Matthew 7:15 (NIV) “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.

Matthew 24:11: (NIV) “…and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

2 Timothy 2:23 - 25 (NIV) - 23Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish, ignorant arguments that only start fights. 24 A servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, be able to teach, and be patient with difficult people. 25 Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mac Brunson: Need a Million Bucks, But FBC Jax People are "Gripped With Fear" and Not Supporting the Work of the Church

The people of FBC Jax have not been good Christians or church members this year, apparently. According to Mac they are not giving to support the ministries of the church, because they are "living in fear because they are not giving" during this recession and are not trusting God with their finances. Giving is down a whopping 14% below budget (over $2 million annualized) and they blew through the building fund for auditorium renovations and need $1 million dollars else they can't pay the contractor to finish the job.

Wow, how things have changed. Giving is weak, and they started construction without having the cash, or having a financing plan in place. I would be nervous if I were the general contractor!

Mac says:

"What do you do with a church when people in the church are so gripped by fear that they don't give to support the work of the church, and let me tell you something, the work of the church goes on. We continue to do the work of the church, and it is obvious that a lot of our people are living in fear because you're not giving."
I think Mac needs to come out of his ivory tower. While he and Whitmire are drawing HUGE compensation packages, many people in Jacksonville are suffering. He gives no credit to the fact that giving in his church is down because people are perhaps earning less during this time, people's taxes and fees and utility bills in Jacksonville have been rising, and uncertainty abounds in the job market. People might just be saving more, and paying more money to get themselves out of debt. Some might be giving elsewhere. Some might be helping friends and family who are hurting during this economic down-turn. But in Mac's world: you either fork over 10% or more to the church undesignated, or you are "gripped by fear" and not trusting God.

And Mac is not just upset over the general budget giving, he also not at all happy that he is short $1 million for the renovation of the main auditorium:

"We have on-going needs at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville that we feel like we've got to do some semblence of ministry in the midst of financially difficult days. But what am I to say to you? And what are we going to do in this auditorium. Next Sunday morning...the 30th of September we will have depleted all of our building fund money on the renovation that has about a million dollar's worth to go. We've got to finish this. We're under contract. We can't really legally get out of completing the work, we don't want to stop the work, but what do we do if God's people don't give? What am I to say to you in the midst of a financially difficult day about trusting God and giving to God?"
Amazing. Who sounds fearful? Who is "gripped with fear"? Why can't he just "trust God" that the money will be provided?

Mac is asking what are they going to do about the auditorium renovation costs. That is a good question, Mac. What will you do? Are you implementing any cost cutting measures at the church, as in reduction of salaries starting with the top two: yours and Whitmire's? And I don't see Brunson recommending people NOT go on his "Holy Land Trip with the Brunson Family" (prominently advertised on the church website) and instead donate an equivalent sum to the auditorium or to make up the budget shortfall.

And why did Mac obligate the church beyond their means? Why did he sign construction contracts without the cash on hand, or a plan to finance it? And why did the renovation include ripping out all the pews, replacing the carpet and wall coverings? Was that absolutely necessary given the church didn't have enough cash for the entire project? Later in the sermon he gives a financial tip that a person should never buy anything that they can't pay for at the end of the month. What hypocrisy. Why did they sign contracts for construction that they didn't have the money to pay for? Of course: this axiom doesn't apply when you're spending the money of OTHER people, since you can just go ask them for more of it.

So Mac goes on to preach on "sowing and reaping" out of Genesis 26. Mac makes the point that God has promised to take care of his people IF they are obedient.
"I mean you cannot mistake it unless you're just lame in the head, folks. God is saying 'If you will be obedient to me I will take care of the needs of your life.' Now listen to me: God doesn't promise that he will give you your wants, but that he meets the needs of his people. "
This sounds good, but in the context of Mac's sermon he is trying to convince his congregation that if you want to have God take care of your financial needs, you MUST be obedient in giving the tithe to your church. This is instilling fear into his people - most of them are not giving 10%, and thus Mac is telling them that they are exposed and God may not take care of them since they are not tithing. It is not true. Under the New Covenant, there is no prescribed percentage for a Christian that is a prerequisite for receiving God's protection and blessings.

Then Mac goes on to cover "sowing and reaping", and uses Isaac's example in Genesis 26:12-13:

"In economically difficult days, he (Isaac) took what he had, his seed was his commodity, it was his portfolio, it was his finances, and he sowed it in the ground, he planted it in the midst of famine, and the Bible says this: 'he reaped in the midst famine in the same year...ten thousand percent"...but the man of God did when he trusted God with his finances in the midst of an economic downturn. Now you explain it any better than me, YOU GET UP HERE AND EXPLAIN IT! That is exactly what the text says."
That is not what the text says. The text doesn't say Isaac sowed his "finances", or his "portfolio". The text does not say Isaac trusted God with his finances in an economic downturn. I know, because I read it, and it doesn't say that. Isaac sowed SEED, and the Lord blessed him agriculturally. Mac implies that this means Christians should "sow" their finances (and portfolios) in the church, and they will reap God's blessings. Give to the building renovations, and God will bless and protect. This is Benny Hinn and Robert Tilton territory for sure. "Money, COME!" says Robert Tilton.

Mac then brings ten people to the platform, gives them each $1 that represents $50, which in total represents $500 net income for a person. He then separates one person out of the 10 representing the tithe and then condescendling says:
"Now here's your tithe right there. That is what you're worried about. That's what all the concern is about, that's what all the fuss, all the chatter, all the upset, all the despair, all the heartache, all the brokenness, 'I'm leaving church cause they talk about that right there.'...'Can't possibly survive because of that over there'.... Just that one little tenth that God says 'You honor me with that'....Now I want you to listen to me...why do we not tithe? Number one, because we don't trust God. We don't trust that God can take what is left over and can meet our needs with it."
So Mac is trying to close the deal here, to let people know that their failure to tithe not only will cause them to not have God's protection and blessing, but he mocks the reasons why people might not give 10%. He says they are "fussing", and "chattering" about having to give what God requirs, etc...notice he says "that one little tenth". I've said it before, but 10% to a wealthy person who has plenty of margin is not the same as 10% to a person of modest means who has little margin.

I wonder if they will get the million dollars on October 3rd. One thing we know for sure, with both mega churches and the government: if you give it, it will never be enough. They have an insatiable appetite for YOUR money, and they'll likely need more in an "emergency" again next year.

And if they get it, the likelihood of wise expenditure cuts won't happen. No need to cut inflated senior pastor salaries if they can get people to fork over more money. They can get the million, it is there, it's just that they don't want to cut where they need to cut to get it. It is so much easier to ask the plebe in the pew.

And finally, listen to exerpts from the sermon below from earlier in September, where Mac preaches out of Ezra to show the church that the Jews "took up an offering" to rebuild the temple (with new pews and carpet and wall coverings I'm sure), and Mac reminds them arrogantly that they don't get free electricity from JEA, and he gives his reasons for the auditorium renovations ("My daddy says you can at least be CLEAN!!"). At the end, Mac complains about complainers, screams to tell people to STOP YOUR GRUMBLING AND START YOUR SHOUTING.

Rebuilding the Temple from FBCJax Watchdog on Vimeo.

233 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   201 – 233 of 233
Accused Deviant said...

You can't justify creating an environment that sets out to totally destroy the service of Pastors.
__________________________________

This is an admission I am surprised the pastor makes. That if you call for transparency and accountability and challenge the church speak and twisting of scripture of pastors, then in fact you are going to totally destroy pastors. So be it! :0

WishIhadknown said...

Concerned,
Just a small word of advice, when you counsel people never, never, ever say or infer that you know how they feel. That’s a lesson I learned the hard way. I find it is better to say I understand how you feel or how you might feel that way and you are entitled to your feelings.
Maybe we should back up and start at the beginning.
Five years ago I was blissfully ignorant of the trends in the 21st century church. I only knew of pastor-servants not pastor CEO’s, I had never heard of “seekers,” only the lost and believers. I did not know that suit and tie and hymnals were keeping people from coming to Christ. (They don’t, but that is a whole other topic.)
Then there is the transitioning thing that has divided or split formerly loving fellowships, including my former fellowship, all across America for no other reason than to establish the preacher, he is NOT a pastor, as the man. In short in the guise of being “seeker friendly” these churches have created an upper class of church member who control all aspects of the church including the flow of information.
I have discussed or tried to discuss my concerns with more than a dozen pastors, teachers and preachers.
To the man, the “seeker friendly” guys did not give me a hearing instead they branded me a trouble maker or worse and broke off all communications with me, to the point they do not speak or greet me and even cross to the other side of the road when they see me coming. Please keep in mind all I asked for is the opportunity to discuss my concerns I never even got so far as to say anything to them. It’s just, bam, you’re out.
With the others that I had discussions with they are as confused as I am but those in leadership positions cannot and will not speak out for fear. To me this is not of Christ.
I can continue but I am out of time and space.
Thanks

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Another piece of advice: don't call other Christians who don't agree with you, and who don't like you, that you don't know, "deviants". Or "sociopaths". It really is unbecoming of a "man of God" to stoop that low. Perhaps you were hurt by a layman, and you can't get beyond your hurt, during your darkest hour, and now you resort to calling a layman a "deviant". You need to move on, and get beyond the hurt. :)

Anonymous said...

"That is the problem is that you are not moving on. If you were, you would let it go.

I know I won't be popular with "concerned" but he or she is using the same playbook I used many times with people who pointed out evil at the mega. A popular one was "you cannot move on". If I remember correctly, that one was also used by the Clinton defenders quite often, too. It works well as an ad hominem to make the person pointing out the evil look evil. It is a variation of "attack the messenger".

Part of the problem is the paradigm of what a pastor really is in the ekklesia. Tradition puts them in a sort of "official office" that sets them apart from others in the Body. And this causes most of the problems we see here with the back and forth. The pastor sees himself as someone special with a special calling that others do not have that don't happen to own that title.

But the tradition of "pastor" really has nothing to do with the NT version. A simple reading of the Word to find the names of all those "set apart" pastors of the NT churches is a big clue for us. They aren't there.

"You can't because you have yet to inflict the same hurt that you felt"

I wish this made sense in the context of FBC Jax but it is not possible. Too much water under the bridge in subpeona's, trespass orders, News article where Brunson told reporters Tom was a sociopath, and so on. Pretty long list if I remember correctly.

The other problem is that Tom has no official title to set himself apart. He is not a religious leader with a title that influences. He is a regular guy who blogs. Why is that so intimidating? Best to ask yourself that question, concerned.

Mac is very protected. Trust me on this one. He has a ton of influential friends not only in the SBC but in government and influential businessmen in Jax.

Tom, with his blog is more like David with his sling shot. But I still find it interesting that "pastors" get so upset about blogs. Tells us more about them than anything.

"And, I'm sorry, there is NO WAY God has called you to do what you are doing."

You sound like king Saul speaking of David.

" You can't justify creating an environment that sets out to totally destroy the service of Pastors. It also brings out devients like the one who claims to be a "concerned layman". I doubt the title.""

A true "pastor" of the New Covenant would not call someone on a blog a "devient" because they disagree or have a problem with the traditional but unbiblical pastoral "office".

There are no laymen in the Body. That thinking is a big part of the problem. There are only priests in the priesthood. All who are saved, are called to function in the Body. Let us stop with this "set apart" stuff with pastors. It is meaningless and only elevates humans over Christ. And that is never a good thing. Pastors are not a protected class of Christians.

Tom saw the evil and he did something about it. He had no special title. No influence. He had no TV or radio "ministry". He was not a sought after speaker or leader in the SBC. Just a guy with a computer.

But, truth is intimidating for some. What I would like to understand is why any "pastor" would be so upset? Do they think the evil other pastors do reflect on them? If so, do they think not mentioning it somehow protects them?

If they are not like Mac or any variation of the evil we have witnessed in Christian circles from pastors, then why be so upset?

It is always best to think these things through logically. Had more people done this, most mega's and many pastors would not still be in business.

And transparency is a great disinfectent for evil.

Tom, If there is one thing I know from experience, it is that you have nothing to explain to concerned. He would never get it until he let's go of certain idols.

Matt

Anonymous said...

"That is the problem is that you are not moving on. If you were, you would let it go."

Hi Tom,

This was always a favorite with the elders at the mega. We used it often. It is a variation of "attack the messenger" and it is meant to make the messenger look more evil than the evil they are pointing out. It is quite effective but only if used by someon with perceived authority and influence. Usually with a title like "pastor or elder".

The Clinton folks used it with much success. I used to feel a bit guilty about using it on people knowing James Carville had just used it on Fox Sunday morning. But it was the 90's and it worked. Who would suspect an evangelical conservative elder of using the same tactic?

" You can't because you have yet to inflict the same hurt that you felt."

I am trying to figure out how this is possible. No offense Tom, but you are a bit of a nobody. You are just a guy with a computer. You do not have tens of thousands listening to your every word each week from a stage. You do not have the ear of government officials in your city to do your bidding for subpeonas. Nor do you have a TV or radio presence that I know of. In short, you are not a religious leader that people will automatically want to believe in and follow. You really don't have much to recommend you in this endeavor from a worldly pont of view. No offense, you know that.

So, that part really confuses me.

" And, I'm sorry, there is NO WAY God has called you to do what you are doing. "

Tom, this sounds much like Saul talking about David.

"You can't justify creating an environment that sets out to totally destroy the service of Pastors."

One of the bigger problems here is what is traditionally thought of as a pastoral office is not. Seems this commenter thinks pastors are somehow "set apart" and special. And you, Tom, a lowly nobody blogger can destroy them. But what is there to destroy? A business? A meaningless title? The last I read, even the gates of Hades cannot destroy the true ekklesia. Perhaps that is the problem. What is the true Ekklesia?

As to the "set apart" pastor title. I find it confusing when reading the Word that these very special people are not named in each NT church. I would think the Epistles would be addressed to them to carry out all the instructions. Even old Timothy was not a traditional "pastor" because he did not stay around so long.. though some would argue with me on that. But I suspect they would be pastors, too.(wink)

" It also brings out devients like the one who claims to be a "concerned layman". I doubt the title."

There are no deviants in the Body of Christ. Nor are there laymen. Only priests in the Holy Priesthood who are Born Again.

I guess my only question is why concerned is so concerned? Does this person think that any mention of the evil done by those with the title of "pastor" means all pastors are evil? Surely not?

Makes you wonder, doesn't it? I speak from experience at the mega. We had a ton of things to hide from those in the congregation. And we spent most of our time trying to control that. What a waste.

Strange how things change. Now, mega church pastors/elders have to fear the little guy with a blog. When we controlled the information flow, things were much easier for us.


Matt

Devient Sheap said...

Concerned - you are always welcome here to post.

I applaud you for this. With each and every comment "Concerned" only illustrates that much more clearly the reason this blog exists. There's nothing like a "real life" example to help people see what the real problems are.

Anonymous said...

The Bible admonishes us as believers to try the spirits. We are to be fruit inspectors. We are to reprove and put the light on error. Boy, some of us sure see the errors of those who would have this website shut down. Truth always hurts those that do not want an open discussion regarding what the Bible really says. They hide behind their titles of pastor and want everything their way. Watchdog keep up the good work you are faithfully executing. Those of us in the spirit realize its a battle, but it will be worth it all when all is said and done. God bless you brother.

Anonymous said...

Concerned: I'm really concerned about who you are concerned about. It appears you have a real problem in identifying what motivates you to come back to this blog if it annoys you so much. You probably just need to move on and not keep putting your foot in your mouth. There are always two sides to a story and you just don't get it.

Concerned said...

May God bless you all. I will no longer continue. The one I called a deviant speaks with hate in his heart. Just because I see him/her as a deviant does not mean I hate them. I will dust off my feet and move on. WD, may you find peace in Christ. I thank God for the church He has placed me in. I have been sheltered from such hateful attitudes.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Concerned - you're welcome back any time. I think you do need to look at yourself and your motives and your bitterness, that you call someone a "deviant" and accuse people of being "hateful". Please, please, please: be loving to your sheep, even those that are unlovable, and especially those who ask questions and those who might dare to criticize. Don't call them hateful and deviants, just love them.

Anonymous said...

"May God bless you all. I will no longer continue. The one I called a deviant speaks with hate in his heart. "

Concerned, How can know for sure you do not speak with hate in your heart?

Matt

Anonymous said...

"WD, may you find peace in Christ. I thank God for the church He has placed me in. I have been sheltered from such hateful attitudes."

Perhaps that is because they do not know your blogging alter ego?

Would you want them reading this blog? Somehow, I doubt it. Seems you see pastors as more special and would not want them to figure out otherwise. Which means they have probably not matured spiritually past where you are.

Devient Sheap said...

I thank God for the church He has placed me in. I have been sheltered from such hateful attitudes.

God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, haters, recalcitrants, deviants, or even as this blogger. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. Can I get an amen?

Anonymous said...

"I will dust off my feet and move on. WD, may you find peace in Christ. I thank God for the church He has placed me in. I have been sheltered from such hateful attitudes."

Friends, Please do not be offended by the implications here. The 'dust off my feet' is a direct correlation to those who carried the Gospel to places that did not accept it. Concerned pastor is putting himself into that category here.

Concerned pastor is thinking mightly highly of himself by pretending his comments were not self serving, either.

And I think concerned pastor is exactly right to admit that he has been sheltered.

This is true of all pastors who have made ministry their career. It could be he never upsets anyone at his church and there are never any disagreements with his performance or preaching? Perhaps, he only argues on blogs? Perhaps he is only condescending on blogs, never in person to his followers?

Or perhaps he rules his church like a Bishop and no one would dare disagree with him. We do not know. But we do know that pastors are sheltered people. And that is too bad for those who follow them.

But I think you all should be thankful for concerned pastor coming here. He does show people how very isolated and sheltered pastors can be from the real world. Their churches, whether a mega or a small country church is not the real world most of us live in day after day.

Commenting on this blog, one can see it was very hard for this concerned pastor to keep his composure in dealing with serious disagreement. One would think a job like his would require such a thing but it doesn't. And that is too bad.

Yet, serious disagreement is something most of us have deal with on a daily basis over much less serious issues such as labor costs or accounting problems.

So, don't be offended. It is all he knows. Just consider it a learning experience. Blogs are helping people to see what is behind the stage when Sunday morning is over.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Concerned sounds like some of the CEO's I've met over the years. They surround themselves with Yes Men. Have you noticed that sometimes these Yes Men go down with the ship along with their leaders. Strange that they never want to hear criticism even when it is 100% accurate. Must be dream land or nothing else. Unfortunately, a lot of good people working hard every day also lose their jobs. Good leaders are a rare breed wherever they practice their skills.

Anonymous said...

Just as information have any of the mega pastors noticed the unemployed rate is close to 10%? Have they noticed that 20% are in trouble paying their mortgages? People are hurting financially and yet these megas want their 10% off the top. A lot of people are not only behind on their house payments but their car payments and also owe the IRS as well. Someone needs to wake up these megas as they are asleep at the helm.

Concerned Laymen said...

The one I called a deviant speaks with hate in his heart.
___________________________________
Nope. No hate from me. Just compassion for you. You are a sad person to call yourself a concerned pastor and then come here and call me a deviant and accuse me of having hate in my heart. Anything else you want to call me for questioning you and pointing out that everything you posted is and was nonsensical church speak?

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

" Anonymous said...
Just as information have any of the mega pastors noticed the unemployed rate is close to 10%? Have they noticed that 20% are in trouble paying their mortgages? People are hurting financially and yet these megas want their 10% off the top. A lot of people are not only behind on their house payments but their car payments and also owe the IRS as well. Someone needs to wake up these megas as they are asleep at the helm."

October 8, 2010 10:29 AM

Here's the problem Anon.

We automatically assume that these men(pastors)are asleep?

When in fact what really make be their problem is that they are "BLIND"[John 9:40-41]!!!

Anonymous said...

Very very concerned pastor, deprogramming is tough but needed from mind control centers

WishIhadknown said...

Matt, thank you, very well said.

Anonymous said...

Matt

Did it ever occur to you that concerned and the church he serves are unified therefore no need to fight, Andrew the fighting displayed here is what he has been sheltered from. I do not agree with everything concerned has said but you must agree the idea that it is still possible to serve in unity is encouraging. I'm sure while on this blog concerned felt like a conservative on MSNBC.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

Anon says:

" I'm sure while on this blog concerned felt like a conservative on MSNBC."

Well, conservatives don't usually go to liberal media outlets and deliver this message:

"You need to shut this TV station down. You are being divisive. You are hurting America, and you are disobeying God. You liberals don't like conservatives because you're jealous and bitter. Yes, you are bitter and thus don't like conservatives. You can't seem to look past your hurt."

And hopefully a conservative won't call his debating opponent on MSNBC a "deviant" for disagreeing with him.

Anonymous said...

"Did it ever occur to you that concerned and the church he serves are unified therefore no need to fight, Andrew the fighting displayed here is what he has been sheltered from. I do not agree with everything concerned has said but you must agree the idea that it is still possible to serve in unity is encouraging. I'm sure while on this blog concerned felt like a conservative on MSNBC."

Hello,

Fighting was not the only option. (wink)Awed was an option and Cowed was another option. In fact, my radar went off on the cowed option based upon the tenor of his comments.

I was only going by his comments here which are indicative of his attitude in these matters. He was communicating the "set apart" attitude of the traditional pastor role.

As to The MSNBC crack, all I can say is that I used those Clinton tactics myself back in the day so I am very familiar with the "You cannot move on" playbook tactic. Although I cannot recall ever calling a dissenter a deviant. Then again, I do believe the Clinton folks called Ken Starr something very similar. (smile)

There is nothing conservative or liberal about these. They are simply "attack the messenger" tactics meant to change the subject to the messenger and not the message. It is used by both sides and even more in evangelical circles these days.

As to what I said about being "sheltered", I stand by it. I finally saw the dangers in career ministry and the sin snare of elder's thinking they are authorities instead of lowly servants.

Matt

BTW: Who is Andrew?

Anonymous said...

"BTW: Who is Andrew?"

Sorry about that. Typing on a phone can be difficult at times. I simply meant "And"

"He was communicating the "set apart" attitude of the traditional pastor role."

Are they not set apart? My grandfather was a Pastor, long before "mega churches"existed, and he made it clear that the bible teaches that we are called to revere and respect the one to whom has been called to preach and teach the Gospel. They are even worthy of "double" their hire, as taught in II Timothy I believe. Not sure I agree that we are not suppose to hold them in special regard. I love my pastor. Although human, I understand, through my grandfather, what a pastor deals with. Like I said, I have not always agreed with concerned's posts, but I do find myself leaning toward his arguments. I did not like the "deviant" label. Name calling does not advance any cause. I think, however, the same standard should be applied to those who call Mac, Ergun, or even Concerned, for that matter, horrible names. I come as a peacemaker. God bless.

By the way, the MSNBC comment was just a reference to being "piled" on by those who view things differently. People can become defensive and speak out of character in such a position (thick skin can become thinned quickly). Just a thought. Maybe concerned is a pretty good guy. I don't know him, but I don't know any of you either. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

"Are they not set apart? My grandfather was a Pastor, long before "mega churches"existed, and he made it clear that the bible teaches that we are called to revere and respect the one to whom has been called to preach and teach the Gospel."

Friend, every believer is part of the Holy Priesthood. There are no special Christians. The traditional pastor role we see today is not even in scripture. Elders are just the more spiritually mature and are servants. It is Jesus Christ who is the authority in the Body.

I don't want to disrespect your Grandpa but I would recommend you study on your own and be a Berean instead of believing everything you are told. It is hard to change the paradigm of what you know and have seen all your life as the model that isn't even scriptural at all.

" They are even worthy of "double" their hire, as taught in II Timothy I believe."

Hire? Actually, that verse means give the elders the honor they are due. (They are not due honor for just holding the title). It does not refer to money at all but refers to sacrifice they make as seasoned believers SERVING others.

" Not sure I agree that we are not suppose to hold them in special regard. I love my pastor. Although human, I understand, through my grandfather, what a pastor deals with."

No one person was ever meant to "deal with" what the traditional pastor deals with. It was meant that the entire Body used their differing gifts to encourage and help one another. But tradition and those who love authority over others put in place a "system" for one man to be all these things and paid to do it for us. It is a shame and inhibits the true Body from functioning as Jesus intended. It also hinders the spiritual growth of those in church. We tend to follow the human instead of the Holy Spirit.


" Like I said, I have not always agreed with concerned's posts, but I do find myself leaning toward his arguments."

That is because you love tradition over truth, friend.

" I did not like the "deviant" label. Name calling does not advance any cause. I think, however, the same standard should be applied to those who call Mac, Ergun, or even Concerned, for that matter, horrible names."

This makes no sense based upon your other words. If Mac and others are "set apart" then I would think you would also believe they must have higher standards of behavior than their followers. If not, then what does 'set apart' mean to you?


"By the way, the MSNBC comment was just a reference to being "piled" on by those who view things differently. People can become defensive and speak out of character in such a position (thick skin can become thinned quickly). Just a thought. Maybe concerned is a pretty good guy. I don't know him, but I don't know any of you either. Just a thought."

Would you think that others should agree with him so he does not feel 'piled upon'? We have a problem that those who think they are "set apart" do not do well with dissent from their views. And it is a bit ironic that they are not expected by some as "set apart" to deal with it in love and charity. That has always been somewhat ironic to me.

Matt

Anonymous said...

"Friend, every believer is part of the Holy Priesthood. There are no special Christians. The traditional pastor role we see today is not even in scripture. Elders are just the more spiritually mature and are servants. It is Jesus Christ who is the authority in the Body.

I don't want to disrespect your Grandpa but I would recommend you study on your own and be a Berean instead of believing everything you are told. It is hard to change the paradigm of what you know and have seen all your life as the model that isn't even scriptural at all."

Of course every believer is part of the Holy Priesthood and of course Christ is the head! Who ever disagreed with that? Are you saying that the bible NEVER speaks of the role of pastors? If it does (and yes it does) what have you determined that role to be? I do study. I consider myself a Berean. I am not someone that is "attatched" to tradition, but somethings simply "are" scripture, and the role of pastors does exist is scripture. The bible does teach us to respect them. What about Hebrews 13:7. What about I Timothy 5:17 (and yes, if you study the scripture you will find that it is actually talking about money. Unpopular, but true.) I Thessalonians 5:12-13 is also good evidence.

You can't discount the role of pastors just because a few abuse the position. There are some, I'm sure, that consider themselves more than what they are.

I wish you could have known my grandfather. If you say you don't mean to disrespect him, then I will take your word for it. He never considered himself the final authority. I watched him go in his study for hours at the time. I remember hearing through his study door crying out to God on behalf of the ministry God placed him in. He was not perfect, but he was called to a special calling. He did not eisegeis scripture, but he was a wonderful exegetical expositor. People that sat under his leadership (with a few exceptions, I'm sure) truly loved him. I never remember him leaving a church under bad circumstances. I am not sure that this conversation is productive in any way, but it has certainly done one thing. It has brought back to rememberance the faithfulness of my grandfather, but more importantly, God's faithfulness to him. If he were still with us, he would simply point us to God. And, no, I don't worship my grandfather. He had faults. He liked his tobacco every now and then. lol. The love of God was all over him. The Word of God was preached by him. Many came to Christ as a result of his faithfulness. He is now basking in the reward of a faithful servant. I have a heart for pastors. I respect them. I love them. If you ever get a "true" one, I believe you will too. With tears strolling down my cheek, I wish you blessings from my Father.

Anonymous said...

"Of course every believer is part of the Holy Priesthood and of course Christ is the head! Who ever disagreed with that? Are you saying that the bible NEVER speaks of the role of pastors?"

Friend, Nobody who is a believer in the Body of Christ ever plays a "role". They have functions but not 'roles'. Roles make me nervous. They tell me they are playing a part. That word is one of the worst things we have introduced into our Christian lexicon. A role is pretending to be something.

Christ is the "source" (Kephale means head as in "source" for the Body) of the Body, of course. But He is also the authority as we see taught in other passages. No humans are authorities in the Body even though we have some very bad translations that people misuse. I wish more folks would check the Greek on these things. If we have a ruler or authority in the Body we are serving two masters.

Our indwelling Holy Spirit bears witness to this. We have no "set apart" people in the Body. All have gifts and all should function as they mature and develop those gifts. See 1 Corin 12-14. Can you imagine a Body that functions where several are prophesying and others judge what they said? How much false teaching and scripture twisting would be eliminated. The traditional pastor would not be center stage. No one person would dominate.

So when we follow humans we cannot follow Christ. No one can serve two masters. And no one in the Body is “set apart” and all are “called” at some point to function within the Body in some capacity.

I was expecting a heartfelt defense of your grandfather and have met many decent a man just like him. My family lineage is chock full of pastors and missionaries. But that does not mean that I ignore what the NT says or what it modeled or did not model for us. For centuries (since about the 3rd) we have a tradition of “set apart” Bishops and then the Reformation brought us “set apart” pastors. Some were called “curates” as in the curer of souls. All of it is man made tradition mostly borrowed from the pagan temples.

continued...Matt

Anonymous said...

Just because decent men got it wrong does not mean we must follow suit and defend it. That is a position from emotion and not truth. Just because we have always done something a certain way does not mean it is the right thing. We allow tradition to dictate. And in the case of the Body, it hinders spiritual growth.

I had a wonderful grandfather, too. And have only come to really appreciate him in the last few years even though he has been gone for 30 years. He was not paid or held the title but ministered day and night in his little farming community. I did not understand this as a kid but he was "called" to this ministry. He was "making tents" and was never a burden on the Body. I certainly understand it now. That community was too poor to pay a pastor so they did the work of the church themselves studying, teaching, encouraging and helping others grow in the Lord. Others would grow and take on more of the functions. This is how the early church operated so that folks were not held back from growing in maturity past the one person paid to teach them.

Ironically, because they could not afford to pay someone they actually operated more as a true Body of Christ. And all were matured spiritually because of it.
Relying on one man to wear the hat of pastor, teacher, preacher, evangelist, etc. actually hinders the Body from growing. Can the Body mature past the one who teaches them each week? Are they paying someone to study for them?
If you think that one is really “set apart” in each Body then it makes no sense that the Epistles were not written to each of these “set apart” people who were “called” to an “office” (which is not in the Greek). But the pastor or elders of most of the NT churches are not even mentioned. Not all churches were given the directive to choose elders. What is even more incredible is that Paul had to give Timothy instructions on the qualifications for elders. Why would he have to do that since Timothy had traveled with him for years planting churches. Wouldn’t he know? It seems it was not as big a deal as we make it today. Did you know that Paul might plant a church and leave it after a few months? Where were the mature believers?

Our traditions hinder people from growing spiritually. What we think is the ekklesia simply is not. It is man made tradition. This makes many folks angry but it is time for people to stop following men and clinging to tradition for emotional reasons and grow up in the Lord. That is why He sent you the Holy Spirit.

Matt

Anonymous said...

The entire problem of todays church is summed up in three words...LACK OF COMMUNICATION.. If the pastor and staff of any church would just be open and allow the free flow of ideas, things could change within those walls for the furtherance of the gospel. When you study scripture you will find Paul, John, and Peter writing letters advising other Christians of how one should behave as a member of the body of believers. No one is better or superior than another. Each having their own special gift in which to minister. Real revival breaks out when all know the plan and are apart of the message/plan/objective. The breakdown occurs when some or most are left out and those "in charge" take it upon themselves to do things their way and only their way and keep secrets. Yes, some secrets are necessary (sins brought to ones attention that is true or when something should not be broadcast to everyone) but just simple staff duties, and all financial matters should always be known by all regardless of the size of the church. In this manner there are no secrets to hide...its open and most everyone knows since it can be passed out at a business meeting monthly or whatever. We have got to get back to basics if we are ever to reach the LOST which has to be JOB NUMBER ONE. And I can feel the respect that anon has for his grandfather. My great grandfather paid for the church and donated the land its built on in his community. That church is over 100 years old and still going strong.

Anonymous said...

"The entire problem of todays church is summed up in three words...LACK OF COMMUNICATION.. "

Actually, it is the man made SYSTEM that Matt describes that is the real problem. Lack of communication is a result from the bad man made system.

We see a lot of arguments for the man made traditional system from emotion here but not a lot from scripture.

Perhaps you guys could name all the pastors of the all the churches written to in the NT. If not, why not if they are so important and set apart?

Marcia said...

Mac Brunson used to pastor of my church, FBC Dallas, and was asking for millions. Now FBC Dallas has Robert Jeffress as pastor and his $130 plus program -- swimming pool and all. But now you at FBC Jax Florida have Mac Brunson, pulling off the same stuff again.

Please tell me what is going on with these pastors of these Megachurches. Surely we are in the very last days -- I just would love for Jesus to come back today!!! Furthermore, the uninformed person that said Blogs were a tool of Satan aught to read the Bible and get real and wise up really$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Thanks for your BLOG, Watchdog!

Marcia

Marcia said...

Watchdog,

I'm having trouble getting through on this blog, but I'll try again.

Just wanted to say that I think you're blog is the best and keep up the good work.

Again, I would like to say more, but I'm apparently having computer problems.

Keep speaking the truth, Watchdog!!!

Marcia

Anonymous said...

One of the commenters above indicated that he is tired of mega churches being run like a business. I beg to differ. A business is not run in this way. Business are accountable to their shareholders and to their customers. They must spend money wisely or go out of business. Mega churches are run more like governmental/bureaucratic organizations who are accountable to no one.

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