"...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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Ed Stetzer: "Superman Pastors" and "Pay, Pray, and Get out of the Way" Mentality

Readers - the more I listen to Ed Stetzer, the more I really like this guy.

I recommend watching this video of a presentation on "missional leadership", delivered I believe at a conference of pastors in Oklahoma.

He makes some very on-target comments on the trend of "superman" pastors that is destroying the modern church (start 6:45 mark), and the trend of the "clergification" of the church which hinders God's work, and the lowly view that many "clergy" have toward their lay people that they should "pay, pray, and get out of the way" for the real men of God to minister.

All relevant comments for Watchdog readers.

He also address the trend of the "cult of personality" amongst pastors today:

Says Ed: "....what pastors lead people to is a cult of personality. 'You can come because I'm great, I'm Superman, I'm here, come follow me, you can listen to me here, you can read my stuff here, you can meet me here, I'm everywhere, I'm kind of a big deal, people know me, I have many leather bound books.' A cult of personality leads ultimately to a fall of the cult of personality."

Ed is definitely stepping on some toes. Good for him. Guys like this give me just a glimmer of hope that there are some guys in the upper echelon of the SBC that get it.

Would love to hear your thoughts after listening to Ed.

Missional Leadership from Ed Stetzer on Vimeo.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

"Who Chooses Who?" - A Sermon Series by Jimmy Scroggins

Readers - wanted to recommend to you a sermon series currently being preached by Jimmy Scroggins, pastor at First Baptist Church West Palm Beach.

It is entitled "Who Chooses Who?" and Scroggins deals with issues like predestination and the sovereignty of God versus the free will of man. Those who are interested in the current Calvinism debate in the SBC will find these extremely interesting, thought-provoking messages. He has preached the first two sermons in the series, with more to come in future weeks.

For those of you that don't know, Scroggins grew up at least in part at FBC Jacksonville under Vines and Lindsay, and completed his seminary education at Southern Seminary. You will find his preaching style very refreshing and down-to-earth. He doesn't mix in the convoluted history lessons and greek verb tenses and stories of himself - he is truly interested in preaching a simple, truthful message from the Bible that is practical and helpful to his congregation.

You can listen to Scroggins' sermons at their church website here.

You can view video of Scroggins' sermons here.

If you want to subscribe to Scroggins' podcast via I-Tunes, click here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Intolerant Christians Who Can't Stand Criticism of their Heros

It never ceases to amaze me how fundamentalist Christians can't see how their thin-skinned reaction to criticism wreaks of the same vindictiveness and hate that they criticise in Muslim extremists.

Sam Cook, sports writer for the Fort Myers News-Press wrote an article this week criticizing Tim Tebow for some of his Christian views. Also this week, USA Today religion writer Tom Krattenbaker wrote an article critical of Tebow and his dad, Bob Tebow. While I don't agree with either article, the point of my comments here is not what these guys wrote. Rather, its the reaction to their articles that is so telling of how fundamentalist evangelical Christians today bow up whenever criticism comes their way. Even Tebow's pastor, Mac Brunson of FBC Jacksonville, in one of his sermons used Tebow as an example of how Christians are persecuted in the media, referring to the Knoxville sports reporter who dared ask Tebow if he was a virgin. Tebow an example of Christian persecution? That's crazy. Tebow has received more favorable press in his college career than any other modern day Christian except perhaps Billy Graham. Tebow gets hundreds of favorable news stories in TV, radio, and print media - all well deserved in my opinion - but let a few people express contrary views about Tebow and the fundamental Christians will run around with their hair on fire ready to hang one lone critic.

Go read Cook's article. Then, browse the multiple pages of comments to his article, and you'll see what I'm talking about. Here's just a sampling of people attacking Cook, calling for people to cancel subscriptions and canceling advertising:

"...Did you happen to notice the lack of compassion Cook has demonstrated for the target (Tebow) he has chosen to assault."

"...my heart goes out to you and I just hope you will repent on your knees for attacking Christians"

"...I also cancelled my subscription. I am done. And the CSR I spoke to told me I was not the only one to cancel recently because of Sam Cook's article."

"...As I called the News Press to cancel my subscription and corporate advertising, I spoke to the editor. "

"Sam will one day give an account for his actions. The problem with America today is we have strayed from our roots. And people like Sam do not help. "

"While dancing on both sides of a 2 edged sword, Mr. Cook shows how ignorance is still bliss. "

"As I've said before, why should you expect anything less than leftist spewing from the news-press?"

"Sam Cook = Idiot. Look at the leadership that is out there?!!? Where do you get off, on throwing a person under the bus, that is doing his best to be a good role model. My son, could follow Tim's example any day, you however, I would only use your pitiful rantings as a journalist on the bottom of a bird cage."

And many more. What expressions of Christian love toward Cook. I'm sure Tebow is ashamed that those in the Gator nation, and his Christian brethren, are speaking like this over a little criticism coming his way.

Apparently the only unforgivable sin these days in the eyes of fundamentalist Christians is to criticize their religious leaders in a public forum. It will get you kicked out of the church, and Christians everywhere will heap burning coals on your head. Interesting - these people don't even excommunicate gays or molesters from their churches, but dare to criticize their pastor, or their legendary quarterback, and all the forces of hell, er, I mean Christianity, will come down on your head.

Come on Christians. If you won't follow your Bible in how to treat critics of your faith, then at least take your cues from Tebow - he is not concerned about criticism that comes his way. He lets it roll of his back and he keeps on truckin'. Why can't you?

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Watchdog Goes Idle for a While...

Readers - this will be my last post in a while. Events require that I take a break at least temporarily from blogging, probably through the month of October or longer, unless events during this period dictate otherwise.

Thank you to the contributors of this blog, those on both sides of the issues that have used this forum to discuss and debate important issues at FBC Jax.

In the meantime, until the next post, blessings to all.

Friday, October 2, 2009

FBC Jax Media Presents..."Trouble Clef"

video

Above is a fine ministry product put forth by the Media Pastor and media ministry at FBC Jax, a spoof about Jim Whitmire and the FBC Jax Choir. This is apparently the kind of thing the media department is working on at FBC Jax these days. On one hand, entertaining, but I guess I don't see the purpose.

But on the other hand, maybe this presents another marketing opportunity for increasing FBC Jax revenue. You have to admit this is a very well-done video product...couldn't the FBC Jax Media Pastor market these services to other churches? 99.9% of the churches don't have Media Pastors and production equipment like FBC Jax does, so why not make these services available to other churches - produce spoofs for them, for a market-based fee, of course? Send our crews out for a fee to produce videos of other pastor's Holy Land trips like they do for Brunson...produce spoofs of other church's trespass warning deliveries, deacon's resolutions, etc. The options are endless.

By the way, is the video crew going on the trip down the Danube next spring to video tape Brunson preaching on the deck of the "River Beatrice" during the "Danube River Trip with Mac and Debbie Brunson", as they did on the last "Holy Land Trip with the Brunson Family and Charlies Ryrie"? Ain't life grand?