"...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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving from the Watchdog

Happy Thanksgiving to all of the Watchdog readers and your families. Today marks exactly one year since events were set into motion that would thrust this blog into a greater spotlight when the FBC Jax administration and Discipline Committee delivered their list of 16 sins and trespass warnings, in the name of Christ Jesus, accusing this writer of "derogatory, devisive, destructive, demeaning, and subversive" conduct. Its been a strange year, and a sad one in many ways, since that evening Blount and King showed up at my door, one that I never imagined.

The blog will stay active for the near future. If you've been listening to Mac Brunson preach lately, you know that in his sermons he is readying his congregation for the upcoming lawsuits. He has been preaching on slander, gossip, his "stumble" in the newspaper last April, and more is sure to come. Discovery has begun in the lawsuits, depositions will begin early next year. In the short term I will be blogging about the doctrine of storehouse tithing that I began last week. I think you will find these articles VERY interesting and enlightening, probably a bit disturbing, but please check back and I welcome your discussion on this topic. I hope to shine a light on a heretical doctrine that some preachers in the SBC churches, even those very high in the SBC power structure, continue to preach even though they know or should know it is not biblical.

In the meantime, I wish you a very relaxing weekend with friends and family!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Catholic and a Baptist Unite in Friendship and Ministry

Read this story by Jeff Brumley in the Florida Times Union 11/18/09 about a Catholic and a Baptist who became good friends and actually prayed and studied the Bible together for years - and helped each man understand and appreciate each other's faith.

Not only that, but the two men shared a desire to minister to prisoners, and they served together in a prison ministry which was started in 1989 shortly after the men became friends.

Some interesting quotes from the article:

"One was a devout Catholic, loyal to his bishop and pope. The other's an Independent Baptist, bent on winning souls for Jesus and viewing Scripture and Christ as humanity's sole spiritual authority."

"But rather than trying to convert each other, during their weekly meetings they stuck to the outline of a Kairos prayer card that covered personal needs, sharing moments of closeness with Christ and insights from personal devotionals."

The story explains how each man's faith helped complete the other: the Baptist learning to be more concerned about social needs, while the Catholic seeing the importance of proselytizing.

The Catholic man, Ray Walker, died recently, and his friend, Ken Cooper, the Independent Baptist, delivered Walker's eulogy - inside St. Patrick's Catholic church where Walker worshipped.

Its great to see such a positive story in Jacksonville, of how two Christians with theological differences didn't let these be a barrier to their relationship - in fact to the contrary, each of their faiths complemented and completed the other's - and helped also to make more complete their respective Christian ministries.

The article contained a sidebar about how Walker's daughter says her dad's relationship with Cooper helped him be more accepting of her non-Catholic husband whom she married in 1986. "It made my dad look outside the Catholic religion and at other Christians without prejudice," his daughter said. "It helped him realize there were good men in every faith."

We need to see more of this in Jacksonville. Many preachers, on both sides, preach that they must convert the other Christian into their faith with no tolerance for doctrinal differences. As I posted on this blog just a few months ago, an example of this intolerant viewpoint was preached from Jacksonville's largest church, FBC Jacksonville. Dr. Jim Smyrl, preacher at FBC Jax, last December called the Catholic church a cult in his blog on the church website, then followed that up with a sermon in which he called for members of FBC Jax to confront their Catholic friends that they are "living a lie" and that they need to convert to the Baptists' beliefs and practices. Smyrl even went so far as to refer to a Catholic priest as a "cult leader" in one of his articles appearing on the church website last November.

Isn't it wonderful that Cooper wasn't listening to a Jim Smryl in the 1980's when he met his friend Ray Walker?

In the article, Brumley quotes the Rev. Robert J. McDermott, former pastor at Walker's Catholic parish: "Nowadays, people are a little closed-minded. They believe there's no salvation outside of their own religions, and Ray and Ken show that's not true."

Yes, I think McDermott is right on the money, and Smyrl is out in left field.

Cooper said: "There were doctrinal differences that would have separated us forever. God gave us the grace to overcome them."

Kudos to Jeff Brumley for sharing this positive story with the people of Jacksonville.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ronnie and Johnny: Doggone It, How Can We Spread the Gospel If the Sheep Don't Tithe?

As we continue looking at this doctrine of storehouse tithing, I thought I'd share with you a recent quote from Ronnie Floyd, pastor of First Baptist Church in Springdale, Arkansas, and the chairman of the SBC Great Commission Resurrgence Task Force. [Click here to go to Ronnie's personal online store to purchase his books and tape series. Click here to go to his church's website].

As reported by the Baptist Press 11/18/09, according to Ronnie Floyd one of the underlying problems in the SBC is that people aren't tithing:

"God tells individuals to tithe and honor Him with the first tenth and with offerings, but studies show the average evangelical gives 2.4 percent to all charities. How are we going to change the world with the Gospel when 98 cents of every dollar given stays in the churches and 98 cents of every dollar earned stays in the pocket of the member?" - Ronnie Floyd, 11/18/09

Another pastor, a prominent one at that, a mega church pastor, multi-campus pastor, who believes that the problem is THE SHEEP....gosh darn it, how can you expect us to reach the lost when you stupid sheep are keeping 98% of your income!! And as the article points out, Floyd's church contributes about 2.2% of their budget to the CP, so not sure what his point is about money staying in the churches.

Fact is, what churches have ALWAYS gotten, on average, for decades, is between 2 and 3 percent from their church members. Maybe the problem is not the percentage, since that hasn't changed, but its what church leaders have been doing with the dollars given. Big buildings, church marketing consultants, NAMB president personal coaches, large mega church pastor salaries and bennies, jobs for wife and family members, airfare to their speaking gigs, and on and on. Maybe, just maybe, the problem isn't with the sheep who have been consistently giving 2-3% for a hundred years, but its with the convention leaders who are mostly mega church pastors or close friends with megas who are prioritizing the spending and have build the denominational structure that demands more and more money.

I just don't believe their logic that if they got more money they would do more ministry. Mac Brunson of FBC Jax used this same logic last year in his "giving units" sermon, that if his 5000 "giving units" who earn on average $50,000 annually would just obey God and tithe, they could get $25 million instead of having to get by on just $15 million. But what these guys don't realize is that church people are on to them. They are so sick and tired of hearing their pastors and staff members, especially in the mega churches, bellyache about money. Parishioners are sick of hearing just how great their church's ministry COULD be, if everyone would stop being so stingy. And at the same time they see their megachurch pastors like Mac Brunson put family on staff and advertise on their church's website to entice people to pay $5000 and higher to join them on a luxury riverboat to "Cruise Down the Danube".

What if we told guys like Ronnie Floyd: "Hey Ronnie, I would give more money to my church, but you don't understand. My boss is only giving me a fraction of what he should. Believe me, I could do MUCH MORE for the Lord in my church if I could only get more money, the right and fair amount, from my place of employment". Ronnie would tell us that we perhaps should spend less, and that the problem is not with the amount of the income, but that its more our spending priorities. Amen! So maybe they should listen to their own advice.

So we tell you, Ronnie and Johnnie and Mac: please, you are getting what you are getting, stop bellyaching about what you COULD do if you only had more money, stop using the tithe doctrine as a fund raising, marketing gimmick to raise revenue, and make due with what you are getting. Instead of trying to extract a higher percentage, concentrate more on preaching the gospel, getting people saved, less on your book deals and river cruises and seminars, and let the Lord lead your new converts to give their 2.4% or whatever they purpose in their heart to give.

And please, this Sunday, thank your church members for being so generous with their 2.4%.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Look at the Doctrine of Storehouse Tithing

I will return to the topic of Matt Chandler in a bit, as I am doing more research on him for a few future articles. I find his ministry to be very intriguing. The more I learn about him, the more surprised, or perhaps impressed, I am that FBC Jax invited him to speak at the 2009 Pastor's Conference. Contrary to what some critics have posted here on the previous article, Chandler is NOT cut from the same mold as your typical SBC mega pastor, not by a long shot.

But I wanted to post a few articles on the topic of tithing. Our friends over at The Wartburg Watch are posting some articles this week on the doctrine of tithing, and their first article is going up today.

Wartburg Watch on Tithing

Having been a member at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville while pastors Vines and Lindsay were there, and then for 2 1/2 years with Brunson, I noticed a vast difference between what Vines and Lindsay taught about Christian giving, and what Brunson taught. At first I thought the difference between Vines/Lindsay and Brunson was more technique than doctrine. But after more reflection and research I believe it more than technique, that the Brunson theology on giving is a dangerous, legalistic doctrine requiring one to tithe to be in a proper relationship with God - in fact to avoid God's wrath one must tithe or suffer severe consequences, and that Christians' failure to tithe is causing God to punish our country. Brunson's sheep-beater sermons on tithing have caused me to look more closely at what I've been taught about tithing from scripture.

I don't write any of this to discourage people from giving to their church, or to encourage people to give less to their church or to suggest people shouldn't give 10% to their church. But for goodness sakes its time for church people to wake up about what the modern church has been teaching about Christian giving and stewardship, especially given how many of these same pastors who are preaching it are themselves taking a chunk of the dough for their personal fortunes.

But as a starting point on my thoughts on tithing, I wish to share something that I came across earlier this year that I found startling and will be the basis for my blog posts on tithing. Its not so much startling because of its content, but because of the authors' affiliation.

I discovered two research papers published by two authors that do a complete biblical and doctrinal analysis of the issue of tithing - a deconstruction of Old Testament tithing doctrine misused by pastors for so long, and a reconstruction of biblical, New Testament grace giving. These two authors conclude in part that "..the view that Christians are required to give at least 10 percent of their income lacks adequate support from the biblical data".

Their research is very deep and scholarly. They not only debunk the myth that Christians are obligated by scripture to tithe, but they analyze the current cultural context of WHY pastors still try to sell this doctrine to their churches, when they KNOW (or should know) that it is not supported in scripture.

You say "So what, probably just a few liberal nuts who wrote some crazy paper on tithing."

You would be wrong.

This research paper is authored by two seminary professors at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary: Andreas Kostenburger and David Croteau. Andreas is still to this day a professor at SEBTS. Gee, he's probably friends with Jim Smyrl, famous SEBTS alum and creator of the "Theology Driven Ministry" model. Croteau is no longer at SEBTS, but is a professor at Liberty University. Croteau has a blog where he has many, many articles on the tithe.

There are lots of websites and voices out there that have said the same thing that Kostenburger and Croteau have said, but no one in the SBC pays them any attention. But these guys are two of our own, from a conservative SBC seminary, and they are worth listening to. This paper is probably not intended for stupid sheep like us who have been spoon fed the tithing doctrine our entire Christian lives, which makes it all the more important for us to read! This is information that your pastor probably knows, or as I said, SHOULD know - but they still tell you that you are robbing God if you don't meet the 10% tithing threshold.

So I will share some summaries and thoughts on these two papers by Kostenburger and Croteau. I encourage you, if you have the time, to browse these papers. They are not difficult reading. Be careful, as you might end up a little miffed, wondering why your pastor still pulls out Malachi 3 to tell you that you must tithe, and that you must bring it all into the "storehouse" and that the church is that "storehouse" and that you are "robbing God" if you don't. That is a fable we've been told by pastors who themselves probably know its not true, but they do it since it helps keep the sheep's wallets lubed and makes for hefty offerings on the "move that mountain" Sunday. Sad thing is, this false doctrine allows the richest members to drop their 10% in the plate and strut around as though they've met some magic (although artificial) threshold of giving that makes them spiritually superior - and then they can be super-super spiritual by declaring they are "tithing on the tithe".

Here are the articles so that you may read them yourself. The website at which these are published is a site founded by Kostenburger himself:


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Matt Chandler's SBTS Sermon to Future Preachers

Matt Chandler is a very interesting young preacher from the Village Church in Dallas, Texas. He spoke at the FBC Jax Pastor's Conference in 2009. His church has grown rapidly over the last 10 years or so from a few hundred to 5000 or more, and three campuses. What he has to say to the modern church and to the modern-day preacher is what makes him so interesting to me. This guy is certainly not cut from the same mold as the typical SBC mega-church pastor, even though his church is growing very rapidly.

For starters, I recommend listening to this sermon he preached at Southern Seminary last week. Not the typical message you hear, for sure, from a SBC pastor of a large church. I'm not sure that the message was all that well received by the hearers, but it was one that needed to be preached. Very direct and hard-hitting about pastors getting into the ministry to promote themselves and to achieve Western success, ignoring the scriptures in Hebrew 11 that many will NOT have success (and will be devoured).

I will make a few comments on the sermon later, but wanted to share it with you hear on this site first, along with this quote Chandler used from Eugene Peterson's book, Working the Angles: The Shape of Pastoral Integrity:

"I don't know of any other profession in the world that is quite as easy to fake as ours. For a long time, I have been convinced that I could take a person with a high school education, give him or her a six-month trade school training, and provide a pastor who would be satisfactory to any discriminating American congregation. The curriculum would consist of four courses.

Course I: Creative Plagiarism. I would put you in touch with a wide range of excellent and inspirational talks, show you how to alter them just enough to obscure their origins, and get you a reputation for wit and wisdom.

Course II: Voice Control for Prayer and Counseling. We would develop your own distinct style of Holy Joe intonation, acquiring the skill in resonance and modulation that conveys and unmistakable aura of sanctity.

Course III: Efficient Office Management. There is nothing that parishioners admire more in their pastors than the capacity to run a tight ship administratively. If we return all phone calls within twenty-four hours, answer all the letters within a week, distributing enough carbons to key people so that they know we are on top of things, and have just the right amount of clutter on our desk—not too much, or we appear inefficient, not too little or we appear underemployed—we quickly get the reputation for efficiency that is far more important than anything that we actually do.

Course IV: Image Projection. Here we would master the half-dozen well-known and easily implemented devices that that create the impression that we are terrifically busy and widely sought after for counsel by influential people in the community. A one-week refresher course each year would introduce new phrases that would convince our parishioners that we are bold innovators on the cutting edge of the megatrends and at the same time solidly rooted in all the traditional values of our sainted ancestors.

(I have been laughing for several years over this trade school training with which I plan to make my fortune. Recently, though, the joke has backfired on me. I keep seeing advertisements for institutes and workshops all over the country that invite pastors to sign up for this exact curriculum. The advertised course offerings are not quite as honestly labeled as mine, but the content appears to be identical—a curriculum that trains pastors to satisfy the current consumer tastes in religion. I’m not laughing anymore.)"

Link to Audio of Matt Chandler SBTS Sermon Nov 2009

Friday, November 13, 2009

Freda Crawford

My wife and I were extremely saddened to hear the news yesterday of the death of Freda Crawford, wife of Pastor Gary Crawford of Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville, Florida. Freda had been battling cancer for 9 years. She and her husband Gary have been serving at Westside Baptist Church for 28 years.

As reported by the Florida Baptist Witness:

"While undergoing a cancer treatment regimen that included two bone marrow transplants and on-going chemotherapy, Crawford continued to teach Sunday School and to sing in the choir, completed a Ph.D. in education at University of Florida, and assisted Gary Crawford in writing and editing a book he dedicated to her: Celebration of Love, Marriage and Sex: A Journey Through Song of Solomon."

How wonderful that Mrs. Crawford was voted "Pastor's Wife of the Year" at the Florida State Baptist Convention annual meeting in Pensacola November 9th just a few days before her death. She was the model pastor's wife, teaching Sunday School, playing the piano, committed to serving people through involvement in world missions, and an inspiration to all of the people at her church and in the state of Florida.

My wife and I have fond memories of Westside Baptist and Gary and Freda - we met at Westside Baptist Church and were active in their excellent college ministry, and were married by Gary back in 1986 and were members there until we moved to Jacksonville in 1988. We still have friends who attend Westside who have always told us what a wonderful example of faith and perseverence Freda has been to them through her long battle with cancer.

Our condolences go out to Gary and his family, and all of the people at Westside Baptist Church in Gainesville.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Congrats to Trey Brunson - Appointed as Florida GCR Task Force Member

Yesterday, Trey Brunson, Director of Special Projects at FBC Jax, was named to the Florida Baptist State Convention "Imagine If Great Commission Task Force", by FBSC president John Cross. Trey is one of 30 people selected from around the state who will study what changes need to be made in this state convention to more effectively reach the people of Florida with the gospel.

I do not mean this post to be disrespectful to Trey in any way. I have never heard a negative comment about Trey, and I'm sure he is a capable, fine young man.

However, his appointment to the Task Force is perhaps an example of why an amendment was put forth to the Florida GCR Task Force motion yesterday requiring the task force members to be selected by committee, not by John Cross, FSBC President, in consultation with John Sullivan FSBC Executive Director. That amendment was soundly defeated, and Cross selected the committee.

Trey has been in Florida for only about 3 1/2 years, serving in a position at FBC Jax as the Special Projects Director, although we can't be positive since he has never been listed on the church website as an official staff member. One might wonder what qualifications he has that would make him a candidate for such an appointment in this state, and if his relationship to his father had anything to do with him getting appointed. No doubt John Cross wants the younger generation of Florida Baptists to be represented on the task force, which Trey most certainly is, but if someone is going to represent the Jacksonville area or even FBC Jax, why not one of the OTHER younger ministers in this area like Dan Elkins, or Chris Eppling, or Marcus Allen, Jr. who have all lived and served and ministered in the state of Florida for a much longer time.

I would provide a hyperlink to Trey's bio, or his email address, or description of his ministry at FBC Jax, but he still is not anywhere listed on the FBC Jax website as a staff member. Maybe with this appointment that will change.

But congrats to Trey for such an important appointment, and we wish him well as he serves on this important committee in our state of Florida.

Monday, November 9, 2009

FBC Jax Academy Headmaster Gone

Apparently Jim Daniels, the FBC Jax Academy headmaster hired last year, is from all appearances no longer employed by the school.

Daniels was hired in 2008 to head up the school that was launched the fall of 2009. According to the academy website, Marlene Anderson is now the school's headmaster and no mention is made of Daniels.

No official word has come from FBC Jax about the change.

The Watchdog wishes Mr. Daniels and his family well, and hopes they are doing fine.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Prediction: Brunson for SBC Prez, 2010

I would like to be the first to go on the record predicting that Mac Brunson will be nominated and elected by a comfortable margin, as president of the Southern Baptist Convention during their annual meeting in Orlando in June 2010.

I base this prediction on the following observations:

- 2010 SBC Keynote Address: Brunson was selected by the 2009 SBC Annual Meeting attendees to deliver the SBC 2010 convention sermon (akin to a "keynote address") in Orlando.

- Friendship with Current Prez Hunt: Perhaps Brunson is the choice of current president Johnny Hunt. After all Hunt is a very outspoken friend and supporter of the Brunson family. In his most recent show of support for his good friend Mac during these troubling times during Brunson's tenure at FBC Jax, Hunt flew in to Jax on Friday 9/25 in a plane flown by one of his church members to speak to the FBC Jax deacons and their wives at their Daytona Beach deacon's retreat. Hunt flew in that night, had a riverfront dinner at the Chart House with the Brunsons, then flew back that night after speaking to the FBC Jax deacons. Johnny Twittered during his trip, declaring his love for Mac and calling him "God's man". Another example of the Hunt-Brunson connection is that Hunt this past year hired Mac's son-in-law who just graduated from SBTS. The Hunt and Brunson friendship is deep, and Mac is very close to Paige Patterson. No doubt Mac would be an excellent choice for the Patterson CR crowd.

- State Convention Speaking Gigs: Brunson recently announced to his church that this year he has never received more invitations to speak to groups, and that is schedule is "scary" busy. He has been invited to speak at several baptist state conventions, including Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, and Oklahoma. These are great stumping opportunities for Mac to garner support for his presidency. The current controversy at FBC Jax seems to not have waned Brunson's popularity with the SBC faithful, and in fact may have served to give his image a big boost amongst the conservative pastors.

- Local Speaking Slots: I found it interesting that Calvin Carr, pastor of North Central Baptist Church in Gainesville and long-time youth minister at FBC Jax, has invited Brunson to speak at his church for their special "Harvest Banquet" day in November. On his blog, Calving Carr described Brunson: "Dr. Brunson leads a mammoth congregation with the heart of a loving shepherd. I know you will not want to miss this special night." So even Calvin Carr is on board with Mac Brunson, "the loving shepherd". Apparently smaller churches like Calvin's find Brunson an attractive preacher to be brought in to speak to their people.

- Support of FBC Jax Lay, Staff, and Leadership: Reportedly things are going very well at FBC Jax, numbers are up, giving is strong, and the ministry is thriving. Mac apparently has full support of his deacons and trustees, and all is well at FBC Jax. After all, Mac has had huge victories of late: the successful launch of the First Baptist Academy and a satellite church in St. John's County.

Why Brunson's increase in popularity of late on the preaching circuit, as Mac himself admits? I don't know, but perhaps he is viewed as the resilient, martyred, humble pastor, or on the other extreme perhaps some in the CR crowd hail him as the one with the guts to take on recalcitrant, blogging, vocal critics of SBC leadership. Or maybe its the influence of his friend Johnny Hunt.

Some may call this prediction a no-brainer, some may say "no way". But I say it is a long-shot prediction when one considers what Mac told Tim Rogers in an SBC Today interview in February 2008:

"I can tell ya right now, I've about determined I'm not runnin' for anything, I'm not going to take an office of anything, I don't want to. God would have to do something awfully, awfully unusual. I don't think my wife would let me do it, number one. But number two, I just don't want to do it."

This last year, certainly has been "awfully, awfully, unusual"....so maybe he will go for it. Needless to say, in this writer's opinion, there is much about Brunson that should cause SBC lay people concern, and the people of FBC Jax great concern, about Brunson's ascension to the convention presidency, and I'll make a few comments in the coming weeks on this.

I know its early, more than 7 months to the 2010 annual SBC meeting, but I want to be the first, at least that I know of, to predict Brunson's ascension to the SBC presidency next year, and if it comes to pass, I'll say a hearty "Congrats" to Mac Brunson!

We shall see next June in Orlando! See you all there!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Brunson Expresses "Remorse" and "Sorrow" Over His "Stumble" Last April

Finally, a step in the right direction.

As Proverbs 15:1 says: "A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."

On November 1, 2009, more than 6 months after stating to a Florida Times Union reporter that I am mentally unstable and a sociopath, Dr. Mac Brunson gave a "gentle answer" to the resulting slander lawsuit filed against he and his church. Dr. Brunson has finally taken a step in the right direction.

In his 11/1/09 sermon entitled "Speech Therapy" from James 3:1-2, Brunson expressed "regret" and that he is "deeply sorrowful" for his comments, because of the "influence and the impact of his words", and admitted he should have demonstrated more "maturity". It was very clear that he was referring to his comments made to Jeff Brumley that were published in the Florida Times Union on April 9th, 2009, as Brunson prefaced his "regret" and "sorrow" remarks in his sermon by referring to his words that were "reported on the front page of the headlines".

Click below and you can hear the 2 minute sermon excerpt. If you want to hear the entire sermon, it is available on his I-tunes podcast here, or at his Inlight Ministries podcast website.



A few comments about Mac's comments:

- I commend Dr. Brunson for admitting that he has regret and sorrow for his deeply offending words. These were long overdue. Perhaps if he had been more proactive in apologizing, the defamation part of the FBC Jax lawsuit would never have materialized. And most encouraging to me is that his remarks are more than anyone else at the church has expressed over their own pastor's words, including A.C. Soud, his trustree president who unfortunately followed Brunson's lead and called me a "coward" to the same reporter a few weeks after Dr. Brunson called me a "sociopath". Maybe now many of those who come onto this blog and others who proclaim "Mac was right about you", will be more Christ-like in what they say and how they say it.

- Of course, I hope that if Dr. Brunson truly is regretful and sorrowful and understands how hurtful his words were, that he will contact the Times Union and issue a retraction or clarification of his remarks in the same medium in which they were reported. Calling me a sociopath and mentally unstable to a Times-Union reporter, which ultimately made front page headlines, can not be "corrected" by a statement in a sermon. The audiences are vastly different.
- Also, if you listen to the sermon excerpt, you'll hear Dr. Brunson refer to his statements as a "stumble", and while he does express regret, he defends his misdeed by saying that "we all do it". I respectfully disagree. You see, Dr. Brunson still does not realize that not everyone in the congregation does what he did. Mac was the ONLY person in the 8000+ people in attendance Sunday who was interviewed by the media about the criminial investigation into this blog site by Brunson's friend and body guard who decided to defend the church's actions by stating without reservation that I was mentally unstable and a sociopath. So Dr. Brunson wasn't the victim of the media as he seems to imply in this sermon and others previously. His statements to Brumley were not a "stumble". He knew what he was saying, why he was saying it, and most importantly, to whom he was saying it.

In other word's, Dr. Brunson's remarks were not off-the-record remarks caught on tape; this was no dirt dug up on him, no embarrassing private conversation was overheard, and it wasn't him speaking off-the-cuff in anger. Those might be "stumbles". In the context of him knowing an embarrassing news story was about to come out, it seems he decided to defend his church's actions by proclaiming the blog author to be a nut case. This was Dr. Mac Brunson, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, in a newspaper media interview, sitting in front of Jeff Brumley, on the record, premeditated, stating a very harmful lie about me. He KNEW his comments would be reported. That is not just a "stumble", that everyone does every now and then.

And to make matters worse, he has let 6 months go by without retracting, clarifying, defending, explaining, or apologizing for his comments. And sorry to say, no one in the church, or even Brunson's pastor peers in the SBC has dared to publicly call for Brunson to explain or clarify his remarks....perhaps making Brunson's remarks in his 11/1 sermon all the more commendable.

But, as I said, this is a step in the right direction, and I applaud Dr. Brunson for making this step. Let's see where this might take us. His sermon also mentioned how one needs to apologize to the person harmed personally. Who knows, a personal apology, and clarification through the same medium that what he said was in fact not true, may make a defamation lawsuit against him unnecessary.

But at least this is a step in the right direction.