"...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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Time for Megas to Pay Their Way?

As a citizen of Jacksonville, Florida, its the same old story in the news:

City government doesn't have enough money to provide needed services. They need to either raise our property taxes or our garbage fees, or both.

Here's a thought: maybe local governments need to look at a brand new source of revenue right under their noses - in fact in Jacksonville's case, RIGHT NEXT DOOR...that would be property taxes on CHURCHES, especially large mega churches. Why are mega churches who rake in millions each year and provide relatively few services in their local community as compared to their revenue and property tax exemption, still in this day, getting a free pass from having to pay for needed government services?

Follow my logic:

The government has a budget deficit, and guess where the solution is? Not in budget cuts, but in the pockets and portfolios of the citizens. Yep, as Obama and the dems have their sights on higher income taxes, as our health insurance premiums rise and energy prices start climbing again, guess who needs to fork over more money to the local government?

You and I. The solution is in our pockets. Fork it over. To the government.

At the same time, Christians go to church and they hear their pastors complain that we aren't giving enough there, that their pastor can't do the ministry God has called them to do. Even recently Southern Baptist pastors got their marching orders from Ronnie Floyd, the head of our SBC Great Commission Task Force - telling pastors that the money necessary to get the gospel out is in the "pockets and portfolios" of selfish church members who on average only give 2.65% of their income to charity.

Floyd's answer? He tells pastors to get back to preaching a 10% tithe. So for the Southern Baptists, 2.65% isn't good enough, they need that quadrupled, else they can't do what God called them to do.

You and I. The solution is in our pockets. Fork it over. To the churches.

And here in Jacksonville we're also told that people aren't buying enough of the NFL Jacksonville Jaquars tickets, and we'll lose the franchise and all the benefits of it unless we buy more tickets.

So here we are...both the government and the church - and the NFL - looking for ways to get their hands into our pockets.

But I submit to you, that some of the money that the government needs is NOT in our pockets and portfolios...it is in the bank account and property portfolio of our mega churches. Churches pay ZERO property taxes. In days gone by this made sense. Churches provided needed services by helping the poor and ministering to those in need. A sizable amount of their revenue helped the community at large. Pastors made a meager income, and they ministered in their local community.

But this is a different day, with the advent of the mega church and CEO pastor. Most of the large churches in this day and time are now entertainment centers, with high priced pastors (some of them actually millionaires) and a stable of well-paid professional "reverends" with master's degrees from seminary. Just a few stingy percents of their budget goes to anything remotely considered to be helping the community, while they spend large portions of their budgets on buying local and national TV time, hiring marketing consultants to steal sheep, and making sure their ministers have a very comfortable lifestyle. Their salary and bennies for the professional ministers is between 40% and 50% of TOTAL REVENUE, for crying out loud. To use a Ronnie Floydism - I'm amazed at the selfishness of mega churches who rake in millions and only give 2.65% of their income to help people.

And we can't avoid the storehouse tithe doctrine being taught by Mac Brunson at FBC Jax and others that tells Christains ALL of their FIRST 10 percent of charitable giving must be given to the church, undesignated. And these pastors call US selfish - this doctrine calls Christians to stiff their local charitable organizations unless they FIRST fork over 10% of their income to the church.

So why should not the government require these stingy mega churches to begin to pay at least A LITTLE BIT of property tax out of their millions? Sure, give an exemption for much smaller churches, but above a certain level of property value, larger churches should have to start paying for their needed government services! Certainly they can find the money in their pastors' salary and benefits and retirement line items, or they can trim their bloated professional staffs...or God forbid maybe they would start smaller churches when they reached a certain size.

But in all likelihood the mega church pastors would use their charisma and their church marketing gurus to preach the tithe harder and more convincingly to get the money from our pockets to make up the difference.

But the church can't pass a law raising our "tithe"....

....so I say let the mega churches start to pay their fair share, and stop mooching off of the tax payers.

108 comments:

Anonymous said...

Tax Them NOW!
I will definitely vote for any tax on "Churches". It might be a different matter if Churches provided any services to the community. They DO NOT. They provide NO Services to their Members!

Anonymous said...

"The government has a budget deficit, and guess where the solution is? Not in budget cuts, but in the pockets and portfolios of the citizens. "

yes, this sounds just like our SBC leaders! These "conservative" sound just like liberals. They do not want to give up their high paying jobs and prestige and they certainly won't cut expenss...no! They want to build bigger fancier buildings!

It is incredible how much they think like liberals. But then, that is what happens when you are free to spend other people's money any way you want.

And of course, there are plenty of sheep to follow both government and mega church pastors blindly.

Anonymous said...

Dog,

An idea brought up many times since the birth of our nation.

First, how do you define a mega? By membership rolls? By value of property held? The Internal Revenue Code & Regulations provides many ways a mega could get around both of the above.

Oh wait! We have something called a Constitution that you will need to change also. Like the First Amendment.
Lets not forget every Church sponsered University too.
Look at Baylor in Waco.

Get some structure to your idea and it might be interesting then.

Dream big!

Anonymous said...

....so I say let the mega churches start to pay their fair share, and stop mooching off of the tax payers.
=================================
I too agree that the MEGA CHURCHES WITH THE HUGE BUDGETS should start paying their fair share as it sure would help our cities budget.
(MEGA'S - not small congregations)

Different topic but I believe to be a MEMBER of FBC as well as a Times-Union Columnist has shared his "Viewpoint" in todays newspaper asking""what, exactly is going on with the city budget?

Although he's asking question about the cities budget many of us have asked similar question "what, exactly is going on with budget of FBC? . . . would they even consider to give the "fat cat" preacher's a pay cut or to lay off the preachers wife from payroll to help the budget?

Not their way of thinking, instead this church is petitioning for another million bucks to renovate space they don't need (sob storyas it's for the old folks class rooms which are becoming less & less), rather than spend the monies that's really needed for repair work on the old buidings.

Sigh! (word quote from columnist)

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Perfect timing: Phil Frentz, columnist of the Florida Times Union and FBC Jax member, today discusses the pickle that the city is in with its $50 million budget shortfall.

Hey, Phil, one other option you missed....your church and other mega churches maybe ought to start paying property taxes. You're using the services of the city and the sheriff's office - some more than others, smile - and churches ought to pay for it just like other businesses and families have to.

But Phil's church is busy raising money for over a million bucks to renovate the main auditorium. No money for property taxes, but they will come up with the money to renovate pastor's offices, and pastor's preaching auditoriums.

Come on Phil, call for churches to pay their fair share!

Jim said...

I am an ordained Baptist clergyman but have long held that all church property beyond a single worship center (we Baptists often call that a sanctuary) should be taxed. It makes no sense to me that classrooms, gymnasiums, auditoriums, family life centers, fellowship halls, offices, garages and homes for clergy should be tax exempt. Tax everything but the space a congregation uses as it's center for divine worship. Don't just tax mega churches, tax all church owned property beyond the designated worship center, period.

Doug said...

Now you'll have all those poor Baptist Preachers gasping for air....more HOT air!

and some may even get offended you dare say that word..... TAX

They know they have a "gravy train" and ride it well.....all the way to retirement - right Ronnie, Johnny, Mike, Robert, Wayne, Gerald......

Anonymous said...

I love and am a member of the INVISIBLE church of Jesus Christ. I am also an active member of a VISIBLE church with many of the same problems discussed here on this blog.

I believe that the VISIBLE church today has become corrupt because it has absolutely no accountability. The IRS allows tax-exempt status to organizations including churches because the benefit to society in general and the needy in particular is supposedly greater than it would be if churches were taxed. However, I do not think that anyone envisioned nearly 100 years ago when the tax code was written that churches would be such as they are today with a charismatic leader who is able to generate millions and tens of millions of dollars in revenue (contributions) from church members while simultaneously traveling the globe raking in additional hundreds of thousands speaking at other churches and selling their books.

Today, very little of the church budget actually helps the needy or furthers the gospel. My church does a lot to help the community, but most of the money used to do this comes from a designated account and is supplemented by donations from several retail stores. My church also gives 10% of our budget to the Cooperative Program of which MAYBE .5% actually gets to missionaries.

I have come to the conclusion, that it is a wiser and more effient use of my money to give it directly to a person in need. When money is given to any type of organization, including the church, very, very little of it goes where you think it will go.

"Christianity" has truly become big business. Some type of accountabilty is the only cure for what the church has become.

Anonymous said...

With this new “seeker friendly” doctrine that the SCB has adopted, taxing the churches (or is it not churches) makes a lot of sense and fits right in with the concept. We did away with the hymnals because the “seekers” found them intimidating. We did away with the “church” music because the “seekers” didn’t like it. Now a typical SBC church looks and sounds like a dance hall instead of church. We don’t like the word “Baptist” to be in the church’s’ name. So it seems to me paying a fair share of taxes is just another logical step in not being “church” so the poor “seekers” will not be put off. Maybe the highly paid preachers (or is it spiritual leaders) should discuss it at their next Country Club dinner paid for by their congregations’ contributions.
Heaven help us all!

Anonymous said...

AMEN! DOUBLE AMEN! I could blog on this one all day! TAX the churches (social clubs) that have extensive properties, most largely unused. Small churches get a break. TAX the preachers (Stars) tax their wives (professional shoppers) tax their dogs, tax their cats. TAX TAX TAX. Collect a toll as they enter and exit their "gated communities". Tax their books, and tax their libraries. Members paid for all of it anyway. TAX TAX TAX!!!!! Hear me screaming?!!! I am being taxed into infinity. Most of these guys don't WORK (they call what they do working) 20 hours a week....maybe. But many live like kings.

Anonymous said...

Jim 11:18-
Some time ago, the church to which I belonged face this issue in our city. The church had bought 7 acres and was only using about 3-3.5 acres (including parking) and the city came in and charged a property tax on what was not being used for church purposes. That seems like a fair compromise. Espicially, when they might sit on some of that property and then sell it off for a profit!

You have to realize, that in many churches they have a children's church going on as well as hispanic, asian, or some other ethnicity holding a worship service all in other areas of the church.

Anonymous said...

You are right, of course. Still, I have this uneasy feeling that once a church tax begins, it would expand. Before long, small congregations in large, older buildings would be forced to close, unable to meet the tax. Would love to stick it to the megas, but the expanding nature of taxes makes we wonder if it might not end up closing more doors than we bargained for.

Anonymous said...

1:56:"The expanding nature of taxes makes one wonder if it might not end up closing more doors, etc."

So what!!! These Temples of entertainment and "business opportunities" do NOTHING for the cause of Christ, in my opinion. I rarely hear sermons(?) that are preached around SALVATION to the lost. I would really like to see HONEST and TRUE figures of those that have been TRULY SAVED in these mega churches in the last 10 years. These churches do NOTHING for the community. Unless you consider they provide a club like atmosphere for some to meet and greet their friends. I know of some situations where members needed help but got none from the church. In some cases Sunday School members took up small contributions of their own money to help out. But not the church. In other situation no help at all was forth coming. As a matter of fact some of these churches will kick you out if you are deemed as "a problem".

Anonymous said...

Anon 1:36 pm

"I have come to the conclusion, that it is a wiser and more effient use of my money to give it directly to a person in need. When money is given to any type of organization, including the church, very, very little of it goes where you think it will go."

Friend,
We're with you on your conclusion. We too have decided to forego the IRS tax write off and give our "storehouse tith" directly to those who are unemployed, trying to feed their families, have no health insurance and just downright desperate.

We give anonoymous and do so for the Glory of God. According to the teaching of our church it is a sin when you don't tith your money first to the local church. Not only a sin, but just MAYBE you aren't even saved so they say. :>)

We've listened to the Lord and what He has put on hearts to do with the monies He has blessed us with and it sure isn't to keep on giving to the Bank of FBCJ.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure if the politicians are ready for the pulpits to be used for political purposes. If you tax these churches, the government can't stop the campaigning that will occur.

If there is millions of dollars being taken by these mega churches, these dollars represent a lot of people who are a vote and what a politician is really interested in, is votes.

But then, let the politicians who vote for such a bill live with the consequences of opening this can of worms. Most of those who would have to pass such a bill want to keep their jobs. Taxing a church, of any size, is costly, maybe more so than whatever moneys they could collect.

Anonymous said...

Well, your fatal flaw is in your first paragraph. First, due to BOTH the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment, it would be impossible for the state to tax a church (especially specific churches). The free exercise clause denies the government the ability to restrict churches in any other way unless the restriction was in "the best interest of the government". However, "the best interest" part must come under strict scrutiny of the Supreme Court which means if there is any other way for the state to survive without the restriction then they must. Guess what? There is a way!! Take it from the people who go to the churches or any other religious/non-religious group.

Also, the establishment clause of the same 1st Amendment prevents the government from favoring small or large churches or denominations or religions in any way. Taxing a bigger church way more than a small church or not taxing the small church at all would violate that clause due to the strict scrutiny test. I do apologize dog, but if you have a problem with the Constitution, complain to Gouverneur Morris and the Constitution Committee. Just because it is a bigger church with a bigger budget does not mean it deserves your "tax punishment".

William

P.S.-Just for those who notice the difference between state and national government, the state and therefore city fall under the sovereignty of the Constitution due to 10th Amendment. FYI...

Anonymous said...

Bottom line is the local government and the local mega church, all want and need more of your money. The government, although wasteful, does publish salaries and does provide roads, police, parks, welfare and on and on. The church tells you ALL of your money is God's (ie: theirs) and you are robbing their budget (ie: God) if you don't fork it over. And they provide you nice music and a motivational speech 1 - 3 times per week.

And the more both get, the less efficient they become so that private organizations end up helping those in need more with less funds. Now, these two wasteful spenders are competing for the same dollar. One can tax and take it by force, the other by manipulating scripture and our love for Jesus.

I will do what I can to try and give less to BOTH and MORE to those organizations that actually help people in need.

Thanks for the forum to express myself on this matter.

Anonymous said...

"I am not sure if the politicians are ready for the pulpits to be used for political purposes. If you tax these churches, the government can't stop the campaigning that will occur."


That has happened for decades. Are you not familiar with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton to name a few?

Anonymous said...

Oh wait! We have something called a Constitution that you will need to change also. Like the First Amendment.
___________________________________

Where does the First Amendment say that a local city government cannot assess property taxes on a $307,000 piece of land gifted to a pastor? Or that sales tax can not be collected on the $80,000 Lexus the pastor drives?

Get a clue before you start popping off with cliches about the First Amendment.

Anonymous said...

"Guess what? There is a way!! Take it from the people who go to the churches or any other religious/non-religious group. "

This is where I think it might happen sooner. If one owes taxes and cannot pay, they are allowed a percentage to give to a religious entity when deciding how much they must pay the IRS. This could easily be changed without disturbing the est clause. And then more prominent mega church members could be audited and scrutinized by the IRS.

Anonymous said...

Mega's Pay Their Way?
No worry as it just ain't ever going to happen here in Jax - most all the heavy City politicians are members downtown at FBCJ (and in leadership roles).

Why do they go to FBCJ - because it's the largest church in town and they know they have the members votes. Same reason the State politicians always visit us when it's time for a new term. Lot's of hand waving and clapping when they are introduced. No, it ain't going happen so no need for concern.

Right, for sure the churches will escape "tax punishment" - what the Mega churches won't be escaping is the freedom that their members have in redirecting their finances which is unfortunately taking place now - has nothing to do with tax status.

Another interesting read in todays "Opinion Watchdog Section"

Anonymous said...

First, due to BOTH the establishment clause and the free exercise clause of the 1st Amendment, it would be impossible for the state to tax a church (especially specific churches).
___________________________________

William - I agree. It is impossible to "tax a church." But it is NOT impossible, or even unreasonable, to collect sales taxes on items purchased by a church. Or to assess property taxes when a church buys land. Or to tax the income of everyone that works at the church. No more fake titles of "reverend" to let lay people who work at the church as the "minister of building and grounds" get out of paying taxes. And tax the parsonage and housing allowances? Does the Constitution guarantee all those perks too?

The IRS and the city government leaders need to close some of these loopholes that allow "churches" to sit on assets in the billions without paying their fair share of taxes to provide services.

Anonymous said...

Well, the local government could take the church property under Eminent Domain. Sell it to a developer who would create revenue and therefore pay TAXES. It's happening all over the country. Don't think it can't happen here.

Anonymous said...

You've got to be kidding me. Why on earth would Christians want to harm the Lord's churches?

Anonymous said...

I am having a difficult time with people who say they love the Lord, and then turn around and hate his church.

Which by the way there is no "invisible" church. "There is one body" and it is the instituted visible body established by Christ before the days of Pentecost.

The church IS a "local assembly of baptized believers in covenant together." It does not constitute "all the saved."

I understand why lost people despise the Lord instituted church (assembly), but I do not understand this attitude coming from professed Christians.

Anonymous said...

Just because a body of believers ONCE was truly a church does not mean it will always remain so. Churches go in different directions. Some become more social than spiritual, therefore, seperating from it's original function. The true church is the body of true believers throughout the world. A building and a man do not make a church. Keep in mind that all people in a church building may not be saved. Christian believers do not "hate" each other. We are the Bride of Christ saved by His Blood. I can tell myself that I am a millionaire, that does not make me one. Same thing with a "church". Same thing with preachers. Some are God called, some are self-called.

Anonymous said...

I understand why lost people despise the Lord instituted church (assembly), but I do not understand this attitude coming from professed Christians.

March 15, 2010 6:32 PM

The church is not an institution. That thinking is why it is so worldly. I think my question to you has to be exactly how does what you read in the New Covenant map to what passes for the "church" today?

Not all lost people hate the "church". It is filled with lost people.

Anonymous said...

"Which by the way there is no "invisible" church. "There is one body" and it is the instituted visible body established by Christ before the days of Pentecost."


Could you expound on this? Would Jim JOnes' church be included in this? They claimed to be Christian.

Anonymous said...

8:26. Just a few lines to expound on the invisible church. When the first century began there were very few Christians. They met in homes and other convenient areas. They even met in jails where many were persecuted. Most were the outcast. They were invisible to most of the culture of that day. As they witnessed and time passed more joined their numbers.

Eventually they progressed and during the 1500-1600's they overcame the idea of the Catholic Church being the authority. Many were burned at the stake for their beliefs. They came out from under the "darkness". Believers under James I had freedom to worship. Therefore, England started the Reformation and the Word being printed grew even more, being supplanted to foreign countries through the Great Commission, and missionaries. With the discovery of Jamestown, Va., in 1620, we find the Puritans and those that desired to be free encouraged to our shores. Following we have more settlers coming to America and the great Awakening of the 1700's and 1800's under John and Charles Wesley and Jonathan Edwards. The church of Philadelphia in the 1900, period was the last great influence provided to our country. The point to all of this history, is to show that the Gospel was on the move, being spread by believers throughout the world. In last 60 + years the church has become cold and stagnant, influenced more by the World than the Word. The churches of England have more or less been silent in holding to the faith. Now we have the Laodicean Church which even God hates. The cult of Jim Jones was an example of even more types too numerous to deal with here. However, a study of church history will tell you that the church today is nothing similar to the church of yesteryear, or really even as recent as 10 years ago. The church, like someone said, is basically OVER!! If not over certainly well into the "Falling Away".

Rev.22:vs.20b "Surely I come quickly". "Amen". "Even so, come, Lord Jesus"

Anonymous said...

That is why PP needs to leave state accredidated Christian counseling programs alone so that they can at least help out in the local community, in clinics, hospitals,in public schools,assist in learning disorders,etc.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

Did you know that the largest church in the world actually pays taxes and they are still growing? Pastor Cho's is pastor of the largest church located in Soule, South Korea.

New BBC Open Forum said...

"I am not sure if the politicians are ready for the pulpits to be used for political purposes. If you tax these churches, the government can't stop the campaigning that will occur."

The government doesn't stop the campaigning that occurs now! Have you not seen the local Democratic candidates in your city, especially black candidates, openly stump in predominantly black churches? How many times have you witnessed Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan, "ministers," stand in the pulpit of a church and encourage people to vote for so-and-so?

It's not only black churches and Democrats either. Mike Huckabee preached one Sunday night at Bellevue two years ago. Granted, it was not a campaign speech, and I don't remember there being any mention of politics (nor did I think he was much of a preacher), but look at the signs (here, here, and here) that mysteriously popped up along the streets next to the church that day. The orange cones are used for traffic control after services by the sheriff's department, another government agency. I never thought anyone in the sheriff's department planted those signs, but they didn't remove them either. They remained for several days.

Candidates for mayor of Memphis have been introduced during services at Bellevue. Again, no politics mentioned, but it still smells.

Anonymous said...

Wonder why a church of 28,000 would be downsizing its auditorium in order to make room for Bible Fellowship classes? One would think that they would not want to reduce the number of seats, unless they realize they won't be occupied!!! Doesn't make sense if they intend to grow members.

Anonymous said...

I am having a difficult time with people who say they love the Lord, and then turn around and hate his church.

Which by the way there is no "invisible" church. "There is one body" and it is the instituted visible body established by Christ before the days of Pentecost.

The church IS a "local assembly of baptized believers in covenant together." It does not constitute "all the saved."

I understand why lost people despise the Lord instituted church (assembly), but I do not understand this attitude coming from professed Christians.

March 15, 2010 6:32 PM
-----------------------------------
Anon 6:32 PM:

I don't think you know what you are talking about. The church is NOT an institution (visible), but rather it is a living organism composed of all true believers in Jesus Christ and was started AT Pentecost. Many church members are not true believers. In fact, if you read the Bible, Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and Jude all warn of false teachers. So there you have it, there are even unsaved pastors. If you will open your eyes and ears and compare what a lot of these pastors are saying with what the Bible says, maybe you would understand. Of course, you would probably have to be a true believer to discern these things.

By the way, this blog and others like it is the only way for truth about false teachers and false teaching to be disseminated. Before the internet and blogging, there was still corruption in the church, but you did not hear about it because those in charge of the corruption could keep it contained.

As someone has said here: "The Internet, The Great Equalizer".

One Salient Oversight said...

I don't think that there even needs to be a criteria involved - just tax the size of the church property in the same way and at the same rate as all property and don't worry about whether it is a "mega" or not.

If the church finds it hard to pay these taxes (by being a small church or being a small church in an expensive area) then they have the option of diversifying the use of the church building (eg renting it out to community groups during the week or even allow businesses to run from the property) or sell the land (which, in an expensive area, would result in more than enough cash to build a new church in a less expensive area).

And with the church paying its taxes, the Christians who are members of the church can proudly claim that their body of believers is helping to pay for garbage collection and local law enforcement. Thus by simply paying taxes they can argue that they are contributing to society, albeit in an indirect (though no less important) manner

Anonymous said...

12:53 AM: Absolutely correct!!!! The true church is the body of SAVED BELIEVERS....As a preacher once said: sometimes people make a show of getting saved and baptised, but they just go down in the water lost and come up wet and still lost. Everyone "in church" is not SAVED. I like you worry about some of these preachers, especially this New Age crowd.

Back to the tax issue: So many of these churches today are "sacred cows". They contribute nothing to the cause of Christ. They do nothing for the community. All they do is take from the members and grow fat. But, they are so "PROTECTED" by the leaders getting fat also from the profits. They are "SHELTERED" by unfair tax laws,that they use to make themselves rich. Most just grow bigger and more useless. What's the answer. Change the laws. Laws are changed and "gone around" on everything else. It will take some with "guts" to do it. Are there any with "guts" out there to institute these changes. Of course you can't count on any polotician that wants to be re-elected. As long as there are tax breaks for EVERY aspect of the ministry there will be preachers(?) to take advantage of them. Stop the "special treatment" and the tax breaks and see how fast you will find only sincere preachers that really want to serve the Lord.
The rest, including the "marketing boys" will move on to another "enterprise".

Anonymous said...

"but I do not understand this attitude coming from professed Christians".

March 15, 2010 6:32 PM
-----------------------------------
To help you understand my attitude may I just say as a professed Christian my attitude became sour when the new millionaire preacher came to town, foot stomping, finger pointing, yelling at the congregaton "now listen" and openly declared from the pulpit that FBCJ was now HIS CHURCH and he would do and say what he liked and those of us who didn't like it could just leave and therefore members "did listen" and left.

My attitude grew even more sour to learn that Mac Brunson banned an innocent woman from the grounds of OUR CHURCH. What I will never understand is how any preacher, his administration would call for such a hateful act of a bully!

Yes, I have an attitude which is sour, just like others who feel same way, but it has more to do with sadness, not hate as you seem to feel we have towards OUR church (not Mac Brunsons)

I don't blame the so called "Celebrity Preacher" for the downfall of FBCJ, but do blame the "search committee" for choosing the wrong man to oversee the flock who only works part time as he and wife, whose also a paid employee who are gone more than present)

Also to blame for downfall is the deacons who walk in the preachers shadow, talk behind his back, just to keep their status within the body. I don't know the people on here who blog but I sense the ones who write out of sadness and not from any hate!

Anonymous said...

Could you expound on this? Would Jim JOnes' church be included in this? They claimed to be Christian.

March 15, 2010 8:26 PM

I'm not sure what he was speaking of, but I for one can say this. The church is NOT THE BODY OF TRUE BELIEVERS. The Family of God is, but not the church. The CHURCH is strictly those ASSEMBLIES of Properly Baptized TRUE Believers in Covenant. The world is full of saved people who are not part of the Lord's Established and Instituted Church.

No where in scripture do you find the teaching that THE BODY OF TRUE BELIEVERS constitutes an ECCLESIA.

The ECCLESIA is THE BODY OF Christ, the Called-Out Assembly. The Local Church is the Only kind of Church that the Bible speaks of.

Sometimes it speaks of that FUTURE context, when ALL of the Instituted Churches will be together as ONE local Assembly.

You would do well to take a look at Biblical Ecclesiology the way that the Landmark Baptists Teach it. Which by the way was the teaching of the Southern Baptist Convention, up until the late 1800's.

Anonymous said...

1:01 PM: Your view is a bit to CATHOLIC for me. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I feel taxing the church will only hurt the small ones. The only ones who will be able to pull through it will be the mega churches. Can someone give me a number of mega churches percentage wise compared to other congregation size. If only 1 out of 10 is taking advantage then it is not right to penalize the other 9. Now if a church is in the buisness of creating revenue by merchandising then they should be tax.

Anonymous said...

I do pay taxes on the parsonage and the utilities they pay for me. May not pay federal but I do pay SSI on it. I also pay the full amount of SSI Tax. The church does not offset it. Stop getting the pitch forks and torches out and chasing Frankenstein's Monster because of a handfull of people who abuse the system. There are good guys out there who do ministry that use these tax laws to make ends meet. If we did away with minister tax law then we need to do away with every tax break in the law book. NO head of house hold, no earn income credit, no standized deduction, zippo, nadda, nothing. I understand your frustration but don't burn down the wholes city because of one bad neighborhood.

Pastor Chris

Anonymous said...

" The CHURCH is strictly those ASSEMBLIES of Properly Baptized TRUE Believers in Covenant. The world is full of saved people who are not part of the Lord's Established and Instituted Church."

What do you do with the Ethiopian Eunuch and Phillip?


Matt

Anonymous said...

"o where in scripture do you find the teaching that THE BODY OF TRUE BELIEVERS constitutes an ECCLESIA."


What was the name of Paul's ecclesia?

Was there more than one ecclesia in say, Galatia or Corinth?

Doug said...

Take away the personal tax deduction for the givers to these churches and you will take away a great percentage of people who willingly give a tithe / offering. Especially the rich at these MEGA CHURCHES and those who "preach prosperity " and "your lost if you don't give 10% or more"

Most do it for the tax break anyway.

Anonymous said...

"There are good guys out there who do ministry that use these tax laws to make ends meet. If we did away with minister tax law then we need to do away with every tax break in the law book. NO head of house hold, no earn income credit, no standized deduction, zippo, nadda, nothing."

But don't you get all of those besides the "minister" tax break?

Anonymous said...

Matt,

What about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch? Philip explained the gospel to him, and he was saved and baptized. What's that got to do with ecclesiology?

Anon 3:12 - That is truly funny. Too Catholic for you. The Local church doctrine, is the fundamental antithesis of the CATHOLIC (Universal) concept of the church. That's good. :)

According to Acts 13: Saul/Paul was a member of the Ecclesia at Antioch.

The Galatian letter was written to the "churches" or "assemblies" or "ecclesias" of Galatia.

Apparantly there was one "ecclesia" in Corinth.

1 Corinthians 12:27, Ephesians 5:23, and Colossians 5:18, speak of the Ecclesia being the Body of Christ. Of which you can rightly say that the "ecclesia" covenanted assembly is the body of Christ.

somebody asked, so here is someone's answer :)

Anonymous said...

Governments need to stop spending like a bunch of druken Sailors! We all have to live within our means or face the consequences of financial ruin! They already tax us on unrealized possible profit on our property that they say is worth more and more! If you give them more money the will only waste it like they have in the past!

They need to get back to being fiscally responsible!

Anonymous said...

"What about Philip and the Ethiopian Eunuch? Philip explained the gospel to him, and he was saved and baptized. What's that got to do with ecclesiology?
"

That is what I am trying to figure out by this comment of yours:

"The CHURCH is strictly those ASSEMBLIES of Properly Baptized TRUE Believers in Covenant. The world is full of saved people who are not part of the Lord's Established and Instituted Church."

I guess, as a Landmarker, you do not see the confusion in your comments. What local assembly was the eunuch 'properly' baptized into?

Matt

Anonymous said...

"To help you understand my attitude may I just say as a professed Christian my attitude became sour when the new millionaire preacher came to town, foot stomping, finger pointing, yelling at the congregaton "now listen" and openly declared from the pulpit that FBCJ was now HIS CHURCH and he would do and say what he liked and those of us who didn't like it could just leave and therefore members "did listen" and left. "

Wow! This is word for word what happened at BBC in Memphis. Do
these two pastors have the same script writer? At BBC, we were told if we didn't like the new contemporary music, we needed to leave and find another church.And thousands of us did just that!
But it wasn't just the music and his edict; it was so much more that
revealed a flawed character in our new pastor. We had sat for years under not only a great expositor of
God's Word but a loving and gentle shepherd. In his place we got a man who can preach but shows little compassion or concern for the people he is supposed to be serving. This new "breed" of pastors seem to forget they are God's called-out servant. Instead they want to be served and lord it over their flocks. They do not realize in order to be respected, they must show respect. In order to be loved and have the loyalty they desire, they must show love. It is a two-way street.

Kenneth said...

Where is there any mention of giving an offering in the New Testament that is not in the context of the local body of believers?

Anonymous said...

Matt,

Who said the Eunuch was baptised "into" a local assembly?

That's strange.

One doesn't become part of the local assembly (ecclesia)until they are received by the assembly (ecclesia).

Anonymous said...

"But don't you get all of those besides the "minister" tax break?"

No, I don't. As a single guy I have no head of house hold, or tax breaks on kids, or earn income credit. Well I guess I could use them one day but a person can become a minister if they are called take advantage of the ministers tax status. Just the minimum standard deduction. If you count the housing + utilities which was around 7,000 this year I paid around $ 1,100 in SSI tax on that. Over all I paid close to 8,000 in taxes this year. It would of been more if was not able to declare that $3,200 dollars of health insurance premiums as non taxible income. The premium is paid out of my base salary. Not complaining, just pointing out that the average minister is not daddy warbucks making some c-money on tax exemptions. Education and other expense accounts are spend it or loose it money if you decide to dedicate your salary towards that. Housing allowance is different. If you dedicate x amount and spend less then the remander becomes taxible income. This is what gets minister in trouble trying to pay off the house in a short time and make it tax deductible. Now if you opted out of SSI then you are making out like a bandit if you are making big bucks. But most ministers I have talked to who opted out wish they did not to save that extra money. Also a lot of ministers file their tax status wrong. If you are a typical SBC minister then you should get a W2 and not a
1099. If they provide you with a regular place of work and they can hire or fire you then you are considered an employee of the church. A few churches over look that and treat their pastor as a contract worker.
Pastor Chris

Doug said...

Most current "podium speakers," or AKA "preachers" are not GOD called...

they are mostly "MAN Called" or daddy, uncle, grandpa, grandma, or mama - called.

It is a job to most - not all - but most of those within the Baptist Mafia look at it as a paycheck and ...

"The Internet, The Great Equalizer"

Anonymous said...

Where is there any mention of giving an offering in the New Testament that is not in the context of the local body of believers?

March 17, 2010 11:39 AM

Can you explain what you mean? Paul asked several churches across Asia minor to take up a collection for the persecuted believers in Jerusalem. Is that what you are asking?






Matt,

Who said the Eunuch was baptised "into" a local assembly?

That's strange.

One doesn't become part of the local assembly (ecclesia)until they are received by the assembly (ecclesia).

March 17, 2010 12:35 PM

I suppose the Eunuch had to start his own instead of being 'received'.

How does a Landmarker define 'properly' baptized? On second thought, let's drop it. I have been on the merry go round with Landmarkers before and it always comes down to who can be the most clever. I am just not interested in going there.

Blessings to you,

Matt

Anonymous said...

William - you lost me on the 10th Amendment. The Tenth Amendment confirms that the power of the Federal Government is subject to limits that may, in a given instance, reserve power to the States." New York v. United States, 505 U.S. 144, 157 (1992).

Anonymous said...

Agree with your comments 11:13 AM.

The Gentle Shepherd, Jesus, railed againt the "professional" religious men, the Scribes, Pharisees and the rich. He showed love to the down and out, hurting and lost. What a complete reversal we have by some preachers of today. The rich and powerful are courted. Some preachers are now the celebrities and the rich. Is it no wonder that "the church" (many) have no power. They have no mandate from the Lord. They serve no Godly (!) purpose. It's all smoke and mirrors. They have become what the older Godly preachers of yesteryear preached against. They deny it because they don't want to see it. They have become "the Rich Young Rulers" that don't want to give up the lifestyle.

Jesus said: "Matt 23:vs.11-12 "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant". vs.12: "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted".

Matt:19:vs.30 "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first".

Anonymous said...

Blessings to you too Matt,

Properly Baptized is:

1.) The right candidate - Saved
2.) The right method - immersion
3.) By The Right authority - New Testament Church.

Now I'll drop it. Thanks.

John Wylie said...

Just wanted to let you know that our church does benefit the community in a number of ways and so do most Bible preaching churches. First of all, we provide leadership to a lot of children that have absentee parents. For many of them, we are the only family they have. Secondly, the church that I pastor provides coats and other things for school children in our district, and we also assist our school in receiving a grant to help homeless children in our district. We give 21% of our proceeds to foreign and home missions as well.

Not to mention the SBC is the largest religious disaster relief organization in the world. Our local association helped in Houston after the hurricane, and in our state after ice and snow storms. Every dime came from local churches.

Pray tell me how is leading people to salvation not helping the community? I guess helping people get off drugs and alcohol is equally worthless? You guys have ceased being a watchdog and have become enemies of all Bible preaching churches everywhere. Do you really think the government is the place to invest our money to help people?

Churches are tax exempt not only for religious reasons but because they operate on donations. They should not be taxed any more than the boy scouts or the red cross. you've let bitterness get you off track.

John Wylie said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, pastors do pay personal income taxes. Some people have misrepresented the truth on this matter. Churches are tax exempt, individuals who are paid by the church are not. As a matter of fact, pastors pay the full social security tax just like any other self employed person.

Anonymous said...

March 17, 2010 4:08 PM

-You lost me at the 10th Amendment.

Yes, from the verbage of the 10th Amendment, you would think that this is actually giving states more power instead of putting them under national sovereignty. HOWEVER, if you read carefully, you will notice it says that the states have power to create laws not discussed in the U.S. Constitution thereby inferring the Constitution is the final authority. I apologize, i cannot bring to mind the specific Supreme Court case that addressed this issue, but it was around the time of the Civil War (South fighting for state's rights)...Hope this helped a bit.

William

P.S.- March 15, 2010 4:44 PM "Get a clue before you start popping off with cliches about the First Amendment."


Well for one, I wont even address the foolishness and ignorance you just displayed on your post, but the pastor is not the church itself...I never even mentioned not being able to tax a pastor or land gifts. Pastors are under many similar tax responsibilities and they should be. Therefore, YOU stop being DUMB and piece together a better rebuttal next time...

Anonymous said...

John Wylie said...
As a matter of fact, pastors pay the full social security tax just like any other self employed person.

That depends

In the USA, pastors don’t have to pay social security tax on income received in return for performing pastoral duties … as long as they first file the appropriate paper work with the IRS.

http://www.crown.org/LIBRARY/ViewArticle.aspx?ArticleId=693

Anonymous said...

John Wylie: If you notice the words, SOME and MANY were used in the post. Some churches, usually smaller churches are sincere in their efforts. But, many churches are just in the BUSINESS. But, I believe you are not completely correct on your tax info. Many professional businessmen preachers are skating pretty much free.

If you are a sincere church, truly serving the Lord, and some are, then blessings to you. You will hear "Well done good and faithful servant". If not its just works for profit and will one day be judged and burned up as useless.

Anonymous said...

"You guys have ceased being a watchdog and have become enemies of all Bible preaching churches"

Mr.Wylie,
I am not an "enemy", but someone who sees the MEGA church paying exuberant salaries to millionaire pastors (who don't deserve this kind of money from a non-profit organization) instead of putting their resources first to do the very work you describe you do in your church.

We are not discussing ALL Bible preaching churches - only the MEGA'S who take the cream first off the top to put in the pockets of their CEO's.

The subject primary is on the greedy celebrity preachers who are now speaking up and pleading for more money (from members) because we are not meeting budget.

When a wealthy preacher tells people he understands about "hard times" when the members full well know the preacher pockets their money (wife/son on payroll) to live the lifestyle of the rich and famous he can't fool the people.

This individual is no role model for this type of discussion.

Please, no enemy of churches like you describe. We need more like yours!

Anonymous said...

" Do you really think the government is the place to invest our money to help people? "


Of course not. But neither are brand new fancy zillion dollar buildings or renovations.

Anonymous said...

" you've let bitterness get you off track."

Here we go with the old 'bitterness' accusation. Means some have hit a nerve.

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, pastors do pay personal income taxes. Some people have misrepresented the truth on this matter. Churches are tax exempt, individuals who are paid by the church are not. As a matter of fact, pastors pay the full social security tax just like any other self employed person.

March 17, 2010 10:25 PM


You have the choice to opt out of SS which most of us do not. It would be wise to opt out and do your own planning for retirement.

And exactly how is your housing allowance treated tax wise?

John Wylie said...

To tell you the truth I don't know much about my housing allowance, I would have to ask my tax person. But, what I do know is that over the course of the year between Social Security and Federal with holding I pay in more than $5,000/year. Further I pay taxes on the fair rental value of the parsonage.

Yes you did hit a nerve, which ever anonymous person said that, because why would you want churches taxed? It would do nothing but hurt the cause of Christ. I would dare say that the largest percentage of the people who post on here were saved as a result of the ministry of a church. Less money means less out reach.

Someone in one of the comments said they would "love to stick it to the megas", Really? Since when is it our right to do God's job? Isn't that vindictive? Like you, I don't care for the nonsense that goes on in many (not all) of these mega churches, but it's not my place to "stick it to" anyone.

I probabaly shouldn't have made the bitter comment, I'm sorry. But, my point is the same, that you can be so against these megas that you end up hurting churches that are trying to do right. Because if you carefully read the comments several posters want all churches taxed. I'm not for sending one dime more than required to an over reaching gov't.

Anonymous said...

Jesus said: "Matt 23:vs.11-12 "But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant". vs.12: "And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted".

Matt:19:vs.30 "But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first".

March 17, 2010 4:55 PM

This attitude of "I'm the boss" started with Willow Creek and the Bill Hybel's idea of growing the church. He espoused running the church like a corporation and instead of searching the scriptures, churches all over the country jumped on the band wagon
to grow bigger and more influential churches. I now understand Hybel has rescinded that
strategy and says it's wrong and does more harm than good but no one is listening to him. And so churches are split and broken all throughout the Southern Baptist convention. Like a divorce, the
broken and split churches have produced broken hearts and broken lives.
Some of the sheep have become so cast down that they no longer want anything to do with the organized church. Many who have stayed are wounded and bleeding but trying to hang on. And those who have come into the church to feel good and be entertained are being offered a shallow form of Christianity. Their ears are being tickled and they like it.

As to the church being taxed, I disagree. But whether you agree or not, under Obama and his socialist
cohorts, it's probably just a matter of time before the church will be taxed just like any other
business.

Anonymous said...

"I now understand Hybel has rescinded that
strategy and says it's wrong and does more harm than good but no one is listening to him."

This my understanding as well that Hybel is now saying that he did it all wrong - wonder what the laymen think of that who did the work to help that church grow into the thousands. So presently we have another MEGA preacher making big bucks off of saying "he did it all wrong" . . .As Donald Trump's theme song goes, "money, money, money"! What they do get right is how to make MONEY!

Anonymous said...

To opt out of ssi has a very limited window. It has to be withing the first two years of being paid over 400 as a minister. YOu must have a concientious objection from recieving any the benefits the government provides from social insurance on a religious conviction. The last time I checked as a SBC member we have nothing in our doctrine that will permit us to say we have an objection. It can not be because I want to hold on to my money. In all honesty I would have been wrong to opt out.

Pastor Chris

Anonymous said...

Because if you carefully read the comments several posters want all churches taxed. I'm not for sending one dime more than required to an over reaching gov't.
___________________________________

I used to feel the same way. Unfortunately, Brunson, Gaines, Young, Dollar, Osteen, et al have caused me to realize that the donations are not going to help anyone but the leaders and the donors. At least the government does help people in need through various programs. I never thought I would believe that, but facts are facts. If I need a meal and place to stay, the city provides a rescue mission. Schooling? First Academy is $10,000 per year, while my public school is free. I need protection, I call the Sheriff, not the church. Want to use park like facilities, again, I use the city. Roads need repaired, I call the city. Yet, the megas want more and more money to go on cruises, hire staff, pay advertising, build buildings, renovate buildings, etc.

Imagine being homeless and poor and in need in downtown Jax or Dallas. Both are spending millions on everything but helping the poor. So, if other churches are hurt by the need to start taxing these profitable enterprises, then they can blame Mac and Steve. Maybe the tax revisions can be called the Brunson-Gaines Act.

Anonymous said...

"Someone in one of the comments said they would "love to stick it to the megas", Really? Since when is it our right to do God's job? Isn't that vindictive? Like you, I don't care for the nonsense that goes on in many (not all) of these mega churches, but it's not my place to "stick it to" anyone."

Pastor Wylie: I agree - and I am one of the walking wounded from
the split of a mega church under the heavy hand of an arrogant pastor. It is one thing to reveal truth in order to bring correction; it is another thing to be angry and vindictive. When anger and vindictiveness overrule brotherly love then we are no better than the unsaved world. Of course, that is the rub - the church has so embraced the world culture that we Christians think and act like the world we live in.

Anonymous said...

"I now understand Hybel has rescinded that
strategy and says it's wrong and does more harm than good but no one is listening to him."


Don't get too excited. Hybels has a history of such remarks concerning other strategies. I started realizing the remarks, themselves, are 'strategies'.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Don't get too excited. Hybels has a history of such remarks concerning other strategies. I started realizing the remarks, themselves, are 'strategies'.

Matt

The problem is not all Hybels. The problem is spiritual leaders who
look more to man than God for guidance; who have the wrong priorities - and little or no discernment. Too many in church leadership today are hungering for power and position and the money it takes to get them there and keep them there. But you could also say the problem goes deeper -
believers who do not study the Word for themselves and therefore are easily deceived. Jesus said:
"You do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God"
(Matthew 22:29).

Anonymous said...

Don't get too excited. Hybels has a history of such remarks concerning other strategies. I started realizing the remarks, themselves, are 'strategies'.

Matt

The problem is not all Hybels. The problem is spiritual leaders who
look more to man than God for guidance; who have the wrong priorities - and little or no discernment. Too many in church leadership today are hungering for power and position and the money it takes to get them there and keep them there. But you could also say the problem goes deeper -
believers who do not study the Word for themselves and therefore are easily deceived. Jesus said:
"You do err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God"
(Matthew 22:29).

March 18, 2010 6:18 PM


I agree, friend. I just happen to know Hybels has a history of such statements and a new program, event, book or emphasis would follow.

It always amazed me that Hybels could admit such things and folks still followed....each and every
time over the years. There have been so many I have lost track.

Matt

Anonymous said...

One tidbit of reasoning. We are all members of the family of God if we are born again. Why should some take advantage of loopholes to lighten the burden of tax. Most of us Christians do not have a 501-C and therefore, cannot claim deductions for cars, house, clothes, etc, etc. There are a lot of the members of some churches that actually put more time in to their service than the pastor or his own relatives.I say tax the rest of the fat cats too.

John Wylie said...

No if you need a meal and a place to stay you call the Salvation Army (a religious denomination), or the rescue mission (even if city is in the name it's a religious organization). I can't argue with the thing about the roads and protection other than saying that that is the very purpose God has given the gov't. Romans 13

But once again what about preaching salvation? Does that not help the community? It helped my family. I'll bet that those churches have celibrate recovery programs for addicts. Please let's not throw the baby out with the bath water.

Certainly if you want to give additional funds to the gov't, please do so. But, don't join the liberals in wanting to tax the church. That's not the answer.

Anonymous said...

4:09: I agree. One problem for the legitimate church trying to faithfully do the will of the Lord is, the fat cat, social/business churches have "poisioned" the atmophere for the real churches. The legitimate churches must fight the "bad name" the churches and even preachers have acquired because of their greed, and mishandling the members that don't agree with them. The hostility is not toward Gods truly called preachers, or the legitimate churches they pastor. The problem lies in the fact that some USE the church and Gods Word to make themselves wealthy. Most are callous toward the poor, doing nothing to help people in need in the community. They walk right past so many hurting without a second thought. But, Jesus sees it all and one day it will all change.

What we all must realize and keep in mind is that we are definitely in the last days. We are in the church of Laodicea that God hates. It is only going to get worse and worse as the Falling Away of the church continues. Don't expect it to get better. Just look for Jesus to return soon!!!!

John Wylie said...

"Pastor Wylie: I agree - and I am one of the walking wounded from
the split of a mega church under the heavy hand of an arrogant pastor. It is one thing to reveal truth in order to bring correction; it is another thing to be angry and vindictive. When anger and vindictiveness overrule brotherly love then we are no better than the unsaved world. Of course, that is the rub - the church has so embraced the world culture that we Christians think and act like the world we live in."

Brother, I'm truly sorry for the fact you've been wounded in the church. Brotherly love, that's it, we cannot tear each other up. I worry that many hurt brothers and sisters will so lash out at the organized church that they will succeed at what the liberals would like to do.

I agree it is terrible to espouse the ways of the world, that is clearly condemned in the Bible. Thank you, brother.

Anonymous said...

You are not on our side of the fence John. I am afraid there has been too much fiscal abuse for many of us to "feel inclined" to "give" any more "breaks to churches. Many of us have volunteered hours upon hours service to the Lord free of any charge while watching preachers and their families do very little except take the money and the praise for what others did. Plus when a disagreement may have arisen the member is treated like "dirt" and all of their years of service and giving is counted as nothing and an ego ridden pastor blackens ones name and soon you are "encouraged" to leave the very church you helped build. So please excuse me for not feeling too sorry for pastors if they are taxed.

Dr. Fill said...

Potential Mega Church Pastors?:
http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/Non-Believing-Clergy.pdf

John Wylie said...

I didn't ask you to feel sorry for me or any pastors who are taxed. We are taxed. But the issue is about Churches being taxed.

You are right I'm not on "the same side of the fence" as some of you. If being anti church and anti pastor is the same side you're on. I'm not for taxing churches so that you can exact some sense of revenge for yourself. Further I'm not a fat cat, and I'm certainly not ashamed of being a pastor. Hate is an ugly thing sir.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wylie: You have misjudged me entirely. I am terribly disappointed in some pastors and some churches. The word hate is not involved. You would have to have experienced my situation yourself and then make a proper judgement. I have been faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and have forgiven those that were deceitful and unkind to me. I am beyond their grasp now and there is life more abundant than ever just being away from them and their kind. I am free and know the truth and it has set me free especially from those that use the church for their own glory and lust of money and position. Thank you very much.

Anonymous said...

Impose a tax based on size of church budget.

Then maybe some churches would get more realistic with their budgets (and the fact that people are leaving, not coming) instead of perennially going with last year's $ plus 5-7%.

Doug said...

It is not just the mega pastors who are wealth driven. Remember they had to start small - somewhere.

It is those within the Baptist Conventions and unchecked businesses that many have started as good salesman and who call themselves a church and use GOD and the BIBLE to get that paycheck.

I know, I fought them in GA.

Right BOYS in GA.

Anonymous said...

John Wylie said...
".... you can exact some sense of revenge for yourself. Further I'm not a fat cat...:

You must be one of these thin cats then.

No Revenge here

Anonymous said...

What we all must realize and keep in mind is that we are definitely in the last days. We are in the church of Laodicea that God hates. It is only going to get worse and worse as the Falling Away of the church continues. Don't expect it to get better. Just look for Jesus to return soon!!!!

March 18, 2010 8:44 PM

I heartily agree!
And will He find us faithful when He returns? A house divided cannot stand. In our zeal to punish those who have used and abused us, we must remember Jesus said "If you love Me, keep My commandments." And one of His commandments is:
"Love one another evem as I have loved you." Jesus also cautioned us to check the beam in our own eye when we are concerned about the splinter in another's eye. Pastor Wylie is right.
You cannot pass judgment on the majority of churches (small, medium or large) because of the misbehavior of some. We live in an unjust world but we serve a just God. He will deal with those who
use His Name in vain for their own selfish motives. I have walked away from a large mega where I served for over 25 years.
I could no longer tolerate the misuse and abuse by the arrogant pastor and those who supported him in order to keep their jobs or in the case of lay people - their positions in the church. HOWEVER,
I do not wish ill-will towards the church I left nor do I want to see all churches taxed in order to teach some a lesson.

Here's a good quote from Adrian Rogers: "We who have read the end
of The Book are optimists. Folks,
it's getting GLORIOUSLY dark!"

Anonymous said...

"I worry that many hurt brothers and sisters will so lash out at the organized church that they will succeed at what the liberals would like to do. "

Brother Wylie,

Do you not see you present a false choice in your comments?

Here is an example:

"Certainly if you want to give additional funds to the gov't, please do so. But, don't join the liberals in wanting to tax the church. That's not the answer."

You are only able to see a conservative/liberal dichotomy. This is understandable after 30 years of your leaders placing every issue & opinion into those categories.

What do you do with a political and orthodox conservative who does not see the organized, institutional church in the NC scriptures? The one with a government legal structure for tax purposes. Certainly that person is not a liberal. A Libertarian, perhaps. And not of the Randian stripe, either.

The fact is the institutional church is starting to look more and more like our bloated greedy government and the badly run companies that give the CEO a nice bonus anyway and take stimulus money to stay in business.

Matt

PS: I do think taxing the church...even mega's, is the answer. I prefer to warn folks to get out of them...fast...and let them die a natural death.

But, I have been through enough zoning fights over everything from the landscaping in parking lots to saving the Buffalo clover that I know something is coming...and you had best be prepared because if the tax laws on giving to churches change, it could get sticky because that is where your income comes from.

Anonymous said...

Mr Wylie: I am afraid you have directed your anger at those of us that have stopped believeing everything that comes out of the preachers mouth. We have been victims of stupidity long enough. It has been stated here over and over that many of us have come to recognize the real from the false. Sometimes due to the treatment we have received at the hands of an ego ridden preacher. Again, no one wants any type of vengance on any one. We just want accountability and truthfulness. When preachers set themselves up to be THE AUTHORITY with no accountability, things change in the area of trust! We see many getting rich off of the church while the demand for more goes on. The arrogance is gauling. As has also been stated here over and over, we also recognize the legitimate God called pastor that is truly doing Gods work. We sincerely wish them success and blessings as they must contend for souls, under the difficult circumstances of (as was mentioned earlier) a poisioned atmosphere brought about by the "professional preacher", in it for the money and perks. I think maybe you might have some righteous indignation toward the other preachers that have made your job more difficult. Don't blame people that have seen what is happening in the churches. Blame the ones that have created this problem...preachers themselves. When one is so arrogant as to thumb their nose when asked for accountability of money and ministry, then expect no or very little sympathy. No one hates the church, no one hates preachers on this blog. and no one hates you. But, neither do we blindly give a pass just because (not you) a preacher says, through actions and words. "I am above accountability". God bless you gentlemen who are still in it for the Lord!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"PS: I do think taxing the church...even mega's, is the answer. I prefer to warn folks to get out of them...fast...and let them die a natural death."

Yea, get out fast and let those greedy pastors keep all the goodies $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

"PS: I do think taxing the church...even mega's, is the answer. I prefer to warn folks to get out of them...fast...and let them die a natural death."

It is confusing when you leave out one word that completely changes your meaning.

I meant to say that 'taxing the church is NOT the answer'...

But we may want to ask ourselves why cult figures are attracted to the legal 'church' structure. Scientologists and Muslims mosques/Imams get the same tax breaks.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Blame the ones that have created this problem...preachers themselves. When one is so arrogant as to thumb their nose when asked for accountability of money and ministry, then expect no or very little sympathy. No one hates the church, no one hates preachers on this blog.
==================================
Agreed:
As seasoned believers I personally believe we have a responsibility to express to the new "babes in Christ" our experiences in what we see going on in today's MEGA churches that is so very very wrong.

I'm thankful for this popular blog (and yes, it is a very popular believers blog) as it has become a way for our voice to be heard world wide and to many it brings daily encouragement.

Note to Matt: You are 'one' of my favorites - I think of you as our mediator, as you always seem to pen the right words and always do so as a gentlemen. :>)

Anonymous said...

Blame the ones that have created this problem...preachers themselves. When one is so arrogant as to thumb their nose when asked for accountability of money and ministry, then expect no or very little sympathy. No one hates the church, no one hates preachers on this blog.
==================================
Agreed:
As seasoned believers I personally believe we have a responsibility to express to the new "babes in Christ" our experiences in what we see going on in today's MEGA churches that is so very very wrong.

I'm thankful for this popular blog (and yes, it is a very popular believers blog) as it has become a way for our voice to be heard world wide and to many it brings daily encouragement.

Note to Matt: You are 'one' of my favorites - I think of you as our mediator, as you always seem to pen the right words and always do so as a gentlemen. :>)

Anonymous said...

I guess the churches ".. of the people, by the people, for the people" are no longer,

Its now ".. of the Pastors, by the Pastors, for the Pastors"

John Wylie said...

How about of Christ, by Christ, and for Christ? The problem with all church conflict is this issue of who will have their way. Neither the pastor nor the people are supposed to get their way, but Christ is get His way. Titus 1:7; 2 Timothy 4:1-4; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 3:21

Anonymous said...

John: That is exactly the point!!!! Christ is supposed to be preimminent!!!! This is exactly the problem with the clergy and the churches today. Christ takes a back seat to the celebrity preachers, whose main focus IS NOT SOULS being SAVED or even TEACHING and PREACHING the BIBLE!!!! The main focus for these people is how do I get the money, the lifestyle and demand that I be elevated above accountability, to man now but to God later. They fool themselves if they believe they "get by" with this. Many see what's happening and are voting with their wallets and their feet. They are leaving!!! But, the worst is yet to come for these "pulpit pretenders", they will answer to God on Judgement Day and they will be unable to defend any of their actions. THAT WILL BE ACCOUNTABILITY!!! Much better for them if they GET SAVED and REPENT now as we all should before facing God. They think they are above questioning, and they have others backing them up so they think because they have a "following" that they are in the right.

Matt:7:221-23 "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. vs.22 Many will say to me in that day Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? vs.23: And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity".

Anonymous said...

John Wylie said...

"How about of Christ, by Christ, and for Christ?"

That's what all you preachers say to get YOUR way, like you have a special connection (the ANOINTED) that no one else has.

Keep it up John

John Wylie said...

It's not what all us preachers say it's what the Bible says. I clearly said neither the pastor nor the people should get their way, but that Christ should get His way. I never claimed to have a special connection that any other believer doesn't have. If you read the scriptures I gave (I'm sure you did) you would have noted Titus 1:7 in the qualifications of a Bishop, it states that he cannot be self willed (translated arrogant in some translations), but it means he's not to be self motivated.

Additionally, the people are not to be self willed. 1 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 2:1-5

Anonymous said...

John Wylie: I don't know you and I am new to this blog site but you certainly have been a target for those who are angry with mega churches.
I have no idea what size church you pastor. If it is a small to medium sized church where the pastor has multitudinous responsibilities, I don't see how you have the time nor the energy to write so much on a blog site.
That said, your comments seem to me to be very balanced and based on scriptures. You also identify yourself where the rest of us stay under the cloak of anomimity. Maybe you have said other things in the past to warrant such verbal abuse but I don't see it in what I have read personally.

John Wylie said...

I have said things I'm not proud of and I have apologized for those things.

As far as time, it's been spring break here and I've had some extra time. In addition, I use this and other blogs as a way to keep me sharp and much of what I've learned here will be in this week's Sunday school lesson.

I pastor a church that has about 75
in attendance for worship. I've been here more than 10 years and I love my people. Our town is about 400 population and if I were looking to climb an ecclesiastical ladder I would have done it a long time ago.

The reason I've posted so many comments here in the last two days (sorry everybody) is that I am concerned about a couple of things:1.) The move away from the organized church (I'm going to write a blog on my site about this next week) and 2.) A disrespect for all paid pastors.

Anyhow thank you for your kind comments. I can be a jerk sometimes, please feel free to correct me when you see it.

Anonymous said...

"The reason I've posted so many comments here in the last two days (sorry everybody) is that I am concerned about a couple of things:1.) The move away from the organized church (I'm going to write a blog on my site about this next week) and 2.) A disrespect for all paid pastors."

Brother Wylie,

I appreciate your comments and understand your concerns but I think they are misplaced. I say that out of concern for the Body of Christ.

I may say some things here that anger you but I hope you will prayerfully consider them.

1. Organized church. While I do not think we will see a demise of the organized legal structure of 'church' in our lifetime, we are witnessing some serious movement away from it. I cannot quote you any stats except what is being reported to me from many areas. Folks are leaving the mega's. And it is not the 'Christians in name only' who are leaving. It is the serious followers of Christ.

My last years in mega land, it was obvious, that all along, we were going for what we called the 'unchurched' who were really unbelievers or those looking for a more exciting venue for their kids or themselves. We attracted the Catholics, Methodists, Baptists, etc. We were basically growing by having better marketing tactics which focused on felt needs.

It is what we become when we are trying to attract such folks that is the real concern. And it is too lengthy to go into here.

This is going to sting but I am going to say it. I believe God is calling out a serious remnant from the temples of entertainment and big business. I do not believe they are the 'real' Body of Christ. (Actually, I know they aren't but don't want to debate that) I think they do 'good' things in their communities. But so does the Rotary club.

2. Pastors. Those who are really studying (who aren't pastors) are realizing this is a shepherding function that has nothing to do with Admin functions or even leadership over a 'group'. If we are truly saved, we are all ministers. Some are gifted with the pastoring function. (Which is not an orating function alone but can be included, I suppose)

It is a real crime in many instances because we know that many never grow in spiritual maturity past their 'pastor'. They tend to view him as some sort of spiritual guru. That was never intended.

We are not teaching people to seek and trust the indwelling Holy Spirit. To do so would mean we do not need paid professionals. In the past 3 years, one of the most spiritual and godly men that I know owns a small manufacturing plant. He never attended seminary but has devoted himself to prayer and study. In return, he listens to others teach from the Word and all are encouraged to test what each other teaches from the Word.

I predict this will be the model for many who leave the organized legal structure with paid professionals.

...spiritual unity in the Word.


Blessings,

Matt

Anonymous said...

Matt, in reading your last comment to John Wylie, I both agree and disagree with you. Many years ago, as a new Christian, I was encouraged to read and study the Word of God and, most of all,
obey it under the preaching/teaching of a pastor of a large mega church. He would always encourage us to search the scriptures on our own. He never wanted us to just sit and soak up what he said and not check it out for ourselves. He never neglected the teaching of the Holy Spirit. I can tell you that I increasingly matured spiritually in that church. I also witnessed the salvation of many souls won to Christ at that mega church in the many years I was there. The church was one of the largest contributors to missions both here and in foreign lands. Therefore, I cannot agree with your blanket statements about the evils of
mega churches. And as far as accountability lacking in the organized church, when people gather in home churches, there is also the danger of little or no accountability and they can become cult-like because of it.

Now where I do agree with you is that many SBC churches are becoming entertainment centers with music and programs to make people feel good. Some neglect
strong doctrine because it could be offensive. Many churches have gone down this deceptive pathway - churches of all sizes, not just megas. There are also the
celebrity preachers who misuse and abuse the very people who blindly follow them. And because of this,
I have walked away from the church I served and loved for so many years. The new pastor espouses the
seeker-friendly and "I am the boss"
type of agenda. I see neither as being scriptural and therefore have
graced the church with my absence.
However, I have not become bitter nor abandoned the organized church.

The danger is that many who have been hurt are becoming bitter and wanting to do away with the organized church altogether. We are in a spiritual warfare like we've never seen in these last of the Last Days. Bitter, angry Christians are playing into the hands of satan who is the instigator of all this upheaval in the church today.

Anonymous said...

Anon, I am glad you had a good experience at the mega church. You might have changed your mind if you had sat in on the leadership's budget meetings. (wink)

"The danger is that many who have been hurt are becoming bitter and wanting to do away with the organized church altogether."

A careful reading of the NC will show that the 'church' is a living organism. A structured organization concerned with such admin details and who is in charge
cannot long be a living organism. It is in our sinful nature to map the world's strutures of leadership and organization to the Body. We did it with kings, the state church and so on.

In the US, we use a business model.

We are to be a 'peculiar' people and that is not peculiar. It is just like the world.

I am not saying it is a sin to attend an organized legal structure of church. I just pray that folks will see it for what it is and even within that forced and limiting structure seek to be a living Body of Christ.

It might be forced on some if they are serious about the Word. We know in Canada a ministry will lose it's 'charity' standing for tax purposes if they are shown to be critisizing another religious group or their practices. No more tax breaks for the organization or the donors.

Anonymous said...

oops, that last comment was from me, Matt.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
"...Bitter, angry Christians are playing into the hands of satan who is the instigator of all this upheaval in the church today."

How about "...pastors are playing into the hands of satan..."

Anonymous said...
"We are in a spiritual warfare like we've never seen in these last of the Last Days."


This has to happen so get used to it?


It seems that in some countries around the globe, the last days have already happened and passed. The whole matter doesn't revolve around the United States, does it?

Anonymous said...

So, I am gone for a few days on vacation, and the wheels come off.

What a perfectly awful idea.

I am glad that the founders of this country saw that religious freedom and the separation of church and state were so important that they are mentioned in the first amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And they are mentioned in the Constitutions of many if not all of the states, as well.

People that propose this sort of arrangement need to go back and simply read history and think more carefully.

I am glad for the exemptions that exist, and for the protections that exist even if the exemptions did not.

I am also glad that the exemptions have been extended to not only religious organizations but also to scientific and educational organizations, as well. Vanderbilt University, for example, owns more property in town than probably all of the churches combined in the older section of the city.

And I haven't even started on the general concept of economic freedom.

We shouldn't let our anger toward a few pastors and churches fall for such bad ideas.

Louis

Anonymous said...

We shouldn't let our anger toward a few pastors and churches fall for such bad ideas.
___________________________________

Louis - you are probably right. Unfortunately, the more brazen and abusive these megas get, the more this conservative will have no choice but to advocate one of the following:

1) openness and accountability in all revenues and expenses

OR

2) tax purchases of the church, not the receipts of the church.

Which would terrify Mac Brunson more? Having to pay property taxes on the 11 city blocks of property the church has accumulated? Or letting the whole world know his and his wife's and son's total compensation packages?

Anonymous said...

John are you still there?

Here's a clip of one of those mega pastor who states it is:

..MY Ministry..,


no mention of Christ.