"...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

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Guest Blogger: A Plan for Mediation

Readers: below is an article appearing today on the Wartburg Watch by a guest blogger, attorney Ralph E. Cooper from Waco, Texas, who has agreed to allow me to publish it here in its entirety also. For more background on this article, visit Wartburg Watch here.

Many thanks to Ralph for writing this post to speak his mind on these matters, and to be willing to share it with the world.

Guest post by:

Ralph E. Cooper, Ph.D., Attorney and Mediator, lifelong Baptist

"The following is my suggestion for resolving the dispute between First Baptist Church Jacksonville, FL, and Tom and Yvette Rich; Mr. Rich is the blogger and host of the FBC Jax Watchdog blog. This suggestion is made by one with both a Ph.D. in Psychology with graduate study in conflict resolution, and a law degree. I have been involved in mediation or similar conflict resolution work for approximately 40 years.

I believe that onus to resolve and settle the lawsuits is on Rev. Mac Brunson and the leadership of FBC Jacksonville. My reasoning is as follows: First, the actions complained of in the lawsuit were initiated by Rev. Brunson and the church. Second, the approach taken by the church and Rev. Brunson has not worked. The blog is still active; it is getting national attention; and Rev. Brunson is gaining a negative national reputation, except among other authoritarian pastors and denominational leaders. Third, without resolution, the longer the suit is active, the more adverse the consequences for Rev. Brunson and the church, and could include the church losing membership and donations and Rev. Brunson losing his pastorate.

Given that continuing in the present approach is not being effective and is costly, as Paul suggested, let me show you a better way, the way of love and not the way of law and retribution.
First, initiate settlement discussions. Rev. Brunson and church leaders should ask their attorney to set up a mediation through Mr. Rich’s attorney, and offer to pay for the mediation. Allow Mr. Rich’s attorney to suggest the mediator, subject to approval by the church’s attorney, and offer to pay the mediation fee.
Second, at the mediation, the church, represented by a lay representative and by Rev. Brunson, should seize the initiative by:

1. Apologizing for statements about Mr. Rich and for the actions against him and Yvette. Suggested language: “I am sorry. It was wrong for us to do that and it was a wrong-headed approach to your efforts to hold a Christian brother accountable to his own teaching.”

2. Offering, as a part of an agreement for Mr. Rich to drop the suit against Rev. Brunson and the church, to do the following:

a. Admit that there was and is no evidence of anything criminal by Mr. Rich such as stalking Mrs. Brunson or stealing mail, and no evidence of any sin against you or the church in the portions of the blog written by Mr. Rich.

b. Pay Mr. Rich’s legal fees and expenses as it relates to the suit against Rev. Brunson, from Rev. Brunson’s personal resources.

c. Pay for counseling for Mr. Rich and his family, by a counselor of their choice, due to the pressure your attacks on him have caused.

d. Remove the trespass warnings against Mr. and Mrs. Rich, so that they may visit their friends or attend an event at the church without retribution.

e. Insist that the deacons and church rescind the infamous resolution.

f. Repeat the apology before the congregation on Sunday morning., including a statement that Mr. Rich’s blog was not gossip, nor slander, nor cowardly, but an attempt to hold Rev. Brunson accountable to his own teaching and to the Biblical witness. This apology should be made by Rev. Brunson, personally.

g. Ask the lay leadership to restore the bylaws to what they were before and to find ways to make the business of the church more transparent and accountable to the membership.

h. Pledge to being more available and open to the members of the congregation as their pastor and to listen humbly to their comments on your pastoring and preaching, such as by holding a weekly or bimonthly “town hall” type meeting to hear their comments. An alternative would be a pastor-church relations committee that could take comments and forward them to you while protecting the identity of members offering comments. Of course, such comments must be answered publicly to the extent that respect for privacy allows.

Third, carry out any agreement in good faith as if you were trying to outdo yourself in reaching out in love to a Christian friend.

Fourth, abjure any church discipline process in the future against those who comment or raise questions in a civil manner, whether anonymously or otherwise, and be responsive to them, at least by answering gently.

The above suggestions do not deal with all of the issues that the blog has addressed, and it is unlikely that some issues can be resolved at this time without great expense and disruption. However, the spirit of reconciliation must be shown. It may also be wise to review the unresolved issues to see whether some of them, such as family members on the church payroll, could not be resolved over time.

I believe that once such an offer is on the table, it will be incumbent upon Mr. Rich to similarly apologize for some of the blog entries or for some of the words and tone in the blog entries, and to offer, after publishing the agreement (without any crowing), to suspend the blog, except perhaps to occasionally post an entry about how the agreement is being carried out, hopefully well, and about other actions consistent with the spirit of the agreement.

Such is the more excellent way to respond to a lawsuit, the way of love. Usually, it is also the least disruptive and least expensive way to resolve a lawsuit, and it can result in restoration instead of resentment. "

Ralph E. Cooper, Ph.D.
Attorney and Mediator

153 comments:

Ralph E. Cooper said...

a typo has arisen in paragraph h. "asturing" should be "pastoring".

Anonymous said...

An interesting proposal.

Here are my thoughts, in no order of importance.

1. Usually, the plaintiff makes a settlement demand to get the ball rolling. One of our local U.S. District Court judges used to say to plaintiff's counsel "Your sellin the horse. Put a price on the horse." The Dog could officially put what you have suggested in a demand. Dr. Brunson and others could then present it to the congregation to get their feed back.

2. I wonder about lumping the church actions related to governance with the liablity and damages issues in the lawsuit. I have not read the now infamous "bylaw" changes. I have not read the state court lawsuit. It is not on line, but I did not think that it sought to undo the governance changes. Preumably, the church voted to make the bylaw changes etc. because they thought it was the best way for the church to operate. I believe that any settlement on the lawsuit for the damages the Dog has alleged should stand on its own, if it has a chance at success. The church might vote to patch things up with the Dog, but might still feel strongly about governance issues. Including them might generate more opposition than its worth. Unless, of course, the bylaw change is a non-negotiable from the Dog's side.

3. I have not ever understood the church to believe that the Dog was stalking or stealing mail from the Brunsons. In fact, I think that the opposite is the case. Once it was discovered to have been the Dog operating this website, law enforcement apparently concluded that the Dog would not or could not have done that, so law enforcement dropped the inquiry.

4. The JSO and ASO lawsuits are not mentioned. I have found that state agencies like that usually try to get out of lawsuits on a motion if they can. I have read some of the pleadings there, but obviously don't know all of the facts. The motions look like standard fare - qualified immunity etc. Those are typically strong motions, unless there are some facts that we don't know. I am the first to admit that I don't know al of the facts. But the JSO and ASO lawsuits would need to be accounted for.

More to come.

Louis

Anonymous said...

5. Any actual out of pocket losses should be dealt with. I truly don't believe that the Dog's reputation has been damaged by the alleged slander. Most people on this blog seem to believe that FBC Jax and its leadership have been damaged, but that the Dog has not been. But if psychiatric or psychological counseling fees have been incurred, or there are other out of pockets that should be accounted for.

6. It seems to me that promising to conduct business in a certain way, and how to allow for critcism in the future, are also operational issues that the congregation would want to weigh in on. They might not go for that, even if the staff recommended it. Like the other church process related parts of the proposal, you might actually have 49% go for it, and 51% oppose it, thus holding up the settlement.

Finally, of course, people settle when they feel the need to settle. I don't sense that now. The Dog doesn't feel the need to settle, I suspect. I can't figure out if the church does either. It might be that the passage of time and developments in the suit will change that.

Or it might be that time does little to heal that. Sometimes we in Baptist land think our stories are more interesting than the rest of the world finds them.

Thanks for posting an interesting proposal.

Oh, I did note that you are a "lifelong" Baptist. How did you pull that off?

I thought only Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians etc. could claim "Lifelong" status. I did not think a person became a Baptist until one believed.

Just kidding, of course. I know it means you were probably taken to Baptist church 9 months before birth until now.

Best to you.

Louis

Anonymous said...

h is insane people complain about every and any little thing

Anonymous said...

A very wise attorney. We need more like these instead of "gotcha" ones.

Anonymous said...

Louis have you forgotten that Watchdog put out an Olive Branch when he called the church about his wife attending the missionary conference. I don't think the church wants to settle anything peacefully. They want total vendication for THEIR pastor who brought in the law in the first place. Isn't that what all of the "Whereas"s" in the Whereas Resolution was about.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

It sounds like your attorney got too expensive and this is a viable alternative.

No one could ask this Texas attorney to mediate. He has already shown his colors by what he has written.

Gee, could he have been a disgruntled member of FBD?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

"It sounds like your attorney got too expensive and this is a viable alternative."

Total and complete misread on your part.

And, uh, he's not offering to mediate. You might want to read it again, this time slower...or should they put it on the Imags so you can follow along as the prez of the trustees reads it to you. Geez...

Anonymous said...

Anon 5:09:

I am not making a judgment there, and I don't know what you are referring to.

I was just making a simple procedural point. For all I know, it has already been done. I was just responding to Mr. Cooper's suggestion.

Thanks.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Well, Jiminy Christmas! No wonder you wanted to post this; you are wearing the white hat and brunson is wearing the black hat. I'd like that kind of press myself!

Anonymous said...

Tom,

How much did you pay that guy for this crock of garbage? All he is doing is making you come out like a violated virgin and totally sinless. All of the stuff he is suggesting falls on the shoulders of the church and their leadership.

You were the one that started the anonymous blog. You should be the one apologizing and paying the legal bills.

They are going to nail you to the wall when you get in court. Hope you are prepared.

Ralph E. Cooper, Ph.D., J.D. said...

Louis and others

As the guest blogger, let me say:

1. The post is based on my experience in mediation and in working with churches over a long period of time. BTW, Louis, I got a five year perfect attendance pin from a Baptist church on my fifth birthday.

2. The suit is not about the blog. It is about the behavior of the church leaders and staff, including Rev. Brunson. Those actions constitute torts and the use of false claims to obtain the blogger's identity, claims which may or may not have any basis in fact. There is no evidence of any tort or other illegality in the blog contents.

3. As some in the medical community have learned, when a person has been hurt by a medical mistake by a doctor or hospital, the willingness to say "I am sorry." goes a long way toward settling a suit for a significantly smaller amount.

4. I have approached my reading of the blog, in its entirety, from the perspective of an attorney working with a church considering how to respond to the blogger. I did not, and would not have, advised the actions taken by the church, nor the statements by Rev. Brunson and Mr. Soud. Given the facts as laid out in the newspaper and on the blog, I would advise a church client as I have suggested in the post.

5. The bylaw piece was perhaps a bit over the top. I tend to be oriented toward the congregational governance rather that staff or pastoral governance, and the bylaws amendments appear contrary to that, as does the process for enacting them.

6. I received nothing of value from Mr. Rich.

Dee said...

Anonymous

My name is Dee and I publish the Wartburg Watch along with my counterpart. Tom did not initiate this contact with Ralph-I did. This was done because of the concern I have for the rights of religious bloggers throughout the United States. If you don't like what Ralph has to say, please take it up with him or me.

What your pastor and his cronies did was vindictive. That is patently obvious to me, an outsider. I am not, never have been and will never be a member of FBC. Neither has my counterpart or Ralph. None of us live in Florida.We provide you a view from the outside and it looks a little dark to us.

Ralph is a highly educated, highly experienced attorney and mediator who , out of the goodness of his own heart and without taking or expecting any compensation, has taken an interest in the situation. He carefully outlines the way of love, something that appears to be lacking in the correspondence I have seen here by many who attend FBC along with other authoritarian churches.

As the world watches on, do we show the way of the Pharisee and the way of the world? Do they say radical forgiveness and kindness on the part of your post. Do they see what you say and praise your God because you exhibit a different way?

My brother or sister, I am praying for you now as I write this. May Jesus, the One who showed a radical and different way of love, work in your heart as you pray for your brother Tom

So, Mr. Anonymous, who pushes and pulls at Tom, reflect on the love of your Savior who never, ever treated any who came in His way in the same that your are. Reflect on His goodness, kindness, and meekness. Be a part of the solution to bringing Ralph's was of love to FBC.

Frank Gantz said...

I would think a mediator would try to meet with the parties involved before determining fault and action. If this is the best plan, then it doesn't have a chance.

Paid counseling???

This is laughable.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog what WOULD you say if you were the one having to apologize and Dr. Brunson came out smelling like a rose? Would you want to "mediate" then? THEY AREN"T APOLOGIZING TO YOU. Baptists never apologize to anybody. The sooner you learn it the better. It all has to be on YOU. Thats the system.

Anonymous said...

Great Post Today:

Ouch, some of the critics didn't like this Guest Bloggers comments as they have quickly suited up with their armour to fire back at Mr. Cooper. :>)

As for myself, I especially liked the part which said "The blog is still active; it is getting national attention; and Rev. Brunson is gaining a negative national reputation, except among other authoritarian pastors and denominational leaders" SO TRUE!

Mr. Rich (note I don't call you Tom as some of your better critics appear to be on first name basis with you and I'm not since I personally don't know you) all I want to add is that if and when the time comes to shut down this particular blog, please continue your "ministry" over to the "Wartburg" as one of their Guest Bloggers. I imagine they would welcome your God given spiritual gift of discernment. Ooooo, critics not going to agree with me on that statement.

Anon 4:55 - I am in agreement with you when you posted "A very wise attorney. We need more like these instead of "gotcha" ones.

Anonymous said...

Ralph:

Thanks. I agree with much of what you say in your reply.

I wasn't criticizing your suggested approach or promoting it. I was just trying to look at it from a what I thought might be doable vs. not-doable.

There is no harm at all in your attempt toward what you believe to be a constructive solution. It might not be what others would suggest, but that's o.k.

I appreciate the tone of your response.

Congrats on the award!

If I had gotten a "pin" for anything at that age, I would have stuck it in my teacher's behind.

Louis

Anonymous said...

The way for love to start flowing is for Tom Rich to shut down his blog and then apologize to Mac Brunson and the entire church family at FBC, Jax for the damage he has brought to the cause of Christ. It is sad to see you folks trying to make Tom some type of spiritual martyr when you need to remember who started this whole fiasco in the beginning. Your pious spirituality is shallow at best.

Deb said...

Anonymous said:
"You were the one that started the anonymous blog."

Anonymous,

Since when is starting an anonymous blog a crime (at least in the United States)? Please give that some serious thought...

As Dee's counterpart on The Wartburg Watch, I echo what she has shared here. She and I are praying fervently for this situation to end in a way that will bring glory to Almighty God. Lest we forget, He is watching.

Anonymous said...

There needs to be a sermon entitled "blessed are the peacemakers". The world slings darts and arrows too frequently and the Deceiver laughs each day just waiting for the right time to take one to their grave enjoying all the strife and ill that he can bestow. So sad. Time is definitely drawing to an END!!! Jesus is coming soon.

Anonymous said...

Tom,

Since Dee and Deb are such experts on everything to do with a church, why don't you sit down with them and Mac and have a face to face meeting. Oh, I forgot, you aren't a member of that church any longer.

I'm sure D and D will use their all-discerning spiritual skills to determine all of Mac's faults and how spiritual and wise Tom is. What a sad display of so-called spiritual discernment. It always worries me when I see a blog started by two women who fashion themselves as experts of everything to do with the church. The Apostle Paul would have loved them! And I'm sure they could have found plenty of faults in him.

Ralph E. Cooper, Ph.D., J.D. said...

With respect to potential tortious acts, the first such was the church obtaining the assistance of the criminal authorities to subpoena the identity of the blogger, allegedly using false claims of mail theft and stalking. The blogger's acts prior to that, and since as well, were well did not violate any law and were not tortious.

If you look at violations of Christian principles, including some that are contained in Rev. Brunson's book, then those started with Brunson's actions when he came to the FBC Jax pastorate with respect to where he lived, his acceptance of a large gift of land, etc., and continued with various things that the blogger has questioned, such as the way the procedure by which the bylaws were amended. The blogger's responses to these were well within the historical Baptist traditions of freedom of conscience and of dissent.

Again, as an attorney and a Christian, I would suggest to any church client or pastor client that the approach suggested is the most likely to be effective in settling Mr. Rich's lawsuit against the pastor and church for the tortious acts he has alleged were committed against him.

My advice does not extend to the JSO and SAO suit, but generally the same principles ought to work there as well.

Anonymous said...

You were the one that started the anonymous blog. You should be the one apologizing and paying the legal bills.

__________________________________

Yep, makes perfect sense. Anyone who starts an anonymous blog should apologize and then pay the legal bills of those that used the JSO and SAO to out him so they could trespass him and slander him in the local newspaper. Pass the kool-aid.

Dee said...

Frank Gantz

Are you involved in the counseling arena? if so, have you spent assessing the needs of Tom and his family? Do you know of the personal pain of Tom? Why do you laugh?

Do you laugh at others who have needed help? how about my former church that refused to pay, until we poked at them, counseling for the teen victims of pedophilia? Sir, please tell me how you know that this counseling is laughable? Do you think Jesus would have laughed at the pain of his people? Tom is your brother in the Lord-you are a Christian, aren't you?

May God give you compassion as you look at the pain of others.

Dee said...

To Anonymous

Why is it necessary to raise gender as an issue? I happen to like Paul and there are those who say my passion is not unlike his.In Christ there is no male or female. So, I won't call you a typical man if you won;t prejudge me as a woman. Please fight my ideas, not my estrogen.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Unfortunately, with great position and a great paycheck to match, Brunson must take the hits. He is, after all, the "leader" of FBC. Yes, he has sinned. So has Tom and so have you, for that matter.

We are talking about the freedom to blog and the possible abuse of that freedom by your pastor who appears to have gotten his panties in a wad that the cash didn't flow quickly enough.

Brunson has caught our attention and we want this unfair pursuit of a legitimate, and we would argue, fully understandable critique of FBC to be reviewed and learned from. Yes, even women can have insight into a church.

Your pastor has blown it, big time.

Thy Peace said...

I honestly do not think this proposal will even be read by Fbc Jax Leadership. I too have advocated the showing of Christian virtues during this blog discussions.

Sadly, in the world and especially in SBC circles, hardball religion is the established practice of living. Most of the leadership plays only lip service to the Christian virtues and the teaching of Our Lord Jesus Christ. They believe there is power in this hardball tactics.

Little do they know.

The real power is in the acts of Mercy, Kindness, showing the other cheek and Love. The real power is in the Cross. The world would have rejoiced if Pastor Mac Brunson bore Watchdog's burdens. This would have brought glory to Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alas, that is not to be. Hardball it is. Hence the lawsuits for the pursuit of Truth. The heart has truly missed its mark at Fbc Jax. We are all losers here.

Unless Truth prevails and The Holy Spirit convicts us all.

Conservalutionist said...

Alot of you people who disagree with Tom, most of the time, and have no criticism except personal attacks are sounding a lot like LIBS

Anonymous said...

I always get a little uncomfortable when someone has to put all their credentials after their name when they blog; i.e. PhD, JD, DD, etc.

Isn't it interesting too that women tend to raise the estrogen issue the moment they are questioned. And just like some like to play the race card, some women tend to play the "in Christ there is neither male nor female" when they are attacking pastors and wanting to become one. There may be no gender but there are specific roles in the church and those are clearly defined in Scripture.

Anonymous said...

If you stop and think about it, most of Tom's rants have to do with personal preference and many times because he didn't get his way on something.

If Mac wants to accept a land gift, that is his business and the IRS. I'm sure the proper committees or the trustees had no problems with it.

If Mac wants to hire his son and wife I'm sure the proper committees and trustees gave their approval.

If Mac wants to drive an expensive car, that is his prerogative. Church members don't get to dictate what the pastor drives.

If the church wants to change their by-laws, then that is their business. There was a meeting in which they were voted upon (and of course, not to Tom's liking.)

If Mac wants to sweat when he preaches, that is his personal preference. His bodily habits are not my expertise.

If Mac and the leaders of FBC, Jax want to take whatever steps necessary to find an anonymous blogger who is destroying the fellowship of their church, they have my blessing. Tom was way over the line and you folks know it.

Bottom line, Tom has his nose out of joint--but its fixing to get fixed in a courtroom.

Anonymous said...

2:28 a.m. - You are exactly right...these people are out of line and can not admit that they have not handled this whole thing the right way. The whole idea of an anonymous blog is strange and counter productive. Why would you not identify yourself and speak freely. You are probably very insecure about yourself and should seek professional help as the blogger posted. You should seek strength is Christ and stop trying to sit in the dark and through bombs.

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:38. And what would your name be? Yes you who are blogging anonymous and are critizing other ANONYMOUS bloggers for ......blogging anonymous. Pot calling kettle, dear boy, pot calling kettle.

Anonymous said...

Dee and Deb,
I appreciate your follow-up comments to the subject posted, so thanks for coming on board, as you do a great job in keeping everyone "on topic."

Thy Peace,
"I honestly do not think this proposal will even be read by Fbc Jax Leadership." . . .

FBC has their own "watchdogs" following what (we) blog each and every day,good example would be statements like Anon 2:28 am.

They will read, but the "high profile leadership" have to large of ego's to turn the other cheek. What they called "beauty shop" gossip is spreading like CANCER . . .a wildfire is burning in the city and beaches and the present "arrogrant" administration is doing nothing to put it out.

Anonymous said...

Could it be the church has "hired" a professional "VERBAL responder" (re:2:28 AM post) I guess we can all just go away and relax, with no questions of concern about ACCOUNTABILITY from the church, because the TRUSTEES are on the job, and everything, of course, goes through them before APPROVAL. If you take the letters TRUST out of trustees, you are left with only letters (ees) with no meaning that don't stand for anyting and that make no sense, much like the leadership of this church and the ...TRUSTEES.

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

"WORSE AND WORSE" Dr.Dog "WORSE AND WORSE"

To Deb,Dee and Dr.Cooper,thanks for your efforts to remedy this situation.

But it will be to no avail!!!!

What many do not understand is what you are dealing with in a man like Brunson,the leaders and many of these bloggers that attack Dr.Dog and defend the indefensible with Mac.

Mac has all of the characteristics of a Pharisee.
Greed,autoritarian "Diotrephes" type attitude,vindictive,calculating,deceptive,manipulative,etc!!!

Again I say the Bible warns against men like Mac over and over and over,yet people seem to ignore all of these Biblical warning to their own confusion and detriment.
Just read chap.23 of the Gospel of Matthew and you see that Mac possess many of the religious leaders of that day traits.

As a matter of fact study the New Testament in it's totality and notice who gave Jesus,the Apostles and Jesus followers the most difficulties!

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil"[Jer.13:23]

Mac is not going to change because he is in ministry for the wrong reason and that's to get rich.
Open your eyes people,it's all about the money with and the money alone.
Everything Mac does revovles around the money!!!
Mac's greed is the defining characteristics that define Mac.And until one sees this they will never understand what drives him and why he does what he does!!!

The Bible has pointed Mac out clearly,an until one comes to agree with the Biblical evidences of greddy men in Scripture you will never understand Mac!!!

Mac is not going to change Dr.Dog,he will see FBCJ destroyed before he would relent,repent,humble himself or anything like it!!!

"Worse and Worse" the Apostle Paul stated,"Worse and Worse"[2tim 3:13]!!!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Very interesting posts, shows you the huge chasm here, and how this will be settled in a court if the cases get that far:

"The way for love to start flowing is for Tom Rich to shut down his blog and then apologize to Mac Brunson and the entire church family at FBC, Jax for the damage he has brought to the cause of Christ."

and from another anon:

"If Mac and the leaders of FBC, Jax want to take whatever steps necessary to find an anonymous blogger who is destroying the fellowship of their church, they have my blessing. Tom was way over the line and you folks know it."

This one blog, this one lone voice of dissent in the church....or as Blount has called it, "a very small group" of dissenters....has somehow caused great shame to the cause of Jesus Christ...one lone blogger has himself, all alone, has "destroyed" the fellowship of the church. Really? I thought everything was peachy keen over at FBC Jax...but the fellowship has been "destroyed" because of a blogger. Really? The "fellowship" of FBC Jax was so fragile that even ONE guy asking questions on a blog and daring to speak his thoughts on what was happening at the church - that brought it all down?

These guys just don't get it. The blame is not on the antics and leadership of a pastor and trustee president and admin pastor that pursued a course of action that have taken them down this road...no, its not the PhD pastor who is on TV nationwide every week that called the blogger a sociopath that has harmed the cause of Christ....it is one solitary guy who started a blog, its him. Its not the retired circuit judge who went on the Internet to read a Deacon's Resolution condemning the blogger and threatening everyone else with the same treatment and asking people to stand and ratify his resolution...nope, those guys are just doing the "work of God" and should be praised for their aggressive confrontation to stop the blogger who has destroyed everything good and sacred at FBC Jax.

That only makes sense to people who are entrenched in supporting the pastor at all costs.

Anonymous said...

To previous anonymous blogger, who has a problem with women being bloggers. Do women have no voice in your world? You seem to disdain women and therefore, give their comments little or no legitimacy. Oh, that's right. Is this the leadership that threw the woman out of the church, not letting her even go into see her daughter sing last Christmas? That was certainly in the spirit of Christmas. And what was this woman's sin. Oh, that's right she was associated with her husband who blogs., his concerns about the direction of this church that THEY BOTH SERVED IN FOR MANY YEARS, DEVOTING MUCH TIME (UNPAID) TO SAID CHURCH. But the church (leadership) will take all of the devotion to DUTY and SERVICE (unpaid) they can get, as long as a woman stays in her place,and her husband stays in his.

Attention all women with your OWN brains and opinions, leave them in your car when you enter the doors of churches. And make sure you bow appropriately and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT, except to praise the leaders. There mantra is "SEE NO EVIL, SPEAK NO EVIL, HEAR NO EVIL". Isn't that the equivalency of being "deaf, dumb and blind"? Well, phooy, wear a Burka or stay home ladies.

Anonymous said...

I always get a little uncomfortable when someone has to put all their credentials after their name when they blog; i.e. PhD, JD, DD, etc.

Isn't it interesting too that women tend to raise the estrogen issue the moment they are questioned. And just like some like to play the race card, some women tend to play the "in Christ there is neither male nor female" when they are attacking pastors and wanting to become one. There may be no gender but there are specific roles in the church and those are clearly defined in Scripture.

September 23, 2009 1:43 AM

Would you mind giving us chapter and verse on 'roles'. Roles is a French word that came from a scroll containing a part in a play. It is about pretending to be someone else.

But we are to Abide in Christ not play a role which sounds eerily like a work of salvation.

Anonymous said...

Leadership (in my opinion) isn't interested in mediating anything. THEY WANT TO WIN!!! Regardless of the good intentions of others, leadership must rule. If you see how Mr. and Mrs. Rich were treated from the beginning, you see this hard core attitude. The Rich's must be brought down and "dealt with". Mr. Rich asked for a copy of the by-laws (which few had seen), he asked to bring a witness to the "tribunal" set for him. Both requests denied by the "powers". He was to be reprimanded and dealt with period. He was not going to be allowed to speak to any of the charges against him. His wife was not allowed to attend any meetings. Even though she was served a trespass notice as well. What country is this???? No the leadership isn't interested in anything but WINNING. And the way justice is metted out today, they probably will. But, the Lord is the ultimate Judge we will see real justice at the Judgement seat of Christ. Unfortunately we may be required to wait until then.

Anonymous said...

The roles are elder and deacon. Read the owner's manual.

Anonymous said...

There were 2 different people who tried earlier in the year (timing correct Tom?) to get Brunson to meet with them and Tom Rich. Brunson would not meet with them.

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

"No the leadership isn't interested in anything but WINNING. And the way justice is metted out today, they probably will. But, the Lord is the ultimate Judge we will see real justice at the Judgement seat of Christ. Unfortunately we may be required to wait until then."

September 23, 2009 10:38 AM

Anon I agree with you whole-heartedly!!!

As I have stated previouly,I believe Dr.Dog has done his job which was to bring attention to what Mac was doing.

Now it's up to every individual at FBCJ to make up their own minds based on the merits of the facts given by Dr.Dog in light of the Scriptures.

Believe me Dr.Dog you've done your job and as one who has gone thru what you are experiencing you are by far better off away from what is happeniing at FBCJ.

Anonymous said...

The roles are elder and deacon. Read the owner's manual.
_________________________________

I have read it, and believe it or not, I interpret it and apply it differently than you. But in your macho, chauvinistic world, I am sure you have surrounded yourself all your life with men who believe the little lady should submit, not teach a man, and never question her abusive husband. You read it and you will find Matthew 18. You will read it and find things about kindness, not taking up offenses, be accountable to men and to God, slaves obeying their masters, and on and on.

You are a manipulated, brain-washed bully and you use scripture, the ones you like, to try and bully others so that you get your way. And you call it God's way and expect us to not question you and your interpretation.

What a world you must live in. Good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

Brunson, Soud, Blount and other leaders down there do not wish to handle this according to the New Testament. They want to handle it according to the Old Testament. They fashion themselves as Moses and God, and they want to take actions against those that oppose them the same way Moses and God did. That is why Mac concentrates on the OT so much. He needs to take that scripture and the judgments of God found there and apply it to YOU. When he preaches from the New Testament he reveals himself as one big hypocrite.

Anonymous said...

The man puts "PhD" after his name because so many gullible Christians actually think that means he knows more about what God thinks and says then the rest of us. You would think we run a hospital downtown: "Doctor" Smyrl, "Doctor" Brunson, Doctor Whitmire, Doctor Hill, come on! Give me a break. PhD in "preaching?" Really? Doctor?

And a lot of "reverends" down there too. Only revs I know are Sharpton and Jackson. Now we have Blount and King. Laughable. Pitiful.

Anonymous said...

10:23 AM Gets it! And how the decons and so-called leaders that post on here in support of this is beyond comprehension. Not only that, but then they attack The WD. It's disgusting. I would hate to have these people as the "face" of the church to the world these days.

Anonymous said...

And who were the two people? Were they viable options or just someone wanting to start a fight?

Dee said...

Anonymous

You brought up the issue of women. We merely respond to you. You remind me of those who accuse someone of racism and, when he responds, he's accused of bringing up the race issue. You show a lack of understanding in this area,including our thoughts on Paul. you must be listening to some sort of "teaching" that tells you this is true. Why don't you first ask us what we think about Paul instead of assuming that you know what we think.
And cut the "women want to be pastors" yawner. This is a discussion on the subject at hand, pure and simple. You seem to want to get "off topic." Why? Did someone teach to pull the "women" card?

Now as to the initials and title thing...if you blog, you will often see criticism about the lack of credentials of those who post opinions. Then you get upset when the credentials are posted. It's called a Catch 22 and you play right into it. All of us have some specialized training-business, law, medicine, etc. We use this merely to say that we are educated. Why does this bother you?

AS for the "pious spirituality thing, this is another yawner. You do not know us. I would not judge you on your Christian faith because Scripture tells us not to judge on this particular area. Someday, you will see what my faith meant to me in this world.Have you not learned this in church?

"the Deceiver laughs each day just waiting for the right time to take one to their grave enjoying all the strife and ill that he can bestow." It sure sounds like the Devil has a lot of power. He doesn't decide when to take them to the grave, the Almighty does this as well. I look forward to Mac preaching about being a peacemaker and then leading the charge.

May God give all who comment here a love for each other and may that be reflected in our conversation. Jesus, when dying, did not take time out to laugh at his accusers. He loved them and i bet we will see many in heaven

Anonymous said...

The roles are elder and deacon. Read the owner's manual.

September 23, 2009 11:23 AM

And that means what?

That single men cannot be elders?

Why was Phoebe described as a dikanos? Which is deacon in Greek.

You might want to study your 'owners manual' more in depth and be a Berean instead of only listening to celebrity pastors.

If you want to converse, get into some details instead of parroting what you have been taught.

Anonymous said...

I am so awed to be in the presence of women so spiritual and spiritually discerning as the Wartburg Women. Makes me wonder about those menopausal moments.

Please spare us their arrogant attempts at hyper-spirituality.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should save your intelligence for someone who cares to hear it.

I'm sure you are one of those who thinks "husband of one wife" means "one wife at a time." Makes sense in today's world though doesn't it?

Mediator Hater said...

Thank you Doctor Cooper for your rubber stamp of approval on behalf of Tom Rich.

Now, putting aside the free publicity that you are so jubilantly enjoying from this nonsense, let's come back to earth and think about this from a rational perspective.

You have not heard the church's side of the story. You have only read what Tom Rich has said about the church and Tom Rich's side of the story. So your "expert" opinion is flawed based on the mere observation that you have failed to meet with both parties of the conflict. I don't have a doctorate but I still understand that you can't come to a resolution until the mediator has discussed the dilema with both parties involved in the conflict and heard each parties side of the story.

Secondly, paragraphs E-H seem to be your humble view of how Mac Brunson should pastor the church. They have nothing to do with resolving anything between Tom Rich and Mac Brunson.

Anonymous said...

Just a few questions for you wise bloggers:

1. Have you ever served as a pastor?
2. Have you ever served as a deacon or elder?
3. Have you ever served on a church committee?
4. Have you ever chaired a church committee?


If you can't answer yes to at least one of these questions then you really aren't an expert on all the things you think you are. You all seem to know exactly how a pastor should live and preach and how a church should function but without any on the job experience your opinions are useless.

Dee said...

Hey Tom

We think you have a troll in Anonymous. He sounds a lot like Cooper, especially with the menopausal comment. We started to delete his comments and it made him behave. You might want to do the same. He's everywhere and he gets worse as time goes on. He also brags a whole lot about himself and we believe much of it is not true.It gets very boring.

Guess you get to deal with this "joy" now.

Junkster said...

I'm sure you are one of those who thinks "husband of one wife" means "one wife at a time."

That's pretty much what it means, yeah. I suppose you are one of those who thinks it means "not divorced".

Jim said...

The comments on this post are most amusing. That is especially true of anon. 3:36 and 3:37 PM. The lack of courage and confidence displayed by these anonymous responders lead me to believe that a few pre-pubescent boys have taken an interest in this discussion. They hide behind boyish comments about women and scriptural issues they don't understand. Of course, we should not be too hard on them, they probably learned it in Sunday School. They're just misguided children trying to bluff their way into an adult discussion. Don't believe for one minute that these clowns are men, regardless of their ages. Just ignore them and give reasoned responses to Dr. Cooper's recommendation.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:19PM: Not to put too fine a point on it you need to study Hebrews 2:14 "Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil". Jesus died on the Cross to get rid of the penalty of sin...death and separation from the Father and to save our soul. But we must BELIEVE in this sacrifice in order to be saved from eternal death of the soul in hell. Death came about, as we all know, in the Garden of Eden, due to disobedience to God. The devil lied and man believed the lie and has paid for it since.

Matt:l0:28: "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell". So as we see the devil does have the power of death. Unfortunately. But our steps as Christians are ordered by the Lord. It is up to us to obey. I believe "once saved always saved".

Rom.8:38-39: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come", vs.39 "Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord".

Don't confuse people dying due to something the devil does and suggest that God does the killing. Wars and killings, pestilences that destroy people, abortions of babies are accountable to the devil and he alone. God is not the author of confusion nor is He the author of death as that was given to Satan and him alone.

Anonymous said...

to anon 1:22
One of the people who tried to mediate with Rich and Brunson was Tiffany Croft. You know the "female" who has a blog about Darrell Gilyard, the same blog that Hinson also got a subpoena for. The other person is a pastor, male pastor.

Don't you wonder why Brunson would not meet with them?

Dee said...

How dare any of you think that Dr. Cooper is in this for the publicity. In fact, it is because you have a pastor who loves the limelight that leads you to think this way. How well you have been indoctrinated. I challenge you to study this man's sacrificial life.

He has given you all an out. It is the way of love. How strange to pick a name like "mediator hater." Note the word "hate." You have learned well despite your lack of a doctorate. Your pastor will be so proud of you.

Oh, and the leadership thing, i can answer yes to a couple of these questions. So can Dr. Cooper, etc. May God forgive some of you for so poorly demonstrating love. And don't say-well Tom doesn't. We are all judged individually.

Tom, may God give you strength!

Anonymous said...

1. Have you ever served as a pastor?

You mean like Ted Haggard, Ken Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Rod Parsley, Joel Osteen, Jimmy Swaggert, etc, ad nauseum.

Are you getting the picture? It is not that hard to get the title. You don't even need to know correct doctrine or have good fruit and people will still follow you and give you money.

2. Have you ever served as a deacon or elder?

Yes and yes. I am not sure what you are getting at here. Do you think the title confers some super spirituality on a person? In my experience elders have been chosen more for their success and contacts in the world than for spiritual maturity. I would not be too impressed if I were you.

A real elder you would recognize by their humility, love and compassion. Hint: They look more like Matthew 5 than a Pharisee in a polo shirt along with the best seats and favor of men.

3. Have you ever served on a church committee?

Oh yes. Many. Don't you know that committees are considered a fruit of the Spirit for Baptists and other Evangelicals?

4. Have you ever chaired a church committee?

Oh yes. And I had a few like you on them, too, who were so proud of their lofty position on said committee. Our megas are full of such people.

Thanks for bringing back painful memories of the shallow world of mega turf wars. Where the first will be first always and the last will be last always.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Dr. Cooper, Thanks for this post. I would be interested in hearing about any general anonymous success you have had with such mediation in church conflicts.

Matt

Mediator Hater said...

Dee,

How is it that when Christ tells us to love one another, you ignore that command when it applies to Tom Rich and his blog? But when Doctor Cooper suggests it, you bow at his knees? You worshipper of men!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Mac Brunson was one of the speakers at the Adrian Rogers Center for Biblical Preaching Conference at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary this week. (MABTS is located across the street from Bellevue.)

Bro.Pastor Rod H. said...

"Just a few questions for you wise bloggers:

1. Have you ever served as a pastor?
2. Have you ever served as a deacon or elder?
3. Have you ever served on a church committee?
4. Have you ever chaired a church committee?


If you can't answer yes to at least one of these questions then you really aren't an expert on all the things you think you are. You all seem to know exactly how a pastor should live and preach and how a church should function but without any on the job experience your opinions are useless."

September 23, 2009 4:17 PM

This alone has to be the single most ridiculous statement I have ever seen. "And I mean ever"!!!

Since I have never robbed a bank does that mean I can't see and say that its wrong???

Unbelievable logic!!!

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

" You all seem to know exactly how a pastor should live and preach and how a church should function but without any on the job experience your opinions are useless."

September 23, 2009 4:17 PM

Anon another thing I do know is that a Pastor should not get rich off of the offering of the members::: "PERIOD"!!!

Anonymous said...

Your posts on here show the level of your Christian maturity. It also shows a deep level of hatred and resentment for pastors and/or anyone in authority. The only one that admits to any experience is Matt and if I remember correctly, he doesn't even attend church.

Then you accept the infallible words of the two Wart Women. What a joke! They are nothing but two disgruntled women with way too much time on their hands and have tried to fashion themselves as experts on anything to do with a church.

Keep up the comments. They prove our point that you are a bunch of malcontents.

Anonymous said...

And for those of you who think Mac is getting rich.....

Is there one among you who even knows his true salary? If you are out there and can prove it, step forth and be counted.

I'm sure there are none. Just typical people who gripe about what the pastor makes when you don't even know.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Wrong, we all know what the salary is.

According to Mac in the local newspaper, he doesn't make "anywhere near $300,000 in salary", and by his own admission he is one of the lowest paid pastors in the Southern Baptist Convention.

Anonymous said...

"And for those of you who think Mac is getting rich.....

Is there one among you who even knows his true salary? If you are out there and can prove it, step forth and be counted.

I'm sure there are none. Just typical people who gripe about what the pastor makes when you don't even know."

September 24, 2009 8:05 AM

I'll say this Anon::If they are paying Mac "ANYTHING ITS TO MUCH"!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Salary has not been a primary issue on the blog.

The land gift was.

The commercial played for the Collins Builders was.

And about Mac's comment to Brumley about his salary last November: let the compensation be a top secret, or let everyone know what it is.

But to deflect criticism of salary by speaking in vague terms of his "salary" isn't anywhere near a certain number, when everyone knows that his "salary" is not "compensation", and to compare his salary to other mega church pastors that no one knows what THEIR salaries are either, is just juvenile, and embarrassing. Why not say, "the people of FBC Jax generously provide for me and my family's needs." No, the message is, I'm not OVER paid, actually these people are UNDER paying me. Yeah, right. Poor Mac, he is one of the lowest paid.

Shut up about your salary and let it be a secret known by just a few men in the church, or let the church know what it is.

Maybe the newspaper can ask Mac if his total compensation package: salary + allowances + benefits + wife salary + wife benefits is "not anywhere near $300,000". It probably is not anywhere near $300,000, probably much more.

But no one will ever know.

Ralph E. Cooper said...

Again, let me say that I have read the blog from the perspective of an attorney representing a church and advising the church on how to deal with the blogger and the issues raised by the blogger, and in particular, how to deal with a suit filed by the blogger after the church has already taken certain actions that I would have advised against. Those actions include using the criminal investigation power of the government to obtain the identity of the blogger, issuing trespass warnings, identifying the blogger broadly to the church leadership, and making statements about the blogger to the media.

As an attorney, one part of the analysis is to assume that the other side's information is correct or can be proved in court and then decide how to respond to it. A second one is to look at our side's information and to see what weaknesses are there. That results in identifying the poorest outcome we can expect and that I am obligated to share with my client.

In this instance, I am not privileged to know what the church has to support its case.

However, I am relatively certain that some of Mr. Rich's case can be proved, such as the claim for libel against Rev. Brunson. The issue there will be damages, not whether the libel occurred.

With that alone on the table, I would advise my client to seek mediation and put offers on the table that have a high probability of ending the suit, as that is the least cost alternative; it would also mean lower fees to me.

I do not believe that the church or Rev. Brunson has a counterclaim againt Tom Rich, and therefore, cannot recover their legal costs from him. Settling is much cheaper than fighting and better for the reputations of the church and the pastor.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 8:05: "You don't know what the pastor(?) makes.

Reminds me of the much touted, good for the country "stimulus package". I am so stimulated I want to throw up!

THIS IS EXACTLY THE POINT. THE PEOPLE THAT GIVE THE MONEY DESERVE TO KNOW HOW MUCH THEY ARE PAYING ANY PASTOR, AND FAMILY. How much do they get in perks, paid by the churches, such as paid insurance, gas allowance, car allowance, retirement package, travel allowance (and we know they do travel) housing allowance (many times in exclusive areas while most of us (previous) TITHERS struggle to pay the rent) and the ALLOWANCE ALLOWANCE, to cover what the other catagories don't). All of this while additionally still getting a huge salary. I am not stupid, I stopped giving to a bottomless pit. And yes, members DO DESERVE TO KNOW how much of the money NEEDED for the church expenditures is wasted on the GRAND PUPAHS of the world.

Anonymous said...

I'll say this Anon::If they are paying Mac "ANYTHING ITS TO MUCH"!

September 24, 2009 8:16 AM
___________________________________
The Salary:

The salary is pretty hefty even if it is in the so called "low range" for a "part time preacher" who is away from his pulpit on a regular basis, in addition to his paid vacation time and of course the ever famous "Brunson Family" travel trips.

And his new policy upon his arrival was to close the church doors on Holiday's (to be with family)

In the past the church doors were never closed on Holiday's, even when we had a Hurricane, the door was open and people came.


Mediator Hater said...
You, whomever you are, are the very reason people have decided they are going the "home church" route . . .actually I really feel sorry for you, words say a lot about your heart - hate is a powerful word, and really not a good opener for what you want to say. Nice try, but didn't work!

Anonymous said...

Anon. 7:40: "you are a bunch of malcontents"......

Well, buddy, did you know that women tithe also. So, I wouldn't make them too mad if I were you...And as we have heard there are some households where the WOMEN pay the bills and write the checks.....

Point being WHY, would a preacher, any preacher, not publish his salary. Especially when the church he serves (?) pays for his salary. He is after all an EMPLOYEE. I know that is painful for these elevated egos to admit, but they are EMPLOYEES. And the Bible refers to their position as a SERVANT. Try telling that to a preacher of "stature". How many people that are employers do not know how much they pay their employees? Not good business tatics in any venue. Why go to such extremes to HIDE the salary and perks figure. If it is so REDUCED then maybe the members will feel sorry for him and give him more. NO???? Well then the only reason to HIDE the figure is he and a few others know he (whomever) is basically OVER COMPENSATED, (otherwise, known as ripping off). IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY!!! Most of these servants(?) know if the church membership really knew the figures, they (preachers and family) might hit the "retirement" stage early.

Anonymous said...

Stick for seeking "true" revival Tom. Do your version of the "95 thesis." I came across something last night called the Didache that you could base it on. It is not canonical but it is a creedal document that the early church used. This blog ain't enough.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Louis have you forgotten that Watchdog put out an Olive Branch when he called the church about his wife attending the missionary conference. I don't think the church wants to settle anything peacefully. They want total vendication for THEIR pastor who brought in the law in the first place. Isn't that what all of the "Whereas"s" in the Whereas Resolution was about.

September 22, 2009 5:09 PM


I did not see an olive branch in any form, rather an attempt by Mr. Rich to get what he wanted regardless of the rules in place at the church. An olive branch would have been to commit to shut down the blog and offer opportunity to find restoration and a promise to shut down the blog, regardless if the church wanted to find restoration or not. Right now it seems Mr. Rich is only willing to close shop if the church bows to his demands.

Of course I am one who believes that Mr. Rich is more guilty of defaming Mr. Brunson in that, he has allowed Mr. Brunson to be called much worse names than Mr. Brunson called Mr. Rich. How so? Well, not a single post gets published on this blog unless Mr. Rich OK's it. Therefore he must choose what comments are made and what comments are left unpublished. Therefor the comments are his responsibility and he is accountable for them.

Anonymous said...

"The only one that admits to any experience is Matt and if I remember correctly, he doesn't even attend church."

Does anyone out there remember a conversation on this topic several threads back? Does anyone remember me being accused of this crime once before and my response? I remember it but am not sure what thread it is on. But no matter because that is not what matters to the anonymous who wrote this comment. The point was to paint me as anti Church. I am pro Body of Christ.

Matt

Just a note, friend: You are not helping Mac but you are helping Tom with your comments. Most likely you cannot see that.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon says: " An olive branch would have been to commit to shut down the blog and offer opportunity to find restoration and a promise to shut down the blog, regardless if the church wanted to find restoration or not. Right now it seems Mr. Rich is only willing to close shop if the church bows to his demands."

Again, another misread of this article.

I'm not offering to close this blog down. I'm not demanding anyone "bow" to any demands in exchange for this blog to shut down. Ralph Cooper has given his own views on what he thinks could happen to resolve the legal matters and get the blog closed down, and I'm glad he has.

Anonymous said...

9:24 blog. "I did not see an olive branch in any form".

Really! What you call an olive branch, by your own admission, would be, "commit to shut down the blog and offer an opportunity to find restoration and promise to shut down the blog.,regardless of if the church wanted to find restoration or not". That would be milk and bread at YOUR price. So, just forget the trespass notice, the slander in the newspaper, the treatment of Mrs. Rich and on and on. I guess you would like that!!!! And what shelf do you keep your Bible on?

Anonymous said...

I have decided I would rather keep my money and eat out a lot, rather than give it to any preacher so he can eat out a lot!

Anonymous said...

DOG - I'm not offering to close this blog down. I'm not demanding anyone "bow" to any demands in exchange for this blog to shut down. Ralph Cooper has given his own views on what he thinks could happen to resolve the legal matters and get the blog closed down, and I'm glad he has.

So:

1 - You do not desire reconciliation?

2 - You desire to be heard, regardless of relationships?

3 - You do not agree with Ralph Coopers opinions, even though you are glad he shared them?

Am I misreading your comments?

Anonymous said...

Matt, I remember. Absolutely.

Matt I love to read your posts and I always look forward to them. There are so many excellent posts from astute, thoughful people on this blog but you are the best, hands down.

We don't listen to the FBC Deacons ERRRR Mac-Supporters. We know what they are about. You know, when you are so defeated and flat-out can't win an "argument," attack the oppeonents character; and then be sure to repeat it ad infinitum like so much propaganda.

Matt you are the best. I wish you would start your own blog. You really need your own forum where you can expand on your sound thought, share more of your experiences and wisdom.

WD, thanks for allowing me the space on your blog to hand these bouquets to Matt. I think you are great, too. Tremendous blessings to you WD!

Anonymous said...

Mediator HATER talking about showing love?? WHAT?? Are you kidding me??? Aahhhrrrggg, life in this flipped-flopped world...that is the only way something like that could make "sense."

Bro./Pastor Rod H. said...

"Of course I am one who believes that Mr. Rich is more guilty of defaming Mr. Brunson in that, he has allowed Mr. Brunson to be called much worse names than Mr. Brunson called Mr. Rich"

September 24, 2009 9:24 AM

Anon please refrain from vague accusations and specify what derogatory terms have the bloggers used about Mac that compare to what Mac himself called Dr.Dog!

Anonymous said...

Mediator HATER talking about showing love?? WHAT?? Are you kidding me??? Aahhhrrrggg, life in this flipped-flopped world...that is the only way something like that could make "sense."

September 24, 2009 10:42 AM

It made perfect sense to the Pharisees, too. After all, the little people were to love others. But the Pharisee only had to chide others for not loving more. Especially everything they said and did. The commands did not apply to them, either.

(There is not a lot of logical thinking in SBC land among the followers of the celebrities. that is why you see so much cognative dissonance)

G. Casey said...

Tom, are going to post on what is needed for true revival and do a "95 thesis?"

Anonymous said...

WD, How can you prove that Brunson slandered you?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Oh brother.

1 - You do not desire reconciliation?

I would love reconciliation. But am not hopeful. I believe their actions, from the very beginning, starting at 11/28/08 when they showed up at my doorstep with a letter, and refused to meet any reasonable conditions for a meeting, showed they are not interested in reconciliation, not one single bit. So while I would love reconciliation, I am realistic and know how miniscule the probability is.

2 - You desire to be heard, regardless of relationships?

Don't know what you mean. And don't really care what you mean.

3 - You do not agree with Ralph Coopers opinions, even though you are glad he shared them?

Ralph is not giving so much his opinions on which I can agree or disagree. He has put forth a plan, a recommendation, which I think is a reasonable plan. Yes, I'm all for people sharing a plan for reconciliation...just like you gave your plan: shut down the blog, apologize to Mac and the world, and all will be well. I'm glad you shared your plan.

Am I misreading your comments?

Yes, you tend to do that.

Anonymous said...

Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

2 Sunday nights ago Brunson yelled from the pulpit, I'm not accountable to anyone.

It is obvious by many of the comments on here that many at FBC Jax believe what he said is true. They also appear to believe that if you are in 'any' serving position in the church that is applies to them as well.

Folks, it is in your Bible! We are all accountable to one another.

I have yet to see anyone be able to defend this:
Brunson wrote in his Pastors Guidebook NOT to accept expensive gifts, live in executive homes, or drive luxury cars.

Why is it ok for him to do this while he is instructing other pastors NOT to do it?

In the same book he says that if a pastor has an unhappy church member to meet with them PERSONALLY. Brunson turned down 2 opportunities to do just that.

Why is it ok for him to do this while he is instructing other pastors NOT to do it?

Why is it ok for him to say loudly that he is accountable to no one when scripture clearly states we all are?

It is such a shame!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
WD, How can you prove that Brunson slandered you?

September 24, 2009 11:05 AM

===================================

HERE'S JUST ONE ANSWER OF PROOF!

Thousands of subscribers to the Florida Times Union read the front page headlines article, with the "slanderous" comments from the local pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida.

Then a 2nd article was in the Florida Times Union with another "slanderous" comment was made by former Judge Soud.

Personally, monetary award aside, I believe a sucessful suit (on the above alone) would send a signal to Preachers and other responsible parties (with huge egos) that such shoddy and irresponsible actions are unacceptable.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

2 Sunday nights ago Brunson yelled from the pulpit, I'm not accountable to anyone.

It is obvious by many of the comments on here that many at FBC Jax believe what he said is true. They also appear to believe that if you are in 'any' serving position in the church that is applies to them as well.

_________________________________

Yes, true statement, heard it myself, said he didn't care how(we) the people felt, only cared what God feels and responsible to Him.

Believe this was also the sermon where he injected the reason for the need to develope a church discipline policy.

Anonymous said...

Now that Mac has announced that he is accountable to noone perhaps you should take legal steps to have him committed.

Dee said...

Anonymous said: (9/24, 7:40 am)

"Then you accept the infallible words of the two Wart Women. What a joke! They are nothing but two disgruntled women with way too much time on their hands and have tried to fashion themselves as experts on anything to do with a church.

Keep up the comments. They prove our point that you are a bunch of malcontents."

ANONYMOUS,

(1) Yes, we really are experts.

(2) We prefer to be called the "Wartburg Wenches".

(3) You have our hormonal status incorrect. Only one of us is menopausal, but that could change tomorrow. Who knows? Instead of hot flashes, we have power surges...

(4) Not only do we have time, but we have LOTS of resources.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Has anyone heard any mention of this on any news or radio program? I haven't. I wrote to numerous FOX News people, Rush, and others 2-3 weeks ago but have received no reply, nor have I heard but one person mention it publicly. Steve Gaines mentioned it during his sermon last night and denounced it. Thank you for that, Bro. Steve!

It will be interesting to see if FOX or the MSM covers this story tomorrow and if Barack Obama shows up for this event after cancelling the White House ceremony for the National Day of Prayer earlier this year so as not to "offend" anyone. Well, Mr. President, I am offended by this! And I vote.

Richard said...

Anon 11:31

"2 Sunday nights ago Brunson yelled from the pulpit, I'm not accountable to anyone."

You're joking, right?

Anonymous said...

Regarding whether one is accountable or not: Matt:12:36: "But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement". vs.37: "For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by they words thou shalt be condemned".

Rom: 14:12: "So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God".

Two other interesting passages on being accountable are to be found in Luke chp.l6 vs.1-3, regarding stewards. Could apply to stewards of the word.
Acts 19: vs.38-40 interesting perspective on the law and accountability.

So, it looks like we are ALL accountable even preachers.

Anonymous said...

I worry about churches with pastors that have personal agendas. That use the pulpit as a platform as a bully pulpit, striking out at any who might disagree or oppose their agenda. In contrast to the loving pastor that is accountable to God for preaching HIS WORD and feeding the sheep under his care. I personally don't like being under a man preaching his opinion and getting paid for it. I trust the Bible and the man that preaches it, alone.

1 Timothy 2 vs.5 "For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus".

Anonymous said...

HERE'S JUST ONE ANSWER OF PROOF!

Surley you have more proof than that. I am sure you or one of these perfect bloggers had to hear him say that or have it recorded or something. You wouldn't be so foolish to file a lawsuit based on a news acticle would you?

Ralph Cooper said...

Because of some of the posts here and on another blog have accused me of not having been in church leadership and of hating pastors, let me answer as follows:

I have been a Christian and a member of a Baptist Church for over 50 years. I have been a deacon in four churches in three cities, and the vice chair of the deacons in two. I have been the personnel committee chair in one, on the budget committee in two and the vice chair of the budget committee in one. I have served on the missions committee in two. I taught a Sunday School for several years, taught courses on Baptist distinctives, been a congregational song leader (four years, two services each Sunday), and have led a youth choir.

In every church where I have been a member or have served, I have been a supporter of the pastor. When I have disagreed with the pastor, I have been able to go to the pastor, explain my disagreement, and we either have agreed or have agreed to disagree amicably; sometimes I have changed my position and sometimes the pastor has changed position on the matter. In the churches where I have been a member, there has been only one time that I thought that the pastor should leave the church, and that was because of a sexual indiscretion on his part.

My spouse and I moved into a “majority-minority” area intentionally, in one of the poorer neighborhoods, because we can minister here and help to stabilize the community; I office out of my home to save costs. I am active as a community volunteer, tutored fifth grade math in a neighborhood school, participate in a Community Race Relations Coalition, etc. I chaired the school bond campaign; it passed with a 60/40 vote.

As an attorney, I devote about 35% of my time helping people who will not be able to pay and another 30% of my time for people who will pay me $25 or $50 a month, no interest, for representing them. A lot of my work comes to me from the child support court or the Family Abuse Center. I also help churches and other non-profits with organizational and personnel issues. My law practice is my primary ministry to the least of God’s beloved.

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight. A pastor does not owe accountability to anyone. Well that is much better than the President, Senator, Congressional member, governor, mayor, city council member, sheriff, deputy, school teacher, principal, CEO, SR VP, Ex VP, VP. AVP, Director, Sr Manger, Manager, Asst Manager, Supervisor, Asst. Supervisor, etc,etc, etc. Man let me have one of those positions. Ain't it great to have such authority and no one to challenge them...Scheeseeees!
It's also good to know that the pastor doesn't owe accountability to anyone, because, that means I don't have to give him money. Cause I don't give money to anyone that is not forthcoming and accountable. Question: Did he really say he isn't accountable to anyone? Hard to believe. Well,what about all of those Bible verses that say he IS accountable. What body of water is that he walks on?

Dee said...

Ralph

That should cause a lot of "posturing" Christians to stop and think. You challenge me in your day to day life and your kindness to all. Thank you for raising the level of dialogue.

Gotta go-I feel one of the "flashes coming on!"

Anonymous said...

Ralph Cooper, I'm impressed. I hope the naysayers who post here also will be more open to your ideas.

stt said...

Dr. Cooper,

This blog was set up anonymously and for a specific purpose. Aside from you, Deb, Dee, and the presumed FBC members, there are less than 25 regular posters. Of those 25, it is reasonable to conclude that several of them are relatives or very close to Tom.

Tom might have reached out to the Pastor in private as you indicated that you have done. There is nothing wrong with that approach and certainly appreciated and more welcome than bringing the situation to a public bulletin board.

The church leadership has a responsibility to keep the church safe. If safety becomes an issue then all bets are off. There are some pretty credible people that have said publicly that security was an issue at the time that the Watchdog blog began. I do not draw any conclusions or accuse anyone of anything, I am only stating the facts.

One of the lessons that I have learned from observing this unfold is that there is no guarantee of privacy. You have the right to free speech as long as you are willing to accept the consequences of your words.

Unless everyone is lying about the security issue, then there is some justification for using a law enforcement agency to investigate. I remind you that no one knew that Tom was the blog editor at that time and therefore no one could possibly have accused him of involvement or drew any conclusions. If someone gets hurt in the process of eliminating the problem, then he might have to get fixed and made whole.

I cannot reason out why Tom's identity became public knowledge. According to Tom, information was released from certain deacons. I am surprised and disturbed about that part. I hope that trusted deacons know better than that. I hope that is a misunderstanding and there is some other source.

It seems that the biggest hurt or injury to the FBC side was that Tom was trusted. Tom is not without fault in this matter and many of his wounds are self inflicted.

When you decide to take a public position on any matter there is going to be a cost. If you start an annonymous blog and start publishing grievances, and people get hurt, you might include that in your calculations of the cost. You have to know that people will act to defend themselves and you are in for a fight.

For what it is worth, I am somewhat embarassed by some of the posts from what appears to be FBC members. There is no need to ridicule this man. He has suffered and is well aware of the pain that he has inflicted on others. The best thing to do is to treat Tom with love and charity and pray for his healing.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Stt - number of regular posters, is relatively small. Number of regular readers is huge.

Spare us all the "we trusted Tom" mantra.

Because the issue was not and is not that you trusted me, but that the FBC Jax faithful trusted the leadership to not do what they have done.

The FBC faithful trusted the search committee and the trustees to find a suitable replacement for Vines and Lindsay.

We trusted Brunson that he would put the church's interests first. We trusted that he wouldn't come in and start using the church as a market to be tapped for family jobs and free land and consultants and stays on the beach and lavish office suites and trips on the Danube, and money trees and brand building on the INSP network. We trusted the trustees to find a bible expositor that would stick to the bible and not major on history and yelling and screaming. We trusted Brunson that when he traveled out of town he would not call us names like "hotbed of legalism", and that Paige Patterson wouldn't say we "tried to kill him". We trusted the trustees to watch out for the best interests of the CHURCH, not for the pastor.

You want to talk about breaches of trust, its all over the leadership of FBC Jax.

We trusted Brunson to do the right thing in a difficult situation. We trusted him not to use church discipline to bully and threaten people. We trusted that he would control his tongue, and not lash out and throw words like "obsessive compulsive" and "unstable" and "sociopath" to attack his critic - or that if he did he would apologize for it or at LEAST deny it if wrongly quoted. We trusted that he and his trustees wouldn't change the bylaws without one word of explanation when changing the conditions and rights of members. We expected him to live a life consistent with the books that he writes with regard to finances and lifestyle.

So go ahead and say that the poor church is a victim because they "trusted Tom". Make the claim that it was a huge security issue, as we shall hopefully soon find out in depositions.

And if all you say is true, then hurray for the lawsuits, as that will allow both sides to present their facts and give their story, and we'll let an impartial jury decide who is telling the truth.

No question, one must count the cost before they take action. That can be said of me, and it certainly can be said of the leadership and every action they have taken since last fall that has led us to this point.

Ralph Cooper said...

From my reading of the blog and other information, there was an attempt to contact Rev. Brunson that did not receive a response. The churches I have been involved in all have had pastors that were approachable by the membership, pastors that stood at the door to greet people leaving the service, who were rarely somewhere else on a Sunday, who strove to respond to notes, emails, etc., themselves, rather than delegating it all to a staff person and then ignoring it.

The largest church I have attended had about 1,000 in attendance on a good Sunday. It was one where I was not in leadership, and one where I confronted the pastor and he changed his position on a matter as a result. But he was accessible and willing to discuss my concern.

Anonymous said...

"Unless everyone is lying about the security issue, then there is some justification for using a law enforcement agency to investigate. "

Actually the security situation is usually exaggerated to the point of being ridiculous if you are an insider. But it plays well to the masses and allows the leaders to make certain decisions that benefit them such as very secluded and isolated offices.

And you might have a point EXCEPT the investigative documents were destroyed ONE day after the deadline. And we have no post office documents for the reported stolen mail.

So, besides the mail and the supposed stalker, they are no longer looking for, can you please outline for me the security threat from this blog?

Think long and hard about your answer because your answer could have serious consequences to those who blog against the actions of our president. Could he claim threats of violence from blogs that point out his wrong behavior and policies?

That is ultimately what this is about. If celebrity pastors and politicians get a special priviledge of not being subjected to pointed questions or crtisicm of their policies and behavior by bloggers what does that do to our Constitution? It shreds it.

If Mac's defense for his actions are because of serious threats to his safety then he would never have wanted those investigations destroyed. They would be his proof.
Because somehow, somewhere these incidents were reported. (Probably to Hinson) but where are the facts? The dates this took place? The description of the stalker?


Matt

Junkster said...

Bank Sends Sensitive E-mail to Wrong Gmail Address, Sues Google

Interesting article -- tangentially related to issues discussed on this blog, in that it deals with how difficult it can be to get a company like Google to reveal a user's identity via a civil suit (as opposed to a claim of possible criminal acts).

stt said...

Dr. Cooper,

If it is a fact that Tom attempted to discuss his issues with the pastor before he started the blog then that would definitely shed a different light on this matter. Given the extrordinary steps that led to the revealing of Tom's identity, I have my doubts. Apparently, no one suspected Tom before the investigation. None the less, perhaps I have missed an article somewhere that Tom made an attempt to contact the Pastor?

Anonymous said...

STT,

Great post. Finally someone is showing some sense on here and telling the truth. I totally agree that most of the posters (probably 20 at the most) are relatives or friends of Tom and then there are the two Wartburg Women and that defies explanation.

I doubt seriously that Tom ever tried to reach and meet with Mac. That's just a smokescreen if he says he did. He has blogged with malicious intent and is now reaping the rewards of his behavior. He loves to paint himself as some maligned hero but other than his 20 relatives, we all know better.

What a sad and pathetic sight to see a grown man so obsessed with Mac. I tend to think he is a sociopath and Mac was correct in his statement.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

It never ends. More sociopath comments. Now even trying to say its all just the family posting here anyways.

How sad. And pathetic.

Anonymous said...

Mac is clearly out of control. It's time for him to go and to take all his hacks with him.

However, it appears they are not finished looting the Bank of FBCJ yet or cleaning out the wallets of its members.

Anonymous said...

It never ends. More sociopath comments. Now even trying to say its all just the family posting here anyways.

How sad. And pathetic.

September 25, 2009 8:06 AM
___________________________________

Dear Stt said:

I find it interesting you have taken an "inventory count" with your assessment that it is only "family and friends" that post on this blog.

You are so very wrong whomever you are . . thanks for exposing your insights, but you are VERY WRONG,

The only part you got right was "family" as indeed we are brothers and sisters in Christ, who are defending a brother who was treated unjustly just because he expressed opinions in a nameless blog . . .no different than you have stated your opinion under the identity of Stt said.

Sincerely,
Family Member ONLY Under The Blood of Christ.

Anonymous said...

As a former FBCJax member (1973-1982), former Baptist Preacher (Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary) and mentored by Homer Sr and Jr, I am appalled at what is happening at FBCJax.

I wish that I were surprised but am not. There were signs of going down the road of a desire for fame and riches even during the later years that Dr. Vines was there. The church seemed to lose its passion for the gospel and compassion for people over the past 10-15 years.

Now, looking in from the outside it seems very clear that what is happening is far from the New Testament model and direction for THE CHURCH.

BTW, I was a member of Bellevue when a student in Memphis and am greatly saddened by what is happening there, too.

Anonymous said...

Stt Said:

Since you brought up the family issue, we all know that the chairman of the discipline committee's daughter is married to the son of Judge Soud . . .Mmmmm!

And the young son of one of the prominent reverands downtown is the pastor at the new beach campus . . .Mmmmm!

As the song goes "We Are Family"

BTW, just too make sure you know, I would like to add that I am not a member or personal friend of the Rich family!

Anonymous said...

stt, with regard to he thinking of the church and why it would have asked law enforcement to get involved, your comment provides an interesting perspective. I have tried to guess or imagine what the thought processes were, but you are the first person on this blog to give a rational explanation from that side.

I am not saying that I agree with you on that issue or the others you raised, but I do appreciate your calm and rational explanation.

the thing that baffles me in many church dispute matters is the relationship between the dissenters and the congregation that objects to the dissenter's ideas. all of the heat is usually expressed toward the pastor or leadership. but it seems to me in most cases that the congregation overwhelmingly backs the leadership. This has interesting implications that are not often adequately explored or discussed,.

Take care.

Louis

Lydia said...

Old Louis is at it again:

"I am not saying that I agree with you on that issue or the others you raised, but I do appreciate your calm and rational explanation."

Note the subtle implication that Louis is neutral BUT that those who agree with Tom are irrational and not calm. Good job, Louis, on planting those seeds! Your comrades must be proud.

"the thing that baffles me in many church dispute matters is the relationship between the dissenters and the congregation that objects to the dissenter's ideas. all of the heat is usually expressed toward the pastor or leadership. but it seems to me in most cases that the congregation overwhelmingly backs the leadership. ,."

Why is this curious, Louis? The majority of Germans backed Hitler because they liked what he said and stood for. Did that make him right? The majority voted for Obama, too. What does that tell you?

Every marketing professional knows that if you want fame and fortune to sell your message to the masses. Not the classes.

"This has interesting implications that are not often adequately explored or discussed"

Do tell us, Louis. Explore them for us here. You can start with STT's focus on security.

Anonymous said...

"Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood, you are not my disciples." It's IN DA BOOK! It's in the NEW Testament, too. In red letters even. So I guess it doesn't "say what it means and means what it says." Right? But oh, it sure does when we want to use the scripture to control others. Wake up, ye kool aid drinkers.

Anonymous said...

An olive branch would have been to commit to shut down the blog and offer opportunity to find restoration and a promise to shut down the blog, regardless if the church wanted to find restoration or not. Right now it seems Mr. Rich is only willing to close shop if the church bows to his demands.
__________________________________\

KNOW YE ALL THIS FACT: If Mr. Rich EVER shuts down this blog. Mine will be starting the same day! And I am not as nice as Mr. Rich. :)

Anonymous said...

"If Mr. Rich EVER shuts down this blog. Mine will be starting the same day! And I am not as nice as Mr. Rich."


YESS!!!! Thanks for your support and standing for truth, integrity and accountabilty.

Hey Baptist Mafia - You CANNOT silence the masses!

Anonymous said...

I am a member of FBC Jax (on my way out). I am not related to anyone in the Rich extended family. I am not a personal friend; have never met the Riches. I am family in Christ. I have posted comments on more than one occasion.

Does that help clear up at least one in the "headcount"?

Anonymous said...

Anon whomever you are @ 7:34a.m.: I have blogged on here previously and can tell you I do not know nor have ever met Tom or any of his family, however, I do support his right of privacy and first amendment rights, regardless of what you believe. You have obviously the attitude that someone who has an opposing viewpoint is wrong. This is what makes America great...wake up to reality. Also, what do you have against women? You must have had your feelings hurt sometime in the past by a woman, as you have no respect for their opinion either. Is this the best defense the church has to offer?

Arce said...

Likewise, I am not a member of Mr. Rich's biological family, extended family, etc., and only of the family we both belong to by adoption through the blood of Christ by the God of love.

A few weeks ago, I elected to consider myself a friend of Mr. Rich, although I have never laid eyes on him. I like what he stands for, and would be honored to be considered a friend.

Anonymous said...

A few months ago I came upon this blog in my research on spiritual abuse. I was fascinated by the history of what happened to this blogger. I have visited the church site, blogs connected to FBC Jax and read comments here on all sides as well as media accounts. My sympathies are with Mr. Rich though I have never met him and live in a different state. If I had even been a neutral party, the overwhelmingly caustic tone of his opponents would have nudged me over to his side anyway.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Arce 1:11: Thanks Uncle Steve

Anon 1:43: Thanks Cousin Harold

I sure appreciate my family posting their words of support.

:)

Lydia said...

Arce 1:11: Thanks Uncle Steve

Anon 1:43: Thanks Cousin Harold

I sure appreciate my family posting their words of support.

:)

September 25, 2009 1:48 PM

BWAHAHAHA!

Hey, I have an Uncle Steve and an Uncle Harold, too! Ya think we are related?

Anonymous said...

Lydia,

I do find that STT gave a calm and rational explanation from the church side on that one issue.

It's too bad all of the comments on here on calm and rational, even if we disagree with them.

I have never left a church under a bad circumstance or had a big problem with the leadership or the congregation's support of the leadership.

I saw recently where I think that you mentioned that you and your husband were teaching a class and either left the church or were asked to leave the church. I think I read that right.

What was the situation (you don't have to name names)? How did you and your husband feel toward the congregation vs. the pastor or lay leadership?

That's what I was wondering about, but since I have never been through it, I don't know. And in the church disputes that I have followed over the years, the dissenter's feelings toward the congregation really were not discussed, even though it was pretty clear that the congregation was as opposed to the dissenter as the pastor was.

You might have some good insights, and I would enjoy hearing them. If I have your situation confused with someone else who comments on blogs, please forgive me.

Also, your analogy of Hitler, Germany and the Nazis to churches is inapposite, at least in my experience.

The churches that I have been members of had very smart and independent thinkers that made up the lay leadership and congregation. But I cannot speak to your experience.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Never met the WD in my life, but I'd love to. As a matter of fact, I live about 4 states away. But I do have a dog in this fight since I sat under Mac for 2 yrs at a previous church. To all of the deacons,members of Mac's family and other hangers-on that post their ugly comments here, I can feel for what the WD is going through.

Anonymous said...

I am in no way related to the Rich's, nor have I ever met them. I do support his efforts and I do appreciate his braveness in keeping this blog., open. Thank you Mr. Rich! But, I can tell you the "treatment" the Rich's received, although theirs became public, was not a new tactic for this church. If one dared to disagree with the powers on the throne there, then the campaign started againt you. This was not the case under the Lindsays, I must say. The Lindsays were good people and would never have tolerated the goings on that have come about now.

To Former FBC member/preacher under the mentoring of the Lindsay's: You hit the nail on the head! This church started really losing it's way after the Lindsay's were gone. There was some negative influence prior, that was held in check until Dr. L.,Jr., died. Some of us saw it coming. It was ripe for what is happening now. Indeed it is so very sad, especially to those of us who helped build the church, to the place that Christ was once edified and the reason for the church in the first place. When I think of bringing lost people to the service where Jesus was preached EVERY SERMON. Seeing so many through the years come to salvation, where the members showed love to each other and the lost; I get really sad that it is gone now. I remember feeling during the invitations given that the Lord was working in the lives of the people in a mighty way. You had to be there then, to understand what the difference is now. Unfortunately, people like me are not wanted there anymore. I was one of the several taken down by the "other" element. I was treated hatefully and maybe when the time is right, I will tell my story. I am sure some there and elsewhere, really hope I don't.

Dee said...

We read about Tom's situation in various news stories. We are interested in how churches handle conflict. We planned to start our blog two years ago. Until that time, I had never had any problems in any of my churches. I served in ways too numerable to mention. My original goal was to look at current news from the vantage point of the faith.

However, something suddenly happened at my church involving a pedophile. The church's response cold and uncompassionate to a bunch of boys that were badly hurt. And then, we found out that a couple of people in leadership had been told about some sexual behavior by this man one year prior to his arrest and decided not to act on it because "it couldn't be true because the guy was a seminary student."

So, we decided to confront the issue. What ensued was a God given, difficult experience. I would never have believed that pastors and leadership would react in such a manner.

Suddenly, these stories I had been reading about took on new meaning. So, we are contacting folks and writing their stories because they need to be told. We intend to do lots more than just that. We just don;t write the stories, we find ways to intervene and will do so here as well. Stay tunes.

I have never met Tom, I don't live in Florida. But, he is my brother in the faith. FBC Jax has lost its way and it is evident in the people from the church that post here. This should concern the "my church is always right and my pastor is above reproach"type of people. After reading extensively, I believe FBC has major problems. And I am a Christian. Can you imagine what the national media will see?

Stop this path you are on, FBC and resolve it. It really is quite easy.

Anonymous said...

At first they said the blog had no credibility because it was anonymous. But then they outted the man and his readership and credibility skyrocketed.

Then they tried to slander him behind closed doors, but their "destroyed" subpoena was "found" and their deeds were exposed.

Then they went public to discredit him in the local media to try to get people not to read his remarks, or to discount them as coming from an unstable person.

Now they try to say that only his family supports him and about 20 people read his blog.

The question remains: If Tom is an unstable coward with no credibility who only has the support of his family...then why the need to out him and shut him down? And why the need for a deacon's resolution? And why the changed by-laws to form a discipline committee? And why the trespass warnings against him and his wife?

I don't see how these two positions can be logical. They should be saying how credible the blog is, how truthful Tom has been, how widely read and influential it is, and that is why he had to be stopped.

To steal a line from Mac: Anyone trying to shut down the drummer's blog? No? I didn't think so.

stt said...

Tom might be a victim of circumstances. The church leadership might have become a bit bored or frustrated with an anonymous blogger who was unhappy.

I took some time to read some early posts of this blog and it seems that many programs that FBC leadership implemented were challenged. The watchdog wrote of the Southside Campus, the Academy, the changing of administration, Pastor Brunson accepting a land gift, and other events that are now history.
I really do not see anything that would lead me to the conclusion that Mac is in this for the money. I think that Mac is all for his sermons getting out over cable. Compared to some of the healthy and wealthy types I will take a Mac sermon any day.

If anything, Mac has proven his ability to execute amid controversy. That is a very valuable executive trait. In addition to the successful role out of the Southside campus and the Academy, I would say that the church is amongst the best in training Christians from the nursery to the nursing home and everything in between. Mac has recruited some of the best pastors that you could ever want to meet, as well.

Mac has proven himself a pastor worthy of leading a church the size of FBC. He brings a great sermon and the church continues to record souls won. His history lessons might be an indulgence, but I like them. I see many members waving and smiling and there is a general feeling of optimism and good morale.

As best I can tell, Pastor Brunson is very approachable and personable and if I had a pastor type problem, I would feel very comfortable in speaking with him.

I just think that it is important for people to know that there are some undeniable shortcomings. However, the good in that church is undeniable and remarkable.

I have not seen any evidence that Tom tried to speak with anyone in leadership before launching this blog. That is troubling.

I think that the church should just ask for the bill of your stated damages and send you a check and have a special prayer for you. I bet that if the leadership thought that would satisfy you, then probably they would have already settled and "shaken the dust."

This is my last post. Go in peace brother.

Anonymous said...

At a previous job, I worked for a social services agency that required a particular number of hours of training for the employees. The training was required by law because of the source of the agency’s grants. Sometimes we had to take training that was not directly related to our job to be able to reach the minimum for the year. They were not useless classes, just not always directly in line with our job description.

I worked in an administrative area of the organization and had no contact with our clients, but I took some classes related to working with the clients to keep up my hours. One such class was a rape prevention course. This class was one of the best courses I have ever had. It talked about the percentage of men that are raped (that’s right, it does not happen to women exclusively) and the subject of date rape. I felt that this class was God’s intervention for me, as I had been date raped at the age of 17. The class was very healing for me because I had felt blame and shame for 20 years. I learned that my reactions during the act were quite typical. If only someone had given me this class as a teen, I would have been able to avoid the rape. I could not imagine someone I knew and trusted could do such a thing. I was ill equipped to deal with the situation. At the very least, this information would have healed my spirit for all of the years of pain and embarrassment.

At the time of this training, I had a 15 year-old daughter. I passed this information along to my daughter to prevent the same thing happening to her. Being involved in leadership at that time, I thought about how important it was to arm all of our young people at FBC Jax with this self-preservation skill. I went to others higher in leadership to give them the name of the non-profit organization that would give this class to our high schoolers for free. What an opportunity we had to empower our youth.

I was told that under no circumstances would they provide that training or even hand out information where our youth could attend this training off church property. I was told that it was too unseemly of a subject matter to be appropriate at church. For those that have never been to FBC Jax, let me tell you that there are a large number of home schooled kids where the youth groups are their only social contact and the only forum where some of these kids can get a class like this. Where else would these kids get this information?

While I agree that the subject matter is “unseemly”, ignorance caused it to happen to me. Sometimes we have to tell our kids some horrible things about the world to keep them safe. The class of which I was speaking was given by Children’s Crisis Center – which gears the class toward the young. It is not sex education and it was not done in poor taste.

As appalling as the church leadership’s response was to this suggestion, I found the aftermath to add insult to injury. I became persona non grata. I began to notice a shunning of sorts. People smiled and asked me how I was doing, but wanted to have no conversation. I was no longer invited to socialize among many of the women. People talked about me behind my back. “This must have been the reason that my husband left me for another woman! The divorced woman that wants to discuss sexually related topics with our youth.” Wow. Just. Wow. By the way – to inform the ignorant – rape is not about sex, it is about violence and control.

During this time, Tiffany Croft was in the youth group with my kids. My question is:

Tiffany – don’t you wish the church could have given you a rape PREVENTION course to prepare you before you encountered Darrell Gilyard?

I wish they had…

Lydia said...

"I saw recently where I think that you mentioned that you and your husband were teaching a class and either left the church or were asked to leave the church. I think I read that right."

Louis, I am surprised at you. As a professional I would think you would copy and paste your proof that I made such a comment.

But I do not recall ever saying my husband and I were asked to leave a church. And I do not recall ever being asked to leave any church I have attended. Perhaps you could search for the comment and post it here.

But, I have NO doubt you have gotten along famously with every leader you have ever met in church or business. (wink)

Dee said...

Egads Tom

They don't answer the questions. The land gift is history; Mac is a great executive; No answer to the discrepancy between his book about the lifestyles of pastors and his book; no concern about the subpoenas, the RCC comments, etc. STT was a hit man for Mac and did a "nice" job. All is hunky dory in La La Land. The best cradle to grave Christian training program- it sound like Karl Marx for Pete's sake.

These are the old SBC crowd and this breed is swiftly dying. The membership numbers are in free fall over the USA. STT and the rest are living examples of the underlying stagnation in the SBC. Change needs to take place. The outside world is looking in and is confused. Are these pastors or executives? The problem is it seems like his apologizers are confused about what he is as well.

To all FBC folks who have posted here: Thank you for excellent examples of hypocrisy and pathological naivete. You have a problem and it is time to face it.

Anonymous said...

STT 7:33 pm. I do not recall the two pastors who went to Watchdogs house removing their sandles nor shaking the dust from them. But, do recall their leaving the paperwork and not conversing at that moment in time. Your analogy of "shaken the dust" is inappropriate and ill advised then as well as today or anytime in the future.

What should have taken place initially was FOR THEM TO enter into the home and attempt to resolve an ISSUE that was before them, and never revealed to the Watchdog. The correct thing was for them to have gone into the house not "shake their sandles". Matt 10:14 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet".

Lastly, the meaning of this verse deals with a non-believer rejecting salvation offered by a witness to the truth. Watchdog is a believer not a non-believer. Big difference here.

Anonymous said...

Well you would expect them to know the verse was speaking of nonbelievers?

Wow!
They think it's in the Bible that Brunson doesn't answer to any man.

Yes Brunson did say it.

Anonymous said...

STT Sums it up.
I have not seen any evidence that Tom tried to speak with anyone in leadership before launching this blog. That is troubling.

//

No one is going to the supreme court to argue constitutional law.

The argument is not over the decline of the SBC and every other denomination. (Maybe the problem is too many Christians beating each other up)

This is not a Theological study group.

This is the court of public opinion.


The question is whether Tom made any attempt at connecting with the church leadership before doing laundry?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Dee - yes, amazing isn't it?

The previous anon boils ALL of this down to the question of whether I went to leadership before starting this blog.

I've answered this numerous times, but will again.

Never sought a personal meeting with Brunson. Did send two anonymous emails that were very kind, identifying myself as a long-time member concerned with his actions during the first year, in hopes that he would address these issues openly and honestly with the church. Sent an email to Calvin Carr with my name on it, expressing concern over one particular decision of leadership.

Thankfully, not all people at FBC Jax have their head in the sand like sst and this other anon. Some know they are in for a rough road with Brunson at the helm, and the legal issues to come.

Anonymous said...

My apologies for having missed your answer in previous posts. You did not confront Dr. Brunson privately in a Christian manner before going public.

There you have it.

Watchdog does have something to apologize for after all.

Dr. Brunson may have some faults. Everyone has faults. Faults can be worked on and corrected.

It appears that the 2 major programs that Dr. Brunson initiated or picked up on,which are, the Southside Campus and the Academy are going along pretty well. I do not think that he has skipped a beat with regard to his pastoral duties in the process.

If anything, you should pray that FBC Jax continues reaching out to the Duval County community and even further out to the world. The satellite church may be the best idea going to reach more people. We will see.

The Wartburg ladies talk about the bigger picture with dwindling memberships in the SBC in general. Look at what is growing out there. Health and welfare preaching. Your mistake is that you are threatening to bring in the liberal media attention to this matter. Try bringing in a conservative minded radio talk host. We love our conservatives in this town.

I thank God that there is at least one conservative minded preacher. SBC could possibly cure its membership problems by promoting the "health and welfare" ministry.

Anonymous said...

"You did not confront Dr. Brunson privately in a Christian manner before going public."

Then Paul was in sin too for not confronting Peter in a "Christian manner" before publicly rebuking him for his sinful behavior. John too, with Diotrephes.

I guess you and Mac know more than Paul or John?

Where do you guys learn this stuff? Mac's behavior is public. He is a public teacher. He chose to be a celebrity. His offense was not against Tom personally ala Matt 18.

He is a hypocrite who writes one thing in a book and does the opposite!

His behavior was not biblical and Tom pointed it out for any who care to know. The reason you do not see it is because you allow yourself to be taught by guys like Mac who twist scripture for their own benefit.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - no, Brunson and Smyrl view the Diotrophes reference in 3 John to be referring to "church gossipers" who divide the church - when its clear Diotrophes was a powerful church leader who needed to be publicly rebuked. Smyrl preached a sermon on 3 John and Diotrophes earlier this year, that I blogged about, which you might find interesting. You can read it here.

Lydia said...

WD, this is the scripture twisting and proof texting that just wears me out in the SBC.

It is scary when you think of all the folks sitting there believing his interpretation without ever studying on their own.
But even then they tend to read into the scripture whatever the pastors says it says.

This helps to see how fooled people can become. How blind they are and how they can continue to believe wrong things

He could not be more wrong about that passage. He tried to make it fit a premise he wanted to use to control folks. Strange, this is what Diotrephes did, too.

Anonymous said...

I guess you and Mac know more than Paul or John?

//

Well I can tell you that Mac is no John and Tom is no Paul.

Paul did not act anonymously either in your example.

Anonymous said...

Lydia:

Then I was totally wrong. Forgive me. I thought I read something about a class that you and your husband taught etc. Must have been someone else.

You know, it's interesting. I have had great church experiences in my Christian experience. Don't think that I would join a church where the pastor was a goofball, or the lay leadership were goofballs.

But as we all know, it's easy for a goofball to end up in power. And then you're stuck with how to deal with him/her.

Take care.

Louis

Lydia said...

"Don't think that I would join a church where the pastor was a goofball, or the lay leadership were goofballs."

I guess that depends on your definition of goofball.

btw: I do not recognize 'lay leadership' as being Biblical. We are all in the "priesthood" if truly saved. There is no clegy/laity distinctions in the NC. Only gifts of the Holy Spirit which function in the Body of Christ and the spiritually mature as elders.

Lydia said...

Paul did not act anonymously either in your example.

September 26, 2009 1:52 PM

Then you had best discount the book of Hebrews.

Anonymous said...

//

Well I can tell you that Mac is no John and Tom is no Paul.

Correction:

John should be Peter..

Apologies

Dee said...

Anonymous

Who said that the liberal media will be contacted? The conservatives won't like this either. You have messed with journalistic freedom and the conservs will be miffed as well.

Anonymous said...

"I was told that under no circumstances would they provide that training or even hand out information where our youth could attend this training off church property. I was told that it was too unseemly of a subject matter to be appropriate at church. For those that have never been to FBC Jax, let me tell you that there are a large number of home schooled kids where the youth groups are their only social contact and the only forum where some of these kids can get a class like this. Where else would these kids get this information?"

I guess it goes without saying these kids know nothing of the Old Testament. It is much too seemly for the youth to read in context. Perhaps they are still showing them Veggie Tale stories. I know that is about the depth of many of of our SBC churches for adults!

Besides, they would just insist you forgive the member rapist and stop being bitter. Just sit further away from him at church. After all, he said sorry. And you are just a gal. You should expect it. You probably asked for it. (Have you not figured out this is how they think about girls) You know, boys will be boys. They worship macho there.

Didn't they have sexual pervert roaming the halls there at one time?

Anonymous said...

I have not seen any evidence that Tom tried to speak with anyone in leadership before launching this blog. That is troubling.
_______________________________

Excellent observation. Although the blog seems to be about many things, the most basic, fundamental issue is the one above. But why is troubling? Tom CHOSE to make his concerns and questions known to the pastor privately, via anonymous emails to the pastor. Mac CHOSE not to respond to them and attacked from the pulpit those who send such emails. Pretty simple really. Tom then CHOSE to blog anonymously to bring those issues out into the public arena for discussion to shed light on them and indirectly, force the leadership to respond. Again, mac CHOSE not to respond. Still, fairly simple. Unfortunately, Mac was persistent in fundraising and angry beating of the ship week after week, month after month, year after year, and Tom was just as persistent in pointing all of this out. NEITHER man was willing to talk with the other it seems, when either or both coulda shoulda woulda.

But the dynamic changed when the church used the JSO and State Attorney to find his identity. Then trespassed he and his wife instead of following Matthew 18. Then when Tom discovered how they did this, they scrambled and made up charges against him to try and justify their actions. Then they slandered him and tried to discredit him behind closed doors and in the hallways of the church and then in the local media. So, once the church used the legal system to hurt Tom, he used it too, to try and finally get answers to what they did and why they did it. Again, he CHOSE to use the justice system,just as Mac CHOSE to use the JSO and SAO.

But I can't blame them both equally because Mac has all the power, money, followers, and microphone every week. Tom has only his keyboard and opinions on the facts as he sees them.

Trying to blame Tom for this current mess is not logical, not biblical, not Christ like, and is just plain old inmaturity. It is not troubling. But the actions of Mac, Debbie, Blount, Soud and Hinson ARE troubling. And they will be accountable in state and federal courts of law.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Hebrews?

What is the correlation to Paul - Peter rebuke and the book of Hebrews?

Just curious.

Anonymous said...

Lydia:

I know that you do not believe in lay leadership. That is a fundamental disagreement that you and I have. It's o.k. for us to feel differently about that, however.

As for "goofballs", I think that you would be surprised on how close we would be at identifying them, or "goofball-like" behavior.

Louis

Lydia said...

"As for "goofballs", I think that you would be surprised on how close we would be at identifying them, or "goofball-like" behavior."

Why don't you give us some examples so we will know what YOU mean by goofball.

Anonymous said...

8:46 on 9-25-09....your comments have left me saying, yup, thats EXACTLY how they act. Seen it, experienced it, and know you are telling the truth.

I realize this is off topic of the original post, but as a former attendee back in the 70's of the "christian schools" in this area...let me just say, that NOW THAT THEY HAVE STARTED A SCHOOL in this church FBC JAX...they better prepare these kids for what they will encounter. I feel sorry for kids in Christian schools in this area. I pray to God their lives won't be ruined the way mine and others I know were. There were MANY.

THEY KNOW WHAT THEY DO. Those who are guilty in this city, sitting on the staffs of these Christian schools, on the staffs anywhere in the church, on the staffs of the janitorial crews, need I go on? THEY KNOW WHAT THEY"VE DONE AND WHAT THEY DO. PREPARE these kids for these people they will encounter. There is nothing more twisted than thinking as a young person you are encountering a Christian figure only to find out you encountered a wolf in sheeps clothing. They will need the preparation. And to 8:46 on 9-25....let me tell you something. I truly believe that there are some in the hierarchy of the Baptist church that don't want these kids trained on how to prepare themselves. They will lose their prey that way.

Not trying to scare anyone but I speak from total experience. There is a place in this city I can't even drive by to this day without a panic attack. A "christian" place. PREPARE YOUR OWN KIDS IF NO ONE WILL HELP YOU. 8:46 knows what shes talking about. They'll turn on you like a dog if you tell what happened to you. I know what I'm saying. Protect your family. I wish this weren't true.

Let's protect the church from the big bad blogger and let the snakes run free. (not that i agree with you fbcjax watchdog....but have mercy....you are not the worst I have seen)