"...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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ergun Caner Latest Sermon: Still Telling the Same Stories, Still Stretching the Truth

As I have blogged over the past year, Ergun Caner has still continued to make his rounds on the preaching circuit. He really has not slowed down his preaching schedule since he was removed from his post as president at Liberty University's seminary last summer. This summer he is very active, preaching in church camps including Tim Lee's youth camp, and FBC Jax's middle school and high school camp.

But one thing about Caner's preaching over the past year: there are hardly any sermons online. Even when he preaches at churches that do have sermon video/audio feeds, you won't find Caner's sermons posted.

And after listening to his latest sermon - preached at Brookwood Church in Burlington, North Carolina on June 26, 2011 - there is probably a good reason that you won't find publicly posted sermons.

Caner is still stretching the truth about his past, and is still trying to maintain his image of being a devout Muslim and Turkish immigrant and almost-terrorist. Of course he can't still make the claims of being a Jihadist trained in Beirut, or being raised in Istanbul learning of American culture by watching Turkish television...but he STILL is not being completely honest with his audiences.

So parents of FBC Jax, when Caner is with your young people at camp, don't be surprised if he uses it as an opportunity to mislead them about his past to rebuild his brand just as he did in this sermon. While Caner has the potential to do much harm to young unsuspecting Christians who trust their church leaders and parents to do right by them - having Caner in will certainly benefit your pastor who is Caner's co-author. Pretty sick stuff.

Some excerpts from last Sunday's sermon at Brookwood Church:
"Turkish, immigrant, Yankee. I know. Turkish, born in Stockholm, Sweden, but Turkish - immigrant, Yankee. Raised as a Sunni Muslim, got saved in Columbus, Ohio. Why in the world would I be telling you all this? Because I have heard and seen my people before - even Christians who come out of my background - and sometimes they're very hard to understand. [speaking now in a fake, heavy Middle Eastern dialect]: 'I am very happy to be here, thank you so much, take this as a spoon from my country, please pass it around, thank you'. Do you know why you can understand me? Seventeen years ago, God got me married to a girl from Brookwood church....Turkish, immigrant, Yankee, married a girl from Hall River, North Carolina."
Actually, it was a kid raised in Ohio married a girl from North Carolina - big deal. So again, Caner is trying to plant the idea that he came here as a person who didn't speak the language, or that had a heavy accent, that he and "his people" were very hard to understand, and that it was his marriage to a country girl that allowed people to understand him when he speaks. If he were truthful, he would say that when he came here to the states he was two years old and has never spoken anything but English. Given that he has outright lied for years about when he came to America, if Caner had any ounce of integrity he would make it very clear when he came to America, which was in 1969 as documented here.
"Now I'm the proud father of two amazing half-breed children. My boys who are half Turkish, half green-level (?)..."
No, his boys are not "half-breeds" - and I'm not sure what that means anyways. My wife is Puerto Rican, so my kids are half Puerto Rican, and I would never, ever call them "half breeds". That is nuts. His kids are not even half Turkish given that Caner's mother is Swedish. But at least Caner doesn't claim that they speak Arabic, as he did when he spoke to the Ohio Free Will Baptist men back in 2007.
"[complaining about having to get up early at camp to preach]: That means I had to be awake at 7 o'clock. Which means I had to get up before anybody else was showering which would be 6 o'clock. I'm up before Jesus and the Mexicans at 6 a.m. getting ready for today."
Caner still making stereotypical racial references. Wonderful. What is interesting about the sermon at Brookwood is how little the crowd responds to his jokes.
"If you're a Christian grump you're a caffeinated Christian. I'm Turkish, we eat coffee."
He's actually not Turkish. He was born in Sweden, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. He might like lots of strong coffee, but he is not Turkish.

"That's what they [his wife's family] call me: 'Butch'. My name is Ergun Mehmet Janel - Ergun Caner. They don't call me Ergun Caner, they call me Butch."

Sure, his family calls him Butch. That was a name that Caner used pre 9/11, as indicated here. He was known as "Butch Caner", or "E. Michael Caner." No, his name is not "Ergun Mehmet Janel" as he still claims. It is not even "Ergun Mehmet Caner". His legal name is "Ergun Michael Caner" and prior to 9/11 he pastored as Butch Caner or E. Michael Caner. Again, Caner can't avoid stretching the truth to further his brand of being the former Muslim.

Speaking about his conversion as a high schooler:
"You see in Islam, we have atonement. That is why we kill ourselves and take you with us. That is why we get on buses, why we get on planes. We think that by shedding our blood it's gonna give us salvation....That Jesus strapped himself to a cross, and I would have to strap a bomb to myself."
He speaks for Muslims and paints all Muslims as terrorists. Not all Muslims believe that they gain salvation by killing people. Again, Caner seems to want his listeners to think he was taught as a child that he needed to strap a bomb to himself to gain salvation.
"That night we go to afterglow [night of his Christian conversion]. That's where everybody goes to Denny's I-Hop, Huddle House...I got to tell the waitress that I was saved, and I got to eat every piece of ham they had on the menu."
There is little evidence to support that he was so devout that he couldn't eat ham, as written about here. His parents divorced when he was young, and his mother fought against him being raised in the Muslim faith. It is highly unlikely that his mother prohibited him from eating ham.
"My mom, she's a church planter in a place called Truth or Consequences, New Mexico....and if she ever shows up witnessing to you, you'll know it. Heavy accent, tiny little woman, smoking....ripping filters off of Pall Malls.... 'Filters are for wimps' [Caner quoting his mom using heavy middle eastern accent]. She'll be at your door "I want to tell you about Jesus" [again, in middle eastern accent].
Only problem is, Caner's mother would not have a middle eastern accent. She is Swedish.

Anyways, why rehash all of this?

Because Caner is still not being honest with congregations. He is still preaching his stories in Southern Baptist churches, and worst: he is still preaching to young people. And First Baptist Jacksonville is giving him access to their middle schoolers and high schoolers for a week isolated at camp.

One would think that when he was caught red-handed lying for nearly a decade, that he would have an about-face and be completely honest, staying away from any stretches of the truth, and being absolutely clear about his past, particularly those parts that he lied about in the past.

But instead, it's more of the same.

But he does it all for Jesus, so it must be OK.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

TV News Report in Dallas/Ft. Worth Exposes Caner - FBC Jax Parents, Don't be Fooled Again

Reporter Brett Shipp of WFAA, the ABC-affiliate in Dallas/Ft. Worth, aired a story last night telling of the legend and lies of Ergun Caner, and the controversial hiring of Caner by Arlington Baptist College in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Shipp investigated the Caner story after he was approached by faculty at the school who were not happy with the hiring of a man who they say profiteered from the tragedy of 9/11 by misleading people about his past.

Below is the video that aired last night on the 10:00 pm WFAA news report. Shipp has done a great job of fairly characterizing the Caner story that has unfolded over the past year and a half as Caner's story unraveled.



The saga that Brett Shipp outlines above all started back at FBC Jax when Caner used FBC Jax to launch his new career as an ex-Jihadist, transforming himself from E. Michael Caner to Ergun Mehmet Giovanni Caner right before our eyes as our pastor nodded in agreement with Caner's story.

As you see in the video above, Caner refused to speak to Brett Shipp for this story, although Shipp has given the school and Caner ample time to meet with him. Caner is being hired by a local college, professors have approached a local reporter about their concerns, yet Caner refuses to speak to the reporter. Ed Young took the same approach when Brett Shipp did a story on Young's use of private jet travel and his lavish lifestyle.

Strange how Caner refuses to speak to a local reporter about legitimate questions concerning his past, but Caner wants the privilege of speaking to middle schoolers and high schoolers at church camp. As I wrote about last week, FBC Jax has chosen to hire this man Ergun Caner, to speak at their middle school and high school youth camps.

FBC Jax parents, as the saying goes: "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me."

Parents, Caner fooled you once back in 2001 from the pulpit of FBC Jax.

Don't let he and his friends fool your kids now at summer camp, ten years later.

Kudos to Brett Shipp, for doing what he can to hold religious men in his city accountable for their words and actions.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Thom Rainer Shows How Not to Answer Questions from Critics

I have been critical of Lifeway's Thom Rainer this year about his blog posts recommending that church members squelch troublesome pew sitters who have the audacity to criticize their pastors. The WD series on "Crybaby Pastors" which started with Rainer's blog posts (here and here) on criticism were very popular.

Rainer doesn't like criticism. He believes for pastors "criticism is a huge distraction". Criticism of pastors (and presumably "men of God" who head SBC agencies) is one of Satan's greatest weapons to distract them from doing so much good for the Lord.

Rainer demonstrated this at the Annual Meeting this week when one of his critics rose to ask a very important question about Lifeway.

A messenger from a small baptist church in Tennessee rose to ask a question following Rainer's report on his agency. This is standard practice - the head of the SBC agencies and seminaries deliver their report to the messengers, and then there are open mikes set up for questions to be asked of the agency head. The question from this messenger was a fair one, and it was regarding what biblical criteria Lifeway uses to select books that it sells through its outlets. Very fair question as obviously not all "Christian" publications are sold at Lifeway, but some controversial ones are.



Instead of Rainer articulating a concise answer to the question of "what biblical criteria does Lifeway use in selecting publications it sells"...he chose instead to embarrass and belittle the questioner, and then flat out refuse to answer the question. He said the questioner had contacted Lifeway before, that he had asked the question at previous annual meetings, had contacted board members, etc. How many times this questioner had asked the question previously was not important - it was clear to me Rainer wanted to write this guy off as just a nutcase who already had his question answered. Thus, Rainer said his question was not worthy of his time.

That is ridiculous. The man who asked the question cited specific examples of publications and topics sold at Lifeway stores over which he had concern. He wanted an answer not just for himself, but for the entire convention. Lifeway's selection process is an important matter to many people and has been the subject of much scrutiny in recent years. Jim Smyrl of FBC Jax was extremely concerned two years ago, and he wrote about this as I described on my blog. The messenger's church paid for an airplane ticket and hotel room for him to go and participate in the convention to contribute to the SBC on matters of policy and theology and ministry. The man did what he was sent there to do, and Rainer refused to answer his question. You'll see on the video the man tried to follow up, but he was cut off by Bryant Wright. The next softball question to Rainer was to his liking, so he told the man it was a "good question" and answered it.

It is a good thing that no one stood up and asked Rainer about the nepotism he fosters at his agency by co-authoring books and pushing the books of his three sons. I was hoping that Tim Rogers would step up to the mike and dare to ask Rainer about the Rainer nepotism issue that Rogers wrote about here. I suppose Rainer would have refused to answer that one too.

Time was not a factor in Rainer's response. There were no lines of other questioners at the mikes. Rainer, king of Lifeway, man who thinks criticism is a distraction, just decided he wasn't going to answer a very important question in front of the messengers.

Great example of why there are blogs. Some pastors just refuse to answer questions publicly, or privately for that matter. They think they are above having to answer to peons like this small-church pastor, let alone from some untrained lay person.

Contrast Rainer's condescending non-response, to Al Mohler's response to Peter Lumpkins' question on Mohler's views on homosexuality and how the SBC has been "homophobic". Mohler answered the question directly, he said that the words Lumpkins attributed to him were in fact correct, and then Mohler went on to use the opportunity to make a GREAT point about how the SBC has to do a better job of reaching out to homosexuals with the gospel.

Questions about Mohler's views on ministry to homosexuality are ok, but don't dare ask Thom Rainer to publicly explain how his agency selects publications.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

"Ergun Goes to Camp"....Ergun Caner to Speak at FBC Jax Summer Youth Camp in August

"Now I want to tell you something. The word of God instructs me as a major priority to preach the word to you. The second thing the word of God makes clear to me is this, I am to guard and protect this body and I will do it with my life." Mac Brunson, May 1st, 2011

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What happened to his promise to "guard and protect the flock"? The context of Brunson's statement above had to deal with those in church who "create upset" and "raise controversies". He said the church is to have nothing to do with them, to leave them alone. I guess that doesn't apply to his friends, however.

I have confirmed from a reliable source that FBC Jax church leaders have decided to bring in Ergun Caner to speak to the FBC Jax high schoolers' and middle schoolers' at their summer youth camp that will be held August 1st-5th at the Georgia Baptist Convention's Norman Park Conference Center in Tifton, GA.

But they must not want many people to know, as his presence at the camp is not highlighted on their camp info web page. Strange, you bring in a big name like Caner, and no mention of it anywhere.

Brunson told his congregation on May 1st he is to "guard and protect this body" ...but where is the protection of the young people from an unrepentant fib-teller in the pulpit who uses racial and gender stereotypes in his speaking? Of all possible special speakers to come in and preach to the young skulls of mush, why Caner? Caner still has not publicly apologized and repented for his decade of deceit - including his lies spoken to FBC Jax in November 2001 when he portrayed himself as a former terrorist raised in Europe, trained in Jihad to commit 9/11 attacks - when in fact he was raised in the 'burbs of Columbus, Ohio since the age of two.

Is Caner the best example of integrity and truth that First Baptist can find for their young people? Of course not....but Caner is good friends with Pastor Mac Brunson, and Ergun Caner and Mac are co-authors of a book that they have been working together on for a second edition. So at FBC Jax these days, it sure seems that a personal and business relationship with the pastor trumps the need to find the best role model for kids at camp. Bringing in the pastor's buddy and co-author for a speaking gig trumps his "guarding and protecting" the flock, apparently.

One of the problems SBC and other evangelicals have with youth is the rate at which they are leaving church and abandoning their faith once they leave home. Teenagers question everything, and they haven't drunk the baptist Kool Aid for decades like most of their parents. Once they become aware of Caner's antics shortly after 9/11, his efforts to recreate himself from E. Michael Caner to Ergun Mehmet Giovianni Caner the trained terrorist from Turkey, how he duped our own Marines preparing for battle, when they realize great "men of God" refused to hold Caner accountable they will wonder why this man has not repented of this publicly as they are taught in church. They will wonder why their pastor and youth directors allowed an Ergun Caner the privilege of speaking to them rather than an Anthony George, or a Calvin Carr or a myriad of other ministers. They will wonder why their lay leaders didn't stop it. They will wonder why supposed great "men of God" didn't hold Caner accountable and still propped up his celebrity status while he hasn't publicly repented.

And the answers to their questions, the conclusions to which they come, will potentially cause great harm to the kids' faith and to the body of Christ.

I hope at least some of the parents of middle schoolers and high schoolers at FBC Jax are disgusted at this choice for their young people. I hope the lay workers at FBC Jax who work with these kids are disgusted. They work so hard all year to instill values of truth and honesty in the kids, and their professional seminarian church leaders go and bring in Caner to preach to their kids during the spiritual apex of the church year. Of course most young people at FBC Jax are not up on what has happened over the past year with Caner - they will eat up his stories, laugh at his jokes, and Caner will rebuild his brand with the next generation of FBC Jax'ers. Heck, at camp Ergun might slip in a story or two of his days growing up learning of American culture by watching Istanbul TV as a kid. Maybe he'll elaborate on his days of "Islamic Youth Jihad" and describe the training he received to perform 9/11 style attacks as he claimed at their church in November 2001.

But maybe some good will come of this. Young people at FBC Jax, let this serve as a prime example for you that your church leaders - your senior pastor especially - don't always have the best interests of the people they are leading at heart. The pastor is not some sort of super-spiritual "man of God" like a priest or prophet who always knows best. Your pastor is not a "God-appointed agent to save you from your ignorance", as Al Mohler has claimed. Pastors are not to be blindly trusted. Your pastor claimed recently that his number one priority is to "guard the flock", yet I believe he is failing to guard you in this instance as he promises. Perhaps the Lord can use you to let your parents know, and your church leaders know that you aren't happy with this selection for your camp.

And young people, this is a lesson for you of what NOT to do when you become a lay leader in your church. Don't be a "yes man" deacon or trustee or lay leader. Stand up to your pastor when they make a wrong decision such as this. You don't have to be silent and "let God handle it", or just say "well, Pastor is God's man"....no, YOU are God's man or woman at that church and maybe God wants YOU to speak up and demand accountability for a terrible decision such as this. Don't let the pastor convince you that you are sinning by raising this "controversial issue" and demanding that it be fixed. God has placed plenty of men and women in your church - including YOU - who should stand up to your pastor and say "No" to them bringing Ergun Caner to your camp.

There still is time for FBC Jax and Mac Brunson to change their mind about bringing Caner to camp. If not, perhaps they can film the sessions with Caner and market it as "Ergun Goes to Camp". Heck, Tifton, GA is not too far away from Atlanta - why not call Eddie Long to come down and help out with camp and be a cabin chaperone for a group of 6th grade boys? Creflo Dollar can come down too.

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Has the Church Marketing Gotten Us? Declining Membership, Fewer Baptisms

As the 2011 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting convenes this week in Phoenix, Arizona, news reports are out describing how the SBC continues its gradual decline in just about every ministry statistic.

The picture at left of what has become of the FBC Jax high school ministry is a perfect picture of this. Just a few years ago a choir and orchestra of 250 + is now down to maybe 50.

In the SBC Baptisms are down 5% over last year, giving to missions is down, and the number of missionaries sent has decreased.

It is not all bad news. After all, the number of churches is up, and FBC Jax has new pews and carpet and a new stage, and FBC Dallas is collecting millions to build a brand new Crystal Campus and a computerized waterfall to "architecturally" lead people to Jesus while they pray over their vial of holy ground dirt for God to bless their new campus. I'm not making that up, either.

In this age of church marketing consultants and generosity consultants, we have to ask: where are the results for all the money spent? Why are our pews emptying? Why do fewer people want to come to Southern Baptist churches?

Wade Burleson has written about five factors he sees leading to the rapid SBC slide into irrelevance, including the heightened demand of doctrinal conformity on secondary issues and the demonization of those who disagree with baptist leaders.

Megachurch pastors often blame shrinkage in their congregation on God, saying it is a "cleansing" of the church, unfaithful Christians who are leaving because they just aren't committed enough to the Lord. Others say it is the stingy people in the pew who don't fork over enough money for the professional men to spread the gospel.

Christians are seeing their churches - and not just of the mega variety - become businesses run by CEO's and their marketing consultants, with budgets focusing on salaries of professional religious men and buildings. They are seeing their pastors misuse the bible to beat up the sheep and absolutely demand 10% minimum of their household income to feed the administration-bloated budget. Instead of cutting salaries and becoming more financially transparent, they hire "generosity consultants" to squeeze the incremental nickels from the noses in the pew, and to teach their staff how to go after "high capacity people" to fund the "business".

People are taking SBC pastors less seriously these days, as the line blurs between the teachings, tactics, and lifestyles of health and wealth televangelists and SBC mega church pastors. They want their seminary PhD's and MDivs to mean something, yet they don't hold each other to basic standards of professional accountability. Liars are still ordained and in the pulpits, and there is no system to track and discipline pedophiles in their midst and care for the victims - but they take strong actions against churches who might hire a female pastor. And they can pass resolutions against the evils of blogging and unjust criticism.

I say the cleansing might not be God clearing out the unfaithful from the pew - they are fine as they realize they don't need a seminarian to save them from their ignorance and they find other ways to worship with believers - but it might be the unfaithful "God-appointed agents" about to be cleansed from the pulpit as the SBC decline continues.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Creflo Dollar Video Taken Down on YouTube Is Back - This Time MULTIPLIED Within Two Hours

Apparently someone associated with Creflo Dollar's ministry has filed a take down notice with YouTube, effectively shutting down the "NYTN" YouTube channel that carried the video of Creflo Dollar defending Eddie Long this past Sunday.

Megachurch pastors, one way to make sure that a video of you making asinine remarks from the pulpit goes absolutely viral, is to use your lawyers to file take down notices with hosting sites, against bloggers who are complying with the "fair use doctrine" of our copyright laws. This happened to the Ed Young tithing video on the Watchdog site, when they filed a take down notice against that and two other videos on my site, which are back up now. I hope that NYTN fights the take down and gets his site back up soon.

Meanwhile the videos are going viral, and even the news media is picking up on the Dollar-Long fiasco.

Below are three versions of the video now on the Internet, so take your pick. Apparently Creflo needs some Dollars to pay his lawyers to get busy taking these down and the others that are sure to pop up:


Some Watchdog Commentary on just how sick Dollar's comments are:

- Dollar described Eddie Long's perversions of sex with three 17 year-old boys that he groomed for years until the age of consent, as simply a "wreck". What is amazing, and not shown in the video above, is the context of this "wreck" analogy. Earlier in the sermon Dollar says that sin for a Christian should be an "accident" and not a "lifestyle", which is a valid point. He made the claim that if someone habitually commits terrible sins as a lifestyle, they are not true Christians. However, Long's sin was hardly an accident. He allegedly spent years grooming the THREE and gaining their trust before he committed his sexual acts. By the standards Dollar sets up in his sermon, Long is a false teacher and not a true believer.

- he expressed disbelief that people would "leave their pastor" - and insinuated that there is some sort of disloyalty or breaking of a sacred vow when someone becomes disgusted with their pastor and leaves. This is quite disturbing to somehow equate the pastor/church member relationship as a marriage where the pastor is one who is taking care of the member and the member owes him his spiritual loyalty. Sick.

- he said that Eddie Long had a "wreck", and he had "insurance", and "Jesus paid the premium". Yep, that is why Jesus "Paid It All"....so Eddie Long the mega pastor would have some insurance in case he got caught having sex with 17 year old boys. Thank you Jesus!

- he actually insinuates that the act of "leaving a pastor" and not forgiving him (as Creflo defines forgiveness) is a worse sin and subjecting one's self to the judgment of God, more so than the homosexual predation exhibited by Eddie Long.

- he scolded people who left and came to his church, ordering them to go BACK. How does he get off telling people where they should go to church? I guess he believes he is God's appointed servant to save Long's former church members from their ignorance, huh?

By the way, reports are out that the settlement was $24 million, much higher than originally thought - but since Long didn't want to make a public confession of his sin, the price tag was much higher.

Mega church pastors will use tithes to never have to make a public apology. Thank God for that "storehouse" holding the grain, er, money.

$24 Million to pay off victims of sexual predation by the pastor. Gee, who is "robbing God" now?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Pastors Covering for Each Other - Creflo Dollar Calls Eddie Long's Sexual Predation a Fenderbender, Orders Long's Church Members to Support Him

One of the recurring themes on this blog is how Christian pastors time and time again fail to hold each other accountable to even the most basic professional standards.

This has been seen by the SBC's failure to track sexual predator ministers and warn churches and offer assistance to their victims. It has been seen even in how SBC ministers refuse to hold accountable a serial liar who took SBC congregations for fools for 9 long years. It was seen in how those who promoted Darrel Gilyard early in his ministry were unable to warn others of his sexual deviancy. Only the cops could ultimately expose and stop his predation - the SBC religious men would not.

Watch the video below, and you won't believe your eyes or ears. Creflo Dollar has the audacity to minimize the sexual predation of Eddie Long, attack the members of Long's church who have the common sense to flee Long's church, and demand that they return and support Long's ministry.

Why are people wisely fleeing Long's church causing Dollar to jump to his defense? Eddie Long recently settled a lawsuit out of court in which he was accused of using three teenage boys in his church for sex, grooming them since they were young boys until they were the age of consent, at which point he consummated his sexual relationship with them. It is enough to make one vomit when considering the depths of this sin by a supposed "man of God".

Of course Long won't admit he sinned. He won't ask for forgiveness. Megachurch pastors rarely do. To do so requires humility, and lowering themselves to the level of the plebe in their church. They weigh the pros and cons of their actions after a scandal like any good businessman, and decide it is just too costly to confess and repent publicly. Instead they speak in parsed words and and portray themselves as the victims from the pulpit, and usually they are rewarded with a standing ovation the Sunday after the news story breaks.

There really seems to be no end to how far professional religious men in our country will go to profit themselves and their friends in the "ministry".

All the while, the world is watching these mega ministers as though they are representatives of what the gospel is all about, and the throngs are deciding that the gospel is not for them.

As a friend of the Watchdog says, "Worse and worse."

Thanks to Kevin Oliver for the video and spot-on commentary in the video below. Watch the video and read Kevin's commentary.


Sunday, June 5, 2011

Robert Morris Issues Money-Back Guarantee on Tithe - But Says Christians MUST Tithe to Avoid Divorce, Losing Kids, Jobs to the "Devourer"



"But please, please, please hear me. I'll make you a deal. All right? You tithe for the rest of this year to Gateway Church, and if you're not fully satisfied, I'll give you your money back."
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There really is no end to how mega church pastors will abuse their congregations spiritually to extract as much money from them as they can. We've seen plenty of examples from Perry Noble, Mac Brunson, Steve Gaines, Ed Young, and even Robert Jeffress.

Now I introduce to you Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, a mega, multi-campus church in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. He too, is using a false tithing doctrine to scare people into forking over more money to his church - but on May 21st he offered a money-back guarantee for those who do tithe for the rest of 2011 but end up not satisfied with the results at the end of the year (Click here and go to the 5/21/11 sermon to listen to Morris' entire message).

Robert preached two consecutive Sundays at Perry Noble's church May 15th and May 22nd on tithing and first-fruits giving. Robert teaches that you must give the FIRST 10% of your income (literally, the first check you write, the first withdraw after the pay deposit) in order for you to give an acceptable gift to God.

But on May 21st, Robert was preaching at his own church on tithing. And in that sermon he told his peeps that they MUST give 10% of their income to be blessed, and to in fact avoid calamity in their lives. He uses the same tactic Steve Gaines does at Belleuve Baptist Church - with a straight face he tells them that their money is all cursed of God if they don't tithe. How do they remove the curse? Easy, move the decimal on your paycheck one place to the left, and write a check in that amount to their church.

But what was unique about Robert's sermon on May 21st at his church, is he made a money-back satisfaction pledge to his people:

"But please, please, please hear me. I'll make you a deal. All right? You tithe for the rest of this year to Gateway Church, and if you're not fully satisfied, I'll give you your money back."

That is great. People of Gateway Church, take him up on that at the end of the year - but it is a pretty safe guarantee, since so few Christians actually do tithe.

But the interesting thing about his money-back guarantee is that it exposes the very weakness of his entire tithing doctrine and disproves it's premise. The premise of his demand for 10% of your money, is that you must give the first fruit, the first 10%, because it belongs to God, that it is not yours. But apparently you really are NOT giving it to God, you're giving it to Robert. Because if you were giving it to God, how could Robert say that HE (Robert) will give it back to you? I thought it was God's? How does Robert take God's money and give it back to someone? He misues the bible to make you think there are "curses" on you, your family, and your money if you don't exactly follow his interpretation of the bible regarding how you give your money. But if that is true, then wouldn't HE be under a curse for offering to give God's money BACK to someone that doesn't own it? No, because there are no curses, and HE KNOWS IT, and now we know he knows it with his get-your-money-back pledge.

You aren't giving it to God, you're giving it to the 501c(3) organization of Gateway Church, whose CEO is Robert Morris. But he wants you to think you are giving it to God, so that he can use the Bible to command that you give it to his 501c(3).

But then, like so many other mega church pastors are doing these days, he tries to tell the people that if they fail to tithe it might cause their marriages to fail, their kids to be lost, and their jobs and income to be in jeopardy. Like Mac Brunson and Steve Gaines, this man preaches that failure to tithe will cause you to have calamity befall you.

He says:

"The only reason I'm asking you to do this (tithe) is for your own good....I'm tired of hearing about families that are losing jobs and losing income and losing family and losing kids and losing marriages, because the devourer is devouring them. And he tells us very simply 'if you bring the tithe to the storehouse I (God) will rebuke the devourer for your sake.' It's a pretty good deal for 10%."

He may be tired of seeing his church members not blessed and suffering. But I'm tired of abusive megachurch pastors lying to their congregations, making them think that their hard times are because they do not tithe.

In Robert's scheme, no faith is required, really. Just fork over 10% to Robert's church, and you will be protected. This is what the mafia used to do to keep people in line in their neighborhoods - give the mafia their share and you'll be protected. It is raw scare tactics. It is a shameless con game to make people think that by giving money to Robert and his church, that they are paying off a holy mob boss and protecting their family. It is what the Roman Catholic Church did with indulgences in Luther's day.

Robert says the tithe will allow God to rebuke "the devourer". But really, do you know who is the devourer, Christian? It is these mega church pastors who can't stand to let you purpose in your heart, moved by the Holy Spirit, how much to give to your church. They feel it is their place to shame you, to lie to you, and to scare you into giving what they want you to give.

So Robert Morris, look into the mirror. Perhaps YOU are the devourer of your church members' lives.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Angry Preachers: They Don't Like Controversial People - Mac Calls 'em "Nuts", Demands People Pay No Attention



"Stay away from a factious man....somebody who is constantly trying to find something in the body to create controversy and upset about....go to him once, go to him a second time, but at that point, listen, [yelling] DO SOMETHING WITH HIM!!"
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Some preachers are calm. Some are slow and deliberate. Some are animated.

Some are logical, and some are a bit loud.

And some are just plain ticked off.

In the video above you will see Mac letting off a little steam, because apparently there are some "factious" men on the loose who are stirring up controversy, and Mac doesn't like it one bit.

Preaching out of Titus, Mac yells that the scripture is clear that the church should "do something with him"...about some unnamed "factious man"....but then later says they should "leave him alone", and "have nothing to do with him".

Funny, Mac's marketing man Maurilio Amorim said on TBN last week that his calling is to help pastors who "don't know any better, and who don't have any tools" to connect the gospel to their community. Please, someone Tweet Maurilio to let him know he still has some work to do down in Jax. Apparently he still has a pastor-client who doesn't know any better, and thinks aggressive finger pointing, yelling about factious people, telling people who not to listen to, and calling people "nuts" will reach his community with the gospel.

I have to wonder....just who is this "factious man" Mac is speaking about that is on the loose? What are these controversies being stirred up? And notice: no indication that they would discuss in love, or answer questions, or sit down and work things out. Nope. And nothing about loving the person. Just an angry preacher telling his church leaders to get the factious man to toe the line, or else "do something with him". Why not, "love him"? Nope, in FBC Jax's playbook, it is "do something with him".

Whoever said factious man is, Mac absolutely does not want his followers to listen to him. He says in the video:

"Stay away from him [that factious man]. Give yourself to profitable teaching...and stop these silly arguments, and pay no attention to these NUTS that are out here that are trying to do nothing but create controversy in the church."

There you have it, FBC Jax. Discipline Committee, you have your orders. Find the factious man, this "nut", do something with him, then leave him alone and have nothing to do with him (and his family presumably), and please, for the love of God, pay no attention to the any other NUTS who don't agree with your pastor.

And then pass a Deacon's Resolution and have everyone vote on it.

"FBC Jax - That Jacksonville May Know Church Discipline"