surprised at the result if you do.

bmcworldcitizen said...

Congratulations on your painful honesty. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

These are the exact reasons why I have a problem with so-called religion. When all is said and done, religion is based on faith, not fact. When all you have is faith and see the powers that be act like this, you see that it is not to save individuals, but a constant power and money grab.

ArchangelChuck said...

John M., keep up the good work. Religion is set up on a pedestal in in our society, and this 'blog is testament to what harm is done in religion's name.

As for the Christian response, let the Christians speak for themselves. They've done far more damage to how a morally upright person ought to perceive their religion than I could ever do.

Charlie said...

Today I posted a copy of your blog regarding the Jso, States Attorney and their investigation with my following comment.

{I read today the account of this matter in the Fla Times Union. the paper states that States Attorney Angela Cory says that sometimes we have to "know what a person says to protect others". Now I have read this man's blog. I find no statements that reflect any potential violence or illegal activity by this man. Yet, the Sherriff's office obtained warrants to find this man's identity. They state "Internet incident" as a justification. What incident. Public complaints about the First Baptist Church power structure. Sounds like a big wad of B.S. to me. I suspect that the powers that be did not even read the blog before seeking the warrants. What a joke. Big Brother is alive and well in JACKSONVILLE!)

I am not religious at all; but I am angered by this assault on your privacy.

Since I copied both parts at myspace.com/charlie_riley, If you want me to take it down, contact me at Selrach_us@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

I like what William Thornton said over at Baptist Forum and Life. He said that Mac is the one who was "
obsessive" about the blog. He should have ignored it.

I say that it is most likely that the blog would have faded away but Mac could not stand that it existed and dared critisize him so he made up some stories about his wife being stalked and mail stolen. So, where are the police reports?

(He even got the church to vote on something they did not have all the facts about! This was mind control at it's best. Called Millieu control in cult circles)

And why did he have Tiffany Croft and BBCOpenforum investigated and their records subpeona'd? I have noticed that the AG and Sheriff's office conveniently forget about that when speaking to reporters.

Where are the police reports? What criminal activity are they alledged to have done? Why are folks forgetting that inconvenient detail?

John McElhaney said...

The problem I have with you is you did what you did anonymous. I would never make negitive statments about anyone if I was not willing to give my name. It is easy to hide behind something and throw stones at another person. Be a man if you want to make these kind of statements, let people know that you are not ashamed to be known.

Doug said...

Jeremiah 23:1-2

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of My pasture! saith the LORD.

Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed My people; Ye have scattered My flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.

Move on Pastor, Move on and let this Church heal!

Hazy said...

Although I am not a religious person, I do believe your rights as a citizen have been trampled upon by this authority of the church. I hope you do not stop your blogging of this church, if you believe they are up to something you must bring it to light. They are certainly not acting as forgiving Christians so they must have many things to hide.

Anonymous said...


MW said...

Some people will do anything to keep a critical eye off of them, but we can only hope it has backfired this time.

When someone has concerns or criticisms about another person, especially someone in a position of leadership, they have not only a right, but an obligation, to share those concerns. This doesn't mean one should feel free to say whatever one wishes, but keep the criticisms pertinent and truthful.

Good luck.

princess11uk said...


I do not think that tax dollars should have been spent to investigate something that was obviously an upset member, not a terrorist. That detective should have investigated on his own time as a service to his church and not on my dime. Use my dime to find Haleigh's killer or get some of these crazies off the streets.

I am also not sure how this spilled into the secular world.

If this church is such a family like all of the current members are saying on here....then it should have stayed within the church and the police should not have been involved.

All it took was an open forum session with the members after church to find out who was doing the blog....because they would have the same complaints as those written on the blog.

Everything has to be so beaurocratic!! If these elders just talked to the members he would not have had to blog in the first place. They would have said...if you are not happy with the leadership...maybe you should consider another church home.
Then it would be over. No embarassing he said she said, in the paper making Christianity as a whole look bad

Anonymous said...

Just saw this article on a site I frequent, and wanted to give you my support. As the saying goes, when God closes a door he open a window. In the long term, I bet all of this will turn out to be a great blessing (if it hasn't already). Hang in there man!

watsurhurry said...

I really think that Dr. Lindsey Senior and Junior are both looking down and crying. They built this church as to be family oriented and youth oriented and this church has become more of a business than a church. I have been a member of FBC Jax for 25 years and grew up there basically and I have never been so ashamed of the way things have become here. My daughter has grown up there and I just cant see myself staying as a member if things dont change to the better. I have never thought Mac Brunson was the one for our church because I have heard what he had done at his church that he took over in Texas and it was headed in the same direction as FBC. when it comes to FBC Jax Watchdog, I commend you for speaking up and saying what you feel. They cant take your freedom of speech away! Even though FBC believes they can do what ever they want. The Pastor and his leaders think they are above the law apparently. keep up the good work Watchdog!

Lance Williams said...

Sir, I have a few issues with some of the things that have gone on. I understand if you did not agree with Pastor Mac or even the direction he is taking the church; but if that were the case then you should have left the church. Instead Sir, you did the opposite. You bashed the Pastor for two years on the internet on every sermon he preached and you did it anonymously… Was that Christ like? I understand that you may say that Christ spoke out against the religious priest of the time and you might consider Pastor Mac one of those same religious leaders but he isn’t… He preached God’s love, mercy, and most of all that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Do you not believe people received Christ from those same sermons you were bashing? Do you not believe that if people did receive Christ because of his sermons that they will not be going to Heaven?

Sir you have done more damage than good. Not only have you hurt FBC and the church as a whole but you have hurt the body of Christ. Regardless of your feelings the church has been a lot of help for a lot of people over the past two years and I am one of those people. You say they ran you out of the church and that he is wrong but sir look at your own actions… As I read some of your blogs it made you seem as if you were bitter and full of hate. Like I previously stated that is fine if you do not like him, if you thought he was greedy, you thought he was hateful or whatever it was you didn’t like but sir that is why you are given the right to pick your own church. Instead of trying to undermine the pastor you could have gone somewhere else over the past two years and helped one. You could have helped teach a Sunday school class, led a bible study, participated in the choir or even something else within the church but instead you felt it more productive to try and slander Pastor Mac Brunson.

I pray for you daily sir that your heart might be softened and that you will one day serve a church instead of demean one…

Ephesians 4:25-32 (NIV)
25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26"In your anger do not sin"[d]: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.
29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Anonymous said...

Lance Williams, April 13, 2009 11:19 PM, You said:
"Sir you have done more damage than good. Not only have you hurt FBC and the church as a whole but you have hurt the body of Christ."

Sir, I might have understood your comments a little better had they been posted here prior to the Times Union printing a news story wherein our good pastor called one of his former members an "obsessive-compulsive sociopath."

However, Sir, since your remarks were sent on April 13th, I strongly believe your comments are misguided and should have been directed to Mac Brunson!

BigW said...

I just came across this story.... I won't pick sides because I don't know anyone involved or circumstances. What I will do is pray for all those involved as well as thank God for the great pastor I have at my church. I wish the best to you, your family, and the church. I pray that God will break all of our hearts afresh each morning and give us hearts that only seek Him and His will.

Anonymous said...

How sad that the gift of jesus is being shadowed by a petty fight. FBC has several millionaires who run everything. I know one personally and at home he sure is NO Christian, at least not one I would look up to. Brunson was corrupted when he took the 307K property, he was bought and sold at that point. He is no Lindsey.

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that the Pastor at First Babtist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. be fired! In addition, all the deacons should be replaced and dismantle the "security force". This church, apparently is in need of a makeover. Church members either demand that Jesus be the focal point in your church or there should be a mass exit of membership from First Babtist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. Remember, there are other churches in Jacksonville just like there are other lawyers and doctors to go to! If someone is mistreating you then do something about it!

Anonymous said...

I have watched the First Church abuse it's power for years in this town. I always found Homer and his dad kind of comical, but this new character may be more insidious and need more careful watching. Who ever heard of a minister with a personal bodyguard? With Jacksonville now known as the murder capital of Florida, you would think that the Sheriff's Office would have better things for their detectives to do than track down people who are critical of their church leadership. I wonder what Jesus would have done in a similar situation? Asked for an investigation from the Roman Authorities? Banned the Blogger's Family from his sermons? Would Jesus have taken $307,000 salary? Not to mention a $300,000 land deal in Deerwood? Probably not! But then Jesus was an uncommon man and we always seem to get very very common men to lead the First Church unfortunately! It seems on first blush to be godless men to boot!

Original Anna said...

In court you have the right to know who your accuser is, period. The blogger was malighing the pastor's reputation without the pastor knowing who was doing so. There was a time you couldn't legally do that or ethically at least without the maligher landing in court. I guess now-a-days you can say whatever you want about someone anoumously and the law gives you permission. You should work within the organization to change it and let people know you're the one disagreeing. If you can't succeed ethically than perhaps you need to leave especially if the majority is against you. Run for the office or board running the church. If you need to hide what you're doing you're worst than those you're disagreeing with. Or, do like me. Find your corner and work there. Afterall, majority usually rules in churches too. But minorities can always find their niche to work for the church and not do it in secret.

charles crabtree said...

It is unfortunate that a church will not allow any member to address complaints. The new Christian church has lost its way. The megachurches and huge buildings
has made the churches greedy for money and forgot about the real duties of the church, missions , helping those in need in the community, saving the lost. What a travesty. chasmarv@hotmail.com

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