A lawsuit against Mac Brunson and FBC Jax has been filed today in Duval County Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges defamation, fraud, misrepresentation, and abuse of process by Brunson and the church administration for actions taken last year leading to a criminal investigation under false pretenses, and then the resulting statements made to the media.
The following is my official statement regarding this lawsuit:
"First Baptist Church, its chairman of the trustees A.C. Soud, and Senior Pastor Mac Brunson have made it clear through their words and actions, that they will 'aggressively confront' what they deem 'unjust criticism' of their church leadership. Unfortunately, as part of that 'aggressive confrontation', they may have used our legal system and local law enforcement to investigate me under false pretenses and to find my identity by obtaining subpoena's of private and confidential information.
Then when they found my identity, they never once contacted me according to scripture and their church teachings, but had trespass warnings delivered to me and my wife and placed on file with the local law enforcement agency, effectively banning our family from our church home of many years. Both Mr. Soud and Mr. Brunson then lied about me and attempted to defame me not only within the halls of the church, but also to local media covering the story and on their website.
Their actions sent a powerful message to me, and all other members of FBC Jax, that they were willing to use any hardball tactics necessary to confront any criticism. This lawsuit, I believe, is the appropriate means at this time by which to respond to their tactics. I desire through this lawsuit that an equally powerful message will be sent to influential church trustees and powerful pastors who seek to squelch dissent of their members through unbiblical bullying and intimidation tactics.
Of particular concern to me and my wife is the manner in which Mac Brunson has chosen to use his leadership position and influence granted to him by the good people of FBC Jacksonville, a Southern Baptist Convention mega-church, to get rid of us and to discredit me in retaliation for my persistent, public criticisms of his leadership.
Simply put, FBC Jax and Mac Brunson used the law enforcement system last fall to find my identity and ban me and my wife from the church property. We are now using that same legal system to try and find the truth of what they did and more importantly, why they did it, and then to ask a jury to hold those parties accountable for any wrongful actions."