"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Why So Much Angst About Anonymous Critics?

I recently came across the audio excerpt below from Matt Chandler, where he absolutely blasts people who would dare send him anonymous, critical emails. He angrily calls them several choice names like "pathetic" and "narcissistic zeros". I came across this audio clip at Dr. Alvin Reid's blog site, as he included Chandler's clip with his blog post here entitled "Dealing with Critics".

You really have to listen to this. It gives I think a glimpse into just how much disdain there is for anonymous emailers and bloggers critical of the Southern Baptist power structure. It is my view, based on my experience as a formerly anonymous blogger, that Chandler's disdain for anonymous critics is shared by many of our Southern Baptist leaders. After all, Alvin Reid posts it for his readers (many of whom are our future pastors!), presumably as an example of how to view those who dare to criticize anonymously.

It is interesting that Chandler quotes an email criticizing his idea to incorporate "texting" into the church service to gather feedback from the congregation...he calls the email a "real hateful, little, spiteful email..." He read it, and I don't think it was "hateful" or "spiteful"...the person is wrong, but so what? Does that make them "pathetic" and a "zero" or a "narcissist"? (the "narcissist" charge coming from a mega church pastor is truly ironic!). It seems that maybe he was more upset at the person's views of his texting idea, than he is at the anonymity! Why would the anonymity of this person be so bothersome to him?

And it is interesting that he says his church doesn't have a system that hides things, that people can come to them with their questions and don't need to use an alias. Gee, when people hear their pastor blow up and call an email "hateful" and "spiteful", who really would want to go with honest questions or criticisms?

Why are pastors so sensitive to criticism in general, and why do they despise anonymous critics so much?

On the topic of anonymous communication, and why people sometimes choose to be anonymous - Chandler actually asks why would someone want to be anonymous - I offer the following article written in 2009 by an anonymous author on Wade Burleson's site. I believe the writer first posted it as a comment in one of Wade's blogs that appeared around March 2009 about the time of the subpoenas to find the identity of the FBC Jax Watchdog were becoming known. Wade then posted the article on his blog, and I have provided the entire anonymous article below it.

Anonymous Writing is Not Intrinsically Evil - March 5, 2009

"All of this talk about anonymity has got me thinking. The term “coward” is sure getting thrown around a lot, and that is unfortunate. I wonder if anyone here has ever read or heard about the Marprelate tracts? They were written by (anonymous) Puritans in 1588-89 criticizing the abuses of Anglican bishops and clergy. They knew the consequences if they were discovered, but they could not remain silent. In fact, two men (both ministers) died (1 executed, 1 died in prison) because they were linked to the printing of the tracts. The printer, Waldegrave, had his press confiscated and was financially ruined. It is debatable whether or not the authors were ever really discovered. When the Anglican Star Chamber issued an edict in 1586 declaring that the Anglican church had the power to license and/or forbid all printing in the country, these men knew that they must speak out, but they didn’t necessarily want to die for it. After all, when a “trouble-maker” is discovered and dealt with (i.e. ruined by those in power that he critiques), then the criticism is silenced and people remain in the dark about the issues.

Please note, there’s a stark difference between a willingness to die for the testimony of the gospel, which I would do, and a willingness to die criticizing an institution. Most of us would rather live and go on criticizing the institution, seeking to make reform than to die and have our voices for reform snuffed out. I love the SBC and want to see it reformed for instance, but I will not die for it. That’s a privilege reserved only for my sweet Savior and family.

Add to that list of contemptible cowards names like John Jay, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison, men who published anonymously (OK…they used the pseudonym Publius) the Federalist Papers, called by many the most important political documents outside the Constitution and Declaration of Independence in our nation’s history. Cowards they were… discard their ideas.

Also add to the mix more contemptible cowards like Thomas Paine (Common Sense was anonymous upon publication) and the dozens and dozens of revolutionary war era and anti-slavery tracts published anonymously (see Gutenberg.org for a list). Also discredit the information of historical figures like the anonymous (until his death) “Deep-throat” who let the nation in on major political scandal and corruption in Washington D.C. Guess he was a coward too. Also there have been numerous corporate whistleblowers who have anonymously helped bring justice to out-of-control corrupt companies. Cowards each one...

Incidentally, just this morning in the latest issue of Discipleship Journal, I read a touching testimony about a man ministering to his son in the midst of a drunk-driving incident. The article was signed “Clive Wellington” with the note that this was a pseudonym for an unknown author, probably in order to protect the reputation of his son and his son’s ability to heal and move on with life. I should have been enraged by the article, questioned its truthfulness, and immediately ripped it out of DJ, calling upon them to either print the name or retract the story! Puhleeaze!

A few years ago, I attended a Voice of the Martyrs event where a former Pakistani Muslim who was now a Christian spoke against the evils of Islam. He had to travel, write, and speak under a made-up name to protect himself and his family. I guess without knowing his real name, I should be suspect about his claims. I cannot call his Imam in Pakistan and verify his claims, so he should be discredited…right?

Basically, the history of anonymity in writing is long and rich. Usually (almost always) anonymous writing is done by those NOT in power rightly criticizing those IN POWER who are in a position to shut-up and shut-down the anonymous source, thus putting an end to the public’s knowledge of the corruption. Those of you who are so quick to call others cowards can do so precisely because you support those in power or have nothing to lose (i.e. you’re not in ministry at a SB church or institution!). It’s OK to put your name on your criticism of Wade or Watchdog, because if some of the “higher-ups” look you up or run into you at the state or national convention (and believe me, they do!), they’ll thank you and pat your back! NOT take you to task or blacklist you like they have others!

I personally know a student at one of our seminaries working on his dissertation who was told (off the record) by more than one prof that he had better stay away from blogging or commenting or signing his name to anything critical that could be used later against him if he hoped to have a future at all in the SBC! At times, he has been scared of being kicked out of his program because of being critical of leaders, pastors, etc… during open discussions. Now he just sits quietly and withholds any criticism until he graduates.

Wade is in a unique situation…and I thank God for him. He has the strong support of his congregation and the knowledge that he will continue to be employed in the face of what he writes. They know and trust his character and integrity because of many years of ministry. He knows he will not lose his job by speaking out. He also knows (from experience) that he is not on anyone in the SBC’s list of “up and comers” for future leadership in SBC life. He walked those halls for a while and found out what happens when you refuse to “play the game.”

Many others are not in the same position, and thus, remain anonymous. In itself, that is no reason to discard what they write. Staffers at a mega-church led by a superstar are powerless. Speak out and lose your job, plain and simple. Lose your benefits, pack your bags, and plan to relocate…IF you can find anyone else to employ you after being fired by one of “the boys.” Likewise with seminary employees, agency employees, etc… SBC life is a very small, tight-knit community with lots of nepotism and inside-talk. Many of the mega-church leaders and inner-circle guys preach for each other regularly, defend one another publicly, speak at all the seminary chapels, serve on the same boards, room their kids together at the same schools, and on and on it goes. If you are critical and you make yourself known publicly, you will be shut out from future impact in the SBC.

Those of you who want to throw the term “coward” around, open your eyes to the reality of what’s happening. Look at what happened to Wade. Read the reports at fbcjaxwatchdog. Look at the facts. This man (whoever he is) was a loyal member of the church for MANY years under Lindsey/ Vines; why would he just “snap” when Dr. Brunson came on board? Could there be some substance to his accusations? You’ll never know because you don’t want to.

If you don’t want to believe what an anonymous author is saying, it wouldn’t matter if there was a name attached to it or not. Even if their identity was known, you still wouldn’t believe it. If there’s truth to what they are saying, then who cares if you know their name or not? Will those being criticized answer the criticisms with substance? I hope Dr. Brunson calls Wade back and clears the air, but I don’t foresee that happening.

It’s easy to sit on the winning side and take pot-shots at the whistle-blowers. It’s easy to call them cowards and discredit their work so readily. It’s much tougher to admit that these MIGHT just be honest Christian people telling the truth. It’s much tougher for many in the SBC today to admit that their heroes might be flawed."

104 comments:

don bryant said...

I am always amazed that those who enter into the public arena to influence the, well, public, demand that the public does not criticize them. The fact remains that when you charge into the arena you are taking your life into your hands and you better "man up" and understand that this is no game in which you are the referee. Quit whining and take it. It's the price you pay for wanting to be a person of influence. I am consistently hearing the whining of major leaders and pastors who in the midst of their phenomenal influence complain about being criticized. Sorry, no one gets a pass.

Dr Who said...

That's funny. I have the same feeling about all those FAKE Doctor DEGREES floating around within the Baptist Mafia.

Un-anonymously yours;

DR WHO :)

Kenneth said...

I don't think you can group all anonymous letters in the same category. It is true that there have been instances where people write anonymously for fear of real retribution like losing their life, job, etc. However, there are people who just are plain mean and write hateful things to ministers at church and refuse to sign their names. Those people are cowards any way you look at it. WD, I have no idea which category you fall in. I'm not talking about you, I'm just speaking from personal experience.
There is a huge difference between constructive criticism and attacking a person. If churches are consumed by constant fighting among each other, they are missing the reason for their existence.

Anonymous said...

I believe there is a program used by the government called the "witness protection program". Names and identities are even protected and money given to certain individuals for life in order to secure their testimony. People are correct in writing anonymously as there will be persecution if the leader finds you out. Only a fool would provide their name because we all know most all want to "follow the leader" whoever he/she may be.

Anonymous said...

Kenneth, there would not be so much infighting if the leaders were open and respectul of criticism. Unfortunately, it is mostly my way or the highway.

Anonymous said...

"Why are pastors so sensitive to criticism in general, and why do they despise anonymous critics so much?"

Great question, Tom. And an important one, too, because the answer goes deeper than most can imagine.

First of all, most do not want to deal with the content of a disagreement. It is much easier to deflect attention away from the issue and onto the person. This is what we call attack the messenger.
You cannot do that if it is anonymous. You are left with content.

The bigger question they should ask themselves is this: Why would someone not feel comfortable enough and close enough with their 'brother in Christ' to be able to bring the issue up in person and discuss it as siblings in Christ who know each other and love each other?

There are many reasons why the above cannot be so in most 'church' situations and the answer, which is long, is one reason folks might want to consider if it is a real church or not. Most likely it isn't.

Perhaps Matt might want to ask himself that question before he rails against an anonymous letter. After all, he is in the position to do just that as we see he is using his bully pulpit to intimdate folks.

Another consideration is that many are promoting church discipline and miusing it on people. There really is no way to communicate something negative to these celebrity pastors without putting yourself up for some abuse. I have heard many a "situation" brought up in a sermon,no names mentioned but the person humiliated and others were curious to know who he was talking about. It is unnecessary to do that but many pastors do it. It really does show their own lack of depth when they do.

It occured to me that when we discuss Hebrews, we discuss Hebrews. But with many Epistles, we discuss Paul, John or James, etc. When in reality they were only conduits the Holy Spirit used to communicate truth to us.

We do not have this personality discussion with Hebrews because we have no clue who wrote it. We might have opinions but we still focus on the content.

I, for one, am thankful for anonymous writings and letters. For without them, we might not have the Bill of Rights today.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Why remain anonymous?

Because people attack the messenger but ignore the message. Especially when dealing with a popular pastor.

Pastors today dont like blogs because it affects how much control they can exert on their congregations without being challenged on false teachings. They are finding it more difficult to fleece the flock when there are now critics out there pointing out their indiscretions.

It is easier to demonize a critic than it is to deal with the content of what they are saying

Anonymous said...

"Another consideration is that many are promoting church discipline and miusing it on people. There really is no way to communicate something negative to these celebrity pastors without putting yourself up for some abuse."

===============================
This is good example of the "love & compassion"
that is bestowed on the members of First Baptist Church of Jacksonville of those who even "hint" they might disagree about something. Note, the empty pews on Sunday & Wednesdays - there was a time it was elbow to elbow.

Jeff Haney said...

Kenneth is correct.

Not all "anons" are the same.

Some are for "noble and gallant" reasons, and discretion is the better part of valor.

Some however, are merely hateful, and spiteful temper tantrums, that want to be able to shoot arrows at someone without that someone being able to shoot back.

I am reminded of the story of D.L. Moody who was about to preach one evening. A note had been handed to him by an anonymous writer. It had one word on it. "FOOL"

To which Moody replied, "I have received many letters in which men forgot to sign their name. This is the first time I've had someone sign their name and forget to write the letter."

I am a pastor.

I am not afraid of criticism. I probably need some. I have endured my share of it for 20 years, and most likely I'll have more of it.

I have an open door policy, in which each and every person within the sound of my voice may take up with me any grievance they wish.

Because of that open and free policy, there is no need whatsoever for someone to take a potshot at me, and still expect me to take them seriously.

When someone does that, they are not interested at all in resolving the issue with me, because I can't resolve with who I can't see. All they are interested in is defaming, hurting, or wounding, and then running for the woods.

That's not "taking a noble stand" that's juvenile rock throwing.

If someone just cannot bring themselves to confront me, and feel they must remain anonymous, their grievance with me will still get somewhere if their "anon" is not filled with vitriol, spiteful langauge, that is merely bent on telling me off. If their anon writing is at the very least respectful, tactful, and concessionary in tone, then and only then do they make headway with me. As the Bible says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."

Anon writing is not necessarily wrong in itself, but the tones and approaches and goals of the writings make a big, big difference.

"Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man." Col 4:6 (KJV)

I'll eat any steak you give me unless you give it to me on the lid of a trash can.

Anonymous said...

Matt Chandler is no different than the rest of the mega-paid, mega-hyped, mega-pastors. I never understood his large following. To me, his sermons are just as hip, trendy and melodramatic as the next "relevant" guy.

Matt (the OTHER Matt)is in da house! Welcome back 'bra!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Kenneth said:

"I don't think you can group all anonymous letters in the same category. It is true that there have been instances where people write anonymously for fear of real retribution like losing their life, job, etc. However, there are people who just are plain mean and write hateful things to ministers at church and refuse to sign their names. Those people are cowards any way you look at it. "

I will grant you not all anonymous communication is equal.

But pastors seem to lump it all in the same category: cowardice, not worthy of a response, throw in the dumpster...and in the case of Chandler, worthy of reading the email and characterizing it as "hateful", and then lashing out at anyone else who might do the same. Chandler sure lumps it all together: silly, pathetic, "narcissistic zeros", are people who don't sign their name. I can't get over the irony of a mega church pastor calling the sheep who send an anonymous email "narcissistic". Wow!

I dealt with the "coward" criticism on my blog for a long time, and of course had the local retired judge declare me as a "coward". Anonymous criticism is to be a "coward". I think the article I posted on this blog post deals with that charge quite well, as does "Matt" here.

By the way, welcome back "Matt" - we have missed you, it has been many months since you posted here. Hope all is well with you!

Anonymous said...

BOOHOO, thats what you get when you become a pastor. stop complaining

Anonymous said...

So if someone calls a pastor a fool, that makes them a fool? Really? Maybe the pastor's wife sent it? Or one of his staff members. So cute, I have heard that little story so many times from pastors. Just because the guy calling you a fool is anonymous doesn't mean you are not one, or that the writer is one. :)

New BBC Open Forum said...

I agree with Don, Kenneth, and Matt and appreciate all of you choosing a unique screen name to distinguish you from the other anons. There is most definitely a difference between criticism and an attack, but as Watchdog said, a lot of people, particularly some pastors, can't seem to tell the difference. I appreciate pastors with "open-door" policies like Jeff Haney's. By the way, Jeff, has your opinion of the Ergun Caner situation changed any since April?

If someone just cannot bring themselves to confront me, and feel they must remain anonymous, their grievance with me will still get somewhere if their "anon" is not filled with vitriol, spiteful langauge, that is merely bent on telling me off. If their anon writing is at the very least respectful, tactful, and concessionary in tone, then and only then do they make headway with me. As the Bible says, "A soft answer turneth away wrath."

That's my policy, too. I'll communicate with anyone who wishes to remain anonymous as long as they're respectful. If they're not, I give their correspondence the same level of respect they showed towards me. Namely, the trashcan.

Anonymous said...

One reason why pastoral staff's hate anonymous letters is that they do not know how to do damage control. Is it someone who gives a lot of money? Is it someone who has lots of influence? How can we begin to contain something if we do not know where to look?

It is more about damage and image control than anything else, speaking from experience.

But I will try to repeat this because I think it needs to be thought about deeply when you hear anyone in ministry critisize anonymous letters to the pastoral staff:

The bigger question they should ask themselves is this: Why would someone not feel comfortable enough and close enough with their 'brother in Christ' to be able to bring the issue up in person and discuss it as siblings in Christ who know each other and love each other?


This question goes to the heart of what is the Body of Christ. Part of the problem is that many think it is the pastor's church. But the church constitutes believers who meet. The pastor and even the elders are just part of the function of the Body. It is not their 'church'. We all constitute the priesthood.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Excellent post.
Dr. Patterson probably tell his students once a month, publicly, to do as he does: place all unsigned letters directly in the "round file." Don't even read it....
So this is where it starts, as do other attitudes and methods.
It's interesting that leaders often "protest too much," claiming that they "never read blogs" either.
But we all know they do.
Seminary professors know that within 10 miutes of being posted, any untoward blog entries fo theirs will have already been relayed to the Proper Authorities by dutiful scribes assigned (and scholarshipped) to that task. ("Anonymous readers," I suppose.)
Baptists, being close-knit, as you correctly observed, are a little like the Mafia, with a code of Omerta.
It's hard to know whom you can trust sometimes.
I agree that Wade is unquestionably a man of integrity on every level that is visible. I've never met him, but his handling of controversy, disputations, and journalistic ethics is an excellent model. No wonder he has amaznig "sources!" He doesn't burn people. He seems unafraid of the Truth that sets us free.
Whistleblower statutes--and news investigators--invite "anonymous" tips. Fear of retaliation is real.
Lord, I do feel it.
So just sign me.....
Anonymous

John Wylie said...

New BBC said...

"That's my policy, too. I'll communicate with anyone who wishes to remain anonymous as long as they're respectful. If they're not, I give their correspondence the same level of respect they showed towards me. Namely, the trashcan."

I think that is the best way to put it. There is a big difference between truly constructive criticism and someone who is just a cronic complainer. I will say this though I have even learned from people who criticized me in the wrong spirit, because even if their criticism is done in the wrong spirit it can still be based in truth.

Anonymous said...

I've never had more rude, un-Christian things said to me than during the 8 years I was on a church staff. Not even in the corporate world, where I worked for over 20 years.

Yet this represents the elevated level of pastor whining that is prevalent in the church today. It is unbecoming, unwinsome and immature. You can quietly choose not to respond to anyone, anytime - it is neither necessary nor appropriate to broadcast how angry it makes you or what a "coward," "loser," or "pathetic person" they are. You're not only on their level, but the awkwardness it creates for the listeners weakens your whole message.

Anonymous said...

Some leaders do not want criticism under any circumstance. In a smart leader you will find one who not only wants criticism of whats holding back the organization but WHO is holding it back. A great leader surrounds himself/herself with the best possible people to aid them in planning, organizing, production and administration. When it works well the organization prospers. When a leader feels threatened by those already there in place he replaces them and has his own people in place. Oftentimes this can be a disaster especially in politics and in our churches!!! What is really disturbuing is when the leader of a church has never been born again or called by GOD! Everyone suffers including the so called pastor. By the way, what ever happened to the "Suggestion Box"?

Anonymous said...

As a pastor I will make two observations.

1. Many pastor friends, including myself, did not want to become a pastor. Our flesh, our understanding of our own brokenness and humanity, our fear, and our understanding of the loneliness of being a pastor combined to make us very reluctant in obeying God. The calling for me was deeper than my huge desire NOT to be a pastor, there was certainly no personal desire to enter into this calling. But from Noah to Paul, there was no misinterpreting when God says preach and the wrestling match was painful. I am certain that only other pastors can relate and truly know the pain, weight, loneliness and trembling that comes in being a shepherd and a spokesman. I pastor a good size church, I love people and have many friends - but being a pastor more isolating that I ever imagined.

2. I personally don't read a letter that is anonymous, not because there wouldn't be any truth in it, but because I don't know the source of the words, heaven or hell as Jesus said. I don't know if it is a man or woman who keeps in step with the Spirit or a man or woman whom Satan has entered. I like to know the heart of the one who writes so I can know whether or not to let it enter my heart. Believe me I have read some wounding letters that come from Godly men and I took those wounds to be faithful. I have read flattering, warm fuzzy letters from some who don't walk with the Lord and have no evidences of the Spirit and those letters mean nothing whatsoever.

Just some thoughts from a pastor, maybe to give some balance.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday we received a letter from Mac Brunson with the greeting of "Dear Saint". The reason for writing was on the subject of tithing - (they, meaning him) has decided this year they are moving the 60 year old traditional "Chest of Joash" service to January to to begin a new tradition. This October (they, meaning him) will still take up a special offering for the building project and need one million dollars to complete the remaining work. He speaks they are currently 14% behind in budget giving.

All I have to say in regards to this letter, is so long,
we are not supporting a Mega Celebrity preacher who has done nothing but change a church that wasn't broken.

Caleb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

"I don't know if it is a man or woman who keeps in step with the Spirit or a man or woman whom Satan has entered. I like to know the heart of the one who writes so I can know whether or not to let it enter my heart."

Ok. Really? Do you have any idea how PIOUS this sounds?

Caleb said...

As a pastor, I will never respond to anonymity. If you have an issue then come to me and we will talk about it. We may disagree but I will sit down and visit with you about it. People that choose to be anonymous simply reveal themselves to be cowardly and unwilling to appropriately address whatever their issue may be. Be a real person.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I personally don't read a letter that is anonymous, not because there wouldn't be any truth in it, but because I don't know the source of the words, heaven or hell as Jesus said. I don't know if it is a man or woman who keeps in step with the Spirit or a man or woman whom Satan has entered.

If you pastor a "good size" church, you still don't necessarily know the person, much less his or her heart. For that matter, who are you to judge someone's heart from a civil, respectful, but perhaps critical letter? Anyone can use a pseudonym. Or do you only read letters from people you determine to be members of your church after you check the name against the membership roll?

I ask all these questions with respect. I'm just trying to understand how you purport to know someone's heart from a letter if it's not readily apparent.

I'd also be willing to bet you do read anonymous letters. You may not respond to anonymous letters, but you likely read or have someone read them for you. As someone in a previous thread said (I think it even might have been another blog), pastors of larger churches have staff. These pastors usually have someone on staff read all letters simply because they don't want to miss a legitimate threat from some unbalanced individual. For that reason alone it makes sense to read or at least have someone screen all your mail.

Personally I wouldn't send a letter or an e-mail to a pastor that I wouldn't sign my real name to. People have asked me (ad nauseum) why I didn't set up a meeting with Steve Gaines. For one thing, I had nothing to personally discuss with him. His blunders were and are public, and I provided a place for disenfranchised (I hate that word) people to have a voice. But more importantly, I saw the way many others who did write (and sign their names) or try to meet with him were consistently ignored, marginalized, or even ostracized (neither being any biggie for me personally) for asking tough but respectful questions. People at FBC Jax received the same treatment from Mac & Co. Hence, we blog. Pastors can learn a lesson from this.

Anonymous said...

"People at FBC Jax received the same treatment from Mac & Co. Hence, we blog. Pastors can learn a lesson from this."

PREACHERS TALK!
The pastor shares the information with his staff, then to their deacons who pass it on to their wives and down the road what you thought to be confidential between you and the pastor was not. I'd never go to a home church pastor with a serious issue - nothing remains confidential and that includes your financial giving as well in the local church.

Anonymous said...

11:01 Anonymous,

Piety is not the undercurrent of the posting I made (I'm the pastor with two observations) but actually it is scripture. Read of two disciples around Jesus who were influenced by Satan and then one whom Satan entered.

Our church has 2,100 members, about 1,250 in worship attendance, and I with all integrity I can say I know 85% of them. I know their heart, their lives, their stories and their fruits.

Certainly there are some letters/emails that come through that I read not knowing the person well or at all. But I can also say with all integrity that if an unsigned letter comes in I do not read it. Period. I learned that out of experience, that an unsigned letter can't be dealt with on a biblical level or personal level, therefore it is meaningless to read.

There - I'm done posting for the year.

Pastor Jason

Caleb said...

Anonymous,
Your comments are way out of line and it is totally irresponsible to classify all pastors in the way you have. I have never betrayed a confidence in my years of ministry. My staff is not in the loop on every conversation that takes place. The deacon body is most certainly not alerted to everything. The personal financial giving is unknown.
It is obvious you have a lot of hate in your heart for pastors at large. That is unfortunate as many pastors are truly holy and righteous individuals. Yes, some are not but that gives you no right to characterize an entire group with one characterization. I pray the Holy Spirit convicts and leads you to a more appropriate and fair viewpoint.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Pastor Jason - thanks for chiming in here, but since you choose to be anonymous I really don't pay attention to anonymous pastors since I don't know their heart, and the source of the words, whether they be heaven or hell, as Jesus said. I like to know the heart of the pastor I'm reading comments of, and believe me: I've received some very wounding words from pastors that I've known.

:)

Just kidding, of course. I appreciate your input.

If you post anonymously, or send me an anonymous email, I'll still read it and I'll judge its worth based on content, tone, truthfulness, etc. Your name means absolutely nothing to me. I think a pastor would be wise to do the same of anonymous information that comes to them. I would not lump all anonymous emails in the same group, but pastors seem to want to do that. It seems there is nothing so "cowardly" as writing anonymously.

New BBC Open Forum said...

As a pastor, I will never respond to anonymity. If you have an issue then come to me and we will talk about it. We may disagree but I will sit down and visit with you about it. People that choose to be anonymous simply reveal themselves to be cowardly and unwilling to appropriately address whatever their issue may be. Be a real person.

And how do we know you're "Caleb" or who "Caleb" is? By the way, I generally agree that signing your name to a personal letter, unless it's a whistleblower situation where the person's livelihood or wellbeing is at stake, is appropriate and certainly something I would do if I were initiating the contact.

However, instead of ignoring anonymous letters, assuming they're written in a respectful tone and you have a way to reply, why not invite the person to come meet with you in person? Instead of dismissing them, ask yourself why someone should feel the need for anonymity in the first place. Instead of assuming someone is a coward, perhaps a better question might be why does he think I'm so intimidating? You might just build a bridge that you otherwise would have burned.

Caleb said...

You cannot build a bridge with someone you do not know. Anonymity does not allow for this. That is the problem with it.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Caleb or Joshua - would your church accept a 1/2 million dollar gift from an anonymous donor that didn't wish to be identified to the pastor or the congregation? Or would you return it saying you don't know the person's heart, if the money is from "heaven or hell" as Jesus said?

Caleb said...

FBC Jax,
This is a point of contradiction it seems. Isn't all money given to the church on an anonymous basis? In our church no one sees who gives what. Our you saying that anonymity should be removed from giving?
To me we are talking about two different things with two different motivations. Contrary to what some are suggesting I have never received an anonymous letter that attempted to make a legitimate point. Anonymous letters are typically vindictive and angry and lash out without ever offering any, actual, potential dialogue. The majority of people that have legitimate points will sign their name or come see you in person.

Caleb said...

FBC Jax,
This is a point of contradiction it seems. Isn't all money given to the church on an anonymous basis? In our church no one sees who gives what. Our you saying that anonymity should be removed from giving?
To me we are talking about two different things with two different motivations. Contrary to what some are suggesting I have never received an anonymous letter that attempted to make a legitimate point. Anonymous letters are typically vindictive and angry and lash out without ever offering any, actual, potential dialogue. The majority of people that have legitimate points will sign their name or come see you in person.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Caleb and Joshua - Giving is anonymous? How so? Churches send out pre-printed envelopes with an account number, and it is tracked by person, and statements are sent out for tax records. You must be confusing "confidentiality" and "anonymity". Giving is supposed to be confidential. It rarely is "anonymous".

Again, simple question: if you receive an anonymous letter, and the person has enclosed a non-tracable check for 1/2 million dollars as a gift to your church, would you accept it? Or would you return it, since you don't know the person or their heart and their motives, and whether the money is from heaven or hell, as Jesus said.

How about if you receive a large monetary PERSONAL gift from an anonymous giver - do you accept it? Or do you give it all to the church?

I just am trying to understand your level of devotion to the idea that all anonymous communication is to be ignored and considered suspect. Does that include anonymous money, or just anonymous words?

Caleb said...

FBC Jax,
Now you are just playing with words. Your definition of giving be confidential rules out the possibility of any gift being anonymous because the gift is going to go through much of the same thing a basic offering will. This renders the idea of an anonymous gift moot.
Anonymous giving if there is such a thing and anonymous letters are not the same thing because they seek two different objectives. One helps and builds up and one hurts and accuses. You are a smart guy and know this.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Caleb - I'm not asking you to compare anonymous gifts and anonymous letters. The fact is, "giving money" is a form of speech...and I just have a simple question (I'll repeat it again):

If your church would receive a sizeable anonymous gift, given from an anonymous giver who is not known by you or the church staff or lay leaders, would you accept it? Would you cash the check and praise God? Or would you question the motives and need to know if it is of heaven or hell, as Jesus said.

If you personally would receive an anonymous gift, suppose they say they are a church member, and send you an anonymous letter, saying they love you and want to bless you with a $10,000 gift at Christmas but prefer to stay anonymous...would you accept it? Or do you need to know their heart? Or does the gift itself tell you about their heart?

I just would like to know, but I think your responses up to this point have answered the question.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Yes, Watchdog, I think the answers are obvious. "Caleb" apparently doesn't know if he has ever received a respectful anonymous letter or not because he doesn't read anonymous letters. Haven't we all been saying the vitriolic, obviously inflammatory letters should be ignored? He can't seem to imagine anyone writing anonymously and respectfully.

But wait! He says anonymous letters are all intended to "hurt and accuse." How could he know that if he hadn't read all the anonymous letters he's received? Or maybe he's never received an anonymous letter at all and is only speaking hypothetically. It's pretty easy to say what you'd do in a particular situation until you're actually faced with that same situation in real life. That's what I meant by not burning bridges. I'm probably assuming a lot just from a name, but if "Caleb" is your real name, I'm guessing you're pretty young as that name wasn't popular (in our lifetimes) until the past 2-3 decades. Hopefully with age and life experience comes a little wisdom. I know I've still got a long way to go in that area.

I've not read about but one pastor turning down a large gift (not anonymous in this case) because of the source of the money. Rather than debating about whether the gift is "of God" or "of Satan," I suspect most pastors would say, "Praise the Lord! God is so good! Someone hand me a deposit slip!"

Anonymous said...

"To me we are talking about two different things with two different motivations."

Forgive me but, How do you know what the motivations are in either case?

If a person gives money to the church because they think God will materially bless them, that is a pretty bad motivation. It is a lie. If they give because they think God will punish them if they don't, that is wrong, too. If they give because they believe they are under the law, that is very wrong, too.

Now, you might not have been around long enough to know that anonymous gifts of money come to churches more often than you think.

They usually come in the form of cashiers checks. But this probably happens in mega churches more often than smaller ones.

We had an anonymous gift of about 20,000 come in one time from a law firm on behalf of a client. We eventually found out it was part of lottery winnings and the donors were not even memebers. Don't ask me how we found out.

When pastors receive anonymous letters, I sure wish they would ask themselves a question: What have I done wrong or what type of demeanor have I presented that my brothers and sisters in Christ would feel the need to write me anonymously?

Start with yourself, friend.

Matt

New BBC Open Forum said...

Your definition of giving be confidential rules out the possibility of any gift being anonymous because the gift is going to go through much of the same thing a basic offering will. This renders the idea of an anonymous gift moot.

So why couldn't someone put a plain envelope full of cash in the offering plate or collection box? Or anonymously mail a million-dollar cashier's check to the church? Of course a gift can be anonymous! The question was would you accept it? Maybe you don't know what you'd do unless you were faced with the situation in real life, and that's a fair answer, but the idea of anonymous gifts is certainly possible.

While not anonymous (at least to the pastor), here's an example of a church that cheerfully accepted the money. What if the person had anonymously mailed the winning lottery ticket to the church? Of course, Pastor Bob or Deacon Jim would have then had to figure out how to quietly cash it in, but the giver could have certainly remained anonymous.

Church Gets 3 Million Dollar Anonymous Gift From Lottery Winnings

Caleb said...
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Anonymous said...

Let's call it as it is people! Sweet Don Bryant says that Pastors need to "Man up and quit whining"...wow...that's real biblical!

New BBC said if the Pastor does not treat him with respect he will "toss him in the trashcan"...way to use those "fruits of the spirit" New BBC!

"By their fruits, you will know them". Some of the Fruit on this Blog is rotten.

Caleb said...

Those of you who are so adamant against pastors, how may of you have ever been a pastor?

BBC,
Your arrogance is off the charts. You should reread my comments because you have twisted them. My name is Caleb even though I am sure you will not believe that. Those that continue to willfully and hatefully attack pastors should be careful. You attack men that have been called by God and set apart for a special task. God will protect these men.

New BBC Open Forum said...

I didn't say I didn't believe your name is Caleb. Actually I did believe you. Maybe you need to go back and read my comments. My point was, it means nothing to me what name you choose to call yourself here, whether it's your real name or a pseudonym because I don't know you. That's all.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The arrogance you display says all that I need to know about you. Let me restate my comments so there is no confusion. I have received very few anonymous letters in my ministry but of the ones I have received none were anything but inflammatory. And yes, I read them and never said that I didn't as you have implied. Never did I say all anonymous letters were mean. I said typically they are.

Well, I'm not so "arrogant" that I can't admit when I'm mistaken about something. I confused you with Anon 9:46 a.m. who said he never read anonymous letters. You did say you won't respond to anonymous letters. I apologize for the confusion. I'm not the one lumping you all together, but in trying to read through this thread and keep one anon separate from another, it's hard not to when I see what seems to be the same attitude from several of you, most of whom are anonymous.

Caleb, did you want to answer our question about accepting an anonymous gift? It's okay if you don't. I was just curious.

By the way, your 2:12 p.m. comment double posted if you or Watchdog would like to take care of that bit of housekeeping.

New BBC said if the Pastor does not treat him with respect he will "toss him in the trashcan"...way to use those "fruits of the spirit" New BBC!

No, I said if a letter writer (whether anonymous or not) is not civil and respectful I'll toss his comment in the trashcan. Specifically...

I'll communicate with anyone who wishes to remain anonymous as long as they're respectful. If they're not, I give their correspondence the same level of respect they showed towards me. Namely, the trashcan.

I said nothing in that about pastors or tossing people into trashcans. I wasn't even thinking about pastors. Sheesh.

You boys can go ahead now and have the last word. It's obvious to me you both have an agenda and think quite highly of yourselves and that my words struck some sore nerves. If you're going to quote me, I just ask that you quote me correctly. I'll be more careful in the future to do the same.

Caleb said...

I know I am beating my head against the wall with some of you but giving and letters are the same kind of anonymous. I am not playing that game. There is cash placed in an offering every Sunday and you don't know where it came from. It is the nature of giving. I would argue the Bible encourages giving without being known. Giving has never been an act that seeks recognition. If anything giving is supposed to be anonymous.
When it comes to anonymous letters there is no biblical basis for it. No where in Scripture is this encouraged. In fact, the Bible contradicts it as Scriptures tells us that if we have a problem with our neighbor we should approach him about it. Throughout Scripture we are encouraged to appropriately work through the issues we have with each other and not through anonymous letters. Once more, let your yes be your yes and your no, your no." Put your name to it.

Kenneth said...

Money is not evil. The love of money is evil. Of course you take the money. Who knows the motivation of any money given to the church? GOD is the only one I can think of.

Letters can build up or tear down. They can actually be misinterpreted just like an email or blog post because you can't read the persons intent or body language as you could if they met you in person.

Biblically, if after 46 posts you guys would care to look at the Bible (Ha ha), Matthew 18 tells us to approach a brother one on one at first. So would anonymous letter writting or blogging be a sin, since we are brothers in Christ?

Anyway, I wish people would stop using generalizations and hypothetical situations. No pastor is perfect, but every single one on the planet are not bad people. Not all bloggers have bad intentions either. Let's all be a little more civil and Christ like in our discussions and people wouldn't get so mad at each other.

When we tear the church, its leadership and members down, nobody wins.

Lydia said...

"I am not playing that game."

Caleb, you started the game. Now, it is getting more complicated than you would like it be.

We understand. You have been taught and mentored by men who teach that anonymous letters are sinful and not to read them. But guess what? They read them. I heard it said from the pulpit a gazillion times how they do not read or respond to anonymous letters. But I worked with them and happen to know they not only read them but discussed them at high level staff meetings. They lied. It is that simple.

They also discussed anonymous letters with other mega church pastors and compared notes.

BTW: if you do not read them, how do you know they are mean and viscious?

Caleb writes about himself:

"You attack men that have been called by God and set apart for a special task. God will protect these men."

Caleb, that is Old Testament talk. We are now in a New Covenant. You are not a Levite Priest or a King of Israel. If saved, ALL are called by God to function in the Body. There is no caste system in Christianity. As a matter of fact, I would dare you to find me the term "laity" in the NT that applies to those believers in the Body.

There are simply different functions in the Body. And "pastors" is mentioned once in the New Covenant. All believers are set apart for SOME function in the Body. And all are equal.

You might want to meditate on this tonight:

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written:


“ I will destroy the wisdom of the wise,
And bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.”[a]

20 Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22 For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks[b] foolishness, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
Glory Only in the Lord

26 For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. 27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the LORD.”

Lydia said...

"Matthew 18 tells us to approach a brother one on one at first. So would anonymous letter writting or blogging be a sin, since we are brothers in Christ?"

Please study this in depth. Matt 18 does not apply to PUBLIC behavior or false teaching. If your brothers sins against YOU.

Matthew 18 is one of the most abused passages out there. How do you take a brother who sins against to you to the church if he does not attend your church? What if the sin happens in a para church org and neither party goes to the same church?

What if he/she is someone you cannot contact? Many tried this with Caner and he simply ignored them. But they were applying Matthew 18 wrongly in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Here is my problem with anonymous letters, e-mails, blogs, etc. As a pastor, if someone has a problem with me or something I am doing, I cannot go to them and attempt to make it right via reconciliation. Nor, if I have a legitimate reason for doing something the way that I do, I am unable to relate those reasons to them.

Having said that, over the course of the years and especially the past few months, WD realized the need to be anonymous, since once he was found out he was removed from the church. The problem is that when we pastors refuse to listen to our congregations and be held accountable to them, then our members feel the need to blog or write letters anonymously and then very little can be done to corect a problem or disagreement.

Anna A said...

Caleb,

Let me explain what happened the last time I tried to talk to my pastor about a serious issue.

I was concerned about some of his comments during a sermon about Bathsheba and David. I wrote a letter, which I had a mature Christian friend (not a member of the church) review and make suggestions for improvement.

I put the signed and sealed letter in his mailbox at the church office.

A few days later, he called me at work. I was thinking that it was to set up an appointment, so that we could talk face-to-face. I was wrong about that, it was to criticize me up one side and down the other for the contents of the letter. Including, not talking to him in person. I felt physically battered after that hour on the phone.

You might wonder why I just didn't call him to make an appointment. It was so that I could get my arguments researched and clear, and not blind siding him about the topic. I also have a tendency to be tongue tied in the presence of forceful people, and my concerns on how his sermon may have affected weaker women were the most important issues .

WishIhadknown said...

As I listened to the recording, two things struck me. First, I hear a sincere but frustrated Pastor who has tried to create an open line of communication as best he can for such a large membership. Second, I hear the voice of the anonymous writer who is, perhaps, all of the things the Pastor accuses him of or is a sincere but distrustful member who is having trouble processing the changes in the Church. I have encountered both many times over the years. The best response is to handle both in love.
Of course that also begs the question, is it really necessary to use such negative language against a brother or sister who is probably feeling beat up as it is?

Anonymous said...

But I can also say with all integrity that if an unsigned letter comes in I do not read it. Period.
___________________________________

What if the letter contained a financial gift? Or if it told you one of your staff was visiting a strip club at a certain day and time each week and you should confirm it? Or if it told you there was an exposed nail on the steps in the children's building and you need to have maintenance fix it before a child gets injured?

Really? You don't read them...period? Well, I don't believe you. Period!

Anonymous said...

It is obvious you have a lot of hate in your heart for pastors at large. That is unfortunate as many pastors are truly holy and righteous individuals. PASTOR

There is none righteous. No not one. GOD

Anonymous said...

Anonymous letters are typically vindictive and angry and lash out without ever offering any, actual, potential dialogue.
___________________________________

You have to read them to know this. Smile

Anonymous said...

Those that continue to willfully and hatefully attack pastors should be careful. You attack men that have been called by God and set apart for a special task. God will protect these men.

September 15, 2010 2:29 PM
___________________________________

Caleb - I agree with you. But we are not attacking true, biblical shepherds (pastors.) We are "attacking" (questioning, criticizing, discussing) CEO's of local non-profits where people meet to hear music and a short sermon and history lesson. We don't feel that these men, some who seem to be charlatans, are pastors. As such, they are not God called, and are not "God's man" but are merely profiting off peddling the gospel. The Bible speaks of these men. Can't you recognize them? They are easy to spot. Usually preaching about what you can give to them and what you can do for them. Never about how they can give to you or help you. Watch and learn. He that hath an ear let him hear!

Anonymous said...

Put your name to it.
__________________________________

No. I won't. And if you ignore me, I think I'll blog instead. So instead of you and me dealing with this privately, we can share it with the whole wide world. :)

Anonymous said...

Matthew 18 tells us to approach a brother one on one at first.
___________________________________

I go to FBC Jax and our church does not practice this. Once they found the identity of the Watchdog, they sent him a letter signed by prominent church and community leaders that included trespass warnings against the man and his wife. Then they put a detective on the newly formed discipline committee and said detective used his position and reputation to get the state attorney's office to issue subpoena's that violated Mr. Rich's Federally protected privacy rights. No meeting with Mr. Rich. Until this very day. They have never met with Mr. Rich. They chose to answer his lawyer's questions rather than answer Mr. Rich's emails. Now the detective, the state attorney, the church and the city are all scrambling to defend themselves. Priceless.

Yes, maybe church leaders should practice Matthew 18. Indeed.

WishIhadknown said...

I wanted to add to what New BBC wrote about not contacting the preacher.
As the church was being transitioned, a so called Communications Committee was formed for the stated purpose of meeting with concerned members and gathering information about our concerns so that they could take them back to the leadership to formulate how best to address the concerns.
Sounds good doesn’t it. Sounds like they really care, right?
The first indication that things were not as they appeared came when the Committee published a nice brochure basically listing their findings before they ever held their first meeting.
Subsequently, I attended a meeting, in which person after person came up and expressed their concern, often in tears, with the direction the church was being taken or some other issue such as finances. Anyway, at one point, I guess the head of the committee had had all he could take. He launched into what I can best call an angry dressing down or tirade in which he stated in no uncertain terms that our opinions were not welcome, that the decisions had already been made and had been printed in the brochure and that we were wasting our time and the committee’s if we questioned or objected to anything. So does this sound like they were actually interested in hearing from the church members? And I still would like to know who made the decision and when.
I cannot tell you how heart breaking and disturbing and yes, disgusting, this made me feel. I cannot understand how anyone can claim to know Christ and devalue a brother or a sister in this way, but that is not for me to understand but it sure does feel wrong.
So in answer to the question why not have a meeting. It would not have changed anything.

Junkster said...

Caleb said...

When it comes to anonymous letters there is no biblical basis for it.


Ummm .. who wrote the book (letter) called Hebrews? (And don't say "Paul", that's just an opinion.)

Anonymous said...

Sheri said...

I am a member of FBC Jax, and I also received a "Dear Saint" letter. I agree with Anon 9:56. I don't understand why the church is throwing millions of dollars at a church bldg. during a major recession. Just seems insensitive at the least, and a misuse of funds. I personally know members who are out of work in Jax, and having to sell off their personal property to pay bills. I would much rather see FBC Jax apply the principles of the early church, and take up an offering to help our fellow brothers in need.

Anonymous said...

One good reason for being anonymous is when advising the pastor of a biblical error. If he preaches to the church what is strictly to the Jew he needs to know about it. It would be stupid for a Sunday School teacher or lay person to tell the pastor he was wrong. That person who told the pastor would be remembered probably forever. The pastor needs to read all the letters as sometimes he might be pointed in the correct position. Take it like a MAN!!!

Anonymous said...

WishIhadknown: You gotta remember the boys in charge don't care what the majority think. They know whats best for themselves more than you could ever believe!!! Its called "the in crowd".

Caleb said...

Junkster,
That is is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Hebrews is not an anonymous book. We simply don't have enough historical evidence to definitively say who wrote it. Yes, Paul seems to be the leading candidate. No, there is no biblical basis for anonymous letters. Hebrews? Really? Good grief.

BBC,
If I received an anonymous cash gift of large sum I am not sure what I would do with it. I will have to give that one some thought.

Bro./Min.Rod H. said...

" Caleb said...
Junkster,
That is is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Hebrews is not an anonymous book. We simply don't have enough historical evidence to definitively say who wrote it. Yes, Paul seems to be the leading candidate."

Caleb;If "We simply don't HAVE ENOUGH historical evidence" as to who wrote the Book of the Hebrews,does'nt that by default,make it anonymous???


In Love!!!

Anonymous said...

"Those that continue to willfully and hatefully attack pastors should be careful. You attack men that have been called by God and set apart for a special task. God will protect these men."

September 15, 2010 2:29 PM

And let me be perfectly clear, pastors need to take care of fragile men/women/children who have been called by God and set apart for a special task in their life. God protects us just as he does them. It works both for both sides.

Real pastors called of God do the work they were called to do - they don't carry baggage and feel they are a level above the lay people that support him and the church and therefore there are no blogs or critic's ever said about him.

Your statement reminds me of the sermon Rev King gave a few months back at FBCJ. I even had a Bible study teacher tell the class we should stand whenever greeting a Pastor.

At the end of the day Baptist can't take critic's.
The good "old boys" like to rally around the pastor and control the people. The vast majority of the anon's won't sign their name because they know they would be put on the black list.

Bro./Min./Pastor Rod H. said...

"Those that continue to willfully and hatefully attack pastors should be careful. You attack men that have been called by God and set apart for a special task. God will protect these men."

September 15, 2010 2:29 PM


Brother Caleb,what does the Bible state is the greatest threat to the Word(Bible)and the Church as we near the Rapture???

By the above statment you assumed that every man who is a Pastor has been called by God;

Is this true???

If so Caled then Caleb why does practcally every Book of the N.T.warn of some type of religious deception,heretical teaching or some kind of infiltration and distortions confronting God's inerrant Truth???

Who are the "wolves in sheep clothing" that Jesus' warns about,seeing that all Pastor are called by God[Matt.7]???

Who are the perverted men the Apostle Paul warn the Ephesus Elder to be aware of[Acts 20]???

What is the threat that Peter is warning the 1st century believers of in 2Pet.2???

Caleb God has not called all Pastors!!!

Some of these men serving in the Pastorate have been called by "their father the Devil[John 8:44]!!!

In love!!!

Dr Who said...

Off Topic:

http://www.gabaptist.org/contentpages.aspx?parentnavigationid=5351&theparentnavigationid=4794&viewcontentpageguid=e1ed0ebb-88a2-4008-b450-fccfbbc61fb5

EMIR CANER is alive and well in GA I see.

Also see where they fired many GODLY men who were working as Ministry Resource Consultants for the GBC BUT kept the most deceptive one Mike Everson. The one that lied about having 3 college degrees and never graduated from a seminary.

This goes right along with Gerald Harris covering up for Mike with the fish wrapper called "the Christian Index".

Robert White really knows how to pick em

Caleb said...

Rod,
The Bible certainly warns of false prophets and wolves in sheep's clothing. That is undeniable. No, every pastor is not called by God but neither is every pastor a wolf in sheep's clothing as I feel has been suggested by many in this discussion. Furthermore, what gives any individual the right to ordain themselves as the guardian of the church and THE watchman of a pastor as if no one else is capable of it. Answer me this. What I see taking place in this whole discussion is an attack of the position of pastor as a whole, not just one or two and that I will not stand for. The Bible certainly warns of things to watch for within church leadership but also warns of things to watch for within laypersons and encourages the following of the leadership that God has put in place. I will not sit here and allow some of you to blatantly attack pastors as if we are the absolute enemy when so many of us love our congregations and are doing the absolute best we can to serve them even though many of you do not make it easy and at times make it impossible. Thankfully, my church is not filled with people like those in this discussion. They seek to unify the church as opposed to dividing it. At the end of the day, a pastor, called or not, answers first and foremost to God, not man.

John Wylie said...

Hey Caleb,

What you need to understand is that not all people on this blog are anti pastor. There are some very fair minded posters here that simply want pastors to be accountable and transparent. I would ceratainly place Watchdog, Bro. Rod, New BBC and others in that group. (Not that it matters Where I group people)

There are some who post here that obviously are against all paid pastors, and they show themselves by always making their arguments in the form of personal attacks and name calling.

I totally agree with what New BBC said about anonymous critics, it all depends on whether or not they do so with love and respect or disrespect. And I would add that even the ones who crticize in the wrong spirit may actually say something that is true, so we should at least consider what they are saying.

My point? Don't let the ones that are mean spirited get under your skin. Try not to get mean spirited against them, I often fail at this. Just post what you believe to be the truth, and I will guarantee you several posters will treat you kindly even if they disagree. Wathcdog has been very kind to me even at times when I wasn't being very kind.

Anonymous said...

Pastor Wylie,
I for one appreciate what you have posted. I'm sure if I asked for an appointment with you, you would not ask for my history background before speaking with me and telling the secretary to tell me I have only a ten, no more than 15 minute timeframe to air my feelings.

Saying that, just to say I believe without even knowing you, your heart certainly is one called to serve the Lord and not to influence the public arena as one said.

You are not in the ministry for money nor power but to minister to the flock God has called you to.

Thanks for blogging - you are a pastor who has the gift of encouragement. As Timothy tells us if you point things out to the brothers, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:47. Who is that pastor that only allows 10 or 15 mins? Sounds like he has better things to do than listen to some member who just lost their wife/husband/son/daughter, job, etc,etc. If I were a member in that church it would only take me 1 minute to get out!!!

Anonymous said...

Pastor Rod good scriptures. One real good one is that "God is not a respector of persons". He allowed His only Son to die on a cruel cross for all humanity. Keep providing your thoughts it might just wake up some of these dead/sleeping pastors!!!

Bro./Min/Pastor Rod H. said...

"Furthermore, what gives any individual the right to ordain themselves as the guardian of the church and THE watchman of a pastor as if no one else is capable of it. Answer me this."



Brother Caleb it is the Bible itself that give Believers(corporately)the right to examine and if warranted to rebuke or even remove sinning Elders[1Tim.5:19-20]!!!

The public rebuke of a proven offending Elder is to serve as a warning to other Elders and sinning believers.
God's discipline is to be consistent for those in leadership and to the laity.

Elders/Pastors or human just like every other human and susceptible to sin,errors,mistakes,etc just like anyone else!!!

We as Pastor are no better,and no worse that the best or worse of those in the laity!!!

We Pastors have developed,refined and even taught knowingly or unknowingly this attitude or illusion of superiority due to the position.And this is rife for abuse!!!

Because of this puffed up,arrogant,greater than thou attitude,we begin to act just like the Pharisees of Christ day,and Lord our position over others as though it was thru our own abilities,drive,efforts,ingeninuity and desires that gained us this great priviledge and responsiblity[Matt.20:24-28;John 3:27;Rom.12:3-6;1Cor.3:5-7;2Cor.3:4-5;Gal.6:3]!!!

Caleb it is these type of individuals that most of the bloggers are against!!!

There are many several Pastors like Brother Wylie,Wade and a few others that are regular contributors to this blog who I believe are dedicated men and humble men who also oppose abusive,deceptive pastoral leadership!!!

And I agree that that are some who come to this blog that have ulterior motives and comments that are untenable!!!

But I have been following this blog and Dr.Dog for I believe close too two years,and I can assure you that many of the regular bloggers love the Lord,know their Bibles,and desire to defend and uphold that which is Biblical,right and True!!!

In love!!!

Junkster said...

Caleb said...
Junkster,
That is is the dumbest argument I have ever heard. Hebrews is not an anonymous book. We simply don't have enough historical evidence to definitively say who wrote it. Yes, Paul seems to be the leading candidate. No, there is no biblical basis for anonymous letters. Hebrews? Really? Good grief.


Caleb,
That was a mean-spirited response. (Especially since it appears you missed my point.)

Many of your comments here and on Wade's blog reflect hostility and condescension. Perhaps it is just your frustration at what you perceive as attacks on pastors. But it wouldn't hurt you to try to be empathetic to those who have been hurt or disappointed in the past by men who claimed to be representatives of God. You will be a much more effective minister to others if you will develop more compassion and treat others with more kindness.

WishIhadknown said...

John Wylie and Caleb and Bro./Min/Pastor Rod H.
I want to say thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and perspectives with us. I agree with you on most of the things you post and yes, at times, I think you two are misunderstood. Please over look our flaws. If you would be so kind, please comment on my September 15, 2010 8:24PM post. Thank you in advance.

WishIhadknown said...

The definition of anonymous is 1. Unnamed. Whose name is not known or not given 2. With name withheld with the performer’s, maker’s, or creator’s identity withheld. Therefore, by definition, the writer of Hebrews is anonymous.

Anonymous said...

I think these 80 posts accentuate that there is a great divide in perception on both the side of the pastor and the parishoner regarding criticism and forms of communication.

All I would offer is that both criticism and response should be presented with one key ingredient: respect.

When you send criticism, present your concerns carefully and thoughtfully. Be straightforward but not sarcastic or hateful. There is nothing to be gained by making it a personal attack.

When you respond to criticsm, whether the source is known or unknown, do so without badgering or belittling. It's not necessary to judge a person's "heart" or their spiritual condition. Give a brief, respectful response and move on. Or choose not to respond and move on.

Bro./Min./Pastor Rod H. said...

"WishIhadknown said::

"I cannot tell you how heart breaking and disturbing and yes, disgusting, this made me feel. I cannot understand how anyone can claim to know Christ and devalue a brother or a sister in this way, but that is not for me to understand but it sure does feel wrong.
So in answer to the question why not have a meeting. It would not have changed anything."

September 15, 2010 8:24 PM


WishIhadknown I have personally sat under these types of abusive interlopers,masquerading as "minister of righteousness",when in fact they were greedy dictators who took advangtage and had no love for the people.
I border on absolute disdain for these people!!!

I had made up in mind never to go to a church again;
I was devastated that the men that I held in high asteem,were nothing more than "wolves swindling and abusing the sheep"!!!

My beautiful wife,who had far,far more faith than I,decide that rather than stay home,we would start our own ministry.
Too this very day I thank God for the insight,courage,faith and advice of my wife!!!

The experiences That I had under those pastor's(small "p")taught me two great truth's.

(1)I am not the Lord over the people Jesus Christ is!!!
And to never abuse the sheep,but serve and feed them the Word of God!!!
I must decrease and Christ must increase in the lives of the people!!!

(2)Secondly to be example of loving the Word and Christ people.To be a servant.To be as Dr.Dog states "TRANSPARENT"!!!

WishIhadknown your experience and mine come from this feed belief by many of these charlatans,and many well meaning men that thru their known and unknown subtly,they get people to focus on them as though they are the 4th person of the Trinity;And too take our eyes off of the one in whom we should really be focusing on;And that is Christ[COL.3:1-3]!!!

As I have said from the time I practically came on this blog.
Is that the Bible is replete with references to what abusive and charlatan look like.A composite of sorts,so that it should not surprise "ANY OF US"!!!

Also the reason many of these men will not listen is because many of them have not been called!!!
Jesu gave us the greatest clue in knowing these people and why they ack as they do;
"Out of the tresures of the heart,a man speaks";That also applies to his habitual actions!!!

Well enough of the rambling.
Hope that help???

In Love!!!

Anonymous said...

Give a brief, respectful response and move on. Or choose not to respond and move on.

September 16, 2010 2:52 PM

So in other words, don't call the person "mentally unstable", a sociopath, or a coward when they dare to question leadership. Soud and Brunson...are you learning? Ready to apologize yet?

Anonymous said...

Gee Whiz, Caleb, you are actually helping to make some of our points about pastors.

Perhaps your "people" have not seen this side of you?

John Wylie said...

Anon 10:47,

Thank you for your kind words. You'll never know how much your words mean to me. 15 minutes? Is it a big church? wow, I'm sorry.

Bro. Rod,

As always you're an encouragement and one of the fairest poster on the blog. Thank you.

WishIhadknown,

Thank you for your kind words. What I would say about your 8:24 post is I'm sorry. First of all I don't think a committee should be formed for such issues, the staff should be open, transparent, and most of all availiable to the people of your church. You should not have been treated with anger, you should have been allowed to air your concerns and even in the end if there was no agreement there still should have been Christian respect. I've been guilty of this because I've taken disagreement too personally. I had to learn if it weren't for the people there would be no ministry. The ministry is not about me, my "career", or my will. God tells pastors/elders to feed the flock of God, to protect the flock from the danger of false teaching and the leaven of immorality. Sometimes we are wrongly attacked, but sometimes we are rightly reproved and when that happens we should be open and willing to be corrected. Thank you, a million times thank you.

Caleb said...

Lydia,
If you do not believe the NT defines the position of a pastor, placing that position in high regard then I do not know what to say to you because it no doubt does. I suspect you also know that a New Covenant does not cause the Old Testament to be moot. There is without question practical application to be made. Yes, men of God will be protected.
Once again, I have never failed to read any letter I have received. Nowhere have I sated otherwise. I will read everything that comes across my desk but I will not respond to everything.

Anna,
I am sorry that happened to you and believe that there is nothing wrong with a letter that you sign your name to. I think it was a respectable thing you did and it is unfortunate that your Pastor responded in that way. However, we are not like that as some on here would have you believe. Please keep that in mind.

Junksters,
Show me where I have been condescending and hostile and Wade's blog? You won't be able to seeing as I have posted few times. As far as me supposedly being hostile and condescending on here, I am simply responding to some very hostile accusations against pastors as a whole. If you think I am going to defend that lightly then you are mistaken. As far as equating Hebrews with an anonymous letter one might receive as a pastor, I think you are a smart guy and know the differences there.
I stand by the belief that anonymous letters are wrong. Either stand by what you say or don't say it.

Caleb said...

WishIhadknown,
I am not entirely certain what your question is here but I will offer some thoughts. On the surface that seems like it was a nice idea but as you have pointed out the original intent was not what it seemed to be. It is a terrible thing when that occurs within the church. I have never personally experienced this but have witnessed it from a distance. In my opinion, when a situation in the church reaches that point it is often, though not always, beyond repair. The problem in our churches is not the pastors or the members. It is a failure to communicate and compromise. That failure cannot be laid at a single entities feet. It is a church problem.
My problem with the conversation on here is that many, not all, but many want to throw pastors under the bus. I simply cannot take that. The calling to be a pastor is a high and noble one. It is also challenging, terrifying, and at times overwhelming. I feel there should some respect for this.
This may not be what you were seeking but hopefully it clarifies some things.

Lydia said...

"If you do not believe the NT defines the position of a pastor, placing that position in high regard then I do not know what to say to you because it no doubt does."

How about sharing the passages that define pastor in the Body of Christ and the function.


" I suspect you also know that a New Covenant does not cause the Old Testament to be moot."

It points to Christ and shows us the Sovereignty of God. So, can you tell me which laws (that are not repeated CLEARLY in the NC), we are still under and will be judged by? And how are we a theocracy? Are you a sort of Levite Priest?


"There is without question practical application to be made. Yes, men of God will be protected."

What does that mean? They will never get cancer or be killed in an accident or never persecuted?

"nce again, I have never failed to read any letter I have received. Nowhere have I sated otherwise. I will read everything that comes across my desk but I will not respond to everything."

Too bad you will not even consider Matt's question he asked earlier.

Anonymous said...

I stand by the belief that anonymous letters are wrong. Either stand by what you say or don't say it.

September 16, 2010 6:04 PM

That means we must throw out the Federalist Papers, folks.

Caleb said...

Anonymous,
My people know exactly who I am. We have a wonderful relationship and they are a tremendous group of people. I could not ask for better. What you and some of those in this discussion think of me is irrelevant and doesn't matter. I don't answer to you.
At the end of the day, the pastor is the leader of the church. I did not say head so no one take my words out of context. The pastor is the leader of the church. The type of leader he chooses to be is between he and God. Now, you and others will probably tear me apart for saying that but I really don't care. Pastors are not the enemy.

New BBC Open Forum said...

The calling to be a pastor is a high and noble one.

And I'm arrogant? That, in one short sentence, is the problem. It should be a humbling calling (not to mention a genuine calling). See Romans 12:3.

tim stimler said...

I think all of the pastor dons will come to truth only when god is there focus and not finding the dirt under the rug

Anonymous said...

Caleb - My guess is you're fairly young and feel the need to prove and win every point.

(If you're not young and you don't know yet that you DON'T have to do this, then let me express concern.) (Not criticism...)

You simply do not need to use so many words.

And honestly, whether you are correct or not, you come across as combative. You really should relfect on this for the sake of your future ministry. Maybe not at this church, where everyone loves you, but moving forward as God leads.

Blessings.

Caleb said...

Anonymous,
I have several mentors that I respect and seek advice from. You are not one of those. Therefore, your opinion of me and my ministry I do not care about.
Seeing the pointlessness of continuing this discussion I would simply leave with this...Galatians 1:10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Dr. Fill said...

Caleb,
From one anonymous to another you sound like someone on some kind of a power trip. Maybe you're one who fears that if this criticism of pastor worship and abusive pastors catches on you'll miss your shot at the big time. Not to worry. There will always be opportunity for you.

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of my younger sister saying when we were 5, "you're not the boss of me."

To which I'd usually say OK, you win. Because whatever we were doing wasn't fun anymore.

You win, Caleb. We're all exhausted, and you need to lighten up.

Lydia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lydia said...

"At the end of the day, the pastor is the leader of the church"

At the end of the day, a true believer knows it is Jesus Christ.

Why did Jesus Christ send the Holy Spirit to dwell in the hearts of true believers if they are to follow a human?

This following of humans instead of Christ has brought us the Ted Haggards, Ed Young's, Ergun Caners, Mac Brunson's, Steve Gaines and lots of little men with huge ego's.

Lydia said...

"Galatians 1:10 says, "Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ."

Key word is: Servant

Anonymous said...

In stead of searching for some thick rich soil to plow,reep and grow under the rug, he should try god

Anonymous said...

WOW! This anonymous blog., article states the most accurate position/definiton of why people post anonumously, as I have seen yet. These ego ridden, self promoting men that "RUN" this for profit business called church have money, a platform, and blind followers to do their bidding. They use all avenues to stay in power and ruin and run the poor "joe" that dares to call them to task on anything. Anonymous bloggers have no advantages aforementioned. Only their comments and their true belief that injustices are prevalent. There are some preachers who know what they are doing is wrong. But, they go along to get along. They haven't the spiritual fortietude, or the plain ole "guts", to stand alone against "the powers". Because with the power is THE MONEY! So they sell out their conscience, but, what do they have in the long run? The money is NEVER enough, they require more and more to keep up the lifestyle. When they are off the scene, when no one really cares that they were once a big dog. When they don't draw the other preachers to their conferences anymore, when they don't command the attention and the "respect" they think they are due, when they don't sell their books, what do they really have. I would guess maybe they might look back and see what and how they sold out. Was it worth it? How will they face the Lord? How about the people they mistreated, the others they "walked over" to get what they wanted. The church lives and service of others they ruined because someone challenged them. I think it might be as hard for them to face what they are and what they have become, maybe as much as it is for someone lost and hardened in sin to realize they are lost and to accept Jesus, in the first place. A pastor who thinks himself above others, entitled to ruin and run, can be hardened just like a lost man/woman. The problem is can they, will they ever acknowledge their faults and are they man enough to humble themselves to God firstly and apologize to those they have hurt secondly. I am waiting!!!!

Anonymous said...

from Former FBC Insider:

"2. I personally don't read a letter that is anonymous, not because there wouldn't be any truth in it, but because I don't know the source of the words, heaven or hell as Jesus said. I don't know if it is a man or woman who keeps in step with the Spirit or a man or woman whom Satan has entered."

That is unbelievable to me, coming from a Pastor. You only correspond or speak with Christians? Only with people who you know to be someone "in step with the Spirit"? Really? That just seems so shallow and UN-christian on so many levels. You don't even read the correspondence?

What if it is from an unbeliever? You have nothing to say to them? Nothing at all? You've lost your witness right there. You've blown a huge opportunity to show some Jesus with skin on to this person. Even if it is from a whining church member, don't you want to settle this person's question or critique? Why wouldn't you want to soothe some calmness and balm on this person who disagrees with you?

I'd like to think that you have a lot more to offer those who are NOT in like Spirit with you. Certainly Jesus would have open arms and some wisdom to share with anons. I think he'd want his pastors to do the same.

Anonymous said...

FBC Insider good post and right on with that message. The woman who touched the hem of his garment was anonymous wasn't she? She didn't have to identify herself but because of her instant healing changed her mind and her heart and did identify herself after all He was God and no earthly individual did anything for her except to take her money. The woman caught in adultry had no acusers. The recognized their sinful condition and left her standing there all alone except for Jesus. They are still anonymous as scripture didn't record their names. The crew onboard the ship with Jonah are anonymous. There are about 45 anonmyous Psalms. My point is that there is nothing wrong with writing or blogging anonymously. Your name and address means absolutely nothing unless you want to be held up to ridicule. Those that throw the anonymous under the bus know very little of kindness, gentleness or just plain old humility. They would prefer striking out while they have an opportunity.

Dave D said...

I think there is a lot of angst against anonymous critics for several reasons.

First of all, I respect the notion that writing something anonymously was necessary at different points in history. But in our current context, we have freedom of speech and protection under the law. If a person is afraid that disagreeing with their pastor will lead to their own persecution then they need to leave that church.

I think many pastors react badly to anonymous critics for different reasons. Some may be ego driven and simply hate criticism as mentioned above. But lets not lump everyone into the same category. For others there is a different motivation. Many pastors want to minister to their people. An anonymous blog, letter or email doesn't give an opportunity for the pastor minister to their critic. If a person is in ministry to truly minister to others, this can leave a deep wound on a pastor.

Also, I'd like to point out that many anonymous critics say things that seem more like an attempt to wound a leader rather than help point out their folly. That is inappropriate behavior for the Body of Christ.

If a person openly disagrees with their pastor, they should confront in love. Proverbs 27:5 says open rebuke is better than secret love. Matthew 18 talks about confrontation and church discipline with the ultimate motive of restoring those that are in sin. That should be the goal of criticizing or confronting a leader. To show them their follow to move them to repentance. Occasionally, I have found that I was on the wrong end when doing the confronting. So we should always go with a pure heart, and a heart thats willing to understand.

I know there are unhealthy leaders and unhealthy churches. But there are also unhealthy church goers. Not every critic deserves an ear. Not every pastor deserves an audience. Lets be careful not to judge each other too quickly.

Lance Sven said...

Dear Zero,
I had to read 2 sentences to realize I disagree with you. Notice how you only have people reading this when they google Matt's name and no one knows who you are.

Love,
Everyone