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.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Candidates Own Words - And Words of Their Pastor - Can Cause Political Trouble

Mike Hogan, a candidate for mayor in Jacksonville, is in hot water again this week for a joke made about bombing abortion clinics at a mayoral debate Monday.

Apparently when the topic of abortion was raised in Monday's debate, Hogan declared his pro-life views, then stated that the only thing he wouldn't do to oppose abortion would be to bomb abortion clinics, but added "...but it may cross my mind".

Ouch. An attempt at humor, or an attempt to show his absolute disdain for abortion. But really it is a foot-in-mouth comment that achieved nothing but to give fuel to his opposition making his victory that much more difficult. Articles are in the local news outlets here and here and here and the comment streams are running wild.

But again, this points to another example of how these sort of things make it difficult for evangelicals to get elected by the general population, especially a member at FBC Jacksonville as Hogan is.

Hogan is not the first member of First Baptist Jacksonville to make a serious run to be elected mayor of Jacksonville. Back in 1987, FBC Jax member John Lewis ran for mayor against Tommy Hazouri. As reported by the AP back in 1987, Lewis actually made Hazouri's ancestry an issue, saying Hazouri could not be elected because he is an "Arab" (Hazouri is actually of Lebanese descent). Hazouri called Lewis "John the Baptist" and claimed Lewis would not be able to bring the community together and would be a divider.

John Lewis' pastor, Homer Lindsay, Jr., created a controversy during the campaign. In 1987, Homer Lindsay, Jr. sent a letter to First Baptist Jacksonville members saying that Lewis was a "real Christian", implying of course that Hazouri, a Presbyterian, was not a real Christian. This outraged the Hazouri campaign, and it became a hot campaign topic. Hazouri ultimately beat Lewis, and Lindsay later regretted sending that letter.

While candidates who are members of a mega church like FBC Jax have some advantages as written about here in this 2001 Times Union article, Hogan's membership at FBC Jax could still be a campaign issue especially if he is in a run-off election when the gloves would really come off.

While Hogan won't have to deal with letters from his pastor declaring him to be the "real Christian", there have been teachings emanating from the FBC Jax pulpit that may causes voters concern. And I'm not speaking of theological teachings - but teachings about how people of other faith are viewed and about economic issues - that may have an impact on how a candidate would govern. On top of Hogan's abortion clinic bombing comment, and his embarrassing logic used at a sentencing hearing to claim the innocence of a youth pastor convicted of child pornography, here are some other tough questions raised by his affiliation with FBC Jax:

- Hogan's pastor Mac Brunson has said on multiple occasions (most recently here in October 2010 and before that in 2008), that our economic recession is the judgment of God on our country for disobedient Christians who won't tithe 10% of their income to their church. Does Hogan agree with this nonsense?

- Hogan's pastor has said that if church members don't tithe, that "God collects", and God will take the money from them through misfortune, so they had better tithe. Does Hogan agree with this?

- Hogan's other pastor Jim Smyrl - who was just recently promoted to "Teaching Pastor" at FBC Jax - has claimed that Catholics are "living and believing a lie" as Catholics, and FBC Jax members must try to befriend Catholics to convert them. Does Hogan agree with his Teaching Pastor?

- Hogan's Teaching Pastor Jim Smyrl wrote a series of articles making the case that Catholicism is a "cult". Smryl has referred to a Catholic priest as a "cult leader", and lumped Catholics in with other Christian cults such as Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, and other non-Christian religions. Does Hogan view Catholics as cult members and priests as cult leaders?

- Hogan's Teaching Pastor Jim Smyrl expressed alarm over the Islamic Center simply painting their worship domes, declaring Muslims must be converted else "..your grandchildren are going to come under Muslim law if you keep silent." Does Hogan view Muslims in our community as a threat, and if not converted will put us under Muslim law?

- Just a few weeks after Obama was elected, in November 2008 Hogan's Teaching Pastor Jim Smyrl wrote an article on their church blog entitled "Voting Yourself Out of Fellowship" characterizing Obama voters as voting for the "continuous murder of the unborn", and need to repent of their sin for voting for Obama to be restored to full Christian fellowship. Does Hogan view voters in Jacksonville who cast a vote for Obama as having committed a sin, and Obama voters needing to repent of their sin to be restored to full Christian fellowship?

These are extreme views that certainly most Christians don't agree with - and views that would have non-Christians just as concerned about as voters were about the views of Obama's pastor Jeremiah Wright during the 2008 presidential election.

To ask Hogan whether he agrees with these views of the top two men at FBC Jax - his Senior Pastor and Teaching Pastor - are reasonable questions, and questions he is likely to face if he gets into a run-off election, which is entirely possible.

I hope Hogan doesn't agree with any of the above teachings at his church. If he does, I wouldn't vote for him, as I don't think one can be a mayor of a large city and view Catholic priests as cult leaders, Democratic Obama voters as sinners not worthy of Christian fellowship, or that economic difficulty is a judgement of God for non-tithing Christians. There are other conservative candidates from which to choose.


Anonymous said...

If you bomb an abortion clinic and someone gets killed that is just as much murder as the murder of the unborn. I am strongly antiabortion, maybe more so than most due to my own life experience. But you don't stop murder by committing murder, or joking about it, or making light of a bombing of a clinic. An absolutely idiotic statement and I won't vote for him based on that alone. Nothing funny about it.

The comments that come from members of FBC Jax are unenlightened, ignorant, and show some kind of backwoods thinking that is frightening. You are ruining the reputation of your church by making them.

Anonymous said...

Could it be that the Florida Times Union is pulling for Hogan - will they be fair and put the pictures & achievements of the other candidates on front page like they did him? Could it be that one of the members of FBC is also on the staff of FTU and had some influence?

Remember when Ginger Soud ran for Mayor and they boasted about her connection to FBC. She lost big time. We need to talk about the City and not about a member of FBC whose put his foot in his mouth more than once.

Thy Peace said...

I am afraid ALL of the above points raised by Watchdog are coming from SBC Seminaries and their leaders.

Lynn said...

"implying of course that Hazouri, a Presbyterian, was not a real Christian."

This made me laugh cause it's the clear message I got from my Baptist upbringing: Only Baptists are REAL Christians!

The Greenhouse Effect said...

Thanks for the Update, Watchdog.
Good points, and scary!

Anonymous said...

"This made me laugh cause it's the clear message I got from my Baptist upbringing: Only Baptists are REAL Christians!"

You had a different experience than I did. I've been a Baptist most of my life and this has never been implied, hinted at, or voiced to me.

God determines who the "real Christians" are not man.

Judas was one of the disciples, healed the sick, spread the gospel, and even handled the finances. I'm sure lots of church members were impressed with him. But, in the end, he betrayed Christ and then hanged himself.

Peter denied Christ 3 times with vile oaths. I'm sure lots of church members thought he had committed the unpardonable sin. But, in the end, he helped spread the gospel to the entire known world, wrote a good portion of the Bible, and died a martyr's death.

Anonymous said...

well . . .

voting for Obama was a sin.
If it's on the ballot, it's in the Bible, as I heard someone say. there is no such thing as a secular issue, they are all Spiritual issues, and Obama is on the wrong side of every single issue from a Biblical point of view.

The catholic church is a cult.
There may very well be saved Catholics, but they did not get saved by believing Catholic doctrine. No man can believe what the Catholics teach for salvation, AND get saved by it. PERIOD.

and far be it from anyone to say that God does not, has not, and will not, punish this society for it's liberal behaviors.

Extreme, is not extreme if it is true.

Slow to speak said...

Hogan is the Best Man for the Job of Mayor!


1. He hates well. It is not good to just love, you need to be able to hate what God hates.

2. He knows practically everything.
It is my experience with him that let's me know that there is not much he doesn't know.

3. He can straighten this sin sick City up.
As a member of the best Church in the State of Florida, he has been taught what to do. He has been taught what is right and wrong. He has been taught by his pastor to cast out losers and whiners.




Anonymous said...

Slow to Speak
Not slow enough

Anonymous said...

"and far be it from anyone to say that God does not, has not, and will not, punish this society for it's liberal behaviors."

You are equating conservative values with Christian values. They may be closer than other choices, but they are not one and the same.

This kind of thinking is why conservatives take you for granted and liberals despise you.

Lynn said...

Anon 1:18,

I'm glad you had a different experience. You probably are not as warped as me, then. I wasn't saying all Baptists think they're the only saved ones. I was saying the message I got growing up in an IFB church.

There's a whole website dedicated to laughing and crying about coming up in that world. It's called Stuff Fundies Like.

WishIhadknown said...

How much of this "casting out" can a preacher do until he no longer has a congregation? And why? Whom do you serve Jesus or the Pastor?
A Billion unsaved Catholics in the world. They don't know Jesus but you do! (Sigh)

Anonymous said...

How much of this "casting out" can a preacher do until he no longer has a congregation?

This might be what they want


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe he would say that.

What a terrible statement.

What a mistake.


One Salient Oversight said...

This is what I want Christian politicians to say about abortion:

"I extend the hand of friendship to all those who hold a pro-choice position and promise to work with them to prevent unwanted pregnancies and reduce the abortion rate."

Cranky Old Baptist said...

You have got to be kidding me

. . "reduce the rate of abortions?"

. . . "let's reduce the murder rate, not outlaw it, just reduce it."

. . . "let's reduce grand larceny, not outlaw it, just reduce it."

There is no compromise when it comes to abortion. It is not to be reduced, it is to be outlawed.

We don't have to get along.
We don't have to survive.
We will not, no will not, sissy foot, molly coddle, or panzy up the truth that abortion is categorically, fundamentally, universally, and unconditionally wrong.

There is no place for violence, but neither is there any place for compromise.

It is not debatable, it is not discussable, and there is no dialogue between the two sides that will make both happy. There is only one right response to abortion, and it is an absolute violation of the laws of God's righteousness, and yields no room for man's opinion.

What any politician needs to say is "I'm not running for office." What a "statesman" needs to say, is that "Abortion is a sin to repented of by our national government, and I will be the first to fall to my knees, bow my head, and confess the sin of this government."

Righteousness is "righter" than the care of men's political incorrectness. Who gives a flip what men think, statesmen are needed to rise above the opinions of men, and merely do what is Biblically, Spiritually, and Absolutely, Right.

I wish I could tell you what I think about it.

Anonymous said...

"I was saying the message I got growing up in an IFB church."

I grew up Southern Baptist. Perhaps that explains the difference.

"There's a whole website dedicated to laughing and crying about coming up in that world. It's called Stuff Fundies Like."

I follow "Stuff Christians Like." Jon is a friend of mine. He likes to poke fun at some of the things that Christians hold onto that are not necessarily biblical.

turnureyesonJC said...

It is sad.

It is so sad to see this explicit hatred for Pastor Mac.

It is very sad to see how anyone that knows Mac, listens to Mac, or has contact with Mac is considered to be like a leper.

It is sad that bitterness and hate are openly transmitted on a public Blog like FBC Jax Watchdog.

It is extremely sad for those of us that are spiritual to see the kind of unkind, vile, hateful things said about Hogan and Brunson.

It is sad because I know...


Anonymous said...

You know what else makes God sad?

God is sad when pastors call members of their congregation sociopaths and then have it published in the newspaper.

God is sad when pastors have a church member (who is also a police officer) dig up personal information on another church member (by trumping up charges) and then serve he and his family with trespass papers.

God is sad when pastors have deacons read mean-spirited edicts from the pulpit condemning those who have legitimate concerns.

God is sad when pastors write books about not accepting large gifts from church members and then turn right around and do what he told others not to do when it benefits him.

God is sad when pastors enable men who having been lying about their past for a decade (with no contrition) to speak to and influence the children of his flock.

God is sad when pastors heap guilt onto the flock with unbiblical OT traditions and ignore the NT paradigm of free will giving - when it benefits the pastor directly.

But what probably makes God the most sad of all is when the average church member can't see anything wrong with the offenses listed above and blindly follows a man instead of being able to read the Bible for all it's worth. That, after all, is what keeps the problem from being solved.

This blog was born out of the aforementioned sadness and is a result of the pastor and church not acting according to biblical principles.


Anonymous said...

"It is sad that bitterness and hate are openly transmitted on a public Blog like FBC Jax Watchdog."
Where are your brains? There is no hate or bitterness posted on this blog . . .just the truth about how Brunson has turned FBC upside down since he became the senior pastor.

Anon 3:21 summed up the meaning of what SAD really is.

Jim said...

Anon. 9:18 AM, thank God you are not a Muslim. If you were you would be a member of the Taliban. Your logic and theirs is identical. You just use a different Book to justify outrage. A genuine, careful reading of historic Bible texts, without the blinders of prejudice or preconception, does not support your position. This issue is important; it deserves discussion and understanding of pro-choice and anti-abortion positions. It does not deserve proof-texts, sound-bite pronouncements, nor the vitriol you expressed. Mike Hogan blew it. I took the "Hogan for Mayor" sign out of my yard two days ago. I don't want a mayor who exercises such poor judgement.

Anonymous said...

It is extremely sad for those of us that are spiritual to see the kind of unkind, vile, hateful things said about Hogan and Brunson.

Your blinders are shut.

Thy Peace said...

A very, very apt sermon that resonates with the heart of this post is this:

Emmanuel - Enid [Wade Burleson] [2004] > Series on "Romans: The Integrity of God" > #103. Living by Faith (Romans 14:19-23).

"The best argument for Christianity is Christians; their joy, their certainty, their completeness. But the strongest argument against Christianity is also Christians -- when they are somber and joyless, when they are self-righteous and smug . . . when they are narrow and repressive, then Christianity dies a thousand deaths.

"When the joy, the certainty, the completeness, and the beauty of the Christian community is cultivated and communicated, evangelism is the glorious result."

Sheldon Vanauken

Anonymous said... missed this part

"There is no place for violence, but neither is there any place for compromise."

if its proof texting - provide the entire chapter that says we should discuss killing millions of babies instead of actually trying to stop it with any power we can (Given the confines of obedience to God)which is what the poster described.

One Salient Oversight said...

Making abortions illegal will not stop abortions.

Trying to convince the majority of society - who are unbelievers - that they should accept Biblical truth about unborn babies has and always will fail.

Preventative steps to stop abortions should be seriously considered by pro-lifers in the same way that certain other preventative measures can stop murder.

I believe unborn babies are human, but I'm not convinced that the solution to this is outright banning - you might as well attempt to ban all sin.

Cranky Old Baptist said...


I use the RIGHT book to justify my outrage.

The Bible IS the Word of God, the Koran IS a piece of fiction.

Extreme is not extreme if it's true!

The Koran, is not true. The Bible is. They are not equal, they are not counterparts, nor should the Koran be considered worthy of serious thought.

The truth offended the Pharisees
The truth offended the Sadducees
The truth is offensive to those on the wrong side of it.

It is not my mission to be offensive, but neither is it my mission to lend credibility to that which is categorically not credible.


We cannot stop all murders, yet we still outlaw it.
We cannot stop all theft, yet there are still laws in place.

Because we will not stop all abortions, does not mean that it shouldn't be outlawed outright.

It is not about what works, it is about what is right. Right, very often doesn't work in a world gone wrong, but it's not our place to adjust to what works, it is our place to not back up on sintilla of an inch, on what is absolutely, unquestionably, undebatably, right.

Discussing the right stand on abortion, is like trying to vote on the color of the sky, regardless of the outcome, it is what it is.

It is NEVER right to do wrong. (bomb clinics, or kill babies)

It is NEVER wrong to do right.
(give a categorical NO, where No's should be given.)

I'm still looking for the right words to describe what I know to be true.

Anonymous said...

I get a little sick feeling when I hear those who worship at the altar of anti-abortion--and the demagogues who use them.

Do they think God doesn't know what He's doing when He creates aborted fetuses?

Oh, they'll say they don't condone bombings and other pre-emptive measures but it's not hard to imagine their glee when it happens. They remind me of these who feel cheated by the notion of not being able to view the suffering in Hell from their rightful place in Heaven.

They are one reason why this is a land of religious equality; the Constitution and our secular government do not endorse one man's God over another.

Those who insist otherwise treat their faith as superstition and should be viewed with caution.


Anonymous said...

"Trying to convince the majority of society - who are unbelievers - that they should accept Biblical truth about unborn babies has and always will fail."

I volunteered in a crisis pregnancy center for years. Most of the girls/women who came in professed a belief in Jesus Christ.

What changed their minds in most cases was seeing the fetus on 3D ultrasound.

My city used to have 5 full time abortion mills. Now we have 1. Over the years, we leased space as close to the mills as we could get. We prayed, invited and begged women to use our services. It has been long and slow but we put 4 mills out of business in 10 years.

And we do not abandon the women when they choose to keep the child. We feed, cloth, pay for medical expenses, help them with jobs, child care, etc. We become their family support.

WishIhadknown said...

We, as Christians, are at times very poor in recognizing the way the world works. The road to legalizing abortion took many years and lots and lots of marketing from the pro abortion groups that ultimately won the Supreme Court decision. Remember, as late as 1963, Planned Parenthood opposed abortion. How did it change? While Evangelical Christians essentially stood silently on the sideline, the pro abortion groups worked to create sympathy for their side. They used the civil rights movement to make it a women’s rights issue. They worked the media. They worked the elementary and high schools. Only the Catholics took a firm stand, while we did nothing.

A small majority favors abortion today but that could easily change with a little savvy marketing by those of us that oppose abortion. Just like a woman seeing a picture of their unborn child sways many to not kill their baby.

Lynn said...

Do ya'll have any idea how ridiculous it is to picture God up there being sad?

If there is a God, he surely is a very powerful person. After all, he created this unbelievable world. Yet you picture him up there weeping?


Anonymous said...

If President Obama can be elected with Jeremiah Wright as his pastor I think Hogan should not be worried at all about Brunson slowing him down.
Jeremiah Wright said the U.S. deserved 9/11 (the chickens coming home to roost) and of course Wright also traveled to Tripoli to give an award to Qaddafi!

I think the Hogan's connection with Dr. Brunson is nothing to be concerned about in comparison.

WishIhadknown said...

Is Oprah backing Hogan?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your work...Feb.25 at 3:41

Anonymous said...

If there is a God, he surely is a very powerful person. After all, he created this unbelievable world. Yet you picture him up there weeping?


February 25, 2011 5:18 PM

Jesus is God and wept over Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

If there is a God, he surely is a very powerful person. After all, he created this unbelievable world. Yet you picture him up there weeping?


February 25, 2011 5:18 PM

Check out Jeremiah 8:21-9:1

Lynn said...

Wow. I did go and read Jeremiah. It sounds like God stopped crying and started doing some really ugly stuff.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I did go and read Jeremiah. It sounds like God stopped crying and started doing some really ugly stuff.

February 26, 2011 9:50 AM

Yep, He was dealing with some really ugly depraved people which include His own!

Another reason why we are so grateful for Jesus Christ and the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Slow to speak said...

Hogan needs to be Mayor!

Pastor Mac has taught him right from wrong. He will clean that mess up downtown.

Hogan learned from Mac to get rid of troublemakers. Hogan WILL fire some people. Bet on it!

Hogan will run an open administration. Mac taught him how to do this. You can trust his leadership.

We don't whine...we win.
We don't Blog....we Pray.
We don't gossip..we are'nt like YOU

Jax is fixin to get straigtened up...just like FBC JAX did when Mac came.

Anonymous said...

Sts... yawn. You need some new material.

Jim said...

Anon. February 24, 11:35, I did mot miss it. Men and women of good will must always be willing and able to find compromise when dealing with people who hold views different from their own. Or, at the very least, respect the right of the other to have a different view, and agree to disagree. Otherwise, the only recourses is avoidance or conflict.

Cranky Old Baptist, I am a Christian; some would say I, too, am a "cranky old Baptist"...I qualify on all three counts. I love the Bible, but I am aware that only one-third of all the people on the earth accept the Bible as their Holy Book. That one-third includes every Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Episcopalian, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal and more than 30,000 other "christian identity" denominations and independent churches. Some you might not consider Christians. To more than two-thirds of the world's population, your words and mine, are hollow if our best argument is "the Bible says..."

Anonymous said...

The number of times that you use the word "sad" is alarming. Christianity is about joy...not depression.

By the way, who would you run for mayor?

Mike is about the strongest Christian man, that I can think of, that has any sort of chance to win. He certainly has the experience and he really wants the job. Mike may not line up exactly with your political views, but I will bet that if you really think about it he gets pretty close. Ya gotta like Mike.

FBC Jax Watchdog said...

I don't necessarily want a Christian man to be mayor. I want a fiscal conservative who will do what is necessary to balance the budget. Hogan's closeness to FBC Jax makes me nervous, but his refusal to debate, and his comments about selling preserve lands to pay the deficit will cause me to not vote for him. He said in the paper something along the lines of there is no option off the table....ok, then how about taxing property owned by churches? I think that one is off the table for Hogan.

Anonymous said...

Hmm....Fiscal conservative. I think we just learned something about WD. I personally would not vote for anyone without a testimony.

Anonymous said...

I see your point, to say nothing is off the table is like an American saying that Americans always lie. However, the point is that he would not shy away from stepping on toes to get the budget under control. I am surprised that a politician Christianity status is not a prority for you. I suppose that your statement and that you are a "Fiscal Conservative" is really very telling. I am not very surprised...sadly. Now go sic your belvue guy on me. Yawn.