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

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

Friday, October 22, 2010

Holy Land Trips: Another Example of "Mining the Pews for Gold"

Last week I posted an article how a church marketer described churches as "literally a goldmine of opportunity" for book publishers. Unfortunately some pastors and businessmen look at our churches and declare: "THERE'S GOLD IN THEM THAR PEWS!!!"

Now for an example of how this gold is mined: Overseas travel with a celebrity pastor, including the ever-popular "Holy Land Trips" to Israel, or Mediterranean cruises and even luxury European riverboat trips.

I'm not against nice vacations. I just can't stand the hypocrisy of pastors beating their sheep for more money, threatening them with calamity if they don't tithe, begging and beating the sheep for emergency funds for renovations to their auditorium, poor-mouthing that they just don't have enough money and have to cut ministry - yet at the same time they try to entice the church members to drop $4000 on a trip to Israel or a luxury cruise to the destinations of the Apostle Paul as a means of spiritual renewal.

The fact is there is an entire segment of the travel industry focused strictly on Christian overseas religious travel, mostly trips to the "Holy Land". Holy Land travel agencies offer special trips just for pastors to train them on how to lead their own trip (nice example of multi-level marketing). These "pastor only" trips, called "familiarization tours" (click here and here for two examples) are offered at a greatly reduced price, and some agencies offer to refund the cost of the entire trip if the pastor commits to mine the gold in their pews to get 15 or so noses and their nickels to return to the Holy Land in the next 18 months.

And really there is no limit to who is willing to tap the church "market" with these trips, and creative ways to use church resources in the process:

- SBC pastors like Mac Brunson and Herb Reavis here in Jacksonville lead these trips, and they market the trips using their church's websites and Internet resources. The Herb Reavis trip tracing the steps of the Apostle Paul is touted as "...more than a vacation, it is a spiritual pilgrimage".

- Some pastors will actually send church media ministry personnel and equipment to film portions of the trip, like sermons of the celeb-preacher preaching on a Galilean hillside. Nothing can help entice people to go next year, than to film and edit it and show pictures and video clips to the plebe back home who couldn't go on the trip.

- Televangelists like Benny Hinn are mining this gold as well.

- Even the evangelical Christian favorite politician Mike Huckabee is in on it, leading Christian excursions to the Holy Land.

And if you look at the websites hawking these trips, it is the same marketing cliches' over and over again: "walk with us where Jesus walked", or "let's follow in the footsteps of our Lord", or "your life will never be the same as you go back in time", or "your Bible will come alive after you visit the Holy Land". They are called "spiritual pilgrimages". Some Pastors will hawk them from the pulpit in their sermons "If you travel with me next year to Israel, you'll see what this verse means by...". It never ends.

There are 8-day trips, 10-day trips, 11-day trips. You can select trips where you "follow Jesus", or "footsteps of Paul." Some are land-based, some are cruises. Some focus on trips for Catholics, others for Methodists, even some for Mormons (trips to upstate New York to see the birthplace of Joseph Smith?). Some highlight history, like Danube River trips, sometimes including stops in Rome.

A whole menu of ways you can travel and rub elbows with your celebrity pastor - all in Jesus name of course.

The Watchdog has to ask pastors all over the country who annually use their influence to lead their followers on overseas trips:

Can we put a moratorium on "Holy Land Trips" and "Sail Down the Danube" excursions for just a year or so until the economy gets rolling again and our ministries are on more stable ground?

Reports all over are that giving in churches is down during this recession. Churches are having to cut ministry. In Florida churches have had to decrease their giving to the Cooperative Program about 6%. Even the mighty FBC Jax is 13% behind in their giving and is 1/2 million short of cash for an on-going auditorium renovation. Mac Brunson even said FBC Jax is trying to maintain "some semblence of ministry" with the cash shortfalls. The money is not flowing fast enough.

Yet the advertising for Holy Land trips continues. If giving is down, and ministries are having to be cut, why then, are the rock-star celebrities in Christianity still pushing their high-priced "Holy Land Tours" on their church websites as though they are some sort of "ministry" of the church, during these times?

Or maybe I have it all wrong? Perhaps Holy Land excursions ARE ministries, and perhaps Christians SHOULD be encouraged to give sacrificially to the pastors' Holy Land Trips. After all, here is a quote from Debbie Brunson of FBC Jax, encouraging church members to go with her on their 2011 "Holy Land Trip with the Brunson Family":

“Nothing in your Christian walk will have a greater impact on your life than a trip to the Holy Land. Journey with us to Israel as we follow the steps of our Lord and see how the stories in the Bible come to life.”

Is that true, or is it a marketing ploy? The greatest impact on our Christian walk would be to go to the Holy Land and "follow the steps of our Lord"? News flash: by going to Israel you're not "following the steps of your Lord". Jesus is no longer walking over in the Holy Land. In fact, Jesus is over HERE, right now, in our country, walking here, in the lives of Christians who should be ministering to folks here.

People at FBC Jax must be incredibly confused by the mixed messages: should they increase their giving 1% to the budget as they are being encouraged to do, or should they give a sacrificial gift for the new carpet and pews, or should they save for a Holy Land trip with their pastor? Or dare they put new tires on their kids' car or buy a new washing machine? And If non-tithers are the cause of our nation's economic ills, is the church making sure non-tithers are NOT using God's money by going on this trip?

Maybe instead of pastors encouraging their people to travel with them and spend $4000 to "walk where Jesus walked" on a Holy Land trip, maybe they should encourage their people NOT to go on a trip the next few years, and invest that money IN WHERE JESUS IS WALKING TODAY: right here in our own community amongst the lost and weary and the downtrodden who are hurting.

153 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am not arguing with your overall premise, as I have seen what you are talking about time and time again.

However, I do want to come to the defense of Herb Reavis on this. I had him in a camp meeting this past summer with a bunch of pastors and lay people. I invited him to bring any books, or sermon CD's that he might like to sell. He told me that he didn't do that, that he didn't have any of that, that he was just a pastor. Shortly after that I was on his website and noticed his trip following the footsteps of Paul, I then invited him to bring some brochures for that, but he didn't put them out on a table until I asked him about them and then he finally put them out there for about the last day and a half.

I cannot defend all preachers who do this, and I cannot speak of your experiences, but this is one instance that I wanted to defend Dr. Reavis on.

You may bring up that he advertises it on the church's website and bulletin and newsletter and that you have a problem with this.

My personal attitude towards this is if the church does not have a problem with it, why should I? I am sure that our church does things differently from others and that you would not agree with but it is our church's decision to do that. And vice versa with your church.

I do appreciate your blog and the work that you do. Accountability is essential in the body of Christ and the work of the Lord. But I did want to perhaps give a different perspective on just one experience.

Kyle

Anonymous said...

I think you are right. I have gotten very cynical about the commercialism of Christianity. I live near Liberty U. and Thomas Road Baptist Church, and if I hear one more ad on the radio "for the premier single day Church & Leadership Conference
in the world!" I am going to scream. ONLY $99 for a one day conference? If 1000 people show up (easy to do at LU) that's $99,000 they are raking in for one day!

Anonymous said...

While FBCJ is promoting "vacation trips" (which they are) at the same time the SBC is notifying that they don't have the monies to continue supporting some of the missionaries whose hearts are broken. These are the missionaries who live on meager funds - not like the millionaire Pastor" who works with his friend BP from Dallas, Texas for an annual freebies if they get enough sign ups.

There's no hurting for money at FBCJ - the top dogs are going quite well! Another good article WD - your post right on target about the two sides of FBCJ on finance spending.

Anonymous said...

As a pastor, I have taken several people from our church to the Holy Land. It is not a money-making ploy for me, although I do go for free when I lead a trip, and my wife goes for about $1000. The participants are charged $2800 for 7 days in the Holy Land and usually take about 25-30 people. I pay for the publicity packets, for information meetings and meals before we go and of course prepare scripturally to lead the trip.

People set aside amounts of money to give to the church as the Holy Spirit impresses, and some people also set aside money for travel and vacations. Those who can financially afford to travel will be so impacted by a trip to Israel and Jordan. It really does create a deeper understanding of God's Word and I believe a deeper love of reading it.

I am hearing and understanding your argument - but even if 2% of a church congregation can afford to go, and the pastor can take those vacation days off as outlined by a Personnel Handbook, then I think you are off the mark in your writings this morning.

Sincerely,
Pastor Andrew

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Kyle - thanks for the word on Herb Reavis. I know of people who have left FBCJ and gone to No. Jax Baptist and have heard good things about him.

Thanks for sharing your experience about him. But I do have a problem with church websites putting their pastor's Holy Land trips on the site, which gives them the appearance of a "ministry" as a means of advertising.

I can tell you Jerry Vines never did that either. He was very careful to not hawk anything he was doing outside of the church in terms of books or his outside speaking gigs into the church.

Are you the same Kyle who wrote about switching from the FBCJ pastor's conference to the Shepherd's Conference?

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Pastor Andrew - I assume that a pastor who is traveling has the approval of his board or deacons or in the personnel handbook of the church. That is not the point.

The point is these trips are encouraged by pastors on their church websites as ministries, travel agencies entice pastors to go for a low fee to be "familiarized" with how to lead (and market!) such a trip to their sheep, and then the pastors in turn advertise them to the church.

It is a way to tap the Christian market, and I hope pastors have taken a basic economics course and understand the concept of "opportunity costs" when it comes to money.

Lydia said...

"Jesus is no longer walking over in the Holy Land"

This is EXACTLY what my mom told her friend who was trying to get her to go on one of these ministerial excursions. Only she added that He is now residing in my heart so I don't have to go all the way over there. :o)

Well, what do we expect? We have sacred buildings folks call the 'house of worship' or God's House, we have sacred furniture for specially anointed people to stand behind and now to fully experience Jesus Christ, we must go walk on the same land where He walked. Never mind that most Christians have left Bethleham and other parts of Israel because of the persecution from both Palestians and Orthodox Jews! Christian tourists are quite welcome!

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Mike Huckabee, if God called him to the ministry, when did God revoke that call? Does God revoke a true call to preach the Gospel?

Lynn said...

Oh, I see what you're saying. It's like drug reps give perks to doctors, so that doctors will prescribe the drugs to the patients and money will be made.

I just remember how I felt when I overheard a group at church talking about going on a cruise. I felt like-I have absolutely nothing in common with these people, AND all their supposed concern about the lost, etc. should be taken with a grain of salt. Why should I then take it seriously?

Maybe that doesn't really make sense, but I'm just saying how I felt. If it's a church full of wealthy people who can all go on world travel, I geuss that's fine. But it does seem to show a mismatch between what is preached and what people's real interests are.

That a church would be connected in anyway with going on trips doesn't make sense to me. But if it's really part social club, then it does make sense. And your quote from the pastor's wife was hilarious. Could they pay the way for the poor people to go so they could have a better walk with the Lord also? Isn't that important?

Lynn said...

I'm a slow thinker. Okay, so the church's website has costs related with it that the people in the pews pay for, right? But their money is also providing a place for the wealthy members to hear of a trip to the Middle East? Is the travel agency paying the website fees for this?

I think it would be fascinating to see what IS paid for by the money that people put in the offering plate?

Anonymous said...

WD-

I do recognize that Vines and Lindsay set the standard for how pastor's should pastor. And I appreciate your reminding us of them often. Unfortunately, for us younger pastor's too many of us are not following their lead.

In answer to your last question about switching conferences, the answer is, yes.

Kyle

Anonymous said...

I've honestly never had the opportunity to lead a trip like this one. As a pastor, while I wouldn't necessarily condemn someone else for doing this, I wouldn't feel comfortable asking people to shell out thousands when I am allowed to go for free. What I would do, however, is pass along the savings intended for the pastor to everyone on the trip. That is, I would take the amount that I would be receiving and divide that among the whole group and then pay what everyone else is paying. In that case, everyone receives equal benefit. But, that's just me.

Jeff

Lynn said...

Are people aware that the pastor gets to go for free? Isn't this kinda like MLM where you tell people they need to pay money for this wonderful opportunity, but you getting them to do this benefits you financially?

Isn't the pastor supposed to be doing things that benefit others, not that benefit him? Like the pastor above said, he'd not feel right going for free with others having to pay. I think he should trust that feeling.

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

You know DR.Dog this is the tragedy that is Mac Brunson.

I believe Dr.Dog from everything that I've seen,and heard,and not heard of Dr.Reavis,is that he is a dedicated and faithful servant of Christ!
But then the Mac's of Christendom come along with their greed.
And it then challenges the motives of every Pastor(me included)!!!

I also read some of the comments on Jacksonville.com,concerning your settlement,and many of these comments were made by unbelievers.

It reminded me of what the Apostle Paul stated in Romans 2:24,"that the name of God is blasphemed among the gentiles".
And much of it do to the antics of men like Mac!!!


In love!!1

"WORSE AND WORSE IT GETS"[2Tim.3:13]!!!

New BBC Open Forum said...

What I would do, however, is pass along the savings intended for the pastor to everyone on the trip.

I commend you for this. Sadly, you seem to be the exception, not the rule.

Are Holy Land Tours a Shearing of the Sheep?

Anonymous said...

I wouldn't feel comfortable asking people to shell out thousands when I am allowed to go for free. What I would do, however, is pass along the savings intended for the pastor to everyone on the trip. That is, I would take the amount that I would be receiving and divide that among the whole group and then pay what everyone else is paying. In that case, everyone receives equal benefit. But, that's just me.

Jeff
___________________________________

Pastor Jeff - you got it right! If you think it worthwhile, go ahead and lead a trip once in a while. But don't make money off it, or use your congregation to get something for free at their expense. I like your thinking. Be honest about what perks you have been offered and share them with those going.

Anonymous said...

Debbie Brunson, who is a trustee of the IMB, so I believe she is fair game on this blog, writes: “Nothing in your Christian walk will have a greater impact on your life than a trip to the Holy Land. Journey with us to Israel as we follow the steps of our Lord and see how the stories in the Bible come to life.”

HOGWASH! Nothing will have a greater impact? How about ministering to the poor, hungry, and lost, Debbie? Try that. It might be better than your trip to Israel...again and again and again. (When is enough enough by the way. I mean how many times must you go to the middle east?)

"Journey" with us? Really. A journey conjures up people loading up the wagons and making a long journey. Why not tell the truth: "Fly coach while our family flies business class several hours all the way across the ocean. Then stay in luxury hotels and shop at the finest stores." Jesus did that too didn't he?

Follow the steps of our Lord? What? Are we Catholics now? Jesus slept here. Oooh Ahhh.

Stories in the bible come to life? Yikes. Like which ones? Him ministering to others? This is the hotel he stayed at? Here is where he stood? Come on, man.

Sick, Sick, Sick.

Don't forget your side trip to Paris. And Mac's cuff links. :0

Anonymous said...

Off the subject, but it does go with the topic of fleecing the flock: Just noticed Emir Caner is preaching at the Pastor's Conference in JAX. Though he is not Ergun, he is still somewhat culpable with Ergun regarding their background.

Just find it interesting that the circle(s) still go round and round. Ergun won't preach here for a while but we will let his brother. HMMMM!

Anonymous said...

More trash being spewed by the wd. What else is new?

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with cuff links?

Anonymous said...

"Though he is not Ergun, he is still somewhat culpable with Ergun regarding their background"

He most certainly is. And his preaching at the conference is meant to send a message.

Anonymous said...

"More trash being spewed by the wd. What else is new?"

Ugghh. More dumb and blind sheep following some guy. It's OK for Mac to make a mockery of the faith with his actions, but should you point it out, you're the bad guy.

Really now. Some children should not be allowed on this blog, it handles mature subject matter. Stuff like integrity in leadership, and ethical conduct and radical talk about accountability of leaders.

Garlando

Anonymous said...

One of Debbie Brunson's true callings on the Holy Land trips is to go a day or two prior to search out all the good shops for the ladies traveling with them. At least that was what she told us when we traveled with the Brunson clan. Yes, she's a paid trustee, along being a paid employee of FBCJ. Right, she is fair game to give our opinion on.

These trips are nothing but a social vacation for the wealthy & free passes for the preacher, wife, favorite staff members, their kids with their friends.

Such hogwash - preach on tithing and advertise for expensive annual trips at the expense of the church. As one said HOGWASH!

Katie said...

In all my travels in the Navy, I missed the Holy Land. I will admit I would love to walk the Via Dolorosa once, to see Golgotha and even both of the supposed tombs. But in the end, if I never get there, the most important walk I will ever have, is my walk with Jesus.

We have let the moneychangers into our temples and nothing good has come from it. The unbelieving world watches as we succumb to crass commercialism. It is not a picture of our faith we like to promote.

WD, once again, you are to be commended. My hope (surely in vain) is that the day will come when a blog such as this would be unthinkable because God's people could discern right from wrong.

"Our hope is nothingless, than Jesus' blood and righteousness".

Bless you and your family for choosing the narrow path.

Katie

Anonymous said...

“Nothing in your Christian walk will have a greater impact on your life than a trip to the Holy Land. "

This is not that different than the selling indulgences by the Catholic church back in the 1400's. Same principle.

Buy tickets to the Holy Land with us and become more spiritual.

How very Rome of the Brunson's. I guess the poor will just have to make do with Jesus in their heart.

Anonymous said...

Some of these preachers are so "spiritually renewed", they appear to be worn out!!! Crass commercialism FIRST CLASS!!! I would think after some of these Holy Land excursions one might have to take a vacation to rest. Shopping is soooo tiring!

Anonymous said...

"See how stories in the bible come to life". My Bible is not full of "stories", it is full of Biblical FACTS!

Anonymous said...

Watchdog-

Not sure if you saw/heard about this, but at the FBC AM service following the "special offering," prior to prayer to the Lord, time was taken so Dr. Brunson (AKA Mo Money) could display a pie chart containing a dollar for dollar breakdown of the prior week's take (offering). I was especially disturbed by this, and found it to be in extremely poor taste. And... a million dollars? For a few classrooms, some new carpet and a fancy new stage? Did they get competitive bids on this thing, or are there some kickbacks involved (ala the Warden and his baked goods from the Shawshank Redemption)?

As far as these trips, I'm disturbed by these as well. In an economy where some of us have to choose between filling prescriptions and filling our stomachs or gas tanks, I know everyone has a spare four or five thousand laying around they can give to Mrs. Brunson for "nothing in your Christian walk will have a greater impact." Wow. I think if I've got Jesus Christ figured out right, He'd much rather me enhance my walk with Him by witnessing to coworkers, strangers and others here in Jacksonville, than hopping on a plane and going half a world a way for a vacation. It would be one thing if they made these things affordable, but, geeze... I don't know... mortgage payment or trip with the Brunsons... hmmm....

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
More trash being spewed by the wd. What else is new?

October 22, 2010 4:10 PM


Hmmm... sounds like someone tagged along on one of the Brunson's Christian life-building trips?

Anonymous said...

I do recognize that Vines and Lindsay set the standard for how pastor's should pastor.

CORRECTION: It was the Lindsay's and not Vines that set the standard. Vines was a very aloof individual that rode to SBC stardom on the coat tails of the Lindsay's and frankly a lot of the FBCJ membership did not and still does not respect the man, including me. Not that it matters.

I believe Dr.Dog from everything that I've seen,and heard,and not heard of Dr.Reavis,is that he is a dedicated and faithful servant of Christ!
HOWEVER, Reavis strongly preaches what WD is against-Storehouse Tithing. As far as people flocking to his church there are just as many who I know have left and went to other churches.

As far as Holy Land Trips go, I have two friends who have run these type of trips for over thirty years. Yes their portion of the trip is comped, but these laymen have done it not for the comp but the love of taking fellow believers there. Frankly, I do not want to go to any other country other than the good old USA. You can get shot here just as well as over there but at least there is no fear of getting kidnapped and your throat slit in America.

Anonymous said...

WD-

If you haven't already done so, you need to do a posting about this Pastors Conference at FBC. Talk about using the church for personal gain... between Facebook, Twitter and the church's website itself, there is almost as much advertisement for this thing as there is for the Super Bowl. Shame that with it being hailed as such a resource for Christians, those of us lowly lay people cannot attend (unless we want to fork over hundreds of dollars)...

New BBC Open Forum said...

Speaking of Mike Huckabee, if God called him to the ministry, when did God revoke that call?

Have you ever heard him preach? Let's just say he didn't live up to the hype.

Lynn said...

Has anyone observed people who've gone on these trips and seen that they have become more godly? How did this very great impact on them change them? Are they now better Chritians?

AND if so, wouldn't that mean that wealthy people can become better Christians than those who cannot afford these trips? Has anyone noticed any type of difference in the two groups?

I think people should ask what "impact" means exactly.

Anonymous said...

Huckstur is good friends with Kenneth Copeland AKA 20 million dollar new Cessna Citation. Enough said.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog, I hear you say very often that money should be given to the downtrodden and the hungry and homeless around Jacksonville. I can only assume that with your heart so heavy toward the least of these that your $50,000 will go completely to feed the hungry and clothe the poor in Jacksonville. That would put your large amount of money where your mouth is.

Do you see any class warfare in these postings? Is it bad or ungodly for there to be wealthy individuals who spend $3500 on a trip to Israel? Bibilically is it better to pour into the economy of the Jewish people than into the economy of France, England, or Australia? It just seems there are some resentful people on here who can't afford a trip like this. I know I can't, but am really happy for those who can go. Love seeing pictures at least!

Was just curious if your pontificating stances were going to be matched by your $50,000 gift to a charity?

Jake

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Hi Jake - I believe those who have money should go on whatever vacations they like. That is not the point of the article.

The point focuses squarely on the pastors and churches who advertise these vacations on their website, and they are then marketed to people in their church at the same time they are moaning about how giving is down, trying to raise money for renovations, and also telling people they are causing economic calamity nationally and personally by not giving 10% to the church.

And it is not I who creates class warfare. Perhaps the advertising of these trips, and the marketing of them within the church, and from the pulpit as one of the most significant ways to enhance one's Christian life - perhaps that creates class warfare in the church.

Anonymous said...

Watchdog,

I agree that pastors should not use the church's website to advertise their trip if they are making money off the trip. But that prevents a lot from being on a church website (Dave Ramsey Conference, Marriage Seminar/Speaker, Visiting Preacher who brings books, etc...) if the standard is no one can be on the website if they stand to profit finacially from an event.

I assume by your silence that you've already given your $50,000 to a homeless charity and have chosen to remain quiet on the subject or perhaps by your silence that your $50,000 will be pocketed for your own gain.

Jake

Anonymous said...

But Jake! Debbie says ON THE CHURCH WEBSITE that my spiritual life will be enhanced. But I am poor...so how can I ever enhance my spiritual life like my role models? After all, the big pastor's wife whom we all follow obediently said this.

This is a matter of spirituality not just travel, Jake. That is the message from my church website.

Lydia said...

"I assume by your silence that you've already given your $50,000 to a homeless charity and have chosen to remain quiet on the subject or perhaps by your silence that your $50,000 will be pocketed for your own gain."

Jake are you that simple? The lawyers get their cut first.

Anonymous said...

Jake,
I wonder what your comments would be if "your" preacher made unjustly comments about your mental state of mind in the headlines of a community newspaper.

Have a feeling you'd be one nasty character to deal with if it had been you.

$50,000 is meager amount for a department who handled a issue in the wrong manner.

For the 2nd lawsuit an acknowledgement such as a written public apology in the same newspaper for mis-characterization of an individual would be appropriate.

Calling anyone a coward and a sociopath is a very serious matter especially when one does it in a public newspaper from so called religious leaders.

Anonymous said...

All mega's create class warfare. It is indemic to the system. The poor are to be happy to rub shoulders with the wealthy and give their measly 10%.

Anonymous said...

"Our pastor Dr. Mac Brunson loves pastors [money]. Come hear him open God's Word Fri. Jan. 28 at 7:00!" (From the Pastor's Conference post)

The Other Tom said...

"Jake";

Whatever Mr. Rich choses to do with the $50,000 is none of your business.

Thy Peace said...

In the New Covenant, "Holy Land" has no meaning. The only "things" Holy are people who are Christians, for The Holy Spirit indwells within them.

Katie said...

Jake,

I don't know you from Adam, literally. But I find your comments to be just plain hateful.

Abuse by clergy is a serious issue all over the world. And... it isn't limited to Christianity. Here we come to a fact that sets American's apart from theocracies. If we don't like our Pastor, we can attend somewhere else. However, most of us have adopted a church as part of our family. We support our leaders and they are supposed to make sure we aren't fed on milquetoast and lies. It seems however that our churches are really part of an institution, in this case the SBC. I don't know how any thinking Christian can look at the facts of the last 15 years (at least) and not see a serious sickness permeating from the leadership. A man of God who is designated as leader of a church who abuses his congregation, is no different than a parent who abuses their child emotionally. Do you really see Jesus up on the stage of FBC Jax, or do you see something else? If you see Jesus, you need to reevaluate. Jesus never abused his children, nor did he manipulate their emotions.

Mac is in my opinion a mean man who will stop at nothing to gain the riches and power he desires. But when you use the power of government to inflict harm on someone simply because you don't like what they say, then you are bordering on criminal behavior. Perhaps a re-reading of the person of Judas is in order. Judas claimed to love Jesus. But what he really loved was money, and he too used the power of government to get what he wanted. How'd that work out for him?

Whatever WD does with his 50 grand is his business. I'm betting his lawyer will get most of it, but I could be wrong. What you are missing Jake, is that WD gave us all a huge gift. He exposed the corruption and sent a message to others who might try to bully people using the power of government run amok.

It's a sad fact, that the good people of FBC Jax will end up being victimized by Mac again. I don't think there is a doubt at all, that FBC JAX is going to pay, and pay big. What Mac did was wrong and that's all there is to it.

"He that troubles his own house, shall inherit the wind, and a fool shall be a servant to the wise of heart" Proverbs 11:29

New BBC Open Forum said...

Huckstur is good friends with Kenneth Copeland AKA 20 million dollar new Cessna Citation.

I don't know about "good" friends, but Huckabee has appeared on Copeland's show on TBN, and Copeland endorsed Huckabee for president in 2008.

I realize this is off topic (since when has that stopped any of us before?), Huckabee is buds with the creepy Bill Gothard, too.

Important! Click on this link instead of the link in the above article (last sentence of 3rd paragraph from the end) labeled "There is a compendium of Huckabee's ties to Bill Gothard" as that one no longer works and will infect your computer with something nasty.

Anonymous said...

It's taken many years to finally get this and it's really quite simple. If a pastor doesn't come across as a humble servant...don't buy what he's selling!

Anonymous said...

Jake you are just simply a sore loser. The pain is getting to you.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with cuff links?

October 22, 2010 4:11 PM
___________________________________

Ever wear them to work? No? Why not? Too pretentious? Make you look arrogant? Your client's or boss or co-workers might be thinking about how much you are making? Ever wear them when you are out witnessing? Ever consider they might be a distraction to those you are trying to get to take the focus off of yourself and onto your message?

What's wrong with not wearing them?

Anonymous said...

Has anyone observed people who've gone on these trips and seen that they have become more godly? How did this very great impact on them change them?
___________________________________

Good point. Maybe they should have Sunday night service like we give our youth when they come back from camp or from a missions trip to share with the rest of us how God blessed them and used them on their "journey" to follow in the "footsteps of our Lord."

"In that day Jesus will say unto them, depart from me...I never knew you!"

Anonymous said...

I assume by your silence that you've already given your $50,000 to a homeless charity and have chosen to remain quiet on the subject or perhaps by your silence that your $50,000 will be pocketed for your own gain.

Jake
___________________________________

Jake - maybe Tom will follow the example of Mac Brunson and his$307,000 land gift and keep every stinking penny for himself.

And why would you care what Tom does with the money. He does not ask you to give him any of yours like Mac does. And since it is God's money anyway, God already owns it, so it doesn't matter how it gets spent. It is all God's either way.

Maybe he should find some rich millionaire pastor and go give it to him as a gift. That would make a lot of sense to FBC Jax members wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

I assume by your silence that you've already given your $50,000 to a homeless charity and have chosen to remain quiet on the subject or perhaps by your silence that your $50,000 will be pocketed for your own gain.

Jake
___________________________________

Jake - maybe Tom will follow the example of Mac Brunson and his$307,000 land gift and keep every stinking penny for himself.

And why would you care what Tom does with the money. He does not ask you to give him any of yours like Mac does. And since it is God's money anyway, God already owns it, so it doesn't matter how it gets spent. It is all God's either way.

Maybe he should find some rich millionaire pastor and go give it to him as a gift. That would make a lot of sense to FBC Jax members wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Jake,
WHen and if, you emerge from your adolescence, you stand a better chance of understanding the subject matter at hand. Your teen age emotions are clouding your responses.

Now, where was that Clearasil tube.

Just kidding, Jakey. Ligthen up.

Anonymous said...

The response to my question on cuff links is a perfect example of ridiculousness that permeates some blogs. Yes, I have worn cuff links all my life. I'll wear them in the morning when I preach. They are not arrogant or pretentious.

Anonymous said...

"It's a sad fact, that the good people of FBC Jax will end up being victimized by Mac again. I don't think there is a doubt at all, that FBC JAX is going to pay, and pay big. What Mac did was wrong and that's all there is to it."

Mac and Gaines had better hurry up. They are in the Patterson wing of the SBC and Patterson is no longer the 'it' guy. Mohler is fast taking over and putting his folks in high places. Mac and Gaines may miss out in big SBC jobs when things at the mega finally come to a financial head.

Mac is running out of mega churches to pastor.

Maybe they can teach at Liberty?

Anonymous said...

Hey WD:

Why not spend some of your award on a "Trip to the Holy Land" with the Brunson's?

It would be hilarious to watch Pastor Brunson's face as he recognizes you arriving with the other "Spiritual" members of his flock.

Be sure and take Mrs. WD. The more I think about this the more I would love to see it happen!

Anonymous said...

I'm just curious if someone who writes so often about the great needs in Jacksonville, and writes so often about FBC Jax's neglect of the downtrodden is going to give his $50,000 to the homeless.
The $50,000 is actually tax payer money, and of course (several Anons) that a great percentage will go to lawyers - which proves a point that money often has to go to overhead...something that is lost on many contributors on this blog...as if contributions to the church should be appropriated 100% to missionaries and the homeless.

I guess lastly, what harm is done if a pastor asks people in the church to travel with him? If you don't like the invitation, then don't go! That seems so simple to me. And if my pastor has zero credibility and is depraved in all ways as many paint their pastors on this blog, then I would change churches. Again, the equation seems simple to me.

I visit this site about one evey 6 weeks just to see what several do with your time. It's sad when the same people are commenting every week. So I'm done after this comment, and will visit in 2011. Go spend some time with your spouses and kids or grandkids! There are much more dividends in that!

Jake

Anonymous said...

You know they have an advertisement for this Holy Land Trip flashing on the big screens every Sunday service? Not to mention the huge ad front and center right next to the info about the sermon on Jesus in the church bulletin. The Watchdog has opened my eyes to what is going on around me. It seems to me that Brunson is using Jesus Christ as his ploy to get people to hear his pitch for this trip, his books, the books and media of his friends, etc. Much like a time share or other investment scheme- they get you there with a tremendous offer, or gift, and then make you sit through a presentation about what you should buy (Holy Land Trip, Books, condos, what's the difference?). The moneychangers are ready and waiting to set up shop... wait... they have.

Anonymous said...

Books, tapes, and functions do you get the picture? Sounds like another venture thats been around for about 45 years.

Anonymous said...

Pardon me, but I find these type of trips unnecessary. The pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead. All the time wasted in preparations, packing, driving, waiting on planes, drivers, guides, much less the expense of such trips could be used to help some members who really need financial assistance by those who don't miss several thousand dollars. Most of the mega churches set aside less than $100,000 for charitable causes. Can you imagine the "trip revenues" would probably be more than this amount. Also, language is a barrier. How many people are actually witnessed to and are converted...I've never heard of any mega explain those results. Lastly, if some of the members are sick or die where is the pastor...on vacation of course. That tells me a lot about some of these ministries. I'm all for vacations, just don't advertise and make promotions and profit off of them. Thats my opinion and yes I have been invited personally by a pastor but choose not to go...ever. I thought it was "elitest" then and worse now. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

"Nothing in your Christian walk will have a greater impact on your life than a trip to the Holy Land". Well, if that's true, why are we wasting time listening to these mega preachers. Let's just travel! Besides, the Holy Land isn't holy anymore. I worry about it becoming a war zone, with a bunch of tourist caught in it.

Anonymous said...

"I'm just curious if someone who writes so often about the great needs in Jacksonville, and writes so often about FBC Jax's neglect of the downtrodden is going to give his $50,000 to the homeless."

How much taxpayer money was spent on the time and effort to get the three subpeona's? One from another state! Remember, the identities of 3 bloggers was gotten by Hinson.

How much did that effort take with paperwork, labor costs, etc., of your public servants to HELP MAC as a favor?

Tom is owed millions as far as I am concerned for what the morons in your government did to our 1st Amendment rights. He did us a favor...because others are watching what happened.

Jake you must really be simple or so brainwashed you can't think.

the more you post, the more it looks like you worship Mac. Idolatry.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of these pastors who do these trips or his defenders, have taken a mission trip to the 10/40 window? How many have sought to lead their churches to go to places that have no gospel witness at all?

Lynn said...

Someone called these trips "elitist," and they are. And the part that seems extremely distasteful is to pretend that they are anything other than a fun vacation.

Several people have asked what WD will do with his money. To me, his situation truly is different-he' not pretending to be godly; he's not up on a stage every week pretending to be needy; he's not sending confusing mixed messages about what we're to do with our money.

And I think someone was referring to MLM when they mentioned tapes and books for sale. YES, people should see the conection there. It's MLM all over again. You get a group of people that are trying to follow a confusing book. You pretend like you know more about it than they do. (Well, actually, you might, cause most people don't know the Bible that well-but they think they do.)

Anyway, you set up bookstores in your church, etc., so people will be forever buying the next book that seems to finally be the answer to make it all clear.

Yes, there IS gold in them thar pews, and plenty of smart businessmen have figured that one out long ago.

And coming at this from a pastor's point of view. Maybe they decide somewhere along the way that they're gonna live the high life like everybody else-instead of being some wonderful extreme Christian that people want them to be. I think there needs to be lots of thought put into what being a pastor is supposed to look like, and what being a follower of Christ is supposed to look like for everybody.

Anonymous said...

With people going hungry, (including CHILDREN), in this country. When the economy finally hits a full blown depression like the 20's/30's, guaranteed there will still be some trying to keep the party going and the money coming. They will never VOLUNTAIRLY give up the perks. I wish there was some way to give them 10% of the austerity others IN THEIR CHURCH suffer. No I am not a socialist, far from it I just don't like seeing millionaire megas milking the pew sitters, while they live at a level made possible by people WHO TRULY OWE THEM NOTHING, but are put on a guilt TRIP and threatened that God will get'em if they don't give up the money. I am happy for people that actually do honest work for their money. I like to see "real people" succeed in life and I bear no hard feelings to wealth that is worked for legitimately (good for them), but, I think it is obscene for people to become millionaires off the Gospel of Christ. But, that's right most don't PREACH THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST...they would condemn themselves!!!!

Anonymous said...

Pastors going to the Holy Land is absurd. What could they ever gain from visiting the place where the events of the Bible took place. I mean, give me a break. Visiting the empty tomb. Surely they know it is still empty. What is the purpose in looking at a hole. (Sarcasm intended)

Lydia said...

From Baptist planet:

"The bylaws governing resolution of grievances within that church were and apparently still are heavily loaded against dissent. This case illustrates that an oppressive approach tends to drive debate underground — often into anonymous blogs — and unmasking the blogger does not eliminate that dissent or refute the criticisms. A heavy-handed response in fact underlines the social value of dissent and of the dissenter’s efforts."

Here is the irony: Historically, the very term "Baptist" means dissent. That is how we came to be!

There was also a time it meant Priesthood of believer and soul competency. There was none of this idolatry of a pastor stuff or authoritarianism.

But that has all changed. Now, it is follow the pastor instead of Christ. Now dissent is seen as "divisive" and sowing discord. Never mind about "spiritual unity" it is now conformity of thought. And a cult is born.

Lydia said...

"Several people have asked what WD will do with his money. To me, his situation truly is different-he' not pretending to be godly; he's not up on a stage every week pretending to be needy; he's not sending confusing mixed messages about what we're to do with our money."

Interesting, isn't it?

Few want to hold the "well paid to be a professional Christian", accountable.

Seems quite backwards to me. After all, what ARE they paying him for?

Anonymous said...

"I visit this site about one evey 6 weeks just to see what several do with your time. It's sad when the same people are commenting every week. So I'm done after this comment, and will visit in 2011"

Hope Jake can learn some discernment between nonw and 2011. I like the way he now pretends to be aloof from all the difficult discussions here. Like he is able to be so far above us all.

Me thinks he has the Mac syndrome, you know the kind, place yourself far above and away from the issues with pious smack downs here and there.

A smack down/Mac-down is coming up,....in the courts. It will be ugly, but he started this downward path. It's sowing and reaping time, and the Lord 's name and reputation will be dragged through it.

Mac, you can still stop this, do the right thing.

Now.

Time is running out.

Garlando

Anonymous said...

WD, am I correct in that you accepted a settlement ILO a trial, or was there a trial and the Judge/jury ruled in your favor?

Anonymous said...

To do the right thing a person needs to saved not mind controlled.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Readers: Wade Burleson has announced on his blog that he is permanently stepping away from blogging. Go to his site to read his last post.

Anonymous said...

Tom, If I or any other church member have the money for a vacation of this sort and want to go to the Holy Land, of course I want to go with someone like Dr Brunson. I mean who else should be leading a trip like this? You? Now that is a laugh! Let people spend their money how they want. After all, you say we don't have to tithe so maybe I will put that away for this trip. It is not wrong for the pastor to organize trips such as this. People can make their own financial decisions.

Anonymous said...

You could use the money by helping people in need like Jesus would. But you choose to spend your money simular to the sadducees. Will you recieve anything everlasting going some where else. Or is it the thrill of it. Satin has a few thrills for you so you can feel good. His money will take you far. You should take a close examination who leads you. You only have one life. Be sure you get it right but you probilly enjoy the money thrills too much.I am so sorry for you.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - I agree with everything you've said. It is a vacation.

I don't think vacations with the pastor should be pushed on the church's website, or from the pulpit, and I think it shameless when the pastor and family market it as some means to a higher spiritual plane, or the greatest thing a person can do to enhance their spiritual life.

I think good FBCJ leadership would stop the advertising and marketing especially when the pastor is beating the congregation up for more money, and even daring to misuse scripture to get people to give more to the church.

Stop misusing scripture to beat people up for more dough, and stop the using of church resources to advertise vacations.

And if people want to go on vacations, then do it. Just don't push it on the church website.

Anonymous said...

"Readers: Wade Burleson has announced on his blog that he is permanently stepping away from blogging. Go to his site to read his last post."

Praise God!!! Now if WD will just shut down his hate as well. One can only hope.

Ben said...

"The pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead."

Is this the precedent set in scripture? I was reading Acts 6 this morning and see a different role for those preaching and teaching.

Ben said...

"Tom is owed millions as far as I am concerned for what the morons in your government did to our 1st Amendment rights. He did us a favor...because others are watching what happened."

Do our first amendment rights, trump our responsibility before the Lord in how we use our own voice. I am not supporting what Mac has said about Tom but there is just as much being said on this blog and being allowed to be said about Mac which is as equal too or greater than Macs comments.

But like your comment above, that and 1.00 will get us a small cup of coffee.

Ben said...

"You could use the money by helping people in need like Jesus would. But you choose to spend your money simular to the sadducees."

This sounds as if someone wants you to not worry about tithing (it's unbiblical, they say) but will readily tell you how to spend your money or call you names if you spend it as you are led.

Maybe this is where Mac gets his tithing illustrations.. "Give it my way or you are in sin"

I can't stop laughing.

Anonymous said...

"Is this the precedent set in scripture? I was reading Acts 6 this morning and see a different role for those preaching and teaching."

Really? Where did you read about the role of "senior pastor" in a church?

I wasn't able to find it.

Book, chapter and verse please.

Anonymous said...

"Readers: Wade Burleson has announced on his blog that he is permanently stepping away from blogging. Go to his site to read his last post."

Praise God!!! Now if WD will just shut down his hate as well. One can only hope.

Unfortunately for you, the truth will not disappear just because Wade isn't blogging about it.

Now if you could just get rid of that pesky Bible.

Anonymous said...

"This sounds as if someone wants you to not worry about tithing"

I thought that worrying was a sin also.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:18 PM. What some on the left always use is the expression of hate speech when it does not suit their purpose. We who are on the right understand the difference between hate and enlightenment. Boy do you have a lot to learn. How old are you 16 or 18?

Anonymous said...

So Dr Vines hocking his books via the church website as early as 1999 does not count? (Spirit Life)

http://web.archive.org/web/19990125095249/http://www.fbcjax.com/

Anonymous said...

WD, it should be noted to all that there is a difference between a settlement and a trial by a jury of peers or a judge. I understand that they reached a settlement with you and did not go to trial. Your attorney probably told you the same thing I tell my clients that it is better to settle than to take your chances at trial even tough it seems like a case is a slam dunk. A lot of times people will argue and say they want to go for the gold, but I tell them there is no guarantee when going to trial. I alsways tell them that even in trial you may have a bad day an lose even though you should be able to win. At the end of the day most of us would rather settle a case out of court than spend the time and take the chance of winning at trial.

Anonymous said...

I find this topic to be quite interesting. Considering the many times I heard my own pastor, Dr. Johnny Hunt, pontificate the glorious sacrifice of the widow giving her last mite it baffles me how anyone can defend this practice. The pastor in each of these churches, FBCW included, are creating opportunities for themselves to spend 10 days with the wealthiest members in their churches. In the case of Johnny Hunt, it will cost you a cool $3,999 to hang with your pastor in the inspiring surroundings of the Holy land.

http://www.fbcw.org/tour-the-holy-land/

Can you imagine Jesus organizing an "Escaping the Bondage Tour" in ancient Egypt? The only people it would attract would be the very people that Jesus preached against. It was the poor and needy Jesus hung out with not the wealthy members of the "inner circle" that inhabit the upper crust of today's mega-church. The question isn't so much whether they are making money from it, for me it is a question of what is the point? Many of these pastors have been numerous times and already have a lengthy vacation schedule (try 6 weeks a year during the summer for Johnny Hunt) so why do they look for more reasons to escape church family? What ministry could you possibly be doing in the Holy Land.

Regardless, there appears to be some reason they do it because the organization facilitating the Johnny Hunt tour has a 20 others going up to July of 2011. Here is the list...

http://discoveryworldwideministries.com/Israel.php

All together, there are 34 trips to the Holy land schedule if you toss in the spiritual cruises (now that just seems funny to even type). So again, I ask why? At 4 grand a head from Woodstock, that could easily be $80,000 drained out of the pockets of well-intentioned people not being spent on ministering to the needy. I admit that everyone needs a vacation but should the Pastor be doing this? Seems more likely to warm the heart of God to see a pastor encourage his sheep to keep the money and give their time in a more fruitful manner to the "least of these" around us all.

Ben said...

Anon: "The pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead."

Ben: "Is this the precedent set in scripture? I was reading Acts 6 this morning and see a different role for those preaching and teaching."

Anon: "Really? Where did you read about the role of "senior pastor" in a church?"

So do you agree or disagree with the first anon (which could be you) about the roll of the pastor?

I simply asked a question. Do you have an answer? Whether we call them pastors or elders or overseers, it doesn't really matter, does it?

There were preachers, pastors in the NT. Didn't Paul send Titus, Artemas or Tychicus to Crete to pastor the church there?

Is there not recognized leaders within the church? Men who were called to oversee the ministry.

Ephesians 4:11-12 speaks to this.

Anonymous said...

Ben,
You asked:
"Is there not recognized leaders within the church? Men who were called to oversee the ministry."

We left FBCJ because Mac Brunson from the beginning was gone every other month on vacations, speaking engagements, tours, and so forth, most of the time his absence was never even announced - even the deacons had no idea where he was when we asked if he was preaching.

Yes, indeed we were left in capable hands of the lay people but why pay a preacher 6 figures a year for doing a part-time job, and why pay guest speakers to fill in when the senior pastor really doesn't feel his responsibility is to shepherd the flock.

No matter, life goes on and ones direction in life often changes - we just chose to be with a full time pastor whose main focus was his own membership.

Ben said...

"We left FBCJ because Mac Brunson from the beginning was gone every other month on vacations, speaking engagements, tours, and so forth, most of the time his absence was never even announced - even the deacons had no idea where he was when we asked if he was preaching.

Yes, indeed we were left in capable hands of the lay people but why pay a preacher 6 figures a year for doing a part-time job, and why pay guest speakers to fill in when the senior pastor really doesn't feel his responsibility is to shepherd the flock.

No matter, life goes on and ones direction in life often changes - we just chose to be with a full time pastor whose main focus was his own membership."

Good for you. You made a wise choice for you and your family.

I do not recall ever promoting or protecting Mac. The context of the discussion was that an Anon said there were no senior pastors in scripture and, in part, I wrote what you responded too.

Anonymous said...

I have been a lifelong member of a mega church. For many years we had a truly Christ centered church. The main focus was getting people saved and growing in Bible knowledge. The preacher got a modest salary, and two weeks vacation, and then others figured out how to make money off of being a so called preacher. It has gone from good to disaster for the church. Not to mention hurting the cause of Christ. Now, I would not step inside of the very same mega church or any other. They have lost their way, and the preachers are responsible. I don't know how they angrily proclaim they are the authority, while blaming the failure happening inside their own tightly controlled organization, on other people. Neither do I understand how they tout care and concern for the down and out, the lost and sick, while they take millions in salaries (even family members on staff) and other perks. Many are just the CEO's of the family business. My question is....Are we truly in the Falling Away of the church? Or, are we just stupid to let these people dupe us. Maybe both! They make money off the people, money off of trips disguised as missions, books, speaking engagements, and on and on. All the while DEMANDING 10% of members gross income. Like many are saying to the Congress, STOP THE SPENDING. Use it for good not avarice and greed! I would not want this on my conscience when I meet the Lord if I were a preacher. As my ole grandma used to say "I can recognize a phony a mile off".

Anonymous said...

" My question is....Are we truly in the Falling Away of the church? "

2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does[a] not slumber. 2 Peter 2.

Anonymous said...

Random thought ...... what IF we spent our time doing what Jesus left us to do, go and make disciples of ALL nations and while we're at it, learn how to grow to be more like Jesus? I believe when God's Word begins to consume us, our focus becomes His focus. I can't imagine any of this I'm reading being God's intended focus for any of us. Obviously there's a calling to cast stones in the Bible I wasn't aware of. Funny, I thought Jesus said the person WITHOUT SIN should cast the first stone. Congratulations to those of you who are without sin!

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:18 PM. Thanks for throwing your stone, fortunately I ducked and it went over my head. You need to realize that dissent is what all life is about otherwise we would be robots.

Anonymous said...

Funny, I thought Jesus said the person WITHOUT SIN should cast the first stone. Congratulations to those of you who are without sin!

October 25, 2010 9:18 PM

I think you have just proof texted a verse right out of it's context and tried to apply it to all of life.

If you think long and hard about it and knew scripture, you would know that Paul called out sin! He even named names sometimes! Paul even confronted Peter for his sin!

If you think about it, your proof text means we could never deal with sin in the church. The PASTOR could not even preach on it because HE IS A SINNER!

Better go back and study. You have simply repeated something you heard taught wrong. It is quite typical, though.

Anonymous said...

"I simply asked a question. Do you have an answer? Whether we call them pastors or elders or overseers, it doesn't really matter, does it?"

Well, you begged the question. Your question makes assumptions that are not historically accurate.

So, I guess it does matter.

"There were preachers, pastors in the NT. Didn't Paul send Titus, Artemas or Tychicus to Crete to pastor the church there?"

No he did not. You know if you would just take the time to do a cursory study of church history, you wouldn't have to keep coming to me for answers.

Show me an example of a senior pastor in scripture (like we have today), and then I'll answer your question.

"Is there not recognized leaders within the church? Men who were called to oversee the ministry."

Not the same as a senior pastor. Get back to me when you find scriptural precedent.

Ben said...

"If you think long and hard about it and knew scripture, you would know that Paul called out sin! He even named names sometimes! Paul even confronted Peter for his sin!"

Talking about taking scripture out of context. In referring to this site as like Paul confronting Peter, I have one simple question. Have you followed this example with Mac? If not, it is foolish to use God's word to support your position to talk about Mac and not too him.

I know, I know. If you talk to him you will be shunned or something worse. I guess such a consequence trumps not being true to scripture.

Ben said...

"You need to realize that dissent is what all life is about otherwise we would be robots."

With this belief, heaven will pretty boring.

Do you really believe dissent is what life is all about? No wonder your churches are falling apart.

Anonymous said...

Ben you are beginning to bore me. You need some serious study of your Bible. If you have one, that is. Please try to get above elementary level on any subject. Thanks.

Ben said...

"Well, you begged the question. Your question makes assumptions that are not historically accurate. "

Let me see. The statement made was:

"The pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead."

To which I asked:

"Is this the precedent set in scripture? I was reading Acts 6 this morning and see a different role for those preaching and teaching."

How does this question make any assumption? It is a question. Do you have an answer or not?

Then:

Ben: "There were preachers, pastors in the NT. Didn't Paul send Titus, Artemas or Tychicus to Crete to pastor the church there?"

Anon: "No he did not. You know if you would just take the time to do a cursory study of church history, you wouldn't have to keep coming to me for answers."

I have done a deep study of Titus (that small book within the bigger book we know as the bible) not just a cursory reading.

Maybe it is you who needs to put down the church history books and pick up the bible.

When you read it you will discover that Paul left Titus there to pastor the churches which were started.

But back to the original question from which you pulled the comment I made. Let me phrase it in a more simple manner.

Do you believe, according to scripture, the pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead?

If not then take it up with which ever one of you who refuse to show yourself. Don't try to start an argument with me using something I did not say. I refuse to play that game.

Ben said...

"Ben you are beginning to bore me. You need some serious study of your Bible. If you have one, that is. Please try to get above elementary level on any subject. Thanks."

At least I offer something to the discussion.

Anonymous said...

"How does this question make any assumption? It is a question. Do you have an answer or not?"

OK I'll dumb it down for you Ben. Senior Pastor is a modern church position that is not supported in scripture. Is that simple enough?

"I have done a deep study of Titus (that small book within the bigger book we know as the bible) not just a cursory reading."

Too bad that the message didn't take hold.

"Maybe it is you who needs to put down the church history books and pick up the bible."

I will never understand Christians who think it is a virtue to be ignorant of their own history. The saying is true. Those who don't learn from history are bound to repeat it.

That helps to explain your tenacious hold to the OT tithing tradition when it is clear that what you are promoting was not what was practiced even by the OT Israelites.

"When you read it you will discover that Paul left Titus there to pastor the churches which were started."

Nope. Wrong. You would only come to that conclusion if you make the roles of shepherd, overseer, and elder synonymous with senior pastor. That would be an error.

"Do you believe, according to scripture, the pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead?"

Wow you still don't get it. The role of senior pastor was borrowed from the 3rd century Roman pagan temples where great orators were hired to impress the attendees. So was the idea of the church building for that matter.

The first century met in homes and had no pastor. They practiced the priesthood of all believers (all participated instead of hundreds watching one man perform). That is the precedent in the NT by the way.

Educate yourself!

Anonymous said...

"You need to realize that dissent is what all life is about otherwise we would be robots."

With this belief, heaven will pretty boring.

Great analogy. You don't need dissent in heaven - knucklehead. It is helpful in this life at times.

You realize that it was Martin Luther's dissent that created the protestant reformation right? And that the Baptist denomination came out of that right?

Also America was born out of dissent. Ever heard of the Revolutionary war?

Anonymous said...

"At least I offer something to the discussion."

Yeah, naiveté

Ben said...

""Do you believe, according to scripture, the pastor of a local church could and should spend his time visiting in the homes of his members instead?"

Wow you still don't get it. The role of senior pastor was borrowed from the 3rd century Roman pagan temples where great orators were hired to impress the attendees. So was the idea of the church building for that matter. "

The first paragraph above is my making a statement some anon made (maybe it was you) and making it a question. I disagree with the original statement made and would say no to the way I posed it as a question. so if you have a problem with the pastor opinion, take it up with anon (maybe yourself).

Second: You are making an argument for something I never said. Please show on this blog post where I said anything in support of a senior pastor being biblical.

This is your straw man and your buddy (maybe yourself), anon.

Ben said...

Anon, I hope you read the bible (if you have one) better than you read this blog.

Anonymous said...

Exodus 20:4
Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness [of any thing] that [is] in heaven above, or that [is] in the earth beneath, or that [is] in the water under the earth:

can any one explane (or that is in the earet beneath), please no SBC siminary mind control.

Anonymous said...

"The first paragraph above is my making a statement some anon made (maybe it was you) and making it a question. I disagree with the original statement made and would say no to the way I posed it as a question. so if you have a problem with the pastor opinion, take it up with anon (maybe yourself)."

Huh?

"Second: You are making an argument for something I never said. Please show on this blog post where I said anything in support of a senior pastor being biblical."

Your question implies it.

"This is your straw man and your buddy (maybe yourself), anon."

Huh?

Anonymous said...

Ben. The central idea was that a pastor should spend the time he makes money traveling on so called mission trips vs. visiting in the homes of his members. The answer is simple...don't call it a mission trip and leave your members without a pastor. I hope this helps in the discussion. I know of many faithful pastors that never, and I mean never, left on trips to wherever. Unfortunately, all of the ones I know that did this are now deceased.

Anonymous said...

Ben, dissent is essential for all groups..government, educational, religious, social, clubs, etc, etc. Thats one major reason why there are so many CHURCH DENOMINATIONS, CLUBS...ELKS, MOOSE, LIONS, BEARS, GOLF ASSOCIATIONS...COLLEGES (HUNDREDS). YOU would find a lot of disagreement/discussion in any or all of these groups. Like the person said...in heaven we won't have to disagree, however, we will be in glorified bodies not these old rags tags we are presently in clothed. Hope this helps with the term of dissent. Just a simple explanation will do the job without laboring the point.

Anonymous said...

Ben. Just an observation from the BIBLE. When Paul got born again where was the first place he went? Into a house. Where was the first place Peter and a couple of other disciples went? Into a house (Cornelius). Where did the disciples meet? In a house. Paul went house to house rather than church to church since buildings were not erected in the first century. Prior to his salvation he went house to house arresting Christians. We have got to get over this idea that the early church met in buildings which did not exist.

I also want to thank the member of the earlier blog who stated that some of their SS teachers filled in. What a great beginning. Priesthood of the believer, but most megas don't go in this direction. The church is the body of believers not a BUILDING!!!

Anonymous said...

Ben.. In Acts chapter 6 those men who were set apart for taking care of the widows were JEWS. There is nothing in chapter 6 that deals with the Gentile Church. There were twelve pastors that called the multitude together ( vs 1 ).What some people do is bring the teaching of Jewish doctrine into the Gentile church. Someone has pulled a fast one if they are taught to believe these disciples are doing anything other than waiting on the congregation. They are not running the church, deacons holding meetings, holding offices such as pulpit committees or finance meetings. Notice vs 5-8 the whole multitude chose, not the pastor, not some committee. Then the word increased since it was the privilege of all of them to study, assist in preaching, visiting, and doing the will of God. Whats really great is that some of the Jewish leaders (vs 7) were led to faith in Jesus Christ. The Book of Acts is a transition book that progresses from the Jews to the Gentiles and in particular in Chapter 7 where the Jews stone Stephen and reject the Lord. Then in Chapter 8 you have Paul converted on the Damascus Road and thats where we come into the picture...progressive revelation. Its what Paul calls his gospel...a mystery revealed to him. Thats why he had to call on Peter face to face and advise him that Jesus had allowed him the opportunity to preach the gospel to the Gentiles. I don't believe Peter sinned in that situation as he was not called to the Gentiles, but rather to the Jews. That was why Paul met with him and told him of his meeting with the Lord. I find vs 4 (But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word)a real challenge to pastors today. Most never do it or intend on doing it. They prefer their latest book, trip, or some message they heard attending another conference to tell their members. Its a real shame that the modern day church does not follow the Jewish tradition set out in Chapter 6 since it would eliminate megas entirely. The church might actually grow.

Anonymous said...

dissent ...... which spiritual gift would that be ...... let me see ....... I found it ..... the THIRD book of OPINIONS. You just keep on keeping on, one day you'll have to answer for all careless words you've written. Judge not, isn't that what the BOOK says, or did I proof text that one as well????

Anonymous said...

9:04: It's called "spiritual discernment". If more people had it, there would be less trouble in churches.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:04. Obviously you are a "live and let live" kind of person. Ever heard of being your brothers keeper found in Genesis? How about the good Samaratin? Like Mac said "you can't always have it your way". You are following a man and not the biblical way. Grow up and check things out for yourself rather than whoever has taught you this way. Sounds like you belong to a cult.

Anonymous said...

"dissent ...... which spiritual gift would that be ...... let me see ....... I found it ..... the THIRD book of OPINIONS.

Actually discernment is a spiritual gift. The lack of it is what allows predators and spiritual bullies to abuse people in the name of God. Those who enable them are guilty as well.

This statement shows an incredible lack of knowledge of not just church history but history in general.

Martin Luther's dissent was what began the protestant reformation. The Baptist denomination came from that movement. So, perhaps you should convert to Catholicism Ben since you are so opposed to dissent.

The US was born out of dissent. Was the US wrong to break away from English tyranny? You don't sound very patriotic Ben.

"You just keep on keeping on"

Looks like Ben is posting anonymously.

"Judge not, isn't that what the BOOK says, or did I proof text that one as well????"

I would suggest that you take your own advice and stop judging dissenters.

Lydia said...

"Actually discernment is a spiritual gift. The lack of it is what allows predators and spiritual bullies to abuse people in the name of God. Those who enable them are guilty as well."

Exactly. And we are to ASK for it. It is pure wisdom from above. It keeps the Bride pure.

The evil ones are the ones that want to hide negative and evil so that it may continue. And they could never do it without "enablers" who think they are holy for following man.

And "Baptists" are historically "dissenters". they refused to baptize their infants, bow to the 'divine' king, etc, etc. Now here we are centuries later and we have folks who want us to believe the pastor is specially anointed and set apart.

Lydia said...

Judge not, isn't that what the BOOK says, or did I proof text that one as well????

October 26, 2010 9:04 PM

Yeah, that is a pretty pedantic definition if you mean it to cover all of life. It means you cannot make ANY JUDGEMENTS. Good luch with that.

Anonymous said...

When is FBCJ going to remove their tyranny?

Ben said...

Anon -"dissent is essential for all groups..government, educational, religious, social, clubs, etc, etc."

But do you believe dissent is what life is all about? The comment was made that dissent is what life is all about and that is to which I replied.

Do you believe dissent is what life is all about?

Ben Patrick said...

" I find vs 4 (But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word)a real challenge to pastors today. Most never do it or intend on doing it. They prefer their latest book, trip, or some message they heard attending another conference to tell their members."

Most??? Really???

If this is the way you think I can't trust you on your view of Acts 6.

"Then the word increased since it was the privilege of all of them to study, assist in preaching, visiting, and doing the will of God. "

Assist in preaching??? Really???

"This statement shows an incredible lack of knowledge of not just church history but history in general."

That's funny.

"Martin Luther's dissent was what began the protestant reformation. The Baptist denomination came from that movement. So, perhaps you should convert to Catholicism Ben since you are so opposed to dissent.

The US was born out of dissent. Was the US wrong to break away from English tyranny? You don't sound very patriotic Ben."

Do you believe dissent is what life is all about? That is the statement made I have referred too. Deal with the foundational position then work your way up.

The comment you are speaking too is not from me.

"You just keep on keeping on"

Looks like Ben is posting anonymously."

Nope, I refuse to coward up like you.

Anonymous said...

Ben is not opposed to dissent. He is opposed to whining and bellyaching. Wah Wah Wah. Tom and his immature disciples are not concerned about the Kingdom. They are concerned with having their ears tickled and their backs patted. Get over yourself!

Anonymous said...

Ben: You said: "Assist in preaching really"? Every movement has an impetus. Thus preaching and churches in Acts chp.6, are the impetus for todays churches. Yes, I do believe life is generally all about dissent. Thats why 51% VOTED FOR ONE PARTY AND 49% FOR ANOTHER. Thats the reason churches split, marriages wind up in divorce, and many other entities on the planet, undergo changes. Get over it.

Just for future info...I will no longer peruse your comments on any subject. You should really think about getting a job or something....maybe after you get out of school.

WD: May we move on? Thanks! I love the blog., but only when we have reasonable commentors.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon - new post coming on Thursday...a few technological challenges have slowed me up. Upcoming articles on Kevin Ezell and NAMB, and also on Chris Rosebroughs analysis of the 10/10/10 Brunson sermon.

Anonymous said...

"This statement shows an incredible lack of knowledge of not just church history but history in general."

That's funny.

Only if you consider ignorance to be humorous.

Anonymous said...

"Ben is not opposed to dissent. He is opposed to whining and bellyaching. Wah Wah Wah. Tom and his immature disciples are not concerned about the Kingdom. They are concerned with having their ears tickled and their backs patted. Get over yourself!"

Well he certainly isn't opposed to patting himself on the back with an anonymous comment.

Anonymous said...

"The comment you are speaking too is not from me."

Yeah, right.
Maybe if you didn't repeat phrases that you posted under the name Ben, it wouldn't be so obvious.

"Nope, I refuse to coward up like you."

You would have to teach me how.

Anonymous said...

Thanks WD for all of your efforts. You are a favorite and in my opinion, a hero for going through all that you have!

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Thanks Cousin Anon. Another faithful family member!

Anonymous said...

"WD: May we move on? Thanks! I love the blog., but only when we have reasonable commentors."


"Reasonable" is a relative term. You are not the "reasonable" police. Many of your comments are idiotic and unreasonable. Hmmm, is that an opinion?

Anonymous said...

"Just for future info...I will no longer peruse your comments on any subject."

BTW, person of wisdom. What does "peruse" mean? Must be a word beyond my intellect.

Anonymous said...

"Well he certainly isn't opposed to patting himself on the back with an anonymous comment."

Actually, I'm not Ben. My name is Barry. You show your ignorance by thinking that only one person can think of you as an idiot.

Anonymous said...

"Thanks WD for all of your efforts. You are a favorite and in my opinion, a hero for going through all that you have!"

Believe it or not, some considered Hitler as a hero, as well.

Anonymous said...

I agree with this view on the tithe:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JM3BWAmlXis&feature=related

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I'm not Ben. My name is Barry. You show your ignorance by thinking that only one person can think of you as an idiot."

I will have to admit "Barry" that it is diffucult to believe that there is another person out there that as stupid as Ben.

Anonymous said...

Barry that's rich.

Couldn't even come up with a name with different first letter. LOL!

Barry said...

"I will have to admit "Barry" that it is diffucult to believe that there is another person out there that as stupid as Ben."


Genious!

Barry said...

"Couldn't even come up with a name with different first letter. LOL!"

Actually, I do not consider it an insult to be thought of in the same light as Ben. God bless him and his boldness to stand up against heresy.

Thank you, Ben.

Anonymous said...

"Actually, I do not consider it an insult to be thought of in the same light as Ben. God bless him and his boldness to stand up against heresy.

Thank you, Ben."

That's because you are Ben "Barry."
Sheesh. We aren't as obtuse as you are.

That's the oldest trick in the book. Create an anonymous account and agree with yourself.

How pathetic is that?

Anonymous said...

"Genious!"

Thank You.

Anonymous said...

Ben and Barry
One and the Same
Uneducated and Totally Lame!

Ben said...

"That's because you are Ben "Barry."
Sheesh. We aren't as obtuse as you are."

Ben and Barry are not the same person.

Ben Patrick said...

"I will have to admit "Barry" that it is diffucult to believe that there is another person out there that as stupid as Ben."

Tell me friend, what is it that makes one stupid? Just for disagreeing with you?

Tell me, is it now you have nothing else to say to the subject you have to insult the person.

Ben Patrick said...

"Maybe if you didn't repeat phrases that you posted under the name Ben, it wouldn't be so obvious."

I have posted only under Ben or Ben Patrick. I find it interesting you don't deal with the subject matter, whether we agree or not.

Barry - I have been unavailable the past few days and from me personally, stay the course. You are doing well if you are getting attacked for holding to all of scripture as relevant to the church today.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ben and Ben P and Anons. Stop the bickering. Be just a bit nicer. Discuss the issues.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

"Tell me friend, what is it that makes one stupid? Just for disagreeing with you?"

Yes, when what I say agrees with scripture (and it does).

Galatians 1: 8

The same man who wrote that verse also penned this one about giving.

2 Corinthians 9: 7

Anonymous said...

"I have posted only under Ben or Ben Patrick. I find it interesting you don't deal with the subject matter, whether we agree or not."

I find it interesting that you do the same and then hypocritically criticize me.

"Barry - I have been unavailable the past few days and from me personally, stay the course. You are doing well if you are getting attacked for holding to all of scripture as relevant to the church today."

You mean like Galatians 9: 7?

Barry said...

Ben and Ben P and Anons. Stop the bickering. Be just a bit nicer. Discuss the issues.


Wow, Tom!!! You're one to talk. With all of the names you have called people on this blog. Do you feel because you are the administrator of this blog that you can say whatever you want, but will try to control what those who disagree with you say. Sick! Says a lot about you, Tom. (as if we didn't know about your kind already)


BTW-Thanks, Ben.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Please posters - don't feed the trolls.

Keep in mind what "trolls" are when it comes to blogs.

Great definition from Wikipedia:

"In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into a desired emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion."

So please, regular WD readers and commentors, avoid feeding the trolls.

Anonymous said...

So please, regular WD readers and commentors, avoid feeding the trolls.

Tom, the king of trolls, is the only one who can feed the trolls.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Ack! I'm being attacked!!!

Now I KNOW I'm in the will of God!

Amen? Amen!

Anonymous said...

Tom, stay strong my brother.

Don't let the dissenters get you down.

Anonymous said...

Ack! I'm being attacked!!!

Now I KNOW I'm in the will of God!

Amen? Amen!

October 29, 2010 4:41 PM

That ONLY works if you have the right man conferred title and pastor a mega church. :o)

And the lemmings believe it!

Dad said...

I know I am late to the party, but I am a minister recently returned from the Holy Land. I spent a month there at my own expense (about $4500), using all my allocated time away for the year. I was digging, researching, and preparing to communicate what I had learned back to the church and the community where I have taught for 16 years.

Numerous people in the church and community who have heard my presentations have asked me to lead such a tour for their benefit. I cannot afford to do that again at my own expense, not for another couple of years at least. Some have pointed out that if I go through a tour company, my expenses will be paid by the others on the tour.

According to your blog, that would be a breach of ethics. You apparently think, because most (including me) cannot afford to go, that I should not lead the trip, because others will be paying my way.
Have I understood you correctly?

You do realize, don't you, that my salary is also paid by these people? Is that a breach of ethics? They pay for my office, my computer equipment, and the gas in my car when I am doing ministry work.

There is no logical end point to your criticism. I have a big house, paid for by my salary. My parents, sister, and nephew, who would otherwise be homeless, live with me. Maybe I should sell the place, wish them good luck, and give the money to the poor.

Those who do not believe such a pilgrimage is a life-changing event will not go. But these folks want to go, and they want me to lead them, and they want to pay for it. According to you, I have to tell them no.

Frankly, I am considering doing exactly that, because the perception among many will be exactly the same as yours, and I do not want the gospel to be defamed, however unfairly.