Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
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
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
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
Sunday, November 15, 2009
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
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."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
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
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
Monday, November 2, 2009
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.