This is quite unfortunate. It is really beyond comprehension that Brunson is going to make the same mistake that Jerry Vines did in 2006.
You see, Shiloh is the church that hired Darrell Gilyard back in 1993 despite his known sexual predation in churches in Texas and Oklahoma. According to the Times Union, Shiloh has settled multiple lawsuits with victims of Gilyard on several occasions yet still allowed him to remain as pastor. One such lawsuit against Gilyard and Shiloh alleged Gilyard convinced a widow in 2004 to have sex with him during a counseling session to hasten her healing after her husband's death. The suit also alleged that the church was negligent in the hiring, supervising, and retaining of Gilyard as the pastor.
I know what some of Brunson's defenders will say: this is a new day, a new pastor at Shiloh, and we should not try to hang the sins of Gilyard on the new pastor and the church.
Let's be real. Shiloh Metropolitan Baptist Church had a corrupt system - and could possibly still have a corrupt system - that allowed them to hire a known sexual deviant without warning the people of the church or taking adequate measures to protect women in the church from Gilyard. Their broken church structure allowed Gilyard's perversion to thrive and grow to the point that he sexually abused at least one teenage girl in his church.
Shiloh Baptist, as far as I know, has never publicly apologized to our city for allowing Gilyard free reign to abuse women when they should have never hired a man with his history of sexual abuse allegations in the first place. As far as I know Shiloh has never demonstrated to the city of Jacksonville that they have instituted changes to increase pastoral accountability and oversight that would prevent a recurrence.
So what does it say to Christian women in general in Jacksonville, and Gilyard's victims in particular, that Brunson - who does represent FBC Jax whether he wants to admit it or not - is going to preach at a church with such a terrible track record of protecting women and children from a predator?
I'll tell you what else stinks about Brunson showing up there...it was his church's own employee, deacon, and discipline committee member, Robert Hinson, who used his investigatory power as a JSO detective to pull a subpoena on Tiffany Croft's blog in 2008. Tiffany Croft is a former FBC Jax member who started a blog back in 2008 to help expose Gilyard. Tiffany's blog and her efforts actually aided the state attorney's office in gathering evidence from victims and helped to build the case against Gilyard. What did Tiffany get for her bravery? She had her personal information subpoenaed by Mac's own employee and churchman. Click here to view the subpoena, the one for Tiffany's blog is on the third page of the hyperlinked document.
The detective under oath said that he issued the subpoena on Tiffany's blog by accident when he was investigating my blog. I don't believe that one bit. What seasoned sheriff's detective issues subpoenas to be signed by the state attorney by mistake on a website that CLEARLY was no threat, whose author was not anonymous in any way, and who simply was critical of a high-profile baptist pastor? If it had become known that the JSO was investigating Tiffany's blog, that could have actually hampered the state attorney's investigation by scaring people away from reporting what they knew about Gilyard. After all, the subpoena demanded from Google all of Tiffany's personal information, and it asked for "...all general login and/or posting dates and times and all IP addresses and all related screen names." Yep, the blog helping to put Gilyard in jail, was being investigated by a detective employed by Brunson's church, and who was sitting on the FBC Jax "discipline committee" at the time he pulled the subpoenas. You can't make this stuff up.
Has Brunson done his due diligence on Shiloh before deciding to preach there? Has he confirmed that Shiloh has cleaned house of leaders who were aware of the Gilyard history in Texas but still turned a blind eye? Are there still men in positions of leadership at Shiloh that had knowledge of Gilyard's sexual predation and thus bear some responsibility in the abuse that occurred at the hands of their pastor? I have reason to believe there still is at least one man in a position of leadership at Shiloh that knew of Gilyard's past but did not warn the congregation.
FBC Jax has already had one pastor go to Shiloh to preach and regret it. Jerry Vines preached at Shiloh in 2006 when Gilyard was still pastor, shortly after Vines' retirement. Vines knew all about Gilyard's sexual perversions in Texas, and Vines even knew that Gilyard tried to seduce one of the young women at FBC Jax during a high school revival tour in the late 1980s. Yet Vines agreed to forgive Gilyard for his "out of state troubles" and later expressed regret that he went to Shiloh to preach in 2006.
So why is Mac going to Shiloh? Does he not have better judgement than this? Aren't there better choices of churches in this city that he could visit? Don't the FBC Jax trustees and deacons see a problem with this? Maybe not, after all FBC Jax hired Ergun Caner last summer to lead their summer youth camps.
So just a quick note to Jerry Vines: Mac Brunson loves to drop your name and tell his church how often you send him loving and encouraging text messages.
Therefore, Jerry, you might want to fire off the following text message to Mac, lickity-split:
"Mac, don't preach at Shiloh. Been there, done that. Not a good idea right now. Love ya bro. Jerry."
Trustees of FBC Jax, please nip this in the bud. Your pastor has no business going to Shiloh Baptist Church. Let him earn his weekly preaching honorarium at some other more respectable church in our city.