"...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

Sunday, January 29, 2012

John Blount Gives Newt Gingrich a Glowing Introduction at FBC Jax, Almost Endorses Him!

Yes, Newt did show up at First Baptist Jacksonville tonight for the closing night of the Pastor's Conference. Below is the video of the glowing introduction by John Blount, and the crowd's partial standing ovation.

Normal protocol when a politician shows up at FBC Jax is to just announce his name and let him stand and wave. But John Blount took the opportunity to go ahead and lay it on pretty thick in introducing Newt:

"We have joining us tonight, uh, a grandfather, I think is probably his first priority, a father. He is a historian, he is a teacher, a professor. He is a thinker, a learner, a prolific writer. He loves America, he loves freedom. Over the last 32 years of his life, he has given public service to his country, an also too seeking the greatness of America. He has come to be with us tonight, Mr. Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, candidate for the Republican presidency (sic). And his wife Callista."



Yes, Newt loves America and loves freedom. John forgot to mention that Newt is not a Mormon. Yes, John laid it on pretty thick. A pretty strong endorsement of a candidate that you don't normally see in a Southern Baptist church so close to an important election, and I think unnecessary.

The congregation was less enthusiastic than John at Newt's presence, as they gave him a partial standing ovation.

Mac followed up John's introduction by telling Newt that Christians would be praying for Newt and others in high office as the Bible commands.

Immediately after the introduction of Newt Gingrich, Mac and Joel Rosenberg discussed bible prophecy and the Middle East, and Joel Rosenberg did Mac a huge favor. Mac asked Joel to comment on whether the current administration's policies toward Israel might be bringing war between Israel and Iran closer. Joel very wisely said it was not appropriate for him to address such a question from behind a pulpit, that Christians need to explore those issues based on the candidates and then choose whom they would vote for.

Nice work, Joel! You saved Mac's hiney there.

The finale included men in kilts, and a few great numbers by combined adult and youth choir and orchestras, and a fabulous song by Daniel Crews.

Newt Gingrich Will Be at FBC Jax Pastor's Conference - Some Hints from Watchdog to Help Newt Make the Most of His Visit

Yes, Newt Gingrich, the philandering Catholic-who-at-least-is-not-a-Morman, is coming to the FBC Jax Pastor's Conference tomorrow!

On Newt Gingrich's website tonight, his schedule shows a stop at the First Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Sunday January 29th from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

This weekend is the First Baptist Jacksonville Pastor's Conference, so Newt has an opportunity to see all the Southern Baptist pastors who have gathered there this weekend.

A few very important recommendations for Newt and his campaign staff when he visits First Baptist Jacksonville tomorrow:

- don't mention that you've converted to Catholicism and that you're seeking annulments of your prior marriages. The peeps at FBC Jax have been taught that the Catholic church is a "cult", as one of their preachers has said on multiple occasions. Don't make any references to your priest, as priests are "cult leaders" according to former FBC Jax preacher Jim Smyrl, and you wouldn't want to be associated with cult leaders.

- if you speak to the assembled at FBC Jax, don't let your wife say anything. Women speaking anything of substance on the platform at FBC Jax is frowned upon, especially to all of the "men of God" that will be assembled there.

- characterize the criticism from Romney as "being under attack from Satan" for doing the will of God, and that the attacks by the media are how you know you're doing God's will. The pastors can really relate to that line of thinking about criticism!

- refer to the preachers as "the men of God". They really dig that. And try to mention that you "tithe", that will earn you some points with the faithful for sure.

- when you refer to Obama, say you're going to "shut him down" in November!!

- tell everyone you don't know who your running mate is going to be, but that it rhymes with "buckabee", and you'll get a standing ovation.

- if you want to hit a home run and nail down Duval County on Tuesday, tell the good people of FBC Jax that our economic recession is due to God's judgment for all of the non-tithing Christians. They will GO NUTS!!

- if you get cold feet about FBC Jax, do NOT switch the venue to Trinity Baptist at the last minute! Google "Bob Gray and Tom Messer" and you'll see what I mean.

Most importantly, above all else, if Mac Brunson calls you to the front, and asks you and your wife to kneel at the altar so he can pray for you, run for the exits. That didn't work out so well the last time Mac tried to lay hands on a politician the Sunday before an election. Ask Mike Hogan, pictured below.

And just kidding, Newt. The Watchdog will vote for you over Obama any day. :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chris Rosebrough Denied Entrance at Elephant Room 2 Venue, Threatened With Arrest

We are proud to partner with Pastor James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and to offer as an added bonus to this year’s conference the opportunity to attend a live simulcast of the “Elephant Room 2.” FBC Jax Pastor's Conference Website
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Today (Wed) the FBC Jax 2012 Pastor's Conference got underway with the "Elephant Room 2" simulcast in the Ruth Lindsay Auditorium. Those attending this year's pastor's conference get a discounted rate of $59 to attend a live simulcast that features theological stalwarts such as T.D. Jakes, Mark Driscoll, and Steven Furtick. I posted a blog article in December on FBC Jax hosting the conference simulcast here.

Who ever thought that the FBC Jax facilities would be used to promote this cast of characters? Who ever thought that the Pastor's Conference would be used to provide a venue to hear what T.D. Jakes or Steven Furtick has to say to pastors?

Where are the deacons and trustees at FBC Jax when it comes to deciding what their facilities are used for?

As an example of just how pathetic it is that Mac and Trey Brunson have hooked up with James MacDonald and Steven Furtick and T.D. Jakes and Mark Driscoll by hosting this "Elephant Room 2" seminar, it was reported today that Chris Rosebrough of the Fighting for the Faith website and radio show was refused entrance at the Elephant Room 2 venue at Harvest Bible Chapel and threatened with arrest.

Apparently Rosebrough did pay his advanced registration fee of $99, but when he showed up at the registration table the workers could not find his name card. He was then informed by church "elder" Jim Rowan that his registration was revoked and he must leave the premises immediately.

Gee, hard-hitting critic of the pastor is refused entrance to the church and threatened with arrest. Where have I heard of THAT before? Hmmmmm....I wonder if they filed official trespass warnings against Rosebrough and his wife?

Thank God for Chris Rosebrough. He has been all over the "Orange Code Revival" nonsense that has been going on up at Furtick's Elevation church the past few weeks. He dubbed the event the "Heretic Olympics", and he has not been afraid to expose the false teachings and the man worship that goes on up at Furtick's church.

James MacDonald, the founder of the Elephant Room concept, was the closing speaker at Furtick's Orange Code Revival, and guess what his topic was that he says he was assigned by Furtick? Yep, the last message of the 12-day revival was focused on first-fruits tithing: in order for revival to come and to continue, giving must increase at Elevation Church, and Christians have to tithe or they'll be cursed.

And THIS is the bunch that Mac and Trey Brunson are bringing to the FBC Jax Pastor's Conference and into the Ruth Lindsay Auditorium.

Welcome to Jacksonville, pastors.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Every Church Needs an "Armor Bearer" for their Pastor...and Now FBC Jax Has One!

The Watchdog is happy to report that finally, FBC Jax has an armor bearer for their pastor, Mac Brunson. Chad H. Smith, the new children's director who recently replaced Shelly Norman, has publicly pledged his love and devotion to his pastor on Twitter, and declared to pastor: "I am your armor bearer". Mac replied and accepted his new armor bearer's devotion by tweeting back to Armor Bearer Smith: "U R the best".

Doesn't all the love and devotion just bring a tear to your eye? It is so wonderful to see a grown man pledge his love to another man and declare himself to be his "armor bearer".

Now, those of you codgers like me who have been in Southern Baptist Convention churches for 25+ years probably haven't heard the term "armor bearer", or if you have you might not know what it means in the context of the modern church. Well, if you were trained in Old Testament history, you would know that "armor bearers" were the protectors of God's great warriors. They would risk their lives to protect the man of God from all attacks of the enemy. They were to attend to their every need. David was Saul's armor bearer for a time, for instance.

In more modern days, in some churches, armor bearers are those men selected in the church who pledge their devotion and protection to the pastor, the "the man of God". They are to love and protect and defend him and to make his advancement their number one concern.

Here is a job description of a pastor's armor bearer, by author Terry Nance from his book "God's Armor Bearer":

• Must provide strength for the leader
• Must have a deep-down sense of respect for the leader, and acceptance for and tolerance of, the leader’s personality and their way of doing things
• Must instinctively understand the leader’s thoughts
• Must walk in agreement with and submission to the leader
• Must make the advancement of the leader the most important goal
• Must possess endless strength so as to thrust, press and force their way onward without giving way under harsh treatment
• Must follow directives immediately and correctly
• Must be a support to the leader
• Must be an effective communicator
• Must have a disposition that will eagerly gain victories for the leader
• Must have the ability to minister strength and courage to the leader

Good luck to Chad as he serves as both Children's Pastor AND Armor Bearer to the Pastor. Maybe the kiddos at FBC Jax will be taught all about the importance of being an armor bearer to the man of God.

Can a breakout session on armor bearers be arranged for the upcoming Pastor's Conference?

By the way: Watchdog is now accepting applications for "Armor Bearer to the Watchdog".

Saturday, January 21, 2012

First Baptist Jacksonville Pastor to Donate Kidney to Church Member

Yes, the pastor of FBC Jacksonville is donating a kidney to one of his church members...but it is First Baptist Jacksonville Alabama. But what an interesting story, that FBC Jax lead pastor Derek Staples (pictured at left) was found to be a suitable kidney transplant match for one of his church members, Jennifer Borders, who suffers from chronic kidney disease and currently undergoes dialysis three days a week.

Derek Staples has decided to donate his kidney to Jennifer.

What makes the story even more interesting is that Jennifer's husband was on the church pastoral search committee that interviewed and hired Derek Staples back in December 2006 as the pastor of FBC Jacksonville.

Jennifer's husband was quoted in the paper: "When I think back to seeing him preach, meeting with him and then I think about the resumes — and we got hundreds — I couldn’t in a million years have imagined what he would come to mean not only to our congregation, but to our family...that’s how we know this has all been orchestrated by God. There’s just no other way to explain it.”

Here is a quote from the paper:
Staples has always understood that his role as pastor is to guide the spiritual lives of his congregation. By donating a kidney, he hopes to exemplify a deeper commitment.

Jesus said, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”

“I’ve preached on that text many, many times,” Staples said. “But how often I’ve asked myself if I ever really could do that — love my neighbor as I love myself?

“I consider it an honor that the Lord’s seen me worthy, to not only help Jason and Jennifer, but also to show our church in a very tangible way, how to truly love their neighbor.”
What an example Derek is to pastors, being willing to give up an organ for one of his church members, possibly saving the life of Jennifer who has two teenage children. In this day and age where our culture is saturated with selfish, rock-star, mega church pastors who pull stunts to get media attention, who view church members as plebe who exist to support their ministries and lifestyles, here is a pastor who quietly is laying his life on the line for one of the sheep. No bed-ins, no gimmicks, no "orange code revivals", just a pastor living what he preaches.

You can read the news story here, and you can read the Borders' blog here.

The transplant is scheduled for Tuesday January 23rd.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Does Anyone Really Need Ed and Lisa Young to Tell Them How to Have Great Sex?

"....the cult of celebrity has seeped into our sanctuaries...Too many people in the pews would rather have a celebrity in the pulpit instead of a good shepherd of souls, a good servant leader...Is it any surprise, then, that the Church has been rocked over the last few decades by clerical scandals?" Charles Colson, 1/4/12 Christian Post.

"Sex is here [pointing to his head], before it is here [pointing to his crotch at left]. Order the book today, the 'Sexperiment' will change your life." Ed Young promo video for his new sermon series and book.
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Charles Colson wrote an article last week about how the "cult of celebrity" has crept into the church. This topic has been something I have discussed and given examples of on this blog for several years. The cult of celebrity has given us preachers who arrive on the mega church scene with phony stories and credentials and false motives to get their hands on people's pocketbooks or their sexual organs or both, preying on the gullibility of Christians wanting to listen to great story tellers rather than humble preachers. It has given us preachers who have the freedom and power to stand on their mega stage to completely misuse scripture and threaten people into forking over more money to purchase God's protection from some phony curse.

I can't think of a more timely example of the cult of celebrity than Ed Young's latest sermon series "Sexperiment", and the release of he and his wife's new book of the same name released to coincide with the sermon series designed to help people see how "...sex done God’s way can lead to a life punctuated by exclamation marks." Now THAT gospel will sell, brother!

Do Christians - does ANYONE - really need Ed and Lisa Young to tell them how to have a great sex life? Apparently Ed is a financial expert and tells you how to avoid curses through tithing - and now he is going to tell you how great sex can be, as though we didn't know! Do people need to be enticed to come hear his sermon series with a promo video entitled "Locations" depicting seven locations for sex in your house: the kitchen, the landing of a staircase, a car in the garage, the living room (as seen below):

And Fellowship Church members I'm sure are proud that their "tithes" withdrawn from their checking account are being used to produce another "Sexperiment" promo video entitled "Bang" featuring images depicting male orgasm, very similar to the images that KY Lubricants uses to sell their product lines of couples' lubricants: space shuttle launching, a car going into a tunnel, a geyser expelling water and steam - and finally a cork exploding out of a bottle with the words "Start your year off...with a BANG." Yes, Christians, you need your pastor and your church to tell you to have MORE SEX!

The proof that these mega churches are overcome with their own celebrity is that they, like many celebrities who are really just "famous for being famous" as Colson said - they think they are experts on matters they either know nothing about, or that they have no special knowledge or experience in. And sometimes they are just flat out quacks who give out wrong, harmful information and use scripture to get people to buy their nonsense. Take Robert Morris: he went to preach last year at Rick Warren's church to deliver his phony-baloney tithing sermon, and Rick Warren actually described Morris to his church as a leading financial expert. No, when it comes to finances, Morris is a quack. He teaches false, harmful, damaging doctrine about buying protection from God's curses.

But you do have to hand it to Young, as he is breaking new ground in church marketing. What better way to maximize sales for your new book, than to hype it on your church website, make its release coincide with your sermon series, and then have a gimmick media event such as Ed's "bed in" where he and his wife will stay in bed for 24 hours straight in a bed on top of the church. You can sell the book like hotcakes in your church during the sermon series.

Mega church pastors everywhere, take note, Ed shows you how to do it. Don't take your sermon series after-the-fact and turn the sermons into a book - instead, write the book, release it to coincide with the sermon series, and market it to the hilt with promo videos prepared for free by the church video production crew.

I can't wait to see how the likes of Perry Noble, Steven Furtick, and the rest of the mega pastor gang follow Ed's lead on this.

The only disappointment: that Ed Young won't appear in Elephant Room II so that the pastors at FBC Jax's pastor's conference could sit at the feet of Ed Young, along with T.D. Jakes and James MacDonald, and learn from the best on how to be a great pastor.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Pastoral Changes Coming to First Baptist Jacksonville? Times Union Reporter Jeff Brumley Wants to Know!

Jeff Brumley, the religion reporter of our local Times Union newspaper, wrote a blog article today asking if there are changes coming at First Baptist Jacksonville. Jeff puts together recent Mac Brunson Tweets, along with the video of Mac Brunson complaining about pastoring at FBC Jax being no fun - and wonders if maybe these are signals that Brunson may be on his way out.

Even though the article is posted under Jeff's "blog" on the Times Union site, they are featuring it as a news story on the front page of their website as seen above, just below the feature story.

Jeff says in his article:

"The preacher has yet to respond to an email asking him that [if changes are coming], but his Twitter feed offers clues that he may at least be thinking about it."

I sure hope that Mac Brunson responds to Jeff Brumley, and that Jeff tells his readers what the response is. Brunson ought to respond to Brumley - Brunson regularly responds to people he doesn't even know who ask him questions via Twitter, so why not respond to our local news reporter on an important question concerning Brunson's public statements?

Jeff Brumley of course is the writer who broke the story in April 2009 of the how this blog and two others were subpoenaed by an FBC Jax member who was also a detective of the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office. The detective's use of his subpoena power to get my name, hand it to the church, and close his investigation, led to a first amendment lawsuit filed by myself which was ultimately settled in October 2010. The most shocking result of the lawsuit testimonies was the revelation that the detective wasn't just a member of the church, but in fact was a deacon and also had been appointed as a member of the discipline committee just before he opened his "investigation" into the blog.

I don't think what Jeff cites in his post necessarily signals anything about Brunson going anywhere anytime soon. What Jeff noticed in Brunson's Tweets and his sermon last November is just more of what Brunson has said throughout his time at FBC Jax about having to suffer as a mega church pastor, and claiming he is a victim. This goes all the way back to March 2007, when Paige Patterson had his seminary students pray for Mac in chapel because of the "recalcitrants" that didn't give Mac a "honeymoon" when Mac came to FBC Jax in 2006.

But what I wonder is: does Jeff have some other information that would even lead him to believe change is coming? We'll have to wait and see.

If I had to guess the future, when Mac eventually does leave FBC Jax it will be to take a job as a seminary president, perhaps to take over at SWBTS when Paige Patterson retires. That is my best guess.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top 10 Watchdog Videos from 2011

Since this blog started in August 2007, I have tried to provide audio and/or video evidence to back up the articles. For the past several years I have posted these videos using Vimeo, at the Watchdog Vimeo site.

Below are the top 10 viewed Watchdog videos from 2011 as determined by the Vimeo view counts. Usually the videos that get large hits are those that are embedded in other blogs, which most of the top 10 were.

So here are the top 10 videos from 2011:

Number 1: Perry Noble Tells Church Members They Suck as Human Beings

Number 2: Robert Morris Teaches His First Fruit Nonsense at Rick Warren's Church

Number 3: Perry Noble Blames Homosexuality on Non-Tithers

Number 4: Ed Young's "Up from the Grave Ed Arose" Stunt

Number 5: Paige Patterson's "Striptease" at SWBTS Chapel

Number 6: Thom Rainer Won't Answer Simple Question at SBC Annual Meeting

Number 7: Ed Young Tithing Money-back Guarantee

Number 8: Mac Brunson Explains His Miserable Life as FBC Jax Pastor

Number 9: Robert Morris' Tithing Money-back Guarantee

Number 10: Danny Crosby Tells FBC Jax Pastor's Salary "Ain't None of Yo' Business"

Best wishes to all the Watchdog readers for a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2012!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Top Story of 2011: Ramping up the "First Fruits" Tithing Doctrine Amongst the Emergents and the SBC

I wrap up 2011 (a few days late!) with what I consider the top story on this blog over the past year, which has to be the adoption by more and more pastors of the "first fruits" tithing doctrine. It is a teaching that has gone from the emergent churches and now has made inroads to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Robert Morris, pastor of Gateway Church, was introduced on this blog in June as he is really the grand-daddy teacher of the "first fruit" tithing nonsense. In the first post on Morris he told his congregation that forking over 10% of their income was a requirement to avoid losing one's job, their kids, and to avoid divorce.

Morris preached his first-fruits nonsense at Perry Noble's church, at the Celebration Church here in Jacksonville pastored by Stovall Weems, and also at Rick Warren's church. Warren even went so far as to present Morris as a top financial expert.

2011 also saw Paige Patterson arrogantly tell his seminary students during chapel that the reason he is so blessed and why they are so poor is because he has been so faithful to tithe and many of them have not. In fact Patterson attributes his having a pulpit to preach in every week from him tithing 20% - which is great, but he is still about 3% short of the Old Testament 23% requirement.

No year would be complete without Steve Gaines rolling out his accusations that his church members are living in stolen houses and driving stolen cars, and Gaines didn't disappoint. He even rolled it out at Johnny Hunt's church in August.

Ed Young stayed true to form in 2011 by pushing the tithe, offering a money back guarantee if people would sign a pledge to tithe and then found that God didn't keep his word by blessing them.

A few bizarre tithing tactics: Perry Noble claimed that there would be less homosexuality if Christians would tithe, and a little-known pastor here in Jacksonville aggressively accused his members of being "heel grabbers" and "supplanters" for not tithing.

I will continue to highlight these false teachings on tithing as I become aware of them in 2012!